Celebrating Neurodiversity

The Institute for Neurodiversity (ION) has recently launched its UK office to celebrate neurodiversity and challenge firms perceptions and understanding of the subject.

Dictionary.com defines neurodiversity as “the variation and differences in neurological structure and function that exist among people, especially when viewed as being normal and natural rather than pathological.” Neurodiversity covers a range of conditons, including autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and foetal alcohol spectrum.

ION stresses that firms should not see neurodiversity as something to “overcome” and should not expect neurodiverse employees to conform to the expected norm.

Business Benefits

Firms who hire neurodiverse employees have noted their propensity for roles that require good attention to detail, a capacity for critical thinking and analysis, and strong skills in areas such as mathematics, coding, data handling and processes.

The war for Talent

Cendex research found that 85% of HR decision-makers believe the so-called ‘war for talent’ has grown more competitive over the past 12 months. This has been particularly pronounced in the IT and finance sectors, where 99% of organisations faced increased competition.

Neurodiverse employees are often praised for offering creative and innovative perspectives which can help improve policies and procedures that may increase a company’s profitability and performance. Capabilities that neurocognitive employees have that benefits employer include:

  • Appreciation for processes and routine
  • Persistence and problem-solving skills
  • High concentration
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Technical ability, factual knowledge and recall
  • Reliability

There are many roles and responsibilities that neurodiverse employees excel at and the value of neurodiverse candidates should be noted in the recruitment process. Some firms have taken a proactive approach, establishing neurodiverse hiring initiatives. There have been examples of firms forming partnerships with non-profit organisations and disability focused groups and agencies to aid these hiring initiatives.

Whilst a firm can benefit from a neurodiverse team, it can be daunting for people with neurocognitive disabilities to participate in the recruitment process due to fear of stigma and discrimination during the recruitment process and in the workplace. Therefore firms should take steps to ensure an inclusive environment for neurodiverse candidates and employees.

In line with the Financial Conduct Authority’s aim to see more diversity across regulated firms and listed companies, research has shown that consumers prefer connecting with firms that employ people with disabilities. In addition, the high percentage of neurodivergence within an average customer base, having people who work for your firm and represent the communities your firm serves demonstrates thoughtfulness, good customer service and treating customers fairly.

If you would like support enhancing your recruitment agenda to include underrepresented neurodiverse candidates, IHRS can assist your firm with the complete recruitment process. Please keep up to date with our articles on enhancing your DE&I workforce via our website.

About the author

Laura is a HR professional with 20 years’ experience with Financial Services, the majority of which has been within insurance. In her role with UKGI Group, Laura provides objective support to firms on employment law and HR issues. She uses her interpersonal skills and knowledge to work with firms to help them develop strong and resilient HR strategies and establish healthy organisational cultures. Laura’s clients receive personalised support with a real can-do approach.

Laura is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She holds a Diploma Professional Development Scheme.

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