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Accessibility for All

Karthik is a passionate advocate for change at PS. Learn about his time as a member of the enable BRG and how he helps clients and colleagues to create an equitable and accessible world.

The purpose of the enABLE employee led business resource group is to enable colleagues with a disability (visible and non-visible) to thrive within Publicis Groupe, and to attract, support and retain more disabled talent in the business. We do this by championing the needs of colleagues with disabilities and promoting dialogue and action to foster a more disability confident culture.

 

One of the key principles I continue to apply both in my professional and personal life is that ‘we need to leave a place better than how we found it’. The things we do, steps we take and the changes we make must be driven based on the long term positive impact, even after we are no longer around. By advocating for changes and transforming businesesses’ processes, structures and policies to enable everyone to thrive and contribute, we are truly imparting change that will last beyond us.

As the son of a doctor, there are two key lessons I learned very early on. They are: “The human body never remains the same” and “Doctors are the worst patients.”

 

The human body never remains the same

This key lesson has helped me to be thankful for the things we take for granted. It has also driven me to work with both colleagues and clients to enable individuals to navigate the experience of disability, ill health, or the experience of an injury or an accident and at the same time thrive and succeed at work. Working together with colleagues and our clients, we want to ensure organizations work to address the taboo connotation around disability, providing reasonable adjustments and accessibility for every individual. Accessibility is key to ensuring we leave no employee or customer behind.

Doctors are the worst patients

To many of us in the professional services, the saying “doctors are the worst patients” is most apt in considering our role in our industries. We strive to provide solutions and recommendations to solve someone else’s problem but find it very difficult in most cases to adopt or apply the same recommendations. Putting aside the notion that I know better than anyone else is a key lesson that has served me well. Operating with the ethos that I succeed only when my clients succeed has always pushed me to recommend only solutions I would implement myself if I was in my client’s shoes. This has helped me not only be a good consultant but also a more empathetic colleague and ally whilst trying to make my work environment more accessible for everyone.

 

Extrapolate, implement and reiterate

Working with colleagues who share similar values, we were able to extrapolate experiences, knowledge, and insights from solving complex problems for our clients and implement the same within the organization. This has led to the pathway for us to improve our business performance by learning directly from colleagues with disabilities or long-term health conditions. Reiterating the importance of kindling interest, increasing awareness, nurturing colleagues, and demonstrating consistencies when it comes to disabilities or long-term health conditions has helped many colleagues bring their whole self to work.

"We need to leave a place better than how we found it"

Leading with ‘why’

The way I drive change is based on the simple premise that the only real way for employees and organizations to build disability confidence is from the inside out. By leading with the question ”Why?”, we have been able to create employee-led business resource groups that support individuals to deliver high performance to drive confidence from the inside out with regards to disability. We now see our colleagues working together to build an inclusive culture by learning and interacting directly with our own colleagues with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions. This also has created the opportunity to highlight and profile the plentiful talent that contributes day in and day out whilst thriving with their disability, long- term health condition, or neurodiversity.

 

Catalyst for change

It’s been inspiring to connect with fellow colleagues who are committed to driving equity within our organization and enabling all of our people to succeed, regardless of having a disability or long-term health condition. I am hopeful that I will continue to be a catalyst for change to enable our colleagues and clients so that I am able to leave behind a workplace better than how I found it.

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