Training is as important to accessible workplace tool procurement as having strong language in the contract and well thought out testing protocols involving disability talent. Here are best practices to ensure that the accessible procurement practices your organization develops are communicated to all your teams who need to know.
- Everything done to build and strengthen a culture of accessibility should be considered part of training and educating for accessible procurement. See the “Give Employees Learnings They Need” section.
- Understand business process/flow to determine when and where training needed.
- Remember that training involves not just knowing what is supposed to happen but understanding how to handle situations that are not supposed to happen.
- Procurement/purchaser teams need training in both accessibility and in the policies and systems put into place to ensure accessible procurement.
- Involve Disability ERGs in planning and conducting training about the importance of accessibility and how disabled people interact with technology.
- Train all staff about how to activate accessibility features and functionality. For authoring tools and other software that produces content, train all staff in ensuring accessible output of existing technology.
- Inject accessibility into ongoing training programs. Merck, for example, offered a session on accessibility features in Microsoft Solutions in its “TechWalk” initiative, letting teams know that:
“This session will provide a demonstration of accessibility features for Microsoft Solutions. We will discuss accessibility features for both content creators and end users who have a need for accessible technology “
- Take steps to ensure that all training is accessible. This does more than create an inclusive training environment for employees with disabilities. It serves as a tool to educate both in-house and external trainers that accessible software and content matters. And it bakes accessibility into procurement processes used to purchase training platforms and courses.Here are some best practices for a training program that supports disability talent:
- Use the guidance in this Accessible Technology Procurement Toolkit to ensure as part of the procurement process that any platforms (e.g. Learning Management System, Learning Content Management System, Knowledge Management System) are accessible.
- Ensure that any online courses being designed are done so in a way that is accessible, and have them tested before launch.
- Have systems in place so that any print materials used for Instructor-Led Training (participant guides, job aids, etc.) have accessible versions.
- Establish “train the trainer” sessions so that everyone providing education to your employees or applicants, either online or in person, are aware of disability etiquette and accessible presentation best practices. (For example, captioning all video content, describing visual images, establishing flexible and accessible hands-on exercises,) techniques (e.g. not referring to visual cues, showing Closed Captioning for any video clips, etc.) Require that all trainers use and verify built-in accessibility features of presentation software.
When evaluating your organization’s accessibility training needs, determine whether outside resources are needed. If they are, “vet before you get” and interview two or three potential training vendors. This will ensure that you find the best fit for your organizational culture and your budget. If outside trainers are needed, be sure to build-in contract requirements that the training itself be accessible, as per the suggestions in the previous list.
Hiring people with disabilities to conduct training and education will enhance your overall accessible workplace tools procurement efforts.