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Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives and ensuring that everyone within your organization can access and utilize digital resources is crucial to success. Organizations must harness the power of their most valuable asset, their employees, to achieve true inclusivity. Leveraging employee feedback for accessibility is a strategic approach that enhances the usability of digital content and fosters a culture of inclusivity within an organization.  By valuing their input and showing commitment to accessibility, you send a clear message that all employees are vital to the organization and that their full participation and effective performance are important.

In the webinar Integrating Digital Accessibility in your DEI Strategy, our partner, Zenyth, discussed the benefits and best practices surrounding accessibility in your organization. In this blog, we’ll explore how employee feedback plays a pivotal role in driving digital accessibility in your organization’s DEI strategy. However, you can watch the on-demand webinar for a deeper dive into this topic.

Employees, especially those with disabilities, are valuable resources for understanding the accessibility of your digital content. Their daily interactions with your digital platforms provide real-world insights, uniquely positioning them to identify potential barriers and suggest practical improvements. Proactively engaging with your employees is not just about gathering feedback; it’s about continuous improvement. By understanding and acting on their insights, you can make necessary changes to ensure your digital content is accessible to all. It’s a collaborative approach that values the voices of those who use the platforms daily. 


The Value of Employee Feedback

Employee feedback is more than just information; it’s a powerful driver of improvements in digital accessibility. Since employees interact with your digital platforms daily, their feedback may not be captured through automated checks or formal audits. Their genuine experiences can uncover hidden challenges and opportunities.  Their insights can identify a wide range of barriers to accessibility, such as lack of keyboard navigation, to more subtle issues like confusing layouts or instructions.

There are a wide variety of advantages to receiving employee feedback including:

  • Job Satisfaction: The proactive approach to obtaining employee feedback recognizes the value of employees’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences surrounding accessibility and the organization’s DEI strategy. Employees who enjoy their workplace miss fewer days, which increases productivity.
  • Understand & Improve Dynamics: Feedback reveals stress-causing issues, whether due to accessibility or otherwise, and underlying friction within the workplace. Employee feedback helps leadership understand the current workplace dynamics to improve the organizational culture and address issues before they escalate.
  •  Performance and Productivity: Employee feedback also provides insight into employee turnover. By obtaining and valuing their feedback, organizations can make workplace adjustments, improving productivity. 


Obtaining Employee Feedback

Utilizing various methods to gather insights on accessibility is essential in creating an inclusive digital environment and DEI strategy. Three strategies you can implement include:

  1. Surveys and Feedback Forms: These tools can be highly effective in gathering employee feedback on accessibility. By using surveys and feedback forms, you can collect structured, consistent data that can be analyzed to identify common issues and trends. This systematic approach allows for a broad understanding of accessibility challenges within your organization.
  2. User Testing: This method involves observing employees, especially those with disabilities, as they interact with your digital content. User testing can provide in-depth insights into how your platforms are used and where difficulties may arise. It’s a hands-on approach that offers a real-world perspective on the user experience, highlighting areas for improvement.
  3. Community Engagement: Engaging with the disability community within your organization is not just about gathering insights; it’s about building relationships. Whether through forums for discussion, hosting events, employee resource groups, or simply encouraging open dialogue, community engagement fosters a culture of collaboration and understanding.

Obtaining employee feedback to improve accessibility within your DEI strategy is a way to tap into the collective wisdom of those who live with the challenges of accessibility daily.


Responding to Employee Feedback

The cycle of responsive feedback is a dynamic process that involves acknowledging, acting, and communicating. Responding to employee feedback is crucial for leadership teams to foster trust, engagement, and continuous improvement in digital accessibility and their DEI strategy. Below are a few important steps for leaders to take when responding to employee feedback:

  1. Actively listen and acknowledge feedback: The first and most critical step is to actively listen without judgment or defensiveness. Show empathy and understanding for concerns to let employees know their feedback has been taken seriously. Acknowledging feedback shows that leaders value their input. It’s a gesture that builds trust and encourages further feedback in the future.
  2. Transparent Communication: The insights gathered from employee feedback serve as a roadmap for improving digital content and accessibility in the workplace. It’s crucial to be transparent and communicate the actions taken in response to the feedback. Communicate the steps, timelines, and outcomes to show the organization is committed to improvement.
  3. Making Improvements: By analyzing the feedback and identifying common issues or trends, you can make targeted changes to enhance accessibility within your DEI strategy. Whenever possible, involve employees in the decision-making process while making improvements. Involving them while actively making the improvements empowers employees and ensures the solutions align with their needs and expectations. 

Looking to the future, employee feedback opens up exciting opportunities. It allows organizations to continually identify new areas for improvement, strengthening relationships with the disability community and enhancing their reputation as an inclusive and accessible workplace. Utilizing employee feedback to incorporate digital accessibility in your DEI strategy not only positions an organization as compliant with accessibility standards but also a leader in creating a truly inclusive environment. Our partner, Zenyth is committed to supporting organizations in this ongoing endeavor, ensuring accessibility remains at the forefront of workplace experience. Contact Zenyth to learn more about how they can improve digital accessibility within your organization.


Miranda Knudtson

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