What's Next? Employee Participation and Buy-In
Now that you have identified change leaders in your organization and assembled an accessibility workgroup, you may be asking yourself “What’s next?” The next step to getting started with accessibility planning is to encourage employee participation and buy-in.
Here are some steps you can take to begin this process:
- Build relationships early—emphasize partnership.
- Continue to emphasize the benefits of accessibility for your organization’s customers, employees and stakeholders.
- Discuss what success means to your organization and be sure to document it in your accessibility adoption plan.
- Be aware of roadblocks or barriers as they come up in conversation and be prepared to document and discuss ways around them.
- Solicit feedback from your accessibility workgroup and your organization’s employees regularly.
- Provide a clear channel for the core team to share their feedback, questions and ideas (e.g., email or chat).
- Share successes widely!
How Change Leaders Communicate
When you are encouraging employee participation and buy-in, how you communicate your message is important. As we learned when identifying our accessibility workgroup members, change leaders need to be (or become) exceptional communicators. This will inspire and motivate your accessibility workgroup.
These tips will help you craft effective change management communications:
- Always emphasize your mission in your communications. Reminding people of why your organization is doing the work will keep your momentum going.
- Be sure to use plain language to discuss complex topics. The easier your message is to understand, the more people will respond to what you are saying.
- Humanize your message and back it up with data. One statistic to remember is that 1 in 5 adults in Colorado identify as having one or more disabilities (source: CDC.gov). This means approximately 20% of your customers, stakeholders and employees will benefit from your accessibility work.
Accessibility & You
Accessible Virtual Meetings
For most employees, virtual meetings are a prominent part of the workweek. Whether it is the daily huddle, weekly report out, team meetings, or customer-focused presentations, you can take your meeting game up a notch without having to know peoples’ disabilities.
If you are the host or simply a participant, you can help increase your virtual accessibility for meetings, training, presentations, and content by incorporating these accessible virtual meeting best practices.
Slide Deck & Multimedia
- All images, graphics, tables, etc., have descriptions (alternative-text or alt-text) for screen readers.
- All videos have accurate captions.
- All audio-only content has a full transcript.
- Tables are properly formatted so they are easily read by screen readers.
- Page and section headings are used to organize content and make it easy to navigate.
- Text and graphics are meaningful when viewed without color.
- Descriptive hyperlink phrases (describes the attachment/link in five words or less) are used instead of the URL alone or the phrase “click here.” For example, “Notes from Meeting” is a helpful hyperlink phrase.
- All documents and presentations have been reviewed with an accessibility checker.
- Be sure to test audio and video settings before the meeting.
- Share materials prior to the meeting in an agenda, email, or chat message.
- Record and transcribe the meeting so that participants can review the information at a later time. Be sure to check if this is permitted by your organization and that the participants are comfortable with recording.
- Speak clearly, slow down, describe presentation content aloud, and repeat important information.
- Have people identify themselves before they speak.
- When responding verbally to questions in the chat, read the question aloud first for folks that cannot see or do not have the chat box open.
- Allow people options for how to ask questions (e.g. through chat, the microphone, etc.)
If you want to discuss specific aspects of accessibility as it relates to your work, reach out to the OIT Technology Accessibility Program (TAP) team at OIT_Accessibility@state.co.us.
State Government Spotlight
Accessibility at the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS):
Why it's important and what our plan is
By Patricia Billinger (she/her) - CDPS Public Information Officer
When we first started working on compliance with HB21-1110, we thought the project would mainly involve a limited number of staff who directly edit websites. But as we started exploring digital accessibility more with the help of the TAP team, we realized that truly achieving digital accessibility will require some level of behavior change by nearly every employee in our organization.
This meant we needed to apply some thoughtful change management. We had been communicating to our nearly 2,000 members that accessibility was a top priority for CDPS since June 2022, but we recognized that most employees didn't think they had a role or that their everyday internal communications could benefit from accessibility best practices.
Following the ADKAR change management model, we determined that we needed to push out a strong message from leadership to help strengthen Awareness and Desire for employees before we move into the Knowledge and Ability-building phases with targeted training.
This video helps employees understand why accessibility is important, how it affects many people around them, and what we will be expecting in the months ahead.
View the "Accessibility at CDPS: Why it’s important and what our plan is" video on YouTube.
Notable & Quotable
“Whether you’re planning a culture change movement for an entire organization or for a small team, I have a golden rule that applies across the board. Culture change can’t and won’t happen unless you have participation and psychological safety.”
- Erin Shrimpton, Culture Change Consultant, Executive Coach, and Organizational Psychologist