The conversation around neurodiversity in the workplace is changing and employers are at last starting to realise the benefits of hiring employees who work towards their goals in different ways from the perceived ‘norm’.
In this blog we’re going to examine what neurodiversity is, and the benefits that employers are already seeing as they adopt new ways of acquiring and using talent in their companies.
What Is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term covering the differences in the way that people consume and process information. Just like other forms of diversity, such as cultural, religious and sexual diversity, neurodivergent workers are becoming more prevalent in the conversation of how all forms of diversity can benefit your workplace.
What does it mean to be neurodivergent?
Neurodivergent people are people who process information in a different way to what has up until now been deemed “normal”. These thought processes can range from interpreting information to problem solving.
An example of a neurodivergent person may be someone with ADHD who may need instructions explained in a matter-of-fact way without nuance, which may otherwise lead to over-interpretation.
The benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace
Neurodiversity allows a workplace to benefit from different schools of thought, as well as different ways of problem-solving and a more versatile work environment. For example, a team full of people without a particular affinity for visual or creative thinking may benefit from a member who has that ability.
How inclusion benefits neurodivergent workers
On top of encouraging neurodivergent workers to be part of a workforce in a meaningful way, a company that fosters a more inclusive atmosphere will work wonders on a neurodivergent employee's mental health.
A greater level of understanding and comfort for employees with conditions - such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia - will allow them to work more productively. This will in turn allow the company to reap the benefits of their particular ways of working, leading to higher employee retention rates and improved satisfaction for the entire team.
Creating neurodiversity in the workplace
Fostering neurodiversity is a process that many employers are now starting during the hiring process. Companies are casting a wider net and actively looking for those who may be able to meet their goals in ways that they may not have previously considered.
In doing so, it’s important that employers, while privy to the benefits of neurodiversity, remain sensitive to all employees support needs so that unchecked biases are removed.
Supporting neurodiversity in the workplace going forward
So with neurodivergent individuals as part of the workforce, how do employers make sure that they feel comfortable and avoid any competitive disadvantages those individuals might experience?
One way would be to offer a mentor and changing company policies that may be disadvantageous to non-neurodiverse employees. For instance, fostering flexibility in work hours may help neurodivergent employees. Or even all employees!
As employers start to realise the importance of inclusivity, those who begin to foster a workplace that allows neurodivergent employees to flourish will only benefit from their insights and creative ways of thinking.
Companies who ignore the benefits of widening their net and those who stick to one single school of thought will not have the versatility in the future to adapt to possible changes in their industry.
If you are a neurodiverse accounting professional who wants to work in the industry, then have a look at our job listings and careers advice on our website.