Does your Collaboration Platform Support Inclusion?

As organizations seek to bring on the best talent out there, they often look to implement perks meant to help attract employees -- everything from summer Fridays to standing desks. What many don't realize is that one of the top factors employees consider when choosing an employer is inclusion. In fact, recent Deloitte research indicated that this was true for 80% of respondents.

With this in mind, businesses must examine whether they're putting enough emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and how they're allocating resources to make sure that all employees feel supported at work.

Accessibility Needs to be Part of the Collaboration Conversation

Traditionally, businesses have focused their inclusion and diversity initiatives on how to ensure employees of different races, genders, and backgrounds can connect and collaborate. However, they've often left employees who are differently abled out of the conversation.

In order to enable employees to engage with colleagues of all opinions, experiences, and abilities, and reap the benefits of inclusion, businesses must ensure that all employees have proper access to, and a clear understanding of, the tools and processes they need to collaborate effectively. It's also important that those tools are designed to work for employees of all abilities so that everyone can participate in the conversation and grow within his or her career.

Creating Inclusion

A successful and inclusive organization is one in which all individuals are able to participate. It's critical that organizations commit to focusing on what each individual can contribute, rather than on his or her perceived limitations. No individual should be penalized in his or her career due to a disability. In today's digital age, it's possible to make sure that everyone, no matter physical ability, has the opportunity to participate in conversations. The increased flow of opinions and points of view ultimately makes businesses stronger. Because collaboration platforms are a tool for breaking down barriers in the workplace, it's important that the design and development of such platforms accommodate a complete sensory experience for all users, from audio to visual capabilities.

As we continue to enhance technology in the workplace, businesses need to place emphasis on technology such as screen readers, translation capabilities, and visual cues. With these tools, users who face hearing and visual impairments can remain consistently looped into the conversation and contribute to their full abilities.

The Importance of Equal Access

The content shared across collaboration platforms is often critical information. Businesses that don't provide equal access to this information to everyone are limiting their employees' career growth.

Additionally, failing to provide equal access can be seen as a form of discrimination. For instance, if corporate strategy is being shared, important benefits information is listed, or project plans are being created, employees unable to access these materials will feel more than just excluded -- they'll be angry, disgruntled, and unable to do their jobs. With this is mind, supporting equal access to information is more than a feel good or nice-to-have corporate value. It's a must.

Open Dialogue Benefits Everyone

Without communication, a business cannot succeed. Throughout the course of a work day, teams are constantly touching base in person and over the phone with questions and inquiries.

Collaboration platforms have the power to bring fluidity to communication across the enterprise. However, if a tool doesn't make the sharing of knowledge across the platform accessible to all users, no matter what their backgrounds or abilities, these tools instead become roadblocks. In an effort to incentivize consistent teamwork across organizations, implementing platforms that create avenues for all team members to learn and grow is essential.