Among the 64% of Employees Who Say Their Employer Values Diversity, Only 47% Say This Includes Supporting Neurodivergent Individuals
NEW YORK, April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Understood, a social impact organization and lifelong guide for those with learning and thinking differences, like ADHD and dyslexia, unveiled a study today with insights on how employees view their companies' diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
Understood's "Employee DEI Experience Study" found that employer commitments to DEI seem to be resonating, with 85% of employees stating their employer is inclusive and embraces employees as their true selves. Understood's study also revealed that 64% feel their place of work values diversity and shows it in their actions. However, the study found that there is room to grow when it comes to supporting neurodiversity in company DEI efforts: Among that 64%, less than half (47%) saw neurodiversity as something that was supported by their employer.
"While companies have made notable strides to increase their diversity and inclusion efforts, they are falling short in considering the one in five employees in the United States who have a learning or thinking difference," said Yvonne Cowser Yancy, Chief Administrative Officer and Head of Workplace at Understood. "Organizations must take action to support neurodivergent individuals at work in order to attract and retain talent, reduce the stigma around neurodiversity, and create a workplace and culture where everyone can thrive."
Increasing awareness and proactivity around accommodations
As the pandemic forced many American employees to work from home, 28% of employees noted they have struggled with not having the right office setup, technology, or tools needed to do their job properly.
Proactively offering accommodations, such as flexible work schedules, additional training time, and dual written and verbal content, is a powerful and necessary way to help support employees with physical and invisible disabilities. These supports are usually free to organizations, and those that aren't are generally one-time expenses of $500 or less, according to Understood and Society for Human Resource Management's Employing Abilities @Work Report.
On a positive note, the majority of employees are aware they can request accommodations. More than half (54%) of respondents in the "Employee DEI Experience Study" said they have asked an employer for an accommodation to help them do their job better, and more than a quarter (28%) said they were aware they could ask for an accommodation but didn't have a need. However, the study found companies still have work to do to make sure all employees feel empowered and supported, as:
- Nearly one-fifth (18%) of employees weren't even aware they could request an accommodation.
- Employed men (54%) are significantly more likely than employed women (37%) to have asked for an accommodation that was granted.
- Hispanic and Black employees (15% each) are significantly more likely to have asked for an accommodation that was denied versus white employees (8%).
Expanding and deepening DEI efforts
While the majority of employees feel their companies are inclusive, the survey also found disparities in the types of diversity that companies take action around. This underscores the need for companies to expand their understanding and commitment to the various identities and aspects of diversity, especially as it relates to disabilities.
Among the 64% of employees who say their employer values diversity and shows it in their actions:
- White employees (68%) are more likely than Black employees (53%) to feel their employers value diversity and show it in their actions.
- 65% say their employers show it by supporting and/or empowering women.
- 55% say their employers show it by supporting and/or empowering individuals with physical disabilities.
- 50% say their employers show it by supporting and/or empowering the LGBTQ+ community.
- Only 47% say their employers do so by supporting and/or empowering neurodivergent individuals.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Understood from March 3–7, 2022, among 1,125 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please email email@example.com.
Through its work with Expedia, The Bazaar, and others, Understood is committed to helping companies and organizations create more inclusive workplaces and cultures for those who learn and think differently. For more information around neurodiversity in the workplace, visit u.org and Understood's Media Center.
1 in 5 Americans have learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are often misunderstood, undiagnosed, and dismissed, and their differences are viewed as a weakness. This leaves many on a journey that is stacked against them and costs society billions of dollars. Understood is a lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently. Today, we help more than 20 million people each year discover their potential, how to take control, find community, and stay on a positive path along each stage of life's journey. When others join this journey, and people are broadly embraced, everyone thrives. Understood is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in New York. For more information, to donate, or to become a partner, visit u.org/media and follow us on Twitter @UnderstoodOrg.