Ep 214 – Making Workplace Technology Accessible 

I’m reading a lot of buzz on the internet about accessibility and technology. I love that more companies are considering accessibility for their employees and in their hiring processes. That’s what this Workology Podcast Future of Work Series with PEAT is all about. I wanted to hear more about assistive technology from an expert who helps train, lead, and coach every single day. Where is the future of assistive technology going and what things do HR and workplace leaders need to do more to make their workplaces and business more inclusive and accessible?

Episode 214: Making Workplace Technology Accessible (@ChanceyFleet)

 

This episode of the Workology Podcast is part of our Future of Work series powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. In honor of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this July, we’re investigating what the next 30 years will look like for people with disabilities at work, and the potential of emerging technologies to make workplaces more inclusive and accessible. Today, I’m joined by Chancey Fleet. Chancey is an assistive technology coordinator for a library in New York. Chancey is an affiliate in residence at Data and Society Research Institute. She also serves as President of the National Federation of the Blind’s Assistive Technology Trainers Division. 

How to Keep Technology From Getting In the Way at Work 

Chancey shares her point of view as an assistive technology coordinator but also someone who is blind . Her insights here are invaluable. She shares sight-impaired workers get fatigued due to the runaround and inaccessible technology. Because of that, they not as excited as they could be or should be about new opportunities and new technologies. She says that while accessibility is well understood and it is technically available, it’s not always fully operational or easy to use.

Accessible technology empowers all employees allowing them to work on their schedule. In this interview, she provides a number of workplace examples that HR and workplace leaders need to be aware of.

How to Vet Your Workplace and HR Technology for Accessibility

One of the big questions I’m getting from so many HR leaders is the growing frustration around companies who purchased HR technology that they were assured was accessible only to find out after they sign the contract and have begun or finished implementation to learn that it really is not accessible at all. Chancey recommends companies to leverage accessibility testers during the RFP and demo process. She suggests talking to employees about the testing and selection process for your technology but cautions me and listeners to not assume that the employees will want to be part of the testing.

I’m glad that Chancey shared this because I made what I thought was a logical assumption, but employees who have disabilities might not be the right individuals to serve as testers for a number of reasons.

How to Hire People with Disabilities 

Chancey says that if employers want to hire people with disabilities, they need to bring people with disabilities into their communities, circles, and networks. She wants to work with a company that is inclusive meaning that people from all backgrounds are present. If an employer wants to hire more people with disabilities, they need to invite people with disabilities into the hiring process starting with including a boilerplate invitation on their job postings encouraging people with disabilities to apply for the job.

Conclusion

I absolutely love the work that Chancey is doing and I appreciate her candid and open opinions. It really is a breath of fresh air. It’s so hard with all the marketing talk to cut through the noise and understand how can we as HR and workplace leaders can help our employees and candidates have a great hiring and employment experience. It’s conversations like these that give me a new perspective and enlighten us on how visual interpretation technologies can be life-changing for your employees. 

The future of work series in partnership with PEAT is one of my favorites. Thank you to PEAT as well as our podcast sponsor Workology.

Connect with Chancey Fleet on LinkedIn.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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