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How to Impactful Drive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Initiatives in the Workplace

Photo: Croatian Paralympic Committee

The Croatian Paralympic Committee (HPO) plays a critical role in creating a supportive environment for athletes with disabilities. Their primary objective is to promote sports and advocate for the rights and societal recognition of people with disabilities in Croatia. By championing parasports and celebrating the achievements of Paralympic athletes, HPO challenges societal stereotypes and misconceptions about disability. They shift the focus from limitations to abilities and resilience, thereby helping to improve the overall perception of disability.

With around 15% of the world's population living with a disability, they are the largest minority group. Despite this, disability is often overlooked when discussing diversity and inclusion measures in the workplace. Only 4% of companies consider disability in their diversity and inclusion initiatives*, despite significant progress in recent years towards diversity and inclusion. Therefore, HPO has decided to create awareness in the workplace, recognizing that businesses can have a significant impact in promoting change.

Overcoming talent shortage and provoking innovation

People with disabilities can help address talent shortages and contribute to organizational diversity that drives better decision-making and innovation. However, the unique needs of people with disabilities are rarely considered when innovating new products and services.

"People are often unaware of the tremendous creativity of people with disabilities. E.g., when we talk about paralympic athletes, in their minds, there isn't "I can't do this! "it is a question of how to overcome some hurdles and focus on their abilities rather than disabilities. Imagine what can such an attitude bring added value for any company, " said the Croatian Paralympic Committee president Ratko Kovačić.

With a strong history of promoting a more equal society, HPO wanted to offer an innovative approach to existing corporate DEIB initiatives by using the momentum of the Paralympic Games, which will take place in Paris in 2024, to rely on the transformative power of the Paralympic athletes and win new partners from the corporate sector.

As their work is strongly rooted in conducting social change, there is always the question of how to achieve it fast and scalable. So, the main reason to choose qohubs was to explore new paths of change, be recognized for their innovation, reach more employees simultaneously, and, by delivering added value, gain new supporters from the corporate sector.

qohubs as DEIB enabler

In partnership with qohubs, HPO created a unique 90 minute DEIB session for employees to:

  • Discover enablers to foster diversity and inclusion in any organization

  • Understand how language habits within an organization have the power to build a sense of belonging

  • Reflect on the (un)missed opportunities to include the needs of people with disabilities in everyday considerations and activities within the organization

„At the begining I was not 100% sure what to expect of qohubs, but with the first session I learned very quickly that it has a tremendous power in discovering different perspectives and gaining a new understanding of DEIB.“, Ratko Kovačić said.

Ratko Kovačić said that he was initially unsure about what to expect from qohubs, but after the first session, he quickly realized its tremendous power in discovering different perspectives and gaining a new understanding of organizational reality.

HPO combined the DEIB session with an inspirational talk from Paralympians and named the offer "Rendezvous with Paralympians." Companies soon started ordering the unique online event and expressed a high level of satisfaction towards the idea and its implementation e.g. the biggest regional employer Fortenova grupa, PIK Vrbovec, Procter & Gamble and many more.

The Paralympic movement gained new partners, Paralympians gained new fans, and company employees reported getting a level of new perspectives and possibilities. The employees were used to receiving a bunch of information on DEIB but had no offerings to explore the missed opportunities of neglecting the issue of people with disabilities in their work environment in a discourse manner.

Mr. Kovačić concluded:

„Teaming up with qohubs is a step forward for the Paralympic movement and people with disabilities in Croatia. We are closer to creating better workplaces without prejudices and more equal societies by bringing this topic into workplace conversation.“

HPO & qohubs will continue to develop new programs and offerings for creating better workplaces. qo


If you thrive to become a DEIB friendly company, drop us a line via or contact us to schedule an Experience Session now.


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