Alim has worked in the family business for 15 years since graduating from university. Throughout his career, he has encountered stares, questions, and confusion with respect to his facial difference. This discomfort — driven, in his mind, by a lack of awareness — created challenges in building relationships and establishing trust quickly. Alim believes there’s much work to be done to create awareness and understanding in the workplace.
The most significant thing Alim would like potential employers to know is that facial differences exist and should be specifically addressed in their diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. True equity in the workplace is really about normalization. For example, explicitly mentioning facial differences in job postings or employee manuals shows that a company recognizes that having a facial difference is meaningful and has certain challenges and opportunities that come with it. Ultimately, that awareness makes prospective employees more comfortable applying for the job, and existing employees feel seen, acknowledged, and understood.
Companies also need to ensure they’re creating a welcoming and supportive environment for people so the isolation and bullying they may have experienced in other aspects of their lives don’t happen in the workplace. Awareness, acknowledgment, and understanding of facial differences would allow these barriers to be addressed more transparently so important conversations can be had.