In 2018, being mindful of diversity and disability when making hiring decisions is more important than ever. According to the 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI) survey , “U.S. businesses are becoming increasingly accessible for people with disabilities.” The survey analyzes companies’ engagement with, and recruitment of individuals with disabilities. Of the 110 companies that participated in 2017, 68 earned a 100% rating in recruitment and engagement efforts of people with disabilities; but 110 companies is a very limited sample. If your organization were surveyed, how would you rate? What initiatives have you taken to ensure that you’re not only offering jobs to differently-abled employees, but taking their unique needs into account day-to-day? A good place to begin designing an inclusion program is with Section 508 compliance.
Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, requiring that all federal agencies provide accessible “electronic and information technology” (including web-based training) to their employees. The Act also provides a great baseline for any organization. By following Section 508 compliance standards, companies can ensure that all employees have access to resources that meet their needs. Compliant security awareness training, for example, is designed to be useful and effective for users with a variety of disabilities, and contains multiple special aids so that all users can understand and interact with the material presented.
What’s the first step? First of all, determine whether you are required by law to provide 508-compliant training. If you are part of a federal agency, you are. Doing business with a federal agency also requires you to be compliant. If you are required to be compliant, realize that you may also be required to prove compliance, and that many types of hardware, software, and content fall under the umbrella of 508 compliance.
If you are not required to be compliant, it may benefit your organization to make the effort anyway. Begin by deciding which aspects of applications and resources you use can be made accessible. Since security awareness training is frequently deployed company-wide and directly impacts organizational security, it’s a great starting point. And, while providing every security course in a 508-compliant format may not be possible, determining key topics to cover in a more accessible format is also more than worthwhile.
To aid in this effort, GLS offers 508-compliant versions of some of our most popular courses, including Security Awareness Essentials Challenge (our comprehensive core course) and our topical Best Practices Modules. These courses contain the same information and retain the same basic format as the standard versions, but, among other features, have been designed in a text-based format for the hearing impaired and optimized to work with screen readers for the vision-impaired. The courses have been confirmed 508-compliant by the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
Regardless of your organization’s compliance needs, accessible resources are an important element to creating a favorable and non-discriminatory work environment. Providing all employees with the tools they need to thrive at work should be a top priority, not just an afterthought ━ and supplying and encouraging the use of 508-compliant security awareness training is a great place to start.
Contact your Account Representative or visit our website to learn more about how GLS can assist you in your compliance efforts.