Here’s what I know: employers must break neurodiversity barriers

Peter Done: Group Managing Director and Founder

March 01 2023

Everyone thinks, learns, and experiences the world in different ways. This is what we call neurodiversity. But while you may strive for a neurodiverse workplace, you won’t have one unless you can support those who learn differently from the way we expect…

When someone has a neurological condition, like autism or dyslexia, it may affect how they interact with or experience the world. We call this neurodivergence.

A neurodivergent person may have more difficulty carrying out certain tasks than other people. Or, they might struggle with certain aspects of a working environment in general.

For instance, interviews rely heavily on body language and communication. So, someone with autism might find interviews difficult if they struggle to pick up on social cues. Another example might be if someone with dyslexia has to complete an assessment in the same way as a neurotypical person. It might be unfair if they have issues with reading and scanning text.

That’s why you need to do your bit to offer equal opportunities to everyone. This needs to start before you even hire someone.

To make sure you’re being as inclusive as possible, you need to regularly assess the way you hire staff. It might help to ask yourself questions, like:

  • Is the language in my job advert straight to the point and easy to understand?
  • If someone gets through to the interview stage, do I give them clear details about what they should expect on the day?
  • Does this person have any access needs I should know about before I interview them?

It might mean that you need to give someone interview questions in advance, or you avoid asking open-ended questions. It may help a neurodivergent person if they can plan ahead or if you’re more specific about what it is you’re asking for.

And say you give them the job. They might be more sensitive to a noisy or busy environment. The more stimulants, the more risk of sensory overload. They might also find it hard to sit through long meetings and focus on tasks.

So, to help neurodivergent staff be comfortable and do their best work, you might need to make changes to support them. This might be giving them a quieter place to work or more regular breaks. It could also be giving them a variety of tasks or allowing them to work flexibly if possible e.g. working from home some days.

A business that only gears its workplace to neurotypical staff will seriously limit its talent pool.

So, make sure you don’t. You can learn how to make your workplace as inclusive as possible and remove any neurodiversity barriers - just call 0800 028 2420. 

Your HR experts will make sure you’re following the best HR practices to support your staff and have the right documents to back it up.

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