Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are respected like any other human variation and includes those who have labels such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autistic spectrum disorder, dyscalculia and others.
The study found that, just like other types of diversity, neurodiversity contributes to making a workplace great. This is positive for employers of the future, as societies are discovering just how many fit under this banner. For instance at least 10% of the UK population is dyslexic, 5 -10% are thought to fit the profile of ADHD, around 5% are dyspraxic and approximately 4% are on the autistic spectrum.
Companies such as Microsoft have realised this fact. They target recruitment drives towards adults on the autistic spectrum and have lengthened their interview process to last a week. This allows potential employees to show what they can do outside the rigors and stresses of a conventional job interview – a particular issue for autistic candidates. Microsoft want to benefit from the out-of-the box thinking styles, problem solving, attention to detail and tenacity displayed by autistic thinkers. GCHQ – the UK spy headquarters in Cheltenham, have chosen to recruit dyslexics in order to benefit from their well-documented pattern recognition skills. Both have created a supportive work environment that allows employees to give of their best. Both organisations have done so because they realise that neurodiverse individuals think differently and they want to profit from that difference.
So if your organisation relies of coming up with innovative ideas and not taking things at face value in order to keep ahead of the competition, then it will pay for you to have diversity in your teams. Indeed some of the great thinkers in history, such as code breaker Alan Turing, Albert Einstein and Mozart fitted the profiles of neurodiverse thinkers and could be labelled as such if they were still around for psychological analysis today.
If you are interested in your organisation benefitting from such talent, here is what to do…
Think out of the box yourself and contact a neurodiversity specialist to find out the simple changes you can make to your work protocols and practices that will allow you to benefit from the mass of neurodiverse talent that is out there. Don’t wait until your competitors do!
Jan Halfpenny is a neurodiversity consultant specialising in the workplace. Contact Jan for more information.