Jonathan Hassell & HSBC shortlisted by National Diversity Awards for accessibility work

Friday 16th September 2022 was a great day for accessibility!

In the past, disability has struggled for recognition as part of Diversity & Inclusion.

It has often been neglected, despite disability being one of the largest of the 9 protected characteristics by population which are referenced in the UK Equality Act 2010.

Thanks to Valuable 500’s great work in getting CEOs to commit to disability inclusion, this is changing.

In the past, the accessibility of digital tools that staff use every day has struggled for recognition, even where disability was recognised as part of Diversity & Inclusion. It’s all been about reasonable adjustments, rather about whether those adjustments really allow people with disabilities to thrive in the workplace. It’s great to have a screen reader provided if you’re blind. But it’s beside the point, if none of the digital tools and communications you’re supposed to use actually work with it.

Thanks to the National Diversity Awards’ recognition of HSBC’s great accessibility work for their staff, and our work at Hassell Inclusion helping them and many other organisations who also want to live up to their Valuable 500 commitments via ISO 30071-1, this is changing too.

HSBC were shortlisted for Diverse Company of the Year, for their great work in making their digital tools accessible to their staff. It’s worth reading their nomination in full:

Organisations worldwide are waking up to the importance of disability and neurodiversity in diversity and inclusion. HSBC – one of the world’s largest banking organisations, with 235,000 staff serving 40m customers globally – know that inclusion is not just about commitments, quotas or recruitment. It’s about ensuring diverse staff and customers can thrive in their daily lives, increasingly using digital tools and technologies. That’s why HSBC are making all their channels accessible – websites, apps and campaigns for customers; internal tools and eLearning for staff – in a 10-year journey to become the most digitally accessible financial services provider in the world.

They’re making accessibility happen through Exec Level commitment and 9 years’ work recruiting a team of experts with rare skills, to develop best-practice processes and support, and deliver accessibility for all. They established one of the world’s most comprehensive accessibility training programmes. Over 30,000+ people create HSBC digital products, so they’ve recently created innovative Accessibility Awareness eLearning to upskill them all. They plan to share this publicly soon. A dyslexic user said: “It’s great to see HSBC doing this. It’s exceptionally well done. As many people as possible should see it.”

This has enabled digital products created by HSBC for their customers to be made in an accessible way, delivering the most accessible banking website in 11 of their 13 top markets.

However, the creators of digital workplace tools like HR portals and timesheets struggle to get accessibility right. Historically, that has made it hard for HSBC to deliver accessibility for staff. So HSBC are now supporting their tool and eLearning vendors to make their products and processes accessible. It’s helping their own disabled staff get accessible tools, and millions of staff in other companies who also use those vendors’ tools.

We think that’s unique.

Our CEO, Jonathan Hassell was shortlisted for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, for his work. Here’s his nomination, plus some great words volunteered by people from the community who regularly attend our free monthly webinars:

Prof Jonathan Hassell has been leading the adoption of digital accessibility, the technical element of diversity & inclusion for people with disabilities, for over 20 years. He’s a globally recognised thought leader and CEO of Hassell Inclusion, which has supported over 8,000 people in 100 companies worldwide to make their digital technology accessible to all.

For 15 years he has put his knowledge into the pro-bono creation of International Accessibility Standards. In 2007 Jonathan led the creation of the British Standards, BS 8878, and brought together experts from around the world to create the international version, ISO 30071-1, published in 2019. Its adoption in government requirements is causing more companies to make accessibility happen globally.

Jonathan also hosts free monthly accessibility webinars, and his free online ISO 30071-1 Scorecard has helped 350+ organisations to find their Digital Accessibility Maturity Score.

This is in recognition of Jonathan Hassell’s exceptional dedication and commitment to promoting accessibility and inclusive design to enable people with disabilities to live independent and fulfilling lives. Jonathan’s work enables organisations and commercial companies to understand the needs of people with disabilities and make changes to digital products and services in such a way that disabled users feel empowered and valued.

Jonathan Hassell is a passionate and engaging advocate for digital accessibility. You can see a “green light” go on whenever he speaks about how to do it, based on years of practical expertise and as a personal passion. As well as helping to affect change in governments, regulators and organisations based on ISO 30071-1, he is also handing the baton onto the next generation of advocates and practitioners.

Jonathan has been an extraordinary accessibility champion, working tirelessly to advance accessibility. As a fellow accessibility professional in the field for 10 years, I can tell you Jonathan’s common-sense approach has made us change our Canadian business for the better. It’s one thing to help clients, it’s another to constantly inspire others in the industry to do better. He deserves this award.

While no awards were won on our table in the end, it was a great night, meeting so many leaders and fellow Lifetime Achievement nominees committed to Diversity and Inclusion. It was wonderful to see the important work being done by each and every person there, and the difference it makes to people’s lives.

Even more importantly, accessibility had seats at the table for the awards.

Long may that continue!

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. See you next year!


Liverpool Cathedral looking stunning in purple light as it hosted the thousand people for the awards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.