When it comes to building a successful business, taking steps to improve the accessibility of your workplace technology infrastructure can result in significant benefits. Not only does it widen your pool of potential (and diverse) talent, but it also showcases your company’s commitment to workplace inclusion. But how do you make the case for accessibility and inclusion within your organization?
An accessibility business case is a documented justification that outlines the financial, social, and legal benefits of investing in accessibility improvements in a business, product, or service. It helps organizations understand the return on investment (ROI) of accessibility, the costs of implementing accessibility, and the risks and opportunities of investing in accessibility. As a living document, it persuades decision-makers to prioritize accessibility and invest in the necessary resources to make it happen.
So, what are some of the benefits to an accessibility business case and its Returns on Investment?
First and foremost, widening the recruitment pool for a more diverse and talented workforce is a major advantage. Accessibility to technology tools plays a significant role in today’s talent recruitment. An accessible website and online job application system widens the talent pool, including qualified candidates with disabilities. Similarly, if the business uses social media to disseminate information about employment opportunities, it is essential that we make those images and videos accessible to persons with various impairments. Most often businesses spend quality time and effort developing beautiful eye-catching images and videos for social media but leave out image descriptions and captions/subtitles for the audience with visual and hearing impairments.
Additionally, enhancing employee productivity and improving business success. Investing in necessary assistive technology tools under universal design improves employee productivity, comfort, and accessibility for all users, including those with or without disabilities. Universal design (UD) is an important aspect of product development and includes various usability features like voice recognition software, closed captioning, ergonomic keyboards and mice, adjustable height desks and tables, adjustable lighting, and accessible website design. With these tools, the business case and ROI would also include reduced absenteeism and turnover rates by creating a more accessible and accommodating work environment.
Thirdly, increasing retention as a smart corporate continuity strategy. When employees become incapacitated, temporarily or permanently, either due to accidents, injury, disease, or age-related conditions, they may experience limitations to perform optimally at work. However, providing assistive technology to those employees not only ensures work continuity, but also the business retains the experience and skills of the affected employees. A study done by Riziki Source shows that it is far more expensive to onboard new employees than it is to provide reasonable accommodation to existing employees with disabilities.
Lastly, the result of accessible technology is an enhanced corporate image as a business committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. Accessible technology can ensure people with disabilities are represented in your workforce at all levels, adding an important dimension to diversity. An accessibility business case can also highlight your commitment to workforce diversity and make the “We are an Equal Opportunity Employer” a reality for all job seekers. This is especially important as people with disabilities represent 15% of humanity, and should be represented in the workplace too.
In conclusion, Accessibility and Inclusion has a financial element to it for the business. However, the ROI not only makes it a must-do for businesses, but its benefits and impacts by far outweigh its costs. By developing a comprehensive accessibility business case that reflects your business' unique niche, persons with disabilities can effectively work alongside their abled peers and contribute to the company's success and the country’s economy.
By Hassan Oyugi
The author is the Business Development Officer at Riziki Source and is passionate about promoting workplace inclusion and inclusive employment.
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