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.
On this page, we explore what you can do to empower neurodiversity in the workplace.
Organisations must create a workplace that welcomes neurodiversity, and allows employees to work and achieve in their own way. That means adjusting the workplace to suit the needs of diverse thinkers. As you continue reading, you'll uncover advice to help you empower neurodivergent employees at work.
Dyslexia is a language processing difficulty. It's associated with challenges including: literacy difficulties, information-processing, and maintaining focus. As well as strengths including: pattern recognition, problem solving, and verbal communication skills.
People with dyslexia may experience challenges with aspects of reading and writing, such as spelling and proofreading. They may also experience difficulty processing information in their short-term memory. This can mean a difficulty in putting detail into order, as well as maintaining focus. They may also find it challenging to concentrate with background noise.
Alongside challenges, dyslexia can also come with many strengths. For example, dyslexic minds process information visually. That means that they're often able to recognise patterns and see trends in data. They can discover connections that others have missed. Such strengths lend themselves to good problem solving abilities. They also have good verbal communication skills and are very detailed story-tellers. Dyslexic people can also bring to the workplace out of the box, original thinking. They're often able to look at tasks with a holistic and creative approach.
Discover more in these podcast episodes with dyslexic employees. Listen as they share their experiences:
Later, we'll explore how you can encourage success for people with Dyslexia at work.
In this handy guide, discover more about neurodiversity in the workplace. Download today for free and;
Whilst proactively educating yourself on as many neurodiverse conditions is great, it's vital to create an inclusive workplace culture. That means, a workplace where employees feel comfortable and confident to discuss challenges and be themselves.
We have used the term 'neurodiverse conditions' to provide context to existing diagnostic labels. A neurodivergent employee may disclose a diagnostic condition to access workplace adjustments. However, we realise that this term may not be preferred by everyone. At Texthelp, using language that's inclusive and respectful to all people is important to us. Please let us know if you feel we could do better in the terminology we have chosen to use.
As humans, we all want to feel like we belong. Creating a culture that makes everyone feel welcomed, accepted, understood and celebrated matters. For this to happen, employers must be flexible, and willing to adapt the workplace to suit individual needs.
That means employers are missing out on some simple but effective adjustments they could make to recruit and retain members of the neurodivergent community. Organisations that welcome neurodiverse teams benefit from a workforce of different thinkers. That brings benefits including creativity, innovation, productivity and more.
So far, we've talked about a few different types of neurodiversity (Autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia), that are considered as being developmental. That means, neurodivergent traits are present from birth but develop in childhood and adolescence. However neurodivergence can also be acquired, for example as a result of a brain-altering experience.
In the UK, every 90 seconds someone is admitted to hospital with an ABI-related (Acquired Brain Injury) diagnosis that could lead to a long-term disability. As an organisation, it’s important to be ready to support your employees through life’s events, and be prepared to help them adjust to their new way of working and living. Creating an inclusive culture can help you to be more prepared.
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 neurodivergent employees, and those with disabilities. Hear what they're doing, and gain ideas and advice to take back to your own organisation.
To harness the power of dyslexia strengths, it’s important to help dyslexic employees overcome challenges. Dyslexia can affect the ability to process information in the short-term memory. Individuals might struggle with concentration, reading, writing and spelling.
To support employees with dyslexia, begin by asking the employee if they need any extra support. Then, work together to discover 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. Explore common workplace challenges experienced by those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism & ADHD. Gain expert advice on how to help neurodivergent 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.
To help employers support a neurodiverse workforce is the government-funded Access to Work grant. Through the Access to Work Scheme, employers can apply for financial support to help pay for workplace accommodations. These include adaptive equipment or specialist software like Read&Write. As well as a support worker, or travel expenses to and from work, depending on the needs of the employee.
Making sure neurodivergent 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.
This includes people with a diagnosed neurodiverse condition. 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 workforce.
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.
83% of people with a disability acquired their disability later in life, whether due to an accident, illness or genetic condition. Nikki Goode, an employee with acquired brain injury, shares how her organisation supported her return to work. She also explains how assistive technology has been fundamental to her in the process.
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.