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KC Group is celebrating Neurodiversity Celebration Week by exploring neurodiversity at work and how to embrace it. Here’s what you need to know…

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is taking place this week! A global day of awareness to challenge stereotypes. As well as ensuring that the world understands, values, and celebrates the talents of neurodiverse individuals.

It is estimated that 15-20% of the United Kingdom’s population is neurodiverse.

It includes more than 700,000 people with autism alone, and these neurodiversity statistics in the UK are always growing. Although neurodiversity is such a large community, recruitment problems are even more prevalent.

It’s a fact that neurodiverse workers often have difficulty finding work or feel their employers don’t support them as much as they could at work.

In a survey conducted by the Office of National Statistics, 64% of employers were found to have little understanding of neurodiverse conditions.

Fortunately, this is a simple issue to resolve. Take a deeper look at neurodiversity, its conditions, and the benefits it can provide to your workplace during Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

How does neurodiversity work?

Every individual’s brain works differently, which is known as neurodiversity. Brains are unique, and so are their abilities.

The majority of people are neurotypical, or ‘not neurodivergent,’ which means they behave and think in ways that are viewed as ‘normal’ by others.

It is worth noting, however, that hundreds of thousands of people have different ways of thinking, acting, and interpreting information than the majority. In this case, we are dealing with the neurodiverse community.

Neurodiverse conditions: what are they?

Our understanding of the brain is constantly evolving. Consequently, the list of what qualifies as neurodiverse will also change. The following are just a few examples of neurodiverse conditions:

  • Autism

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Dyslexia

  • Dyspraxia

  • Dyscalculia

  • Dysgraphia

  • Tic disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome

There is a spectrum of conditions and they vary from individual to individual. Individuals with these conditions can differ greatly from one another, and are often difficult to distinguish from neurotypical staff. There are times when a diagnosis or condition cannot be seen, because it is not always obvious.

We’ll take a closer look at neurodiversity in the workplace now…

What makes it difficult for neurodiverse people to find employment?

The Office of National Statistics reports that only 22% of autistic people work. The pandemic has only worsened this waste of potential.

In the workplace, neurodiversity has traditionally been associated with disability, a view that focuses on what people cannot do rather than what they can do.

It is possible to have skills and abilities that are not entirely obvious when you are neurodiverse. ADHD individuals may have remarkable creative abilities, but their grades in other subjects may suffer in the wrong teaching environment.

What makes managers hesitant to discuss neurodiversity?

There’s a simple reason for this: no manager wants to make a mistake.

Neurodiversity at work is often discussed in an overcompensatory manner, as if staff are less capable, or avoided completely if fear of offending is present.

Your role as an employer is to recognize the skills of neurodivergent employees while supporting them through their challenges.

Communication is of utmost importance. Managing people should be based on their strengths and abilities every day. Neurodiversity can be understood by approaching it in the same way.

Have a conversation with your employee or candidate and ask: what can we do for you?

Providing reasonable accommodations to neurodiverse employees, as protected by the Equality Act, becomes your responsibility if they are disabled. It doesn’t matter whether a person receives a diagnosis late in his or her career or if he or she is a brand new employee.

How can neurodiversity benefit the workplace?

While neurodiverse staff may bring a range of unique skills, it varies from person to person. It is possible for neurodiverse employees to excel at:

  • Solution-finding

  • The creative process

  • Maintaining consistency

  • Identifying patterns and trends

  • Fast processing of information

  • Statistical analysis

  • Assessing risks

  • An eye for detail

Adapting your interview process can just as important as adapting your workplace environment when it comes to showcasing these skills. Test results and certificates don’t always reflect these skills.

Additionally, your company will benefit from a variety of perspectives and talent pools. The result will be greater agility and versatility for the future, as well as inventiveness and innovation in the workforce. In other words, neurodiversity in the workplace should not only be considered during Neurodiversity Celebration Week – it should be a constant consideration.

Visit Neurodiversity Celebration Week’s website for more information.

Adapting to neurodiversity in the workplace

There is still so much more neurodiversity can contribute to a business than we have mentioned today. Employers have a responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations to their neurodiverse employees.

The KC Group can provide you with expert guidance and support to champion neurodiverse people effectively in your workplace, from recruitment to working conditions. Your staff’s success can be hindered by barriers you can help them overcome.

Reach out to the KC Group team on 0121 705 0077 today.

Amie

Author Amie

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