How AI can revolutionise work for neurodivergent employees

Neurodivergent employees sometimes need support in the workplace to conduct tasks others may find easy. We explore how artificial intelligence can be used to improve productivity and promote a more inclusive, fair, and equitable working environment for all.

5 mins read
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8 months ago

​Neurodivergent challenges in the workplace

Around 15% to 20% of the global population is thought to be neurodivergent, i.e., their thinking works differently to what society expects. This term refers to people with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Tourette’s syndrome, or chronic mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Promoting neurodiversity and inclusion has proven business benefits, and it’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace where the wellbeing of all employees is considered and accommodated.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but the needs of neurodivergent people might differ from those of neurotypical individuals and can often be overlooked. Tasks that seem easy to others may be a struggle for neurodivergent people. Conversely, their strengths might far surpass those of neurotypical people.

Challenges neurodivergent people face usually relate to communication and professional relationships. For example, people with ADHD can struggle to stay focused in meetings or take longer to process information. And people with dyslexia may struggle with written communication and could misunderstand instructions written in emails. There are also many people who are unable to communicate with spoken words, such as non-verbal autistic people, those who are physically mute, or deaf people who find it difficult to speak aloud.

AI as a reasonable adjustment

Just as you would add a ramp to your workplace for disabled people to allow equal access to a physical building, employers must also make reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent people to have an equal chance of navigating neurotypical workplaces.

Employers with outdated systems may not be utilising technology that could vastly improve their workforce’s productivity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has developed a lot in recent years, to the point where it is all around us. Today, it exists on almost every new phone, computer, and TV. AI already in use in the workplace includes:

  • Facial recognition for security

  • Text-to-speech software in word processors and browsers

  • Dictation software and voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant

  • Scheduling assistants within most digital calendars and to-do lists

  • Automated workflows

  • ChatGPT and other chatbots

  • Automatic transcription, and closed caption creation

  • Google Lens automatic translation and image searching

For most people, AI is simply an extra convenience, but much of it is proving essential to people with certain disabilities or neurological differences to help them complete their work to a similar standard as neurotypical people – i.e., those whose minds work as society expects.

Most AI is free and easy to implement into workplace systems and just requires employers to unblock the technology or allow its installation for those who need it. It would also create a more inclusive standard working practice to normalise the use of such tech in all meetings and other forms of communication.

Normalising digital accessibility

Making it standard practice to use certain accessibility tools, like autogenerated closed captions on video communications, for example, is a small way to show consideration for those with invisible disabilities and neurological difference. They don’t take much effort but can have a hugely positive impact on individual employees.

Another way might be regularly recording meetings and allowing participants to access AI generated transcripts. Other tools that should be encouraged include text-to-speech AI software on webpages or on-screen text. This can also be useful for face-to-face communication between colleagues, where one person struggles to communicate aloud.

Normalising these processes could be a game changer for those who need them but feel uncomfortable asking, especially if they are the only one who needs the accommodation. Neurological difference is still not widely understood, and those in need of these adjustments won’t necessarily know they need them until they use them and see a positive difference.

Those who struggle with written communication can integrate software like Grammarly into their systems and use voice assistants to help them complete certain tasks. We use these tools every day, but some employers may not provide them on company computers. External websites and browser add-ons like these tend to be blocked for security reasons within companies, but employers should consider allowing accessibility, where possible, for those who need it.

The future of AI systems at work

AI is already revolutionising the workplace for those who need additional support to unlock their most productive selves, and ongoing technological developments will soon see AI further integrated into our everyday working lives.

There has been a huge buzz around the latest piece of AI, ChatGPT, a chatbot that uses machine learning and data from across the internet, to answer users’ questions as if it were a real person. Microsoft has recently bought Open AI, the platform that developed the technology, and has plans to introduce a new AI assistant, 'Copilot' which would integrate into all its existing products. Instead of writing code to command it to complete tasks, users will be able to make requests in plain English.

There will always be a need for professionals in any industry. All the way back to the printing press or the production line, professionals feared technology would make us redundant. However, the technology we have developed so far has only led humans to advance. It has removed the burden of monotonous tasks to allow us instead to take on more creative, innovative, and interesting work.

As Reed has found since implementing our digital workplace systems, promoting the use of technology such as AI into a business inspires greater productivity and morale among employees. Those with invisible disabilities and neurological differences will feel especially grateful to employers for creating a supportive and inclusive environment where using AI is encouraged and assistive technology is normalised and available to all who might need it.

To find a talented professional to join your company, or take the next step in your career, contact your nearest Reed office.

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​In the past, workplace monitoring was relatively simplistic: employers relied on visual supervision and basic timekeeping systems, and the concept of privacy was limited.

Fast forward to the digital age. Employee monitoring has reached new levels of sophistication and become common practice for employers seeking to boost productivity, enhance security, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Improved productivity and deeper insights

With the advancement of technology, including GPS tracking, computer monitoring software, and biometric identification systems, surveillance can provide employers with detailed insights into employee activities and performance.

One of the key benefits of employee monitoring is the ability to track and improve productivity levels. By monitoring employees' activities, employers can identify inefficiencies, analyse workflow processes, and provide targeted feedback to enhance performance. This data-driven approach allows companies to optimise their operations, allocate resources effectively, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Monitoring can also help employers identify and address issues such as time theft, excessive breaks, and unauthorised activities in the workplace. With real-time monitoring tools, employers can detect irregularities and take corrective actions promptly, therefore improving accountability and integrity among employees.

Employee monitoring can also aid in compliance with regulations and industry standards. By keeping a close eye on electronic communications, websites visited, and files accessed, employers can ensure that employees adhere to data protection laws, maintain confidentiality, and comply with company policies. This proactive approach minimises the risk of data breaches and security incidents and also protects the company from potential legal liabilities.

Balancing surveillance and ethics

Despite the clear advantages of employee monitoring, it is crucial for organisations to approach this practice with sensitivity and respect for staff privacy. As a matter of course, employers should establish clear policies regarding monitoring practices, communicate openly with employees about the purpose and scope of monitoring, and ensure transparency in the use of monitoring tools.

Prioritise the protection of sensitive employee data by implementing robust security measures, restricting access to monitoring data, and complying with data protection regulations such as GDPR. These considerations can ease employees’ minds about any surveillance and even instil appreciation for such measures. After all, workplace security is in everyone’s best interests.

Download our best practice guide to employee monitoring

Our eBook, ‘Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices’ provides insight into how employers might best integrate employee monitoring into their organisation, and considerations for what the impact may be on employees. With opinion from thought leaders, it addresses everything from pre-employment checks to the tracking tech that might be right your organisation.

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Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices
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​Employee monitoring can help ensure productivity and accountability among employees, as managers can track their work progress and identify areas where improvement is needed. Monitoring enhances data security by detecting and preventing unauthorised access or data breaches and additionally, it enables you to adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements, reducing legal risks. 

The key thing to remember is that workplace surveillance is perfectly acceptable, as long as you can legally justify your reasons, and it is always better to be ‘overt’, not ‘covert’.  

A report shows that despite normality returning to working life post-pandemic, demand for employee surveillance software is 49% above 2019 levels. 

Our eBook, ‘Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices’, provides insight from top experts in the field including:    

Keith Rosser, Director of Group Risk and Reed Screening, Reed 

Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser, CIPD

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“Monitoring software that employees see as intrusive and unnecessary is more likely to erode mutual trust in the employment relationship. Employers need to show how using monitoring software can benefit employees, while respecting their privacy.” -Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser, CIPD.

How to become a marketing executive
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How to become a marketing executive

​Are you wondering how to become a marketing executive? This article provides you with all the information you need to start your career journey.

What is a marketing executive?

A marketing executive is a key member of a marketing team and is often responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns to promote the company's products or services. They work closely with other teams, such as sales, product development, and advertising, to ensure cohesive messaging and strategic alignment. Marketing executives analyze market trends, conduct market research, and utilize various channels, including digital platforms, traditional media, and events, to reach target audiences and achieve marketing objectives.

A marketing executive career is best suited to those with a creative mindset, strong communication skills, and a passion for strategic planning. Adaptability, analytical thinking, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment are also crucial attributes for success in this role.

Types of marketing executive

Marketing executives can specialize in various areas, including:

Digital marketing executive

Focuses on online channels such as paid social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Brand marketing executive

Concentrates on building and managing the brand’s identity, including brand messaging, visual assets, and brand consistency across all touchpoints.

Content marketing executive

Creates and distributes valuable, relevant content to attract and engage target audiences, often through blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics.

Product marketing executive

Works closely with product development teams to understand product features, benefits, and target markets, and develops marketing strategies to drive product adoption and sales.

What do you need to become a marketing executive

Here are the marketing executive qualifications that you will need to obtain for the role:

Academic qualifications

While a degree in marketing, business, or a related field is beneficial, practical experience and demonstrable skills are often equally important, so a degree is not always necessary.

Professional qualifications

Many employers look for candidates with internship experience, relevant certifications (such as Google Analytics or HubSpot), and a strong understanding of marketing principles and techniques.

Skills and experience

Key skills for marketing executives include creativity, strategic thinking, attention to detail, and proficiency in digital marketing tools and platforms.

Marketing executive role and responsibilities

What does a marketing executive do? Well, the role varies depending on the organization and industry, but marketing executive responsibilities typically include:

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  • Conducting market research to identify target audiences, market trends, and competitors

  • Creating compelling content and promotional materials across various channels

  • Managing social media accounts and engaging with followers

  • Analyzing campaign performance and optimizing strategies based on data insights

  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams, such as sales, to ensure alignment and integration of marketing efforts

Marketing executives typically work standard office hours, although overtime may be required during busy periods or when deadlines are approaching. Salaries for marketing executives in the US vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry sector.

Entry-level positions may start at around $30,000 per year, while experienced and senior marketing executives can earn around $60,000 per year.

Marketing executive career prospects

As businesses continue to prioritize digital marketing and data-driven decision-making, the demand for skilled marketing executives is expected to remain high. Experienced professionals may advance to senior management positions, from senior marketing executive, content marketing manager, head of digital marketing, up to marketing director. Continuing education, staying updated on industry trends, and networking within the marketing community can enhance career prospects and open new opportunities.

In conclusion, becoming a marketing executive requires a combination of education, practical experience, and essential skills. With the right qualifications and dedication, aspiring marketers can embark on a rewarding career path with ample opportunities for growth and advancement.

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