4 Easy Ways to Help Neurodivergent Employees Succeed
When we speak of diversity in the workplace, we can’t only think of race and gender, but also of disability, thought and function. Neurodivergent refers to someone who behaves, thinks, and learns differently when compared to those who are ‘neurotypical’ – this can include people with autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, dyslexia, and much more.
No two people work and think the same way, and it’s important to embrace this difference. Rather than prioritizing a general group of individuals, consider how small changes can help every employee and allow your company to work as a team.
Consult Your Employees
First and foremost, be transparent and open with your employees. Sit down with them and ask them what they might need to feel comfortable at work and perform their best. You won’t know until you ask, and without facilitating the discussion, you risk missing out on potential solutions that benefit your employees and your overall company culture.
Reconsider Office Layout
Sometimes, simple changes can be made to accommodate the needs of your employees. For example, some neurodivergent employees might find windows or high-traffic areas distracting or overwhelming. Rearranging their desk placement might be an ideal solution to help their concentration or reduce anxiety. Likewise, fluorescent lightbulbs might make the workplace environment overstimulating for some. Replace the lightbulbs for a quick and easy solution.
Invest Time in Understanding Each Employee
Take the time to get to know each employee. Realize their strengths and the potential they have and use this knowledge to build a sustainable working model for your team. Neurodivergent employees will likely have different skills, perspectives and methods. Without taking the time to uncover these strengths, you may miss out on many opportunities.
Take Advantage of Technology & Tools
There are many tools available to aid employees in their success, no matter their disability. For example, invest in noise-cancelling headphones to encourage concentration and help neurodivergent employees block out ambient noise. Enable closed-captioning on all video conferencing software to help those with difficulty processing verbal information. Lastly, record all meetings so that anyone who might have missed something will not feel overwhelmed or underprepared.