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HR lacks training to help struggling neurodivergent staff

Just 23% of HR professionals have had specific neurodiversity training in the last 12 months, according to new research.

Training provider City & Guilds found that the lack of proper training could be failing staff, as 40% of neurodivergent employees said they were negatively impacted in their workplace by their condition.

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Kirstie Donnelly, CEO of City & Guilds, told HR magazine the lack of neurodiversity training should not be ignored.

Nearly a third (32%) of neurodivergent staff said they had not been able to disclose their condition in their workplace

Donnelly said: “Not only does this mean they can’t be themselves in the workplace, but it also means they don’t have the support in place that could enable them to deliver their best work. 

“It’s clear that businesses could do more to gain understanding of the needs of their employees or candidates. This knowledge gap means organisations might not know how to give neurodiverse employees equal opportunities at every stage of their career journey: from applying and accepting a role, to day-to-day responsibilities and promotions.”

Daniel Adherne, author of The Pocket Guide to Neurodiversity and founder of D&I consultancy Adjust, told HR magazine it is time to accept and celebrate neurodiversity.

He said: “It is crucial that HR departments make the time to truly understand neurodiversity, so that they can create a safe and positive culture that neurodiverse employees can thrive in. 

“We need to break down the negative barriers that surround neurodiversity, which as this research shows is creating workplaces where people aren't confident to speak up in currently. 

“All employees deserve to come to work and to feel safe and supported, and currently this isn't the case for almost half of neurodiverse employees. We need to change this narrative before more talent falls needlessly from the workplace."

It is important to understand that the onus falls on them to make workplace adjustments, not on the employee to request them, Donnelly added.

She said: “Organisations should be held responsible for creating a neuro-inclusive environment whereby neurodivergent employees can bring their best selves to work and contribute to building a positive, inclusive, and successful business.” 

Fieldwork for City & Guilds report was undertaken between August 2022 and December 2022 and received 972 responses.