ADHD and Staffing America’s Businesses
Hiring individuals with ADHD can mean bringing people in with new, creative ideas and skill sets, and there may be some considerations to prepare for.
Although hiring individuals with ADHD means bringing people with new, creative ideas and skill sets to a company, it can also present challenges for business managers. For example, employees with ADHD may have difficulty focusing in certain work environments. They might be prone to errors or challenges in unexpected circumstances, or they may struggle to transition from one particular project or task to another. (1)
However, the price for hiring employees with ADHD can be well worth the accompanying challenges if the company in question provides the support and flexibility necessary to provide their employees the best working environments they can.
Here are some considerations for employers seeking to hire.
Successful employees with ADHD = A Successful Business
A company should have the following steps clearly defined and in operation within the company:
1. Give the employee options. Allow the employee the chance to complete her assigned work in a way that best suits their ADHD symptoms. Trying to force an employee to stick to rigid, inflexible approaches to work can backfire for both the worker and the company.
2. Provide feedback. An individual with ADHD may perform better with timely and frequent feedback. Affirmation of their good work or constructive criticism on what can be improved are significant actions on the part of the manager.
3. Be respective and tolerant. Managers must understand that providing individual accommodations to their employees does not constitute favoritism. Instead, it is proof that a company wants their employees to succeed and is willing to offer its workers whatever tools are necessary to do the best job possible.
4. Provide clear objectives and desired results. Most people, including those with ADHD, need a clear path to a goal. Without obvious guidance and clarity, an individual may appear unmotivated and not meet productivity expectations.
5. Recognize individual employee’s strengths and weakness, and work with them. A manager should encourage an employee’s strengths by accommodations, and also by also reducing work levels in areas that are weakest. Seek to strike a balance between managing weaknesses and developing strengths.
6. Assist with prioritizing. Ongoing tasks of organizing and planning can challenge some of us with ADHD. Managers who openly encourage short meetings to help employees to prioritize are helping both the individual in the short term and the company in the long run.
7. Create targeted checkpoints for large projects. It can be difficult for staff to stay on track while working on long projects. Managers should help employees create milestones and smaller, targeted checkpoints to make sure that the project is being completed and advancing as expected, in regulars stages along the way.
Legal protections and requirements
It’s critical for employers to be aware that an employee’s ADHD condition is legally considered a disability that should remain private and held in the strictest confidence.
This standard is supported by two fundamental laws: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These laws state that no workplace discrimination can occur against individuals with such disabilities. In order to be protected by these laws, an employee must:
• Be an individual with a disability recognized under the law
• Qualify for the position, with or without accommodations
• Prove that employment exclusion was based solely on the ADHD diagnosis
• Be covered by the applicable federal law
A person with ADHD does not have to disclose their condition unless additional accommodations are necessary for the employee to perform their job.
Legally, an employer needs to do the following for employees with ADHD:
• Deal with accommodation requests in a timely fashion
• Accept requests for accommodation in good faith
• Request only the information pertinent to the ADHD condition
• Maintain the confidentiality of ADHD employees
• Be open to expert advice on ADHD
• Ensure that all possible solutions are investigated
• Pay for any additional medical documentation or information the company may require
Success in the workplace happens so long as employers provide conditions and assignments that work to their employee’s strengths rather than weaknesses. In fact, you may notice that practices for employees with ADHD may just be best employer practices in regards to all of your employees!