Neurodiversity and the Future of Work: Shaping Tomorrow's Workplace

Today, workplaces are changing fast. One big change is how we understand and value neurodiversity. Neurodiversity means the different ways people's brains work and think. People who are neurodivergent, like those with autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, think differently, and bring many unique talents to the table. This can be a big advantage at work.

As HR and DEI leaders, we have a big role in the changing landscape, and how neurodiversity is perceived.

Here's why neurodiversity matters and how it shapes the future workplace.

Why neurodiversity matters

Neurodiversity in the workplace isn't just about inclusion, it's about unlocking potential. People with neurodivergent conditions like ADHD or autism often process information differently, leading to remarkable strengths in creativity and problem-solving. They may bring unique perspectives to the table, challenging assumptions and sparking new ideas that might otherwise be missed. By embracing neurodiversity, businesses can cultivate a culture of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, giving them a competitive edge in today's ever-changing world.

Here are just three benefits of championing neuroinclusion in the workplace can bring:

  1. Different skills and ideas: Many neurodivergent people have unique skills. For example, some autistic people have amazing attention to detail. People with dyslexia can be really creative problem solvers. Bringing these skills into a team can lead to new ideas and better solutions.
  2. Better for business: Companies that welcome neurodivergent employees do better. A report by Harvard Business Review showed that these companies are more innovative and perform better. In the report, companies say they are already seeing a pay off in ways far beyond reputational enhancement. Those ways include productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovative capabilities, and broad increases in employee engagement.
  3. More inclusive workplace: When we support neurodivergent employees, we create a workplace where everyone feels welcome. 81% of employees who believe their company culture is inclusive are happy in their job. This brings with it high levels of employee engagement which in turn improves business results and performance.

How to support neurodiverse employees

A recent statistic, says that 75% of organisations thought they were offering support to their neurodivergent employees, yet 64% of neurodivergent employees thought that their organisations could be doing more.

Another statistic from research by Randstad reinforces that organisations should be doing more: 66% of HR professionals feel they are meeting the needs of people with dyslexia in their workforce, only 16% of dyslexics feel supported in the workplace.

We can all do more to ensure the needs of our neurodivergent colleagues are being met. Here are just a few ideas:

Inclusive hiring processes

Standard job interviews can be challenging for neurodivergent people. At Texthelp, we offer support right from the application stage.

We give applicants the opportunity to use our literacy tools to help them submit an application. We also recognise that spelling and grammar errors on CVs aren’t a big deal for many of our roles, and we’re really mindful of the language that we use in our job descriptions. Interviews can be daunting so we also offer every candidate adjustments and accommodations to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be their best self when they meet us.

You can read more about inclusive hiring processes in our Inclusive Recruitment Guide.

Flexible work environment

Small changes in the workplace can make a big difference.

When a new colleague starts at Texthelp, we have lots of tools available to help support people with neurodiversities so there is no need to self identify to get access to any tools.

I would also say to other organisations, take a look at your space in the office. Are there quiet spaces, as well as collaborative spaces? Are you giving people the choice to work where they’re comfortable?

Training and awareness

Teach staff about neurodiversity. This helps everyone understand and support their neurodivergent colleagues.

At Texthelp, we work with some of the most established, well-respected neurodiversity companies for different training programmes for our employees. They really help us to break down neurodiversity into practical approaches and tools for our leaders. These partners provide us with a best practice edge that keeps us in touch with the latest science and research. We build neurodiversity into all regular training sessions so that it becomes more of a part of how we do business, rather than a standalone topic which we touch on occasionally. For us, it’s so much more than just a box tick exercise.

The Future Workplace

Looking ahead, to really thrive and be leaders in business, organisations will have to embrace different thinking even more than they already are. Technology is changing fast, and we need creative solutions to new problems. Neurodivergent people can help with this.

In addition, employees and customers now care more about inclusion. They want to work for and buy from companies that respect all kinds of people. Potential applicants now research organisations and actively seek out their DE&I statements and policies to ensure they’re applying to an organisation that aligns with their own views.

It's not just about hiring people with neurodiversities. It's about creating a place where everyone can do their best work… This is how we build the workplace of the future.

Guide: Inclusion in the Workplace

If you would like to explore more on inclusive workplaces, you can visit our Inclusive Workplaces Guide. Here you will find lots more information about inclusive recruitment and onboarding, inclusive organisational culture, universal design for work, and the role of Employee Resource Groups.