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Managing Work Normally - Even Without Hearing

Hansgrohe Assembly Worker Christina Kraft Gives Insights into her Life with Constraints

Schiltach – WEBWIRE
Copyright: Hansgrohe SE
Copyright: Hansgrohe SE

Inclusion is an important social concern. Thus, the European Day of Protest for the Equality of People with Disabilities takes place on May 5. The “Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben” (Representing Interests for Self-Determined Living) in Germany (ISL) initiated this day back in 1992. The aim of the day is to create the necessary legal basis for equality for people with disabilities. For many healthy people, however, inclusion still remains a theoretical concept. What it actually means to master everyday working life with constraints is often not imaginable. Kathrin Schröder, confidant for severely disabled people at Hansgrohe, says: “For Hansgrohe, inclusion, equal opportunities and the self-determined participation of people with disabilities in working life are very important. This includes treating each other with respect and appreciation. For us, it is absolutely normal to offer people with disabilities improved opportunities in working and professional life.” Christina Kraft demonstrates how this can work. She is deaf and has been working in the manufacturing assembly at Hansgrohe’s Offenburg site for three years.

“It’s great that Hansgrohe has given me the chance to work here,” reports the Ettenheim native, who lost her sense of hearing at the age of three due to a mumps disease. Even for deaf people, it is not easy to pursue a normal, regular job. This already starts with the choice of profession, because, for example, not every vocational school can be attended. After graduating from high school, Christina Kraft went to Nuremberg to attend the Berufsbildungswerk Mittelfranken. This vocational school enables young people with impairments to receive training, and thus, to integrate into society on a professional level. There are about a dozen vocational schools in Germany for hearing-impaired people like Christina Kraft. She trained as an interior designer, however, she was unable to find employment in her profession after graduation. “Since I really like working with my hands, I went into corporate assembly,” she says. The 44-year-old has now been working in this field for almost 20 years.

Applications were not always easy, says Christina Kraft. An online application can be sent quickly, but a translator is needed for the interview at the latest. This is where the nationwide integration offices support deaf people. But of course, companies must also be willing to hire a deaf person. Hansgrohe was open-minded and invited Christina Kraft to the interview. “This was new territory for us,” says her manager Stéphane Luttmann, “we did have a certain respect for the task, but in the end the respect was greater than the task itself.” Christina Kraft convinced Hansgrohe and was hired.

Some organizational things had to be changed; for example, Christina Kraft receives important information in writing. Hansgrohe receives support from the integration service. “Together, we plan individual appointments with a sign language interpreter so that open questions can be discussed with the managers,” adds Stéphane Luttmann. The fire alarm system is very important in an emergency; it was specially adapted for the deaf assembly employee. She now receives a warning message on her cell phone in the event of a fire.

“Of course, it would be great if all my colleagues knew sign language,” says Christina Kraft. “But even without sign language, I get the important information.” So Christina Kraft can read lips in direct conversation. “With a mask during the pandemic, of course, it was more difficult,” says the mother of two, “but you have to be pragmatic and simply keep a distance of two meters. Then it works without a mask.

” Stéphane Luttmann is happy to have Christina Kraft on the team. “Christina has the same rights and duties as all the other team members. I think it’s important to give people with disabilities a chance on the job market,” says Luttmann, himself the father of a disabled daughter. For Christina Kraft, the job means having her own income, being independent and standing on her own two feet, and of course, like all employees, being appreciated. Even without hearing, she wants to be part of normal life, both professionally and privately.

About the Hansgrohe Group – Setting the Beat of Water. Since 1901.

With its brands AXOR and hansgrohe, the Hansgrohe Group, based in Schiltach/Southern Germany, enjoys a reputation as a leader in innovation, design and quality within the bath and kitchen industry. Founded in 1901 in the Black Forest, the company gives water form and function with its faucets, showerheads and shower systems. In combination with sanitary ceramics and bathroom furniture, the company offers individual design options from a single source for holistic bathroom experiences. The 122-year history of the company is marked by innovations, such as the first hand-held shower with multiple spray types, the first pull-out kitchen faucet, and the first wall bar to hold a hand-held shower.The company holds more than 20,000 active property rights. The Hansgrohe Group stands for long-lasting quality products and for responsibility towards people and the environment. Sustainable production of resource-conserving products is central to the company’s business activities around the globe. By developing innovative technologies for faucets and showers, Hansgrohe achieves the greatest possible effect on protecting water as a resource and limiting and adapting to climate change during the usage phase of its products. As part of its consistent sustainability strategy, Hansgrohe is equipping all water-bearing products exclusively with water-saving technologies by 2030 within its “ECO 2030” initiative. With 33 subsidiaries and 20 sales offices supplying products in more than 150 countries, the globally active company in the sanitary industry is a reliable partner to its customers in all regions of the world. The Hansgrohe Group, its brands and products have won numerous awards, including more than 700 design prizes since 1974. The products of the Hansgrohe Group are found around the world: on renowned cruise ships, in luxurious 5-star and boutique hotels, in international metropolitan cities, in extraordinary spas, exclusive bathrooms of lodges and luxury villas, public facilities, as well as in countless private homes. The Hansgrohe Group’s high quality standards are ensured by seven wholly-owned production facilities: four in Germany, one each in France, the United States and China. In 2022, the Hansgrohe Group generated a turnover of EUR 1.528 billion. It employs around 5,600 people worldwide, about 60 percent of whom work in Germany.

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