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Supporting Neurodiversity in the workplace – What can you do?

Mental Health

This is part two of the Supporting neurodiversity in the workplace blogs, following on from part one which explained what neurodiversity was and why is it so important. Part two will go into more detail about what you can be in a workplace for neurodiversity.

How can you be more supportive of your neurodiversity employees and colleagues?

‘A lack of awareness and understanding has led to hiring processes, management practices and workspaces being designed only with neurotypicals in mind.’

  • Break down the stigma; you can help more people where talking about being neurodiverse is accepted at work. work towards breaking the stigma and normalising the conversation.
  • Think holistically; this change can benefit the whole organisation, not just the individual.
  • Talking is contagious; organisations that talk about neurodiversity via awareness sessions and staff training not only raise general understanding, they create an environment that better enables individuals to disclose a condition.
  • Avoid ring-fencing; create environments where all staff can flourish.
  • One size never fits all; organisations need to be flexible – in terms of workspace, conditions, communication, management and more – in responding to individual needs.
  • Keep talking; maintain regular dialogue across each stage of the journey to be more inclusive, tailor to the needs of the individual and implement necessary changes.
  • Resist imposing solutions; ask your own staff for ideas and adjust based on those. It’s important not to generalise. Change or support designed by staff working together will be more successful.
  • Deliver neurodiversity awareness education to all employees: initiate a clear and open strategy to increase understanding by taking neurodiversity training and awareness company-wide, so individuals can understand their colleagues’ needs but also articulate their own.
  • Foster a safe, understanding environment: this can help create an environment open to disclosure.
  • Create a neurodiversity policy or make neurodiversity a distinct part of your current inclusion policy: you could even add this to your emails or send this out to the whole organisation to make raise awareness and openness for talking.
  • Create an action plan for neurodiversity inclusion: alongside offering mentors within the team, consider nominating or training a ‘point person’ or ‘neurodiversity patron’ from senior leadership to sit on a neurodiversity board. If you have a helpline/employee wellbeing service, ensure the service has had ND training.

Diversify the way you advertise – receive applications and assess applicants so opportunities are accessible to everyone.

  • Look beyond ads on text-heavy sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Use visual platforms like Instagram too.
  • Promote yourself as a neurodiversity inclusive employer: and then make sure your actions back that up.
  • Rework job descriptions: split job skills into necessary and desirable. Keep the format clear and concise. Remove unnecessary wordiness because asking overcomplicated questions can lead to working memory overload. Remove references to any specific cultural fit of the company.

Diversify your assessment process:

  • Offer flexible application formats be open to alternative application processes (e.g. video or artwork). If you use an online form, ensure it can be spell-checked and grammar checked.
  • Carefully consider the use of psychometric tests: they can ‘disable’ those with neurodiversity conditions.
  • Revise candidate selection: use a diverse panel to avoid unconscious bias creeping into the selection. Even better, consider removing details like name, age and gender from the applications the panel see as they can all feed bias.
  • Offer interview alternatives: consider whether a trial, a presentation or short placement would deliver better results than an interview. Ask the individual what would help them deliver their best self.
  • Offer interview alternatives: consider whether a trial, a presentation or short placement would deliver better results than an interview. Ask the individual what would help them deliver their best.
  • Keep improving gather feedback on the changes you make and explore alternative processes for continual improvement.

Tips for neurodivergent employees:

Where you work has a huge part to play in your well-being, ability to concentrate and overall performance. Here are some tips to help you create a more productive environment…

  • Clear out. Choose and area of the house that you can clear of clutter as much as possible. Your brain will be more focused. The simpler your view, the more you’ll be able to stay on task.
  • Try working with the noise in the background. Some people find small noises really distracting so providing some white noise can help to disguise infrequent sounds and aid concentration.
  • Headphones and earplugs. A great way to control auditory input.
  • Open a window. Natural light is so much better for sleep patterns and energy levels.
  • Move your body. Yoga and mindful classes are also great ways of neurologically resetting.
  • Take breaks: using your favourite mug can be a lovely treat whilst working, schedule in coffee breaks with colleagues for 20 mins twice a day so you can engage with others.
  • Be patient. We know that workplace arrangements can take some time before you know how you work at your best. Don’t beat yourself up if you, at first, can’t structure your day or struggle to concentrate. Be kind to yourself and try something different. We can adapt our environments to suit our heads, try to have an open mind.

Neurodiversity Industry professionals to ensure that you have all you need to support yourself, your parents/carers and your employees:

  • Creased Puddle

Home – Creased Puddle

Offering: Online assessments for ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia etc in the comfort of your employees’ home. Neurodiversity Coaching support for Managers, individuals via zoom. Covid-19 specific advice for Human resources on retention issues. hello@creasedpuddle.co.uk

  • Ambitious About Autism

Ambitious about Autism | National charity for children and young people with autism

Offering: Covid 19 -Tips for line managers of autistic employees, Covid 19 -Tips for managing anxiety, Covid 19 – Managing flexible working. EAN@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

  • Just Say Training 

Offering: 2-hour mental wellbeing support sessions online via Zoom.

JustSayTraining | A better way to learn about Skills, Substances and Mental Health. (justsaytrainingworcester.co.uk)

Harrington Law – Employment Law, HR, Data Protection Yorkshire

  • Doitprofiler

Offering: free webinars on managing anxiety at this time and working from home in a neuro-inclusive way.

Whole person web screening tools for neurodiversity | Do-IT (doitprofiler.com)

  • Training Attention

Offering: 1-1 Neuro-Diversity Strategy Coaching for adults who are struggling with lockdown, small group Neuro-Diversity Strategy Coaching for teams or families struggling with lockdown

Training Attention – Systems Thinking In Practice

  • Morwenna Stewart

Offering: free/low cost coaching for Neurodivergent Key workers and free/low cost coaching for the Neurodivergent on low/no incomes.

Morwenna Stewart – executive coaching – Home

Disclaimer

Please note this blog is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. Please contact us if you have any questions on enquires@thrivelaw.co.uk

 

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