Working with Dyslexia

Talent Solutions and Made By Dyslexia, a not-for-profit organisation, are helping the world understand the value people with dyslexia bring, in order to develop a better understanding of dyslexic thinking in the recruitment process and the workplace, and to encourage organisations to recognise its importance in a fast changing world.

Together, we have conducted the largest survey of dyslexic employees and want to help employers recognise, value, and attract dyslexic talent so that they can seize the skills they need for the post-pandemic recovery. The Dyslexic Dynamic report explains why employers must harness dyslexic skills to meet today’s talent challenges. This blog will delve into the challenges dyslexics face in the recruitment process and the workplace, and how best employers can tailor their approach.

So what is dyslexia?

Approximately 20% of the population has dyslexia and it is defined as a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. Generally, a dyslexic cognitive profile will be uneven when compared to a neurotypical cognitive profile. This means that dyslexic individuals think differently. As a result, dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading, and memorising facts. Traditional benchmarking disadvantages dyslexics, measuring them against the very things they find challenging.

What are the challenges people with dyslexia face in the recruitment process?

Dyslexic thinkers report that traditional assessments and psychometric tests don’t always accurately reflect their skills. In fact, three out of the four people surveyed believe the recruitment process puts people at a disadvantage. This severely harms businesses who are looking to recruit the skills of tomorrow. Employers need help to identify dyslexic skills and nurture their talents. Those who take a strengths-based approach, will focus on the skills that people with dyslexia often excel at, as many of these are the soft skills vital to the workplace.

Dyslexic thinking skills fall into six categories shown below, and all dyslexics have a differing combination of some, or all, of them.

Why is it important companies update their recruitment process to be more inclusive?

The jobs market is going through a period of radical change. Nearly every industry is being disrupted by new technologies, automation and machine learning, and the pace of change has accelerated as a result of COVID-19.

In recent years, new research has demonstrated the growing importance of dyslexic thinking to employers. Studies have shown the skills becoming more relevant in the digitised workplaces of today correspond closely with many of the skills characteristic of dyslexic thinkers. The pandemic has drastically accelerated the integration of technology and as digital-first workplaces become commonplace much faster than previously expected, the skills of dyslexic thinkers are needed more critically today.

By way of the new emerging technologies, Talent Solutions and Made By Dyslexia are working together to explore how gamification, and shorter, more engaging user experiences can be used in the assessment process to identify ability and remove biases. Tools like this can help recruiters harness the skills candidates have, and the value they could add to an organisation. This new process could become invaluable, as the skills associated with dyslexic thinking are becoming increasingly in demand.

Below are five pointers which could help dyslexics in the recruitment process as well as in the workplace now:

  • OFFER THE BASICS: extra time, quiet rooms for tests, clear questions
  • FORGIVE TYPOS AND SPELLING: they are not a reflection of commitment or ability
  • TRADITIONAL TESTS MAY NOT APPLY: understand that traditional tests may not always showcase dyslexic thinkers’ full talents. Help them to show their abilities in different ways with a mix of skills-based assessment and interviews
  • ENCOURAGE: applicants to tell you they’re dyslexic by acknowledging that you value dyslexic thinking
  • NO FORMAL ASSESSMENT: don’t insist on a formal assessment to trigger reasonable adjustments, a self-declaration of dyslexia should be enough

These are just five simple processes which could help identify and nurture dyslexic skills for the talent of tomorrow. Download The Dyslexia Dynamic report to understand the vital role this talent pool can play in helping with the post-pandemic recovery and business success!