Empowering Employees with ADHD: Part 1

In the face of a global talent shortage, employers are turning to talent pools they may have overlooked before, including neurodiverse talent and particularly those with ADHD. These workers face their own challenges in the workplace, but with the right support, they can be very beneficial to your team.

What Is ADHD?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) (2023) defines Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, as a mental health condition usually diagnosed in children which limits their ability to function. These children show patterns of developmentally inappropriate levels of inattentiveness, hyperactivity or impulsivity. The symptoms begin in childhood but usually persist until adulthood, interfering with their functionality and daily life activities. Currently, ADHD affects 4.4% of adults in the US, with 62% of those being men and 38% being women (NIH, 2023). Because the impact of adult ADHD can be immense, it is important to diagnose and treat the disorder at a young age.

ADHD in the Workplace

As a business owner or a hiring manager who is hiring or considering hiring employees with ADHD, you may wonder how hiring such employees may impact your business and what you can do to support them. Without a doubt, employees with ADHD are often at higher risk of losing their jobs or being unemployed since they may fall short of certain expectations (Gatta, 2022). These employees may need extra support or reasonable adjustments in the workplace environment to help them work efficiently and effectively.

Employees with ADHD may experience challenges in the workplace environment that may hinder productivity and business performance such as:

  • Feeling dissatisfied at work
  • Taking more sick days
  • Changing jobs more often
  • More likely to be involved in workplace accidents or injuries
  • Having many jobs at the same time
  • Having a higher error rate
  • Having a seeming lack of dependability

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Employees with ADHD may also find it challenging to:

  • Meet deadlines
  • Communicate with their co-workers
  • Focus
  • Pay attention at meetings
  • Manage their time
  • Organize their schedule
  • Follow instructions
  • Stay on top of their workload
  • Follow through with what they’re supposed to do

According to CHADD’s CEO, Bob Cattoi, these issues often experienced by employees with ADHD may lead to your business incurring “larger expenses due to lost productivity, absenteeism, and increased healthcare costs. Still, there are many successful high-level workers with ADHD across high-level professions.”

Types of Jobs that Suit People with ADHD

Jobs that suit people with ADHD are those that play to the strength and positives of their symptoms. These jobs should provide:

  • A structured work day
  • Opportunities for movement
  • Regular and fairly immediate feedback
  • A good fit with individual’s interests and skills to prevent loss of interest and focus

Jobs not suited to people with ADHD include jobs that feature:

  • Monotonous and repetitive tasks without variation
  • Need for high levels of concentration to manage risk
  • Long periods of working in isolation

In part 2 of this series, I will explore how people with ADHD can benefit your workforce and strategies you can use to help them succeed.

Sussan Nwogwugwu

Sussan Nwogwugwu
Sussan Nwogwugwu is a regional nurse practitioner lead for DONE.

Sussan Nwogwugwu

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