Helping Neurodiverse Professionals Succeed in Hospitality


Supporting neurodiverse employees in hospitality should be an essential part of a company’s wellbeing strategy, says Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training. And with the right training in place, these individuals’ talents can shine in any working environment.

When thinking about ‘suitable’ working environments for neurodiverse individuals, a typical hospitality setting might not be the first place that comes to mind. With unpredictable shift patterns, intense sensory atmospheres, and high levels of changeable interactions with customers, one might assume that hospitality could prove unsettling for groups of neurodivergent workers who have autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or a combination of these ways of experiencing the world.

However, hospitality’s nature is at its very core an adaptable sector, so why should employers expect neurodiverse workers to assimilate into their businesses, especially if there were training and knowledge in place that would allow operators to harness the unique talents and many strengths of these groups of people?

The discussion of supporting neurodivergent employees is intrinsically linked to the wider topic of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and that’s why we want to highlight these essential conversations.

Our insights have revealed that 85.8% of employees would be more likely to leave a job if there was no obvious support for employee wellbeing[1], and that first aid for mental health was a priority for 45.3% of employees[2] (and almost 60% of companies would consider offering this training to their workforce[3]). When you consider this, alongside the fact that 83.3% of employees are more attracted to working at an organisation with a progressive company culture[4], providing training that incorporates support for and advocacy of neurodivergent workers could be key to attracting caring and ambitious recruits into hospitality businesses long term.

There’s no reason why operators cannot build education around enhancing support for neurodiverse people into the wellbeing aspect of an employee benefits package.

From encouraging neurodivergent applications by welcoming prospective new starters using specific language in job adverts, to understanding what adjustments might need to be made at interview stage, through to working with specialist training providers who can engage entire organisations to nurture these talented individuals to progress through their career and draw out leadership potential – hospitality has the potential to open itself up as a launchpad at every stage.

Employers may even be able to apply for government funding from Access to Work if they need to make any reasonable adjustments for certain conditions that may be classified as a disability.

There are dedicated bodies who can signpost operators looking to take the first step to the right resources. The Institute of Neurodiversity, for example, has helpful content that hospitality employers could use to support workers experiencing burnout and provide them with helpful, neurodivergent-specific tips to avoid this scenario in the future.

Elsewhere, Genius Within promotes neuro-inclusive recruitment, helps individuals access the best ways for them to work, while also educating entire organisations and helping develop strategies to better support neurominorities in the workplace. According to Genuis Within, research globally and in the UK has repeatedly indicated that employees with differences have lower turnover and lower absenteeism, as well as higher company loyalty when adjustments and accommodations are in place.

Hospitality is known for embracing diversity across its workforces – one of its many appealing attributes – and if employers access the right support, they will no doubt be able to transform their working environments into knowledgeable, safe spaces that welcome all ways of experiencing the world into the fold with confidence and provide everyone equally with plenty of opportunities to shine.

____________________

[1] See the Benefit, HIT Training, March 2022

[2] See the Benefit, HIT Training, March 2022

[3] See the Benefit, HIT Training, March 2022

[4] See the Benefit, HIT Training, March 2022


HIT celebrates new tri-nation partnership

What we Can Learn from the Industry About Infection Control

Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training Ltd, Awarded OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

Sign up to news, events and great resources