21.4.2024 | Law

Neurodiversity in the workplace

The next big challenge for the logistics sector is making neurodiversity a priority for your business. 

“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” ~ Jesse Jackson

Gone are the days when neurodiversity was simply a moral debate. It’s now a strategic source of driving innovation in businesses worldwide. Porttalk delves into this shift with Keystone Law’s Partner, Kelly Sayers. Discover why embracing neurodiversity isn’t just ethical; it’s a savvy move for enhancing employee satisfaction, tapping into diverse talent, and staying legally compliant.

Why is neurodiversity in the workplace such a crucial topic?

Neurodiversity refers to differences in brain processing that can affect social interaction, learning, attention, sensory processing, and other aspects of interacting with the world and other people. Neurodivergent identities include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD,  dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

These conditions very often co-occur, and many symptoms overlap. It is estimated that around 20% of the UK population has some neurodiverse condition. This means that a significant proportion of people in the workplace are neurodiverse.

There needs to be more awareness and understanding of neurodiversity and what it means to be neurodiverse. There’s also often a stigma around how neurodiverse people present. This means it is rarely considered in designing workplace processes, management practices, environments, or organisation of work. This effect is that employers overlook talent pools, do not enable people to be their most productive at work, and detrimentally impact employee wellbeing. They are also potentially exposing their businesses to significant legal risks.

Why should you embrace this as an employer?

Designing a genuinely inclusive workplace for all can produce tangible benefits for business. While many neurodiverse people face challenges in areas like social interaction and organisation, these obstacles are outweighed by the incredible strengths they bring to the table. When given the space and psychological safety to thrive, neurodivergent people can significantly enrich an organisation’s capacity for innovation and problem-solving and help challenge the status quo.

Teams with neurodivergent professionals in some roles can be 30% more productive than those without. ~ Deloitte research.

How can you create a neuro-inclusive workplace?

There are a whole range of ways, including:

  • Designing effective hiring processes, which include neuro-inclusive interview training and alternative assessment methods
  • Consider making changes to physical space/office design/flexibility about ways of working
  • Create a place of psychological safety where people feel supported and able to speak up or request adjustments. Equip managers to lead in a neuro-inclusive way
  • Develop a neuro-inclusive culture by raising awareness of neurodiversity through training, respect for differences and establishing a basic etiquette
  • Senior leaders taking the lead and championing neurodiversity – it’s vital to lead from the top

Pitfalls of getting it wrong

It’s pretty simple…..your business will suffer. Not only will you fail to attract talent, but the courts will come down on you like a ton of bricks should it be concluded that you have behaved in a discriminatory manner. Employment Tribunal claims for discrimination on the grounds of neurodiversity are increasing.

The Law – many people with neurodivergent conditions will not consider themselves disabled. As neurodivergence exists on a spectrum, evaluating the effect on an individual employee on a case-by-case basis will be just as important as evaluating any other condition. However, employers need to understand that the definition of disabled within the Equality Act 2010 will encompass many neurodivergent people. This may require the employer to make appropriate adjustments.

For example, ASD can cause difficulties with social interaction and adversely affect individuals with the condition in relation to activities involving communication and interpreting the subtleties of non-factual communication. Where those difficulties are such that they have a substantial adverse effect on day-to-day activities, the definition may well be met.

For all the reasons discussed above, making neurodiversity a priority for your business is a no-brainer.

Take the opportunity to enhance your business’s inclusivity and unlock your team’s full potential. Register now for Keystone Law’s upcoming webinar on neurodiversity compliance and take the first step towards creating a more equitable and productive workplace.

When: Wednesday 15th May 2024

Time: 10:00-11:00

Register your interest in attending the webinar free of charge