How dyslexia can affect your business

Spotting the problem


Are any of the following traits evident in one or more of your employees?  If so, it may be symptomatic of some level of dyslexia that warrants further investigation.   Not all employees who exhibit these characteristics will be dyslexic, but where it is diagnosed, very simple changes can raise self-esteem and unlock hitherto unrecognised creativity, lateral thinking capability and self-confidence.


  • A tendency to confuse appointment dates and times and to miss meetings.shutterstock_242105326
  • Difficulty with planning work schedules and deadlines.
  • A problem with starting and finishing their work.
  • Problems with the planning and completion of written reports or forms.
  • Inconsistent and inaccurate spelling.
  • A tendency to read inaccurately and understand the information.
  • Particular problems with lengthy words.
  • A tendency to confuse verbal instructions.
  • Losing or forgetting items of information.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Concerns about training and promotion.


Unwanted effects


None of the traits listed above can be seen as positive or beneficial for either the employer or the employee.


The consequences of these behavioural traits can be quite damaging.  They could include:



  • Performance management issues – investigations, hearings and taking action eats into management time and resources and can be damaging to the morale of the business.
  • Disciplinary proceedings. These can be prolonged, confrontational in character and may involve other employees, trade unions and legal representatives.
  • Which could in turn lead to appeals or tribunal hearings.
  • Mental health problems, such as stress and anxiety which can then result in stress-related absences from work
  • Bullying in the workplace due to misunderstanding of dyslexia by colleagues & managers


Not all dyslexic people will of course have problems with performance at work, but it is important that any business is seen to comply with the Equality Act and prevent a culture of victimisation or bullying at work.  Any disciplinary or dismissal proceedings taken against an employee are never welcomed by any employer.  They are hugely disruptive and costly to the business and should be avoided wherever possible.  The costs or recruiting and training replacements should also be balanced against the cost of making any reasonable adjustments for existing employees.  More often than not the latter will be far and away the more cost effective alternative.


Managing dyslexia in the workplace


There are a number of ways that The Dyslexia Association can help individual employers to address the issue of dyslexia in their workforce.  In each case the recommendation or intervention will be tailored to the needs of the business and reasonable and appropriate given the nature of the business and the available resources.