Neurodiverse individuals often possess skills that are highly desirable, yet difficult to find, especially when it comes to areas like technology, math and science. For example, people with autism are sometimes skilled in analytics, pattern recognition, information processing, and are great at working with numbers and formulas. Many businesses desperately need these skills, but have trouble finding qualified candidates because they are overlooking the untapped resources that neurodiverse people have to offer.
Those who are neurodivergent tend to work well in predictable, steady environments and are extremely determined individuals along with loyal employees. They often prefer to remain with the same organization so companies can count on them as reliable assets rather than flaky employees who may jump at the next opportunity that approaches them.
Another significant benefit of hiring neurodiverse people is that they often think about challenges differently and can be great at using logical, straightforward thinking, which expedites the problem-solving process and increases overall productivity.
Forming a team that includes neurodivergent individuals creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem at work all while helping managers and bosses to become better leaders. If a boss can communicate with and lead someone with cognitive differences then they will be better equipped to work effectively with anyone.
Other employees will benefit as well because they will have the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and create relationships with those who may think and approach things differently. When we are able to spend time with those we perceive as “different” we begin to realize we are much more alike than we are different. This cultivates an open-minded, accepting culture that companies far and wide are striving to create.
Just because an individual may be neurodiverse, it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of front-office roles. Many neurodiverse people actually thrive in these types of settings. For example, Shattuck shares his experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Philadelphia where he was greeted by a helpful, friendly employee with autism who effectively directed him on what steps to take next. Shattuck recalls, “He was amazing. It was actually good for me to see that because I suffer from my own stereotypes and biases, and I need to be challenged on those as well.”
Hiring neurodiverse individuals is a win-win-win situation. It provides those on the spectrum with the opportunity to pursue a career and positively impact their community while creating inclusive workplaces and providing managers and other employees the chance to work with a diverse range of people resulting in personal and professional growth.
While hiring neurodiverse people is highly beneficial, neurodiversity programs are a very important part of this process because they educate employees, including management and HR recruiters, about the importance of working with neurodiverse individuals and how to most effectively conduct the hiring process along with how to create an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive together.
IBCCES currently offers a Certified Neurodiverse Workplace program geared towards the general workforce as well as leadership and management to help build an inclusive and productive work environment.