How making a reasonable adjustment can empower a candidate to thrive

Published : Wed 28th Feb

We’re delighted to share a positive story from a new colleague in our North regional team. With a supportive and inclusive team offering adjustments, our colleague has been able to flourish in their new role. Their line manager has said “I can’t imagine them not being part of our team, and how different all of our experiences would have been if they hadn’t received the reasonable adjustments, and support from the National Trust at the start.

I was so excited when I was offered the role of Business Services Co-Ordinator as I had wanted to work for the National Trust for a long time. My excitement turned to dismay as I became unwell just before I was due to start the role. I spent the next few days distraught, trying to hurry my recovery so I would be ready to start in time, but it became apparent I would not be, and the pressure I was putting on myself was just slowing down my recovery.

I made the decision to email the recruitment manager and explain I was unwell and no longer able to take the position. I sent the email all the while worrying how I was going to cope as I had already left my previous job, I also felt like I was letting down what would have been my new team and most importantly I had REALLY wanted this job.

When I checked my emails, I saw the reply sat there and opened it thinking there would be a “thanks for letting us know and good luck with your future” response. I was completely dumfounded when I read that they still wanted me and were happy for me to start a few weeks later and that there was the option of working less hours at first, if that would help me, also asking if there was anything else they could do in supporting me in the workplace. I could not believe it! I think I must have sat and re read it ten times before it sank in. They still wanted me and were willing to make reasonable adjustments to ease me in.

I started the role 4 weeks later than my original start date, but just getting that email had taken so much pressure off me and helped so much in me having something to focus on. The Line Manager stayed in contact with me checking my progress and on what if any adjustments I might need when I started. I was made to feel welcome and at ease. I was eased in gently and the whole team were incredibly supportive and welcoming, checking again if I would need any adjustments. I had a weekly one to one as I settled into the position.

I was still undergoing support outside of the Trust and it was discovered I was Autistic, now Autism presents very differently in women and a lot of the information out there is stereotypical and not correct. My Line Managers and team all supported me throughout the diagnosis and once I had the diagnosis a few more reasonable adjustments were put in place. The team were also interested in learning about Autism, and asked me to send them information, which I did, and they read the information I sent along with the short videos and even chatted to me about it afterwards about what they had learned. It felt so nice to be accepted for who I was and that they took the time to understand Autism and not judge me on the stereotypical information that is perceived on Autism. I could just be me.

With all the support from the Trust, I have gained so much confidence back, contributed significantly to the team and feel like I really belong in this team. None of this would have been possible if I had been written off before I even got started in the role. On a last note, I have been here 18 months and I have not had a day off sick! Something I was worried would be prejudged with getting sick before I started.