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Decline of DE&I Positions: A Downward Trend for Neurodiversity

A wooden desk with coloured pencils and highlighters. There is also three coloured sticky notes in the middle of the desk, each one saying "diversity", "equality" and "inclusion" respectively.

Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) play a crucial role in today’s organisations. However, a concerning trend has emerged: the decline of DE&I positions. This decline not only raises questions about the commitment to fostering diversity but also has significant implications for neurodiverse employees, who now face a lack of support and resources. In this article, we explore the decline of DE&I positions and its impact on the workplace.

The Decline of DE&I Positions

According to recent statistics from a workforce analytics firm, the attrition rates for DE&I roles have surged in the past six months across more than 600 companies that have conducted layoffs since late 2020. These attrition rates have outpaced non-DE&I positions, with a rate of 33% compared to 21% last year.

The repercussions of these layoffs are particularly concerning for neurodiverse employees. More than 300 DE&I professionals left their roles in the latter half of 2022 at companies affected by layoffs. Entire DE&I departments were likely eliminated, leaving neurodiverse employees with reduced support and fewer resources tailored to their specific needs.

Moving Beyond DE&I Box-Ticking

DE&I should never be reduced to a mere box-ticking exercise. It should be deeply ingrained in an organisation’s culture and operations. This is especially true when it comes to supporting neurodiverse employees. Neurodiversity brings immense value to the workplace, including increased innovation, creativity, and unique problem-solving abilities. Therefore, organisations must prioritise DE&I efforts and create an inclusive environment that embraces neurodiversity.

Individuals with diverse neurotypes, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other neurological differences, offer unique perspectives and strengths that can drive innovation and creativity. They bring fresh insights, exceptional attention to detail, pattern recognition abilities, and the ability to think outside the box.

By embracing neurodiversity and providing the necessary support, organisations can tap into the full potential of their neurodiverse workforce. This means creating an inclusive environment that acknowledges and accommodates their specific needs. It involves establishing reasonable adjustments, such as flexible work arrangements, sensory-friendly spaces, clear communication channels, and appropriate training programs.

Raising Awareness and Taking Action

Raising awareness about the decline of DE&I positions and its impact on neurodiverse employees is crucial. We understand that these cuts may have been made due to financial reasons, as organisations navigate challenging times. However, it is important to emphasise that support, understanding, and awareness don’t always have to come at a significant cost.

Creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for neurodiverse employees starts with education and awareness-building initiatives. Organisations can conduct internal workshops, training sessions, and informational campaigns to enhance understanding and empathy. By fostering an environment where colleagues and managers are well-informed about neurodiversity, organisations can break down barriers, reduce biases, and foster a culture of inclusivity.

Furthermore, small adjustments in everyday practices and policies can make a significant difference. Simple accommodations, such as providing clear communication channels, offering flexible work arrangements, and promoting a sensory-friendly workplace, can be implemented without incurring substantial costs. These adjustments can create an environment where neurodiverse employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.10-2

By proactively raising awareness about neurodiversity, organisations can foster a sense of belonging and ensure that neurodiverse employees are included in decision-making processes. Encouraging open dialogue and creating platforms for neurodiverse individuals to share their experiences can further promote understanding and empathy.

It is essential to recognise that while financial constraints may exist, support, understanding, and awareness don’t always have to come at a significant cost. By prioritising neurodiversity and making it a core component of an organisation’s values, employers can make a tangible difference in the lives of neurodiverse employees.

Supporting Neurodiversity with ToHealth

At ToHealth, we are committed to supporting organisations in enhancing neurodiversity within their workforce. We offer a range of solutions and resources tailored to meet the unique needs of neurodiverse employees. Our neurodiversity training programs, consulting services, and expert support can help organisations create inclusive environments where neurodiverse individuals can thrive.

The decline of DE&I positions has far-reaching implications for neurodiverse employees. It is essential for organisations to prioritise DE&I efforts and ensure adequate support for their neurodiverse workforce. By fostering inclusivity and embracing neurodiversity, organisations can create environments that not only benefit individuals but also drive innovation and success. ToHealth is here to support organisations on this journey towards creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace for neurodiverse employees.

Remember, diversity and inclusion are not checkboxes to tick off; they are crucial components of an organisation’s fabric and success. Let us work together to create a brighter future for all employees, regardless of their neurodiversity.

Looking for more from ToHealth?

Not only do ToHealth specialise in providing end-to-end Neurodiversity support for companies, but did you know ToHealth also specialise in Employee Wellbeing? Looking to find out more about our Health Screenings? Or interested in our huge variety of webinars and workshops on offer? ToHealth can support you with all of this and more.