Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need. – Rick Riordan
Across the landscape of India, a land of more than 20 major languages, there are huge diversities in social customs and diverse socio-economic backgrounds that percolate into the workplace. Hence, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts are critical to building a healthy work culture since diverse people come together to work towards common goals. So far, there has been considerable progress in making workplaces inclusive of women and the LGBTQ community. But what about Accessibility?
What is accessibility and why is it important?
Accessibility is the practice of making activities, information, and physical and digital resources usable to as many people as possible. It means including alternate solutions to help people of all abilities gain access to what they need. This doesn’t just include persons with physical disabilities, but also people with invisible disabilities. Wheelchair ramps, closed captions on video, and alt-text on digital images are a few examples of how accessibility is implemented,but it’s not limited to these.
In business, accessibility goes beyond being the right thing to do. It can bring benefits like adding newer perspectives on markets and customers and fueling innovation. An accessible workplace invites people of all abilities to fully participate as a part of your company and can transform its culture.
Integrating Accessibility and DEI Efforts
Factoring in accessibility is critical to the success of inclusion efforts. And implementing an accessibility practice in your business requires effort. But an accessible workspace and being inclusive will spur the best conditions for people of all abilities to succeed. Even today, disabled voices are rarely included in DEI conversations. Most DEI credentialing falls short of including accessibility topics. Some DEI websites are not accessible.
It must be understood that Accessibility is part of inclusion. If it’s not accessible, you’re excluded.
How to create a truly accessible and inclusive workforce
Many organizations are still in the beginning stages of building their policies and frameworks. This is an opportunity to unite accessibility and DEI leaders and teams to ensure that accessibility is represented in DEI efforts. Disabled voices are rarely included in DEI conversations. Including Persons with Disabilities (PwD) in your organizational DEI policies is a great start. Give PwD in your workforce a platform to voice their needs, and provide support that is aligned to those needs.
This is also an opportunity to lean on your advocates. People from within the accessibility community and DEI teams in India need to reach out to each other. Just by sharing the information both sides have, we can learn and understand more about where to channel the efforts. These shared lessons can then be propagated organization-wide.
Extend these efforts to building Cohorts within the organization to support PwD groups. Drive behavior and culture change that cannot be achieved by metrics. Measure the impact of your accessibility initiatives and tie them into your DEI success stories. This will ensure that the effort is sustained and is deeply ingrained into your work culture.
Where to start…
- International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)
- The Centre for Global Inclusion
The Centre for Global Inclusion
Organizations must hold themselves accountable and invest accordingly if they wish to improve outcomes. At Magic EdTech, we’re committed to ensuring people of all abilities and backgrounds succeed. To this end, we offer a variety of Workforce Learning and Development services like accessibility design, proprietary frameworks for Accessibility and DEI, and skill training to foster awareness of accessibility.
Eric Stano, Vice President of Consulting and Director of Content and Curriculum, Magic EdTech