As it is ADHD Awareness Month I wanted to share my experience of employing an individual with ADHD and my top tips for allowing them to be a great asset to your company.
Firstly, let’s look at the strengths people with ADHD are noted for:
• Full of creative ideas – thinking outside the box
• Relentless energy
• Often optimistic
• Being motivated by short term deadlines – working in sprints rather than marathons
• Often having an eye for detail
This is in addition to the same broad range of skills, interests and intelligence as the rest of society. Individuals with ADHD often make great Entrepreneurs because of these strengths, so never underestimate their abilities.
However, we need to remember, everyone with ADHD is different, and the condition affects individuals in different ways. It’s important to communicate openly with your employee so that you can find out what support would help them the most.
Let’s understand what ADHD is and how might it affect your employee:
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting brain structure and neurotransmission: the way in which messages are communicated around the brain and the way different areas of the brain are activated.
ADHD is thought to be caused by a complex mix of environmental and genetic factors, but is a strongly hereditary condition. ADHD is present from childhood, but an increasing number of adults are now being diagnosed with ADHD for the first time, having been ‘missed’ when they were younger and the condition was not as well understood as it is now.
ADHD has three core symptoms, which affect people to different degrees:
Now you are aware of these traits and the strengths an employee with ADHD can bring to your business, let’s look at the types of work that suits such an employee.
Jobs which provide
NOT jobs which feature
Do not think that it takes extra management of an employee with ADHD, it just needs a slightly different approach.
We have recently been introducing a Results Only Working Environment (ROWE), which means our staff can work where they want, when they want and how they want, on the understanding that the required results are achieved.
So my role now is to manage the work and not the staff.
Together we set out the required work plans for each staff member and the deadlines for meeting the tasks and jobs involved. They can then do this work where and when they want, providing it is completed to our high standards, on time, every time.
This works well with all of our team but especially our employee with ADHD. The flexibility is good for their time keeping issues and their workload and deadlines are planned out for them, to avoid that difficulty in knowing where to start.
An interesting point, which is an aside to this piece, is that the members of our team who are local enjoy the camaraderie of working from the office everyday even though they don’t have too. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised as we are all social animals at heart!
Regardless of this and with the growing mental health crisis, I always check in with each team member every week to ensure they are well and just have a chat about non work related things; allowing people time to talk is essential.
I know many teams have returned to the office full time and do not have a flexible working environment like ours, so I would recommend the team member with ADHD has the following:
Many of the areas I have discussed may seem overwhelming when running your own business, but every member of your team will be different and will like to work in different ways and an employee with ADHD is really no different. You just need to know what works to allow them to thrive.
For more information and support on ADHD……