Today’s post was written by Bert Floyd, senior IT manager of assistive technologies at TD Bank Group.
My journey with accessible technology at TD started more than 10 years ago, when I was called in to help incorporate a screen reader and Braille display into our retail environment for a new employee who was blind. Back then, it was a steep learning curve for the IT department. That’s not the case today. Over the intervening decade, we have created an inclusive corporate culture that celebrates everyone, including people with disabilities, and provides us with huge business potential. For example, one in seven people* in Canada identifies as having a disability, and there is an increasing incidence of age-related disabilities among our growing elderly demographic. Making sure our services are easily accessible is key to earning the business of this considerable segment of the population.
We are excited about introducing accessible technologies within Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10 to empower our employees to help us work toward this strategic advantage. We find that most people can benefit from these accessible technologies, whether they identify as having a disability or not, because the technologies are built in to the Office apps. When employees can customize their environment and adapt to a wide variety of situations, they will be far more successful and productive.
And when we accommodate employees who identify as having a disability, we gain their insight and innovation to help us build accessibility right into our products and services. People with disabilities must think creatively about how to do things that other people don’t necessarily have to worry about, and we want to support that creativity in our workplace. We’re deploying Office 365 to all our employees and Windows 10 to almost 100,000 computers, which helps create an accessible workplace and ensure we will not miss out on hiring the best and the brightest.
From our websites to our brick-and-mortar branches and ATMs, we try to consider accessibility in every aspect of the customer experience. And we believe that with a more diverse and inclusive workforce, we’ll be in a better position to get there.
I’m excited about giving our employees the opportunity to leverage the accessibility features in Office 365 and Windows 10 in their everyday work lives. All employees need to think about accessibility, and everyone plays a role in creating a supportive, inclusive culture. When we all use the same inclusive tool set, there is enormous potential for improving productivity and driving awareness about the value of creating accessible documents and presentations for everyone to easily read and understand. Employees at TD already have access to Accessibility Checker, which makes it easy to spot problems and make content in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote more accessible. People are learning about Narrator and Magnifier in Windows 10 and about the built-in color filters.
We have come a long way since hiring that first employee who was blind. Today, approximately 6 percent of our workforce identifies as having a disability. Our Assistive Technologies Lab welcomes anyone to come and learn about inclusive design and the technologies we have available to support our employees. We work with technology projects to help them conform to our IT accessibility standards, and we rolled out a training program for our developers and testers—a number of them with disabilities—to ensure we fully consider accessibility in our customer-facing products and services.
Today, TD prides itself on its diverse and talented workforce, and I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a great team that works hard to put so many resources behind our employees. Along with our assistive technologies, we are using Office 365 and Windows 10 to help us remove barriers for people with disabilities to create a more inclusive workplace that’s as diverse and exciting as the communities we serve.
Read the case study to learn more about how TD Bank is empowering its employees with assistive technology in Office 365 and Windows 10.