By Jodie Greer, IT Accessibility Lead, Shell
Do you consider yourself to have a disability?
Not at the moment?
Some of us aren’t currently living day to day with a disability. But that’s just a temporary state. Be it due to injury, illness or age, personal circumstances can change at any time for any one of us.
Would your current employer be able to accommodate your needs if your circumstances changed?
More importantly, as an employer, if one of your employees becomes disabled, are you equipped to retain them – or do you risk losing them to a more accessible competitor?
I’m sure you don’t need much more convincing. After all, it’s simply good business sense to ensure your organisation is disability smart and fully accessible. Be the one who talented individuals consider first when planning the next step in their career, not the one who some talented individuals disregard because you’re considered inaccessible and therefore a potential obstacle in their progression.
Do you value the talent you’ve already successfully recruited?
What if one of those high performers were to become disabled, would you value them less?
Would hearing loss, sight loss or a mobility impairment make them less effective?
In many cases, only if you aren’t willing or able to provide the right tools.
Not only do you risk losing out, you could also get hit by unnecessary costs for recruitment, training and the reduced productivity which comes with the induction and initial training for a new role.
We all know, there is no need to quote sources here, that some disabilities e.g. hearing or sight loss, can be age related. With the aging working population growing it’s even more essential we are fully equipped to meet accessibility needs. Imagine losing all that experience to a competitor just because you hadn’t future-proofed your solutions. This includes some very simple changes like having magnifying and screen reader software readily available.
We live in a technological world and technology is ever evolving, in fact technology is way ahead of many of us when it comes to accessibility.
Need help seeing the right colour neck tie? There’s an (free!) app for that.
Need assistance reading the text on screen? Guess what, there are (free!) functionalities and software for that on multiple platforms.
Need your PowerPoint presentation reviewed to ensure it’s accessible? You’ve guessed it, there’s a (free!) built in Accessibility Checker for that.
It’s really all about making accessibility part of your organisation’s DNA, so that it’s just business as usual (BAU); and, why wouldn’t you? At the Business Disability Forum Technology Taskforce, a question we regularly ask is: how can we help organisations to understand the true business value of accessibility?
I’m sure all my “free!” references above did not go unnoticed and that’s an important factor here. I’m not suggesting for a moment that you should not invest in accessibility, after all how would you achieve innovation without investment in your people, services and solutions? However, I am sharing with you that many of your concerns over the commercial impact may well be unfounded. In fact, the average cost of a reasonable adjustment is just £30.*
Why not take a few moments now to look up what’s available in your work place, or to have a conversation with your local IT and/or occupational health teams on how to make improvements? The Technology Taskforce have a number of free resources available on their website, ranging from what is expected of an ICT Accessibility Champion to what you might look to include in your assistive technology catalogue. Don’t wait until you regret it, take action now and be confident you can attract and retain the very best talent to pave the way to success.
You can find out more about the Technology Taskforce and the resources available to you via the following links: