Realising the power of neurodiversity and inclusion

March is the month we welcome Neurodiversity Celebration Week, and Teamspirit is taking it seriously. The whole company has had training in how to identify and celebrate traits in yourself and others, and how to manage and work with neurodivergent colleagues. PR Director, Pippa Cranham, recounts below her experience of the training and some of the helpful insights she was left with.

By Pippa Cranham on Thursday, 2 March 2023

As a fairly recent recruit to Teamspirit I was fascinated, encouraged and enthused to see a number of meeting requests go into my diary for various neurodiversity training sessions last week. And it wasn’t wasted on me that this training came in advance of the upcoming Neurodiversity Celebration Week later this month – rather than a reaction to it.

The topic of neurodiversity has been high in my consciousness over the last six months, with family members, close friends and ex colleagues sharing their recent diagnoses and, not least, the fact that the FCA’s Consumer Duty deadline is looming large for many of our clients in the world of financial services. According to Consumer Duty descriptions people who have any form of neurodivergence would be classified as vulnerable and the FS organisations serving them have a responsibility to engage with them in an ethical and respectful manner, with satisfactory inclusive customer experiences. One of the resounding statements, being heard far and wide during the lead up to the regulatory deadlines, is that this preparation should not be considered a box ticking exercise, but an expectation which ultimately benefits both businesses and their customers.

So, it is only natural that neurodiverse employees should be offered the same respect in their workplaces, and similar recognition be given that when all employees are able to contribute and work in the best manner to suit them, employers are bound to reap the rewards.

But, how many of us are operating in the world oblivious to whether we have a form of neurodivergence or not. Many of us have an understanding of terms which come as standard under a semi-aware lexicon such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism, but this training took me into a far more nuanced world of aphantasia, dysgraphia and misophonia to name a few. Also, when I looked around the room, I realised that the whole group was fascinated by this new knowledge and potentially greater self-awareness, or awareness of traits we may have seen in friends, family and colleagues. I also noticed a genuine desire from everyone attending to know – but what next? What can we do with this knowledge?

In our session we were being given skills for the first steps in how to manage and work with people with varying forms of neurodiversity. How to approach sensitive conversations, where to go for support and the sort of tools and different ways of working which may assist in the process.

Ultimately though, we were all left feeling how this form of diversity is another we want to celebrate and include as part of our agency – as we all know that when you are part of a truly diverse team, comms greatness is more likely to happen. By being able to listen, absorb and challenge each other’s perceptions, we are better equipped to communicate and truly connect with all of the audiences we intend to reach – such as those the FCA's Consumer Duty deadline is looking to serve this summer.

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