Supporting employees with dyslexia in the workplace

What is dyslexia and how does it affect individuals at work?

Up to 15-20% of the population as a whole may have symptoms of dyslexia. As employers, this means it’s important to support any dyslexic employees we may have. 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 find reading and writing difficult, like spelling and proofreading. They may also experience difficulty processing information, putting detail into order, and maintaining focus.

Alongside challenges, dyslexia can also come with many strengths. For example, dyslexic minds process information visually. That means that they're often able to recognize patterns and see trends in data.

Dyslexic employees can also provide out of the box, original thinking. They're often able to look at tasks with a holistic and creative approach.

As employers, it’s vital to support our dyslexic employees. The reason why is two-fold: it empowers people and your business. Because when Dyslexic employees can become more comfortable in their workplace, they're able to provide their unique skills.

Learn more about how to create an inclusive recruiting and onboarding experience

As an employer, being inclusive is vital for every stage of an employee’s journey. Inclusive recruitment is a key aspect of this, as it helps attract neurodivergent talent who can bring unique skills and perspectives to your business. 

In this series, we explore how to create a recruiting and onboarding process that’s accessible and inclusive to all. 

Podcast: Learn more about what it’s like being in the workplace as a dyslexic thinker

In this episode of Texthelp Talks, we chat with Colin Moloney, Governance Manager in the UK Civil Service, about his experience of being dyslexic in the workplace. 

Colin talks about some of the challenges he’s faced during his career, as well as how his dyslexia has been a crucial part of getting to where he is today.

What competitive advantages can dyslexia bring to a business? 

When it comes to running a business, it can be a great advantage to have a balance of people who think and understand in different ways. This includes people with dyslexia, who can bring numerous advantages to a business as employees and leaders.

Here are some of the benefits of dyslexia in the workplace:

  • Innovative thinking
  • Ability to simplify complexity
  • Storytelling
  • Three-dimensional thinking  

Dyslexic brains work different from neurodiverse brains. They see the world in a different way and have to navigate a neurotypical work. And with that comes ‘outside the box’ thinking. This makes dyslexic people particularly good at creating new solutions to old problems. With unique perspectives, and a natural curiosity, dyslexic employees help businesses stand out.

Join these companies in embracing neurodiversity and inclusion

Podcast: Harnessing the power of dyslexic thinking in business.

We live in a diverse society, and successful companies are starting to realize the success that an inclusive workplace can bring. In this podcast episode, Ronan O'Brien from Zatori Results Ltd sits down with some of the EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni to discuss why so many dyslexic people go into business for themselves, and how their unique way of thinking provides a competitive advantage.

Get our guide to unlocking neurodiversity in the workplace

This free guide is designed for HR Professionals, DE&I Specialists, Engagement Managers, CEOs and Disability Champions. 

Discover how to tap into the competitive advantages that neurodiverse thinkers can provide by creating a culture that welcomes neurodiverse teams.

How to support dyslexic employees in the workplace

To harness the power of dyslexia strengths, it’s important to help dyslexic employees overcome challenges with the right adjustments. We’ve provided some examples of simple adjustments below. It might help you to kick-start the conversation:

  1. Consider desk location and storage facilities. An organized and tidy workspace in a quiet area will help to minimize distraction. 
  2. Allow the use of noise-canceling headphones to help block out distractions.
  3. Discuss the use of calendars, planners and alerts to support memory challenges
  4. Try not to impose strict time constraints so that dyslexic employees have enough time to read, process, and complete tasks.  
  5. Explore the best method of communication for the employee. Clear communication and checking for understanding are important. This can be supported by using a mix of verbal, visual and written formats.
  6. Across all company correspondences, use easy-to-read fonts that help with dyslexia
  7. The glare of white backgrounds can make it difficult to read and process the information. So consider using color alternatives for paper and computer screens.
  8. Offer the opportunity for regular one-to-one conversations. This can be with a line manager or neurodiversity champion. The goal is to ensure support as often as required.
  9. Explore digital tools like spell checkers, screen readers, and text-to-speech tools.

10 min webinar: Advice from a dyslexic professional

In this short video, Roshni Thakrar, a Dyslexic Legal Counsel, draws on her own experiences to share how companies can become more neuroinclusive.

Watch and gain advice on

  • Why it's important to support neurodiversity, and how neuroinclusive practices benefit everyone
  • How to create an inclusive culture where neurodiversity is valued and understood
  • Inclusive tools that support neurodiverse teams, and can help to standardize different ways of working

Blog: 8 ways to support employees with dyslexia

It’s never been more important to create an inclusive workplace for employees. We gathered business leaders’ tips on what worked for them when supporting employees with dyslexia.

Without disclosure, how can we support employees with dyslexia?

It’s important to remember that while some employees may feel comfortable disclosing their dyslexia, others may choose to keep this private. This can be the case in any company, and is another reason why it’s crucial that neurodiverse employees are supported, whether they disclose it or not. Here are some ways to support these dyslexic employees:

  • Promote awareness and understanding with disability inclusion and awareness training for all employees. This will help the whole workforce know how to support neurodiverse employees.
  • Offer flexible working arrangements so employees can work in a way that suits their needs.
  • Create opportunities for anonymous feedback to ensure employees feel comfortable sharing their opinion.
  • Set up Employee Resource Groups to provide a safe space for employees to connect and share experiences. This helps create a supportive network.
  • Provide proactive accommodations that can benefit all employees, such as assistive technology. Having this option can support dyslexic employees without the need to disclose.
  • Provide tools that promote different ways of thinking, communicating and working, without the need for disclosure. For example, Read&Write for Work.

Assistive technology for employees with dyslexia

Assistive technology works alongside neurodiverse employees to help them work to their full ability. By providing a range of tools, employees can choose what works for them and work on par with their colleagues. This creates an inclusive working environment, where everyone is given equal opportunities to succeed.

Assistive technology for people with dyslexia can include tools like spell-checking software, text-to-speech, screen masking, word prediction and read-aloud features. 

And assistive technology isn’t just for neurodiverse employees. It can also help employees with low literacy, and those with English as a second language. It also means that employees don’t have to feel pressured to disclose that they’re neurodiverse. They can simply make use of the available tools.

Explore Texthelp's assistive technology

Read&Write for Work helps companies unlock the potential of your people and your business. Its reading and writing tools empower all employees to think, learn and work to their full potential. Creating an inclusive workplace with Read&Work also helps to empower your DEI program, making it easier to attract from a wider talent pool and retain diverse talent.

For employees with dyslexia, Read&Write can support difficulties with spelling and writing, focus and proofreading.

How Read&Write supports employees with Dyslexia

In this video, Gregory Welch, Workplace Product Manager at Texthelp demonstrates how Texthelp's Read&Write for Work toolbar can help employees with Dyslexia. With a range of features such as Text-to-Speech, Check It, Prediction, and Dictionary, learn how this tool can make a big difference for work quality, productivity and confidence.

Supports people who think, learn and work differently. Helps neurodiverse workforces to thrive.

Further reading

If you want to learn more about how to support neurodiverse thinkers in the workplace, we want to help you in your journey of becoming a more inclusive workplace.

Supporting neurodiversity in the workplace

Neurodiversity is one form of diversity in the workplace. Discover what employers can do to support employees with neurodiverse conditions.

Supporting employees with autism

Employees with autism can face certain challenges at work, but with the right accommodations in place, they can thrive and bring unique benefits to a business. Discover how.

Supporting employees with ADHD

Discover how to create an inclusive workplace that supports employees with ADHD and unlocks the strengths that these employees can bring.

Supporting employees with dyspraxia

Learn how to support employees with dyspraxia in the workplace and discover what competitive advantages they can bring to a business.

Supporting employees with executive functioning challenges

Learn about the effects of struggling with executive function at work, and discover how we can support employees through these difficulties so they can bring their full selves to work.