Registered No: 06978441

Workplace Needs Assessments

What is a Workplace Needs Assessment?

Workplace Needs Assessments are quite different from screening or diagnostic assessments. They are carried out by a specialist Workplace Needs Assessor and they focus on the specific challenges the individual is experiencing in relation to their work tasks and recommendations for adjustment which the WN Assessor believes will help them cope more effectively.

A Workplace Needs Assessment is made up of two main parts:

A meeting with a workplace specialist (Workplace Needs Assessor) who will talk to the individual about the challenges they are experiencing with work tasks. (Ahead of this meeting, background information is collected via questionnaires sent to the line manager and the individual, plus the Workplace Needs Assessors requests to see a copy of the job description). When carrying out the assessment the Workplace Needs Assessor will consider a variety of aspects including work environment, seating location, specific work tasks, ‘tools’ and current coping strategies.
(A Workplace Needs Assessments can be requested in relation to a variety of different disabilities including those with ‘processing differences’ such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) & Dyscalculia).
If you book a Workplace Needs Assessment with us here at Right Resources we also include a 30 minute ‘line manager information meeting’. This is a ‘one to one’ meeting designed to provide managers with foundation awareness of dyslexia and neurodivergent ‘conditions’ to help facilitate future discussions between them and the employee when the workplace needs assessment report is shared and adjustments are then put in place.
A report of the meeting which outlines any recommendations (commonly referred to as ‘Reasonable Adjustments’) which the specialist believes should help the individual improve their effectiveness and increase the likelihood of them being able to fulfil demands of their work role. These recommendations may include: equipment, training on the use of equipment, one to one strategy coaching and awareness training – (in the form of CPD) for colleagues. (This is something which is always included in a workplace needs assessment report as it encourages a more supportive, neuro-inclusive work environment … and, as research has shown at least 1 in 8 of the population is neurodivergent, it is likely to be helpful to other members of staff too).
NB. It is vitally important to engage someone with appropriate experience and specialist workplace dyslexia / neurodivergence-related qualifications. (You may want to ask whether the Workplace Needs Assessor has undertaken the British Dyslexia Association’s Workplace Assessor Programme and whether they have been awarded the OCN Level 4 qualification endorsed by the British Dyslexia Association).

Who would request a Workplace Needs Assessment?

Employers who are proactive and have an understanding of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 either engage a qualified and experienced private Workplace Needs Assessor to undertake this type of work – someone who they know provides a professional, tailored and comprehensive service who may become their ‘preferred supplier’ – or they may signpost the individual towards making an application to Access to Work. However, for many organisations this could all be very new so, if you feel you could use some guidance on this please do contact us and we will be glad to answer your questions and signpost you to what we believe would be the most appropriate provision based on your situation.

Individuals who are experiencing challenges at work which they believe are related to dyslexia or other neurodivergent ‘conditions’ /Specific Learning Differences (SpLds) may have concerns about whether to speak up, who to tell and where they should go for help. Ideally, the first point of contact would be either their Line Manager or a member of their HR team. (Although there is often reluctance to seeking help due to confidence issues and concerns over whether there would be repercussions in terms of it affecting their career following disclosure of their challenges).

When these individuals are encouraged to come forward and they feel safe to disclose, following the provision of appropriate qualified support this can, in the longer term, help to ensure they are working as effective and productively as possible – plus it can have a positive impact on their overall well-being. However, the decision of whether to disclose or not is very much down to personal choice.
As there can be reluctance to talk about challenges with work tasks (and dyslexia / neurodivergent conditions) there are an increasing number of proactive organisations who now have Accredited Dyslexia Champions ™ within their organisations. These are volunteers who have undertaken a course of study which sees them becoming ‘qualified to guide’ their neuro-divergent colleagues towards a recognised process of support in a supportive manner and with appropriate skills.
Employing organisations who take a proactive role by guiding, supporting and providing appropriate qualified workplace support will help ensure they are putting people first and as well as complying with the Equality Act 2010.
To book a Workplace Needs Assessments with us please Contact Us via our booking form (we deliver this service ‘online’ which means we can work with you regardless of your location) – or, if you are in the UK, you may like to contact the British Dyslexia Association who have a national coverage for face to face delivery of workplace needs assessments.