3 Ways HR Managers Can Learn More About Neurodiversity

Learning is as they say, ‘a journey’, and something that we continue to do through our lives.

I suspect that like many people in the broader HR community, you’ve come across the term Neurodiversity. I’ve no doubt that you have definitely heard of terms such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD.

So, neurodiversity is then how we describe this idea of difference as it relates to the way a person thinks and processes information. It’s cognitive or neurological difference.

Maybe, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ve got a pretty good understanding and an appreciation of the strengths that neurodiverse people bring to work, but you’re looking for more.

I wanted to explore 3 ways you can continue your learning journey to find out more about neurodiversity and how it relates to you, your role and your organisation.



Connecting with local community organisations

A great way to get an appreciation of neurodiversity is to link in with local community organisations.

Regardless of where you are located, there are likely to be a number of groups who can provide information and insight in neurodiverse conditions. Being able to speak with people who both represent and are closely associated with neurodiverse people will ensure you’re getting a much more first hand perspective too.

Depending on where you are you could look at the following groups, many of whom have really informative websites and may also provide speaking and training services:

There will likely be many more, some probably quite close to you, a quick google search will provide a list of options.

Resources from industry leaders

When it comes to industry based resources, there are two in particular that I can highly recommend.

These two resources provide a wealth of knowledge and insight into neurodiverse conditions and the intersect with work. In particular the Neurodiversity at Work guide compiled by Uptimize and CIPD (the UK’s HR professional body).

This guide provides plenty of information on different neurodiverse conditions, how to create an inclusive workplace and how to be inclusive of neurodiversity in your management approach.

The second resource that I recommend is the Autism@Work Playbook published by Disability:In. This is absolutely worth a read and will help you understand how you could go about creating an autism hiring program in your organisation.

In fact, the strategies and planning the Playbook provides could easily be leveraged for a wider focused neurodiversity hiring approach and could be scaled down for smaller businesses with a little tweaking. This is something I’ve written about previously - 3 Neurodiverse Hiring Program Structures.


Undertaking workplace training and professional development

The last area to explore would be actively taking up training. Whether individually or for your team or even across your business more broadly.

Having access to the knowledge and experience of someone who can guide and lead you through your own ‘learning journey’ can cut down a lot of the time you might otherwise spend on research and scouring the internet!

Again, depending on where you are located there will likely be a number of people you could turn to. Some may be more focused on the cohort they’ll teach about, though I would argue that many of the considerations and lessons you’ll get could be applied to a wider base.

In fact, training of HR, Recruitment and Diversity and Inclusion teams is a real focus for me. Building organisational confidence to hire and manage neurodiverse people is my primary purpose.

Having an understanding of what it would take to recruit neurodiverse people from interview stage onward is step one. But then how can you best support them once employed and set your managers up for success also?

Consider also the number of existing neurodiverse staff you likely already have - whether you know or not. When you come to see that many of the adjustments you might make to support these team members can be highly beneficial for many other employees it’s easy to see that bespoke, dedicated effort is not required. Just some minor tweaks in your communication and management approach.

I have a whole workshop dedicated to providing you the confidence to hire and manage neurodiverse people. You can check that out here if you’re interested.


Conclusion

So, in summary, the best place to start getting a broader education and understanding of neurodiversity is to reach out to community organisations and others who actively provide support and training. There will be a number close to you already who can help you out.

Undertaking training can be a short cut to research and reading, and provides scope for a more tailored and contextual understanding which can be very beneficial.

How about one final option which I haven’t already covered above? Do you want to know a surefire way to really get to know what this means in the context of your organisation and how you can support people?

Identify your existing neurodiverse staff. Sit down and have an open and supportive conversation with them. They’ll be able to help you see just what this could mean in a very real way.


Have you tried any of these already and how did it work out for you?


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