Supporting sustainable work for neurodiverse employees with ADHD

In Australia, ADHD affects approximately one in 20 people [1]. ADHD can go undiagnosed in childhood and adult presentations may differ from childhood presentations of ADHD. Adults with ADHD may experience challenges with memory, organisational capacity and abilities, concentration and focus, and emotional regulation and social communication (these presentations can vary in every individual). However, people with ADHD can also possess certain strengths such as creativity, innovation, and intrinsic motivation, which can be further developed with the right support. 

As part of the neurodiverse community, those with ADHD commonly experience challenges associated with a world that is not necessarily built for how they think, feel and communicate. As a result the neurodiverse community have developed the concept of “masking” to refer to the coping mechanisms that neurodiverse people may develop over time to hide or camouflage their neurodiverse behaviours to better fit in with societal norms. Masking includes suppressing behaviours that neurodiverse people use that allow them to self-soothe or regulate themselves in response to stimulation that may exacerbate stress. Masking that suppresses these neurodiverse behaviours can in turn significantly decrease a neurodiverse person’s sense of wellbeing. Over time, the stress of dealing with daily living and work demands without suitable support and without relying on self-soothing behaviours can add to the stress load being experienced by neurodiverse person.  

Organisations can support their neurodiverse workforce, including those with ADHD, by adopting strengths-based approaches at every stage of an individual’s employment. Such an approach involves embedding a culture of understanding, support, open communication, and person-centred workplace practices. Supports include accommodations at all stages of the hiring, retention, and career development pathway. Further, creating a culture of psychological safety is key to building a neurodiversity-inclusive organisation. Even as neurodiverse employees are enabled with the skills to help them succeed in mainstream workplaces, peers and leaders must be provided with adequate training and coaching around how to communicate with and work inclusively, with neurodiverse employees. Organisations that offer these multi-pronged supports at all levels are primed to develop empathetic and psychologically safer cultures where wellbeing outcomes improve for everybody.  

Organisations can support neurodiverse employees by adopting a strengths-based approach that involves creating an understanding and supportive workplace culture, providing accommodations and support at every stage of employment, and ensuring psychological safety for all employees. To build an inclusive workplace, organisations should focus on educating and building awareness of neurodiversity, amplifying neurodiverse voices and experiences, and offering appropriate support services and accommodations. 

If you are an HR or Diversity and Inclusion professional looking to create a more inclusive workplace, then now is the time to take action. Resilia’s suite of neurodiversity assessments and coaching programs can help you ensure that your workplace is welcoming and accommodating to neurodiverse individuals, including those with ADHD. 

To learn more about Resilia’s neurodiversity assessments and coaching programs, reach out to us today. Let’s work together to create a workplace that’s inclusive and supportive for everyone.