One of the recent events that made headlines was the award-winning singer of global repute, Lewis Capaldi, facing Tourette’s syndrome spikes during a concert, and the audience being empathetic and helping him sing the lyrics. Imagine an entire galaxy of an audience, compassionate and assisting the one on the other side of the stage to perform his best without being judgemental, satirical, or rebuking. This one-off incident won accolades from many social media supporters propelling the video to become viral within minutes of publication. We are referring to neurodiversity which is our topic of discussion!
Rewind ten years and find people being unrealistically perfect and bestowed with mental health. Thanks to social media awareness and relentless efforts by people who declared their neurodivergence and mental health issues publicly, thereby paving the way for millions to embrace their differences or inequalities. When it comes to the workplace, we can rest assured that they must celebrate neurodiversity, and it is high time corporates adopt strategies to include it and maximize the potential of neurodiverse individuals.
Neurodiversity in the workplace and the numbers
Neurodiversity in the workplace refers to a healthy combination of neurotypical and neurodivergent people. Neurotypical people have brain functions and processes in a way that society accepts as functional.
Neurodivergence refers to the differences in the brain structure and function of individuals from neurotypicals. Some common neurodivergent conditions include ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette’s syndrome.
Research confirms that about 1 to 2 % of the global population has autism, 6% have dyspraxia, 5% are subject to ADHD, and 10% are dyslexic. Amplify this percentage to the present global population of 8 billion people, and we have a galaxy of multi-faceted brains waiting to explore.
Most neurodivergent people find difficulty adjusting to workplace conditions curated for neurotypicals. Practically they are functional, provided some concessions are given to them at the workplace to help them optimise their strengths and mitigate environmental hassles not conducive to their neuro-processes.
Various neurodivergent conditions, weaknesses, and strengths explained:
Here, we highlight a few of the neurodivergent conditions, their challenges, and their strengths. Nature has an intelligible way of balancing challenges with exceptional abilities, and corporates must take note of these to help neurodiversity in the workplace and capitalise on the strengths of neurodivergent talents.
Dyslexia poses challenges such as literacy difficulties, information-processing, and focus while strengthening an individual with skills such as problem-solving, excellent communication skills, and pattern recognition.
Dyspraxic people face challenges while planning and processing motor tasks and physical coordination but are highly creative, empathetic, and motivated to complete tasks. They display extraordinary leadership skills and problem-solving capabilities, prerequisites for somebody in a managerial position.
People with ADHD have difficulty concentrating and controlling impulses but are great at being proactive and hypervigilant. They excel as advertising professionals, salespersons, and PRs which requires them to constantly interact and communicate with peers and use their creativity to overcome obstacles.
Autism affects social communication difficulties and gives sensory sensitivities but makes an individual honest, with remarkable attention to detail and noteworthy memory. Autistic people do well as auditors, architects, technicians, and artists, and are impeccably skilled to work with tools.
Why should corporates foster a neurodiverse environment?
A neurodiverse representation can demonstrate that companies value such individuals with different thinking processes and perceptions and respect them.
Moreover, Neurodivergent employees have Unique perspectives, a great focus on details, Loyalty and commitment, and a Passion For Social Justice and Fairness. Through their own challenges, they become strong and resilient individuals who know to survive and excel with their unique quiver of strength.
Strategies for Hiring and Supporting
Corporations must embrace such conditions open-heartedly during the hiring process by being transparent and empathetic. For instance, to embrace dyslexic employees, employers must engage them with creative pursuits and out-of-the-box thinking tasks with special speech-to-text software. A flexible work environment, clear instructions, and timely and constructive feedback also help Autistic individuals to give their best. For people with ADHD, short-term goals, an open mind, and time-management support help. For individuals affected by Tourette’s syndrome, tic breaks, a respectful environment, and medical provisions would be highly conducive.
In addition, acknowledging a neurodivergent employee’s contribution at work, reporting abuse or bullying, and celebrating neurodiversity at seminars, get-togethers, and award functions are great ways to let employees know they are valued.
Leading neuro-diverse Brands
Some leading market players that support and encourage a neurodiverse work environment are Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, JP Morgan Chase, Google Cloud, Ford, and Dell. These companies need no introduction, and through such an inclusive workforce, they have empowered millions of employees to carve a niche for themselves.
An inclusive world that embraces diversity in race, color, and body types, including neurodiversity at the workplace further justifies that great minds might not think alike. The diversification of perception brings out the best in people, which is an active ingredient of business success or otherwise.