If an employee tells you they have ADHD, there are certain steps you should follow.

  1. Discuss what issues the person is having with their position, if any. It is best to focus on specific job duties and tasks.
  2. Contact the HR Department for guidance in meeting the needs of the employee.
  3. Discuss and agree on a plan to improve their job performance. If the employee requests accommodations, the employer is required to make a reasonable effort to accommodate the request.
  4. Document all steps of the plan including a timeframe for review. A reasonable timeline for the first review is 90 days.  The plan should be reviewed on at least an annual basis for effectiveness and adjusted if necessary.  The best time to do this is during the annual performance review process.
  5. If your company has an Employee Assistant Program (EAP) give the contact information to the employee. There may be additional employee benefits provided by the EAP that could help with work.

If you suspect a person has ADHD which they have not disclosed, the conversation is a little more difficult.

  1. Discuss job performance with them. Often, people with ADHD are unaware how their behavior is affecting others.  Remember that as a supervisor or HR professional, you are not trained to diagnosis the disorder, but to help with improving the employee’s performance.  If you focus on job performance and its’ effect on others, you will be able to work with the employee to develop strategies to successfully resolve the issues.
  2. Put it in writing. This does not have to be a formal document, but could be an email restating the issues in writing.  Be specific about the behavior that needs to stop or improve.
  3. Discuss strategies to improve the employee’s performance. Ask the person when they have performed the duties successfully in the past, and what they did differently.  Try to put these strategies into action in other parts of the position.
  4. If possible, refer the employee to an Employee Assistant Program (EAP) for help with their work performance. Many times, there is an assessment as part of the initial counseling process.  This may lead to a diagnosis and improved chances that the employee will get the help needed to improve their performance.