Every brain is unique

EqualEngineers on why workplace neurodiversity matters

By: Dr Mark McBride-Wright

It’s neurodiversity week this week (16th – 20th of March) and EqualEngineers is celebrating it by highlighting one simple fact:

Every brain is unique.

Last year, EqualEngineers was a founding supporting organisation of Neurodiversity week, and this year we’ve been asked to help raise awareness of the benefits neurodivergent individuals bring to the workplace.

There is a common misconception that those who are neurodivergent find maintaining a job harder. Instead, the truth is that most workplace environments can’t appreciate, utilise and enable the skills and strengths of those who are neurodiverse. Building teams that appreciate and understand how it ‘takes all kinds of minds’ to help an organisation flourish is something that eludes many companies, meaning they end up missing out on the benefits of unique thinkers.

Labels such as ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, autism and Tourette’s can be both helpful and unhelpful. For companies wanting to improve their inclusivity and diversity efforts, understanding an individual’s neurodiversity can help them recognise and empower that individual by placing them in a role that lends itself to their strengths. This awareness also allows managers to adapt their style so they can offer better support to a neurodivergent individual, including educating their team on how to approach, include and understand neurodiversity for better organisational outcomes.

On the other hand, a label can be separatist and isolating for neurodivergent individuals who want to be treated equally. Often, people know their own strengths and don’t want to be labelled or managed separately from their peers. It’s seen as a societal issue that requires a shift in thinking and judgement.

The neurodivergent identity

Every brain is unique. Every thought we have and the way we process information forms our sense of self. Our identity and how we identify is multifaceted and complex – what our interests are, how long something holds our attention, how our experiences affect our moods or how we think and learn is irrelevant when it comes to finding and holding down a job. It shouldn’t matter to society and it shouldn’t matter to employers. What should matter is how our thinking skills, like everyone’s, are suited to different roles and challenges. The focus should be on matching an individual’s skills and strengths to their ideal role in an equitable, inclusive way.

Sadly, this isn’t always the case in recruitment or HR departments.  More often than not, those who are neurodivergent are met with challenges that make finding a role harder when up against neurotypicals. And that’s because the way in which the hiring process is approached isn’t fair or inclusive.

There are two ways to combat this:

  1. Make assessment centres and the hiring process more inclusive and equitable (read our top 5 tips on how to do this).
  2. Spread awareness about the benefits neurodivergent individuals bring to the organisations and people who surround them.
Spread awareness

BBC Bitesize are currently showcasing the various job profiles of neurodiverse individuals who are proving how their thinking skills lend themselves to their chosen careers in exceptional ways. You can check them all out and spread the word by following this link.

For more content like this, head over to the EqualEngineers blog page where there are more articles, resource and top tips for helping you and your organisation become more diverse. Source link: