Creating a more accessible and inclusive bank
"The plan’s 14 commitments and detailed actions are designed to truly integrate accessibility across all part of the organisation as digital transformation takes hold.”
ANZ’s Accessibility and Inclusion plan features artwork ‘The Wind 2022’ by Victoria Atkinson, a Sydney-based painter and textile artist.
One in six Australians and one in four New Zealanders live with a disability. These are our family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
Labour force participation for people with disability remains a huge challenge. The unemployment rate for Australians with disability is 10 per cent - more than double the rate of other Australians (4.6 per cent) - and the figures are similar in New Zealand.
Disability continues to be the largest category of discrimination complaints before the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Improving outcomes for people with disability requires a whole of community response – from government, the community sector, small and large businesses, and individuals.
Our commitment to accessibility and inclusion
ANZ has released its Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2023-2025 which includes an expanded set of commitments to drive and embed accessibility and inclusion across the bank.
Four key focus areas outline opportunities and actions that will enable us to better serve all customers and create an inclusive workplace for our people.
ANZ’s Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2023 – 2025 includes four new commitments across four focus areas
Our refreshed commitments extend to New Zealand where the bank has more than one million customers and 8400 employees.
For Dr Chandra Harrison, Managing Director Digital Accessibility at Access Advisors New Zealand, the latest plan is an important way to help organisations understand and implement digital accessibility.
“We look forward to working with ANZ to replicate the success from Australia here in New Zealand. It’s great to see a comprehensive and proactive plan for accessibility and inclusive design. Articulating the commitment in a clear way will help facilitate implementation,” she says.
The plan’s 14 commitments and detailed actions are designed to truly integrate accessibility across all parts of the organisation as digital transformation takes hold.
Initiatives include accessibility reviews of digital forms and collateral, ensuring marketing campaigns are inclusive and represent people with disability, piloting communication access tools in our branches and addressing gaps for people with disability working in hybrid work environments.
With an emphasis on elevating the voice of lived experience, many people have helped shape ANZ’s focus to build a more accessible bank. Our Accessibility and Inclusion Plan is the culmination of extensive consultation with ANZ employees, including the ANZ Abilities Network, and our partnerships in the wider community.
International Day of People with Disabilty (IDPwD)
- Saturday 3 December is International Day of People with Disability.
- IDPwD is a United Nations observed day aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability.
- The Australian Government has been supporting IDPwD since 1996 and provides funds to promote and raise awareness of the day and support activities around Australia.
- Learn more about IDPwD
Empowering the voice of employees
With a clear purpose to make ANZ’s workplace and culture more supportive of people with disability, ANZ’s Abilities Network is a contact point and voice for employees living with disability.
Established in 2005, the network now has more than 100 members representing employees across Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Fiji and Singapore.
The group continues to raise awareness around accessibility and inclusion including providing AUSLAN classes, giving staff an opportunity to try tools like Assistive Touch iPads and sharing the experience and impact of visible and invisible disabilities on peoples’ lives.
More than 400 people with disability have joined ANZ’s workforce since 2019 and 354 jobseekers with disability have participated in the Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) Mentoring program.
To date, more than 3000 ANZ employees have completed disability confidence training, each year 14,000 employees participate in mental health awareness training and ANZ now has an in-house Auslan interpreter fluent in Australian sign language.
Annual ANZ Abilities Network STAR awards have been celebrated every year since 2005 and recognise people who go above and beyond to make the bank more inclusive and accessible for employees, customers and the community.
Improving employment opportunities at ANZ for people with disability, from early talent right through to leadership, is an important part of ANZ’s Accessibility and Inclusion Plan.
A disability- confident workforce
ANZ was involved in early-stage discussions for the IncludeAbility project with the Disability Discrimination Commissioner Dr Ben Gauntlett.
There are now two IncludeAbility pilot employment programs underway, in Western Australia and regional New South Wales, which aim to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability while closing the gap between people with disability and people without disability in the workplace.
Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
Dr Gauntlett says, “we want organisations throughout Australia to understand that employing people with a disability is a critical human rights issue. It’s not just about being a charitable, good thing to do, it is about making sure that your business or organisation is fit for purpose for generations of Australians now and in the future.”
ANZ’s latest plan sees a shift to more of a proactive rather than reactive strategy.
“We’ve got to move from focusing disability policy on talking about the ‘why’ to talking about the ‘how’,” says Dr Gauntlett.
“It’s about implementation. And telling stories about where things have worked out well, not just the egregious situations.”
Inclusive design – sustainable and accessible retail stores
Since the 2019 plan was released, there has also been a significant shift in ANZ’s accessibility strategy towards inclusive design.
In 2020, Inclusive Design was formally recognised as a core skill set for the ANZ Design team and Design for Dignity guidelines have been implemented across our new buildings.
In collaboration with architecture firm Breathe, these principles have been a foundation of the new ANZ branch design and offer:
- Independent and equitable access to premises, goods and services;
- Participation of people with disability;
- A place where people feel at-ease, safe, certain and connected.
In addition to an existing network of over 400 branches in Australia, ANZ continues to fit out more than 30 flexible and sustainable branches and ANZ Plus stores nationwide each year, based on principles of sustainability and accessibility. Each branch is modular and fully flexible; featuring plants, furniture and materials designed to increase wellbeing.
The new ANZ branch design is modular and fully flexible.
ANZ sought feedback from the Australian Network on Disability (AND) on the branch design. The report highlighted details which resulted in improvements that were easy to incorporate.
Accessibility features including the placement of power points, light switches and even the material contrasts in transitions in flooring are an important consideration when aiming to achieve the best accessibility outcomes.
ANZ Design Director Duncan Sinclair says, “we need to consider a broad range of things that affect people and how can we make sure our spaces can accommodate those different needs.”
At ANZ Plus Richmond, an employee who uses a wheelchair was a critical measure of how accessible the design was. “We created spaces where this person can perform work, exactly the same way as other staff,” says Duncan.
ANZ’s accessibility commitments provide a framework for practical, measurable change to make the bank more inclusive for everyone in the community.
Read more about ANZ’s Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2023-2025
Meg Dalling is Customer Vulnerability and Accessibility Lead at ANZ
Community & Purpose
Removing barriers to communication
Community & Purpose