Innovation. Lateral thinking. Creativity. Strategic analysis. These are all highly prized skills in the workplace.
But how much of this talent are we missing out on through a lack of awareness and inclusion of neurodiversity?
Let’s take a step back and, first of all, look at what is neurodiversity.
Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD are some of the most well-known examples of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity refers to how certain individuals’ brains work and interpret information in ways that are different to those who are deemed ‘neurotypical’ (i.e., those who interpret information in the way that is expected). Approximately 15 per cent of the UK’s total population is neurodivergent, so we would expect to see similar proportions in the workplace, though not everyone who is neurodivergent will have received a diagnosis.
It is well recognised that organisations that properly support a diverse workforce perform better and, as such, this should include those who are neurodiverse. The skills initially referenced are strongly associated with neurodiversity, so the benefits of including and supporting employees who are neurodivergent are clear.
Neurodiversity is recognised as being on a spectrum, meaning that each individual’s experience of their neurodiversity is different. A one-size fits all policy to supporting neurodiverse employees won’t be successful. The key is to create a culture of inclusion in which employees feel comfortable to disclose any neurodiversity and managers feel properly equipped to provide the appropriate support. Discussions can then take place around how best to foster the employee’s strengths and talents, which might involve introducing adjustments such as tailoring working duties, creating flexible working arrangements or enhancing the working environment.
A specific neurodiversity policy can be a good first step to showing your organisation’s commitment to inclusion and supporting neurodiverse employees and may in turn encourage employees to speak up. Alongside the relevant training, it can also support managers to have the appropriate conversations.
If you would like support to develop your inclusion policies, such as a neurodiversity policy, please contact us and we will be happy to help with solutions that are tailored to your organisation.