At the start of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, we catch up with Paul Graham, Managing Director GB to discuss neurodiversity, and our broader diversity initiatives.
What is neurodiversity and why is it important to you?
Neurodiversity is the concept that brain differences are just that: differences. For example, conditions like ADHD and autism aren’t “abnormal”, they’re simply variations of the human brain. For people with learning and thinking differences, the idea of neurodiversity has real benefits. It can help children and parents frame their challenges as differences, rather than as deficits.
On a personal level, my own family is neurodiverse. We represent dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. This has really opened my eyes to the challenges but also the many opportunities of neurodiversity. Finding and getting access to the right support is really important, and from personal experience helps make all the difference.
What needs to be done to encourage neurodiversity in the workplace?
We have to give people the opportunity to realise their full potential, especially if they have different thought processing that may not fit with the ‘traditional’ way things are done. It’s about being inclusive, listening and positively responding. It will lead to far richer business solutions.
What is Britvic doing to encourage neurodiversity and diversity in general?
I’m proud of the work we do at Britvic to create a positive diverse working environment.
Britvic’s Healthier People, Healthier Planet strategy puts people and planet on par with performance, to create a more open, diverse, and inclusive business. We strongly believe diversity in business is about more than gender, race, and ethnicity. It includes diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures, disabilities and neurodiversity. If you start with inclusion and get that right, diversity will follow. All of this is made hugely enjoyable by our energetic and passionate colleagues.
Our B-Proud network, of which I am the executive sponsor, helps connect and support our LGBTQ+ employees. We have successfully grown B-Proud through our partnership with Stonewall, a charity that believes we are stronger together and will help us create real change for the better by challenging and improving our understanding, policies and processes.
I believe that everyone should have a fair and equal opportunity and often find that taking a stand and showing support and encouragement from the top is the catalyst for positive change.
What can we as individuals do to make the workplace more inclusive?
We can all do our bit to change and create inclusive workplaces where everyone has equal opportunity. We all need to be open to new ideas and welcome fresh thinking and the unconventional. It is this that will create a workplace that is open to all kinds of diverse, talented people and an environment where all can thrive.
Above all else, I believe we should care about each other and about cultivating an inclusive working environment where we are all supported and empowered to be our true selves. At Britvic, if we each take the initiative to foster a true culture of acceptance that embraces diversity, we can all truly flourish.