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New CIPD guidance shows one in five neurodivergent employees experienced harassment or discrimination at work because of their neurodivergence

One in five neurodivergent employees surveyed (20%) have experienced harassment or discrimination at work because of their neurodivergence, according to new research from the CIPD, working with corporate neuroinclusion training specialists Uptimize.

The new report, Neuroinclusion at work, surveyed over 1000 employed adults about their working life, of which 790 identified as neurodivergent. It 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.

In response, the CIPD and Uptimize are calling on employers to raise awareness of the value of neurodiversity and build open and supportive cultures at work.

The research shows three in 10 (31%) neurodivergent employees surveyed haven’t told their line manager or HR about their neurodivergence. Over a third (37%) said they are concerned about people making assumptions based on stereotypes. A third (34%) said they feel there’s too much stigma, 29% said they are concerned about the possible impact on their career and almost a fifth (18%) said they don’t think their organisation would be understanding or offer support.

Neurodivergent employees are more likely to always or often: feel exhausted (45% vs 30%), feel under excessive pressure (35% vs 29%) and be lonelier at work (23% vs 17%), than neurotypical employees.

CIPD and Uptimize have set out guiding principles for employers including:

  • Focus on creating an open and supportive culture where people feel comfortable talking about neurodiversity. Raising awareness among all staff of neurodiversity and the importance of a neuroinclusive workplace can help to build understanding.
  • Be guided by an individual employee in terms of what they need to perform at their best at work and ensure clear access to reasonable adjustments. Workplace adjustments can include the use of headphones, quiet zones, and workspaces with more natural light or filing trays.
  • Embrace flexible working, for example flexibility in working hours and where employees work. Flexible working can enable everybody to thrive, and even minor changes can make a big difference.

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