By the Editorial staff
Seltis Hub, a subsidiary of Openjobmetis – the first and only employment agency listed on the Italian stock exchange – has recently expanded its range of services with the addition of the Jobmetoo Business Line, an online platform dedicated to the recruitment and selection of people with disabilities and those who belong to protected categories. In addition to being a highly accessible online platform for sharing vacancies, Jobmetoo actively searches for and selects candidates, and specialises in inclusion and training projects designed for companies. In 2013, Daniele Regolo, found of Jobmetoo's, turned his personal experience into a service that aims to help people with disabilities and who belong to protected categories to put their talents to use in the labour market.
What prompted you to devise a new way of facilitating and simplifying the process of looking for a job for people with disabilities and those who belong to protected categories?
Jobmetoo is the result of my life experiences. I graduated with a degree in Political Science in 1996 and would have liked to pursue an international career. Fortunately, I have now also been made D&I Ambassador for Seltis Hub, so I can say I have come full circle in that respect! At the beginning of my career, I faced many difficulties due being profoundly deaf. I got by with lip-reading until I graduated and started working, but until a few years ago, hearing and the ability to use the telephone were sometimes the only qualifications needed for certain jobs – I say this to highlight how disabling my deafness was thought to be. I spent many years moving back and forth between short-term jobs. Then, finally, came the offer that could have been a turning point in my professional career: I was hired as a civil servant with a permanent contract by a health service provider. Paradoxically, this event was more counterproductive than positive, because I was placed in a front office desk. I like being in contact with people, but the job I was assigned required me to compile medical records, so hearing was a prerequisite. I struggled in this position and, in the end, chose to resign. Many people did not understand why I had made this decision and turned their backs on me, thinking that I had given up an important opportunity.I didn't give up and in 2013 founded Jobmetoo, with the aim of creating something completely new, a point of reference for candidates with disabilities as well as for companies. I have always been aware of the concerns that companies have about employees with disabilities, so I tried to find a way to reassure them and be a point of contact. I listen to what their needs are, try to understand their hesitancy. But Jobmetoo is also a safe harbour for candidates – not a place to lower their anchors, but to set sail from. It was a beautiful process of growth, and then in 2020 Jobmetoo joined Openjobmetis and in April 2021 it became one of Seltis Hub’s new business lines. This last step, which Alexis Sottocorno, General Manager of Seltis Hub, will tell you about, in a way completed the journey I began with my start-up when I founded it back in 2013.
Alexis Sottocorno, could you explain how Jobmetoo being added to Seltis Hub is consistent with its mission and values?
It is always nice to hear Daniele's story and it is really enriching to have him and the Jobmetoo team join Seltis Hub. How do Jobmetoo and Seltis Hub combine? Jobmetoo joins 3 other business lines that are already part of Seltis Hub (Seltis, Meritocracy and UNA Forza Vendite), which is still a young company, born only in November 2020, but with consolidated stories and experience. Seltis Hub is an inclusive company: it encompasses different worlds. People belonging to the protected categories know Jobmetoo as a reliable partner, a partner that can offer an even wider range of services and broaden the horizon of employment opportunities by joining Seltis Hub. Daniele and I work very well together because we have a common mission when it comes to diversity and inclusion, which is to change the organisational culture of companies from within, in the belief that we can always do more and better. Daniele's role as D&I Ambassador relates precisely to this issue. We are important players in the cultural changes we see every day and tomorrow we will have to take on the role of protagonists.
Daniele, how have you seen approaches to disability inclusion in the labour market change in recent years?
The changes that have taken place in Italy in the last ten years stem from the fact that many diversity and inclusion policies are still perceived as morally obligatory. Initially, therefore, companies approach the issue out of this sense of legal obligation, but later they realise that employing people with disabilities actually brings value to the company: not only do they have the right professional skills, but they also contribute to company cohesion, generating greater productivity. When companies realise that there are so many people with disabilities who can make a difference within the company, they come back to us to look for new candidates. Another important aspect that surprised us was the realisation that there is a large number of people with ambitions to grow who want to change jobs: people with disabilities who want to have a career and grow professionally. This is also a sign that times are changing: not only for companies, but also for people looking for professional growth.
Daniele, how do you define an accessible and inclusive workplace?
We are convinced that everyone is disabled in some way. We are all different somehow. So we believe that disability inclusion in the workplace necessarily involves having an understanding of its normality. Normality is the key word. Exceptionality lies in normality. A person who is in a wheelchair, who is blind, who is deaf, for example – that is exceptional in its normality. We must remember that disability is a part of our complexity.