Super Splash Auto Cleaning in Steinbach is taking a step towards inclusivity.
They are learning to communicate in sign language, and their teacher is one of their employees, Tracy.
When Tracy was invited for a job interview last fall, owner Stella Unrau had to figure out how to communicate with her.
“She sent in a resume and I emailed back inquiring if she'd like to come in for an interview. At that point is when she mentioned that she was deaf. It became a little bit more of ‘Okay, how are we going to navigate this?’ So, I pre-wrote out all the questions that I would be asking her in the interview as I don't speak sign language. Then she responded with all the answers to the questions,” Unrau says.
Every other week, the staff gets together in the break room and learns sign language.
“She’s teaching us some of the alphabets, some of the mannerisms, we're going to learn some colours and numbers this week, so just kind of rolling from there,” Unrau says.
As they are in the learning stage, they carry whiteboards to communicate with Tracy.
Tracy says that her coworkers’ willingness and excitement to learn sign language make her “feel great.”
Unrau says that the classes have been filled with fun and laughter and have opened their eyes to the importance of being able to communicate.
“The staff that came to the class all had an interest in it because they work with her and want to communicate better. It definitely makes things a little more efficient when you can communicate faster using this language rather than using these boards,” Unrau explains. “Some of the others coworkers also have other jobs. One of them works in the school system and even just having this as a skill in that particular job is also helpful. I'd say the feedback's been really good. The staff has been good at making an effort to try to be inclusive with learning a new language and getting past that barrier,”
For Unrau, Tracy has taught her more than sign language.
“I tell her that often that she's very patient because I'm an impatient personality. I'm go, go, go, and we work in a fast-paced industry here. This forces me to slow down a little bit and also learn other traits such as patience and stuff like that from her besides just sign language,”
Finally, Unrau encourages other employers to consider taking the same step towards inclusivity.
“You learn as you go, we're going to screw up right? Just embrace it and try another thing. Don't be scared to try new things,”
With files from Carly Koop.