Many adults with ADHD can perform their jobs successfully, and find that their ADHD traits (ie: high energy, problem solving, creativity, being able to hyper-focus) are significant benefits in their chosen career. However, some adults with ADHD can struggle in the workplace and with maintaining steady employment. Adults with ADHD are 20% less likely to be employed and earn an average of 16% less than their counterparts (Biederman, et al., 2006). ADHD-ers often cite a lack of support as their reason for leaving a job.
With these statistics in mind, it’s more important than ever for HR professionals and their respective organizations to create a more inclusive environment for employees with ADHD, and offer the chance to maintain a steady, fulfilling career. Here are a few adjustments that not only level the playing field, but support ADHD employees in the workplace:
Open the door to neurodiverse candidates
A culture of acceptance from the get-go is essential for candidates with ADHD to feel comfortable disclosing their condition. Developing a neurodiversity policy will show that your organization welcomes neurodiverse employees to their team. When interviewing new candidates, keep job descriptions clear and limit jargon. Split the job requirements into sections like ‘necessary’ and ‘desirable’, and keep interview questions concise and to the point. Allowing the candidate to use cue cards or notes can be incredibly beneficial, too.
Offer workplace neurodiversity training
People with ADHD can be different to manage compared to neurotypical employees. Everyone who has ADHD has more difficulty regulating their attention and focus, which can cause problems in the workplace. Impairment in regulating attention is experienced as:
- Difficulty staying focused, especially when tasks are dull or tedious
- Being over-focused and not able to break focus when tasks are interesting or stimulating
- Difficulty switching focus, especially when over-focusing
- Not being able to focus on the most important tasks (ie: prioritizing) when something is more stimulating
By having ADHD awareness training, employees – especially those in management roles – can learn how to unlock the limitless potential of a person with ADHD, and how they can best support them. An understanding of ADHD along with implementing ADHD-friendly workplace accommodations will make it easier to support employees with the disorder and help them succeed by playing to their strengths. If you're interested in working with CADDAC to educate your workplace about ADHD, fill out our presentation request form!
ADHD coaching for the workplace
Allowing the use of an ADHD coach can help an employee with ADHD develop strategies, systems and routines to better manage challenges they face at work. The individual with ADHD, their supervisor and the ADHD coach can collaborate to set goals and identify any accommodations, improvement opportunities and create a plan of action to lean into the employees strengths and improve upon any weak spots. Employees with ADHD who receive ADHD coaching at work will feel supported and valued.
Keep an open line of communication
Anxiety, intense emotions and Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria are very common for people with ADHD. Individuals can become activated by perceived or actual criticism, making mistakes, or impromptu meetings. Providing context for unscheduled meetings, making time for regular check-ins and offering positive feedback are a few ways to prevent any unnecessary anxiety and stress. Managers can provide instructions or feedback in writing to help prevent any issues or confusion that might occur with an employee that has ADHD.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing employees with ADHD, there are many simple accommodations and strategies that can improve workplace accessibility and reduce ADHD stigma. People with ADHD tend to be creative, enthusiastic, innovative and passionate about tasks that interest them, and can prove to be an incredible asset to any workplace – all they need is to be given the chance to succeed.
If you're interested in working with CADDAC to educate your workplace about ADHD, fill out our presentation request form!