Neurodiversity Celebration Week took place at the end of March which aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about people with neurological differences.
It is estimated that around 15% of the UK population is neurodiverse, meaning they have conditions such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD or dyspraxia. Neurodiverse people think and process information differently which means they can offer a unique and creative approach. Research has shown that neurodiverse people have strengths in processing information, productivity and work quality and attention to detail. Although there are some traits and situations in which employing neurodiverse people can be challenging, this can be outweighed by a more creative and innovative workforce for employers who support and embrace neurodiversity. So how can employers do this?
Employers need to recognise that an individual’s neurodiverse condition can have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to-day activities. If this is the case then they could be considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010 and reasonable adjustments may be required. This could be during a recruitment process or during employment and may involve technological adjustments. Employers should seek occupational health advice where required to understand employees’ conditions and the adjustments required.
Strategies for change
Employers should review their recruitment strategies to ensure the recruitment process accommodates both neurotypical and neurodiverse people. For example, many neurodiverse people find it hard to maintain eye contact, something that can often be considered as a marker of whether an interview has been successful. Employers should make sure that the workforce and managers in particular are educated about neurodiversity. There should be appropriate training in place that raises awareness about working with neurodiverse people, such as the importance of giving clear instructions, how to introduce change sensitively and assist employees with possible challenge areas.
For more information, please contact a member of the Employment Team.