World over, organizations have positively responded to the changing times by adopting new working models to secure employee health while also ensuring business continuity. Virtual communication & work from home policies are on the rise, with efforts being directed towards developing employee-friendly systems.
Conducive working environments can thrive if built on approaches that account for various difficulties employees face on a day-to-day basis. Be it a crisis or otherwise, motivating employees and proactively solving their issues can go a long way in ensuring retention and boosting productivity. Different employees have different issues, which can be solved through innovative tech-based approaches, attention to detail and empathetic policies.
Let’s take the current situation to look at new working environments for People with Disabilities (PwD) — a marginalized talent pool in India. Even before the pandemic, the unemployment rate for PwDs in India stood at about 70% i.e. only 34 lakh PwDs of the ~1.34 crore in the employable age had any meaningful employment. Now lies an opportunity to change it, by using learnings over the last few months and creating supportive working environments for all.
Employees with disabilities can be an asset for companies; they show high retention rates and are driven to prove themselves. Accenture’s research states that companies are creating policies and building resources towards attracting and supporting PwDs in outperforming their competition. Such workplaces report proven ROI (Return on Investment) on disability inclusion programmes, values that translate to product lines and services for customers, improved productivity and reputation. So, how can companies provide for and ensure adequate support to PwDs in the current scenario?
Whether we’re working from home or in the office, three main aspects are at the forefront of building a PwD friendly organisation. Firstly, physical accessibility to ensure that employees with a visible physical disability have access to facilities necessary for easy navigation. Secondly, technological accessibility for them to access tools enabling interaction with work-related software and hardware. Thirdly, addressing attitudinal awareness to create a welcoming environment and to eliminate harmful misconceptions about PwDs.
Inclusion needs to become a boardroom agenda. Sustained vision and effort from CEOs can influence hiring practices, workplace culture and inspire the management to support all kinds of employees. Such a commitment would involve creating employee-friendly HR policies, infrastructure management, redressal system etc.
It is important to realize that this is an ever-evolving process, and that it will continue to reflect evolving employee needs alongside the advancement in assistive technologies and existing circumstances.
Here are some ways in which organisations can integrate inclusivity and accessibility across all aspects of the workplace:
Organisations are driving technological accessibility in the workplace to support people with disabilities across the globe. They say that the strategy is to have employees’ interactions with technology and services run in compliance with globally defined accessibility standards. Their approach covers environmental, technological and behavioural aspects of workplace accessibility.
Encouraging efforts from organizations can deeply impact and empower the workforce. Hear from Mansi, an MBA holder, with visual challenges on how Accenture enabled her to be the best version of herself at work every day.
Awards and Recognition:
Accenture has received numerous awards and recognitions for its inclusion efforts. It has been ranked in DiversityInc’s top 50 companies for diversity list for 13 consecutive years and received a perfect score on the Disability Equality Index for three consecutive years. It recently also earned the top spot on Refinitiv’s Diversity & Inclusion Index for the second year in a row. To know more, click here.
This is a partnered post.