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Neuro Diverse Employee Training   Part II

It is a common trait for neuro-diverse people to be employed in part-time work.  They may have low pay jobs that lead to low disposable income and poor job stability. It is affecting our workplace in a big way. Research shows that graduates from university are reporting a disabiity at a rate of nearly 20 percent.

As you can imagine, with all of these negatives, it is highly probable that someone with neurodiversity struggles with comorbid conditions.  This includes anxiety and depression.  It leaves the person with frustration, low motivation and overwhelming thoughts with how to “get it together” in a career and life.

BUT it does not need to be this way.

Just as the weaknesses can derail ambitions of long-term employment, the strengths one may develop through their disability can have a positive affect.   It can soar the employee far above others in the work environment.

Executive Functions

I work with a large population that has challenges with executive functions.  These challenges include  time management, emotional regulations, procrastination, organization and motivation.

 One thing that I notice is that when a person with these challenges likes something, they have a laser-like focus, attention span and drive like no other.

The focus often propels them so far into the knowledge base of a topic that they become self-taught experts. With the right strategies, tools and mentoring, they can be the shining star of a company. Often, they are just the very person capably of turning a failing business around with fresh ideas, well thought out visions and the drive to make it happen!

Your company can take advantage of this during the hiring process and current training programs for neuro diverse people
Train To Retain

A sound employee apprenticeship or intern mentoring program can foster the positive attributes of all future employees by establishing a well-thought-out best practice training plan.  I suggest creating a strong program with boundaries, routines and clear expectations with high accountability.

Not only will you help potential recruits develop their strengths as an intern employee, but it will also foster a kind of work environment that promotes community and self-empowerment.  The result is a win-win for company productivity, lowering overall training costs and developing strong skillsets for future employees.

A well-defined training program for all employees will empower recruits to perform with the company’s best interests in mind.

Current treatment trends of stimulant and non-stimulant medications are proven to help people with executive function challenges in the workplace.  But,  it is when behavioral changes happen that empowerment for the employee begins to shift.

Your program can help promote this shift.

Employee engagement aligns with company goals, creating a synergy with the employer that propels growth and productivity down the line to success for all.  This will not only benefit your neuro-diverse employees but all employees.

Here are several ways to help as a mentor and employer to make the internship a powerful experience for the mentored and company.
Goal Setting: 

Start with the desired outcome for this employee/intern. What does the company want to gain from this relationship? What does the mentored wish to achieve? Revisit the goal near the end of the internship to determine if company goals are being met.  Or determine if there is further training needed.

Mentor By Example:
  • Organize and create a company notebook with a daily note area for questions

    valuable information and to-do list of daily tasks. Using call to actions divided into four categories such as:  calls, emails, tasks, and errands. 

  • I suggest a sign off to ensure follow-through

    To set a routine, it is important to have consistency for at least three weeks and up to 3 months.   If there is something very important on the planner, have the intern create a reminder on their phone.  This hands-on approach will have a huge payoff later when the employee commits the tasks to a daily habit.  Set a time to go over the goals and planner each day.

  • Prioritize and break up the big critical tasks into smaller tasks with check-ins from the mentor each day

    Do not allow a new task to start until the first one is completed. I like to use a color-coding system to show essential items and ones completed. This gives motivation to keep going and clarity on what still needs to be done.

  • Task Routine:

    If there is filing that needs to happen, help them create a daily routine to get that done and show them how it should be done. I suggest a daily 10-minute organizing time. Another tip I give to people is to have a catchall box of things each day that need to be put away or filed.

  • Develop a Mail Routine:

    Sorting mail every day can be overwhelming and I recommend having a system in place to handle and prioritize them.  Go over with the mentored how you would like them handled and what the expectations are in the company for them.

  • Expense Account:

    Have an app or system in place right from the start with clear accountability. Managing money and keeping track of the details can be very difficult with someone with executive function challenges.   

If you build up your people within your business rather than build the business and get the people to fit it, they will build the business for you.

A well thought out mentoring program that implements these strategies may lay the groundwork for employees.  You may just have employees who cannot bear to leave your company.  This will give you an edge on this finicky labor market.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges and find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  You can access exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.