What HR needs to know

What is neurodiversity?

Simply put, it means that the brains work in different ways. There are a number of different neurodiverse conditions, details of which can be found here. These conditions are classed as disabilities under The Equality Act 2010. This means that, as an employer, you are obliged to put in place reasonable adjustments to support neurodivergent employees at work.

People with neurodiverse conditions have been finding ways around their condition since their school days. They have “coped” with it, but they have probably been working at 120% to get to where their colleagues get to every day. This additional pressure often manifests itself in depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, and it can often be the stress that brings them to your attention.

The more common difficulties associated with neurodiverse conditions in the workplace can include:

  • Time Management
  • Planning and prioritising
  • Organisation
  • Getting distracted by background noise
  • Working memory weaknesses i.e. the abillity to hold multiple things in your attention at one time
  • Processing speed i.e. the ability to focus attention and visually scan and sequence information

How can we support neurodiverse employees?

Ask questions to find out how best to help and support your neurodiverse employees. Everyone with a neurodiverse condition is different. They often have particular strengths in: Seeing the big picture; Thinking outside the box; Connecting ideas; 3D thinking; Generally being creative and inventive.

How can we implement support?

Access to Work can sometimes provide funding for reasonable adjustments to be made. These can range from software to translate speech into text and vice versa, or coaching in coping strategies to help employees better manage their condition. Running awareness-raising sessions in your organisation can also help manage your sickness absence rates and improve line management skills, both of which can in turn, lead to increased productivity.