Your potential audience comprises several diverse groups of people. Regular communication channels that are used to reach out to this audience tend to be, unfortunately, a little ableist in their tone and content. With more than 100 million differently-abled people in the EU alone, it becomes imperative for companies to be more proactive in their inclusivity initiatives, whether the intended audience is your employees, customers, investors, or other stakeholders.
The EU already has several policies in place to ensure that workplaces are more inclusive when it comes to people with impairments. Even so, everyday work life can still be a struggle for many differently-abled people. Sometimes, when organisations set up initiatives to be more inclusive in their communication approaches, they become a catchphrase or a vague policy that will be implemented in the future. This is why inclusivity needs to become a part of the organisation’s standards, and it begins with changing the way communication channels work.
Why being inclusive is good for business.
According to HR Magazine, more than a million differently-abled people are in the workplace than five years ago. Leaders and communication teams cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all approach in their communication strategies. Increasingly, people prefer customised communication tailored to their specific needs, and applying this can be helpful, especially when reaching out to people with impairments.
Building inclusivity in your communication channels also boosts your brand perception. When your content is accessible to everyone, it makes it easier for more people to experience what your brand is about, so they can understand and appreciate it better. Eventually, they can even become unofficial brand ambassadors. Getting on the inclusivity bandwagon will help you set yourself apart from competitors, but there’s more to it than that. When inclusivity is approached as an implementable policy, and your audience understands that accessibility is an inherent part of your brand, they will know that you’re not doing this just for ‘woke’ points.
How to be more inclusive?
It would be best to create accessible communication by ensuring that inclusivity is not tacked on separately but becomes a crucial element of your company’s business communication. You might want to involve differently-abled employees when making communication policies. Feedback and suggestions from those with lived experiences of impairment are invaluable and can go a long way in creating a seamless communication experience for everyone concerned.
Several companies in the EU are already creating inclusive environments and communities which bring differently-abled consumers into the fold. Take the example of cosmetic company Urban Decay which used models like Grace Key, who has Down’s Syndrome, to showcase and build awareness around the issue to the mainstream.
Some ways to be more inclusive
- Language is fluid and keeps evolving, especially regarding inclusive content. So it’s important to understand your audience, become aware of your blind spots, and use approved inclusive language. Several online tools can help you determine how inclusive your language is.
- Web accessibility can be improved for people who use screen readers by using alt tags for images, closed captions for media, andARIA tags which supplement
- Pictures speak more than words, so it’s essential to use images representing diversity in all attributes – age, race, gender, disability, body type,
- To ensure that your communication reaches a broad group of people, including those who are differently-abled, ensure that you have a comprehensive and reliable group of testers who will test your communication and give you relevant feedback. When your content tests positively for readability, accessibility, and usability, then it’s ready to go out to a broader
By making your content inclusive, you are bringing everyone into the fold. With repeated and concerted efforts, inclusive communication practices can be normalised within the organisation until it becomes the de facto practice.