What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity describes the differences in brain function from person to person (1).
Neurotypical people experience ‘typical’ neurological functioning while neurodivergent people experience neurological conditions such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It is estimated that around one in seven people (more than 15 per cent of people in the UK) are neurodivergent (2), though the number may be a lot higher due to many cisgender women not receiving a clinical diagnosis until later in life, if at all.
Neurodivergent people in the workplace
Unemployment of neurodivergent adults ranges from 30-40%. This is often because of rigid workplace practices that prevent neurodivergent people from succeeding at work.
We work with employers to ensure that neurodivergent employees are fully supported and that barriers to progression are removed.
What businesses can do to make sure there is full inclusion in the workplace
Typically, recruitment processes are designed to suit the needs of neurotypical people with excessively long and vague job application processes. This can unintentionally deter neurodivergent people from applying.
It is important to consider how job descriptions are written and the accessibility of interviews and testing. It is possible to make simple adjustments that enable neurodivergent applicants to successfully apply for roles at your company.
Recruitment is just the start; once employed, it is paramount to actively support neurodivergent people, and to work around individual challenges.
Neurodivergent people may experience challenges in the workplace such as struggling with executive functioning, clarity of tasks and social interactions, though this is not the case for everyone.
How does this affect your business?
Providing neurodivergent employees with support will improve your chances of being able to retain talented individuals.
By retaining employees, your business will benefit from fewer employment gaps, less hiring costs, and a stable and more inclusive company culture.
The Equality Act 2010
All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that policies, practices, and culture do not discriminate against neurodivergent people.
The Equality Act 2010 states that a neurodivergent individual may be regarded as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their day-to-day activities.
By law, an employer must make sure that workers with disabilities or physical or mental health conditions are not disadvantaged when doing their jobs.
Failure not to adjust support for employees may lead to your organisation facing accusations of disability discrimination and an Employment Tribunal claim.
For support and to discuss actions that can benefit your workforce, contact one of Chwarae Teg’s FairPlay Employer team of experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0300 365 0445.
1. Armstrong T. The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain. Da Capo Lifelong; 2011.