How do you ensure that our physical workplace, digital platforms, and communication materials are accessible to employees with disabilities?
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 15% of the global population lives with a disability. However, is this level of representation equally reflected in our workforce?
Nevertheless, these figures are dynamic. For instance, recent studies suggest a changing landscape in disability representation. At the forefront of this transformative movement is Marching Sheep, a trailblazing Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) & HR consulting firm committed to reshaping workplaces into spaces that champion equity and inclusion for all.
“We get interests from companies, they want to take action but when it gets to actual data and resources around PWD, there’s very little practical information you may get your hands on” says Sonica Aron, Founder and CEO of Marching Sheep.
This conundrum led the team at Marching Sheep to a 18 month long research that resulted in a Comprehensive Workbook: A Response to the broadening narrative of Diverse demographics and workforce.
Marching Sheep’s commitment to inclusivity is not just a philosophy; it’s a robust response to the pressing needs of the current workforce dynamics. “We don’t do this because we wanted to, but we had to”. This exploration was ignited by disconcerting statistics—too many people with disabilities were grappling with unemployment arising due to lack of awareness, stereotypes, myths, stigma, isolation and biases.
Despite the expressed willingness of organizations to become Persons with Disabilities (PWD) confident, persistent barriers such as a lack of awareness and actionable data hindered progress.
Their transformative journey commenced with an intensive 18-month exploration, amalgamating primary and secondary research efforts to understand the 21 disabilities covered under the RPWD act as well as the statutory and cultural
nuances across 15 countries.
The Heart of the Matter: The Marching Sheep Research on PWD Their comprehensive research wherein they spoke to persons with disabilities whether employed or seeking employment, caregivers, employers, allies, provides for an in-depth understanding of physical, mental and emotional needs of these people. One size does not fit all. Disabilities are on a spectrum and every individual’s mobility, accessibility and accommodation needs will be different. What came forth- countless untold stories of untapped potential. They recognized the need for a centralized repertoire of solutions. The endeavour wasn’t just about data; it was about giving voice to the stories and challenges faced by the PWD community so that solutions could be devised and implemented. Marching Sheep meticulously crafted the most comprehensive DIY playbook which provides for a structured step by step solutions, employer handbook and a lot more.
The Unveiling: What to Expect from Marching Sheep’s Playbook
1. A One-Stop-Shop Comprehensive Guide:
This document transcends traditional guides; it serves as a repository of knowledge, encapsulating the symptoms, challenges, and accessibility needs associated with 21 disabilities. It’s a compendium of wisdom, providing deep insights into the unique aspects of each disability. Organizations armed with this knowledge are better equipped to navigate the diverse landscape of abilities.
2. Legal Compliance Across 15 Countries:
Navigating the complex legal landscape for PWD inclusion can be a daunting task for organizations. Our workbook, however, transforms this challenge into an opportunity for growth. It meticulously breaks down legal compliances and local laws across 15 countries, providing a comprehensive yet accessible roadmap for seamless adherence. It’s more than a legal guide; it’s a legal companion, ensuring organizations not only meet but exceed compliance standards.
3. Advantages for Workspaces with phased implementation:
The beauty of diversity lies in its dynamic nature, and organizations often find themselves at different stages in their diversity journey. The workbook is not aone-size-fits-all solution; it’s a dynamic tool designed to cater to diverse needs. Its modular components allow for phased implementation, ensuring ease of use for organizations, regardless of their current stage in the diversity journey.
A Journey Beyond Numbers: It could be any of us, any day.
The PWD community is not a distant entity; it’s a dynamic and diverse collective that anyone can join at any time. Many of the respondents we spoke to were not born with a disability. Some acquired a disability as result of an acid attack, which is a crime. Some were in an accident that led to locomotor or sensory disability. Some had an illness, like multiple sclerosis, or leprosy, at later stages in life that left them with a disability. This recognition makes us realise that building not just disability confident organisations, but a disability confident society, an inclusive world is every ones responsibility. Understanding disability as a shared human experience is not about dwelling on fear; it’s about fostering empathy and inclusivity. Hence this report is a transformative guide for companies, individuals, and societies alike. It’s a call to unite in the shared commitment to making the world genuinely inclusive, for all.
Marching Sheep – Nurturing Inclusivity, Cultivating Equality.