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:
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.
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.