Staying accessible in a virtual environment

When your organization transitioned from an in-person workplace to a remote one, was accessible communication taken into consideration? If not, you may be excluding a diverse pool of qualified applicants. 

Resources for an Accessible Virtual Workplace

To create an accessible virtual workplace organizations need to make a concerted effort to understand the ADA, find the right technology, and create an inclusive environment. CSD Works, Gallaudet University, and the National Association of the Deaf have created a pool of resources you and your organization can use to guide your efforts.

Understanding the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be complicated law to sift through. But, by having a clear understanding of this law, you and your organization can be better prepared to meet its requirements and accommodate your deaf and hard of hearing applicants/employees.

CSD Works has a free eGuide you can use to learn more about the ADA and how it relates to hiring deaf and hard of hearing employees.

Providing Workplace Communication Access

Employers are obligated to provide accessible communication in the workplace per the ADA. In the scramble to adjust from in-person to virtual work, this obligation may have been overlooked.

The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) has created a guide for employers that includes advice for accommodations, communication etiquette, group meetings of all sizes, video conferences and more. Click here to learn more!

Your video conferencing platform plays a crucial role in accessible communication. Not sure if the one you’re using is deaf-friendly? Check out the NAD’s helpful matrix to find out!

Finding the Right Talent

Not all job boards are created equal. If you’re seeking deaf and hard of hearing applicants, make sure you’re utilizing deaf-friendly job boards. Both CSD Works and Gallaudet University have access to qualified deaf and hard of hearing candidates and are actively sharing open positions through their websites.

Both organizations will advertise your positions among their networks, all you need to do is share your open roles. Check out each board below:

 

Creating an Accessible Culture

To become truly inclusive your organization should consider providing ASL courses and hosting cultural sensitivity training for your current employees.

Through their ASL Connect program, Gallaudet University offers several levels of ASL courses that your employees can utilize to better foster communication between hearing and D/HH employees.

In addition to basic language classes, ASL Connect provides cultural sensitivity training to offer insight into Deaf culture.

Creating Opportunities for Success

Once you’ve hired and onboarded D/HH employees it’s important to create an environment where everyone can succeed.

CSD Works has created a series of eGuides for employers to use to create a deaf-friendly work environment. These free eGuides cover topics like:

  • providing interpreters
  • communicating effectively
  • engaging employees
  • providing accommodations

 

Learn from the Experts

Using these tools will make your organization more accessible but will not work on their own. If you are looking for more practical tips and strategies you can implement immediately, join our panel on accessible hiring practices on Thursday, December 3rd.