Celebrating Neurodiversity

Celebrating Neurodiversity

For this year’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week, we want to shine a spotlight on our partnership with the North East Autism Society over the past 12 months, who have supported us with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy initiatives, with a particular focus on neurodiversity. 

In our annual EDI survey, we found an increase of 12% of employees declaring themselves as disabled compared to the previous year, with a portion of those being ADHD and Dyslexia. 86% of employees said they felt we valued EDI as a company, 12.7% felt unsure, and 1.3% felt that we didn’t. Although it was fantastic to see that so many of our people agreed, we knew we still had some work to do to support those who were unsure.

 

Awareness Training

To deliver the best possible experience for neurodivergent employees, we started by providing quality awareness training around Autism and ADHD, which was expertly hosted by Rachael Leisk, Employer Engagement Officer at North East Autism Society. These awareness sessions are key initiatives in our overall EDI strategy, as we want to give our team learnings that not only support them in the workplace, but also give them knowledge that can help in other aspects of their life too.

We wanted to embed these learnings into our company culture from day one, so we built a bespoke neurodiversity module within our ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training’ on our learning management system, this was compulsory for all employees and is now a core step in our induction process. Our relationship with North East Autism Society meant we were able to get their eyes on the module before we released it to the team, ensuring we were delivering accurate and quality information. 

 

Support Plans

A final initiative we launched was the implementation of our ‘Be The Best You’ plans, which have been offered to all employees and provide space to document their working styles and preferences, any disabilities they would like to disclose, and how they want their manager to work with them. This has opened up dialogue between employees and managers about neurodiversity, allowing us to provide the right support and build stronger relationships. 

 

Disability Confident 

Our work on neurodiversity has been part of our wider progress with the Disability Confident Scheme, and we’re now in the process of upgrading to leadership status. Of the 350+ employers in the scheme, we’re proud to be one of the 100 employers in the NE post code range to have Disability Confident Employer status. Once our application for leadership status is complete and approved, we will be one of only 10 employers in our region to achieve such recognition, and the only one within our sector. 

 

Without the support of Diversity North East we would not have been able to deliver this level of neurodiversity learnings, and we want to share with other businesses how important it is to work with your local charities to create a mutually beneficial partnership. In return, we have provided work experience opportunities to young people in our local area (Newcastle HQ), and will continue to support their services and partner services in the future. 

 

To find out more about the great work we’re doing at Silverbean, discover how we achieved the Good Work Pledge Advanced Status, or find out more about our Race to Net Zero.


Rachel Utting

Rachel Utting
22 Mar 2024