March 01, 2023
A sharp rise in diagnoses of neurodiversity among adults means many more workers, including senior leaders, will need to consider the potential impact on their jobs – and their bosses may have to adapt.
A report by Deloitte last year argued that neurodiversity can add “valuable ways of thinking and problem-solving”, though data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in the year to June 2021 only 29 per cent of UK adults with autism were employed.
The charity, Neurodiversity in Business (NiB), recommends that changes need to be made within the workplace by tailor jobs to individuals’ skills and interests, providing mentoring programmes and implementing different methods of communicating.
There has been a growing awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace, but there is still stigma attached to being neurodivergent. Many candidates remain anxious about revealing a diagnosis over fears it may harm their career.
The responsibility falls on us, as business leaders across all industries, to help break down this barrier and aid inclusivity and diversity in our places of work.
There are many benefits to revealing neurodiversity within the workplace, include:
- Improved understanding and empathy: Having open and honest conversations among colleagues can help foster understanding and empathy, creating a culture of acceptance and inclusivity, which can benefit everyone in the workplace
- Increased creativity and innovation: When colleagues feel comfortable sharing their ideas and contributing to the workplace, it can lead to increased creativity and innovation.
- Enhanced problem-solving: Neurodivergent employees often have different ways of looking at problems, which can lead to more effective and efficient problem-solving. By acknowledging and embracing neurodiversity, workplaces can tap into the potential of their employees.
- Improved productivity: When colleagues feel comfortable and supported, they’re more likely to be productive, but it’s crucial that businesses accommodate the needs of neurodivergent individuals and create an inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued and supported.
- Access to a wider talent pool: Embracing neurodiversity gives access to a wider pool of talent. Neurodiverse employees have unique skills and perspectives that can be valuable to any business.
Diversity and Inclusion continues to be a guiding factor for businesses, with the recent CBI/Pertemps Employment Trends Survey saying that 29 per cent of businesses have taken steps to embed strategies on these issues to help widen talent pools, with 8 per cent still considering taking this approach.
We need to ensure that we provide tailored accommodation to all our neurodiverse employees through flexible work schedules, assistive technology and by offering training and resources to help all employees better understand neurodiversity and learn how they can support their neurodiverse colleagues.