Updated: Jul 24
by Amy Ouzoonian
Throughout the month MoodConnect meets with the public at the local Phoenix farmers market and GCU, to name a few places. It's there where I get a chance to connect truly with employees and they share with me their successes and their heartache, their wins and losses. Recently I was inspired by a woman, Lottie, who works in an office in downtown Phoenix. She shared with me that she got her HR department to let her wear noise canceling ear pods at her desk, which was amazing to her co-workers and inspired them to inquire for themselves. Sometimes advocating for ourselves can be a challenge. That's why I've come up with a few ways that we as HR Directors can make our office spaces a little more inclusive for people who perhaps are a little too anxious to speak up. A truly inclusive workplace not only respects and values differences among employees but also actively seeks to create an environment where every individual can thrive. One such critical aspect is creating accommodations for employees with neurodivergence disabilities. In this blog post, we will explore how to create this for your office space.
1. Foster an Inclusive Workplace Culture
The first step towards accommodating employees with neurodivergence disabilities is fostering a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion. This involves not only education about neurodivergence but also creating an open dialogue that destigmatizes it. Regular training sessions and workshops can help in increasing awareness, understanding, and empathy among all employees.
2. Tailor-Made Accommodations
No two people are the same, and this holds true for individuals with neurodivergence. The accommodations needed by an individual with ADHD might be vastly different from someone with autism or dyslexia. As such, it's crucial to adopt a tailored approach when creating accommodations.
This could include providing noise-cancelling headphones or quiet workspaces for employees sensitive to noise, allowing flexible work schedules for those who might struggle with a traditional 9-5 routine, or providing written instructions for tasks to individuals who might have difficulty following oral instructions.
3. Encourage Open Communication
Employees should feel comfortable discussing their needs without fear of judgement or reprisal. Establishing an open line of communication, where employees can express their concerns and needs freely, is crucial. Whether this involves regular check-ins with managers, anonymous feedback systems, or dedicated HR support, it's important to create a safe space for communication.
4. Regular Reviews and Updates
Creating accommodations is not a one-and-done task. Regular reviews and updates are essential to ensure that the accommodations are effective and evolving as per the individual's needs. Feedback from employees should be a crucial component of these reviews.
5. Advocacy and Leadership
To truly be a trailblazing HR director, you will need to go beyond internal policies and practices. Advocating for neurodivergent inclusivity in business communities, industry groups, and at policy-making levels can help drive broader societal change. Moreover, sharing your organization's practices and learnings can serve as a roadmap for other companies looking to create similar accommodations.
Creating accommodations for employees with neurodivergence disabilities is not just about compliance or ticking a box; it's about fostering an environment where every individual can bring their best selves to work. By focusing on inclusivity, tailored accommodations, communication, regular reviews, and advocacy, you can create a truly inclusive and welcoming workplace for all.
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