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Neurodiversity: Employers must continue to make improvements in support of neurodiverse employees!

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Over the past few years, employers have made great strides in recognising and supporting neurodivergent individuals. However, the City & Guilds Foundation, an organisation specialising in skills development, has published its second Neurodiversity Index report, and the findings make it clear that there are still major improvements to be made by organisations.

The report found that organisations are focusing on neuroinclusion, with an increase in neuroinclusion strategies, but that out of the individuals who responded to the survey:

  • 50% had been off work in the previous 12 months with neurodivergent challenges;
  • A third had not received any guidance from their employer and
  • A fifth were still waiting for promised reasonable adjustments to actually be implemented.

The report therefore published various recommendations which included:

  • Providing interview questions in advance for all applicants;
  • Clearly explaining the rules of the workplace during onboarding processes;
  • Drafting clear and understandable job descriptions that reflect the actual skills needed for the job to improve inclusive hiring;
  • Ensuring physical, technological and communication adjustments are in place to support all employees;
  • Implementing employee resource groups, neurodiversity champions and mentorship programmes to support neurodivergent employees;
  • Reviewing and updating policies to create an inclusive work environment and eliminate barriers; and
  • Encouraging and supporting the representation of neurodivergent individuals at all levels of seniority within the organisation.

John Lewis recently announced that they are publishing job interview questions in advance in order to make their application process more inclusive. This will allow candidates to prepare their answers in advance of an interview. The recruitment process remains just as vigorous, but will reduce nerves, and improve performance, in particular for neurodivergent candidates who may traditionally perform worse in these traditional processes.

It is positive that organisations are recognising that traditional processes within organisations may not allow neurodivergent individuals full access to the recruitment process, or allow them to demonstrate their skills and expertise fully. The findings of the report however, demonstrate that momentum should not stop there, and processes and structures need to be in place to ensure adjustments are continued to be implemented during the employment relationship to ensure career progress is not unintentionally blocked.