In today’s digital age, businesses have an increasing need for better ways to engage their entire team. In this guest piece, Robin Marchant, global marketing director at Squiz, explains how accessibility, as a cross-functional solution, can be used to engage staff of different departments, skill-sets, physical capabilities, and more.
Because accessibility promotes and encourages inclusivity, an employee’s limitations to or preferences for work technologies should not be discriminated against.
For the 10% of Australian workers with a disability, this could mean assistive navigation technology. For telecommuting and off-site staff, this could mean remote access tools and services. Easily accessible data and services, when made available across multiple platforms and devices, can significantly increase staff productivity.
Integrating the latest accessibility technology is an effective way to create inclusive workplace environments, increase employee engagement, and improve the efficiency of internal processes. This could include updating intranets, redesigning internal and external websites, or launching mobile-friendly versions of the sites in an app format.
Collaborative organisational resources should reflect the contemporary technology landscape. When old, outdated systems prove difficult to use and navigate, interaction is restricted and communication channels can break down.
Any new accessibility strategy should be initiated with the purpose of helping employees collaborate anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
Here are four accessibility tactics to enhance employee engagement:
- Screen-reading software
Accessible websites set themselves apart by acknowledging the needs and limitations of blind users who need assistive technology such as screen-reading software to access content. Screen readers enable access to the website’s content by reading aloud the text on the screen, allowing visually impaired users to interpret the information.
Screen-reading software can also be of assistance to non-visually impaired users, who may experience visual fatigue whilst reading large amounts of text on-screen, or who have a learning preference for sound over visual.
- Content structure
Structuring content intelligently and using clear labels will enhance the accessibility of an organisation’s resources and services, thus helping create a consistent and user-friendly experience for all visitors.
Heading structure is also critical for screen-readers to navigate and relay content to visually impaired users. When a site’s content is logically structured, productivity can be improved – a helpful menu bar with appropriate tabs, for example, can help direct users to find the right information in the most efficient way possible.
- Single sign-on
Single sign-on across different platforms can enable users to switch between devices and applications more seamlessly, without repetitive authentication processes to slow them down.
This critical time saved allows staff to be more productive in sending information, questions, documents, and images to resolve internal and client issues faster. With these smoother processes and convenience, staff are also more likely to use these tools more often, contributing to stronger ROI on technology investments.
- Social media familiarity
87% of Australians access the internet daily, with Facebook by far the most popular social networking site this year. Replicating the format of these social platforms, in response to staff’s social media habits, is a way of increasing familiarity for users and encourage employees to interact with each other and customers in real-time.
Intuitive tools and resources remove the need for formal and extensive training, saving the organisation and its employees’ valuable time. Services that also integrate the social functionality of popular social media platforms, such as posts, tagging and photo sharing, can increase collaboration between departments and teams.