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Neurodiversity In The Workplace

Neurodiversity In The Workplace

Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information.  It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people are neurodivergent; they function, learn and process information differently to the way society expects.  This can include Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

There remains a lack of understanding of these conditions in the workplace and many misconceptions persist, despite the fact that the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments, to support disabled job applicants and employees and these conditions come within its scope. This enables disabled people to overcome any substantial disadvantages they may have in work.

Attention has generally focused more on the challenges associated with neurodivergence in the workplace, rather than on the strengths, so most organisations fail to see the potential of a neurodivergent talent pool.

In fact, many of the adjustments organisations make to support neurodivergent employees can benefit all employees.  such as clear communication, a quiet space to concentrate and a management style that considers individual needs.

A senior analyst on the autism spectrum recently won a claim against his employer for indirect disability discrimination after it failed to make reasonable adjustments for his condition. The case highlighted why employers need to understand how the work environment and associated stimuli could have a significant impact on neurodivergent employees. A remedy hearing has been scheduled;  the case still highlights its significance.

ACAS guidance suggests some practical changes employers can make, such as:

  • raising awareness and understanding of neurodiversity;
  • ensuring managers have the skills to manage a neurodivergent team;
  • reducing distractions and other obstacles;
  • providing internal assistance and support for neurodivergent employees;
  • offering diagnostic and workplace needs assessments;
  • designing job roles that get the best out of staff;
  • making the recruitment process inclusive; and
  • encouraging neurodivergent talent in their organisation.

It also suggests some benefits of such an approach:

  • highlighting the employer’s commitment to diversity and inclusion;
  • reducing the stigma around neurodivergence;
  • making staff feel safe and empowered to disclose a neurodivergence;
  • making it more likely that neurodivergent staff will be treated fairly by managers and colleagues;
  • opening the organisation up to a pool of talent that may otherwise have been overlooked; and
  • helping retain skilled staff and reduce recruitment costs.

The guidance also includes specific advice for managers who manage neurodivergent staff and information to help neurodivergent employees to ensure they are treated fairly in the workplace.

If you require any further information or guidance in this area, please contact

Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or 01905 824051 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

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