In collaboration with its employee Accessibility Network, Hachette UK has launched a Neurodiversity Policy, which sets out a framework to support and nurture its neurodivergent colleagues, contributors, and publishing.
Created in line with Hachette UK’s ‘Changing the Story’ diversity and inclusion initiative, the policy provides Hachette UK staff with an outline of what neurodiversity can look like, as well as the support available to neurodiverse colleagues. It was also shared alongside guidance documents to support line managers in managing neurodiverse teams and ensuring that recruitment practices are as open and enabling to neurodivergent candidates as possible.
To mark the launch of the policy, Hachette UK hosted a staff event titled ‘Reflecting on Neurodiversity’. The panel was chaired by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (JKP) author Professor Amanda Kirby, who was in conversation with Onyinye Udokporo, author of Dyslexia and Me: How to Survive and Thrive if You’re Neurodivergent (JKP), Daniel Aherne, author of The Pocket Guide to Neurodiversity (JKP) and Carly Jones, author of My Autism Journal (JKP), who are all thought leaders in the subject. The session explored the panellists’ lived experiences with neurodivergence, discussing topics such as common misconceptions surrounding neurodiversity and the narrative around neurodiversity in the media.
Kim Kidd, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Hachette UK, said: ‘We’re so proud to have launched our Neurodiversity Policy at Hachette UK, and see it as an important step in our commitment to Changing the Story. Accessibility inclusion is a vital part of our diversity and inclusion initiative, and we will continue to work with our Accessibility Network to improve awareness of neurodiversity to ensure all our employees are able to thrive at work.’
Jasmine Palmer and Siobhan Hughes, co-chairs of Hachette UK’s Accessibility Network, said: “The Neurodiversity Policy will be an invaluable resource for staff and managers across all departments at Hachette UK. It is an important step towards providing support, raising awareness, and making our workplace accessible to neurodivergent people in all parts of our organisation. It was wonderful to hear from our authors who took part in the panel event alongside the launch, and we will continue to champion and support the books and experiences of our neurodivergent colleagues and authors.”
The launch of the policy comes after a series of initiatives at Hachette UK which aim to improve the accessibility and representation of its people and publishing. It recently signed the Publishing Accessibility Action Group charter, which involved committing to various accessibility targets, including partnering with national and international organisations that provide support for the availability of publications in accessible formats, as well as raising awareness among and providing training for relevant staff on accessibility in publishing.
In 2020, Hachette UK became the first publisher to win a British Dyslexia Association (BDA) Smart Award, in recognition of its efforts to promote good practice and support the needs of dyslexic and neurodiverse individuals. This included creating a set of guidelines for producing dyslexia-friendly texts and workplaces, which was written by Hachette UK’s Accessibility Network and Jessica Kingsley Publishers, in consultation with the BDA. In support of its accessibility commitment, Hachette UK also formed an Accessible Content Subgroup in 2021, which produces and delivers learning and development resources, as well as training and educational documentation, to Hachette UK staff to further the awareness and understanding of accessibility within the workplace.