With an estimated one in seven people in the UK being neurodivergent, there’s a very high likelihood this statistic includes one of your colleagues or employees.

To mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week, we look ahead to MAD-HR delivering a focused workshop for leaders, as part of Norwich Business Festival.

Neurodiversity has become a much-referenced topic in recent years.

You may well be working alongside someone who has had a formal diagnosis, or been part of the journey to a loved one receiving recognition of their neurological differences.

And yet, despite the growing ‘conversation’ around what it is to be living with neurodiversity, in the business world it is still very much the case that leaders can feel somewhat at a loss as to how best to support colleagues and staff.


Neurodiversity misconceptions

In part, this may well be that the term – coined back in the 1990s – does come with a whole host of misconceptions and that it covers a breadth of traits and challenges, which vary for every individual.

At its most basic, neurodiversity refers to differences in how the brain functions, particularly in respect of attention, sociability and learning.

Labels you might hear associated with someone being neurodivergent might include ADHD, autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia.

For each of these neurodivergent terms, one staff member is likely to present differently to another, and may, as a result, require alternative levels of adjustment and support.

So where does this leave you as an employer?

How do you ensure you’re providing the appropriate environment and response for a diagnosed (and indeed, as yet undiagnosed) worker?

Perhaps even more importantly, how do you best dispel myths and misconceptions within the workplace culture around neurodiversity, and instead, truly recognise the skills and strengths present in employees who do live with some degree of neurodivergence?

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Norfolk Business Festival Event

Neurodiversity in the Workplace - MAD-HR flyer

These are just some of the questions we’ll be tackling as part of the workshop we’ll be leading as part of the Norfolk Business Festival, on Thursday 25th April at The NEST in Norwich.

Over the course of two hours, we’ll look at:

  • Distinguishing the neurodiversity types
  • Recognising the skills and talents of those with neurodiversity
  • Your legal position
  • What reasonable adjustments might be needed
  • Ensuring a culture of diversity and evidencing this through your recruitment and retention strategy

We’re delighted to be joined as part of this workshop by James Kindred, an entrepreneur who received a formal diagnosis of Autism and ADHD last year.

We’ll also hear from Kelly Sayers, an employment law specialist who lives within a neurodiverse family and has a special interest in this area.

Carole Burman
Carole Burman, Managing Director, MAD-HR

Carole Burman, MAD-HR’s MD says: “A vast number of employers say they have very little understanding about how best to support staff with neurodiversity, so this workshop is about being able to provide crucial myth-busting and crystal clear advice for making sure your business is well equipped to support employees.

“Alongside that, we’ll talk about the simple steps involved in creating an environment where you can get the best from neurodivergent staff through adopting tiny adjustments, and by building a culture where new and existing employees feel fully supported and understood.”

She added: “It really will be an unmissable and insightful workshop for any leader who wants to gain knowledge and also to come away armed with practical solutions for their own growing business.”

james kindred
James Kindred, founder of Fork

Speaking ahead of sharing his journey in the workshop, James Kindred said: “I wasn’t officially diagnosed Autistic and ADHD until well into my 40s, but having a formal diagnosis has given me the ability to reflect and begin to understand how my mind works, what can trigger burnout, and start to talk about how the workplace can be a real challenge for neurodivergent individuals.

“It’s also a real opportunity for employers to make inclusive spaces for everyone, neurodivergent or neurotypical.”

Kelly Sayers added: “As an employment lawyer with over 20 years’ experience advising employers on all aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion, I have always had a passion for this subject, largely due to the work I do and the prejudice I’ve faced myself during my career.

kelly sayers
Kelly Sayers, employment law specialist at Keystone Law

“However, most importantly living with a hugely gifted neurodivergent daughter and seeing what she has to offer and the challenges she faces has significantly increased the fire within me to get the word out there and help educate employers.
“There is a gigantic gap in education and understanding around neurodiversity and what neurodiverse people have to offer.”

To register to attend our free Neurodiversity in the Workplace workshop, go to:
Neurodiversity in the Workplace – MAD-HR

The event, part of the Norfolk Business Festival, takes place from 7.45am at The Nest in Horsford, Norwich. Breakfast is included.

If you’d like to arrange a 1-2-1 appointment for MAD-HR to discuss how your business can become better equipped to support neurodiverse employees, email carole.burman@madhr.co.uk