Neurodiversity in the workplace

by | Oct 19, 2022 | News

It is estimated that around one in seven people (more than 15 per cent of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently – so that means around 10 million people. 

10 Million. We’ll leave that figure there for a moment.

As an employer, how can you support neurodivergent team members, thus ensuring a workplace free from discrimination and one which encourages inclusivity? With October being ADHD Awareness month, at Spire HR we want to help you understand how to manage and work with people with neurodiversity – but before we do, a brief introduction into the spectrum of neurodivergent challenges:

What is…?
ADHD or to give it its full term, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – typically this can affect an individual’s behaviour. A person might seem restless, they might have trouble concentrating or might act impulsively, sometimes experiencing debilitating sleep deprivation.

You may have someone with Dyslexia in your team – often also known as the reading disorder – this affects skills involved in reading, spelling and writing.

Or have you employed someone with Autism? This affects how people interact and communicate with the world around them – their real challenge is often in social interaction or repetitive behaviour.

Epilepsy can cause seizures or unusual behaviours, 

Dyscalculia can present as a difficulty in understanding and how to apply mathematics to numbers, 

Dyspraxia – or to give it it’s full title, Development co-ordination disorder can impact physical co-ordination and a person may appear to move clumsily, 

Tourette’s or Tic disorders can cause a person to make involuntary sounds and movements. 

How can I support my team…?
What kind of job would best-suit a person with ADHD? As with a neurotypical person, the best way to get the very best out of a person with ADHD is for them to be in a role that fills them with passion. Typically creative in their outside-the-box thinking and often great with the practical too, adults with ADHD thrive when placed in a role that allows them to create or experience new things, and can often delight in a fast-paced, high-pressured environment such as a sales role. 

You can help manage a person with ADHD by providing structure to their day along with the appropriate administrative support they need to perform their role. The ability for actual movement can also be important, as can regular and immediate feedback. As a business, ensuring you do regular well-being checks is vital for all staff including those with ADHD, for whom the symptoms might impact behaviour, mood and thinking. Click here for more helpful tips and hints.

If you have an employee with Dyslexia, the symptoms can vary widely from person to person. In our experience, it’s crucial to the success of a person with Dyslexia to have access to a mentor, someone they can go to if they are struggling and this also links in to our previous comment about regular well-being checks. Make sure to ask the person concerned what coping strategies they have developed, such as colour coding or the use of pictures can be of great value and where possible, stick to the same type of paperwork for data entry and interpretation and have tasks that can be broken down to be ticked off. 

In summary
To truly create an inclusive workforce, you must first understand the meaning of neurodiversity and how this can positively impact your business. 

As with neurotypical individuals, considering a person’s skills and specialisms is crucial to the future success of your business and the inclusion of neurodiverse individuals in your team can provide some unique strengths.

As your local approachable, experienced HR specialists, Spire HR are well versed in helping you create and implement an inclusive, diverse, empowering workforce to help empower you and your managers to support your teams.

Protect your company. Invest in your staff. Get in touch today on 01925 626253.

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