When it comes to the workplace, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to success. A growing number of employers are beginning to realize that neurodiverse talent can be an asset in the workplace.
So, what is neurodiversity? Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the range of differences in human brain function and behavioural traits. It refers to the natural variation in the way human brains are wired and includes conditions such as ADHD, autism, and dyslexia.
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There are many reasons why employers should be actively seeking out and supporting neurodiverse talent. Neurodiverse employees often have unique skill sets that can be an asset to any business and supporting neurodiversity can help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace which research indicates leads to innovation and creativity.
Neurodiversity can be an asset in the workplace because it can help create a more diverse and inclusive environment. Businesses with a diverse workforce perform better than those without, and research indicates that diversity fosters innovation and creativity. When people with different backgrounds and perspectives come together, they’re more likely to come up with new and innovative ideas.
But mainly, supporting neurodiverse talent is simply the right thing to do. Individuals with neurodiverse conditions face significant barriers in life, including in education and employment. By hiring neurodiverse individuals and making accommodations for their needs, employers can help level the playing field and foster a more inclusive society.
Why businesses should support neurodiverse talent
Despite the advantages that neurodiverse employees can bring to an organization, they often face significant challenges in accessing employment opportunities.
So why are businesses missing out on this untapped talent pool? In many cases, it’s simply a matter of misunderstanding. Many employers mistakenly believe that neurodiverse employees will be unable to meet the demands of their roles, or that accommodating them will be too expensive or time-consuming.
However, research has shown that these fears are unfounded. A study by Accenture found that organizations with more diverse workforces performed better financially than those without. What’s more, another study showed that companies who proactively recruited and supported autistic workers reported reduced staff turnover rates and improved morale among all employees.
Similarly, accommodating employees doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; simple measures such as sit-stand desks and white noise machines can make a big difference to someone with ADHD, for example. And even when accommodations for employees may require slightly more investment upfront, such as providing specialist software, the long-term benefits more than justify the costs.
It’s also worth remembering that all employees likely need some form of accommodation to be able to do their best work; it’s not just neurodiverse employees who may need support. For example, parents often require flexible working arrangements so they can balance their responsibilities at home with their job demands. Similarly, older workers may need workplace adjustments to accommodate declining vision or hearing.
The point is, accommodative measures benefit everyone – not just those with diagnosed medical conditions – and businesses should be prepared to provide them for all employees when needed.
With an ever-growing body of evidence demonstrating the business case for hiring neurodiverse talent, there’s really no excuse for not actively recruiting and supporting employees on the autism spectrum, with ADHD, dyslexia, or any other form of neurological difference. Not only is it the right thing to do from a social responsibility perspective; it makes good business sense too. Everyone deserves a fair chance to find employment opportunities that make use of their skills and strengths.