How Your Noisy Work Environment Impacts on Diversity in the Workplace

The sensory environment at work impacts not only neurodiverse people. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who aren’t autistic or dyslexic for example, who are also affected by the amount of noise and movement in the office.

I’ll explain a few a common areas that create challenges when it comes to the sensory environment and work, along with a few simple strategies you can employ. The upside is, the cost of doing so doesn’t need to be high, and the benefit of having done so will be felt by many of your staff.

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5 Key Lessons from the Autism@Work Summit Melbourne 2019

Once again I attended the Autism@Work Summit in Melbourne, hosted by DXC Technology, ANZ Bank and the Autism Co-operative Research Centre.

This has proven to be a fantastic day (this was my second time attending) the last couple of years and it’s hard not to learn something. With speakers from a variety of organisations and insights from many angles on a range of topics there is plenty to learn about and loads of great connections to make as well!

I had previously shared a short video post on the key takeaway I had from the day, but let’s explore that in a little detail along with the other key takeaways.

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Why Accounting Firms Should Be Hiring Neurodiverse Graduates

Something I haven’t really written about before is my own experiences working in accounting. In fact, it’s possibly even something that you may not have appreciated I spent the early part of my career doing!

So, I thought it might be helpful to share with you my own thoughts on how a neurodiverse inclusive approach to hiring could be of benefit to accounting firms. My own experience was predominantly within mid size and small firms, but I think this will be relevant to any size firm. I’d like to explore how an understanding of neurodiverse individuals and their work preferences could enable firms to both attract applicants that are both capable and motivated and to avoid the often common mid level drop off. That career point where many people either leave professional practice or move ‘up’ to bigger firms.

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Why Companies Can Benefit From Neurodiversity Training in 2019

The value of neurodiversity training

In this article I’m going to talk about the value of undertaking training on neurodiversity and how your organisation could benefit from it.

I’ll show you how what might seem like quite specific training could actually help you in a number of different ways that you’ve probably not previously considered. Primarily how can better support the mental health of your staff and improve employee engagement.

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3 Ways HR Managers Can Learn More About Neurodiversity

Learning is as they say, ‘a journey’, and something that we continue to do through our lives.

I suspect that like many people in the broader HR community, you’ve come across the term Neurodiversity. I’ve no doubt that you have definitely heard of terms such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD.

So, neurodiversity is then how we describe this idea of difference as it relates to the way a person thinks and processes information. It’s cognitive or neurological difference.

Maybe, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ve got a pretty good understanding and an appreciation of the strengths that neurodiverse people bring to work, but you’re looking for more.

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How to Promote Neurodiversity in Your Company's Diversity & Inclusion Strategy in 2019

The neurodiversity concept or movement is gaining traction globally. Certainly as awareness increases, more people are coming to understand what it means and how to relate to neurodiverse people.

A follow on implication is greater understanding of the contributions that neurodiverse people can make. What also seems to stand out for me is the realisation people have when it comes to how many people are touched by it.

So whilst approximately 10-15% of the population may identify as neurodiverse, think of all the people directly connected to that individual. With the ‘average’ family represented by four people, there are potentially at least a further three people directly and closely connected to every neurodiverse person.

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How to Create a More Neurodiverse Inclusive Workplace

Having dealt with the challenge of how to recruit neurodiverse candidates and on-board them into your business, you’re now considering the next steps as part of your diversity and inclusion plans.

Or you may be in the camp where you have identified existing staff who have  disclosed as being neurodiverse or are facing ‘stereotypical’ workplace challenges.

Making reasonable adjustments to the workplace are often mandatory legislative requirements in most countries. But beyond that, having an inclusive workplace that caters for the needs of your staff will allow them to perform at their best.

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Managing Performance of Neurodiverse Staff

Managing staff requires a mix of guiding through missteps and mistakes. Encouraging continued good work and dealing with the odd interpersonal challenge. This is no different when it comes to neurodiverse staff. But, this is often an area of uncertainty for many managers new to supporting a neurodiverse employee.

When establishing an inclusive workplace it's important to treat all people equal. Making distinctions on how one person is treated versus everyone else fosters exclusion.

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The Growth Mindset and How it Can Drive Performance

I’ve been exploring mindsets again of late and have circled back to the work of Carol Dweck and the Growth Mindset.

The idea of the Growth Mindset is the belief that your ability to learn and adapt is flexible. It is something that we have direct control over.

This leads to the view that your potential is limited by your effort and imagination.

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4 Lessons From 3 Creative Minds

An area that I find interesting and I believe many others do also, is that of creativity. What is it? And is it something that can be learnt, developed and harnessed?

Through an exploration of three well known creative figures, I had hoped to gain some insight into potential answers to these sorts of questions.

Whilst a sample size of three is clearly not going to be statistically significant, there were a number of key insights that can provide some useful lessons regardless.

The three people that were the subject of this ‘grueling’ analysis were James Dyson, Richard Branson and Thomas Edison. You might be wondering why the inclusion of Edison, he’s a little of out time with the other two.  

The rationale was that including someone from the previous century (or two) would provide an interesting perspective as to how pervasive (over time) any insights might be.

I had hoped to see if any lessons we might learn would likely have future validity beyond the here and now.

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3 Neurodiverse Hiring Program Structures

When it comes to establishing a deliberate approach to increasing organisational diversity, creativity and performance, a neurodiverse hiring program is certainly a growing ‘go to’. The question for many organisations starting out though, is how? 

In simple terms there are really 3 primary formats that any organisation can take. In this post I’ll explore each in turn along with some thoughts on pros, cons and what considerations might be relevant for your organisation.

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Who Put That Fence In The Way?

I was having an interesting conversation recently (something I’m fortunate in doing regularly) and something rather obvious occurred to me.

It is a little surprising that this ‘epiphany’ felt as profound as it did at the time, when on reflection it seems like it’s been a clear thought in my own mind for a long time.

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How to Hire Autistic, Dyslexic or Other Neurodiverse Staff

The first and typically the last hurdle that most neurodiverse job candidates face is the recruitment process.  From sometimes long, repetitive and occasionally ambiguous application forms to panel interviews and assessment centres that generally only serve to highlight the challenges these candidates may have with social interactions, there are a number of stages where job candidates will stumble. 

However, there are many minor adjustments that organisations can make to their processes that will allow neurodiverse candidates to demonstrate their strengths and character.

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The Benefits of Hiring Neurodiverse Employees

Many people who identify as being neurodiverse, which covers neurological conditions such Aspergers, Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia, are reported as being under supported at work.

Australian and international statistics also indicate that between 52% and 60% of people with a disability or neurodiverse are unemployed.  This does not include the large numbers that are underemployed (employed less than 32 hours a week) where they have the capacity and desire to work more.

With the often highly valuable workplace strengths that neurodiverse people possess, this represents a significant opportunity for organisations to access a capable and willing pool of talent.

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