Neurodiversity in the Workplace: A reflection on Skyral’s journey so far and our vision for the future

Victoria Gadd

Head of People

At Skyral, our goal is to be an inclusive organisation where everyone feels they belong. This should be inherent in our culture, not just an aspiration we document in our policies. We understand that diversity in all its forms, including neurodiversity, is a strength that fuels innovation and creativity. Our Vision at Skyral is to solve real-world problems through the use of our simulation and modelling technology. Who better to support and bring this vision to life than a company full of individuals that are creative, innovative, caring, and inclusive, working together to realise this vision.

It’s no secret that our commitment to building and fostering an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive has always been important to us, you only need to look at some of our policies to know this. However, we acknowledge that there is always room for growth and improvement. With that, a number of us from Skyral attended the National Neurodiversity at Work conference earlier this month. I was accompanied by Paul Gammon, our Head of Engineering, Ciara Deeley, our People Partner and Charlotte Seddon, our Talent Partner.


Our Current Approach to Neurodiversity and Inclusion:

So, where to start? One of the first steps of becoming Skyral, was recognising the importance of establishing our company values. Jason Kennedy, our CEO, Naomi Hulme, our MD, and the Senior Leadership Team chose to take a bottom up approach, rather than a top down method. “What does that mean,” I hear you say? We formed a representative group from across the organisation made up of volunteers from each distinct business section and tasked them with creating, sending, reviewing, and analysing surveys to better understand what and who we wanted to be as a business. The result? We identified four core Values. Since then, our focus has been on defining and embodying the behaviours that support these values. The key message that emerged from the process? Our Peoplematter the most. As Head of People, I have a responsibility to take this further at Skyral.

Listening to feedback from across the business we identified that we needed to implement an additional step as part of the onboarding process, encouraging employees both new to the business, and current to discuss and talk to managers as well as The People Team about any needs they have, i.e an accommodation they require. This has driven us to think more about how we can meet the differing needs of individuals. It’s probably not a shock to hear that the conference highlighted on more than one occasion that a needs-based approach is often what’s missing. So with that, we will be looking inward at how we can focus more on needs as we move forward.

Key Takeaways from the Conference:

The conference was a thought provoking experience that left us thinking about what we could bring back to our workplace at Skyral. Here are some of the key lessons and insights we gained.

Leadership Commitment:

True inclusion suggests that Leaders must be visibly committed to supporting neurodiversity and be willing to invest in long-term initiatives. However, there does need to be an awareness and a shared sense of commitment from the entire business. AJ Singh, Founder of Wautistic Wayfinder, was part of the key panel discussion: Workplace Neuro-inclusion Through Intersectional Lenses. They talked about the importance of listening and working together as an entire organisation. Therefore, ongoing education and continuous learning about neurodiversity is essential. This could look like regularly updating training to reflect the latest research and best practices to help keep the entire organisation informed and engaged. Being vulnerable, compassionate, and leading with empathy are a few of the ways that were discussed.





Communication style and approach:

Context is important in any given situation.‘Reading between the lines’ without context is challenging. Taking the time to provide everyone with context could avoid unnecessary increased anxiety. Making sure that agenda and discussion points are presented with bullet points could be the difference between ensuring that someone is able to concentrate. Finally, (but this is by no means limited to a list!) providing a wrap up email or document that summarises the key points discussed, clearly mapped out for those who need to see the communication written down, enhances context and helps people get things done with reduced stress.

Inclusive Design:

This could be the ways in which we work and communicate with one another in the business. It could also be the physical design of the office itself. Tree Hall, CEO of Charity IT Leaders gave a talk on ‘Neuro-inclusive Design Of A Physical Workplace – Reasonable Adjustments Made Easy.’ Tree showed real vulnerability and led us all on a journey through her lived experiences. Having received an Autism diagnosis as an adult, much of her content reflected on her past experiences. Tree touched on office space and simple, easy hacks that we can all implement to make the workplace and physical environment more inclusive and comfortable, without costing a fortune. For example, hanging room panel dividers to create zoned off areas. Inclusive design should be a foundational principle in every aspect of work, be it a project, meeting or discussion.





Competencies and Training:

What we all collectively hadn’t appreciated is that the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) industry is vastly unregulated. According to Ashanti Bentil-Dhue, Founder and CEO Competence Centre for Workplace Equity (CCWE) there is currently not a single globally recognised qualification for professionals to obtain in the field of DEI. It is incredibly important for organisations to measure the competency-based approaches that the DEI experts bring to the business. Ashanti Bentil-Dhue left us all with a lot to think about. She encouraged us to really consider the differences between lived experience and competency, especially in the context of training the organisation on specific topics.

Treat everyone as an individual:

Although this is obvious it can be overlooked in the workspace. We were reminded on numerous occasions that we need to understand the needs of individuals and how this is especially important for those who identify as Neurodiverse.



Moving Forward: Our Vision for the Future

With the insights gained from the conference, we are keen to explore and further increase our efforts in neurodiversity and inclusion. Here’s what we plan to explore as we move forward on Skyral’s journey.

*Note these are not commitments, but they are areas we are seeking to explore.

Leadership Development & Training

We want to further look at how we can support our leaders and managers to better understand the importance of neurodiversity and how to champion these values within their teams. Already we are exploring a Manager Toolkit, so what better way to enhance inclusivity than to ensure all managers have the tools they need from the get go.

Inclusive Recruitment Practices

Reviewing our current recruitment processes to identify enhancements that promote inclusivity. Our aim is to eliminate the barriers that neurodiverse individuals could encounter during the hiring process. There are a few ways we could do this. For example, conducting an audit of current practices by reviewing our interview process and job descriptions. We may also seek feedback from current employees with surveys and focus groups. Finally, we want to move forward with implementing bias and sensitivity training for all Hiring Managers and interviewees.

Continuous Feedback Loop

Establishing a continuous feedback loop within the business as a whole is something we are keen to explore at Skyral. This serves everyone, including our neurodiverse employees, to help us (the Senior Leadership team) better understand the needs of all and improve our support systems. We plan to look at surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings to support this process.

Technology that can support

Just as our company provides technology to help others make decisions and achieve their goals, our aim is to support specific needs with technology when requested where possible, enabling a work environment where all employees feel comfortable.


At Skyral, we acknowledge the positive impact we’ve made so far, but we also recognise areas where we can be more intentional and improve. The insights we’ve gained from our employees through their willingness to share and be vulnerable are invaluable.





Those of us who attended the conference are inspired and share a collective responsibility to apply what we’ve learnt to our areas of the business, to benefit Skyral in a meaningful way. Implementing these changes with realistic timeframes and goals will not only support our Neurodiverse employees, but further foster a culture of innovation, empathy, and excellence that benefits everyone at Skyral.

We continue to encourage all of our employees to speak up, challenge our current practices and take ownership of their needs. We also invite stakeholders to support and join us on this journey toward a more inclusive future.

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