Shell also evaluates its entire global real estate portfolio with the ambition to create an enabling environment for people with disabilities.
New technologies are also emerging. Microsoft’s “Seeing AI” app tells the world around you. For hearing-impaired users, the XRAi Glass app uses augmented reality glasses to transcribe audio and display it as real-time subtitles to the wearer.
“Creating a global strategy at this scale requires a long-term approach. That means going beyond HR and involving the firm’s real estate and portfolio management teams,” said Gorriti. increase.
The fact that the organization now has a role dedicated to DEI is already a step in the right direction, Raoul says.
“We can’t cater for all contingencies, but having people asking for help with accessibility is progress,” she says.
new way of thinking
Health and well-being are the second highest priority for employees, and Raoul says it’s time to think beyond the ramps and lifts.
“Disabilities can be acquired at any stage of life, with age or health-related conditions such as arthritis, and people struggle physically,” she says.
Instead of acting as a barrier, the physical environment should provide an accessible support system that benefits everyone, says Gority. Much of this means more consideration in the early stages of design and fitment, whether the project is a new build or a retrofit project.
“Complying with health and safety regulations is the bare minimum. It can support blind or deaf and cognitive disabilities and provide autonomy regardless of specific needs.” she says
DEI firmly on the agenda
DEI may be lagging behind its sustainability initiatives in the ESG space, but Gorriti says it’s on the same path of becoming a non-negotiable societal demand. .
“This is a learning journey and inclusivity cannot be fixed overnight, but companies can start by initiating conversations, listening and drafting a roadmap for implementation. “Even small investments can make a big difference,” she says.
Despite the many challenges, she believes organizations are risking and ignoring accessibility.
“It’s no longer a question of whether you need it, it’s a question of how best to achieve it,” says Gority. “Companies that embrace inclusivity with a people-centered culture and accessible spaces will be the employers of choice in the future and will outperform others by attracting the best talent.”