Organizations of all sizes in all sectors can benefit from supporting neurodiversity at work and harnessing the skills and talents of neurodivergent workers. In a competitive market, employers cannot afford to overlook the large number of qualified, capable and neurodivergent people who sometimes get lost in the hiring process. Diagnoses that encompass neurodivergence include autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD, to name a few. Many organizations find that having neurodivergent employees improves overall employee morale and has a positive effect on organizational culture. Engaging with the local community is one way to create a neurodiverse workforce.
Community groups can help employers find and attract neurodiverse talent. For a neurodivergent candidate who may feel uncomfortable promoting their talents, this process can lead to anxiety and, ultimately, failed interviews. In “Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage”, Harvard Business Review points out that certain neurodivergent conditions “can confer special skills in pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics. Neurodivergent workers can contribute their talents, skills and perspectives in ways that directly benefit the mission of their organization and help promote productivity and performance. In addition to the technical skills mentioned above, neurodivergent employees often bring a unique perspective, creative knowledge, and excellent problem-solving skills.
Employers who hire neurodivergent employees highlight their ability to perform specific functions within their organization. Hire those certified leaders in neurodiversity to supervise a small number of neurodivergent employees. Provide opportunities for both staff managers and individual collaborators to learn more about the different types of neurodivergent conditions and how to address them. Neurodivergent people can be overstimulated and distracted from projects unless the employer is willing to offer solutions, many of which are simple and cost-effective. Despite the potential benefits of having a neurodiverse workforce, half of managers and people leaders say they wouldn't hire a neurodiverse employee. Various aspects of the recruitment and hiring process, from job descriptions to interviews, can pose challenges that may deter neurodivergent candidates from applying for open positions.
It is important for employers to be aware of these challenges and take steps to create an inclusive environment for all potential employees.