This page describes best practice. It does not explain the law
7. Use effective and accessible communication
As an employer, you need to make sure you communicate in an effective and accessible way for everyone who works for you, including disabled workers and those with long-term health conditions. We will refer to both as ‘workers’ in this guidance.
This can involve:
- making sure information is in an accessible format
- communicating in a timely manner so workers understand their rights and responsibilities
- making sure information is current and practical
Communicating in an effective and accessible way can:
- make workers feel supported, valued and more confident
- support a worker’s return to work during sickness absence, when keeping in touch
Provide accessible communications
Your communication on workplace practices needs to be:
- easy to understand
Consider the format, medium and content of any communications. Make sure it is inclusive for all your workers. For example, think about using:
- British Sign Language
- Easy Read
- audio to text
- sufficient contrast levels between background and text
- formats accessible to screen readers/voice-overs and other assistive technology
Consult worker representatives and any disability groups in your organisation.
How staff improved their communication skills after a shift to remote working
The shift to remote working at a small charity has meant an increase in the use of video calls for meetings. For a deaf worker, video calls are more difficult to follow and take part in. She is sometimes excluded from meetings, decisions and conversations.
With her manager, the worker explored practical steps to support communication. They reminded colleagues to try to talk one at a time. They asked for people to send written follow-ups after conversations and meetings. The charity now uses a video calling software with subtitles built in, and provides a lip-reading service.
The worker welcomed the support and is included in meetings and decisions. She regularly reviews her communication requirements with her line manager and HR to make sure they remain fit for purpose.
Encourage good communication
Encourage open dialogue between managers and workers as part of routine working practices.
Managers should always be sensitive and keep conversations with workers confidential.
Make sure managers only share information when this:
- is agreed in advance
- complies with data protection requirements
Provide support for managers
You need to make sure managers have appropriate support. Think about how managers can access additional training or advice if they need to. You can provide this internally or externally, or point to free resources online.