How to Make Internal Comm Accessible for Differently Abled Workforce?

How to Make Internal Comm More Accessible for Differently Abled Workforce?

How to Make Internal Comm More Accessible for Differently Abled Workforce?

Last updated on June 24, 2024 at 08:05 am

An insightful study by Accenture found that companies with disability inclusion policies and practices realized 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income, and 2 times more economic profit. This highlights the importance of building a disability-inclusive workplace from both societal and business perspectives.

A crucial aspect of inclusivity is accessible internal communication, which makes employees feel valued and involved, directly impacting their contributions to organizational success.

Ensuring accessible communication for differently abled employees can be challenging due to issues like inaccessible digital platforms and the lack of alternative formats such as braille, sign language, and screen reader compatibility.

This article explores how to make internal communication accessible for a differently abled workforce and provides strategies to overcome these challenges. Read on!

Why Does Accessible Internal Communication Matter?


The primary objective of internal communication is to ensure an effective flow of information between all the departments of your organization, employees, and colleagues.

This refers to communication up and down the management and employee chain, as well as communication amongst the employees. By making internal communication accessible, you will be able to nurture company culture and employee engagement.

1.  Enhanced Employee Alignment

With accessible internal communication in place, you will be able to share your organization’s goals and objectives with every employee. This will help level the playing field of all the employees by giving them clarity and confidence in carrying out their roles and making necessary decisions.

Thus, it will contribute to the development of a successful internal communication plan that will help your employees prioritize their tasks based on urgency, importance, and upcoming deadlines.

2.  Increased Employee Engagement and Morale

By making internal communication accessible in a disabled workforce, you will be able to keep your employees engaged with your organization’s tasks and each other. This will boost employee satisfaction because they will feel understood, valued, and respected.

Additionally, it will facilitate the exchange of ideas, opinions, knowledge, and information, boosting innovation and creativity, overcoming employee communication challenges, and driving success for your organization.

3.  Improved Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

Another benefit of making internal communication accessible to the workforce is that it will improve knowledge sharing and collaboration within your organization by ensuring your employees are getting all the required information. This will also help prevent information overload by removing the need to spend hours sorting company-wide messages.

With accessible internal communication in place, there will be seamless collaboration with your distributed workforce, efficient decision-making, and increased productivity. It will also support constructive criticism and open dialogue within the organization, which will help enhance employee experience, build strong employee connections, foster continuous knowledge sharing, and improve problem-solving skills.

4.  Enhanced Compliance with Legal Requirements

Considering the increasing focus on inclusive workplaces, several governments across the world have made it mandatory to make internal communication accessible.

For instance, the ADA (American Disabilities Act) in the USA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in multiple areas, including employment. In India, it is the RPwD Act that ensures that people with disabilities can lead their lives with dignity, equal opportunities, and without discrimination.

Thus, through accessible internal communication, you will be able to comply with all these legal requirements and enhance the reputation of your organization as an organization that values inclusion.

Making Internal Communication Channels Accessible

Making internal communication accessible in disabled workforce involves the purposeful design of communication in a manner that reaches a broad and diverse audience. Thus, it must have built-in accessibility to cater to different groups and their specific needs.

1.  Content Creation

One of the first steps in making internal communication accessible in workforce is content creation. Things that you should take care of during content creation are:

Use Plain Language and Avoid Jargon


  • To make internal communication more accessible for a differently abled workforce, you must use simple, easy-to-understand language.
  • This means that jargon, slang, idioms, biases, and colloquialisms should not be used in internal communication.
  • By following these practices and ensuring inclusive language within your organization, you will be able to make your employees feel a sense of belonging, thus helping you attract and retain top talent.

Structure Documents with Clear Headings and Bullet Points

  • To ensure that your internal communication is accessible, you must structure your documents in a manner that has an uncluttered layout.
  • You must refrain from using background images, prints, or watermarks and ensure that you are following color contrasts in a manner that follows the requisites of the latest WCAG AAA rating.
  • Opt for legible, plain sans-serif fonts in an appropriate size. However, the minimum font size is 12-points.
  • Also, break your information into true heading styles and bullet points to enhance accessibility.

Offer Alternative Text Descriptions for Images and Infographics


  • To make internal communication accessible, you must ensure that all your images and infographics have alternative text descriptions. This will help in boosting employee morale.
  • Alternative or Alt text will describe the content of the image in the context of the document or webpage. This description is then read aloud by screen readers to show visitors the image or infographic that they are unable to see.
  • In the case of infographics, you should follow a two-part alt text. In the first part, give a short description that identifies the image. In the second part, give a long description to discuss the important information conveyed by the infographic.

Consider Using Audio Descriptions for Complex Visuals


  • Audio descriptions are an essential accessibility feature to make internal communication accessible in the disabled workforce. This is because it involves describing the visual information to completely verbal form so that even blind and partially sighted employees can access it easily.
  • Additionally, audio descriptions will help enhance the understanding of complex visuals, making knowledge sharing and information exchange easy. This will help you make the most of your diverse workforce.
  • Your audio descriptions must use clear and inclusive language and avoid technical terms or jargon. It must also adhere to the principles of audio description, which are objectivity, clarity, and brevity.

Provide Closed Captions and Transcripts for Videos

  • Closed captions and transcripts refer to the text version of the spoken dialogue and expressions conveyed through gestures and body language.
  • To make internal communication accessible for all your differently-abled employees, you must ensure that you provide closed captions and transcripts for videos.
  • These are critical for viewers who may be deaf and have limited hearing capabilities. It is also essential for employees who may have learning disabilities, autism, or attention deficiency.
  • The transcripts and closed captions must be readable and accurate, have correct spelling and grammar, be aligned with the video’s audio, last 3–7 seconds on the screen, and have a maximum of 2 lines per video frame.

Offer Documents in Accessible Formats

  • To make internal communication accessible in the workforce, you must provide communication documents in accessible formats.
  • The multiple accessible formats that you can opt for are PDF files, word documents, Google documents, and Braille formats.
  • You can also make your internal communication available in digital, audio, and physical forms. To further guarantee inclusive workplace and employee happiness, ensure that your communication is available in multiple languages.

2.  Communication Platforms

To make internal communication accessible, your organization must opt for tools like the intranet and its mobile app, internal newsletters, employee surveys conducted through platforms like the employee app, instant messaging tools, community channels, job boards, and content approval workflow.

To have accessible communication, ensure that all your internal communication platforms are compatible with assistive technologies.

Some of the popular assistive technologies include screen readers, live and closed captioning, and automatic translators. They must also be able to support voice commands with accuracy. Additionally, these communication platforms must support customizations like changes in font size and style and adjustments to color contrasts.

It should also offer other interface settings, like turning on live captions for meetings and webinars and choosing a specific written and spoken language.

3.  Communication Methods

To fulfill the needs of different people and foster a culture of open communication in your organizationmake sure that you provide and receive communication via multiple channels like phone calls, emails, videos, print, digital, and in-person interactions.

Additionally, make sure you make internal communication accessible for a differently abled workforce by offering translations in sign language and other foreign languages.

Encouraging Accessibility in Your Workplace Culture

The practices you must follow to encourage accessible internal communication are:

  • Build a culture of two-way communication where you can go to your employees, or they can come to you with their concerns and preferred form of communication. This will make your employees feel seen, heard, and valued
  • If any form of communication that the employee prefers is not available, they should be able to request it, and you should ensure that you provide it to them to make internal communication accessible
  • Conduct regular training sessions to acquaint your employees with the accessibility features available in the existing communication tools
  • In these training sessions, teach them how to communicate effectively, while keeping the organization’s core values related to inclusion maintained
  • Encourage employee feedback to identify and remove existing communication barriers and incorrect workplace policies and practices. This will help ensure effective employee communication in the workplace irrespective of their disabilities

By following these guidelines, your organization can create a more inclusive and supportive work environment where every employee can thrive, regardless of their abilities.

Wrapping Up

Making internal communication accessible in the workforce is important for attracting and retaining top talents, creating an inclusive workplace, getting the benefits of having a diverse workforce, boosting your innovation and profits, and ensuring the overall success of your organization.

To create a work environment where every employee feels valued and empowered to contribute to their fullest potential, continuously gather feedback, utilize accessible formats and tools, demonstrate leadership commitment, enforce inclusive policies, and stay updated on accessibility standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the first step in making internal communication more accessible for a differently abled workforce?

Before making internal communication accessible for a differently abled workforce, you should first access your existing communication practices and tools. This will help you identify communication barriers and the scope of improvement. The insights gathered will help you make your organization’s communication inclusive.

2. How can we ensure our communication remains accessible over time?

To ensure this, you must regularly review and update your communication practices and tools to align with the latest accessibility standards and requirements. Conducting periodic employee feedback and staying updated with diversity and inclusion laws will give you important insights.

3. Why is training important for inclusive communication?

Training helps your employees understand the perspective and needs of their differently-abled colleagues. It also equips them with the necessary skills to communicate inclusively through clear language and multiple communication formats.

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