Ahead of this year’s International Day of People with Disability, we spoke to members of different Telstra teams who are living with disability. We wanted to connect with them, and ask what they want everyone to know about working with them respectfully.

International Day of People with Disability is an annual event designed to raise public awareness, and more importantly, acceptance of people with disability. We recognise International Day of People with Disability, and we’re working year-round to ensure that we’re an inclusive employer and provider for our team and our customers.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to people living with disability is always to engage with them as a person first and their disability last. Respect is paramount, and we’re all in this together.

People with disability don’t need an “easy” job. Like with all candidates, each job is uniquely suited to an individual’s skills. Different roles and different disabilities come with their own challenges, and what’s important is matching each candidate’s own talents to the role that is right for them. These talents can all be applied in different ways to complete tasks, and simply saying that all people living with disability need an “easy” job is reductive. It all comes down to how you’re qualified, and what you put into the role you have.

One of the most common things we hear from members of our team with disability is they just want others to work with them the same as with anyone else. They’re our colleagues and our friends, and ultimately want and deserve the same opportunities and experiences as those without disabilities. We can all do more to foster an environment where our people who live with disability can be direct about what they need to succeed, and feel confident that they will be heard.

It’s important to remember that not all disabilities are visible. Just because you can’t see someone’s disability, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. It’s something they live and work with each day. As our team members have told us, it’s good to ask if someone needs help but it’s even better to listen to their answer. No one knows what a person needs better than the person themselves.

All of the employees featured in our video applied for or were headhunted for their current roles with us, and they’re invaluable members of the team. We work hard to create an environment within the business where everyone can do their best work. Making things more accessible is more than just a checkbox. It’s about designing products, solutions and experiences that are truly available at every step of the process.

Everyone in our team is responsible for disrupting biases and collectively driving a culture that helps create accessible experiences everywhere. To build a connected future where everyone can thrive, means we need to ensure it’s an accessible one first and foremost. That way, everyone can contribute their brilliant ideas to make a better tomorrow.

Ultimately, people with disability are just people, who live in a society that is not often designed to support their participation in it. They work to deadlines, they’re part of the team, and we alneed to work every day to ensure we’re breaking down those societal barriers to create more accessible and inclusive work environments where we can all thrive. Not just for International Day of People with Disability, but for every day.