How Managers Can Support Neurodivergent Employees To Ask for Help

Rachel Worsley  |  26/08/2023

Supporting neurodivergent employees in asking for help at work involves creating a safe and inclusive environment where they feel comfortable seeking assistance when needed. Here are some strategies managers can use to facilitate this:

  1. Promote Inclusivity and Awareness:
    • Foster a culture of inclusivity in the workplace, where neurodiversity is valued and understood.
    • Conduct training sessions or workshops to educate employees about neurodiversity and common challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals.
  2. Open Communication:
    • Encourage open and transparent communication. Let employees know that it's okay to ask for help and that doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness.
    • Maintain regular one-on-one meetings with employees to provide a dedicated space for discussing concerns and questions.
  3. Personalized Support:
    • Recognize that the needs of neurodivergent employees vary widely. Work with each individual to understand their specific strengths and challenges and tailor support accordingly.
  4. Clarify Available Resources:
    • Make sure neurodivergent employees are aware of available resources, such as employee assistance programs, support groups, or counseling services.
    • Provide information about internal resources and external organizations that can offer assistance or accommodations.
  5. Accommodations and Adjustments:
    • Offer reasonable accommodations to ensure that the workplace is accessible and supportive. These may include adjusted work hours, workspace modifications, or alternative communication methods.
    • Engage in an interactive process to determine what accommodations are most effective for each individual.
  6. Buddy or Mentor Programs:
    • Establish buddy or mentor programs where neurodivergent employees can connect with colleagues who can provide guidance and support when needed.
    • Ensure that mentors and buddies receive training on how to best support their neurodivergent colleagues.
  7. Clear Guidelines and Expectations:
    • Provide clear guidelines and expectations for job performance. This can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty for neurodivergent employees.
    • Offer written instructions or visual aids when appropriate to assist with task comprehension.
  8. Feedback and Check-Ins:
    • Regularly provide constructive feedback and praise for accomplishments. Focus on strengths and areas for improvement in a supportive manner.
    • Conduct periodic check-ins to assess how employees are managing their workload and offer assistance proactively.
  9. Confidentiality and Privacy:
    • Assure employees that their requests for help will be kept confidential, and their privacy will be respected.
    • Create a safe space for discussions without fear of judgment or disclosure of personal information.
  10. Self-Advocacy Training:
    • Offer training to help neurodivergent employees develop self-advocacy skills, such as how to request accommodations, communicate their needs, and navigate workplace challenges effectively.
  11. Lead by Example:
    • As a manager, demonstrate your willingness to seek help and support when needed. This sets a positive example and reduces the stigma associated with asking for help.
  12. Feedback Loops:
    • Encourage employees to provide feedback on the support and accommodations they receive. This can help refine strategies and ensure that they are effective.

By implementing these strategies, managers can create a workplace where neurodivergent employees feel empowered to ask for help when necessary, knowing that their needs will be met with understanding and support. This not only benefits the individual employees but also contributes to a more inclusive and productive work environment.

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