The phrase ‘neurodiversity’ is believed to have been first coined by US journalist Harvey Blume, writing in The Atlantic in 1998, who went on to state that “Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will be best at any given moment?”
What is neurodiversity?
‘Neurodiversity’ refers to the natural range of differences in human brain function, and highlights how people naturally think differently from each other including those with dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and other neurological conditions.
For example, most people would be considered as being ‘neurotypical’, meaning that your brain processes information in a way that the rest of society expects.
What is neurodiversity at work?
For the majority of employers, neurodiversity represents a movement that seeks to embrace the talents of employees and candidates who think differently to people they would typically hire, and it’s something that can offer a wealth of benefits to companies willing to take the leap.
According to a recent report by the National Autistic Society, a mere 16% of autistic adults are in full-time work which counts as paid. With that being said, there is clearly a lot more employers can do to broaden the range of neurodiverse candidates and employees they’re working with,
Neurodiversity at work today
The hiring of neurodiverse workers was first brought to light in 2013 by ERP software giant SAP, with main competitor Microsoft following suit shortly afterwards.
Along with Microsoft and SAP, neurodiversity in hiring is now being taken seriously by a range of other major organisations including EY, Goldman Sacs, Auto Trader, BT, Ford and JP Morgan among others.
While not true for everyone, people on the autistic spectrum can often excel in areas where others do not, such as interpreting data, thinking logically and meticulously analysing datasets.
The subject of Neurodiversity at work has been growing in popularity for a number of reasons, including increasing diversity within your workforce and improving business performance.
Businesses who don’t currently have neurodiversity on their agenda may be unintentionally excluding a significant talent demographic from applying to positions within their organisation. Those organisations continuing to do so risk missing out on some of their potentially most promising talent.
Benefits of a neurodiverse workforce
There are numerous reports and studies that now show businesses who hire a neurodiverse workforce stand to reap a multitude of benefits.
Broader variety of strengths
A wider range of opinions within the business
Higher levels of innovation and creativity within teams
A more ethically responsible organisation
How do you make the workplace more neurodiverse?
If you are considering moving towards having a more neurodiverse workforce then implementing psychometric assessments can go a long way to helping you have a more neurodiverse workplace by helping you to eliminate human biases from the early stages of the recruitment process.
However, if you do decide to use psychometric assessments to increase neurodiversity then there are a few things to consider beforehand.
Assessing neurodiverse candidates
Some key points to consider:
Allow for open disclosure
Ensure you provide candidates ample opportunity to disclose any conditions they may have at any point during the recruitment process. Revealing your neurodiversity to other people can be incredibly daunting, so try to make this process as easy as possible for them.
Give the opportunity to perform
Give candidates multiple opportunities to demonstrate their ability and competency during the process, regardless of neurodiversity. This will allow you to reach a better and more informed decision about who you’re hiring.
Use objective assessments
Try to ensure the assessments you’re using are as objective as possible. This can be particularly important where candidates are neurodiverse but you don’t want assessors to make a preconceived judgement on their ability, based on what their condition is.
How you communicate throughout the entire recruitment process is vitally important to neurodiverse candidates (who may find this to be an additional barrier) and you should always be as transparent as possible.
Make reasonable adjustments
While there’s no set rule for what adjustments should be made for neurodiverse candidates, you should be open to making them in order to make your recruiting as accessible as possible.
If you’re interested in finding out more about neurodiversity, or are a neurodiverse candidate yourself, then our friends over at Genius Within provide some excellent in-work support services such as workplace assessments and coaching for neurodiverse individuals.
Please visit their website www.geniuswithin.co.uk for more information.
If you would like to know more about how Clevry assessments can improve your workplace diversity then please do get in touch and one of the team will be happy to answer any questions.