Janice McClelland

How are you supporting staff?

“Connect” is the theme of this year’s Learning at Work Week and there’s no better time to Connect with your staff who have dyslexia. 


Learning at Work Week - 16th to 22nd May 2016

The British Dyslexia Association estimates that 1 in 10 adults have dyslexia so even if you don’t think you have dyslexic staff, the chances are that someone in your workforce will be affected. Dyslexia is known as a ‘hidden disability’, and many people are never formally diagnosed. 

Often dyslexics are reluctant to disclose it in the workplace due to the stigma associated. Speak to people with dyslexia and sadly every one of them will recount stories of being branded as stupid. The perception of dyslexia is improving but many still don’t understand the condition. 

Some of the difficulties dyslexic colleagues might be facing include:

  • A slower work rate resulting in higher stress levels
  • A lack of confidence to advance their career 
  • Embarrassment at basic spelling errors
  • Visual stress
  • Compensating for their difficulties by working late to catch up, or learning things off by heart to avoid having to read in front of colleagues.
So what can you do to connect with existing staff and be a more dyslexia-friendly organisation?
  • Educate managers and team leaders about the effects of dyslexia and encourage them to look for signs in staff and support them.
  • Have nominated dyslexic champions -  Go-To people who understand the condition and can offer support to staff.
  • Install assistive technology such as Read&Write on all your computers, laptops and devices, providing productivity support for everyone, so dyslexic staff don’t have to stand out from their peers if they don’t want to.
  • Communicate to staff that you’re a Dyslexia-Friendly organisation and let everyone know that assistive technology support available. This is particularly important during recruitment and induction processes -  and as part of an ongoing staff wellbeing programme.
  • Be proud to be a Dyslexia Friendly organisation - get on social media and let the world know!
It’s not just your staff who will benefit - as an organisation if you invest in the wellbeing of your staff and fully support them you’ll increase employee commitment and loyalty. 

Organisations who understand the needs of their employees and make them feel valued and respected have greater success in retaining staff. It has a positive impact on job satisfaction and commitment to the organisation, creating a more united workforce with higher morale and reduced sickness absence. Your staff are more likely to work to their full potential, and demonstrate a far more positive attitude towards the company as an employer. This in turn can help attract a wider pool of new and diverse talent applying for jobs.

Working teams that are diverse in their make-up often come up with a wider range of solutions to business problems. By supporting dyslexic staff to be the best they can be, you’ll tap into a wealth of benefits including greater creativity and ‘outside the box’ thinking that dyslexic team members typically bring to an organisation (think of some of the most famous dyslexics - Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein to name a few)

We can help you create a more inclusive workplace, increase productivity and support dyslexic staff.  Want to know more? Email j.mcclelland@texthelp.com

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