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Many companies unsure they support neurodivergent staff

A new survey* among 227 compliance and HR professionals sheds light on a concerning reality: a significant gap exists between stated intentions and actual practices regarding neurodiversity in the workplace.

The survey highlights:

  • Uncertainty around support: A worrying 40% of respondents are unsure if their organisations are truly neurodiversity-friendly.
  • Lack of active support: Nearly a quarter (23%) believe their workplaces lack active support for neurodivergent employees.

The survey also identifies the main challenges hindering progress towards neurodiversity inclusion. A substantial 48% of respondents identified a lack of awareness as the biggest hurdle. Over a quarter (26%) point to limited resources as a significant barrier.

Nick Henderson-Mayo, Director of Learning and Content at VinciWorks says, “It’s shocking that 40% of companies are unsure if they support neurodivergent employees. This isn’t just a compliance issue, it’s talent blindness. Organisations are missing out on a massive pool of creative potential and brilliant minds because their procedures are not neurodiversity friendly.”

Neurodiversity: A Growing Focus with Legal and Business Implications

Neurodiversity is gaining traction as a key aspect of workplace inclusion. It refers to the natural variations in human brain function that influence how we interact with the world and process information. As many as 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning that organisations that fail to meet the needs of their neurodivergent staff and clients are neglecting a significant demographic.

The Equality Act 2010 (UK) protects neurodiversity, but the benefits extend far beyond legal requirements. Studies show that neurodiverse individuals bring unique talents and perspectives that fuel problem-solving, innovation, and creativity. This can be a significant advantage for businesses.

However, the lack of inclusivity is a growing risk. Over a hundred cases of neurodiversity discrimination reached employment tribunals last year, a sharp rise from the previous year. Organisations that fail to support their neurodivergent staff risk losing talented employees and facing legal action. But creating a neurodiversity-friendly workplace doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

“Failing to be neurodiversity friendly is a bad business decision,” says Henderson-Mayo. “Supporting neurodivergent employees doesn’t require expensive overhauls. It’s about fostering a culture of empathy and understanding. Simple accommodations like flexible work arrangements, noise-cancelling headphones, and clear communication protocols can make all the difference for neurodivergent individuals.”

“It’s about respecting individual needs, and in turn, we’ll see a more engaged workforce, a wider range of ideas, and a company culture that celebrates difference, not punishes it,” he concludes. 

*Survey from VinciWorks

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