While it has been on the radar for some time, the concept of diversity͕ equity and inclusion (DEI) has recently grown in importance and become a critical priority for many organizations. In Brandon Hall Group’s annual HCM Outlook Study, DEI is the number two most critical business priority͕ for 2022, second only to improving the customer experience. Additionally͕, 61% of organizations say it is either important or critical that they develop inclusive leaders for the business to be successful.

And while organizations have been doing a good job of building DEI programs and providing training for both leaders and the workforce at large, it is also important that the spirit of DEI is woven deeper into the employee experience. A key to making this happen is understanding and embracing accessibility. Beyond just making content available on-demand, it’s about making sure that people with various disabilities can also access and use the content. This is for people who may have any visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive disabilities.

Accessibility concerns the structure and containers that hold information, the way learners receive information, and the way information is formatted and then presented. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has compiled a set of formal, global Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that explain how to make web and training content accessible to people with disabilities. 

But just because these guidelines exist does not make accessibility a simple task. Fortunately, many content creation tools include accessibility features that are based on WCAG compliance. But that doesn’t mean everyone using the tools understands just how to leverage this functionality.

Brandon Hall Group Preferred Provider Harbinger has a great deal of experience helping their clients meet their accessibility needs. They have a framework they leverage to guide L&D teams through the process. This includes:

  • Auditing existing courses for WCAG compliance
  • Making recommendations for improvements
  • Creating a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
  • Making the learning system/platform accessible
  • Training the L&D team for future accessibility

For example, Harbinger worked with an Association based in Washington, D.C. with about 118,000 members to bring their training content into WCAG 2.0 AA compliance. This included hundreds of tutorials, quick guides, and other resources. Harbinger modernized the content and at the same time brought it into compliance within 4 months. The materials were tested by an independent third party to ensure accessibility and passed completely.

This kind of expertise is becoming increasingly important as companies continue to raise their DEI profile while accessibility compliance regulations become more common. Accessibility in learning content means organizations are providing the most personalized, meaningful learning experiences they can. A more in-depth case study can be found here.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

 About Brandon Hall Group Inc. 

Brandon Hall Group is the only professional development company that offers data, research, insights and certification to Learning and Talent executives and organizations. The best minds in Human Capital Management (HCM) choose Brandon Hall Group to help them create future-proof employee development plans for the new era. For over 28 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world influencing the development of over 10,000,000 employees and executives. Our HCM Excellence Awards was the first to recognize organizations for learning and talent and is the gold standard, known as the “Academy Awards of Human Capital Management.” Our cloud-based platform delivers evidence-based insights in the areas of Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Acquisition and HR/Workforce Management for corporate organizations and HCM solution providers. To learn more, visit https://www.brandonhall.com For information on Brandon Hall Group’s research and how we can assist your organization, please visit www.brandonhall.com

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David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.