The TotalJobs survey offers an excellent preview of why deaf and hard of hearing employees quit their jobs. Although this study was based in the United Kingdom (UK), but the results are very revealing, and it is without any doubt that the statistics are very comparable with deaf and hard of hearing employees working in the United States and Canada. The key findings from the survey are as following:
56% of deaf and hard of hearing employees reported that they had experienced discrimination at work due to their hearing loss and 25% of respondents said they quit a job as a result.
62% of deaf and hard of hearing employees have faced discrimination from co-workers and colleagues.
53% of deaf and hard of hearing employees had experienced discrimination from the management.
27% of deaf and hard of hearing employees reported that they were bypassed for promotion.
The figures above are shockingly high, yet not very surprising. Clearly, this shows that companies and organizations must change how they work with deaf and hard of hearing employees. The discrimination experienced by deaf and hard of hearing employees in the workplace are mainly because of the lack of awareness and support from employers as well as general negative attitude towards them.
Below are likely to be the top eight reasons why deaf and hard of hearing employees quit their jobs. Clearly, not all deaf and hard of hearing people experience exactly the same; however, these reasons are very common:
As often reported in many studies elsewhere, discrimination plays a very large part in the working lives of deaf and hard of hearing people, and many of them are forced to exit employment because of it. Attitudes and ignorance of employers and colleagues are often identified as the main culprit of discrimination in the workplace that deaf and hard of hearing employees experienced. Discrimination can be in both forms of blatant and subtle.
2. Poor or No Reasonable Accommodations
Having poor or no reasonable accommodations at the workplace such as access to sign language interpreters, videophones, amplified phones, etc., can become a very frustrating experience for deaf and hard of hearing employees. Without reasonable accommodations may make it harder for deaf and hard of hearing employees do their jobs. Reasonable accommodations can be quite inexpensive, yet they are often not provided by the employers upon requests.
3. Poor Communication or Not Sharing Information
Many deaf and hard of hearing employees are often left out within their workplace and are the last ones to know what is happening within the company or organization. Important and relevant information is often not shared promptly with deaf and hard of hearing employees or even at all. Without the information, deaf and hard of hearing employees are often put in a disadvantaged situation.
4. Employers Don’t Honor Their Commitments
Some employers deny deaf and hard of hearing employees' requests for reasonable accommodations outright while others keep wavering to their commitments. Often, employers said that they would commit to providing what deaf and hard of hearing employees need to do their jobs or to ensure that their workplace is inclusive, but fail to follow through with what they said they would do.
Feeling isolated in the workplace may be another reason why many deaf and hard of hearing people eventually quit their jobs, particularly those who work in an all-hearing environment. Like any hearing employee, a deaf or hard of hearing employee enjoys being connected to other human beings.
6. Treated Differently
When deaf and hard of hearing employees feel that they are treated differently from their hearing co-workers regarding evaluating their work performance, assigning job responsibilities or even disciplining them, it can be quite discouraging for deaf and hard of hearing employees. This issue is particularly true when employers’ expectations for deaf and hard of hearing employees are higher than hearing employees.
7. Not Recognizing Employees' Unique Strengths
Many deaf and hard of hearing employees are talented workers and yet their strengths and skills are not utilized by their employers. Deaf and hard of hearing employees are likely to take their strengths and skills elsewhere where they are appreciated and utilized.
8. Lack of Job Promotion Opportunities
As stated earlier, many deaf and hard of hearing employees are talented and many have the work experience and skills to assume more work responsibilities, so that is where job promotions come in. It is quite common for deaf and hard of hearing employees be passed on for job promotions by their employers. There are stories where seasoned deaf and hard of hearing employees train new hearing employees and the hearing employees are eventually promoted over much more experience deaf and hard of hearing employees. Many even become their supervisors which can be very demoralizing for the deaf and hard of hearing employees when they are not given the same opportunity.
In closing, attitudes of employers and colleagues can prevent deaf and hard of hearing people from fulfilling their true potential, and often lead to them feeling frustrated or isolated at work. The top eight possible reasons why deaf and hard of hearing people quit their jobs mentioned above can be easily prevented if the employers are more inclusive and engaged in making sure that all of their deaf and hard of hearing employees are truly part of the company or organization.
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