Benefits of a neurodiverse workforce set to come under the spotlight


THE benefits of employing people with neurodiverse conditions such as autism and ADHD will come under the spotlight at an event for businesses and organisations in Warrington and surrounding area this week.

A webinar looking at neurodiversity in the workplace is being hosted by the Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub and Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions. It will take place from 10am until 1pm on Thursday, March 7.
Among the keynote speakers will be Nina Parson, director of psychology at Warrington-headquartered occupational health and corporate health services company PAM Group.
In her interactive presentation Nina, who is an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, will discuss the recruitment of neurodiverse people, the support available for businesses and organisations, how they can make the selection process more accessible, and examples of best practice.
The webinar comes on the heels of a government-backed review which last week set out recommendations to support more autistic people in UK workplaces. The review said more neuro-inclusivity can help fill vacancies and grow the economy.
Neurodiverse conditions include autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia.
Nina said: “One of the most significant issues impacting the ability to grow a business is recruitment and talent.
“Neurodiverse individuals bring many strengths to the world of work, and can add tangible value to an organisation. You will find neurodivergent employees working in all sectors and all departments, from junior to senior manager to director level.
“The many strengths they possess across the various neurodiverse conditions include an ability to hyperfocus and tackle complex problems, creativity, innovative, analytical and visual thinking, attention to detail and long-term memory, as reported in the 2023 Neurodiversity in Business survey compiled by researchers at Birkbeck, University of London.
“It’s often thought that there are costs and challenges involved in hiring neurodivergent people, but it is not always the case. Access to Work grants, for example, are available to reimburse employers for specialist equipment they may need to buy. This can include assistive technology such as speech-to-text software.
“There are constant developments to the range of assistive technology on the market to support people, provide solutions and help to overcome barriers.
“Other workplace adjustments may be needed to support neurodiverse employees, such coaching and bespoke training as well as technology.
“Small changes can make a big difference without incurring large costs.”
Nina cited the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report on global workplace trends and the skills which are going to be required to keep businesses and organisations ahead of the game.
It found that cognitive skills, including analytical and creative thinking, were deemed top of the list.
“There’s a strong link between the qualities you often find in neurodivergent people and the key skills that are going to be required globally,” said Nina.
In her presentation, she will give examples of how employers can make their recruitment processes more inclusive for neurodivergent people, who may seem uncomfortable at an interview, thinking on their feet and making eye contact.
“They could be among the most accurate and productive members of a workforce, but research has shown that 65 per cent of people do not disclose their condition because they are concerned about a lack of understanding or negative repercussions,” she said.
“Employers should think about the methods of selection they are using to attract people, develop a culture of inclusion, and ensure the right support is available to help them thrive.”
PAM Group is a major provider of occupational health, health screening and wellbeing services across the UK and Ireland. It offers a range of integrated services to public and private sector clients, supporting more than a million employees at over 1,000 businesses and organisations.
The group, which employs more than 750 people, is backed by private equity firm LDC to support its growth and the launch of new products and services.
Thursday’s webinar is entitled Neurodiversity – Recruiting and Recognising a Neurodiverse Workforce. You can book CLICK HERE to attend:


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