- Recently I attended a thought-provoking webinar hosted by Sam Tunnev at BrightHR about how we can all be doing better to understand and embrace neurodiversity in the workplace.
Despite neurodiversity accounting for 15 - 20% of our global population, unfortunately there is still stigma attached and a lack of awareness, resulting in a lack of appreciation for the amazing talent and opportunity we have before us. Despite diversity being a hot topic on everyone’s lips at the moment, for some reason neurodiversity is often unaccounted for in conversations around diversity and fails to get the same level of respect and importance as gender, ethnicity, sex and so forth.
There was some key take always from this webinar that I feel all businesses could learn from when it comes to appropriately supporting neurodiversity in their workforce:
- Recognise the untapped potential right in front of you. Neurodiverse individuals provide businesses with a goldmine of talent, much of which has been cast aside by your competitors. Get ahead of your competition and diversify your workforce, enriching the skills, knowledge, and personalities that make your business awesome.
- Remember that neurodiverse minds often work unconventionally. Through this you get new practices, creative ideas and innovation. See your business through a different lens and you are guaranteed to be pleasantly surprised.
- Make sure you are effectively prepared and set up to accommodate a neurodiverse workforce. Think about sensory needs, such as sound sensitivity and break-out spaces. Allow movement by encouraging flexible seating or standing desks and ensure there is regular time for our breaks.
- Clear communication is key. Try to avoid sarcasm, implied comments, vagueness or grey areas. Communication needs to be clear, regular and consistent. Remember also to give advanced warning if plans or timescales are to ever change.
- Finally, show patience and sensitivity. We all like to work differently, and neurodiverse individuals even more so but be sure to embrace this because being different is good and powerful. Being different will make you and your business stand out amongst the rest.