Well, the short answer is:
Yes! Absolutely. Without a doubt
Every single business in every single sector needs to be inclusive of disabled people: Disabled people as customers, disabled people as employees, disabled people as suppliers, disabled people as partners. The list goes on and on.
By now, if you have read more than one of Celebrating Disability’s blogs, you will know the business case:
- 13 million disabled people in the UK
- A spending power of over £249 billion per annum
- A wealth of skills and experience to bring to your business and to interact and engage with your customers
- A dedicated workforce who will in general take less holidays and less sick days than your average non-disabled employee
- A customer base who will recommend you to friends and family
Etc, etc, etc
So, because you know this, there’s no need for me to talk about it.
Let’s take a look at 5 common business functions:
The other day, I was on the phone with a marketing company who felt that they probably didn’t need to worry about accessibility because their business was based in an office that wasn’t accessible anyway. They weren’t thinking about their customers. Marketing businesses, big and small have a wealth of the clients who have a wealth of clients. How many of those may have access requirements that, if prevented from navigating a website will go somewhere else?
It’s true that some people fumble along struggling with inaccessibility without ever saying anything. The majority of disabled people these days won’t. And they probably would never say anything, they will just never return.
A marketing business that offers support with branding as a service should really be thinking about how they represent the type of customers a business wants to attract. With one in five people in the UK having a disability, not having the representation of disability through the promotional material could be detrimental to the bottom line.
The main role of Sales Executive is to make the sale and most of the time, this is done by understanding the needs of the customer or the client and adapting their pitch accordingly. The best Sales Executives can sell a product or service without the customer even knowing that they are being sold to. How is that ever meant to happen if a substantial number of the population is misunderstood, pigeonholed, stereotyped and under-estimated?
To develop a business, a rounded team of experts to support a development strategy by seeing things from all different experience backgrounds is essential to identifying the varying and demanding client and consumer needs. Lived experience of disability is very prominent in this; the prevalence of disability is growing and there are so many more opportunities presented to disabled people. Which means that disabled people demand more from a business. Having a workforce representative of this group will mean that you’re off the starting block. But that workforce won’t appear out of the blue, work needs to be done to ensure they feel valued and welcome.
Everybody communicates in different ways. In your business, do you know how many different communication methods there are for internal and external communication? Newsletters, intranet, blogs, social media, emails, videos, posted mail…
If you have something important to communicate to your employees or customers, is priority given to ensuring they can access that communication? If a disabled person can’t access what you are trying to communicate, they will not receive that special offer, that important memo, that bill.
This may seem the least obvious because if you are in the legal profession you should already know all the legislation, right? But it’s not just about legislation, it’s about people being treated as human beings. Having enough facts to develop an understanding of the situation of others.
All you need to do is glance at a recent report published on RightsInfo.org stating that despite legislation, disabled people still feel marginalised. Or look through the papers at the stories that appear week in, week out about disabled people in airports having to wait for second rate support.
Esi (pronounced SE) set up Celebrating Disability in 2017; offering training, consulting and auditing to support businesses attract, engage and retain disabled people. Having the opportunity to support businesses to see the wealth of benefits that disabled people can bring to business, either as customers or employees is a privilege. She is passionate about disability equality and inclusion and loves nothing more than that “Ah ha” moment with a client when they see what disability equality and inclusion can do for them.
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