In the current labor market, businesses are seeing a high rate of turnover and even ghosting in the workplace. It is a costly trend. Companies are seeing the value in shifting how they train their employees in order to retain them. It is far less expensive to invest in quality training while implementing a community mindset work culture that promotes retention than to continually train new employees. Also, a nurtured environment promotes employees’ self-worth, work engagement, and relationships with fellow colleagues. The result is better morale, work productivity, and lower employee turnover rates.
In order for the efforts to be successful, it is important to understand what challenges this workforce faces and how to best meet their needs. This will ensure quality training for the companies that want to train and hire them.
The Rising Number of ADHD, The Invisible Disability
According to the NCES, approximately 20 million college students entered college in the fall of 2018. Of those, 19.4% self-reported having a disability. Of the students surveyed, 79% of the students who reported a disability listed ADHD, a neurologically based disorder, as their challenge. This number nearly doubled from 10 years ago.
The impact on the educational system has been tremendous and colleges across the U.S. have developed programs to meet the needs of these diverse students.
As these students enter our workforce, it would be beneficial for us to help them transition with a foundational employee skillset. Often, these neurologically diverse groups need specific guidance and training that may be assumed and overlooked. This invisible disability flies under the radar and yet has a very impactful effect on job success.
It is at this point that we can illuminate the challenges around ADHD and take a look at ways to help them manage it and capitalize on their strengths. For the ADHD employee, goals often seem to slip out of reach due to this under-managed and misunderstood condition. While no two people with the diagnoses are identical, there are common challenges associated with having an ADHD diagnosis.
Common challenges associated an ADHD diagnosis:
Prioritizing & Procrastination: The workload may become too burdensome if they do not have a clear hierarchal & strategic plan. Procrastination may set in.
Initiating and Completing Tasks: Tasks can be daunting and many distractions can derail them from starting and finishing them
Organizing: Without a priority system, often people do not know where to begin to organize their workspace.
Concentration: While an employee with ADHD can hyper-focus on something that is particularly interesting to them, it is difficult for them to concentrate on mundane work. It can feel overly boring to them and cause them to seek more gratifying interests breaking their ability to focus on what they KNOW they should be working on. ex: filing papers, etc.
Time Management: This may make them late for work or important events and fall behind on projects in the workplace. This happens even with the best of intentions to be on time.
Impulsive Behavior: Difficulty controlling anger and blurting thoughts without much filter that can come across as rude and insulting.
Following Directions: Since the ability to remember information may take several steps that require focus, following directions can be difficult.
These challenges can lead to behaviors that often derail careers, ambitions, and relationships. It is not uncommon for them to experience a high rate of job turnover, either because they choose to leave their job or their behavior leads them to be fired. This can have a lasting effect on a person diagnosed with ADHD. They may struggle with feeling shame and low-self esteem, and become discouraged in their ability to perform in any job.
Employers who gain an understanding of this disability can take action steps to help the workflow and dynamics of their employees. Implementation of successful programs can promote positive workplace connections, contribute to positive employee work attitude, and increase employee retention and performance for all employees thus leading to the potential for big payoffs as well as reduced hiring costs for the company.
Michelle Raz, is a career specialist & coach, owner of Razcoaching.com, author of Happiness+Passion+Purpose and Co-founder of Thrivister.com, an academic coaching company for high school and college students. As a Board-Certified Coach, she uses her expertise with executive functioning challenges to help people find their purpose and success in the workplace through the lens of ADHD. She has been contributing her knowledge and expertise in this field since 2010.