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A new survey shows that nearly a quarter of neurodivergent employees have experienced either harassment or discrimination in the workplace because of their neurodivergence.

As a result of this, employers are being urged by the CIPD and Uptimize, to raise awareness of the value of neurodiversity and build open and supportive cultures at work.

The CIPD report ‘Neuroinclusion at Work’, surveyed over 1000 employed adults about their working life, of which 790 were neurodivergent, and found that only half of neurodivergent employees feel that either their organisation (52%) or team (54%) has an open and supportive climate where employees feel able to talk about neurodiversity.

The research, which was created with corporate neuroinclusion training specialists Uptimize, shows that 31% of neurodivergent employees surveyed haven’t told their line manager or HR about their neurodivergence. The reasons given for this decision include:

  • It’s a private matter that they don’t want to share (cited by 44%).
  • They are concerned about people making assumptions based on stereotypes 37%).
  • They feel there’s too much stigma (34%).
  • They’re concerned about the possible impact on their career (29%).
  • They don’t think their organisation would be understanding or offer support (18%).
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Dr Jill Miller, senior equality, diversity and inclusion policy adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said, “Neurodiversity needs to be a key focus in an organisation’s equality, diversity and inclusion work.

“The design of workplaces and people management approaches haven’t traditionally considered neurodiversity, meaning many employees may not be able to perform at their best. Action is needed to create neuroinclusive organisations and fairer workplaces, with equality of opportunity for neurodivergent employees, free from harassment and discrimination.

“This means good people management, getting to know people as individuals and understanding their needs. Organisations should ensure managers have the training to manage people effectively, offer flexible working and provide clear access to reasonable adjustments. These practices can make a significant difference to neurodivergent people’s working experience, as well as benefitting employees more widely.

“Focusing on neurodiversity can have important business benefits, including widening the talent pool to recruit from, supporting employee wellbeing and improving employee performance and retention.”

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