We’re all unique – it’s what makes our lives interesting. We all have different approaches and traits. An accountant needs a close eye for detail, numbers, and the ability to analyse information; whereas a content creator needs a flair for language and the ability to engage their audience. Each one is an asset to the team; it’s their differences combined that make them more than the sum of their parts to enable the business to thrive.
Most people are neurotypical, which means that their brain works and processes information in the way that society expects. But for around 1 in 7 people (15%), their brains work differently, and this presents them with their own unique challenges and opportunities. This is described as neurodivergence.
Neurodivergence includes conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorders, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia; it is a common misconception that neurodiverse conditions are mental health conditions. Despite this, those with a neurodivergent condition may be more susceptible to poor mental health due to lack of support, masking their condition or poor well-being.
“Absence Management training with Sophie was great, informative and great refresher of our contractual obligations” Read the full review
Why is awareness of neurodiversity at work important?
Based on statistics alone, it’s likely that some members of your team will be neurodivergent, so embracing the diversity of different approaches could help you find the ingredients needed for business success.
Because people with neurodiversity think differently, these employees will be able to offer a different perspective on business issues; oftentimes neurodivergent employees can be very skilled at thinking creatively, complex problem solving, trend analysis, or activities that require close attention to detail.
Tips for Embracing and Supporting Neurodivergent Employees in the Workplace
1. Promote Understanding
Training can clear up misconceptions about neurodiversity and promote the use of positive language and inclusivity. Offering training helps to forge an open and inclusive culture that encourages managers and teams to embrace differences and play to each other’s strengths.
2. Neurodiversity Policy
Diversity in the business is about enabling individuals to work to their strengths rather than expecting them all to be good at the same things and do things in the same way. Creating a Neurodiversity Policy for managers to follow may help by setting out approaches to prevent discrimination as well as promote practices that ensure the consideration of neurodivergent employees in the workplace, such as within the recruitment process.
3. Clear communication
Some neurodivergent people may not pick up on nuances and manage ambiguity in communications in the same way as neurotypical people, and therefore your communications should be clear, direct, and concise. It’s useful to check with the recipient to ensure that your intended message has been understood.
4. Work Environment
Those with neurodiverse conditions may be sensitive to noise and light; consider that providing a quieter working area or break space may be useful. Display screen equipment (DSE) assessments can help you to identify whether employees have the right equipment and if their environment is appropriate. Adjustments could include anything from drawers to daily planners and screen overlays to manage screen brightness.
5. Flexible Working
Neurodivergent people may benefit from working flexibly. This may include flexibility in their work location such as working from home or hybrid working, or changes to their working hours or work patterns. It’s important to remember that these adjustments should work for both the individual and the business.
If you’d like to explore further how to find and amplify the strengths within your teams and better support your neurodivergent employees, get in contact with us today.