Neurodiversity in the workplace

22 March 2019


Acas has made new guidance available to help employers learn about neurodiversity and how to take steps to better support it in the workplace.


Acas describe neurodiversity as being a relatively new term that many people may not yet know much about. It refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information and lists neurodivergence as including:

  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia


The guidance from Acas highlights that people naturally think about things differently and that we all have different interests and motivations and are naturally better at some things and poorer at others. Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects.


However, it is estimated that around 1 in 7 people (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently.


According to Acas, there is still a lack of understanding around most forms of neurodivergence, and misperceptions persist. It, therefore, makes sense for organisations to take steps that make their neurodivergent staff feel valued, part of the team and supported to contribute fully towards achieving the goals of the organisation.


Creating a more inclusive workplace can:


  • highlight the employer's commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • reduce the stigma around neurodivergence
  • make staff feel safe and empowered to disclose a neurodivergence
  • make it more likely that neurodivergent staff will be treated fairly by their managers and colleagues
  • open the organisation up to a pool of talent that may otherwise have been overlooked
  • help retain skilled staff and reduce recruitment costs.


According to the CIPD, Tom Neil, Acas senior guidance adviser, said:


“Our guidance aims to help both employers and employees create workplaces where all staff can fulfil their potential.  Workplaces are beginning to recognise the unique gifts that neurodivergent staff can bring and it is a great time for employers to start thinking about how they can better support all of their employees.”


Acas new guidance - Neurodiversity in the workplace