Supporting Employees with Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace

International Day of People with disabilities is on happening Friday 3rd December. This day celebrates those with disabilities as well as increasing awareness to those without.  Aiming to help people become more considerate alongside providing insights to what people with disabilities face daily.

1 in 10 people in the UK are dyslexic whilst 1 in 7 are neurodiverse. We are seeing more people entering the workforce with a hidden disability, such as dyslexia or ADHD.

Companies should consider providing more support for people with disabilities, helping them to start and stay in the working environment. The National Disability Strategy is aiming to do this, from altering access to work and distributing best practice to employers to encourage more people with disabilities in the workforce.

Employers should ensure their work environment and culture has:

Adapting the workplace for those with hidden disabilities

Creating a supportive and inclusive culture goes a long way in supporting those with dyslexia or ADHD. Adaptions to policies are necessary to ensure inclusivity for these employees. Employers need to adjust their thinking to remove any stigmas or opinions developed of those with hidden disabilities.

Dyslexia impacts a person ability to process normal daily tasks, simple instructions including left and right may be confusing. Employers should take steps ensuring to utilise the employees’ strengths alongside supporting their ‘weaknesses’.  For example, increasing their verbal communication, following up with detailed actions and incorporating colours to highlight important data.

Similarly, to ADHD, those with dyslexia may find it difficult to focus on particular tasks for long periods of time. Policies which allow employees to have more frequent breaks to help in long term productivity are beneficial. ADHD and Dyslexic individuals can be highly creative and innovative, so allowing them freedom to explore new processes or suggestions can make them feel more valuable to the company.

Businesses have a duty of care; it may be beneficial for employers to research hidden disabilities further to fully understand the extent of the employee’s disability helping to be more accommodating and compassionate to daily struggles of ADHD and dyslexic people.

Action on Disability

Action on disability is holding a talk on ‘Leadership and participation of disabled people’ Friday 3rd December 3pm- 4.30pm, celebrating Disability History month and international day of disabled people.

Employers must remember that managing diversity and developing an inclusive culture should be continually monitored and improved as it is not a one-off initiative. All employees in the workplace have a responsibility to ensure all individuals in the working environment are treated with respect however, eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities falls to the managers and supervisors. Our HR specialists are available for advice on disabilities in the workplace.

Image with text overlay Hidden Disabilities in the workplace

The Great Reshuffle

The Great Reshuffle

Are you struggling to find talented and experienced candidates for job vacancies due to the great reshuffle? People changing careers has soared by 50% globally causing the biggest change in the recruitment market and skill shortages rising.

Unemployment rate has fallen to 4.3% following the pandemic leading to an employee-driven market. Employers need to consider improvements to their company culture, recruitment process and online employer branding.

Considerations to your online reviews from the customer and ex-employees contribute to your online employer branding. Candidates are more likely to research a company to gather an opinion. Candidates look at the company’s social media channels, online customer testimonials and some utilise Glassdoor helping to provide insights to company culture from employee reviews.

The top priority for candidates is work life balance, however the fastest growing priority was flexible working arrangements which grew by 12.3% from April 2020 to June 2021. Are you highlighting your flexibility within your job description? Candidates appreciate companies who are transparent within the job description, for example, including hybrid opportunities to including the salary range. Another transparency tip is to ensure the companies name  is within job advertisement.

Companies being flexible to remote working is not providing a work-life balance culture. If employees are expected to work after office hours and weekends for ‘business needs’, this isn’t a work-life balance culture.

Recruitment Process during the great reshuffle

What is your recruitment process, are you carrying interviews out by video call or face-to-face, or both? Pre-pandemic 94% of final interviews were carried out face-to-face, post-pandemic this figure has dropped to 17%.  Are you willing to adapt your interview process to be flexible if candidates ask for a video call interview?

Improvements to your interview process is critical, candidates who have a bad interview experience change their mind on the role. Things to consider is the number of interviews, interview questions, and highlighting the benefits of working with your business.

For new generations especially Gen-Z (1997-2012), having clear career progression within a company can be a pull to accepting a role. This is a great company benefit.  Furthermore, focusing on an inclusive and diverse workforce is putting greater pressure on companies. To attract new generations, they must ensure their workforce highlights diversity and inclusivity.

Interview Questions

Interview questions can help the candidate to form opinions on the business,  a report by LinkedIn highlighted 5 interview questions which could be adapted or removed:

  1. ‘We’re going to give you a quick test.’ – candidates should be made aware of test prior to interview and not come as a surprise.
  2. ‘What salary range are you looking for.’ – this question can cause pay inequality due to candidates basing this off pervious salary bases.
  3. ‘What would your last boss say about you’ or ‘what would your friends say about you.’ – realistically candidates are going to provide positive and encouraging answers.
  4. ‘Do you know what we do here.’ – this question can be stressful for candidates; it may be more beneficial to ask ‘What is it about our company that made you apply’
  5. ‘Why are you looking to leave your current employment.’ – this question gets candidates heart racing, trying to ensure they don’t come across negatively.

At Beyond HR, we can support your business in your recruitment process to ensure a positive experience for candidates. We can also help in providing advice for onboarding new employee whether its remote or in-office onboarding. 

Check out our recruitment page or drop us an email for any recruitment needs you may require.

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Welcoming back returning employees post Covid-19

By Neil McLeese, CEO at BeyondHR 

In July 2020, the HMRC published figures which revealed that in excess of 240,000 workers in Northern Ireland had been furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme.  To give that some context, 240,000 workers equates to approximately 20% of Northern Ireland’s working age population (16 – 64 years old), employers will need to manage returning employees effectively.

With the Government’s job retention scheme winding down to its conclusion on 31st October 2020 it is a good time to think about how to welcome back employees that have been out of the business for a prolonged period due to Covid-19.  

For some, returning to work after a 2-week holiday can leave us with Sunday night terror. So, for those coming back after months of furlough it is likely to be a challenging and uncertain time. This can be especially true for those who are not physically returning to their workplace but are working from home, perhaps for the first time in their careers.   

It is safe to say that, coming into 2020, most business owners’ plans would have been focused on business growth or dealing with the potential impact of Brexit.  All of that will, largely, have been turned on its head by Covid-19. Many employees, returning to work at this time, are likely to be ‘out of the loop’ both in terms of understanding the company position but also in terms of their own roles.  

Training returning employees

If they are to be effective it is vital that returning colleagues are brought up to date with changes to the business objectives and their services and the knock-on effect these have on their roles.  Managers and leaders will also need to consider the practical operational changes that have occurred and provide the appropriate training and support to their returning team members.  

The training / support will range from advising on the new safety procedures that are in place (e.g. is PPE required, social distancing requirements), the new ways of working that have been introduced (e.g. video conferencing instead of face to face meetings) to the new communication methods.  With these changes can come technological challenges that have to be overcome i.e. does everyone have access to the relevant technology if they are working from home as well as the skills to use it.  

Any amendments to company policies and procedures as a result of Covid-19 also should be communicated to returning employees, e.g. the policy on what an employee should do if they develop symptoms. 

Aside from the practicalities of returning to a changed work environment, it is worth being aware of some intangible issues which may need to be addressed through a mini onboarding process.  

Some furloughed employees may feel resentful that they were placed on furlough. Some may be fearful for their job security, particularly where an employer has been able to operate effectively without them for a prolonged period.  Whilst managers may not be able to guarantee job security at this time, it is important that they discuss employees feelings and try to alleviate, where possible, any concerns they may have.    

For those employees who have worked throughout the current crisis, they may have feelings of resentment towards employees who have been furloughed as they may view it as an extended paid ‘holiday’.  Therefore, it is important that managers are sensitive to any underlying tensions and are equipped to proactively deal with those issues. 

We all know that employees that are fearful, disgruntled or disengaged are not likely to perform to their best which, ultimately, will have a negative effect on the business.  Effective communication from management is vital to alleviating concerns or fears as well as re-engage the employees with the business and their role. We feel it is also important to try and a develop an inclusive culture to re-establish a sense of belonging and good working relationships.  

Some practical examples we have seen over the past month focus on virtual team get-togethers designed to bring team members back in touch with each other on a regular basis. These initiatives have ranged from virtual lunches, in which team members all have lunch together via video conferencing, to virtual table quizzes.  

We understand that, at the best of times, managers are busy and that onboarding returning employees may be something that is seen as non-essential. However, when you consider the business risks of having misinformed or disengaged employees returning to work as well as the potential for future disputes we believe on-boarding returning employees is time well spent.