When your company prepares to hire new employees, you want to make sure you bring in the most talented people to help your business grow. Creating neurodiverse teams is a great way to foster inclusive workplace communities that value all minds and individuals.
Your company should also commit to helping all your employees succeed throughout their careers, giving everyone the tools and resources to thrive. All workplaces and communities should welcome neurodiversity, recognizing everyone’s strengths while supporting their needs.
Table of Contents
- What Is Neurodiversity and Neurodiverse Talent?
- How Do I Recruit Neurodiverse Talent?
- How to Promote Neurodiversity in the Workplace
- How to Retain Neurodiverse Talent
What Is Neurodiversity and Neurodiverse Talent?
Neurodiversity is the idea that everyone naturally experiences and interacts with the world in different ways. These unique perspectives should be valued and celebrated in workplaces, relationships and beyond. Rather than adhering to one “correct,” “normal” or “healthy” way of thinking, the concept of neurodiversity encourages communities to celebrate people with different ways of learning and behaving.
While the term neurodiversity includes all people, it brings particular awareness to people with neurological or developmental differences such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Neurodiverse job candidates can benefit your company, as teams with members who think differently are stronger than groups of people who all have the same knowledge, backgrounds and thought processes. In particular, neurodiverse people often excel at attention to detail and pattern recognition and can bring creativity and technical skills.
The push for neurodiversity in the workplace stems from the need for awareness and empowerment for all people in all facets of life. People of all abilities and ways of thinking can be assets to your team, as everyone brings different and vital talents to the table.
Often, however, workplaces can be unwelcoming environments for neurodiverse people. Social stigmas, lack of awareness and lack of appropriate resources can all exclude people from essential experiences and opportunities.
How Do I Recruit Neurodiverse Talent?
Inclusive companies need to rethink their hiring practices to cultivate safe and supportive spaces for neurodiverse applicants. Many traditional job application and interview processes don’t allow people with disabilities to best showcase their work experience, skills and personalities.
Creating a more welcoming recruiting process benefits all who apply to work at your company and gives a first look at how you’ll provide the tools, attention and respect people need to build a successful professional life.
Some inclusive neurodiversity recruitment measures include:
- Customizable job requirements: In your job postings, rewrite or reformat traditional job descriptions to make them more understandable and appealing to certain skill sets. Save room for more customization down the line so you can cater to an exact candidate’s needs.
- Welcoming interview options: Many traditional interview processes aren’t ideal for neurodiverse applicants to show their skills, personalities and experiences. Offering various interview options — such as written, phone and in-person meetings — lets people choose what they’re most comfortable with. In addition, be patient with candidates, as interviews are often stressful and not accurate markers of how team members would perform on the job.
- Streamlined onboarding: Make the new hire process as straightforward as possible with welcoming, easy-to-follow orientations. Explain all job requirements and benefits clearly and succinctly, and offer verbal and written instructions for getting acquainted with office policies.
How to Promote Neurodiversity in the Workplace
When neurodiverse companies focus hiring initiatives on diversity and inclusion, they should understand the significance of equity and inclusion.
Equity is acknowledging each person’s differences and giving them resources based on their individual needs so everyone can reach an equal outcome, even when they come from different starting points. Inclusion means making all people and groups feel welcome, supported and appreciated by creating positive spaces and eliminating negative words and beliefs.
Make your workplace friendly, equitable and inclusive for neurodiverse people by implementing practices like:
- Sensory adjustments: Accommodate employees’ sensory needs by offering quiet break spaces, noise-canceling headphones, uniform modifications, movement breaks and flexible seating. While automatically providing certain accommodations shows initiative, you should also ask your employees what else they need from you to make their office experience conducive to their working and learning styles.
- Clear communication: Avoid sarcasm and other tones of voice that employees may misunderstand. Provide clear and concise verbal and written instructions for each task and notes from all meetings.
- Avoiding assumptions: Neurological differences often cause people to interpret things in various ways or accidentally overlook some details. When someone appears to break workplace rules, find out why they’re acting that way instead of assuming they’re doing so on purpose. Create a patient workplace that seeks to understand and work with different thought processes.
These baseline practices show your employees you value them as individuals, appreciate their contributions to the team and want to help them succeed.
How to Retain Neurodiverse Talent
Once you’ve welcomed neurodiverse employees into your workplace, prioritize creating an environment where they feel safe, seen and supported.
Some ways for you and your entire workplace to help neurodiverse team members succeed include:
- Using inclusive, nonjudgemental language: Always speak kindly about people, and do your best to avoid hurtful words or tones. Some people prefer person-first language to describe their neurodiversity, such as “a person with autism.” Other people will prefer identity-first language, such as “an autistic person.” Instead of making assumptions about how you should refer to people, ask each person about their preferences and how they’d like to be addressed and described.
- Actively Listening: Neurodiversity is not one-size-fits-all. Even when you have the best intentions, your company may fall short of giving employees the resources and support they need. Provide plenty of opportunities for neurodivergent people to express their needs. Listen to these team members and show you respect their perspectives by acting on ways to improve their work experiences.
- Creating a culture of accountability: Your company should always look for ways to better support neurodiverse talent. If you or anyone else produces ignorant or harmful words or actions, commit to apologizing and learning from your mistakes. Diversity and inclusion are ongoing efforts that take time and a continual willingness to change.
By educating yourself on the nuances of neurodiversity and committing to making your workplace a better space for everyone’s professional growth, you can create an environment where neurodiverse people will feel empowered to stay with your company.
About Technology Partners
Technology Partners is an award-winning, St. Louis-based company that provides business solutions through talent, technology, and leadership development. With over 27 years of experience, the company has partnered with hundreds of corporate clients across a range of industries nationwide. It is a certified Women Business Enterprise and was built upon a revolutionary transparent-margin business model. Technology Partners provides a competitive advantage for its clients while giving consultants higher salaries and career control.
Technology Partners Can Help You Staff Your Organization
A neurodiverse workplace begins with your dedication to creating change. If diversity and inclusion are important to your company values, opening your workplace to people with various talents should be your top priority. Follow through with your plans to build a more inclusive workplace by enlisting the services of Technology Partners.
For over 20 years, we’ve been a trusted technical staffing firm, helping Midwest organizations find the candidates they need. Boost your company’s productivity and cultivate successful, compatible teams made up of the best tech minds around.
Contact us today to see how we can help your company increase its diversity and empower all employees to contribute their skills and power their careers!