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5 Ways to Support Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Diverse companies tend to financially outperform other companies while serving as a critical differentiator for top talent. Additionally, 76 percent of job seekers and employees state that a diverse workforce is an essential factor when determining whether to work at an organization. Further, 32 percent of workers would not apply for a job if the company’s workforce is not diverse. 

With Gen Z as the most diverse generation to ever enter the U.S. workforce, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) will continue to serve as a critical metric for recruiters and employers – both in hiring and in the workplace. 

But, when we measure DEIB, are we considering all diversity? To be truly diverse, we also must support neurodiversity in the workplace.

1. Adjust Your Hiring Practices

To support neurodiversity in the workplace, employers must adjust their hiring practices.  From using more inclusive language in your job descriptions to revising your screening processes, you may need to adjust your internal processes, keeping neurodiverse employees in mind. 

Secondly, consider casting a wider net for talent when adjusting your hiring practices.  If you solely focus on college recruiting or employee referrals, you may not attract many neurodiverse candidates. Here’s a fix:  Add to your recruiting mix educational institutions focused on neurodivergent students, allowing you to access more diverse talents, skill sets, and backgrounds.

2. Create Individualized Career Journeys

Employers should create individualized or tailored career journeys for all employees, including neurodiverse workers. According to Deloitte, “offering curated, personalized work experiences” helps workers contribute to the workplace and grow in their position while helping the organization grow. 

Success at work does not look the same for all employees. Some employees like to work alone with flexibility, while others prefer teamwork and more rigid schedules. Some employees work better with limited to no noise, while others prefer the hum of the office.

Stay engaged with your employees to understand what success means to them.  The more you know, the better you can support all employees along their career journeys.

3. Provide Learning and Development Opportunities

Another way to support neurodiversity in the workplace, ensure that your learning and development (L&D) opportunities appeal to all employees – both neurotypical and neurodiverse. 

For many neurodiverse workers, employers don’t know these employees are neurodiverse unless they’re told. So, how can employers and trainers ensure that their L&D programs appeal to all?  Here are some suggestions from Training Industry, Inc.:

  • Ask your employees about their preferred methods of communication 
  • Offer longer periods of time to complete learning modules
  • Focus on soft skill development
  • Keep lines of employee communication open 
  • Provide coaching or one-on-one help

4. Encourage Mentorship

Encouraging mentorship – informally or formally – can also support neurodiversity in the workplace. For neurodivergent workers, mentorship is particularly important, for both the employee and the organization.

For the organization, providing mentorship to disabled employees (including those who are neurodiverse) increases: 

  • Productivity by 18 percent,
  • Profitability by 16 percent, and
  • Customer loyalty by 12 percent.

For the neurodivergent employee, mentors can provide guidance and support for day-to-day job functions, how to advance within the organization, and how to build healthy work relationships. Additionally, mentors can advocate for these workers, helping to create other “professional allies” across the company.

Additionally, encourage neurodivergent employees who are more senior in their role to mentor other employees. This not only shows your company’s commitment to diversity, it also helps employees connect with others, achieving a sense of belonging.

5. Engage with the Local Community

A fifth way to support neurodiversity in the workplace is to engage with your local community. Community groups, including non-profits, vocational rehab centers, and educational institutions, can help organizations attract and retain neurodiverse talent.  

Additionally, these local connections can help provide advice, resources, and services to you and your team, helping you to continue supporting neurodiverse workers. 

Now more than ever is the time for your organization to focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. When supporting your employees – both neurodivergent and neurotypical – be sure to equip yourself with the tools and resources to encourage your workforce’s diverse skills and thoughts.  See how Cangrade can support your DEIB efforts.  Find out more today.