Supporting neurodiverse colleagues in the workplace


Neurodiversity is described as a natural variation in the way an individual’s brain functions, such as autism and ADHD. Neurodiverse individuals can sometimes find the workplace challenging, often due to a lack of organisational understanding and appropriate adjustments.

However, neurodiverse individuals often bring unique strengths and perspectives, and encouraging a neurodiverse culture can have a hugely positive impact on your organisation.

Here are just some of the ways in which you can support neurodiverse colleagues in the workplace:

Promoting a neuro-inclusive culture

By creating a neuro-inclusive culture, individuals will feel more comfortable bringing their unique self to work. Recognising and maximising the strengths of neurodiverse colleagues is key to this, as is building understanding and awareness.

Organisational-wide neurodiversity training can really help with this, by educating colleagues so that they understand and appreciate neurodiverse differences, and learn how to communicate and collaborate effectively with their neurodiverse colleagues.

Workplace adjustments and flexible working

Some neurodiverse colleagues struggle with sensory issues, for example, they may find noise difficult to deal with. Simple adjustments, like creating a quiet space for them to work, can really help, as can allowing flexible work patterns and hybrid/remote working. A workplace needs assessment can help you to identify the specific support an individual needs, such as assistive technology.

Clear communication

Good communication should be at the heart of every organisation, but ensuring comms are clear and concise, and available in different formats, can really help neurodiverse individuals. Setting clear expectations and being non-ambiguous is also key.


Review recruitment practices

Traditional recruitment practices don’t always encourage a neurodiverse workforce. Interviews, particularly open-ended questions for example, can be very challenging and can create unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Think about your recruitment process as a whole. Are you actively encouraging neurodiverse individuals to apply? Are you clear on how you support neurodiverse colleagues through your organisation’s policies? Are you allowing them to demonstrate their strengths effectively during the recruitment process? Think about how you can do things differently. If you have neurodiverse champions in your workforce, ask them for their views.

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