The benefits of a Neurodiverse Workforce by Monique Craine
Posted by: Amanda
May 15, 2016
If you have one or more of the following neurodiverse differences, you are the kind of person I will be looking to hire for my workforce. So, if one day you apply to join my staff I will want you to tell me how your neurodiverse nature affects you. I will want to know how your particular qualities benefit you and what they could bring to my workforce.
I understand that many people with these diagnoses feel uneasy about talking about their differences at interviews so, to break the ice and let you know there are employers like me out there I want to tell you how I see it from my perspective.
Why Do I Want To Hire Neurodiverse People?
Some employers might worry about what that would mean to their workforce. I don’t, I actually want to find neurodiverse staff to work with me when I start hiring people and this is why.I believe the most desirable quality in a workforce is that of diversity, and in particular – neurodiversity. All eco-systems need diversity to flourish and a workplace can be just like any other living, breathing organism when seen as a whole. The more diversity within it, the more it will grow!
Diversity Is Desirable To Me
There are many qualities I desire in my staff that neurodiverse thinkers offer in abundance. If presented with an applicant who discloses one of the above conditions I would be keen to find out which other overlapping or co-occurring qualities they also have because I want to see them achieve their full potential as an employee. I also want to make sure that I’ve put them in the best environment for them. This way they shouldn’t be presented with barriers to achieving that personal success.
What Do The ‘Labels’ Mean To Me?
I am, like most people, a little prejudiced in my views towards certain labels. What I mean by this is that my views about what labels mean are biased by my upbringing and personal life experiences. So please be aware that not everyone will view the labels in the way I do, but then they have not lived my life or walked in my shoes so I wouldn’t expect them to.The following views are the subjective views of a future employer about what the individual labels mean:
This person is probably able to work independently, they will be precise, like to follow routines and procedures, they will most likely be able to focus 100% on one task at a time and not settle till it’s perfect. They will probably not join in the office gossip or get embroiled in office politics.They will not waste time at work trying to fit in socially so I won’t be wasting money paying them while they sit there talking about the weather and popular TV shows instead of working. Best of all, they are NOT yes men, which means that when asked for their opinion they will tell you the truth as they see it.The qualities displayed by people with Autism are consistent with qualities needed for inventors. I want people with creative vision in my workplace and that’s why I feel that people with Autism are a most valuable resource to the employment market!
This person will probably have a mind that is constantly on the go and is able to analyse multiple thoughts at a time. As a result they will most likely notice things that others would not. They will probably not be afraid to take on new challenges, so long as they are given interesting avenues to pursue. They usually have a strongly developed kinaesthetic sense, so will most likely be willing to do energetic things and will often have high pain thresholds so they probably won’t even mind being on their feet all day. In fact, I would expect them to have excellent endurance, not just in their physical attributes but also in their mental capacities. When people with AD(H)D take on a project, they are capable of really taking it on, taking it home with them and thinking about the project in ways that others might miss.The qualities displayed by people with AD(H)D are consistent with qualities needed for achievers, activists and fighters. I want people with these kind of passions and strengths in my workplace and that’s why I feel that people with AD(H)D are also a true asset to any workforce!
I would expect someone with dyslexia to be an ‘out of the box’ thinker. Most likely they will have an amazing visual memory, be creative and quite often be great at expressing themselves, be it through art, dance, photography, music, acting or sports. The benefits to having dyslexic staff are too many to list and I am not the only employer actively seeking people with these skills. Other businesses are now realising the benefits of employing people with dyslexia. Apparently their excellent spatial awareness, their creative potential and their ‘entrepreneurial’ minds are no longer the best kept secret in the employment market.The qualities displayed by people with dyslexia are consistent with qualities needed for creative exploration and expression, qualities that are so valued to the business world. I want people with this kind of creativity in my workplace and that’s why I feel that people with dyslexic qualities are also a true asset to any workforce!
I would expect people with dyspraxia to be the strategists of the group, the thinkers that not only think outside of the box but who wouldn’t even be able to find it if you sent them looking for it! Their brains are often wired so differently that they will have had to find so many solutions for overcoming barriers that finding solutions to problems for them is an everyday thing which many even manage on a subconscious level. People with dyspraxia tend to have a sense of persistence and determination to succeed which is unmatched by most people.The qualities displayed by people with dyspraxia are consistent with qualities needed for great strategists, they can break even simple tasks down into steps and chunks that anyone can follow. I want people with these kind of abilities in my workplace and that’s why I feel that people with dyspraxia are also a true asset to any workforce!
Obviously I would not want to discriminate against neurotypical thinkers. I would want to ensure I gave them ample opportunity to shine too. There are many things that neurotypical people find easy that those of us who are more diverse thinkers struggle with so I certainly see the benefit in hiring them to. But for any employment sector to truly flourish it is diversity that makes them great.
The Truth About The Neurodiverse Workforce
Many people with these diagnosed differences know their own limitations and often put strategies in themselves to compensate for difficulties. Any changes required to the workplace to enable neurodiverse thinkers to flourish in the work environment are usually minor and shouldn’t deter other employers from seeing the great benefit that hiring neurodiverse thinkers brings to their workforce.Neurodiversity is the greatest untapped resource on earth. Share this to help others see the immense benefit that your diversity can bring!
So Would I Really Be Better Off Hiring Neurodiverse Staff?
A neurodiverse workforce can lead to innovation and progress in the business world which to me is a WIN for business…… but in the most unlikely event of a Zombie Apocalypse I would have surrounded myself with a workforce of fighters, inventors, strategists and creative visionaries, to fight on my side.Definitely a Win – Win for me!