The last year has underscored the importance of making the workforce more inclusive to all races, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, and backgrounds. It is more important than ever to remove bias from hiring, especially in this ever-growing digital landscape, and part of the effort includes accessibility.
Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day to recognize and encourage a dialogue about digital access and inclusion. There are more than one billion individuals with a disability worldwide, and our technology organization works tirelessly to analyze the innovations we make to our products to ensure they are inclusive of all applicants, employees, and candidates. Through this work, we’ve come up with five ways you can continue to innovate and grow your business in an inclusive and accessible way, building your winning workforce with the best talent, wherever and whoever they are.
Your brand is the first thing candidates will notice about you, and weaving accessibility into the fabric of who you are will encourage them to express their interest in an available role. When choosing what is visible on your career site, ensure all the elements and text are enlargeable – being able to zoom into text helps those with vision impairments interact more efficiently with your products and website.
Accessible branding extends from the elements of your site to the very identity of your brand itself – even the font you select can impact the accessibility of your products. We use a sans-serif font here at iCIMS, improving the readability of our work. Keeping this in mind while you make brand and marketing decisions allows candidates to view your site anywhere – in their home office, at daycare with their kids, or out at the park. Your font choice allows people to understand and interact with your brand, no matter where or how they work.
There are many ways to level the playing field for all employees and candidates, especially when it comes to building an accessible layout. Start simple – ensure that everything you build can be interacted with using just a keyboard. Many people with disabilities are unable to use their mouse, so creating a site that can only be used through point and click alienates a large group of talent.
Another way to improve the accessibility of your products and hiring experience is to ensure that everything can be accessed via the candidate or employee’s mobile device. Many candidates with disabilities will have a mounted mobile device, like an iPad, rather than a laptop, so a web-only version of your site or product could alienate these applicants. Exclusion happens when we solve problems with our own biases – working to remove them expands your talent pool.
Accessibility is not a one-time thing – creating a more inclusive environment is a journey, one in which your team will constantly be evaluating and improving your current processes. At iCIMS, we’re constantly testing for accessibility compliance, especially as we launch new features. Accessibility should be at the beginning of your process, before you even write one line of code. Consider performing internal audits of your products periodically – the additional insight into what you’re building will allow you to search for gaps in the inclusivity of your product design.
One of our accessibility vendors, Level Access, assists us in the performance of these audits. Kim Collins, Senior Accessibility Consultant at Level Access, works closely with us on these projects, and knows firsthand the painstaking efforts we take to improve our practices. “iCIMS has demonstrated a clear commitment to improving the accessibility of their products year over year, with yearly audits and quick remediation.”
Do your research. Many candidates will be open and honest with you about what they need from your team during the hiring process. Whether it’s adding subtitles to your recruitment videos or assisting them in accessing documents on their mobile device, don’t be afraid to ask what your candidate needs from you.
Needs vary from person to person, and so does their openness about their disability. The applicant’s privacy is important!
Accessibility isn’t just a compliance and user experience issue; it touches every area of business, including privacy and security. Systems that aren’t widely accessible can be exploited and are security risks. If someone with a vision impairment can’t use a screen reader on your site, they may ask for help entering their sensitive information online, exposing their credentials.
The relationship between security and accessibility is incredibly important, and that’s why we embrace the idea of “accessibility by design.” Everything we build here at iCIMS must meet crucial accessibility standards, like WCAG 2.1. Continue to keep in mind how creating an inaccessible product might put someone’s information at risk as you work with your team to innovate and grow your business.
Studies have shown that one in four American adults have some form of a disability, meaning the talent landscape is full of candidates with individual needs. Creating an inclusive environment is simply the right thing to do. We hope you find opportunities to improve your accessibility efforts, and that you can thank your teams for the impactful work they do on this Global Accessibility Awareness Day.