Embracing neurodiversity in the workplace

Mercer has developed tools to engage and educate employees on the topic of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that covers a range of conditions including Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC, otherwise known as ASD in the medical profession), dyslexia and Attention Differences (e.g. ADHD). Solutions include training, support, and access to assessment services.

Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 people are neurodivergent and in the UK, between 15% to 20% of the workforce is estimated to be neurodivergent. At a fundamental level, if someone is neurodivergent it means that their brain functions, learns and processes information in different ways to other people. 

At Mercer, we have put together a range of materials and services that can help employers build awareness of neurodiversity and promote a more inclusive workplace whilst managing DEI strategies and people risks.

Why is supporting neurodivergent employees important?

Leading businesses are transforming to ensure greater inclusivity for their employees, as part of this shift, employers must think beyond gender and race when designing their DEI strategies.

With between 15 and 20% of UK employees estimated to be neurodivergent, it is imperative that the right wellbeing support is in place to ensure strong employee engagement as well as higher productivity.

Organisations need to move away from a traditional approach led by clinical diagnosis and labelling, and instead create an inclusive culture in which all people can thrive, including neurodivergent individuals.

DEI is becoming an ever-increasing part of a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, and with increasing pressure from employees, investors and regulators, it must remain a strong focus for people leaders.

Neurodiversity in the workplace training

We have worked in partnership with leading neurodiversity specialists from Health Management Limited (HML) to build a programme designed to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace. This programme gives employers the tools they need to ensure neurodivergent employees are supported in their organisations.

The programme includes impactful and jargon free pre-recorded educational videos, accessible to all audiences, with accompanying guidance documents to support employers to build greater awareness of neurodiversity alongside practical advice on how to support neurodivergent employees. 

Our health consultants and DEI specialists within Mercer have worked collaboratively to provide holistic consulting support to employers seeking out a more inclusive and neurodiverse workforce.

A range of assessments and services can also be accessed via our preferred provider solution. 

Our Neurodiversity in the Workplace training videos are a great place to start to raise awareness of this topic in your organisation.


For neurodivergent individuals, a diagnosis can be an important part of understanding who they are and explaining why they have had challenges aligning with the neurotypical way of doing things. Some may find it more difficult to accept. Not everyone wishes to receive a diagnosis. Furthermore, securing a diagnosis is not a straightforward process and support can be difficult to access. Some people worry about being labelled and having people making assumptions or even discriminating against them.

From a legal point of view, having a diagnosis can create a level of protection with neurodivergent conditions classed as disabilities under the Equality Act 2010 in the UK. This gives employers a responsibility not to discriminate and to provide reasonable adjustments.

Whether the individual has a diagnosis or not we should be making adjustments to accommodate neurodivergent employees at work.

As well as their individual strengths and talents, employees with autism often demonstrate above-average skills in some or all of the following areas: high levels of concentration, reliability, accuracy, attention to detail, the ability to identify errors, conscientiousness and persistence. Employees with autism may need some, often simple, support within the workplace. Such as clarification of job expectations, provision of training, coaching and support, concise and specific instructions about how to carry out tasks, a well-structured work environment, regular structured performance reviews, sensitive but direct feedback, reassurance in stressful situations, help to prepare for change, reduction of sensory distractions, provision of information and guidance for colleagues to raise awareness of how they can provide support. 

Most importantly, because everyone’s experience of neurodiversity is different, it is important to ask employees what they need first.

At Mercer, we are looking at the market and are sourcing a range of providers who we believe can provide services to support you and your employees throughout their employment cycle as well as also supporting neurodivergent family members.

Mercer offers a range of consulting solutions to support organisations who are striving for more diverse, more productive, higher performing and better motivated workforces. This includes reviewing talent management approaches, setting organisational targets relating to DEI, and co-creating Inclusive Leadership journeys.

Our Neurodiversity in the Workplace training videos are a great place to start to raise awareness of this topic in your organisation.

Key pillars of holistic neurodiversity support

Create a neuro-inclusive culture in which all people can thrive
  • Diagnoses and assessments

    • Do you have end-to-end support for neurodivergent diagnoses and assessments?
    • How inclusive is it?
    • Is it affordable?
  • Education and awareness

    • Are your employees aware of this topic?
    • Have you equipped your managers with the tools to support neurodivergent talent?
    • Are you creating safe spaces?
  • Policies, processes and programmes

    • How does neurodiversity fit into your benefits, recruitment, talent management, learning and development, wellbeing and reward strategies?
    • Do you need specific neurodiversity policies?
  • Communication and signposting

    • How visible is your support internally/externally?
    • Are all your communications accessible?
    • Is content easy to find?
    • Are your leadership messages inclusive?
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