Ms. Sasse, you represent people with disabilities. What does your day-to-day work look like?
Sasse: I'm not only the representative for disabled people at my site, I'm also the chairwoman of the committee representing disabled people at Automotive Technology and the first deputy chairwoman of the thyssenkrupp AG Group Representative Council for Disabled People.
At the site I look after all the interests of disabled people and equal employees and provide advice to the employer. In concrete terms this means that I help with applications and subsidies and I am the contact person for the relevant authorities. Sometimes I accompany employees to appointments. Together with the HR department, there is also a monthly meeting for people on long-term sick leave, where we prepare the start after recovery. I support the inhouse occupational rehabilitation management and frequently exchange information with the works council. In this way, I maintain a good overview of all issues.
In addition, I work closely with my employer to further push the topic of inclusion. Together with our CHRO, I recently visited the sheltered workshop to which we award contracts and from which an intern has been supporting us in various departments since February. We also participated in DUOday for the first time in June 2023. At other times, however, I am simply a suggestion box: I pick up on fears, doubts and other concerns and try to help in personal conversations.
Especially the cross-site tasks require flexibility. Without the support and open ear of my employer and my colleagues, that wouldn't be possible.
What motivates you to engage in these tasks specifically?
Sasse: Anyone who becomes seriously ill in their working life has serious fears about the future and their livelihood. You have to imagine that: One moment you're healthy and part of the meritocracy, and the next moment you're one of the supposedly performance-limited. Any one of us can find herself or himself in this situation. And that motivates me every day: I show that no one is performance-limited. Because everyone has abilities that she or he can contribute.
Where do you and the people you work with still see potential for development in inclusion work at thyssenkrupp?
Sasse: We often only look for the best ones – with a high school degree, flexible and willing to perform. I believe that we should also look for employees in special schools and workshops. There are so many opportunities for encouragement and support these days, so everyone can contribute their talent and skills effectively. This is where thyssenkrupp can become even better.
In conclusion: What is the advantage of diverse teams?
Sasse: In diverse teams, each person can learn from the experiences of the others and broaden their own horizons. Changing the way you look at things can give you completely different ideas. I'm sure that barriers are only created in people's minds and can be broken down through mutual cooperation. Diversity, consideration, helpfulness and respect – for me, that's thyssenkrupp.