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Dyslexia is common, dyslexic people make up a huge part of the workforce. It is estimated that around 10% of employees have dyslexia. Organisations who have an inclusive employment policy may be aware of this, however many HR departments are not well equipped to recognise dyslexia.
When dyslexia is not understood, a dyslexic employee can have a hard time, and may experience discrimination even if it is mistakenly or inadvertently administered.
Employees becoming more aware of their employment rights and employers who do not recognise and understand dyslexia could find themselves taken to tribunal, an expensive procedure in terms of time, resources, and legal fees.
Large organisations should make sure that they have some dyslexia expertise in their HR department. That way, when problems arise, they will be equipped to deal with them at an early stage. It makes good sense to support dyslexic employees.
Recognising Employees with Dyslexia
HR departments must be able to recognise employees with dyslexia before being able to make life easier for them. While dyslexia is now an openly discussed condition in school with hep available, many older employees still believe that making their dyslexia public may hold them back.
Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate dyslexia:
- Nervousness, especially when being watched working
- Inconsistent work habits – good days when they work really well and bad days when they seem to struggle
- Very capable in some areas but avoids presentations and/or reports
- Unwilling to take part in training
Talking to Employees with Dyslexia
Many employees (especially older ones) may be struggling to deal with issues at work. If they haven’t recognised their condition or have kept it a secret then they may be getting unjustly punished for something they can’t help – late reports for example. The HR department has to be able to step in and stop this happening. The first step is to talk to the employee.
They may not realise they have dyslexia. If you believe that somebody is showing signs of dyslexia but are acting as if they think they are ‘stupid’ – which they may have unfairly been told at an early age – then be supportive and suggest they take an assessment. They may be worried about the label of dyslexia but it should help them thrive at what they are good at and give them access to support they wouldn’t otherwise have.
This may be the same for employees who are aware they are dyslexic but haven’t told anyone. They might feel that they could miss out on promotions or even lose their job if their employer was to find out. However, this is more likely to happen if the employer is unaware of the dyslexia. They may feel that any issues are personal or that the employee is simply not trying hard enough.
Once the HR department and employer is aware of dyslexia they can implement a plan to support the employee and ensure they are not discriminating unjustly.
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