Regardless of how many things change regarding onboarding and employee management, the need for training remains constant. Whether it is sexual harassment training, job-specific training, or accessibility training, it is crucial to ensure that all training you provide is accessible to all employees.
94% of employees report that they would stay with their place of employment longer if it invested in their learning and development. Add that to the fact that up to 10% of job skills are learned through formal training, and you can see the value in investing in accessible training for your employees.
So how can you make the training you offer accessible?
Step one: provide captions
If your training materials include video or audio, captions are required. Closed captions use text to convey audio content for people with hearing or other disabilities that impact the perception of sound. Follows these guidelines to ensure your captions are thorough and accessible:
- Ensure captions are accurate – Captions must be grammatically accurate and must accurately represent the audio. Include non-verbal vocalizations, other sounds, and background noises to convey the contents of the audio as thoroughly as possible.
- Captions must be synchronous – Time captions to match the audio as closely as possible to ensure the context is accurate. Make sure they are displayed at a readable speed.
- Video must be fully captioned – Each video must have complete, accurate, synchronous captions. It is not okay for only a portion of the video to be captioned.
- Use proper placement – Captions must not block any meaningful elements of the video or run off-screen. They should also be the same size and font throughout the video and should not overlap.
Step two: sign language interpreters
For in-person training, hiring sign language interpreters is a smart move to improve accessibility. This is a common accommodation requested under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and one you can anticipate ahead of time by providing interpretation by default. Not only will this improve accessibility, it will also show that you are serious about complying with the ADA and improving equity.
Sign language interpreters have many benefits for everyone.
For example, a sign language interpreter can help facilitate meaningful communication between an employee with a hearing disability and others on staff. When a person's ability to communicate is limited, this limits how much they can offer input and express opinions about the everyday happenings at work. A sign language interpreter can help remove this barrier and help employees feel seen, heard, and understood.
Sign language interpreters can also support education and awareness. Education about what is and isn't is necessary, but it's not the responsibility of persons with disability. Sign language interpreters and others that work in the disabled community can help spread awareness about respectful communication and interaction with people with disabilities.
Step three: flexibility
Being accessible means being flexible. Although you may have made several strides towards accessibility through training, there is always the possibility that more accommodations will be requested. It is crucial to remain flexible and allow for further accommodations whenever needed. Not only is this good business practice, it’s legally required by the ADA.
There is no such thing as “too much” accessibility. Given that 26% of US adults have a disability, it’s almost certain that some of your employees will as well. Approach each request for accommodation with a genuine willingness to help and the flexibility to provide the best accessibility you can, so that all your employees can benefit from your training.
Employee training is an inevitable part of running a business. And, as an employer, you must keep training accessible. There are many ways to do so; just be sure to keep an open mind and embrace flexibility.