Effective onboarding of neurodivergent colleagues

So you have found the right candidate and are now starting the process of onboarding. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Remember during this time your Neurodivergent employee is likely to be extremely anxious and wanting to get this right and worrying about making mistakes.

It is important to make this process as seamless as possible and keep the person informed throughout to avoid causing any further anxiety.

Here are a few pointers on how you can make onboarding less stressful for neurodivergent candidates:

  • When you send out your pre-start paperwork and asking individuals to fill things in, try not to repeat information that’s in the application form, use this information where possible to avoid duplicating
  • Is it a digital platform? Make sure it is accessible for your candidate, does it create any barriers for them with their disability?
  • Are you sending lots of information on one email/ at one time?
    • If so, explain what needs to be done and by when
    • What do the different forms mean and what is the purpose
    • If you are sending policies what is the candidate expected to do with these?
  • Are you giving timescales? Do you stick to these? Could you give timescales?
    • The unknown can cause confusion and anxiety for neurodivergent individuals. Make sure you are clear on what will happen when
  • Are there different people contacting the candidate? Could this be one key contact to build rapport and avoid confusion?
  • Think about the wording of your paperwork, for instance does your health questionnaire ask questions like “Do you have a disability that will limit or affect your ability to perform this role” if so reword this as neurodivergent adults may be uncomfortable asking this question, but also their disability may not at all limit their ability to perform their role, it is likely to add value and bring additional skills instead

Remember throughout to speak to your candidate, keep them informed and ask them if they need any additional support. Neurodivergent adults will find it difficult to reach out to ask for support so make sure you check in with them instead.

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