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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published a guide on neuroinclusion at work. 

It has also produced a report, 'Neuroinclusion at work report 2024', in conjunction with Uptimize, a neuroinclusion training provider. The report discusses the findings from a survey to examine the importance of having a neuroinclusive workplace and looks at what employers are currently doing in this area, as well as offering insight from employees about their working experiences.

The report concludes with seven key principles for creating a neuroinclusive organisation:

  • Understand where you are now and commit to a long-term plan of action.
  • Focus on creating an open and supportive culture where people feel comfortable talking about neurodiversity.
  • Proactively consider neurodiversity in all people management interactions.
  • Allow individual employers to be masters of their own journey.
  • Embrace flexible working to enable everyone to thrive.
  • Practise ongoing attention to wellbeing.
  • Empower neurodivergent voices.

The guide describes "neurodiversity" as the natural variation in human brain functioning, and "neuroinclusion" as inclusion of neurodiversity by "consciously and actively including all types of information processing, learning and communication styles".  It points out that while organisations are increasingly prioritising EDI and employee wellbeing, neurodiversity remains a substantially overlooked area. The CIPD points out that the problems of overlooking neurodiversity are now becoming clear giving as examples overlooked talent pools, the failure to enable people to be their most productive at work, and detrimental impacts on employee wellbeing.  While 70% of those surveyed said that EDI is a critical priority for their organisation and 83% say that wellbeing is, just 60% say that neuroinclusion is a focus for their organisation and only 33% say that it's in their EDI strategy or action plan.

The guide contains information on how to be neuroinclusive and gives the following tips for employers who want to create a neuroinclusive workplace:

  • Consider office design and employ flexibility in how, when and where work gets done, as well as catering proactively for different preferences in communication and meetings.
  • Create a culture of psychological safety where people are comfortable asking for support and recognise that peoples' needs are different even if they have the same neurodivergent identity. Ensure that managers know how to have open conversations with neurodivergent staff and also invite requests for workplace adjustments from all staff to normalise such requests.
  • Develop a neuroinclusive culture by raising awareness of neurodiversity through training, establishing the importance of respecting difference, and emphasising the value of diversity.

Changes to the recruitment process with neurodivergent candidates in mind should be considered as a way of attracting neurodiverse talent. The guidance also points to the crucial role that people professionals and EDI leads have in facilitating action on neuroinclusion and encouraging employees to engage with it.  It recommends asking for employee input which can be helpful to inform planning, feedback on proposed communications or to help lead initiatives in the area.

The guide suggests that HR can raise awareness about the importance of having a neuroinclusive organisation and recommends that formal policies and processes should be scrutinised through a neuroinclusive lens. It points out that many people don't have a conscious neuroidentity and many don't want to share it.  As a result 'it's not about "finding out who is who", it's about building a more neuroinclusive landscape that's ultimately good for everybody, no matter their way of processing information, learning and communicating'.

Please contact us if you would like practical guidance on how to become a more inclusive employer.