Outside the box | How hiring neurodiverse people can boost your business

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How hiring neurodiverse people can boost your business

Estimates from the US and UK governments put the number of Autistic people in work at only 15-22% – despite studies showing the benefits they bring to the workplace. Inclusiveness expert at The Clear Company, Anna Mäkinen, weighs in on how you can attract and promote neurodivergent employees.

Gone is the age of Rainman style tropes and tired stereotypes of non-verbal, mathematics-focused Autistic people. Ditto the Ritalin-subdued or ‘constant state of frenetic energy’ ADHD hackneyed caricature. In 2022, employers and HR professionals alike have recognised that lots of employees who seem 'normal' have one or more forms of atypical thinking or behaviour - and more importantly, the benefit of embracing neurodiversity at work.

'Neurodiversity' is a term used to describe a variation in the brain, behaviour or style of reasoning, which means some people think differently to others, and refers to people with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, etc. The banner also includes those with learning difficulties that might preclude them from ‘normal’ routines – but who might bring a huge benefit to the workplace.

Particularly as correct diagnoses of these neurotypes grow, we have come to realise that, rather than neurological or behaviour ‘disorders’, they’re actually just different types of neurology, and that having a diverse group of people thinking about – and helping to solve – problems at work is beneficial.

Disability advocacy group and job board My Disability Jobs reports that in one study, participants who revealed their ASD diagnosis to potential employers “were more than three times as likely to become employed than those who withheld their diagnosis.” This certainly bodes well for speaking up and for those who need to ask for extra help at work.

Anna Mäkinen, Head of Clear Assured at The Clear Company, has worked as an inclusion expert and particularly champions hiring those with neurodivergent brain types. Her expertise on hiring, working with and promoting, neurodiverse people has led her to advocate for businesses to get on board with onboarding them.

Employees, including line managers, need to be trained to manage the needs of neurodivergent employees appropriately

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