As members of the Kanchi network, we were delighted to be part of their ‘Kanchi 100’ initiative last year – which was a commitment from 100 business to implement one change towards inclusiveness. For our part, we opened up our service via text to accommodate people with hearing difficulties. However, what we learned was that most of the people with hearing difficulties that we dealt with actually preferred the more comprehensive medium of email for more effective communication. In fact, we found that the text only service benefitted people with a whole range of social anxiety phobias – we simply could not have pre-empted that…
This clearly illustrates that people are not just experts on their own disability, but in the day to day context of getting on with their lives, they are masters of their own particular disability – that probably should not have surprised me!
Just before Christmas, Kanchi extended their scheme – it is now the ‘Kanchi 500’ initiative and I was proud to attend the launch and to celebrate the evolution. As the initiative is evolving, we felt that it was important that our commitment would also evolve. The workshop training provided by the team at Kanchi (thank you Nikki, Nicola, Terry, Eugene and everyone else there!) gave us the confidence not just to extend our commitment but to start a conversation about disability. So our Kanchi 500 commitment, with our somewhat heightened awareness (we have so much further to go on this journey) is simply to ask any potential property buyers, clients or otherwise – how can we make the property market more acccessible to you? In short, our commitment is to ask the question and listen, really listen, to the answer.
When we lock any member of society out of using our services, we are effectively locking out potential fee-generating customers and what business can afford that? Mine simply cannot. In addition to the moral and societal imperative, there is a business case for accommodating a whole range of disabilities.
So, my advice for companies thinking of getting involved with the ‘Kanchi 500’ initiative is to go for it and know that it is okay to start small – it is the making of the pledge rather than the pledge itself that is important as that is really just a starting point.