HR urged to 'encourage' discussion on neurodiversity

Findings show that workplaces may be overlooking neurodivergent staff

HR urged to 'encourage' discussion on neurodiversity

Employers are told to "encourage" conversations about neurodiversity, according to Diversity Works New Zealand, as a new report suggests that neurodivergent employees are getting "overlooked" in the workplace.

The New Zealand Workplace Diversity Survey 2022 revealed that among the respondents who identified or considered themselves as neurodivergent, about 63% of them said their organisation was not aware of their condition.

Only 27.8% said their organisation was aware of it, while 9.3% said they didn't know, according to the report.

In addition to this, 32.1% of neurodiverse employees said they believe their condition affects their career development opportunities negatively.

And while some 30.2% said it doesn't affect their experience in the workplace in any way, 20.8% of employees said they were not confident in disclosing their neurodiverse condition in their organisations.

Read more: Diversity Works NZ launches revamped awards to celebrate workplace D&I

How workplaces view neurodiversity

According to 28.9% of the report's overall respondents, supporting neurodiverse workers is "not an area of concern" for their organisation. In fact, 71% of the respondents said their employers do not collect demographic data on the neurodiversity of their workforce.

Nearly half of the respondents (46.8%) also said they don't think their senior leaders in their organisation were "equipped to effectively manage a neurodiverse workforce," while only 3.4% of the respondents said their employers have established longer-term talent pipelines by creating targeted employment opportunities for neurodiverse people.

Amid these findings, Diversity Works New Zealand Head of Research and Development Pete Mercer underscored to employers the importance of conversations about neurodiversity so more workers with the condition can come forward.

"There are some excellent resources and training available to people leaders. But it's also important to encourage conversations around neurodiversity," said Mercer in a statement.

"Senior leaders should empower neurodiverse people who are open about their condition to talk about it at work and normalise the situation, making it okay for everyone to feel safe to disclose."


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