Hiring managers have dismissed people with neurodiversity as bad culture fits for jobs for years. But what if they were not only the right fit but an even better employee than neurotypical people?
Here are some ways to build neurodiversity in the workplace.
Benefits of Neurodiverse Staff
Individuals with neurodiversity have intellectual and developmental disabilities, like ADHD, autism, and Down syndrome. While people with neurodiversity have been routinely passed over for jobs because they might not have the right social cues, they often have above-average skill sets at analysis, information processing, and overall performance.
Not only can a neurodiverse staff increase productivity and provide innovative solutions, but you as an employer have the opportunity to help adults with I/DD transition into the community.
Reframe Hiring Practices
Hiring managers will need to reassess their ideas of a good job candidate, and it can be helpful to reframe the interview process:
- Focus on their skills and review past work samples.
- You shouldn’t allow a lack of social norms, like not making eye contact or fidgeting, to influence your decision.
- Ask direct questions and limit hypothetical or abstract questions.
- Sometimes, interviews might involve several people. Try to limit discussions to one-on-one whenever possible, even if it means scheduling several meetings.
Some individuals with neurodiversity have other needs, like being sensitive to noise or needing to move. To make the work environment comfortable, you’ll need to make accommodations, like providing noise-canceling headphones and flexible work schedules.
Normalize a Neurodiverse Staff
Every organization should employ a neurodiverse staff, but they don’t. If your organization chooses to do so, push the message not only within your company but also externally. You’ll create more opportunities for neurodiverse people! Promote the benefits of a neurodiverse staff, and you can increase opportunities in your community.
Creating a neurodiverse staff will take some time, but it’s essential to have patience and strive to make the accommodations necessary to embrace your new staff. There are so many ways to build neurodiversity in the workplace, and we’d all be better off if more organizations would undertake them.