Supporting Neurodiversity in the Application Process

Supporting Neurodiversity in the Application Process

As part of our commitment to developing Neurodiversity at FPSG, our Director of Operations, Kirsty Peacock, recently attended the ENEI event; ‘Creating a neurodiverse organisation: How to unlock the power of neurodiverse thinkers in your workplace’.  The event was hosted by ENEI and included an inspiring performance by Reach For Autism and an informative talk from Rebecca Wones, Head of Psychological Assessment at Lexxic, and Kirsty Rogers, Employment Specialist at DWF.

Overview of Neurodiversity 

First of all, it is estimated that 1 in 7 of us have a recognised neurodiverse condition.  With every brain thinking a little differently, Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that argues diverse neurological conditions are a result of normal variation in the human genome.

Recognised conditions include:

  • Development Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia
  • Dyslexia
  • Autism Spectrum Conditions
  • ADHD
  • Dyscalculia

The term is also moving to cover those with mental health or cognitive functioning difficulties (often because of a brain injury).

Many successful names in business and the arts and entertainment industries fall under this term including; Cara Delevingne and Daniel Radcliffe with Dyspraxia, Orlando Bloom with Dyslexia and Chris Packham with Asperger’s.

So, with so many of us affected, what steps can employers take to support Neurodivergence in the workplace?

Knocking down barriers to entry

As employers, there are some simple steps we can take to encourage Neurodiverse applicants.

  • Attraction – Encourage applicants by including a statement on job adverts to let applicants know that you are neurodiverse friendly. Become a Disability Confident employer and display the logo on your website and job adverts
  • Application – Ask applicants if they have any conditions that may mean they need adjustments (and follow through with these requirements)
  • Interview – Consider your process – what are you doing and why? Is there anything you’re doing that may be screening out candidates with a Neurodivergent condition, who have the skills to do the role? Likewise, provide training to your recruitment team and hiring managers. Consider alternatives to interview e.g. work trials
  • Offer – Consider what support your new employee may require.  Discuss hours that will work best for them, any adjustments you need to make to their workspace and what information they need before they start that will help them prepare for their first day.  Rather than waiting a while, keep in touch and reassure that actions have been completed

Benefits to employers

Good Neurodiverse practice is good people practice.  Employers have also reported benefits for everyone by adopting Neurodivergent practices.  Finally, Neurodivergent employees offer benefits to the workplace including; hyperfocus, high creativity, skills (particularly in repetitive and logical tasks), innovation and problem solving.

The ENEI and CIPD websites have lots of information on making your workplace Neurodiverse friendly – check them out and attract new, valuable talent.