Embracing neurodiversity in the workforce

05 Jul 2017

Many people with neurological conditions such as autism, Asperger Syndrome, dyspraxia and dyslexia have extraordinary skills. Research has recurrently demonstrated significantly higher than average abilities in pattern recognition, memory and mathematics in these populations. 

The trouble is that traditional methods of recruitment, performance appraisal and career development – which have evolved to be as widely applicable as possible – are predisposed to, at best, encourage conformity or, at worst, screen out highly skilled and diverse individuals. These ‘spikey’, specialised profiles don’t always fit into the scalable HR and organisational processes. 

“Innovation is most likely to come from parts of us that we don’t all share.” Anka Wittenberg, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at SAP.

In recent years, some pioneering companies have begun to seek out neurodiverse talent. Companiessuch as SAP, Hewlett Packard, EY, Microsoft and Willis Towers Watson are leading the way in an effort to become more able to fully capitalise on theskills of all workers. Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review (June 2017) describes how these companies are already reaping benefits than far exceed a simple reputational enhancement. The new perspectives offered by employees with differently wired brains have boosted quality, innovation and value delivered to their clients.

In 2013, Nicholson McBride teamed up with TopStream to conduct research into how businesses and neurodiverse workers can get the very best from each other. Focusing on STEM (scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians), we explored personality styles, workplace behaviours and the key challenges faced by organisations, teams, business leaders and STEM individuals themselves. Based on these insights and your organisational context, we can work with you to develop practical strategies that sit within your management practices and maximise performance from some of the brightest people. 

To find out more about our research or how we can help you, contact us now…

020 7432 8460



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