By Nadine Vogel
President, Springboard Consulting LLC
Many companies now celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), a day annually observed on December 3rd to focus on issues that affect people with disabilities worldwide. This year’s theme is “Removing Barriers to Create an Inclusive and Accessible Society for All.” Over one billion people, 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability and face barriers that take on a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment, information, communications, technology, or those resulting from legislation or societal attitudes and discrimination. Many of these barriers take place right on company premises, greatly and negatively impacting candidates and employees. Evidence and experience shows that when such barriers are removed, productivity and profitability increase exponentially.
At the end of the day, it’s about making life easy and user friendly for everyone. In fact, “Making Life Easy” is this year’s theme for yet another global celebration, World Usability Day, which takes place on November 8th. WUD is an annual event founded to ensure that the services and products important to life (including work) are easier to access and simpler to use. For example, employees need to connect with each other. The technology used to facilitate this communication must be intuitive to use, include easy-to-understand instructions and controls that are accessible to everyone. Doing what’s necessary to ensure this happens, especially in the workplace, is what the IDPD theme of “Removing Barriers to Create an Inclusive and Accessible Society” is all about.
So, how can a company celebrate one of both of these events? For IDPD, a company may want to offer training sessions on Disability Etiquette and Awareness, now the number one global best practice, or hold a forum to illustrate some innovative ways that barriers to inclusion of employees with disabilities have been removed. For WUD, a company may want to highlight new accessible technology offerings for employees by creating a technology lab for the day or bringing in a speaker whose expertise is universal design.
At the end of the day, the type or size of the celebratory event is not nearly as important as the fact that there is some activity to clearly show that the company acknowledges the importance of these two dates and its alignment with their purpose.
Nadine Vogel is the CEO of Springboard Consulting LLC. Founded in 2005, Springboard is recognized as the expert in mainstreaming disability in the global workforce, workplace, and marketplace. Serving corporations and organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia, Springboard has become a trusted partner in relation to disability issues and initiatives across virtually every business category. For more information, please contact Nadine Vogel at Springboard Consulting. Nadine is also the author of Dive In: Springboard into the Profitability, Productivity, and Potential of the Special Needs Workforce.