POSTED: July 15 2019
Managing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Managing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

ACAS have just produced guidance on neurodiversity in the workplace. advo wishes to increase awareness on this topic and so have included some background you will find useful. You are likely to be surprised by the number of people who are neurodivergent.

What is neurodiversity?

It is a term associated with conditions including ADHD, autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia. Symptoms are experienced along a ‘spectrum’. The effects of these conditions can vary from person to person.

Employees who are neurodivergent are likely to be considered as disabled under the Equality Act 2010. A person is disabled if they have ‘a physical or mental impairment’ which has ‘a substantial and long-term adverse effect’ on their ‘ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. Therefore, employers will have legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace and the employee’s role that will help to remove or minimise any disadvantage to them.

So, what can employers do to support neurodiversity?

  • Educate your workforce on neurodiversity and increase employees awareness about it.
  • Provide managers with guidance and training to improve their skills in this area.
  • Recruit managers who demonstrate key skills in empathy and communication.
  • Make adjustments to the working environment to reduce distractions and obstacles. Neurodivergent individuals are particularly sensitive to noise, sights and smells.
  • Providing mentoring or buddy systems can help neurodivergent employees feel supported.
  • Make all employees aware of where they can seek support. Set up a support network for neurodivergent employees.
  • Offer diagnostic or workplace needs assessments via professionals to use this to put practical help and support in place for employees.
  • Review and consider whether certain aspects of a role can be varied to suit a post holder.
  • Make sure your recruitment process is designed to be inclusive of neurodivergent individuals and does not discriminate in this area. You could: offer different ways for a candidate to complete an application form, clearly explain what skills and experiences are essential or desirable, provide guidance regarding the structure interview, consider alternative assessments to interviews, provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.
  • Design a policy on neurodiversity.

ACAS have recently written some guidance to help employers manage neurodivergence in the workplace as there is very little published about this and a lack of understanding by employers.

If you need help creating your own neurodiversity policy, please get in touch by emailing