Harnessing the Power of Neurodiversity: How Employers Can Benefit

September 20, 2023

Harnessing the Power of Neurodiversity: How Employers Can Benefit

Neurodiversity refers to the natural variations in neurological functioning that exist across the human population. This includes conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and Tourette's syndrome, among many others. While traditionally seen as disabilities or disorders, these conditions are increasingly being recognised as simply different ways of thinking and processing information.

Research has shown that organisations, leadership and management who embrace neurodiversity enjoy a number of benefits, including:

  1. Increased Innovation: Neurodiverse individuals often have unique perspectives and ways of thinking that can lead to innovative ideas and approaches. According to a study by the National Autistic Society, 86% of neurodiverse individuals believe that their condition has given them a different perspective on the world, and 72% believe that it has helped them to come up with creative solutions to problems.
  2. Enhanced Productivity: Neurodiverse individuals can excel in tasks that require high levels of attention to detail, pattern recognition, and analytical thinking. According to research by the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation at the University of Sydney, neurodiverse individuals are often highly skilled in fields such as computer programming, engineering, and mathematics.
  3. Improved Employee Engagement and Retention: By creating a workplace that values neurodiversity, employers can help to boost employee engagement and retention. According to a study by the UK's National Institute of Economic and Social Research, neurodiverse individuals are more likely to stay in a job if they feel that their employer is supportive of their condition.
  4. Positive Economic Impact: According to research by Deloitte, increasing employment of neurodiverse individuals in the UK could add £158 billion to the economy over the next decade. This is due to the fact that neurodiverse individuals are often underemployed or unemployed, despite having valuable skills and talents to offer.

So, how can employers harness the power of neurodiversity? Here are a few strategies:

  1. Rethink Your Hiring Practices: Consider removing unnecessary barriers to entry for neurodiverse candidates, such as requirements for formal qualifications or social skills. Instead, focus on skills and experience, and consider alternative methods of assessing candidates, such as skills tests or work samples.
  2. Provide Supportive Work Environments: Make sure that your workplace is accessible and supportive for neurodiverse employees. This could include providing flexible working arrangements, offering training and support, and creating a culture of acceptance and inclusion.
  3. Foster Neurodiverse Leadership: Consider promoting neurodiverse individuals into leadership positions. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, neurodiverse leaders can bring unique skills and perspectives to the table, including a high tolerance for risk, a focus on detail, and an ability to see patterns and connections that others might miss.

By harnessing the power of neurodiversity, employers can create a workplace that values diversity and inclusion of all employees, while also driving success and growth. Benefits of embracing neurodiversity include increased innovation, enhanced productivity, improved employee engagement and retention, and overall positive economic impact both to your business and the wider economy. Looking for support on how you can further harness the power of neurodiverse candidates, employees and leadership pipeline? Get in touch.