Want to be an innovative company? Think neurodiversity.
From an article by Wellbeing Pulse - the blog of the Bank Workers Charity
About one in seven of us has a condition that causes us to think differently – it’s called neurodiversity. What does it mean and how can organisations make the most of neurodiverse employees?
Our personal qualities each sit on a spectrum, and we describe people who are at the extremes of certain ways of thinking as neurodiverse. Neurodiverse people are identified by their different ways of thinking, and this relatively new term covers conditions like autism, dyslexia, attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD), and dyspraxia.
Neurodiverse conditions were once seen as medical conditions to be mitigated or cured, but we’re now aware that they represent natural forms of the diversity of human thought and behaviour. A CIPD report into neurodiversity at work says it best: “For too long, neurodiversity has been poorly understood, stereotyped, and even ignored – thinking styles such as dyslexia or autism have been characterised only by deficits.”
And although some managers might think they don’t have anyone in their organisation who is neurodivergent, they’re probably wrong. About one in seven of us – over 15% of people in the UK – are neurodivergent. Plenty of people are neurodivergent without even knowing it. Some get diagnoses when they’re young, others as adults, and others will go through their whole careers, or indeed their lives, having never received a diagnosis.
But despite how widespread neurodiverse conditions are, in 2018 a CIPD poll showed that just 10% of HR professionals in the UK were considering neurodiversity in their people management practices.
The business world is now recognising that a neurodiverse workforce is more creative, innovative and productive, and one in which people with a range of strengths, backgrounds and viewpoints contribute to success. However, the unique assets that the neurodiverse bring to work could be drowned out by neurotypical ways of recruiting, communicating and designing workplaces.
The statistics for neurodiversity in employment are stark, with the National Autistic Society reporting that only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time employment, yet 77% of unemployed autistic people say they want to work. Autistic adults often have extraordinary cognitive abilities, yet many find it difficult to secure or maintain mainstream employment.
And Airwave, a large public safety operator, saw benefits for the whole workforce when they ran an intern recruitment programme with a local college for young people with disabilities and additional needs. The three interns hired in the first wave of the programme exceeded performance expectations, and their placement resulted in an increase in positivity and motivation in the teams they were part of. The company has seen its value of inclusivity embedded into the way they do business, and has plans to continue the internship programme.
So how can you ensure neurodiverse people are comfortable in your workplace?
Make disclosure comfortable
Train leaders, managers and HR
Open up adjustments.
Read full article here.
See also the article on this site - How diversity makes us smarter
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