Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Neurodiverse people bring a lot to the workplace. Learn more in this toolkit.
If you’re interested in workplace diversity and inclusion, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about neurodiversity lately. But what exactly is neurodiversity, and how can hiring neurodiverse employees benefit your organization?
Neurodiversity is defined by Dictionary.com as, “the variation and differences in neurological structure and function that exist among human beings, especially when viewed as being normal and natural rather than pathological.”
To take it a step further, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network states, “Neurodiversity refers to variation in neurocognitive functioning. It is an umbrella term that encompasses neurocognitive differences such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disability and schizophrenia, as well as ‘normal’ neurocognitive functioning, or neurotypicality. Neurodivergent individuals are those whose brain functions differ from those who are neurologically typical, or neurotypical.”
Benefits of Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Neurodiversity is an aspect of diversity that enhances the workplace in numerous ways. People with neurocognitive disabilities have talents, perspectives and skills that can be distinctly beneficial in many work environments. More and more employers are beginning to understand these benefits and develop hiring initiatives that focus on recruiting neurodiverse workers. While these efforts are more common in larger corporations, they have proven beneficial for businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries.
Hiring neurodiverse employees can provide companies with a competitive edge that brings measurable benefits, both financially and in terms of workplace culture. To learn more about best practices for designing and implementing a successful and scalable program to recruit, hire, retain and advance neurodivergent employees, read EARN’s Neurodiversity Inclusion: Checklist for Organizational Success (PDF).
Quite often, people with neurocognitive disabilities experience barriers to employment before they can even begin a job. The various aspects of the recruitment process, from job descriptions to interviewing, can pose concerns along the way that can deter neurodiverse candidates from pursuing a position.
For articles and resources about neurodiversity in the workplace, visit the Articles & Resources page.