Creating a Neurodiversity-Friendly Workplace – Top Tips for Your Company
23.08.2023 | 4 min read
At 10Clouds, we recognize that individuals perceive reality in different ways, and we've set a clear objective: to ensure that every person is appreciated for their distinct and special qualities, harnessing the strengths and addressing the challenges that come with diverse minds.
Last year, 10Clouds was officially recognized by the asperIT foundation as being a neurodiverse-friendly employer, following a thorough audit. We're proud of our inclusive atmosphere and the methods we've employed to establish a culture rooted in psychological safety, trust, and empathy – and we wanted to share our top tips with you.
1. Start with a professional approach
To embark on a successful neurodiversity journey, you need a professional approach. Leadership buy-in is crucial. Just as 10Clouds did, consider partnering with organizations or foundations with expertise in neurodiversity. In Poland, two such organizations are the asperIT Foundation and neuroroznorodni.pl. Seek guidance, read publications, and engage with experts in the field. Understand the 'why' behind neurodiversity, communicate your intentions transparently, and set clear goals for implementation.
2. Education is key
Before you can become a neurodiversity-friendly employer, your team needs to understand what neurodiversity means and why it's essential. Offer training and educational resources to your employees.
Create a space for open conversations, questions, and concerns. By demystifying neurodiversity, you foster a more inclusive environment.
3. Have a holistic approach to employee needs
Take a holistic approach to understanding your employees' needs.Consider implementing sources, self-evaluation questionnaires and other tools, which we internally call "Neurodiversity Barometers" at 10Clouds. This allows individuals to self-assess and access basic diagnostic tools. Create an environment where employees can express their needs and challenges anonymously. This encourages self-awareness and helps you identify obstacles to productivity.
4. Conduct an audit and act on recommendations
An audit, like the one performed for 10Clouds by the asperIT foundation, can be immensely beneficial. It involves assessing your workspaces, communication platforms, and processes to identify areas for improvement. Be open to recommendations and act on them. Prioritize inclusive internal communication, eliminate unnecessary stimuli in communication channels, and develop a system to map individuals on the spectrum within your organization.
5. Conduct a developmental diagnosis
Consider using diagnostic tools like PRISM® Brain Mapping. This tool assesses various dimensions of behavior, allowing you to better match tasks and roles to individuals. It's a valuable resource for creating tailored development paths and improving interpersonal relationships within your team.
6. Support and train leaders
Leaders play a pivotal role in creating a neurodiversity-friendly workplace. Offer training and workshops for your leaders to deepen their understanding of neurodiversity. Teach them effective communication strategies and provide guidance on accommodating neurodiverse team members.
Leaders need to lead by example when it comes to fostering inclusivity.
7. Have an individualized approach
Recognize that every neurodiverse individual is unique. Provide flexibility and individualized support. Be open to adjusting your work environment, processes, and expectations to accommodate different needs. For example, consider allowing autonomy in decisions like turning on cameras during meetings to reduce sensory overload.
8. Limit socialization pressure
Introversion is common among neurodiverse individuals. Be mindful of this when planning company events. Offer alternatives to large social gatherings, such as smaller group meetings or quiet spaces for relaxation. Ensure that inclusivity extends beyond the workplace and into your company culture.
9. Promote psychological safety
Above all, strive to create a psychologically safe environment. Your employees should feel comfortable discussing their needs, strengths, and challenges openly. Encourage a culture of empathy, understanding, and support.
When your employees feel safe, they can bring their full potential to work.
10. Embrace diversity as an asset
Finally, view neurodiversity as an asset. Embrace the unique perspectives and talents that neurodiverse individuals bring to your team. Recognize that diversity in thought leads to innovation and problem-solving. By valuing neurodiversity, you'll create a workplace that benefits everyone.
As you embark on your journey towards becoming a neurodiversity-friendly employer, remember that it's not just about ticking off a checklist of actions. It's about fostering a culture of inclusion, understanding, and innovation. We hope we might have inspired you with our own experience here at 10Clouds.