By Workplace Advocate, Lex Harvey-Bryn
The concept of neurodiversity challenges the idea that individuals with these conditions need to be "fixed" or "cured" to be successful in the workplace. We are not broken; we are wired differently.
Instead, it suggests that employers should create an environment that accepts and supports these differences and provides accommodations and resources that allow neurodiverse individuals to thrive and focus on their talents and strengths. The very nature of accessibility is flexible and adaptive to individuals.
In many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, there are laws that require workplaces to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Failing to do so can result in legal action and penalties, and sadly, this is there to protect and support people in the absence of their employer doing it freely. However, to develop a culture of true inclusion, this should never be your ‘Why’ for focusing on accessibility and inclusion. However, it is sadly so often in the driving seat to make changes.
When a workplace prioritizes accessibility and inclusion, they create a more inclusive environment for all employees. This helps reduce stigma and promote diversity, leading to more creativity, innovation, and productivity. Accessibility benefits not only individuals with Neurodiversity but also their colleagues and the organization. By valuing and accommodating individual differences, workplaces can create a more positive and supportive culture, increasing employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. It’s not about special treatment for some; it’s about making changes that enhance and bring out the talents and strengths of your workforce.
A strength-based approach to performance management is a game-changer for businesses. A strength-based approach focuses on identifying and utilizing an individual's strengths, skills, and abilities rather than solely focusing on their weaknesses or deficits. When workplaces concentrate on an individual's strengths, needs and abilities, it creates a positive environment that promotes confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. This positive culture can significantly impact employee satisfaction, motivation, and engagement.
You can encourage innovation and creativity by recognising and utilizing each individual's unique strengths and perspectives. This can lead to more effective problem-solving and idea generation, without the fear or the focus being on things they are not naturally good at or taking a significant amount of time to complete as it doesn’t play to their strengths. In addition, employees who work in roles that align with their strengths and abilities are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and perform at their best. This can lead to increased productivity and performance, which benefits both the individual and the organization.
A strength-based approach to inclusion recognises and values diversity in all its forms. By embracing individuals' strengths and unique perspectives, workplaces can create a more diverse and inclusive environment that celebrates differences and promotes acceptance. Good communication and clear expectations are the foundations for enabling people to feel psychologically safe at work. This will benefit all minds, but particularly Neurodivergent minds. Give people freedom within the framework to use their talents and strengths to their best.
Check out the incredible and knowledgeable experts in our Shine A Light Campaign to learn ways you can improve and enhance your Accessibility at Work.
Sydney Elaine Butler
Click the link to enhance your Accessibility in the Workplace:
Lex Harvey Bryn
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No one seems to ‘get it’. Friends and family think you just need to push through or "self-care" more. Internally, so many people in late identified life (me included) feel broken, ashamed or like they are failing or have never reached their full potential, when all along they've had a brain and sensory system that is different from the masses. It can take a lot of strength to keep going.
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