Neurodiversity Celebration Week – Five things business can do to make a step change
This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week and as many of you in my network will know, neurodiversity is something I am passionate about championing. I firmly believe businesses can gain a lot from being more inclusive of neurodiversity. These are my top five learnings for how to better understand and meet neurodiverse needs in the workplace.
1. Educate yourself and others
According to Acas, around 1 in 7 people or 15% of the population are neurodiverse. There are a number of great resources available to help, including the business resources on the Neurodiversity Celebration Week website and this handy Neurodiversity Guide from Everymind at Work.
2. Lead from the top but encourage everyone in the business to play a role
Neurodiversity is something we have to be aware of at every level if we want to make a step change. I have the opportunity to make a stand at Britvic and lead from the top down – whether that’s by implementing changes to ensure we cater for neurodiverse needs or by encouraging open conversation to create an inclusive environment.
3. Create environments where people with neurodiverse needs can thrive
At Britvic, we wanted to make some changes to better accommodate neurodiverse needs in our workspaces. Working alongside neurodivergent individuals in the business, we have configured a selection of carefully designed rooms, available to all, which aim to meet neurodiverse needs. This considers everything from the colour scheme right through to the lighting and sound proofing.
4. Celebrate difference and focus on opportunities, not challenges.
One of the biggest problems with any type of “difference” is that it is often seen as a negative or weakness, rather than a strength. There’s a long list of traits commonly found in neurodiverse people including empathy, creativity, persistence, imagination, energy, problem solving and analytical skills. I know when my own son becomes passionate about a subject then he really does go all out to find out everything he can and become a real expert and advocate.
5. Seek feedback and keep on learning
I’m very much still learning. That’s why I need to constantly seek and respond to feedback. At Britvic, we are trying to create an open environment where neurodiverse employees feel confident expressing their needs and telling us what we can do better.
Paul Graham | Great Britain Managing Director