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Inclusion as equal opportunities

Inclusion is diversity lived at Evonik. For Marc and Kilian, inclusion is a topic they come into contact with on a daily basis and report on in interviews.

"In an impressive way, through many examples of inclusion, we experience how people have developed and expanded opportunities for social participation," says Randolf Bursian, Head of HR Business Management. "As an employer, we support them in leading as self-determined a life as possible, recognizing their own strengths and making positive use of them - be it in society or at work.”

Inclusion is diversity lived at Evonik. For Marc and Kilian, inclusion is a topic they come into contact with on a daily basis and report on in interviews. Marc is currently an intern in HR Special Sourcing. He is paraplegic from the shoulder down due to a serious sports accident in the 11th grade. After half a year in hospital, he graduated from high school and completed his studies in business psychology with a Master's degree from the Ruhr University in Bochum.

Marc, why did you apply to Evonik?

I live in Marl, where Evonik is the biggest employer. Evonik also has a very, very good reputation in Marl. So it's only natural that I would like to work for Evonik!

Why is professional inclusion important and how can it be guaranteed?

It's important to think about it first: To what extent is it possible for people with a disability to do their job without a disability? How can they do their part in society? I believe that everyone who is affected would like that. Evonik is already doing a great deal in this area - which has made the company very attractive to me as an employer and naturally made me curious as a person affected. I had the feeling that I was getting a lot of support from Evonik, with the help of aids and working environment alterations.

How did Evonik support you?

I've had very good experiences. In my application, I didn't put everything on the table, but of course you had to talk about the general conditions during the interview. After all, it's supposed to be a smooth transition when you start. But of course, you also have to clarify a few questions beforehand. For example, whether I can go to the toilet in the building at all. Or which aids, mostly technical ones, I need and that was implemented very well. I have the same speech software installed on my laptop, which I also use at home. The laptop has a Bluetooth receiver so that I can connect my wheelchair via Bluetooth and operate the laptop smoothly. My department just moved into a ground-floor building, which was of course very good for me. It's all so that I can work here smoothly and without restrictions.

What are your plans for the future? Do you have anything special in mind?

I am currently doing a 6-month internship and I really like it! I haven't found anything that bothers me yet. I enjoy going to work every day and I enjoy working with my colleagues. When the internship is over, I can very well imagine Evonik as an employer if I am given the opportunity.

Kilian has been a member of the local Representative Council for Disabled Persons since 2008 and in 2014 took over as Chairman of the Total Representative Council for Disabled Persons of Evonik Industries. He knows that inclusion requires space, courage and a good corporate culture.

What distinguishes Evonik as an employer? What distinguishes us from the others?

In addition to the many social benefits Evonik offers, this is above all our culture. Over the decades, our social partnership has enabled us to develop an open workforce that is seldom found in other company. Evonik offers the framework and opportunities for everyone to participate and, if barriers exist, we try to remove them together.

How is inclusion lived at Evonik?

First of all, I would like to emphasize one thing: When we talk about inclusion at Evonik, we don't mean integration. Integration also focuses on participation, but this participation is seen as something special. Inclusion means that it goes without saying that every part is part of the whole. No matter what skin colour. No matter whether man or woman or divers. No matter what nationality.  AND no matter whether someone has restrictions or not.

How are people with disabilities included in the company?

Evonik not only gives everyone the space they need for their development, but also consciously promotes it. This takes courage. I could report on a number of cases of successful inclusion from various sites here. But I like to avoid emphasizing that, because it should be normal. After all, it goes without saying that people should be able to share in Evonik's success, with or without restrictions, and be given the opportunity to position themselves in the world of work and contribute their share to the company's success. Approximately 9 percent of our workforce is recognized as severely disabled or equivalent. They are a normal part of the workforce and can be found at all hierarchical levels.

How do you rate inclusion at Evonik?

From time to time, some of us lack the courage to seek creative solutions. In everyday life, sometimes only the problems associated with it are seen. But we see problems as a challenge: we want to create a win-win situation for everyone involved - regardless of whether they are balance sheets, customers or colleagues. We work together to successfully shape inclusion at Evonik. For me, this is real #HumanChemistry!

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