The mechanics of designing for neurodiversity with Michelle Kershaw

Is it possible to support neurodiverse people successfully in the workplace? 

I spoke with Michelle Kershaw, independent and neurodiverse consultant and Culture Lead at Kiwibank, about what it’s like to be neurodiverse and how workplaces can do better at making the workplace an attractive proposition for anyone neurodiverse, given10% of the workforce is neurodiverse. 

In my experience, managing for the ‘edges’ takes care of a lot of use cases for the ‘mainstream’ or the ‘middle’, and ultimately results in a much happier cohort of building occupants. So it was a great treat to delve into Michelle’s perspective and learn from her insights. 

Michelle and I discussed the challenges faced by neurodiverse individuals in the workplace, including issues with noise and distractions. We talked about how flexible workspaces and quiet areas can benefit everyone, not just those who are neurodiverse. 

Michelle suggested the use of individual booths and soundproof seating areas as well as lockers.  

We discussed technology tools that could better support people, people and culture strategies and Michelle’s collaboration with Remarkable Minds and CCS Corporation to create an effective way for people to communicate using image cards

Any organisation that supports visual learning, rather than ‘300 page manuals’ is miles ahead in attracting and retaining these star players, who bring their own incredible superpowers. 

– Nina

 “Give people choice. Don’t try and stick a square peg in a round hole.” Michelle Kershaw

Key moments

01:20 – The challenges of working in an office

04:31 – Features neurodivergent staff members may need to manage distractions

11:44 – Things people can do to support or learn from their colleagues

15:59 – What employers can start doing now to improve communicating with their employees

20:26 – Tips, tools, and frameworks about supporting neurodiverse individuals in the workplace

Connect with Michelle


Resources mentioned in the show

Diversity Works

Remarkable Minds

CCS Cards

Richard Branson discusses his dyslexia

World Economic Forum skills for the future

This is Dyslexia book by Kate Griggs

The Gift of Dyslexia book by Ronald D Davis

The Workplace Makers podcast explores workplace making – building modern workplaces that people are drawn to, wherever they work from

Workplace Makers – the podcast about people building workplaces that attract a crowd

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