Neurodiversity at Work – Our new initiative
Anchor are committed to valuing diversity and inclusion and as part of our business plan, we want to ensure we offer more opportunities for all our colleagues. Looking at how we attract and retain colleagues plays an important part in delivering this, as well as being an employer of choice.
We have recently launched our ‘Neurodiversity at Work’ initiative which aims to provide support to colleagues who are neurodivergent and help them to thrive in the workplace. The term neurodiversity refers to the way that everyone’s brains naturally work differently from one another. Around 1 in 7 people are neurodivergent, which means they behave, think, process and interpret information in ways that differ to most other people; when we talk about people who are neurodivergent, we are usually referring to those people who have recognised conditions such as autism, ADHD, or other neurological differences. The working world is built for those who are neurotypical (not neurodivergent), so organisations need to recognise this and take steps to make the work environment better for all colleagues.
As part of our initiative, we have developed a comprehensive guide for line managers which details neurodivergent conditions and how they can support neurodiverse colleagues, created various eLearning modules which all of our colleagues can access to increase awareness of neurodiversity at work and implemented a policy which outlines everyone’s responsibilities to ensure that those who are neurodivergent do not experience barriers during our recruitment process and throughout their career with us.
Amongst neurodivergent people, unemployment is high. If we look at autistic adults aged 16-64, for example, UK statistics suggest 78% are unemployed. This is the highest unemployment rate of any group, compared with 48% for all disabled people and 19% for all adults. This means that is a talent pool which could be reached and could bring a number of skills and fresh perspective. Having a neurodiverse workforce can help organisations in so many ways such as productivity, innovation, organisational culture and talent retention.
By launching our initiative, we challenge the perception and the stigma on what it means to be neurodivergent and highlight how important it is to make a workplace suitable for all and not some.
We are raising awareness of neurodiversity by celebrating Neurodiversity Celebration Week and World Autism Acceptance Week. Our colleague network for those living with disabilities (The Disability Network) have been sharing some personal experiences about living with conditions such as autism and ADHD as well as some informative pieces which dig a little deeper into why this should be a topic of conversation for all workplaces.