Creating a disability-inclusive workplace in Brazil

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Across the world, PwC firms’ strong commitment to diversity and inclusion includes employing and welcoming people with disabilities (PwD). A great example of this commitment in action is PwC Brazil, which is actively focusing on hiring more professionals with disabilities and creating an inclusive culture for them. The firm’s efforts have included publishing a booklet giving employees guidance on how to interact with colleagues with disabilities.

The focus on disability awareness and inclusion in PwC Brazil is firm-wide, and shapes all its professional recruitment and post-hiring activities. For experienced hiring, the recruitment team assesses the job with the relevant manager and identifies disabilities that would fit the role. The firm also uses an external consultancy specialising in PwD inclusion to support the process.

“Our PwD programme has helped me see little things I couldn´t see before, like the height of water dispensers so they are reachable to wheelchair users, or images on e-mails that are accessible to people with visual disability. Realising this has enabled me to make small changes in the daily routine of people with disabilities that make a big impact."

Priscila Medeiros, HR analyst with PwC Brazil

For the campus hire recruitment programme, the diversity and inclusion (D&I) team is involved in every step across all offices in Brazil, from assessing CVs and selecting of candidates to on-site interviews and group dynamics exercises. This ensures that candidates with disabilities are not eliminated due to a lack of knowledge about disability or unconscious bias.

In both cases, after a PwD is hired, the D&I function maps out possible adaptations or accessibility needs for each individual, assessing the need for a training session, changes to workstations or other adjustments. Managers and teams are also provided with training to ensure they’re sensitised to disability before welcoming their new colleague. And in the early months, checkpoint interviews with both managers and the PwD are held to confirm that inclusion really is happening.

"PwC was the first company I joined that was focused on disability. I have an interpreter with me at every meeting and training I go to. I know I can develop my career here. It´s amazing that my boss and my team learned the Brazilian sign language to be able to communicate with me."

André RominAssociate with a hearing disability, PwC Brazil

The employee booklet on PwD inclusion – ‘Valuing differences’ – has been shared with all partners and staff across PwC Brazil. The goal was to help people increase their knowledge and feel comfortable in every situation, even if they don’t have people with disabilities in their teams and only meet them in the lifts and other common areas. Feedback on the booklet was hugely positive, both from people with disabilities and other staff members.

PwC Brazil doubled the number of PwD in its workforce in the past year (from about 60 to 115), including the recruitment of 37 PwD through its campus hire programme, reinforcing leadership commitment to welcoming people with disabilities. At the beginning of FY15, there were only 32 PwD, which clearly shows the progress made over the past couple of years.