Neurodivergent employees offer hidden strengths to organizations that are inclusive of them
by Christine Janesko, Senior Editor, Internal Auditor Magazine, The Institute of Internal Auditors
A WORKPLACE ADVANTAGE
Some organizations are starting to realize that the neurodivergent population is both overlooked and highly capable. In Neurodiversity at Work 2023, a study by UK nonprofit Neurodiversity in Business and Birkbeck, University of London, researchers looked at both the strengths and difficulties of 990 neurodivergent workers. Along with challenges, employees in the study reported high rates of sought-after traits. The 127 employers who participated in the study rated their neurodivergent workers even higher for all these traits.
“Neurodivergent individuals think, communicate, and process information in different ways,” says Diana Mirakaj-Finnerty, CEO of Specialisterne USA a global nonprofit that places autistic and similarly neurodivergent individuals and helps employers adopt neuro-inclusive practices. “These are not deficits but differences, and many of these differences are also strengths.”
Mirakaj-Finnerty says a first step in ensuring employees feel safe enough to express their needs is making sure that disability and accessibility are part of the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. “If they aren’t, start again, because without disability, which includes the neurodiversity umbrella, you’ve missed the point,” she says. A second step is to educate the workplace about brain differences. “Learn from and listen to people with lived experience,” Mirakaj-Finnerty says. “There are neurodivergent employees within your organization already, so give them the opportunity to step forward and have a voice — and when they do, don’t be afraid to ask questions because that’s the best way to discover more about someone”
Read the entire article in Internal Auditor here: https://loom.ly/YVuYgso