Professor Amanda Kirby
In any business, having effective means of maximising your current employee’s skills, and attracting new talent are key objectives. This is even more true in the rapidly changing landscape of the workplace post-Covid-19. We will need to be able to optimise productivity and where possible, create novel solutions to complex challenges.
Neurodiversity is about everyone’s different brains and understanding how communicating effectively is important for real inclusion. We know that about 1 in 5 people will be neurodivergent and in some sectors of business this will be higher.
Awareness of neurodiversity and the knowledge to put appropriate systems and inclusive practices in place can potentially mean your organisation could be ahead of the curve. It is important to avoid the one-off ‘this year’s’ campaign tick box to choosing a ‘business as usual’ approach that permeates all actions throughout the business. When it starts with the leadership it becomes a part of the company’s culture and values.
Attitude is key
Most adjustments are not costly but attitudinal. Sometimes there can be a reticence having a conversation with someone who may have ADHD for example, because we fear saying or doing the wrong thing. The person may be cautious to ask for support too. This can result in avoidance all around. By gaining the confidence to ask each person what support they require in the context of their work, we can make a real difference and start meaningful two-way conversations. This approach can result in having more effective neurodivergent teams.
Embracing neurodiversity can also enhance customer engagement. As the saying goes ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. You will never know the person that doesn’t buy or have been put off by a website that can’t be accessed, or a comment made by someone in passing. Telling your customers that you are ‘Neurodiversity aware’ will mean your potential customers will also know you are accessible and inclusive.
One practical challenge to increasing awareness of neurodiversity is upskilling all your employees in an agile and cost-effective manner that doesn’t stop the day-to-day processes taking place. The solution is to provide practical and accessible training at a time and in a style that suits each person.
Do-IT Solutions, with more than 25 years practical experience and recognised international expertise in neurodiversity have created an exciting e-learning series of Neurodiversity training packages. Completion of training in a percentage of staff will also result in your organisation gaining the Neurodiversity Awareness Umbrella kitemark ® provided by the ADHD Foundation.
Tony Lloyd, CEO ADHD Foundation said: “Our collaboration with the team of experts at Do-IT offers an exciting opportunity to make Neurodiversity Training accessible and affordable to everyone and every type of business, retail and leisure outlet and every public service. This training will transform our lives and places of work as we recognise 1 in 5 human beings are neurodiverse.”
The first level course is Embracing Neurodiversity which is delivered in short units, each lasting between 5-15 minutes. It is accessible and affordable to everyone and suitable for all types of working environments. It is aimed at anybody who is concerned about being more neuro-inclusive and embracing neurodiversity in all aspects of their organisation. It will help increase confidence in having conversations and supporting colleagues and useful also for greater personal understanding. The training provides a step- by- step guide how adjustments can be put in place in a work environment and provides strategies for helping improve all types of communication channels. The second course, Neurodiversity in the Workplace e-learning course builds upon the first and is aimed at HR leaders, D and I leads, and line managers which includes more information on recruitment, interviewing, induction and delivering support.
Professor Amanda Kirby is the CEO of Do-IT Solutions, a tech-for-good company that has developed online neurodiversity profiling tools and training.