What works in the workplace – a roadmap for success
Monday 12 August 2019
Over the last 40+ years the BDA has worked with the widest possible variety of organisations from sole traders through to the largest multi-national household names. During this time, we have developed templates of what to do, what works and also a road map of how to get there.
Here’s what we know works:
- Putting the issue on an open agenda in a proactive way – Often the issue of Neurodiversity arrives on the agenda of HR when there is a problem. Our advice would be to not wait for the problem but to be proactive. Events such as a “Lunch & Learn” are very effective for this purpose. Open to anyone at the BDA we often find when delivering these events that the audience includes individuals from across the organisation’s levels from line managers, ND individuals (who may not have disclosed) and parents of ND children. This broad-brush approach enables accurate information to be given, questions to be asked and discussion to be had in an informal setting. From the employer’s point of view, it starts people talking and shows that the organisation recognises ND.
- Connecting the dots - Following on from a lunch and learn event attendees will often start to create informal, ad hoc, connections with others in the organisation. A savvy employer utilises these informal connections effectively by facilitating internal networks. Here again the BDA has worked with numerous organisations and supported them with guidance on the development of these. Whilst often the desire is to create a peer support system for ND employees often these are attractive to parents of ND children. Having a child that is ND can create enormous stress and anxiety for a parent and a wise employer recognises this and the impact that such external pressures can have on employee performance. Having such networks also sends out a clear positive message about the culture of an organisation.
- Access to Quality Accessible Information – No matter how great an organisation’s formal policies might be let’s be honest few employees will really read them until they need them, at which point there is often a problem. Especially given that for some ND individuals wading through complex documents, written in HR speak, is likely to be an additional challenge. Accessible information about ND on a staff intranet or through newsletters, etc. that is delivered in an accessible way again starts to send a clear message about the value that the organisation places on inclusivity and diversity.
- The where, who - Information is great but it needs to signpost employees to something more substantial if they need it. Therefore, employers need a clear process of what someone can do if they need support. The where will depend on the organisation, it might be to HR, line managers, mentors or other internal resources in the first instance but the “who” involved in this process must be well informed and be able to provide accurate advice, effectively being able to provide “first aid” if required. For these individuals training is key. The BDA provides such training on a range of ND (not just dyslexia). Such training is vital and provides organisations with a resource that will save money in the long term as issues can be dealt with quickly and efficiently before they escalate.
- What next – For organisations that embrace the value of a ND workforce the BDA can recognise this achievement through our Dyslexia Smart Award. This award provides a badge of honour that demonstrates to both employees and wider society that not only is ND recognised and understood, but also welcomed and valued.