Fuller’s launch plans to recruit neurodiverse staff

Image: George IV, Fuller’s pub

Fuller’s launch guidance working in partnership with LVS Hassocks – a specialist school for children with autism

Fuller’s has launched a guide to recruiting team members who are neurodiverse or have intellectual disabilities. The guide has been produced with help and support from LVS Hassocks – a specialist school for children with autism owned by the Licensed Trade Charity, and Fuller’s corporate charity Special Olympics Great Britain.

While Fuller’s say a handful of their pubs – in particular The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham – are already ‘active in this space’, Fuller’s have identified an opportunity to build on this work.

Team members who are neurodiverse with intellectual disabilities are perfectly capable of doing many of the tasks in pubs, but may need clearer, often visual, instruction. If they have  sensory needs they may need quiet spaces for respite, or to avoid of loud, busy sessions. Some may need to work shorter shifts.

But Fuller’s see the recruitment of people who are neurodiverse or have intellectual disabilities potentially as a win-win when the hospitality sector is struggling to recruit staff, and this is a group of people who find it particularly difficult to find employment.

‘Against the backdrop of these minor adjustments, the benefits of a more diverse team are huge – building camaraderie and pride while helping to enrich the life of the new team member and their family. It is also a step in tackling the 94% unemployment rate among the 1.5 million people with an ID in the UK.’

Image: Old Packhorse, Fuller’s pub

The guide covers all aspects of the employment process from the use of inclusive language and visual cues when recruiting, through interview, induction and making small, but suitable, changes to the working environment.

Fuller’s took direction from Special Olympics athletes with first-hand knowledge of good and bad workplace practices and the teaching aids used in the classrooms at LVS Hassocks.

Written by trade journalist Kate Oppenheim, the booklet is being rolled out to all Fuller’s Managed Pubs and will also be available to all Fuller’s Tenants. Moving forwards, the Licensed Trade Charity will take the work out to the wider industry later this year, as tackling unemployment among people with IDs should not, in Fuller’s view, be restricted to one company.

Image above: One Over the Ait, Fuller’s pub

Launching guidance is “fantastic”

Monique Samra, Fuller’s People Experience Manager with responsibility for DE&I, said:

“This is such a great booklet aimed at giving our General Managers the confidence and skills to recruit team members from a whole new, and vastly underrepresented, section of the community. We had a goal of recruiting 20 new team members with an ID – and we’ve already beaten that target. With the roll out of this guide, I hope that number will continue to grow.”

Chris Welham, CEO at the Licensed Trade Charity, commented:

“We have been working with children with intellectual disabilities through our schools LVS Hassocks and LVS Oxford for decades – and this collaboration with Fuller’s is just fantastic.

“The guide, and the collaboration, shows that the industry that has supported our students’ education is there to support their progression with pathways into work experience and a potential career in hospitality. Fuller’s is really leading the way here and setting a standard that we hope the rest of the industry will follow.”

Image: The Pilot, Fuller’s pub

Laura Baxter MBE, CEO of Special Olympics GB, added:

“The statistics around employment levels for people with an ID are exceptionally low. There are 1.5 million people living with an ID in Great Britain and only 6% are in paid employment. It is just fantastic to see Fuller’s – which has been a prolific fundraiser for Special Olympics GB since 2018 – taking a further step on its support for those with IDs.

“I can’t wait to see where this work goes next – and if more hospitality businesses can join this revolution, I will be absolutely delighted.”