As a business leader, it’s important to ensure your company is focused on creating an inclusive culture. By doing so, it helps staff feel valued and respected. This in turn allows an increase in their satisfaction, helps them feel more comfortable with expressing their ideas, and can increase their engagement.
If you want to create an inclusive culture in your company, remember that an it respects all different types of people, identities, perspectives, and abilities. This even includes ones that are not visible.
For example, an inclusive culture should also respect neurodiversity. Each individual’s brain function is different and the way we learn, think and process information can vary.
The most shared example of neurodiversity is Autism which could encompass Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, dyscalculia, dyslexia, and more. Many forms of neurodiversity go undiagnosed and experts believe that these conditions apply to roughly 12-17% of individuals.
Besides neurodiversity, individuals could also have an invisible illness that impacts a worker’s life but it is not apparent to other staff members. This could include chronic or recurrent conditions such as diabetes, depression, cancer, infertility, epilepsy, sleep disorders, and many more.
It has been found that 10% of Americans have a non-visible medical condition that can qualify as an invisible disability. Although their illness significantly impacts their life, it has been found that most employees do not feel comfortable sharing their condition with their manager or coworkers. A majority of individuals fear that leaders may think it will affect their work responsibilities or fear that they will be considered a liability.
Many workers with an invisible illness believe it is important that employers get to know their team members and ask what type of support is needed. It is essential that leaders are empathetic and compassionate as they ask questions regarding someone’s illness or condition.
Employees also recommend that businesses make inclusion education a part of their overall strategy in order to achieve organizational success. Overall, if a workplace emphasizes neurodiversity as an asset to their business, expresses empathy, creates awareness about invisible illness, and employs best practices for inclusion, this will help staff feel more comfortable sharing their conditions and diagnoses.
If you are unsure how to implement a policy that embraces neurodiversity and invisible illnesses, reach out to an HR professional for assistance. If you don’t know one and would like a referral, reach out to us today.