12th February 2023

Helping Everyone To Feel At Home With Vodafone: Our Inclusive Workplace For Disabled People

Sadly, many people with a disability have been made to feel unsafe in a workplace at some point. At Vodafone, we’re making it a priority to ensure this never happens here, by trying to ensure our employees have all the support they need from day one. Whether your disability is visible or not, you can request the accommodations and tools necessary for you to perform your best, and most importantly, for you to feel welcome, comfortable and secure in your team.

In addition, our VodABILITY Network is a fantastic employee group that provides information and resources to support you and make you feel right at home. You should never be afraid to be open about your needs and who you are at Vodafone - our diverse perspectives and people are what enable us to thrive, and we wouldn’t want it any other way!

Chair of the VodABILITY Network, Atlanta Jackson, and a number of the group’s other members share more about their experience with Vodafone below.

Atlanta Jackson
Marketing & Comms Lead

Before Vodafone, I was bullied and forced out of a job, an experience that really shook me. When I joined Vodafone later, I was impressed with its inclusivity and I decided that if being openly disabled could help even one person avoid going through what I faced, or to know they aren't alone, it would be well worth it. That’s how I ended up joining the VodABILITY Network.

It's reassuring and humbling to know that although we've all had bad experiences, we've created a safe and welcoming place where we can be ourselves. It's also rewarding to see initiatives we’ve championed launch, and to see the real benefits it brings to our workplace. 

Disability representation in senior roles is still limited across the UK, and it's clear that a diverse and inclusive culture is vital to accessing the perspectives of talented people with a disability and getting them into strategic roles. Thanks to VodABILITY Network’s inclusivity, I've been able to step into a strategic leadership role and feel absolutely supported and valued by the team. Highlights include working with the business to create a recruitment and onboarding process to actively seek and support talented people with a disability, our IDPD events, building our 2023 strategy, and kickstarting an initiative to increase Vodafone’s presence and influence in the disability inclusion industry. 

Phil Cooke
Presales Solution Consultant

We have an amazing team of diverse, talented and enthusiastic people at VodABILITY, who have experience with a wide range of disabilities including invisible ones. I myself suffer from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia.

This wide range of experience allows us to help others, from simple things such as signposting to resources (both internal and external) to running training and events. A great example of this is the VodABILITY Network’s 'Intro to Neurodiversity' training which has raised awareness of these conditions and the support/resources available to everyone. It's amazing to have the opportunity to support others so they don't face the challenges that I encountered by themselves.

Unfortunately, I still hear stories from friends at other companies where they are unable to talk or access support for non-visible disabilities. Vodafone is way ahead in terms of having policies that enable discussions with line management, and access to support such as Virtual GP, internal networks like VodABILITY or Armed Forces, and if needed, occupational health and therapy services.

Emily Webberley
Senior Compliance Manager – Culture & Control

As an autistic parent with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, I have a few different personal needs that need to be met to help me do my best work, for example, flexible working around school and nursery pick-up, plus hybrid working to control the level of face-to-face social interaction. Vodafone has been extraordinarily accommodating of these needs, and as a result, I feel like I can bring my whole self to work. Feeling this comfortable and supported has allowed me to successfully pursue a promotion and has supported me in being a better manager and employee, as a whole.

As someone who mostly struggled in silence prior to joining Vodafone, it feels great to be able to support other people in their journeys. No one should struggle in silence. I've also met some great friends through the network and have been on the receiving end of the amazing support we provide. 

To anyone joining Vodafone with a non-visible disability, I would say, be open about your disability right from the beginning. You’ll receive help and support right from the outset and your line manager and team will be able to show you the amazing tools and support available to you. Not only are we a Disability Confident Business (working towards our level 3 status), but we are also on the front foot in new technologies relating to accessibility, for example, our haptic suits which incorporate technology that simulates the sensation of touch through different mechanisms, helping those with hearing or sight impairments to experience live sport and live music.

I think we’re on the front foot with both disability inclusion and inclusivity in general at Vodafone.