Empowering Neurodiverse Talent For Business Success
When people from different backgrounds collaborate, they bring creativity, efficiency, and productivity. Advocates for workplace diversity have emphasized this for years.
Companies are increasingly recognizing the business value of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). They are also quickly discovering that DE&I goes beyond representing various races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations. Neurodiversity is an important aspect of DE&I, and offering assistive technology is a small change toward a bigger impact. Digital tools can help to level the playing field for neurodivergent talent.
Around 1 in 5 people has a neurological difference, such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or dyslexia. The majority (61%) have experienced stigma in the workplace. This is largely due to neurodiversity being misunderstood. It is not surprising, then, that 76% do not fully disclose their neurodiversity at work. Improving the experiences of neurodivergent employees benefits both the individuals and the business.
Maximizing Employee Potential
Neurodivergent people bring many unique skills to any business, especially when empowered with the right tools. In fact, people with dyslexia possess strengths that align with the “Skills of the future”. These include visualization, creativity, cognitive flexibility, logical reasoning, and complex problem-solving.
For years, companies have been empowering their workforces with digital tools that help them to work more effectively and efficiently. Employees expect it. Today, there is a next generation of digital tools powered by voice technologies and artificial intelligence. These tools can support neurodivergent employees and help them to work to their strengths.
Specialized software, tailored to different thinking and learning styles, can enhance productivity and confidence. Features like audio assistance, dictation, reduced page clutter, font adjustments, and word definitions contribute to a supportive work environment.
Offering assistive tools to all employees without the need for disclosure can also help raise awareness and understanding of neurodiversity.
Our recent survey into the experience of neurodivergent workers found that;
- 44% prefer not to discuss their neurodiversity at work because they worry it would negatively impact their careers
- 42% felt concerned that they would be viewed differently by managers or colleagues if they did
- 32% preferred not to share private information at work
- Nearly 20% were unsure how to raise the topic
- More than 10% said they did not know how to explain their condition(s)
By providing these tools to all employees, we remove the need for anyone to have to self-identify. We also demonstrate that we understand that there are different ways of thinking, understanding, and working. This can help towards creating a culture where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves.
Investing in assistive technology tools is a smart business move.
First, it shows commitment to DE&I which can help to attract potential employees. Our own research found that 93% of neurodivergent workers would be more likely to apply, or continue to work for, a company that was supporting neurodivergent employees well. Sixty-three percent of neurotypical workers felt the same.
Second, there is the financial benefit. It can lead to a noticeable increase in productivity and innovation. In fact, companies that champion disability and neurodiversity inclusion report 30% higher economic profit margins, 28% higher revenue, and double the net income.
Finally, it can lead to an improved business reputation. Companies that embrace inclusivity report improved recruitment efforts, lower rates of staff turnover, and brand enhancement.
When companies genuinely embrace DE&I, they benefit themselves, and their employees and consumers. It is about doing what is right for people and business, not just compliance.