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Where to start on global business disability

Davina CritchleyDavina Critchley, Global Taskforce Manager at Business Disability Forum

The world seems to have gotten smaller as we’ve navigated the past year and that’s been ever more evident in our Global Taskforce. As a network of global organisations we have always striven to be accessible to as many locations as possible and we’ve been able to meet throughout 2020 and talk through topics relating to global disability inclusion.

Our Global Business Disability Framework was developed in 2018 to help organisations measure and improve their approach to global disability inclusion. Since then, we’ve been delighted to see the use of the framework ‘in action’. Some organisations use it as a self-assessment, while others use it as a basis to develop their global disability inclusion strategy.

The Global Business Disability Framework is simple: it acts as a maturity model incorporating 10 business areas and 4 levels of maturity from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Leading’. The 10 business areas are based on our Disability Smart Framework and underpins much of the work we do here at BDF. We believe that the approach to improving disability inclusion should be a whole organisational one, running through fundamental business areas like recruitment, products and procurement. The framework provides the opportunity for organisations to think about how they may be able to do this, across their markets.

The Global Business Disability Framework was developed by key members of our Global Taskforce and the framework provides the basis for our Global Taskforce meetings and content.

New members often join our Global Taskforce with specific questions about where to start, while more experienced members also describe a need to review and ‘check in’ on progress across areas. We’re pleased that the framework can provide this basis for discussion.

A recent survey of our Global Taskforce members found that many organisations are still lacking the senior commitment or ‘buy in’ when it comes to global disability inclusion. The first business area of the Global Business Disability Framework is commitment and we were so pleased that Mary Worsley, Global Inclusion and Diversity Manager, from GSK shared how the organisation had established a global commitment to disability inclusion at our Global Taskforce meeting on 15 June.

Mary talked about how in order to take a more structure approach to disability inclusion at GSK, a Global Disability Council was established. The Council sees its role as addressing the challenges faced by a multi-national operating across different jurisdictions to engage and implement change. The key: it’s at senior level that the buck stops.

In my role as Global Taskforce Manager, conversations about commitment come up time and time again. Without it, not much can be progressed. Indeed, in our recent research on Collecting Global Employee Disability Data (thank you to HSBC for sponsoring this), 59% of respondents said that senior level support and commitment was the most significant enabler that helped develop a global programme of data gathering.

The Global Taskforce will continue to develop conversations that support organisations with their global disability inclusion journey and the Global Business Disability Framework is a fundamental tool to enable this learning to take place.

In our next meeting in August, we look forward to discussing the Built Environment (business area 9 on the framework) and how global organisations can work towards completely accessible buildings across their locations and markets. A challenging prospect, without a doubt, but one that we look forward to diving into.

Watch this space, also, for some further research to come from the Global Taskforce on the very subject.

Find out more about the Global Taskforce using this link

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