Hearing loss gives Gillian M. the drive to create belonging, Lucas V. says his team tested ways of accommodating his partial paraplegia condition, and experiencing blindness and albinism propels Jeff G. to reimagine the candidate experience at ServiceNow.
Gillian is a change manager on ServiceNow’s Sales Enablement team and Co-Chair of People with Disabilities at Now–one of our seven Belonging Groups. The bias she experienced earlier in her career fuels her to lead the makings of an inclusive environment at ServiceNow. “I’ve encountered plenty of prior workplace experiences that were deeply negative—like leaders immediately raising voices when asked for a quick clarification, being disregarded when I made simple requests for better communication and being overlooked for a role I was highly suited for,” Gillian says.
Gillian has worn hearing aids her whole life to help her hear in a normal frequency. “Growing up I would be asked a lot, ‘What are those things in your ears?’ There were many moments where I felt like an outcast or misunderstood because I had hearing differences and that wasn't as common as glasses,” she says.
“People with Disabilities at Now is focused on our foundation by building more awareness and getting more engagement,” Gillian shares. The group aims to increase Self-ID participation rates, then it will focus on how to make ServiceNow more outwardly accessible. The Self-ID survey helps us build more inclusivity by understanding our employees better.
Gillian is looking forward to partnering with Belonging Groups to lead conversation about shared and intersectional experiences. “I definitely want to partner with the other groups and Black at Now is included because a disproportionate number of people of color are impacted by disabilities. Take ASL (American Sign Language). There’s Black American Sign Language and because of segregation in schools, deaf Black people created their own language variety,” Gillian continues, “There are moments in history that have a severe impact and are intersectional.”
In Amsterdam, Lucas is a staff technical editor in the Product organization. Three years into his tenure at ServiceNow, Lucas suffered an acute disc hernia which caused cauda equina syndrome (partial paraplegia from the waist down) and left him in a wheelchair. “I had to stop working for six months to focus on my rehabilitation during which I felt nothing but support from my team and leadership,” Lucas shares.
Lucas has always felt welcome on his team. He says, “My disability is very low-impact for those I interact with, so that may have been a factor. I do see that the DIBs movement has made people more aware of our differences and more open to ask and talk about things. I hope this continues to grow and make people better.”
When Lucas returned to work after the injury, support from his team led him to a new professional opportunity. He says, “The extremely fast rhythm of the Tech Support Performance team turned out to be more than I could handle, draining the little energy I had. I mentioned this to my manager and his first reaction was to try and find different ways I could help the team while avoiding the high-stress situations. This brought me in contact with the Knowledge Management team and the role I have been fulfilling for the last years.”
Lucas’ ideal workplace is one where “no one is judged by their country of origin, ethnicity, gender, and so on. Where we can have any conversation without the burden of having to tiptoe around certain words, concepts, or attitudes. Mutual acceptance is key for this to work, and this is something everyone realizes they have to work on, but I feel unconscious bias is the most difficult issue to eradicate.”
Jeff is a director of sales recruiting at ServiceNow. The bias and discrimination Jeff has faced in his career motivates him to create a more inclusive interview experience for all candidates.
Jeff is legally blind and has overcome many barriers to reach where he is at now. “I’ve been asked illegal questions during interviews. I had over 15 in-person interviews in Portland after grad school where I got no offers. People asked me questions like, ‘Are you sure you can do this job? Are you sure with your vision that you'll be able to even get to work?’ The most illegal questions to ask a candidate.”
What does Jeff envision as a better candidate experience? “I don't expect our recruiters to know what somebody's disability is but we want all candidates to feel a sense of inclusion and belonging while interviewing,” he says. Jeff discusses the importance of asking about accommodations, “If I'm talking to somebody on the phone or before an in-person interview, I’d ask, ‘Are there any special accommodations that you would require for us to help you?’ Bringing up that question in a very non-threatening way is just a small thing to say we care about everybody's individual needs.”
“We need to have an environment and culture with radical candor to feel safe to have these discussions,” Jeff shares. “This is by far my most favorite company I've ever been at. Honestly, it starts with the culture here. Leaders and hiring managers are so motivated to want to do the right thing,” he continues, “I think people get the importance of diversity but are looking for guidance. They may fall off on the inclusion and belonging, but open discussions allow growth to happen.”
Gillian, Lucas, and Jeff have unique journeys that lead to a shared goal of improving the experiences of people with disabilities and to make sure that everyone is included in feeling that they belong. Join us at ServiceNow.
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