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Neurodiversity encapsulates individual differences in brain functioning that are regarded as normal variations within the human population.
Numerous scientific studies conducted in the past decade have shown that diverse teams are more innovative and generate higher profits.
By embracing neurodiversity at the workplace, more than likely, your teams will bring forward new ideas because neurodivergent employees think differently.
This is why leading companies such as Google, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase and others, run neurodiversity-at-work programs.
Tapping into the so-called "hidden workers" talent pool ensures productivity gains across departments, quality improvement, and increased employee engagement.
Creating a supportive workplace will help reduce the stress and stigma that different people may experience. Moreover, your neurotypical employees get more emotionally invested. They willingly give the extra effort to make a project work while growing loyalty to the team.
In our follow-up article on Wednesday, we will make the correlation between different types of work environments (office-based, hybrid, remote) and productivity for neurodiverse individuals.
If you haven’t done it yet, the time has come to reform the HR and recruitment processes to integrate neurodiverse staff into your organization.
Hiring and managing such talent makes the team become more acutely aware of different communication methods (verbal, written, pictures and images, face-to-face, structured, etc.) and make sure everybody understands preferences in communication styles.
Neurodiverse people see and process information differently. Some may struggle to understand other people's emotions, while others may find it challenging to stay organized.
Instead of using diplomatic, more nuanced language, expressing yourself more straightforwardly helps establish a better understanding with all employees.
Another exciting benefit of having diverse and inclusive culture is attracting more talent to your company.
Studies show that a diverse workforce is attractive to prospective candidates. Thus, the employee acquisition and retention rates soar alongside your company/brand reputation.
Customers prefer socially inclusive companies, too. And an organization aware of neurodiversity will communicate better with – and offer better service to – customers on the spectrum.
Neurodiverse employees can also hugely benefit their organizations by spotting patterns that neurotypical colleagues haven't seen or worked quickly in high-pressure situations.
The cost of adjusting your workplace for accommodating neurodiverse employees is insignificant. It could entail allocating extra time for recruitment assessments or giving people a desk by a window.
The price of providing tech like noise-cancelling headphones, dimmer lighting, and speech-to-text apps is relatively low, especially when weighed against the many benefits of neurodiversity to your organization's success.
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Refine your sourcing and recruiting strategies to screen a broader range of candidates.
It is difficult to distinguish people by their resumes or profiles, but dismissing a person for not stating their strong communication skills or seeming “somewhat of an introvert” will screen out neurodiverse candidates.
Many of these job seekers also struggle with interviews. They often avoid eye contact, take conversational tangents, and can be overly honest about their weaknesses.
To assess their talent effectively, SAP swaps interviews for "hangouts." These laid-back gatherings last half a day and let candidates demonstrate abilities in casual interactions with managers.
However, keep in mind that “hangout" interviews may not be suitable for everyone.
Discuss how best you can accommodate their needs with each candidate, and be prepared to tailor your interviewing process accordingly.
Implementing a suitable onboarding process is necessary for all new hires, particularly for neurodivergent staff.
Rather than searching for gaps or weaknesses, appreciative inquiry lets you consider what people do well. Then find ways to apply these strengths to other parts of their job.
Explore the full range of people's abilities. – both existing members of your team and potential new hires. And don't let someone's neurodiversity blind you to the unique skills and qualities they bring to the table.
Organize frequent catch-ups to learn an individual's aptitude. That way, you can review what's working and what isn't and make any adjustments. Praise can also be powerful for the employees who may have low self-esteem from negative experiences at work.
Once you have the right mix on your team, you should play to these strengths. Neurodivergent team members may find parts of their role trickier or easier than their colleagues. To allow everyone to perform to their strengths, be flexible with roles.
Support the development of an open culture where people feel accepted and can be their authentic selves.
You can champion neurodiversity by sending your staff and future talent a positive message. Be a visible part of your organization's programs on inclusivity.
You don’t necessarily need to be an expert to establish a positive and productive work environment. Be creative about it. Make an effort to engage and train staff on the process.
Using visualization tools is always a good idea.
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