Time to get ND accredited

Neurodiversity (ND) champion and Train to Win CEO Julie Mills discusses the high value of ND training and accreditation.

Leaders in tech are embracing ND to create happier, more productive working environments and gain access to a bigger talent pool. As this trend accelerates, we’re seeing more businesses align with structured training programmes and even ND-in-the-workplace accreditations like Neurodiversity Smart. The question for those in the comms industry is... are such accreditations worth pursuing?

Priority versus non-urgent
Firstly, I doubt many businesses will view neurodiversity accreditations as an urgent requirement because it isn’t stipulated in business tenders. But this may change. I also accept that businesses that do a great job on ND inclusion don’t necessarily need an accreditation to prove it. Not being signed up to Stonewall doesn’t make you anti-LGBTQ, so failing to have an ND accreditation shouldn’t mark you out as a pariah. However, there is no escaping that any respected accreditation – backed up by a robust assessment process – not only increases customer/partner credibility but also makes you a better run organisation.

The hassle factor
Good accreditations aren’t tick-box exercises – the entire process enables the adoption of beneficial best practices and the opportunity to benchmark against minimum standards. This is key because the whole purpose of neurodiversity inclusion is to increase business performance and unlock human potential. Yes there’s a feelgood factor and a moral case for true neurodivergent equality, but the bigger reality is it’s a fiercely competitive world out there and this will help you succeed.

That’s not to say that gaining an ND accreditation isn’t difficult. It will involve everybody and it will consume resources. Everyone needs to buy into this. It may take months and involve changes to practically every aspect of the employee lifecycle from hiring to line managing, how you set up your work environment and manage internal comms.

Ends justify the means
If you’re serious about ND inclusion you should seek an ND accreditation. You’re ready for the cultural change that will come and better equipped to embrace the values and principles of ND inclusion – as well as the organisational adjustments. If you aren’t quite ready I suggest you keep it under review and be prepared to shift your mindset before you get left behind.

No matter where your business is on its ND journey, I hope you’re able to support Neurodiversity Celebration Week starting 18th March. Raising awareness among neurotypical staff will help break down barriers and remove stigma, which will be greatly appreciated by your neurodiverse employees, partners and customers.

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