Building An Inclusive Workplace for Neurodivergent Employees
ADHD, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, dyslexia and other learning and mental health differences can be a real challenge on the job.
We talked with Abby Gentsch, an internal communications specialist at DevOps pioneer Puppet.
Abby is on the spectrum, and used her first-hand knowledge and experiences to create eight ways companies can make their workplace more accommodating to neurodivergent employees.
These tips include:
- Presentations and Meetings: Consider presenting information so it’s accessible to different learning styles, such as audio, written and visual content.
- Build an Inclusive Culture: It is vital the organization recognize that employees will have different culture fits or social norms, as not everyone is going to show up in the same way. By being accepting, everyone will feel more comfortable and confident.
- Leadership: Be a good leader by keeping things accessible. Think about your employees/co-workers and what they need to be positioned for success.
- Think about how you interact: Some people may not be comfortable on camera, and that is OK. For example, on Zoom calls neurodivergent employees may feel pressured to make facial expressions and/or sit still, which can be challenging. Taking this potential stressor away will allow employees to be more comfortable and focus on the task at hand.
- Be Flexible with Environment Controls: Not everyone needs to work in bright lights or with doors open. Allow employees to turn off the lights or close their doors if that can help increase productivity and comfort.
- Offer Flexible Working Hours: Neurodivergent employees may be “morning people” or “night people.” If the type of work is not dictated by the clock, allow workers to get the job done during the hours that they are most effective.
- Regular Manager Check-Ins: Neurodivergent employees can appreciate and benefit from regular check-ins from their manager. Whether asking about stress levels, workloads, interactions with coworkers or the stress of deadlines, open communications will allow the employees to feel more connected to their work and the organization.
- Engage with an expert: Today’s workforce is rapidly evolving and as more neurodivergent employees are hired, it is vital that companies seek experts to make sure they are creating an atmosphere that is inclusive and productive. There are coaches who specialize in neurodiversity in the workplace and these experts can be a powerful resource.
Click here to connect with Puppet.