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4 ways to support neurodiverse individuals in the workplace

Neurodiversity in the workplace
Neurodivergent employees are an incredible asset to workplaces. Here are tangible ways to celebrate an inclusive work environment.

What do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Simone Biles, Richard Branson, and Greta Thunberg have in common? In addition to being successful public figures, they are also all neurodivergent individuals.

In the workplace, unlocking the power of diversity and inclusion is no longer an option — it's the key to a thriving and innovative environment. While diversity takes many forms, neurodiversity is often overlooked. Neurodiversity encompasses the natural variation in human neurological traits, including conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and more.

Recognizing and valuing neurodiversity in the workplace can lead to a multitude of benefits, from unlocking untapped talent and creativity to enhancing problem-solving abilities and fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding.

Below, we’ll explore the significance of embracing neurodiversity in professional settings, and how your team can contribute to a more inclusive, productive, and compassionate work environment for all.

What is neurodiversity?

First, let’s define neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity spans the natural variation in human brains and the different ways people think, learn, and process information. The term was born out of a movement recognizing that individuals may have diverse neurological traits, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or learning differences, which should be accepted and valued in society. Instead of viewing these variations as disorders, neurodiversity celebrates them as unique strengths and perspectives. In essence, no brain is alike — and that’s a good thing!

In the workplace, recognizing the importance of such diversity is a first step towards creating a more just and equitable company culture and community at large.

Why is neurodiversity important in the workplace?

The importance of a neurodiverse workplace cannot be overstated, as it offers numerous benefits for both employees and employers alike. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies who partake in neurodiversity programs, such as equitable hiring practices and an inclusive company culture, have experienced a range of advantages.

The straightforward benefits include companies becoming "more successful at finding and hiring good and even great talent in tough-to-fill skill categories," and having built "teams that generated significant innovations,” reports HBR. Indeed, a 2023 Deloitte report shows that workplaces with neurodivergent professionals can be up to 30% more productive, thanks to their exceptional skills – such as visualization, attention to detail, pattern recognition, and creative thinking.

Meanwhile, the more subtle benefits include a boost in efficiency and engagement.

For instance, companies that accounted for autistic employees' difficulty with nuance, irony, and other fine points of language found that they "improved communication overall," reports Deloitte. While others who participated in neurodiversity programs saw higher morale and increased loyalty from neurotypical employees as a result of the perceived meaningfulness of their interactions with neurodiverse coworkers.

4 ways to support neurodiversity in the workplace

To help companies create a safe and supportive environment for neurodiverse individuals, which in turn will benefit the company, its employees, and the community, here are a few creative and practical ideas to employ in your workplace.

1. Adopt nontraditional assessment and training processes

The World Economic Forum estimates that 10-20% of the world's population is neurodiverse. That’s why embracing this uniquely skilled minority only strengthens a company’s talent pool.

Instead of relying solely on traditional interviews, companies can opt for a variety of alternatives to the usual question-and-answer format. For instance, "hangouts" or comfortable gatherings are one way neurodiverse candidates can showcase their abilities through casual interactions. Likewise, project-based tasks can allow candidates' capabilities to surface in ways a written exam may not be able to capture.

2. Establish an ecosystem of support

Establishing support systems for neurodiverse employees can include workplace buddies, job and life skills coaches from social partner organizations, and personal counselors. These systems help ensure that neurodiverse individuals can succeed in their roles, while involving the surrounding community — creating a true sense of belonging for all involved.

3. Provide opportunities for all employees to show up for the neurodiverse community

Intentionally carve out space and time for team members to come together to volunteer for or otherwise support organizations whose mission is to create equity for neurodiverse individuals.

For instance, teams can conduct mock interviews to provide guidance for neurodiverse jobseekers in their field. Additionally, employers or employee resource groups (ERGs) can host informative and practical workshops to address stigma and bias while establishing a culture of inclusion in the office.

4. Scale neurodiversity programs

Companies should aim to expand their neurodiversity programs.

One way to do this is by setting targets for increasing neurodiverse hires aligned with the percentage of the population they represent. Another is by incorporating volunteer or team building experiences that support the community throughout the week, month, or year, so that neurodiversity inclusion gets woven into a company’s ethos. By implementing these strategies, companies can tap into the potential of neurodiverse talent, unlocking a host of benefits for the employees, company, and society as a whole.

By creating an environment that accommodates and celebrates the needs and strengths of neurodiverse employees, companies can foster an inclusive culture, boost morale, and ultimately thrive in a world that celebrates and leverages the diversity of its workforce.

Learn more about’s neurodiversity-focused social impact experiences by scheduling a call with a member of our team.


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