Strategies for employers
17 January 2024
In part one of this article, we looked at the issues of neurodiversity and social mobility in the workplace. Following our recent webinar in which we discussed the issues in more detail, here are some practical strategies for tackling them.
In relation to both areas of neurodiversity and social mobility, there are various steps employers can take beyond just complying with legal obligations (to the extent relevant) to level the playing field. Organisations that do this well are likely to reap the benefits a more diverse workforce can bring and have access to a wider pool of talent, essential when recruitment remains a challenge across many industries.
A few of the actions employers can consider are as follows:
Data and surveys
Obtaining data and carrying out surveys with staff is often a good starting point, before a more comprehensive strategy is formulated. However, gaining the trust of staff so that they are willing to share information is equally important. Whilst not mandatory, class and disability pay gap analysis and reporting can go some way to assisting employers assess inequalities to take action.
Policy and practice review
Scrutinising recruitment, retention and progression practices is also vital to ensure that any unnecessary practices, which may disadvantage those who are neurodiverse or from lower socio-economic backgrounds, are removed. This could include, for example, removing requirements for a degree qualification if not required for the role or revising assessment criteria which could hinder a neurodiverse employee. In addition, ensuring that work experience, promotions or the allocation of duties is allocated purely on merit and removing potential for nepotism.
Helping colleagues to understand each other’s differences and training on unconscious bias can be a highly effective step towards inclusion and equality in the workplace.
Empowering employees to share and mentoring
Encouraging real role models to share their stories with colleagues about how they have overcome barriers in their careers or used any potential or perceived disadvantage to their advantage, whether it is on account of neurodiversity or a lower socio-economic background, can be a very powerful tool for employers and can help other employees from similar backgrounds, especially when coupled with mentoring.
There is still much work to do to understand how industrial strategy and innovation can contribute to advancing social mobility and neurodiverse workplaces. However, there does seem to be a progressive acknowledgement of the benefits of levelling-up the workplace playing field for neurodiverse employees and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, not merely as a symbolic gesture but as a strategic move towards fostering innovation and maximising business performance. Ultimately, organisations that take action beyond ordinary corporate social responsibility are likely to benefit from unlocking the untapped potential of individuals whose backgrounds and characteristics may have posed hinderances.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at January 2024.