POW helps your Employees hear their co-workers and customers, and support an inclusive, productive, engaged team; using hearing assist tools, services, and strategies such as
- On-site audits, Assistive Listening system configurations, installation, and service
- On demand Access Services, for audio presentation and events
- Staff awareness training
- Support for your successful interaction with persons who have hearing loss
For Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act information on the Employment Standard, Read More
Think you don't currently have employees with disabilities? Are you sure?
Has no one in your organization identified their Access needs? This may speak to your business lacking understanding or direction in providing Universal Access. We can help to make your support known, concrete, transparent, and actionable, so that everyone feels included, valued, and productive within your organization.
Please read on for some general guidelines and tips on creating an accessible workplace environment.
Please Note: At POW, we believe in Universal Access, with no limits. As such, we address Employees and Customers who have disabilities as your Access Employees, and Access Customers.
Steps your business can do – starting today – to ensure universal access, on both sides of the business counter
1. Believe in the need, and plan for success. Discover the business case for Accessibility
- Assign Accessibility Champion responsibilities to every person and department in your organization
- Hold people accountable, with performance expectations written into job descriptions
- Communicate, accept feedback, and be open to learning from everyone
- Understand that change is a process, which will grow your business, market, and revenues
- Support inclusion as an innovation strategy, and a loyalty and productivity enhancement tool
2. Identify your CAS – Current Access Status
- Conduct an access audit of policies, practices, service delivery, physical spaces, and audio and visual communications, to determine Current Accessibility Status
- Review efforts made to date to remove existing barriers, and to prevent future barriers
- Formally and anonymously survey all of your employees and customers, on their perceptions of your Current Access Status
- Review Recruitment, On-boarding/Orientation, Training, Performance, Individual Accommodation Plans, and Return to Work policies, to identify access barriers
3. Get it straight – from Those In The Know
- Ask Access Employees and Access Consumers (A.K.A. People with disabilities) what their needs are – hold accessible focus groups with persons who have disabilities
- Research best practice Accessibility policy examples
- Research awareness training options to address attitudinal barriers and gaps in staff understanding
- Review Accessible Technology guides, for adapting computing devices to assist with employee access needs
- Speak with Accessible Design Advisors about creating Universally Accessible Physical Workspaces
4. Say what you're going to do – define your Access Goals
- Decide what your overall business Access Objectives will be – make your business ready for Access Employees
- Create access policies across the entire life-cycle of employees – find an example here
- Build the accessibility needs of employees into all Human Resources practices
- Determine all customer touch-points, and create accessible processes for interaction between Access Employees and Access Clients
- Define specific processes and timelines for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers – see an example here
5. Find Gaps in your plan, and fill them, before you implement it
You've worked hard to look at the real picture, research Best Practices, and talk to your Access People; now, compare your assumptions with the lived reality of your Access Employees and Access Customers by
- Holding a second Round of accessible focus groups with persons who have disabilities
- Creating and promoting employee and customer surveys to solicit feedback – it's cheap, and invaluable!
Keep your 'eye on the prize' – increasing employee loyalty and productivity; and raising your customer satisfaction level – you're getting closer!
6. Determine Timelines to implement Access, based on
a. Your target market, and their access needs
b. Your obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
c. Your desire for increased revenues
d. All of the above
7. Start somewhere, but start
- Create a written plan for relaying and implementing a consistent message across the whole organization
- Define your Accessible Customer Service Policies
- Create an Individual Emergency Response Information Plan – for current and future Access Employees
- Install visual alerts for fire, in common shared work areas, public spaces, and at places people who have hearing loss will be
8. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Communicate your new policies and procedures, using multiple, accessible formats and delivery channels
- Display your Accessible Customer Service Policies – on websites and at at your front reception/counter
- Offer Accessible Customer Service Feedback information – in multiple accessible formats, at the source
- Include TTY/TTD contact information, or cell/text numbers, for customers who have hearing loss to share their input
Resources: See: Steps for AODA Compliance Guide