What Neurodivergent Employees Wish You Knew: 12 Crucial Insights

I often hear employees say, "I just wish my manager understood my challenges." 

Neurodivergent employees frequently receive feedback that they are doing things wrong or not well enough. They excel in some areas while struggling in others, which can be both frustrating and disheartening.  

To understand your employees in more detail, I've compiled a list of insights from my clients that highlight what they wish their employers knew. I've turned these insights into an article with key takeaways. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. 


Understanding how neurodivergent employees feel is crucial because it creates a supportive and inclusive work environment, significantly enhancing their wellbeing. Awareness of neurodiversity helps employers make necessary accommodations, reducing stress and anxiety for these employees. 

When neurodivergent employees feel understood and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to higher productivity and better quality of work. They will feel better, be less inclined to move jobs, and take fewer sick days because of their improved wellbeing. 

By recognising and utilising their unique strengths and perspectives, businesses can drive innovation and achieve better outcomes, benefiting the entire organisation. 


Twelve things neurodivergent employees would love their employers to know: 

  1. Rejection Sensitivity (RSD) is Huge: Rejection, criticism, or even perceived disapproval can be deeply distressing and affect our self-esteem significantly. 

  2. Sensory Issues: Light, noise, and smell can be overwhelming. Bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells can make it difficult to focus and work effectively. 

  3. Feedback is Hard to Deal With: We often find feedback challenging and need time to process it. Immediate responses may not be possible, but with some time, we can reflect and improve. 

  4. We Get Tired: Mental and sensory overload can lead to exhaustion. We might need more breaks to recharge and maintain productivity throughout the day. 

  5. We Need Things Written Down: Clear, written instructions help us understand and remember tasks better. Verbal instructions can be confusing or easily forgotten. 

  6. We Don’t Like Change: Changes in routine or plans cause huge anxiety. We need time to process and adapt to these changes to manage our stress levels. 

  7. Regular Breaks Are Essential: Regular breaks help us manage sensory overload and fatigue. Short, frequent breaks can boost our overall productivity and wellbeing. 

  8. We Are Extremely Hard on Ourselves: We often hold ourselves to very high standards and can be our own toughest critics. Understanding this can help in giving more empathetic feedback. 
  9. We Don’t Mean to Be Disruptive: Sometimes our behaviours might seem disruptive or annoying, but we don't intend to cause issues. We're managing our sensory needs and trying to stay focused. 

  10. We Are Really Trying Our Best: Despite the challenges, we are committed and striving to do our best. Recognising our efforts and supporting us can make a big difference in our performance and morale. 

  11. We Value Routine: Consistency helps us feel secure and perform better. Sudden changes or unpredictability can be very stressful. 

  12. Empathy Goes a Long Way: A little understanding and patience can greatly enhance our work experience. Knowing that our manager cares makes us feel valued and supported. 

By acknowledging and addressing these points, managers can create a more supportive and effective work environment for neurodiverse employees. Plus it’s easier, and probably cheaper than you think. 


Why Supporting Neurodivergent Staff is Essential 

Supporting neurodivergent staff is essential for many reasons, including lower absenteeism and increased wellbeing. When neurodivergent employees feel understood and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. This leads to a reduction in stress and anxiety, resulting in fewer sick days and lower absenteeism. A supportive environment can significantly enhance the mental and emotional wellbeing of neurodivergent employees, making them more productive and satisfied with their work. 

Increased wellbeing among neurodivergent staff not only benefits the individuals but also boosts overall team morale and cohesion. When employees see that their employer values diversity and inclusivity, it creates a positive workplace culture where everyone feels respected and appreciated. This inclusive culture can attract and retain top talent, as potential employees are more likely to join and stay with a company known for its supportive environment. 

Moreover, neurodivergent employees bring unique strengths and perspectives to the workplace. By recognising and utilising these strengths, businesses can drive innovation and achieve better outcomes. Neurodivergent individuals often excel in areas such as problem-solving, attention to detail, creativity, and pattern recognition. Leveraging these abilities can lead to improved processes, new ideas, and overall business growth. 


Therefore, supporting neurodivergent staff is not only the right thing to do but also makes good business sense. It leads to a more productive, innovative, and harmonious workplace, benefiting both employees and the organisation as a whole. By implementing inclusive practices and providing the necessary support, employers can ensure that all employees, including those who are neurodivergent, thrive and contribute to the company's success. 

Why Employers Should Understand Their Neurodivergent Staff 

Understanding what neurodivergent employees go through is crucial for creating a supportive and inclusive workplace. By recognising their unique challenges and strengths, employers can make meaningful changes that improve both employee wellbeing and productivity. Here’s a story to illustrate why this understanding is so important. 

Flossy's Neurodiversity at Work Journey 

Flossy had always known she was different. At school, she often found herself struggling to keep up with her classmates. Instructions that seemed clear to others felt like a maze to her. The constant chatter and bright lights of the classroom overwhelmed her senses, making it hard to focus. Teachers often mistook her quietness for disinterest or laziness, and her grades reflected the misunderstanding. Negative feedback became a constant companion, reinforcing the belief that she was somehow inadequate. 

Flossy couldn’t quite articulate what was going on inside her mind. She didn’t fully understand why she found certain things so difficult. Explaining her struggles felt impossible, partly because she didn’t have the words and partly because she feared being treated differently. She longed to be seen for her potential rather than her perceived shortcomings. 

As Flossy entered the working world, these challenges followed her. In her first few jobs, she faced similar misunderstandings. Colleagues and supervisors would sometimes judge her for her need for quiet spaces or for taking longer to complete tasks that involved complex instructions. The negative feedback she received felt all too familiar, echoing the voices of her past teachers. She worried that speaking up about her needs would only lead to more judgement and isolation. 

Flossy's new manager had previously worked with Tamzin and understood the internal struggles neurodivergent individuals face. From the start, she showed Flossy compassion and support, which made a massive difference. With gentle encouragement, Flossy began to share her experiences, and her manager implemented small changes, like providing a quieter workspace, giving clear instructions, and using assistive technologies. Combined with coaching from Tamzin, these adjustments transformed Flossy's work life. Her confidence grew as she thrived, showing her creativity and attention to detail. In no time, Flossy became one of the company's top performers, proving that with the right support and understanding, neurodivergent employees can reach their full potential. 


Key Takeaways for Employers 

Once employers are aware of how their staff are feeling, they can take several steps to support their neurodivergent employees: 

Offer Coaching: 

  • Provide coaching sessions with Tamzin and The Neurodiversity Academy. 
  • Focus on helping neurodivergent employees develop their skills and overcome challenges. 
  • Personalised coaching can enhance employee confidence and competence. 


Make Necessary Accommodations:

  • Adjust work environments to reduce sensory overload. 

  • Offer flexible working arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours. 

  • Use assistive technologies and tools to aid in daily tasks. 

Encourage Open Communication: 

  • Create an environment where employees feel safe to share their needs and preferences. 

  • Regularly check in with neurodivergent employees to address any concerns or challenges. 

  • Provide clear, direct feedback and support. 

Focus on Strengths: 

  • Recognise and utilise the unique strengths and skills of neurodivergent employees. 

  • Assign tasks that align with their abilities, such as problem-solving, attention to detail, creativity, and pattern recognition. 

Structured Routines: 

  • Provide a predictable schedule to help reduce anxiety. 

  • Give advance notice of any changes to routines or schedules. 

Mental Health Support: 

  • Provide access to mental health resources and support services. 

  • Understand that neurodivergent individuals may experience higher levels of stress and anxiety, and having support in place can make a significant difference. 

By implementing these steps, employers can create a more understanding and inclusive workplace, improve employee wellbeing, and boost productivity and innovation. This not only benefits neurodivergent employees but also enhances the overall success of the organisation. 



Understanding and supporting neurodivergent employees not only enhances their wellbeing but also brings out their best contributions, driving the organisation towards greater success. By respecting differences, communicating clearly, offering flexibility, and providing the right support and training, employers can create a work environment where everyone thrives. This not only benefits neurodivergent employees but also leads to a more innovative, productive, and successful organisation. 

If you would like to work with me further, whether for training, coaching, or consultancy, book a free neurodiversity strategy session with me, Tamzin.