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Good morning Precept fans. It’s me – Philip Pearson-Batt – here to brighten your week with another instalment of Precept’s weekly blog.

If you want to know how I spent my recent weekend, it was counting how many t-shirts and pairs of boxer shorts I have (TMI? Never!) You may be thinking to yourself “why would you do that Philip?” and as with most things in my house at the moment, the answer is: my honeymoon. Shut up! Stop mentioning it! It’s all you talk about! I know, and I can hear myself and I wish I could stop but I can’t – I’m too excited.

As with most things in my life, work and personal, a lot of preparation is going into this trip, even down to (which made Rob laugh at me the other day) checking seat review websites for the plane. It’s a long flight (we’ll be in the air for 24 hours in total) so it’s very important that we get it right (I’m aiming for seats 41 A and B, in case you were wondering). I daren’t show Rob my colour coded excel itinerary spreadsheet for fear I won’t hear the last of it, but whenever I’m sad or stressed, I bust it out to brighten my day (whilst Rob may laugh, I know Emma would understand!)

For now though, there is still a month and a bit to go and so I must absolutely focus on my work! And that is just what I’m doing.

One topic that keeps cropping up for me at the minute is neurodiversity. So, let me give you the low down…

What is neurodiversity?

Well, it’s an “umbrella” term which refers to individuals who behave, think and learn differently to those who are “neurotypical” (which itself refers to those whose brains function in what society would deem the usual way).

Examples of people who might be considered neurodiverse include those who are autistic, dyspraxic or dyslexic and those who have ADHD.

Why is this important?

Understanding neurodiversity is really important for employers. Recent studies have shown that 65% of neurodiverse employees fear discrimination from management and 55% fear discrimination from colleagues. That same study found that 40% of neurodiverse employees didn’t feel there was enough understanding around neurodiversity to ensure that they were properly supported in the workplace.

At the same time, studies have shown that employing neurodiverse individuals and having a diverse workplace fosters a better working environment and can drive up productivity.

Getting it wrong can be costly. You’re likely to lose staff so will lose experience and will also incur costs in relation to recruitment and training. Getting it really wrong can be even worse: you could end up with a tribunal claim for constructive dismissal or disability discrimination.

In fact, our wonderful Robyn Smith recently updated you all on a case involving a neurodiverse job applicant where the employer got things totally wrong and ended up with a claim against them: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/weekly-blog-discrimination-during-recruitment-food-thought/?trackingId=tGQMIxpuTAavu4LyhVscVg%3D%3D

Top tips!

It wouldn’t be a Precept communication without us giving you our top tips, would it? But this is really important – it will help you get the most out of your employees and avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. So, what steps can you take to support your neurodiverse staff?

  1. Raise awareness – you’ll see from the figures quoted above, there’s a lack of knowledge around neurodiversity. It’s really something that should be spoken about openly on a general basis and it’s also something that you should be incorporating into your equality and diversity training.
  2. Talk to staff – if staff are neurodiverse, having an open and honest conversation with them about this and what it means for them is going to go a long way. Remember! Not everybody is the same and what works for one, won’t work for all. Talking to your staff to out what they need is a simple but effective technique.
  3. Make adjustments – those who are neurodiverse may well fall under the disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010 so you may have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help them overcome disadvantages they might face. Doing this generally though, can make for a positive work environment. The sort of adjustments you might consider could include looking at adjusting the way you deliver information (should it be in writing or orally) or giving staff special equipment to help them with their daily tasks (for example dictation software).

This is one of those tricky to navigate topics, particularly at these early stages of awareness amongst employers. As always, Precept are one step ahead of the curve and so if you’ve got any questions on this, we’re here and happy to help. Give us a call! Spoiler alert – we may also even be covering this in our training schedule for 2024…not on our VIP list?  What are you playing at?? Surely you want to be the first to hear all about our training sessions?  Drop me a message and we can sort you out.