Neurodiversity: An Innovative Solution to Broader Business Challenges
In the post-pandemic employment ecosystem, more employers have become aware that their organizations are not flexible and empathetic enough to positively impact talent attraction and retention. Neurodiversity can be a part of the solution to this problem – not just in the obvious way, but in a broader, more inclusive way as well. The business case for neurodiversity not only rests on bringing neurodiverse talent into the organization to enhance workforce capabilities and innovation directly. Neurodiverse enterprises – with neuroinclusive cultures – also retain employees at higher rates than their less inclusive competitors. But what is the reason for this increased retention? Does embracing neurodiversity improve retention only for the neurodistinct, or does retention improve for all employees? This article will answer these questions and more.
Neurodiversity Impacts Everyone
While a vital contributor to an organization’s talent pool, neuroinclusion doesn’t boost retention numbers because neurodistinct people are inherently more loyal. Instead, neuroinclusive best practices foster company cultures that are attractive to all employees. Your employees want to work where they can be authentic without fear of discrimination. They want to be understood and accepted individually rather than feeling like a cog in a machine. They want to work where senior leaders share their values. They want to work where empathy and flexibility are defaults. Neuroinclusive best practices potently deliver these results. While neuroinclusive strategies are designed to address neurodistinct use-cases, enterprises that embrace neurodiversity find that these strategies improve employee retention across the board. Unintended byproducts like this are part and parcel of universal design and neuroinclusion. For example, just as curb cuts were designed for wheelchair users but also happen to benefit parents pushing strollers, neuroinclusion eliminates workplace barriers for neurodistinct use cases and also makes the workplace more palatable for neurotypicals.
Fighting the New Talent Wars
According to Bank of America’s 2023 “Neurodiversity in the Workplace” report, “workforce neurodiversity initiatives are rising in prominence due to their positive impact on employee retention, the second front of the ‘war for talent’ among neurodivergent individuals.” Industry-leading, ground-breaking corporates investing in authentic neuroinclusion have only begun doing so during the last decade. At the same time, the majority of companies have not even gotten started. And those that don’t start embracing neurodiversity will experience a growing disadvantage. Already, early signals of a forthcoming neurodiverse talent war have begun to emerge. Many valuable neurodistinct applicants will not accept a position at a company whose hiring processes are not neuroinclusive and who do not signal an authentic embrace of neurodiversity. Furthermore, as the neurodiversity at work movement gains steam, a tipping point will come where, if your enterprise doesn’t embrace neurodiversity, the 20% of your workforce that is neurodistinct will take their talents elsewhere. And talent retention overall will take a hit.
Don’t Wait – Join the Movement Now
Are companies ready? Suppose decision-makers at your enterprise don’t see the benefits of neurodiversity. Then how can they fully understand the business case for embracing neurodiversity? And how can they know where to start? If your enterprise has yet to take its first steps towards embracing neurodiversity, doing so now is critical to the future success of your business. The following suggestions are starting points to consider:
Establish processes and solutions to support, and promote the hiring and retention of, neurodistinct talent:
- Hire a neurodistinct advisory committee to steer your neurodiversity agenda
- Launch a neurodiversity employee resource group
- Embracing neuroinclusive hiring best practices, such as
- Writing neuroinclusive job descriptions
- Providing a regular cadence of check-ins and feedback during onboarding and transitions to new roles
- Ensuring that team meetings are neuroinclusive
Develop a unique sourcing channel for attracting, engaging and hiring neurodistinct talent. For example:
- Find external platforms or jobsites designed for neurodistinct talent
- Leverage direct sourcing to successfully engage neurodiverse talent
- Embrace the growing ecosystem of innovative, tech-driven neurodiversity solutions that enables the attraction and engagement of neurodiverse talent