How to Make Onboarding More Accessible

Published May 22, 2023

Onboarding is a necessary part of employment in every workplace. It is how you introduce new employees to the company, get them acquainted with procedures and policies, and set up expectations from the beginning to establish good working relationships. It is an essential part of the employment process, so you must ensure that it is accessible.

There are three major elements of onboarding accessibility to consider: in-person accessibility, virtual accessibility, and one-on-one accessibility. The approach for each of these may differ, but the result must be the same: equitable access to all employees, regardless of disability status. 

In-person accessibility

The most obvious thing to consider when looking at in-person accessibility is physical accessibility. The Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, has specific regulations you must follow to be accessible, so be sure you’re adhering to that. Things like wheelchair ramps, adequate space for wheelchairs, and accessible bathroom stalls are major considerations for in-person accessibility. 

You should also consider the accessibility of training sessions and meetings. Providing resources like sign language interpreters for employees with hearing disabilities and Braille versions of paperwork for employees with vision disabilities are just two of many options.

Research is vital. Implement as many resources as you can to be as accessible as possible. It is your responsibility as an employer to be welcoming and inclusive. That means ensuring accessibility, especially in person.

Virtual accessibility

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies have shifted to partial or fully-virtual onboarding. This comes with its own accessibility needs. Though it removed some barriers for people with disabilities, who may find commuting and other aspects of on-site work

difficult, it also created some that employers must address. Ensuring all onboarding materials are accessible is your main priority for virtual onboarding. 

There are several ways to do this. First, ensure that any video content includes captions. Captions ensure that everything said on screen is translated for employees who have hearing disabilities. Also, use alt text for images so employees who use screen readers. Another good thing to do is to create audio transcripts for any audio on the page. Audio transcripts provide a text-based alternative to audio-based onboarding content. 

These are only a few things you can do to ensure your virtual content is accessible to people with disabilities. Like with in-person accessibility, be sure to research and implement every accessibility feature possible to make virtual onboarding smooth and simple for employees with disabilities. Research is critical – don’t assume that one or two Google searches will tell you all you need to know.

One-on-one accessibility

One-on-one accessibility is different from in-person accessibility. One-on-one accessibility refers to the accessibility needs of an individual employee and how you work with them to provide accommodations. Besides ensuring that your workplace and materials are accessible, you must be open and willing to receive questions and requests and make corrections as necessary. 

You can stay ahead of the game by regularly running accessibility audits of your onboarding materials. These are usually run for websites to ensure that they comply with accessibility guidelines and standards, but you can adapt them to make sure your materials are also accessible, especially virtually. You can also keep yourself informed about the latest news and tools in accessibility by attending webinars and events to further your professional development and learn to create a safe space for your employees with disabilities. 

You should also make sure that your company as a whole is a safe space. Onboarding provides your new employee’s first impression of their new workplace. Is it a good one? Are their coworkers respectful, or do they make off-color jokes and comments? You can and should nip those in the bud by providing accessibility and disability awareness training for your staff regularly.


Onboarding is a critical and unavoidable part of becoming a new employee. Whether in-person or virtual, you must make it accessible for every employee. And you also must hold yourself accountable by furthering your knowledge and understanding and keeping your company a safe place for employees with disabilities. 

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