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Thursday 19 September 2019

How do we build a workplace fit for everyone?

We have barely begun to understand neurodiversity at work. At a recent ThinkIn, we discuss what works – and what really doesn’t

By James Harding

How do we make the most of each other’s capabilities? We start by how we frame the question. We heard two ways at our recent ThinkIn:

– How can we support you to work at your best?
– How will your disability hold you back?

Our turn of phrase says so much about our outlook.

There are practical things – in the way we ask for CVs, run recruitment, hold meetings, understand other people’s behaviour – that businesses can do. Small ones can make a big difference. For example, not asking people in an interview process to do things that they won’t need to do in the job.

But let’s not underestimate this. Many of us have barely even begun to understand neurodiversity. We need to do a lot more talking – to come to a shared language, a recognition of what works and what doesn’t, an honest culture that’s neither negative nor mythologising, that empowers everyone – employer and employee.

Most of all, we need to face up to our avoidance. We heard how an employment agency terminated the employment of a person without cause and then ducked out of giving an explanation. That’s more than disingenuous. It’s probably illegal. It’s certainly not uncommon.


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We believe in opening up journalism so we can examine issues and develop ideas for the 21st Century. We want to do this with our members and with our partners. We want to give everyone a seat at the table.