Giving a voice to the deaf & hard of hearing

To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week and make some noise about the most exciting start-up of 2016; Signlync, myHRCareers hosted a very special event. On Tuesday 3rd April at the beautiful No 1 Duke Street in Richmond we gathered our HR community together for an evening deepening awareness of the challenges faced by the deaf & hard of hearing in the workplace.

myHRcareers, signlync and mayor of Richmond, at deaf awareness week networking party. Powered by Veran Performance, HR Transformation Consultancy
Here’s why we got involved, and why YOU need to listen to the deaf and hard of hearing.

How we met Gü (founder of SignLync)

Whilst hosting one of our regular myHRCareers networking parties, I was drawn to a new member who I’d never met before. Her face was glowing with energy and enthusiasm and her smile and laugh were contagious. As I approached to introduce myself as one of myHRCareers’ ambassadors, I noticed an interpreter standing opposite, signing to this new member and her friend.

Gü and Levent had come to network with people who they thought might be able to help them bridge the gap between people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and the jobs that satisfy them and utilise their skills and strengths. This is part of their bigger mission to break down the barrier between deaf and hearing; to raise awareness of deafness, and to support organisations to be more accommodating of people with hearing loss.

My colleague Laura and I offered our support immediately. The very next morning we met Gü to start organising an event that would get people talking about deafness and thinking about ways to be more inclusive of people with hearing loss.

myHRcareers hosts special networking event with Signlync supporting Deaf awareness week

What is the barrier between deaf and hearing?

As someone who had never spoken to a group before, Gü asked me to introduce the evening and give a short talk. During my research I was shocked to learn that over 11 million people in the UK have some form of hearing loss – that’s 1 in 6. In 20 years’ time, it is estimated that this will be 15.6 million which is 1 in 5. Deaf people are also four times less likely to be employed than the rest of the population and these statistics confirmed what we knew already; that something needs to be done to break down the barrier between hard of hearing and the rest of society.

For someone who is deaf and hard of hearing, the process to find, book, pay and reclaim the cost for an interpreter is time consuming and frustrating, often relying on a number of third parties to make phone calls which takes away the independence of the person seeking an interpreter and their ability to make last minute decisions. I was really surprised when Gü explained the forms and hurdles and phone calls required just to connect her to the hearing world.

So in true HR style, how can we streamline this process, cut out the middle man and any unnecessary hurdles, and enable people with hearing loss to connect to the hearing world any time any place?

A revolutionary solution

Much like Uber, Gü’s idea is a simple one which we all wish we’d thought of before! The Signlync app will connect local interpreters, real time, to people who need them. The app will enable last minute booking and payment for interpreters, and gives the user the power to choose which interpreter they use based on ratings and personal preference. This is innovation at its finest – solving a problem by connecting people to each other.

Hidden (or unheard) talent – are you ready for it?

The aim of myHRCareers is to build confidence, skills and connections in people early in their careers in HR. The network brings together enthusiastic HR people who discuss how they can make more of an impact in their organisation, how they can bring about change and improvement to HR, and how to approach what we believe HR is most empowered to do; getting the most out of people and helping them to fulfil their potential.

We are so excited about starting our journey with Gü and Signlync, to work together to help deaf and hard of hearing people to realise their talents and share them with the rest of the world.

Share your experiences & ask your questions!