Just like life outside, the workplace is a hugely diverse environment. We’re all unique with our own life experiences and personal preferences. They shape how we like to work and get things done. Our differences are the reason great things happen in the workplace. And, as we celebrate the strengths that diversity can bring, we must also be proactive in our support.
Neurodiversity is one form of diversity in the workplace. Some neurodiverse employees may need some extra support at work.
On this page, we explore what you can do to empower neurodiverse employees. You'll learn how best to offer support, and help those with neurodiverse conditions achieve their best.
What you'll find:
Neurodiversity is the term used to describe natural variations in the human brain. It relates to differences in the way we think, process, learn and behave. Most people are neurotypical meaning that the brain functions and processes in the way that society expects. Yet 1 in 7 people are neurodiverse meaning they have unique traits. These are characterised as neurodiverse conditions.
Neurodiverse conditions are developmental. That means they are present at birth, but traits develop in childhood and adolescence. Examples of neurodiverse conditions include ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette's syndrome.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a behavioural condition. It affects the ability to control attention, impulse and concentration. People with ADHD may experience hyperactivity and impulsiveness. They might become easily distracted and prone to being restless or fidgeting. And, they may find it difficult to maintain their focus.
People with ADHD also have many associated strengths. Proactiveness and the ability to work well under pressure are a couple. Creative and holistic thinking is another. People with ADHD often make great leaders because they're resilient. They're often able to push past setbacks and adapt new strategies to pursue their goals. Hyperfocus is also associated with ADHD. Individuals that experience hyperfocus are driven by their interests. They're able to focus with deep concentration and energetic drive.
Later, we'll explore how you can support employees with ADHD to achieve their best.
In this handy guide you'll find all you need to know about neurodiversity in the workplace. Download today for free and;
Supporting people with neurodiverse conditions in the workplace requires flexibility. Employers must be willing to adapt the workplace to suit the individual needs of each employee. For this to happen, employers must work to create an inclusive culture. A culture where neurodiversity is accepted, understood, and celebrated!
Just 1 in 10 organisations say that they consider neurodiversity in their people management practices. Working with people with disabilities requires thought and consideration. Creating inclusive recruitment and retainment processes means ensuring equal opportunities for all. Gaining an understanding of how your employees perceive the company culture is a good place to start. It’ll help inform you of what steps you need to take to become more inclusive.
The Metropolitan Police are working to adapt their diversity and inclusion strategies to better support employees with disabilities. Hear what they're doing, and gain ideas and advice to take back to your own organisation.
Supporting employees with ADHD to achieve their best means to overcome any challenges. These can include difficulty organising and managing tasks. Maintaining focus throughout the day is another common challenge.
Start by asking the employee if they need any extra support. Then discuss what adjustments would benefit them. We’ve provided some examples of simple adjustments below. It might help you to kick start the conversation:
We've joined forces with Lexxic, an occupational psychology consultancy, to help you support neurodiversity and inclusion at work.
In this video series, we help you to gain a better understanding of neurodiversity. We uncover four neurodiverse conditions, and explore common workplace challenges. And, you'll gain expert advice on how to help neurodiverse employees overcome these.
In today’s world, offices are becoming increasingly digital. In fact, 95% of organisations agree that a digital workplace is important. With technology having an important role, there's a need to think about digital inclusion in the workplace.
For example, 59% of companies provide the apps workers want and need, but don’t make them easily accessible. That means 24/7 access, and compatibility across every device. But accessibility issues can come in other forms too.
Within the digital workplace, we're jumping between many platforms, browsers and devices. We’re accessing everything from emails to web pages and PDFs. Most of the information we’re consuming is in the written format. And, we’re responding with typed communication. This doesn’t suit everybody.
That’s where assistive technology comes in.
Assistive technology describes any device, software, or equipment that supports people with disabilities. It improves their ability to do things in everyday life. They can assist with a range of difficulties, including mobility, memory, communication and literacy challenges.
Assistive technology examples include:
Within the workplace, assistive technology can come in the form of built-in accessibility features. These are contained in a lot of the popular programs used across organisations. However, going above and beyond, workplace assistive technology includes Saas software like Read&Write for Work.
On average, organisations use 16 SaaS applications. SaaS applications include Slack, Office 365 and Zendesk. They help to keep track of projects, communicate with stakeholders, and manage their customer base. But what about empowering the workforce?
Organisations who invest in the right tools for their staff see an increase in productivity, morale and retention. Read&Write is a literacy and productivity software. It helps employees to work in a way that suits them best. Employees can change the format of their digital documents. They can communicate in their preferred way. And, they gain access to accessibility features including text-to-speech and talk & type dictation.
Making sure neurodiverse employees have what they need to thrive is the right thing to do. Being as supportive as we can also helps prevent disability discrimination at work.
Disability employment law protects people with disabilities in the workplace. It helps to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to start and stay in work. And puts the onus on employers to make it a priority. Disability legislation such as the Equality Act protects employees and job applicants.
Protecting disabled workers rights requires action across recruitment, onboarding, and retainment processes. This includes reasonable adjustments which help staff overcome disadvantage resulting from their disability.
If you've got questions, check out our blog on commonly asked FAQs.
In this recorded webinar, find out all you need to know about navigating employment law.
You’ll also hear from one organisation, on how they've created a more inclusive workplace. Gain insight into their new workplace adjustments policy, developed for a diverse staff.
Helping organisations to be more confident about disability is the Department of Work and Pensions Disability Confident Scheme.
The Disability Confident scheme encourages employers to think differently about disability. It helps employers to take action to improve how they recruit, keep and develop disabled people. The scheme is made up of three stages. Each stage outlines a set of actions to help you to become a more inclusive organisation.
Do you know what it means to be an inclusive leader in today's workplace?
In our recorded webinar session, we explore this topic and more. Listen and gain practical advice from three inclusive organisations, EW Group, Department for Transport, and Texthelp.
Hear from different organisations on their experiences of neurodiversity in the workplace. Each case study demonstrates how assistive technology software, Read&Write, supports employees with neurodiversity at work.
Employing over 38,000 staff, Network Rail delivers a safe, reliable railway for 4.5 million people and businesses every day. Access and inclusion for customers, partners and staff are ingrained throughout their policies and practices.
It's our responsibility to make sure every employee can perform to the best of their abilities...Read&Write for Work delivers the best outcome for all staff.
Drive diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Attract, retain and nurture employees of all capabilities.