Neurodiverse are diamonds in the rough that gets underused or are completely missed because they shine too brightly among the coal.
One of the challenges that the Neurodiverse face, is that while many are highly educated with Masters, PHD’s and practical hands-on experience, due to external challenges such as the interview process, misunderstandings or company culture, they are excluded from many opportunities.
In comparison to the Neurotypical, the Neurodiverse have a mixed bag of superpowers that are continuously sought after in business. For instance, the following are skills you would find in ADHD, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Asperger’s and Autism:
- Intense focus
- Visual skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Multitasking / Task switching
- Practical hands-on skills
- Strategic & holistic thinkers
- Strong memory & observation skills
- Mathematical thinkers
(source: The Institute of Leadership & Management)
Many Businesses Welcome The Shine From the Neurodiverse
For the last few years in regions such as Germany, Denmark, North America and Australia, there has been an increase in demand for Neurodiversity programs in both business and government bodies. The peak of the demand derives from realizing that they are proficient in executing their expertise, as mentioned above. As a result, they are seeing an increase in productivity and innovation. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
How can your business start to welcome the diamonds in your business?
Create a new inclusive culture
There is a reason that Neurodiversity people feel that can not divulge their challenges and superpowers; that is because they are excluded by their peers and punished by their managers for their differences.
Businesses need to change this mindset and develop an environment of openness and respect for how people think and perform differently.
Train your managers and fellow team members
Those in leadership positions will need to become more aware and sensitive, create productivity strategies and communicate more effectively.
Managers will need to know what neurodiversity is, who falls under this category and what skills and tools they will need to direct their team members in their offices.
Leaders must learn to be respectable themselves and to ensure fellow employees are as well. It is important that all parties raise people to new levels and not disrespect their Neurodiverse colleagues.
Allow for and supply reasonable accommodations
What are reasonable accommodations? Depending on their needs, as this will differ from person to person, accommodations are tools or special arrangements that aid that person to function productively.
For example, for dyslexics, it could be a program or screen for the monitor that will allow them to read more effectively, while for an autistic co-worker, it could be noise-cancelling headphones. In either case, this allows them to perform and fulfil their duties in the job.
Develop more diverse ways to conduct the interview process
One of the many challenges for Neurodiverse people, in particular for those with Autism, is getting through the door; this is due to how recruiting is currently practised.
To start, we base too much on presentation and personality; social cues can be very challenging for Autistic people, depending on what level of the spectrum they are on. In such cases, an individual shouldn’t be judged on how well than can hold a good conversation but assessed on how well they can do the job.
For other Neurodiverse people, presentation is not an issue; it may be what happens on the job and how they perform. In this situation, those with ADHD or Dyspraxia, for example, should be encouraged to be open and to express this in the interview process without fear of being automatically disqualified for fear of being seen as a problem or not a good fit for the team.
What is a good fit? A good fit is how a business adapts to allow for highly qualified people so they can get a competitive edge in their company.
When you change your corporate environment and cater to the skills you require, you allow for more ‘out the box’ thinking which in turn produces a growing business.