Neurodiversity ignored by seven in 10 employers

Seven in 10 employers do not include neurodiversity – alternative ways of thinking such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD – in their people management practices.

A poll of more than 300 HR professionals by the CIPD found that neurodiversity was ignored in the policies of 72% of employers across the UK.

Around 17% said they did not know whether their organisation had a neurodiversity policy, while only 10.2% said they had one in place.

The CIPD claimed that, given that around 10% of the population is neurodivergent in some way, the majority of employers are missing out on the benefits associated with alternative ways of thinking.

It said neurodivergent people can have unique strengths including the ability to spot patterns and trends, sustained focus over long periods and processing information quickly.

Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said employers were “screening out” neurodivergent people at a time when they needed to fill skills gaps.

“Rather than measuring potential employees against a long wish list of capabilities, we need to be clear on the key skills each job requires and enable people who possess those to play to their strengths,” she added.

The CIPD has created a guide with Uptimize – which provides training tools for neurodiverse individuals – to improve awareness and understanding of alternative ways of thinking in the workplace and the benefits of neurodiverse employees.

Its recommendations include:

  • removing jargon from job descriptions and reviewing the use of competency-based recruitment frameworks
  • completing a desk assessment for new starters and avoiding bright lights in the office
  • encouraging regular one-to-one feedback sessions between neurodiverse employees and their managers
  • making sure neurodiversity is championed by senior personnel
  • ensuring that support is available to all individuals and is clearly advertised

Ed Thompson, CEO of Uptimize, said: “In the past, attention was solely on the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals at work, but now leading employers are documenting the huge advantages of employing people who literally think differently.

“We believe that embracing neurodiversity can be a significant competitive advantage – organisations have the opportunity to leverage the skills of this high potential, available talent pool.”

2 Responses to Neurodiversity ignored by seven in 10 employers

  1. Avatar
    Sara Lawler 17 Feb 2018 at 11:14 pm #

    As an older, relatively successful at work, recently diagnosed ASD female, I read this guide with immense interest. In my view it’s very well informed, well written & insightful & full of sound, practical advice. I hope more companies will consider and take on board the advice given. I was someone who didn’t know of their diagnosis while in work and I really would have benefited from knowing and from accommodations. I did benefit from working for a flexible employer but an openness to neurodiversity and accommodations would have allowed me a better work life balance and saved much heartache. If I find I’m able to re-enter the workforce I will do so armed with this guide!

  2. Avatar
    Margaret Malpas 19 Feb 2018 at 4:25 pm #

    It was a privilege to be part of the editorial support on this Guide. In addition, on 22 January, the Westminster Achievability Commission published their large survey report completed 600 by mainly dyslexic people. 73% said they had not had a manager who understood their condition. So much talent is being wasted and the issues some face are often cheaply and easily surmounted. I am in Parliament tomorrow sharing awareness with MPs. Please encourage employers through awareness using the BDA’s #Cappuccino Challenge. This is a potential good news story and we really could do with more of those.
    Margaret Malpas, MBE, FCIPD, Vice President of the British Dyslexia Association

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