As we head toward Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 20, we’ve been thinking about how important disability inclusion is in Accenture—and how technology is helping us to make it a reality in our organization.

GAAD

GAAD reminds us that there are more than one billion people with disabilities globally. Adapting our working environments to accommodate unique talents is not only enriching for any skills pool, but also highly rewarding for the business. Earlier Accenture research shows that a culture of equality and disability inclusion can help companies realize 28% higher revenues and a 30% increase in profit margins.

Of course, it’s not all about financial returns. We’ve set goals, have an action plan and are measuring our progress when it comes to disability inclusion. And to help us make sure that we have a barrier-free workplace, our Global IT team developed the Adjustment Request Tool (ART) that enables all persons with disabilities to explore accommodation options—including assistive technology, web accessibility, workplace accommodation and ergonomic equipment—to meet their specific needs so they can thrive at work.

The ART of the possible

ART helps us to put people experiences at the center of what we do, follow robust processes with a clear path of ownership and establish a safe and empowering environment. Whether a person has a hearing or vision impairment, a broken wrist or is neurodiverse, we can employ assistive technology, accommodations, adjustments or new equipment such as different lighting, laptop risers or a mouse to help them bring their best selves to work.

Here’s how ART works. Built on the ServiceNow platform and accessed via desktop or mobile, an accommodation request can be made via the tool—by an employee, supervisor or even on behalf of a job applicant. Notifications are sent automatically at every stage of the request and an end-to-end case manager is assigned, making sure the action taken is compliant and the outcome is registered on the platform.

Today, ART is available in more than 37 countries and has supported more than 36,000 Disability Inclusion Champions. In just one year, we have seen 1,805 tickets raised, the highest take-up being in the United States. The top three requests were around accommodation, assistive technology and workplace ergonomics.

The ART of diversity inclusion

ART has given us a clear opportunity to be focused, compliant and consistent when it comes to disability inclusion—and offers one place to go to remove barriers. Highlights of its success include:

  • High leadership commitment to build and grow: Our CEO Julie Sweet is behind our inclusion and diversity efforts and encouraged our organization’s leaders to commit from the outset
  • Global accommodations budget: When someone makes an accommodation request, the budget to meet that need comes from our global budget. There’s no need for the employee to request special funding from their manager – it’s already covered.
  • End-to-end in-house program management: Our Global IT team adapted the ServiceNow platform and continue to support any user issues.
  • Building strong internal capability and subject-matter expertise: Our change and adoption team helped to create awareness and we undertake regular training among with our local IT resources and accessibility centers.
  • Seamless integration of global vision with local requirements: We combine a clear global strategy with local knowledge to better serve individual and geographic needs.

We hope you will join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of GAAD on May 20th. Read more about our accessibility efforts here. We believe in the power of inclusion: to change lives, to create better results and to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity.

Melissa Summers

Managing Director – Global IT, Corporate Technology

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