Understanding within the Incapacity Disclosure Dialog


When staff come to you and attempt to ask for lodging. They’ve gone by a lot ideas already that if you end up attempting, once you form of query it or ask for extra particulars, then now the worker really feel that, oh, subsequent time I must have extra particulars, I must justify my lodging. And that’s the worst, as a result of when you’ve gotten, once you maintain feeling like you must justify, it doesn’t really feel prefer it’s being inclusive surroundings, but it surely feels you’re form of being compelled to reveal your incapacity and extra data.


Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive office chief. Be part of host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founding father of Workology.com as she sits down and will get to the underside of tendencies, instruments, and case research for the enterprise chief, HR, and recruiting skilled who’s uninterested in the established order. Now right here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:01:08.78] This episode of the Workology Podcast is a part of our Way forward for Work sequence, powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. PEAT works to start out conversations round how rising office expertise tendencies are impacting individuals with disabilities. This podcast is powered by Ace the HR Examination and Upskill HR. These are two of the programs that I provide for certification prep and recertification for HR leaders. Earlier than I introduce our visitor, I wish to hear from you. Textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005 to ask questions, depart feedback and make solutions for future company. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity and I wish to hear from you. At the moment I’m joined by Albert Kim, Accessibility Marketing consultant, Coach and Founding father of Accessibility Subsequent Gen. Albert labored as a UX accessibility lead at Korn Ferry and as an accessibility subject material knowledgeable at ServiceNow Design System Workforce to attain digital accessibility past the authorized compliance. He’s additionally an lively public speaker advocating for neurodiversity and psychological well being inclusion in digital accessibility work. Albert, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

Albert Kim: [00:02:37.58] Thanks for having me. It’s good to be right here.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:41.99] It’s. I’m so excited so that you can speak to us about this matter. However first, earlier than we chat extra, Speak to us somewhat bit about your background and the way it led to the work that you just’re doing now.

Albert Kim: [00:02:54.38] I work as a digital accessibility subject material knowledgeable and UX design advisor and coach. I’m additionally a public speaker and coach, elevating psychological well being consciousness locally. I based a neighborhood referred to as Accessibility Connection to assist people who find themselves attempting to be taught extra about accessibility. I used to be additionally a incapacity Subsequent Gen chief. At present I’m serving as an invited knowledgeable on the W3C World Huge Internet Consortium with their Cognitive and Studying Disabilities Job Power Workforce and Psychological Well being subgroup. So the way in which I bought into my work is I, I personally determine as somebody with incapacity. I’m neurodivergent. I even have psychological well being situations and it comes from my environmental background. I used to be born in a household with home violence and my mother and father have by no means gotten any formal training. Being first era to stay in America, Asian, being an Asian, coming from Asian tradition. I’m additionally a army veteran. So having stated that, all these environmental elements form of contributed, together with my genetic elements to my present situations. And I actually, actually needed to advocate for individuals like me. One thing that I noticed, as a neurodivergent individual, is that some digital merchandise form of, they’re like very essential for me in my day by day life. It helps me quite a bit. It allows me to stay and performance nicely, so in my life and work and profession and every thing. However what I understand is that a variety of the product homeowners or the people who find themselves really making these digital take into consideration the impression.

Albert Kim: [00:04:59.06] They don’t actually understand the total product potential of how their merchandise can really assist. So I knew that I needed to pursue one thing in tech and needed to advocate for individuals like me, customers like me. And so I bought into digital accessibility, which was an ideal match, and I advocate for customers who’re neurodivergent or people who find themselves, have disabilities on this area. And I think about my job as, as a, as an individual who connects the producers of digital merchandise to the customers or the customers, all customers, not simply abled customers, however all customers, and attempting to assist producers of visible merchandise absolutely understand the product potential. And one other factor is that, you recognize, I take advantage of all these actually cool digital product and I generally I wish to share one thing that I wrote down in my notes, for instance, Digital Notes app, however it might be inaccessible for my pals who’re blind or who’re deaf. So it’s form of irritating to see that, that I actually love this product and I write down, I take advantage of it day by day and I wish to share that with my good friend. Nevertheless it’s not doable as a result of it’s not accessible. So, it additionally helps me working on this area to not solely embody neurodivergent and other people like me, but in addition individuals with different disabilities. It helps me to advocate for them as nicely.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:52.35] Thanks, Albert, for sharing your story and form of speaking us by the why behind why you, you do what you do. I feel that generally, as HR leaders, we’re busy with technique and planning, that we generally overlook concerning the human. However behind the actions that, that assist run and help the enterprise. I wish to change gears somewhat bit and ask you about incapacity disclosure. So what does disclosing a incapacity at work appear like for individuals with invisible disabilities?

Albert Kim: [00:07:31.86] So, from the very starting of becoming a member of the work, I fear about, “Oh, ought to I disclose my incapacity? Is that going to impression the interview course of? Is that going to place me on a drawback on this interview course of?” In order that’s the form of worries that I at all times have once I apply for various corporations. After which, after becoming a member of the work, I fear about will teammates settle for me as, as their workforce member and can I be included? Will I slot in? Presumably. And the fear about that is, I assume, not solely simply the disabled worker, but in addition any worker can have this sort of feeling, but it surely’s extra intensified due to the stigma that’s round in society in direction of individuals with disabilities. And likewise once you be part of the corporate, for me, I do want an lodging, proper, to have the ability to carry out and, and entry the office. However generally it’s very difficult for me to ask for lodging, particularly as an individual with invisible incapacity, as a result of my incapacity shouldn’t be, it’s not seen. So, possibly the supervisor or HR or different co-workers could not, “Oh, such as you look effective to me.” “Like why do you want an lodging?” Or one thing like that, you recognize? And belief me that this really occurred previously. For me, I feel as an worker with invisible incapacity, I’m at all times form of subconsciously nervous and excited about how will different staff understand me and aware about how individuals will suppose.

Albert Kim: [00:09:41.10] Are they going to suppose that I’m very needy or will my lodging be dealt with within the correct method or issues like that? Or individuals is not going to take me severely anymore and pondering that I’m slacking off as a result of my incapacity shouldn’t be seen exterior and possibly they suppose that I’m simply taking benefit or one thing or making issues up. So these are the actual form of issues that undergo, particularly staff with psychological well being situations, proper? I personally have ADHD, despair, nervousness, OCD and PTSD, all recognized. And I’ve been getting therapies and drugs for many years. Proper. And I’ve a workforce of medical doctors that help me within the, supported me in that course of. However nonetheless, there’s an enormous lack of information in direction of psychological well being situations, psychological well being incapacity, in society. Folks nonetheless don’t actually perceive what psychological well being is. Generally one thing that I additionally fear about is will I be compelled to reveal my incapacity? And oftentimes I could not really feel snug but disclosing my incapacity to my coworkers or different teammates, however particularly to start with when first becoming a member of the workforce. However I’m form of compelled to do this in a method as a result of I would like an lodging. , that, that complete lifelike, complete actuality of challenges form of provides on to extra tall, as extra tall to my psychological well being situations.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:11:41.40] Is there something you want employers or HR professionals knew about? Possibly how they’ll create a extra supportive and inclusive surroundings for his or her staff? Particularly once we’re excited about these invisible but in addition seen disabilities. We wish to assist staff really feel extra snug disclosing.

Albert Kim: [00:12:03.45] Yeah, I feel one of many issues they’ll do is I feel being upfront about lodging which can be out there or simply being upfront that lodging can be found and letting, letting staff know and asking, at all times asking, do you want any lodging? Do you want lodging? Please let me know. We’d be very happy to accommodate and setting such tone of voice and being up entrance about lodging first earlier than your staff deliver it up. Type of helps create an inclusive surroundings the place you’re feeling, staff really feel extra inclined to reveal and extra snug to reveal and ask for lodging. And one other factor is that when staff ask for lodging, attempt to not ask for extra, like an excessive amount of extra particulars, as a result of oftentimes once I’m asking for lodging, I already really feel a variety of, I’ve already gone by a variety of interior, interior pondering course of and and conversations. “Oh, will this lodging be accepted?” When staff come to you and attempt to ask for lodging, they’ve gone by a lot ideas already that if you end up attempting, once you form of query it or ask for extra particulars, then now the worker really feel that, oh, subsequent time I must have extra particulars, I must justify my lodging. Proper. And that’s the worst.

Albert Kim: [00:13:50.16] As a result of when you’ve gotten, once you maintain feeling like you must justify, it doesn’t really feel prefer it’s being inclusive surroundings, but it surely feels you’re form of being compelled to reveal your incapacity and extra data, proper? So, ensuring to coach managers to, on how you can accommodate staff with disabilities and the form of dialog narrative that it’s worthwhile to have, is essential. And one other strategy to form of shield the privateness of staff with incapacity is having like a central place the place staff can ask for lodging or disclose incapacity as soon as after which, quite than having to reveal it to each single worker that you just meet or co-workers you meet everytime you want lodging, quite than doing that, you simply, since you’ve disclosed it as soon as to the central place, whether or not that’s HR, you simply have that lodging with out having to reveal your incapacity on a regular basis, and HR or that central place could be, could be the reference supply, proper? “Yeah, this worker has already verified or had a health care provider’s word or has permitted lodging” so quite than, and simply giving that assurance, in order that staff don’t should disclose it consistently and generally simply disclosing incapacity self, particularly for individuals with psychological well being situations, together with PTSD, it will also be traumatizing.

Albert Kim: [00:15:43.23] You can not choose, you can not actually generalize a complete incapacity, like particular incapacity, like 500 completely different staff, proper. For instance, for OCD, obsessive compulsive dysfunction, OCD can present in many various methods. Oftentimes, media portrays it as tremendous clear or tremendous organized or wash your arms quite a bit, or stuff like that. However OCD has many various varieties. And for me, my OCD is about completion. When I attempt to, for instance, to work or keep on a activity, it’s exhausting for me to maneuver on to subsequent activity till I really feel utterly executed with my present activity. It’s really very critical and debilitating generally. So I take medicines and issues like that. So, understanding that, particularly in psychological well being situations, it’s not only one measurement suits all or “oh you’ve gotten OCD, so that you have to be tremendous clear or organized, it’s very exhausting to generalize that. And each case may be very completely different, particularly in invisible incapacity. So it’s worthwhile to be very versatile along with your lodging in order that it really accommodates the staff quite than attempting to put on garments that doesn’t actually fit your needs. Yeah. I simply needed to say that being versatile and ensuring that the office is inclusive by way of accommodating these wants.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:17.75] Let’s take a reset. That is Jessica Miller-Merrell, and you’re listening to the Workology Podcast powered by Ace the HR Examination and Upskill HR. This podcast is a part of our Way forward for Work sequence with PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. At the moment we’re speaking with Albert Kim, accessibility advisor, coach and founding father of Accessibility Subsequent Gen. Earlier than we get again to the podcast, I wish to hear from you. Textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. You’ll be able to ask me questions, depart feedback and make solutions for future company. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity. Sure, I learn the textual content and I wish to hear from you.

Break: [00:17:58.76] The Workology podcast Way forward for Work sequence is supported by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. PEAT’s initiative is to foster collaboration and motion round accessible expertise within the office. PEAT is funded by the U.S. Division of Labor’s Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, ODEP. Be taught extra about PEAT at PEATWorks.org. That’s PEATWorks.org.

Setting Workers With Psychological Well being Disabilities Up for Success


Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:28.02] How can employers set staff with psychological well being disabilities up for achievement within the office as soon as they’ve been employed?

Albert Kim: [00:18:35.37] It is a actually good query, as a result of oftentimes we concentrate on hiring extra individuals with disabilities however don’t actually speak sufficient about after they’re employed. And the way can we set them up for achievement? And I feel one of many methods, motion step that I may suggest is encouraging constructing worker useful resource group, constructing communities throughout the office for people who find themselves neurodivergent or individuals who have psychological well being situations or disabilities, variety inclusion. This worker useful resource group will likely be very, very useful in the long term in constructing the tradition and ensuring that their voice is being heard and they’re included within the course of of constructing firm insurance policies associated to DEI, Proper. Since you now have a selected group or useful resource that you may check with or you possibly can go look for suggestions from. And one other factor is that new candidates undergo interview course of. They could ask you if, “oh, is there an worker useful resource group for workers with, neurodivergent staff?” And I usually ask that. And what actually made me really feel very snug, even from the interview course of, was when some HR professionals form of linked me, helped me join with somebody from their employer useful resource group and attempt to set a gathering to only discuss various things of working as a neurodivergent worker at their firm and simply listening to from them, from the precise worker who’s working on the firm and is neurodivergent identical to me. It helps me really feel like I don’t suppose I’ll really feel alone once I’m becoming a member of this firm, proper? Like, that is actually highly effective, so I extremely suggest constructing an worker useful resource group and supporting that. So, and it’ll go a great distance, so that you could supply some insights from the group in constructing onboarding course of, constructing inclusive interview course of and issues like that. Additionally, mandating variety and inclusion coaching for workers when they’re onboarding, mandating coaching on variety and inclusion, and how you can work with teammates who’re neurodivergent or who’ve disabilities and primary training on that.

Albert Kim: [00:21:21.78] And mandating within the firm coverage to do this is, may be very, crucial as a result of oftentimes should you don’t mandate that or have that firm coverage, it’s like “good to have”. And oftentimes, if it’s good to have, you’d quite not do it and focus in your precise work quite than, and a variety of occasions this variety, inclusion and accessibility is seen as form of like an additional factor. So it’ll by no means occur, proper? They may by no means get coaching. So, mandating that within the coverage and together with in firm core worth, DEI, and management mentioning and reminding such worth in all arms assembly could be very highly effective. Setting the tradition and in addition attempting to rejoice completely different consciousness months. Proper. Psychological Well being Consciousness month or having a publication, like Range and Inclusion Publication, is a very good instance. And you’ll ask these completely different worker useful resource teams, Hey, you recognize, this month is psychological well being consciousness month and we wish to have, characteristic some articles on the corporate publication for expertise of, or elevating consciousness about psychological well being. Does anybody wish to volunteer? Proper. So that is, is the way in which you possibly can create an inclusive office and in addition set them up for achievement. And yet one more, if I have been so as to add only one extra, then I’d say peer to look help and mentorship help, proper? Whether or not within the employer useful resource group, neurodivergent senior will get linked to beginner within the firm after which form of mentor, turn into a mentor. And that’s very, very useful. Oftentimes individuals, with disabilities, psychological well being disabilities, lack steerage and help. So having that form of mentor is, is a big aid.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:23:36.79] Are you able to speak a bit about your personal expertise and instruments which can be serving to you succeed within the office for us?

Albert Kim: [00:23:42.91] Thanks for asking that. So, what was very essential for me was once I’m onboarding and once I simply joined new firm or workforce, oftentimes some corporations throw like a bunch of assets at you, after which oh these are all of the apps, cellular purposes and softwares we use and be at liberty to navigate by and simply discover. And that’s very difficult for neurodivergent staff, proper? As a result of oftentimes firm assets have like hundreds and hundreds and a great deal of paperwork and it’s very complicated and sophisticated and, and being launched to a brand new surroundings as a brand new worker attempting to navigate this uncertainty, proper, unsure world with a lot data is already difficult, however you’re including extra downside to that, proper? So, quite than simply throwing assets on the staff, attempt to construct an listed, nicely structured steerage. Step-by-step. A, it is best to do that first. You could obtain this and ensure the settings are set to this and, you recognize, ensuring that that steerage can also be accessible. Footage could be very useful, having alt textual content, proper, for pictures and issues like that, and having that step-by-step steerage. And if you wish to go additional than that, having a Zoom name, establishing a Zoom name assembly of all the brand new staff after which strolling by these steps collectively, it’s very useful.

Albert Kim: [00:25:30.70] It saves a variety of time, particularly for neurodivergent staff, as a result of it’s very exhausting for them to know what data is necessary and what’s not. As a result of I don’t know this. It’s, every thing is new to me. Every part appears necessary to me. I really feel like I’m lacking, if I don’t learn this, if I don’t click on this, then I’m lacking out. I’m going to be lacking out tremendous necessary data and that’s going to screw up my job or one thing like that. All these worries and anxieties. Having a bonding time, teammate bonding time, earlier than beginning a activity when new worker joins is essential in order that new worker feels extra snug, quite than asking them to only arrange one on one with completely different teammates and on their very own, as a result of that may be very nervousness scary too, proper? It’s a brand new, new workforce and I’ve to message completely different individuals and somebody that I’ve by no means met and I must attempt to speak to them. And it may be nerve wracking generally. So, attempting to have like a proper conferences set as much as embody the brand new workforce and have them combine into the workforce, serving to them, that will be actually necessary. And lastly, I wish to point out clearly mandating and speaking that every one conferences should be recorded and will have captions on and transcript out there in order that, particularly neurodivergent staff or staff with psychological well being situations, can have, not surprising episodes, proper of, of psychological well being situation or they could miss conferences or one thing like that.

Albert Kim: [00:27:21.55] However should you miss assembly and oh, like there’s nothing, there’s no recording, there’s no transcript, there’s no caption that I’ve to undergo all these completely different individuals to ask round oh what, what did they discuss and issues like that to catch up. And that’s very difficult. Proper. And never, and in addition form of makes it very difficult for me to construct my credibility as an worker as nicely, provides extra further challenges to that. So ensuring that every one conferences are recorded captions and transcript out there after the assembly in order that if staff who miss, as a result of their episode of incapacity, they’ll watch that recording. Or, for me, as a neurodivergent worker, I oftentimes, even after attending the assembly, I would like to look at the recording as a result of I could not have the ability to course of all the data in a single setting and I would miss out a variety of data. And simply having that, again of, having the ideas in again of my thoughts pondering that, Oh, the recordings will likely be out there after this, relieves big nervousness from me. In order that’s one other actually necessary software that assist me succeed at work.

 Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:28:46.03] Thanks for sharing about this, Albert, as a result of I feel that these are simple issues, just like the closed captioning and the recording and the transcriptions. They simply take somewhat intention and energy however can actually assist staff have the ability to present up for the group and for themselves in a method that makes them really feel good.

Albert Kim: [00:29:10.29] Sure. Sure.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:29:11.76] I respect you sharing all of your knowledge right here. So many nice nuggets of data. I’m going to incorporate hyperlinks to quite a lot of assets in addition to, if someone is listening right here they usually’re like, I wish to know extra about what Albert does. We’ll join them to you straight by LinkedIn. Do you’ve gotten any final parting ideas or possibly one thing you wish to reinforce earlier than we finish this podcast interview?

Albert Kim: [00:29:40.44] Proper. So, I feel, final word I simply wish to point out is that ensuring once you’re constructing these insurance policies and practices, ensuring that you just embody precise individuals with disabilities in that course of, not only a supplier, precise people who find themselves going by that wrestle and challenges as a result of they know the most effective. So, ensuring that you just hearken to them, that’s crucial. So I simply needed to say that. And if anybody wants or desires to listen to my perception or my ideas, I’m very happy to assist as nicely. I’m out there on LinkedIn and e mail as nicely. So, anybody can simply attain out and I’m very happy to.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:28.75] Nicely, thanks once more, Albert. I respect your time and experience and simply your willingness to share your story and what’s working for you on this space.

Albert Kim: [00:30:39.25] Thanks for having me.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:41.33] One factor I can say for sure is that the office has modified dramatically over the past two years, and extra individuals than ever have skilled or been recognized with psychological well being disabilities. Issues like nervousness, put up traumatic stress dysfunction, obsessive compulsive dysfunction, ADHD and extra have come to mild or have been created by the worldwide pandemic. It’s so necessary for employers to pay attention to invisible disabilities, what they’re, how they work, what they appear like, what they don’t appear like, and particularly how we are able to help staff in a wide range of methods to assist them achieve success. I so respect Albert’s insights, his experience, his honesty. This was a vital Workology Podcast so that you can hearken to, and I wish to thank our podcast sequence companion on this, PEAT, for our Way forward for Work sequence. I can’t do it with out you. I additionally wish to hear from you. You’ll be able to textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, depart feedback, make solutions for future podcast company. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity and I wish to hear from you. Thanks for becoming a member of the Workology Podcast. It’s sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Examination. These are HR certification and recertification programs that we provide right here at Workology. I hope that you’ve a incredible day. This podcast is for the disruptive office chief who’s uninterested in the established order. My title is Jessica Miller-Merrell. And, till subsequent time, you possibly can go to Workology.com to hearken to all our Workology Podcast episodes.

Join with Albert Kim.



– Albert Kim on LinkedIn

– Accessibility NextGen (San Francisco, CA) | Meetup 

– PEATWoks.org

– Episode 374: Digital Fairness at Work and in Life With Invoice Curtis-Davidson and Chris Wooden

– Episode 369: Making the Office Accessible Each for Workers and Contractors With Meryl Evans

– Episode 357: Lengthy-COVID and How It Impacts a Firm With Pam Bingham From Intuit

– Episode 351: Making a Actually Inclusive Office With PIA and PEAT

– Episode 344: Neurodiversity and Accessibility With Wesley Faulkner, Head of Neighborhood at SingleStore

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