When companies expand their talent pools, they bring in new ideas, opinions, and beliefs. They also increase cultural awareness and help their employees understand the differences in others. Neurodiverse hiring programs specifically allow companies to experience a range of benefits that add to the innovation and success of the organization. Here are some of the main reasons why your company should consider hiring neurodiverse candidates.
What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity refers to various neurological differences within the human population. It includes conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and others. People who are neurodiverse can face some challenges, but they can also be highly intelligent and creative. They look at the world differently than neurotypical people and can bring their unique perspectives and insights to your company.
What are the Benefits of Hiring Neurodiversity Candidates?
There are significant benefits of neurodiversity in nearly any workplace. Your company can gain change-making value from hiring people who have a unique way of looking at the world.
1. Creativity and Innovation
Because neurodiverse people have unique cognitive abilities and perspectives, they’re often highly innovative and can think “outside the box” in creative ways. They process information differently and generate solutions and ideas that are fresh and insightful, helping your company stay competitive and relevant.
2. Diverse Sets of Skills
The broad scope of neurodiversity means you have access to a wide range of skills that can diversify and complement an existing workforce in all kinds of companies and industries. Pattern recognition, attention to detail, and affinity for specialized tasks are commonly seen and unbelievably valuable in data analysis, quality assurance, and other fields.
3. High Productivity and Engagement
Giving people tasks that meet their preferences and strengths helps them become and stay more productive. Nurturing neurodiverse employees helps them excel in roles where they can leverage and expand upon their unique abilities. That success can translate to better company outcomes and a higher level of efficiency.
4. A Larger Customer Base
When your company embraces neurodiversity, it helps you understand a wider range of customers who may be interested in your products or services. Employees can share their concerns with you, which can lead to adjustments that will open up more options for potential customers in the future.
5. Diversity and Inclusivity
A commitment to being inclusive and encouraging workplace diversity won’t go unnoticed. It can help increase the morale of your employees and encourage them to work together to build strong teams and a positive culture overall. Making workplace adjustments for schedules, communication, and physical space can improve the workplace for everyone.
6. Acquire and Retain Strong Talent
Your company can reach and attract a broader applicant pool by actively seeking neurodiverse candidates for the roles you need to fill. That will help develop an environment where your neurodiverse employees feel included and valued, making them more likely to stay and saving you training and recruitment costs.
7. Overcome Skill Shortages
If your company has gaps in skills with your current staff, this can impact your innovation and growth trajectory. You can bridge that gap by hiring neurodiverse candidates who have the skills you’re looking for, and making small accommodations to help them settle in.
8. Choose Ethical and Social Responsibility
An inclusive environment that allows equal opportunity for qualified employees is part of your social and ethical responsibility as a company. Embracing neurological differences is an effective way to acknowledge and honor these principles and can bring you valuable employees who you otherwise might have overlooked.
How to Support Neurodiverse Candidates During Recruitment and Onboarding
Supporting neurodiverse candidates during the recruitment and onboarding process often looks a little different than it would for the neurotypical candidate. But that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Following these tips will help.
1. Communicate Clearly
Detailed, clear information and instructions are important to many neurodiverse people. Make sure you address the hiring process, assessments and tasks involved, and expectations in plain language and without jargon, to foster better understanding.
2. Be Flexible with the Application Process
If you accept different formats for things like portfolios and resumes, you can get more applications. Some neurodiverse candidates will have unique communication styles, and you don’t want to let that stop them from applying and/or progressing through the application process.
3. Make Accommodations
Some neurodiverse candidates will need accommodations during the interview process. Consider allowing them extra time for task completion, and offering virtual or remote interviews that can make them more comfortable, so they can perform at their best.
4. Provide Advance Information
If there are assessments or tests needed during the interview process, inform candidates about them ahead of time. Explain the format and the content, so candidates can prepare and be ready for the tests more easily.
5. Consider Sensory Issues
Some neurodiverse people have sensory sensitivities that make certain types of environments difficult. A calm, focused space without loud noise or bright lights can help reduce any problems.
6. Make Interviews More Structured
Clear, relevant, and structured interview questions are helpful when working with neurodiverse candidates. This helps them understand what you expect from them, so they can highlight their skills in a better way.
7. Ask Behavioral and Situational Questions
When you focus on the problem-solving abilities and past experiences of a candidate, you gain insight into the ways they approach challenges. This also helps you understand their skill level in various situations and where they might excel.
8. Offer Flexible Assessment Options
Providing alternative methods can be extremely helpful when assessing skills. You may want to allow candidates who aren’t comfortable with written tests to demonstrate their skills through projects or practical types of tasks, instead.
9. Keep Panel Interviews Small
Panel interviews can be difficult and overstimulating for some neurodiverse people, so keep the panel small if this kind of interview is necessary. Also make sure anyone on the panel has proper awareness and training for neurodiversity and inclusivity, to make the environment more supportive and comfortable.
10. Shorten Your Feedback Time
Giving clear, constructive feedback to candidates after each interview stage can help them understand where they are in the process more clearly. Additionally, doing this gives the candidate a starting point for working on areas that need improvement, as well as better understanding their strengths.
11. Be Transparent in Your Decision-Making
Let candidates know about your timeline and decision-making process. This information eliminates unnecessary uncertainty and anxiety, and helps the candidate focus on when they can expect feedback.
12. Keep Dialogue Open
Asking candidates to share accommodations and preferences can help them feel more comfortable from the very beginning. Candidates should feel like they can express their needs and know who to talk to.
13. Create Employee Resource Groups
These groups, often called ERGs, can offer support and insight to neurodiverse employees, and help neurotypical employees understand any adjustments needed for their new colleagues.
14. Focus on Training and Sensitivity
Hiring managers and interviewers should receive training on inclusion and awareness when it comes to neurodiversity. This helps them understand the unique challenges of neurodiverse candidates and see their valuable strengths.
15. Have a Goal of Continuous Improvement
Gathering frequent feedback from neurodiverse candidates can help you adjust and improve the hiring process. By refining your approach, you’ll continue to encourage diversity and inclusion for future candidates.
Hiring Neurodiverse Candidates as an Opportunity for Your Company
When you expand your talent pool by hiring neurodiverse candidates, your company can see enhanced productivity and increased innovation, along with a broader base of customers and a workplace that’s more inclusive for everyone. That helps you leverage the unique strengths that come with neurodiversity to improve your competitive edge and drive future company growth.