Belief and Understanding within the Incapacity Disclosure Dialog With Albert Kim

When staff come to you and attempt to ask for lodging. They’ve gone by way of a lot ideas already that when you find yourself making an attempt, while you form of query it or ask for extra particulars, then now the worker really feel that, oh, subsequent time I have to have extra particulars, I have to justify my lodging. And that’s the worst, as a result of when you may have, while you preserve feeling like you must justify, it doesn’t really feel prefer it’s being inclusive atmosphere, however it feels you’re form of being pressured to reveal your incapacity and extra data.


Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive office chief. Be part of host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founding father of as she sits down and will get to the underside of tendencies, instruments, and case research for the enterprise chief, HR, and recruiting skilled who’s uninterested in the established order. Now right here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:01:08.78] This episode of the Workology Podcast is a part of our Way forward for Work sequence, powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. PEAT works to start out conversations round how rising office know-how tendencies are impacting individuals with disabilities. This podcast is powered by Ace the HR Examination and Upskill HR. These are two of the programs that I provide for certification prep and recertification for HR leaders. Earlier than I introduce our visitor, I wish to hear from you. Textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005 to ask questions, go away feedback and make ideas for future company. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity and I wish to hear from you. Right now I’m joined by Albert Kim, Accessibility Marketing consultant, Coach and Founding father of Accessibility Subsequent Gen. Albert labored as a UX accessibility lead at Korn Ferry and as an accessibility subject material skilled at ServiceNow Design System Workforce to attain digital accessibility past the authorized compliance. He’s additionally an lively public speaker advocating for neurodiversity and psychological well being inclusion in digital accessibility work. Albert, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

Albert Kim: [00:02:37.58] Thanks for having me. It’s good to be right here.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:41.99] It’s. I’m so excited so that you can speak to us about this matter. However first, earlier than we chat extra, Discuss to us a bit bit about your background and the way it led to the work that you simply’re doing now.

Albert Kim: [00:02:54.38] I work as a digital accessibility subject material skilled and UX design advisor and coach. I’m additionally a public speaker and coach, elevating psychological well being consciousness locally. I based a neighborhood known as Accessibility Connection to assist people who find themselves making an attempt to be taught extra about accessibility. I used to be additionally a incapacity Subsequent Gen chief. At present I’m serving as an invited skilled on the W3C World Huge Net Consortium with their Cognitive and Studying Disabilities Process Drive Workforce and Psychological Well being subgroup. So the best way I acquired into my work is I, I personally determine as somebody with incapacity. I’m neurodivergent. I even have psychological well being situations and it comes from my environmental background. I used to be born in a household with home violence and my mother and father have by no means gotten any formal training. Being first era to reside in America, Asian, being an Asian, coming from Asian tradition. I’m additionally a navy veteran. So having mentioned that, all these environmental components form of contributed, together with my genetic components to my present situations. And I actually, actually needed to advocate for individuals like me. One thing that I noticed, as a neurodivergent particular person, is that some digital merchandise form of, they’re like very essential for me in my every day life. It helps me rather a lot. It allows me to reside and performance nicely, so in my life and work and profession and all the pieces. However what I notice is that lots of the product homeowners or the people who find themselves really making these digital take into consideration the affect.

Albert Kim: [00:04:59.06] They don’t actually notice the total product potential of how their merchandise can really assist. So I knew that I needed to pursue one thing in tech and needed to advocate for individuals like me, customers like me. And so I acquired into digital accessibility, which was an ideal match, and I advocate for customers who’re neurodivergent or people who find themselves, have disabilities on this area. And I take into account my job as, as a, as an individual who connects the producers of digital merchandise to the customers or the customers, all customers, not simply abled customers, however all customers, and making an attempt to assist producers of visible merchandise totally notice the product potential. And one other factor is that, you already know, I take advantage of all these actually cool digital product and I typically I wish to share one thing that I wrote down in my notes, for instance, Digital Notes app, however it could be inaccessible for my associates who’re blind or who’re deaf. So it’s form of irritating to see that, that I actually love this product and I write down, I take advantage of it every day and I wish to share that with my buddy. However it’s not potential as a result of it’s not accessible. So, it additionally helps me working on this area to not solely embrace neurodivergent and folks like me, but in addition individuals with different disabilities. It helps me to advocate for them as nicely.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:52.35] Thanks, Albert, for sharing your story and form of speaking us by way of the why behind why you, you do what you do. I feel that typically, as HR leaders, we’re busy with technique and planning, that we typically neglect in regards to the human. However behind the actions that, that assist run and assist the enterprise. I wish to swap gears a bit bit and ask you about incapacity disclosure. So what does disclosing a incapacity at work appear like for individuals with invisible disabilities?

Albert Kim: [00:07:31.86] So, from the very starting of becoming a member of the work, I fear about, “Oh, ought to I disclose my incapacity? Is that going to affect the interview course of? Is that going to place me on an obstacle on this interview course of?” In order that’s the form of worries that I at all times have once I apply for various corporations. After which, after becoming a member of the work, I fear about will teammates settle for me as, as their crew member and can I be included? Will I slot in? Presumably. And the fear about that is, I suppose, not solely simply the disabled worker, but in addition any worker can have this type of feeling, however it’s extra intensified due to the stigma that’s round in society in direction of individuals with disabilities. And in addition while you be a part of the corporate, for me, I do want an lodging, proper, to have the ability to carry out and, and entry the office. However typically it’s very difficult for me to ask for lodging, particularly as an individual with invisible incapacity, as a result of my incapacity will not be, it’s not seen. So, possibly the supervisor or HR or different co-workers might not, “Oh, such as you look fantastic to me.” “Like why do you want an lodging?” Or one thing like that, you already know? And belief me that this really occurred previously. For me, I feel as an worker with invisible incapacity, I’m at all times form of subconsciously fearful and excited about how will different staff understand me and acutely aware about how individuals will suppose.

Albert Kim: [00:09:41.10] Are they going to suppose that I’m very needy or will my lodging be dealt with within the correct means or issues like that? Or individuals won’t take me severely anymore and pondering that I’m slacking off as a result of my incapacity will not be seen outdoors and possibly they suppose that I’m simply taking benefit or one thing or making issues up. So these are the actual form of considerations that undergo, particularly staff with psychological well being situations, proper? I personally have ADHD, despair, anxiousness, OCD and PTSD, all recognized. And I’ve been getting therapies and medicine for many years. Proper. And I’ve a crew of medical doctors that assist me within the, supported me in that course of. However nonetheless, there’s an enormous lack of expertise in direction of psychological well being situations, psychological well being incapacity, in society. Folks nonetheless don’t actually perceive what psychological well being is. Typically one thing that I additionally fear about is will I be pressured to reveal my incapacity? And oftentimes I’ll not really feel snug but disclosing my incapacity to my coworkers or different teammates, however particularly to start with when first becoming a member of the crew. However I’m form of pressured to do this in a means as a result of I would like an lodging. You understand, that, that complete real looking, complete actuality of challenges form of provides on to extra tall, as extra tall to my psychological well being situations.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:11:41.40] Is there something you want employers or HR professionals knew about? Possibly how they’ll create a extra supportive and inclusive atmosphere for his or her staff? Particularly once we’re excited about these invisible but in addition seen disabilities. We wish to assist staff really feel extra snug disclosing.

Albert Kim: [00:12:03.45] Yeah, I feel one of many issues they’ll do is I feel being upfront about lodging which might be accessible or simply being upfront that lodging can be found and letting, letting staff know and asking, at all times asking, do you want any lodging? Do you want lodging? Please let me know. We might be more than pleased to accommodate and setting such tone of voice and being up entrance about lodging first earlier than your staff carry it up. Type of helps create an inclusive atmosphere the place you are feeling, staff really feel extra inclined to reveal and extra snug to reveal and ask for lodging. And one other factor is that when staff ask for lodging, attempt to not ask for extra, like an excessive amount of extra particulars, as a result of oftentimes once I’m asking for lodging, I already really feel lots of, I’ve already gone by way of lots of interior, interior pondering course of and and conversations. “Oh, will this lodging be accepted?” When staff come to you and attempt to ask for lodging, they’ve gone by way of a lot ideas already that when you find yourself making an attempt, while you form of query it or ask for extra particulars, then now the worker really feel that, oh, subsequent time I have to have extra particulars, I have to justify my lodging. Proper. And that’s the worst.

Albert Kim: [00:13:50.16] As a result of when you may have, while you preserve feeling like you must justify, it doesn’t really feel prefer it’s being inclusive atmosphere, however it feels you might be form of being pressured to reveal your incapacity and extra data, proper? So, ensuring to coach managers to, on accommodate staff with disabilities and the form of dialog narrative that it’s essential have, is essential. And one other technique to form of defend the privateness of staff with incapacity is having like a central place the place staff can ask for lodging or disclose incapacity as soon as after which, somewhat than having to reveal it to each single worker that you simply meet or co-workers you meet everytime you want lodging, somewhat than doing that, you simply, since you’ve disclosed it as soon as to the central place, whether or not that’s HR, you simply have that lodging with out having to reveal your incapacity on a regular basis, and HR or that central place may be, may be the reference supply, proper? “Yeah, this worker has already verified or had a health care provider’s observe or has authorized lodging” so somewhat than, and simply giving that assurance, in order that staff don’t must disclose it consistently and typically simply disclosing incapacity self, particularly for individuals with psychological well being situations, together with PTSD, it may also be traumatizing.

Albert Kim: [00:15:43.23] You can’t decide, you can’t actually generalize an entire incapacity, like particular incapacity, like 500 completely different staff, proper. For instance, for OCD, obsessive compulsive dysfunction, OCD can present in many various methods. Oftentimes, media portrays it as tremendous clear or tremendous organized or wash your fingers rather a lot, or stuff like that. However OCD has many various kinds. And for me, my OCD is about completion. When I attempt to, for instance, to work or keep it up a activity, it’s laborious for me to maneuver on to subsequent activity till I really feel fully achieved with my present activity. It’s really very critical and debilitating typically. So I take medicines and issues like that. So, figuring out that, particularly in psychological well being situations, it’s not only one measurement suits all or “oh you may have OCD, so that you have to be tremendous clear or organized, it’s very laborious to generalize that. And each case may be very completely different, particularly in invisible incapacity. So it’s essential be very versatile along with your lodging in order that it really accommodates the workers somewhat than making an attempt to put on garments that doesn’t actually fit your needs. Yeah. I simply needed to say that being versatile and ensuring that the office is inclusive when it comes to accommodating these wants.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:17.75] Let’s take a reset. That is Jessica Miller-Merrell, and you might be listening to the Workology Podcast powered by Ace the HR Examination and Upskill HR. This podcast is a part of our Way forward for Work sequence with PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. Right now we’re speaking with Albert Kim, accessibility advisor, coach and founding father of Accessibility Subsequent Gen. Earlier than we get again to the podcast, I wish to hear from you. Textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. You may ask me questions, go away feedback and make ideas for future company. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity. Sure, I learn the textual content and I wish to hear from you.

Break: [00:17:58.76] The Workology podcast Way forward for Work sequence is supported by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Expertise. PEAT’s initiative is to foster collaboration and motion round accessible know-how within the office. PEAT is funded by the U.S. Division of Labor’s Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, ODEP. Be taught extra about PEAT at That’s

Setting Staff With Psychological Well being Disabilities Up for Success


Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:28.02] How can employers set staff with psychological well being disabilities up for fulfillment within the office as soon as they’ve been employed?

Albert Kim: [00:18:35.37] This can be a actually good query, as a result of oftentimes we concentrate on hiring extra individuals with disabilities however don’t actually speak sufficient about after they’re employed. And the way will we set them up for fulfillment? And I feel one of many methods, motion step that I might advocate is encouraging constructing worker useful resource group, constructing communities throughout the office for people who find themselves neurodivergent or individuals who have psychological well being situations or disabilities, variety inclusion. This worker useful resource group shall be very, very useful in the long term in constructing the tradition and ensuring that their voice is being heard and they’re included within the course of of creating firm insurance policies associated to DEI, Proper. Since you now have a particular group or useful resource which you could confer with or you may go search for suggestions from. And one other factor is that new candidates undergo interview course of. They may ask you if, “oh, is there an worker useful resource group for workers with, neurodivergent staff?” And I typically ask that. And what actually made me really feel very snug, even from the interview course of, was when some HR professionals form of related me, helped me join with somebody from their employer useful resource group and attempt to set a gathering to simply discuss various things of working as a neurodivergent worker at their firm and simply listening to from them, from the precise worker who’s working on the firm and is neurodivergent similar to me. It helps me really feel like I don’t suppose I’ll really feel alone once I’m becoming a member of this firm, proper? Like, that is actually highly effective, so I extremely advocate constructing an worker useful resource group and supporting that. So, and it’ll go a good distance, with the intention to supply some insights from the group in constructing onboarding course of, constructing inclusive interview course of and issues like that. Additionally, mandating variety and inclusion coaching for workers when they’re onboarding, mandating coaching on variety and inclusion, and work with teammates who’re neurodivergent or who’ve disabilities and fundamental training on that.

Albert Kim: [00:21:21.78] And mandating within the firm coverage to do this is, may be very, essential as a result of oftentimes should you don’t mandate that or have that firm coverage, it’s like “good to have”. And oftentimes, if it’s good to have, you’d somewhat not do it and focus in your precise work somewhat than, and lots of instances this variety, inclusion and accessibility is seen as form of like an additional factor. So it’ll by no means occur, proper? They may by no means get coaching. So, mandating that within the coverage and together with in firm core worth, DEI, and management mentioning and reminding such worth in all fingers assembly may be very highly effective. Setting the tradition and likewise making an attempt to have a good time completely different consciousness months. Proper. Psychological Well being Consciousness month or having a e-newsletter, like Variety and Inclusion E-newsletter, is a extremely good instance. And you’ll ask these completely different worker useful resource teams, Hey, you already know, this month is psychological well being consciousness month and we wish to have, function some articles on the corporate e-newsletter for expertise of, or elevating consciousness about psychological well being. Does anybody wish to volunteer? Proper. So that is, is the best way you may create an inclusive office and likewise set them up for fulfillment. And another, if I have been so as to add only one extra, then I’d say peer to see assist and mentorship assist, proper? Whether or not within the employer useful resource group, neurodivergent senior will get related to beginner within the firm after which form of mentor, grow to be a mentor. And that’s very, very useful. Oftentimes individuals, with disabilities, psychological well being disabilities, lack steering and assist. So having that form of mentor is, is a large reduction.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:23:36.79] Are you able to speak a bit about your individual expertise and instruments which might be serving to you succeed within the office for us?

Albert Kim: [00:23:42.91] Thanks for asking that. So, what was very essential for me was once I’m onboarding and once I simply joined new firm or crew, oftentimes some corporations throw like a bunch of sources at you, after which oh these are all of the apps, cellular purposes and softwares we use and be at liberty to navigate by way of and simply discover. And that’s very difficult for neurodivergent staff, proper? As a result of oftentimes firm sources have like masses and masses and a great deal of paperwork and it’s very advanced and complex and, and being launched to a brand new atmosphere as a brand new worker making an attempt to navigate this uncertainty, proper, unsure world with a lot data is already difficult, however you might be including extra drawback to that, proper? So, somewhat than simply throwing sources on the staff, attempt to construct an listed, nicely structured steering. Step-by-step. A, it’s best to do that first. You have to obtain this and ensure the settings are set to this and, you already know, ensuring that that steering can also be accessible. Photos may be very useful, having alt textual content, proper, for photographs and issues like that, and having that step-by-step steering. And if you wish to go additional than that, having a Zoom name, organising a Zoom name assembly of all the brand new staff after which strolling by way of these steps collectively, it’s very useful.

Albert Kim: [00:25:30.70] It saves lots of time, particularly for neurodivergent staff, as a result of it’s very laborious for them to know what data is essential and what’s not. As a result of I don’t know this. It’s, all the pieces is new to me. All the things appears essential to me. I really feel like I’m lacking, if I don’t learn this, if I don’t click on this, then I’m lacking out. I’m going to be lacking out tremendous essential data and that’s going to screw up my job or one thing like that. All these worries and anxieties. Having a bonding time, teammate bonding time, earlier than beginning a activity when new worker joins is essential in order that new worker feels extra snug, somewhat than asking them to simply arrange one on one with completely different teammates and on their very own, as a result of that may be very anxiousness scary too, proper? It’s a brand new, new crew and I’ve to message completely different individuals and somebody that I’ve by no means met and I have to attempt to speak to them. And it may be nerve wracking typically. So, making an attempt to have like a proper conferences set as much as embrace the brand new crew and have them combine into the crew, serving to them, that may be actually essential. And lastly, I wish to point out clearly mandating and speaking that every one conferences must be recorded and will have captions on and transcript accessible in order that, particularly neurodivergent staff or staff with psychological well being situations, can have, not sudden episodes, proper of, of psychological well being situation or they could miss conferences or one thing like that.

Albert Kim: [00:27:21.55] However should you miss assembly and oh, like there’s nothing, there’s no recording, there’s no transcript, there’s no caption that I’ve to undergo all these completely different individuals to ask round oh what, what did they discuss and issues like that to catch up. And that’s very difficult. Proper. And never, and likewise form of makes it very difficult for me to construct my credibility as an worker as nicely, provides extra further challenges to that. So ensuring that every one conferences are recorded captions and transcript accessible after the assembly in order that if staff who miss, attributable to their episode of incapacity, they’ll watch that recording. Or, for me, as a neurodivergent worker, I oftentimes, even after attending the assembly, I would like to observe the recording as a result of I’ll not have the ability to course of all the data in a single setting and I would miss out lots of data. And simply having that, again of, having the ideas in again of my thoughts pondering that, Oh, the recordings shall be accessible after this, relieves large anxiousness from me. In order that’s one other actually essential software that assist me succeed at work.

 Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:28:46.03] Thanks for sharing about this, Albert, as a result of I feel that these are simple issues, just like the closed captioning and the recording and the transcriptions. They only take a bit intention and energy however can actually assist staff have the ability to present up for the group and for themselves in a means that makes them really feel good.

Albert Kim: [00:29:10.29] Sure. Sure.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:29:11.76] I admire you sharing all of your knowledge right here. So many nice nuggets of data. I’m going to incorporate hyperlinks to quite a few sources in addition to, if anyone is listening right here and so they’re like, I wish to know extra about what Albert does. We’ll join them to you immediately by way of LinkedIn. Do you may have any final parting ideas or possibly one thing you wish to reinforce earlier than we finish this podcast interview?

Albert Kim: [00:29:40.44] Proper. So, I feel, final observe I simply wish to point out is that ensuring while you’re constructing these insurance policies and practices, ensuring that you simply embrace precise individuals with disabilities in that course of, not only a supplier, precise people who find themselves going by way of that battle and challenges as a result of they know the perfect. So, ensuring that you simply take heed to them, that’s essential. So I simply needed to say that. And if anybody wants or desires to listen to my perception or my ideas, I’m more than pleased to assist as nicely. I’m accessible on LinkedIn and electronic mail as nicely. So, anybody can simply attain out and I’m more than pleased to.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:28.75] Effectively, thanks once more, Albert. I admire your time and experience and simply your willingness to share your story and what’s working for you on this space.

Albert Kim: [00:30:39.25] Thanks for having me.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:41.33] One factor I can say for sure is that the office has modified dramatically during the last two years, and extra individuals than ever have skilled or been recognized with psychological well being disabilities. Issues like anxiousness, put up traumatic stress dysfunction, obsessive compulsive dysfunction, ADHD and extra have come to mild or have been created by the worldwide pandemic. It’s so essential for employers to pay attention to invisible disabilities, what they’re, how they work, what they appear like, what they don’t appear like, and particularly how we are able to assist staff in a wide range of methods to assist them achieve success. I so admire Albert’s insights, his experience, his honesty. This was an important Workology Podcast so that you can take heed to, and I wish to thank our podcast sequence companion on this, PEAT, for our Way forward for Work sequence. I can’t do it with out you. I additionally wish to hear from you. You may textual content the phrase “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, go away feedback, make ideas for future podcast company. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity and I wish to hear from you. Thanks for becoming a member of the Workology Podcast. It’s sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Examination. These are HR certification and recertification programs that we provide right here at Workology. I hope that you’ve got a unbelievable day. This podcast is for the disruptive office chief who’s uninterested in the established order. My identify is Jessica Miller-Merrell. And, till subsequent time, you may go to to take heed to all our Workology Podcast episodes.

Join with Albert Kim.



– Albert Kim on LinkedIn

– Accessibility NextGen (San Francisco, CA) | Meetup 


– Episode 374: Digital Fairness at Work and in Life With Invoice Curtis-Davidson and Chris Wooden

– Episode 369: Making the Office Accessible Each for Staff and Contractors With Meryl Evans

– Episode 357: Lengthy-COVID and How It Impacts a Firm With Pam Bingham From Intuit

– Episode 351: Making a Really Inclusive Office With PIA and PEAT

– Episode 344: Neurodiversity and Accessibility With Wesley Faulkner, Head of Neighborhood at SingleStore

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