Extraordinary Skills of Neurodiversity in the Workplace

April is Autism Awareness Month and what better way to celebrate than to shed some light on neurodiversity in the workplace!  

 

So, what is neurodiversity anyway?

 

Neurodiversity is a way of thinking and can include Autism, ADD, Dyslexia and ADHD. In Australia, it is estimated that 1 in 8 Australians are neurodivergent.  Large Australian companies such as Telstra and NAB are actively recruiting neurodivergent people as part of a program, and benefitting from their extraordinary skills of neurodiversity in the workplace.

What does this mean? New ideas, looking at things from a completely different lens and avoiding group think! 

 

The benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace

 

There are many benefits to hiring neurodivergent employees, which is why Australia’s largest companies are jumping on board.  Proven benefits have included: 

 

Productivity 

JP Morgan Chase’s Autism at Work program found employees on the autism spectrum (who had only been employed 6 months by the company) were 48% more productive than employees not on the spectrum who had been employed in the same job for 3 to 10 years. 

 

Unique skill set 

DXC’s Dandelion Program found that the skills of people on the Autism Spectrum in particular their ability to see patterns in information that other people could not, had significant relevance and impact for Australian Government Departments such as Defence. 

 

Neurodiversity targets

Telstra’s Neurodiverse Recruitment program in 2020 was so successful in onboarding new employees that Telstra has now incorporated targets for hiring more people with disabilities as part of their graduate program. 

 

Extraordinary skills at no additional cost

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s 2016 Study: Autism in the Workplace study found employing a person with Autism provided benefits to employers and their organisations without incurring any additional costs. 

It is vital for employers to understand the needs of their neurodiverse employee both as an individual and in a team environment.  To do this, an employer can: 

  • Reflect on their culture in the workplace: is it an environment where diversity, inclusion and acceptance are celebrated?  

 

  • Get to know your employees including how they work, their preferences, any accommodations and how they work within a team.  This can be done by speaking with your employees and, where relevant, their allied health professionals (getting permission first, of course!). A great tool for an in-depth understanding is a Team Management Profile 

 

  • Offer neurodiversity awareness training for leaders and teams as well as leadership coaching to ensure a manager’s leadership style is successful in leading a team which includes neurodivergent individuals. 

These are just some of the examples that can be used to benefit the organisation to create a competitive edge as well as tapping into the very unique and extraordinary skills that Neurodiversity in the workplace offer.   

Want to know more?  Seed People Consulting loves to chat all things culture assessment and development, team management profiles and leadership coaching!  Contact us today to discuss how we can support you in valuing the diversity of your team, to enable them to reach their potential. 

 

Meet the Author – Jennifer Elias

 

Jen brings her passion for diversity, change and employee relations to the Seed team!  With over 10 years’ experience as an ER consultant and workplace relations solicitor, Jen’s focus is on providing practical advice to our clients, ensuring that they are not only compliant, but that their business and people needs are met.

Prior to working with Seed People Consulting,  Jen has had experience working in across multiple industries, including tertiary education, professional and advisory services.  Since being with Seed, Jen has supported clients including Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Life Pharmacy Group and Compassion Australia.

 

Contact the Seed People Consulting team to discuss how we can support developing your diverse culture today!