Blog by Mike Adams
For the last 18 months I have been evangelical in speaking to businesses about the commercial opportunities that disability can bring.
Last Monday the focus was very much on practising what I have been preaching. At the British Property Federation and Revo joint conference, I publicly launched Purple’s membership offer to business.
It is not a hard sell because it reflects exactly the activities I have been told by business leaders are needed.
We (not I!) provide a digital diagnosis. A fancy title, but we look at an organisation’s main website and provide a top line report (with recommendations) about its accessibility. It is amazing how many things can be done, simply and straight away (and at no cost) to improve access. We tell businesses what these are. We also set out a number of recommendations that can easily be achieved and at a fraction of the cost some of our customers have been quoted. The premium of mystique needs to be disabused for the sake of everyone, apart from accessibility consultants! And finally, we identify those longer-term issues to be addressed if funding allows or when the website is redesigned. Over the course of the last seven days I have learnt the hover feature is very important to web developers! I have also learned from Mark, our Digital Lead, the hover does not have to disappear to make a website accessible. A fully accessible website does not equal an ugly website.
Purple also offer consultancy to organisations, reflecting our mantra ‘you are where you are’ which dictates what you want and need. Across our team we are able to respond to the widest range of requests from disability confident customer services to HR policies, through to briefing your supply chains.
I have previously talked about the importance of businesses being Disability Confident accredited. Purple membership starts that journey through a guide that provides detailed prompts to tease out the evidence from you required. As part of our offer, we will submit to the Government your Level 1 submission, for which you will receive the Disability Confident certificate and logo for all your promotional materials.
As part of our core benefits, we also provide access to disabled job seekers through our job board. This is free for a period and can then be purchased at a discounted price to form part of an organisation’s ongoing recruitment strategy.
All Purple members will receive our certificate which we hope you will display proudly in your workplace and you will also be able to use our exclusive Purple Member logo. Purple are creating a regular e-bulletin to keep members in touch with current thinking, best practice and wider Purple work. Our quarterly magazine will include longer articles from Purple and members on disability leadership issues for business.
Price. As a small (but growing) organisation ourselves, we understand the challenges of finding the resources, time and internal expertise, to cover all bases. We have intentionally discounted heavily our price of £199 plus V.A.T. to those businesses who employ 49 staff or under. Acknowledging disability has hitherto been a marginal issue for most, we do not want to fall into the trap of unintentionally excluding over 85% of businesses in the UK. For businesses employing between 49 – 249 staff, our price is £1,799 plus V.A.T. and for large businesses, employing over 250 staff, our price is £2,999 plus V.A.T.
This provides a real opportunity for medium and large organisations to demonstrate a different type of Social Value, whilst building their own disability confidence. Their membership fees directly support the growth and development of small organisations. As a not-for-profit organisation, all fees also go towards directly supporting wider Purple work to improve the lives of disabled people. This is meaningful CSR in practice.
I was delighted last Friday to be part of a special Purple webinar to celebrate our membership offer with James Bishop, the Managing Director of Skye Cloud. Skye Cloud are our first member. As a small organisation themselves, they provide IT solutions to other small to medium sized organisations. James has realised their service desk and helpline might be used by disabled staff from client organisations, and if they are not fully accessible it could become a real business problem.
On the back of are conversation with James, I have nuanced Purple’s message to business promoting the Purple Pound as a business to consumer only solution, to including the importance of business to business engagement.
As our membership grows, it will make the sell to business much easier, and the preaching will come from many other voices.
Together, we are Purple.