Gain Executive Support for Accessible Procurement
If you don’t already have executive buy-in for your commitment to accessibility and usability, it’s time to make the case to the powers that be—whether they are top leaders in your organization, your chief information officer (CIO), or the head of procurement. This exercise can occur from the top down, bottom up, or laterally, but it always starts with someone who understands why it pays to build accessibility into a company’s culture, including into ICT purchasing decisions.
The concept of addressing accessibility may be new to your organization, and some may consider it extra work. Your job is to show that procuring accessible ICT isn’t more work—it’s simply a cost-effective business practice that you can easily integrate into procurements. Accessibility standards for procuring ICT have been in place in the U.S. since 2001 because a strong business case exists to back them up.
Making the Business Case
By communicating the business case for buying and implementing accessible workplace technology, you can show colleagues how a productive, inclusive workplace starts with accessible ICT procurement. This accessibility mindset should grow to inform all technology decisions in your organization.
While each business case for accessible workplace technology should be tailored to reflect a company’s unique needs, most have several things in common. The most frequently cited factors include the following:
Accessible technology fuels productivity.
Accessible, usable workplace products optimize the performance of employees with disabilities by streamlining use without further adaptation. In fact, many employees who do not disclose their disabilities benefit from built-in accessibility features, which frequently provide productivity gains for those without disabilities, too. The bottom line is that ensuring all employees have what they need to be as productive as possible simply makes good business sense.
It’s less expensive to buy the right product the first time.
Retroactive accessibility fixes are costly and inefficient. It pays to select and implement accessible ICT products before discovering that some employees can’t use them.
Implementing accessible ICT mitigates legal risk.
Offering accessible workplace technology can help your company avoid fines and risks associated with lawsuits and the negative public relations they bring. To learn more about the accessibility-related laws that might apply to you, access PEAT’s Policy Matters tool and the article Accessible Technology and the Law.
Accessibility leads to improved and expanded recruitment.
Some of the most important technology products you buy are eRecruiting applications, and it’s crucial to ensure that these tools are accessible. An accessible website and online job application system ensures—and clearly communicates—that your company is interested in all qualified job applicants, including those with disabilities. It’s an obvious way to expand your applicant pool, allowing more people to get their foot in the “virtual door,” and seek opportunities for advancement once on board. To learn more about how to make your eRecruiting technologies accessible to all job seekers, access PEAT’s TalentWorks resource.
Accessibility boosts employee retention.
Accessible technology is a smart corporate continuity strategy, especially when considering the needs of an aging workforce. It is far more expensive to onboard new employees than it is to keep the talent you have. Employees who develop injuries or age-related functional limitations may require accessible technology to do their jobs. Therefore, it’s wise to think ahead and purchase accessible and usable workplace technology that can meet these evolving needs.
Accessible tech fosters workplace diversity.
Inclusive technology practices attract talented employees with disabilities, which in turn leads to a more diverse workplace. And savvy businesses know that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth.
To learn more, access two in-depth PEAT resources, Accessibility: Making the Business Case for Employers and The ROI of Accessible eRecruiting.