Building a culture that embraces inclusion and diversity is fundamental for a company’s success. Yet, while we know that a workplace made up of talent from different backgrounds and life experiences is a must, only 47 per cent of employees say they feel their employers support and empower neurodivergent individuals.
In this blog, we look at the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace and how HR can best support it. But first, let’s ensure we’re all on the same page when it comes to understanding what neurodiversity actually means.
What Does Neurodiversity Mean?
A relatively new term, neurodiversity describes individuals’ diverse ways of thinking, learning, processing and behaving, and covers a range of neurological conditions including Autism, ADHD, Developmental Language Disorder, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Epilepsy and Tourette’s Syndrome.
In the UK, around one in seven people (15 per cent) of the population is neurodivergent yet some 50 per cent of people don’t know they are neurodiverse. With such a large part of the population experiencing and interacting with the world around them in so many different ways, how can human resources teams accommodate for the needs of neurodiverse employees?
What is Neurodiversity in the Workplace?
Neurodiversity in the workplace means creating an environment that is inclusive and supportive of many different neurodivergent conditions. It promotes the idea that neurological differences should be recognised, and empowers both employees and employers to be more agile and innovative.
Benefits of Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Most companies already have neurodiverse staff, but 64 per cent of employers admit to having “little” or “no” understanding of the cognitive differences people may have. So, what are some of the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace and why does it matter?
- Thinking differently: Because of having learned how to adapt to different situations, neurodivergent individuals know what their strengths and weaknesses are – a plus in the workplace.
- Strength of diversity: Research shows that teams with neurodivergent professionals in some roles can be 30 per cent more productive than those without them.
- Information absorption: Neurodiverse individuals have developed exceptional listening and visual learning skills which allow them to absorb extraordinary amounts of information and details.
- Innovation: The ability to think “outside of the box” brings invaluable innovation and productivity in the workplace – bringing a competitive edge to any business.
- Challenging norms: A different and honest feedback can be used to shake up the status quo and provide new perspectives for new ways of working or doing tasks.
Breaking Down Barriers: How To Support Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Unfortunately, there are often barriers to employment and in the recruitment process for neurodiverse people, so what can HR do to break down these barriers and better support neurodiversity in the workplace?
To support neurodiversity in the workplace:
- Hiring process – Firstly, HR must adopt a mindful approach to the different ways in which individuals work and communicate, and this starts with the hiring process. HR should cast a wider net, evaluate their screening criteria and reinvent interviews.
- Incorporate different learning styles – Secondly, HR should review induction and learning and development packages to incorporate different learning styles. Offering quiet areas and allowing flexibility for break times as well rethinking desk location will help minimise distractions.
- 1-on-1 meetings – Setting up 1-on-1 meetings or mentoring programmes will allow businesses to better understand the best ways to communicate with staff (verbal, visual and written formats), and allow neurodiverse talent to grow and succeed.
- Awareness and education – Promoting awareness and educating employees about neurodiversity will help to reduce stigma and misconceptions around neurodiversity in the workplace. If all members of staff are educated about it, there will naturally be a more inclusive and empathetic workplace culture.
- Equal opportunities – Neurodiversity advocates for equal opportunities for career advancement and growth in the workplace, ensuring that neurodivergent employees have the same chances to develop their careers as their peers.
We are a talent recruitment agency who take pride in our ability to deliver the right person into a diverse range of industries. At Faulkner Scott we work closely with you to understand your specific requirements and find the talent that will help your business thrive.
Contact us today to create an inclusive working environment and culture where neurodivergent individuals can thrive.
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