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Neurodiversity in the workplace

Posted on 7/09/2021 by Diane Duberry


I attended an insightful and interactive webinar recently, courtesy of Inclusive Employers, titled “Neurodiversity in the workplace”.  As a neurotypical person, I was keen to find out more, especially how I could support neurodiverse colleagues, friends and clients and wanted to share my findings from the webinar and suggestions from other participants.

Neurodivergent simply means someone who thinks differently from the way the majority (referred to as neurotypical) expect. 

ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia are just some examples.  

Just as with other diversity, neurodiversity is a competitive advantage.   As well as avoiding group thinking, having neurodivergent colleagues can bring a multitude of benefits to the workplace, innovative thinking, creativity, energy, passion, visual thinking, empathy and fine detail processing to name but a few.

It is estimated that 1 in 7 people in the UK have some form of neurodivergence  so what can organisations do to be more inclusive of neurodiversity?

  • Listen to lived experiences of neurodiverse people

  • Make conversation about neurodiversity the norm

  • Empower managers with the knowledge and confidence to lead dialogue on neurodiversity  

  • Focus on skills, strengths and potential rather than experience

  • Utilise strengths, passion and a willingness to learn in roles and development opportunities

  • Provide flexibility on when, where and how teams work especially thinking about the current climate and the return to workplaces

  • Focus more on outcomes and output making allowances for how people get there

  • Recruit diverse talent, focus on  inclusive recruitment processes

As individuals we can support our neurodivergent colleagues immediately by:

  • Being mindful of our social interactions, ensuring they are inclusive especially banter and humour

  • Not making assumptions or underestimating ability

  • Sending emails without copying in everyone, making subject lines clear and concise

  • Providing clear timescales, responsibilities and actions for tasks

  • Using bullet points in written communication where possible

  • Avoiding using acronyms

  • Avoiding long meetings and offering breaks to help with processing information or instructions

  • Avoiding unnecessary industry or sector jargon

Individuals, colleagues and leaders can all support by simply saying less and asking more:

"What’s your preferred way of working?”

"What adjustments would help you thrive at work?”

"How can we work best together?”

"What changes can I make to be a better manager / colleague?”

TPP has put together an Inclusive Recruitment Guide, details can be accessed here and please check out other articles from my colleagues regarding neurodiversity:

How (and why) to recruit for neurodiversity

Why cognitive diversity is crucial to your organisation

If you would like to discuss how TPP can assist you with inclusive recruitment and achieving your diversity and inclusion goals, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on 020 7198 6112