Inclusion is an organizational effort and practice in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated.
Source: Global Diversity Practice
According to Cloverpop’s study, which analyzed 600 business decisions made by 200 different business teams in a wide variety of companies over two years, inclusive teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time. With the spread of Covid-19 in 2020 and into 2021, and virtual meetings being the only way for employees and business people to meet, it becomes imperative that virtual meeting planners embrace Inclusion, thus providing increased access to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, and also being inclusive to people speaking different languages.
There are approximately 20 million individuals with disabilities in the United States, representing US$490 billion in disposable income. Globally, these figures jump to 1 billion individuals with disabilities with US$8 trillion in disposable income, making them the 3rd largest economic power in the world above Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. [Source: Accenture – The Accessibility Advantage, Gartner, IMF]. With the massive adoption and growth of virtual meetings due to Covid-19, meeting planners need to follow good practices to ensure that the way ALL their meetings are conducted are inclusive of ALL participants.
Findings from Accenture Research reveal that companies that have improved their inclusion of persons with disabilities over time were also four times more likely than others to have total shareholder returns that outperformed those of their peer group. Estimates suggest that the United States GDP could get a boost up to US$25 billion if just 1 percent more of persons with disabilities joined the US labor force.
Meeting hosts should ask participants prior to a call or a meeting if any accommodations are required to ensure accessibility. Some of these include:
• Provide meeting agenda, and meeting documents in accessible formats prior to the event.
• Ensure that the Virtual Events platform used is compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies, including captioning and multilingual translations.
• Offer captioning or sign language interpretation. In the case of captioners, provide them access to the audio before the event, and make sure the process works through prior testing and preparation.
• Offer Live Language Translation of the Captions so foreign-language speakers can follow and participate.
• Identify yourself by name before speaking or presenting. This also helps sign language interpreters and captioners.
• Speak clearly and slowly at a medium volume.
• Caption the archived video, and add foreign language subtitles if requested by someone post the meeting.
Investments by organizations in accessibility and inclusive design pave the way for a larger cultural shift within an organization. A shift toward inclusive processes is also a shift toward more productive and innovative organizational cultures.
SyncWords embraces Inclusion and Accessibility for all Virtual Meetings as its primary goals, offering Captions and Multilingual Subtitles as the primary tools for achieving them.