Medibank prides itself on having a diverse range of employees to help drive its success. Different cultures, backgrounds, and abilities are all welcome to be a part of the family and treated equally with respect and support. Customer Connect Case Specialist Vicki Georgecopoulos, who became hearing impaired as a child, knows the importance of being allowed to feel as normal as possible.
At 4-years-old, Vicki was involved in a car accident along with her mother and uncle. As a result, she sustained head injuries, which affected her hearing.
“The middle ear bone broke as a result of the accident. It wasn’t severe as a child so I didn’t actually need hearing aids at the time. I was operated on and monitored as the hearing loss was only about 10% so not significant.”
Doctors told Vicki that her hearing would get worse as she got older. As a result of this, she has had no choice but to get hearing aids.
“They told me that once I hit my 30s-40s, which I have, my hearing loss will increase. About six years ago, doctors advised me that my hearing had gone down to around 30%, so I now have hearing aids. They bring my hearing back up to around 90% and above.”
Asked what the most difficult part of having a hearing impairment is, Vicki says that it’s having to ask people to repeat what they’ve said. Although she’s never actually received any negativity about her situation, it still gets to her at times.
“I don’t like making people repeat what they’ve said in conversation or having to go back up to people at meetings because I didn’t hear properly. It’s something that I’ve had to get used to but it still gets a bit embarrassing sometimes.”
Vicki with two of her closest friends.
Fortunately, Vicki is part of a company that calms any concerns she may have with having a hearing impairment. Medibank welcomes people of all abilities and makes sure that employees really feel like a part of the family.
“Medibank has always been very open. From the beginning, it was made clear to me that my impairment was not going to be used against me in any way, shape or form. I was very impressed even from the very early days of the recruitment process. The company really made it clear that candidates and employees are to be supported, not judged.”
Vicki says that Medibank has and still makes sure the environment is as comfortable as it can be for her. She returns the favour by letting people know firsthand that she has hearing issues because to her, communication is key.
Vicki spending time with her nephew.
According to Vicki, the most important thing that Medibank offers those with impairments and disabilities is the opportunity to be just like everyone else and not be treated any differently.
“I’ve been really impressed with the fact that they made it clear from the start that I wouldn’t be disadvantaged and they’ve kept their word. What Medibank offers is normality. It’s important for everyone to feel like a true part of the company.”
The company’s focus on diversity and inclusion is strong and continues to be a key driving force to its success. Without such an inclusive environment, things might be very different.
“Everyone is so supportive and friendly. That’s how people feel respected and that’s how a company earns employees’ loyalty, by treating each individual as a valued member of the team every single day.”