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Brain food: What are the benefits of hiring neurodiverse employees?

August 22, 2023
Jigsaw puzzle pieces

We all know the famous saying, ‘great minds think alike’. The reality is that it’s not exactly true, however. Each one of us has a unique perspective, and that’s what makes us creative, interesting, and successful. Just imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same!

It’s not just about our personal feelings, though. Diversity has been touted as one of the most important values for a business, and there are many organisational reasons for it. Neurodiversity is particularly important in this context, because you’re quite literally getting a variety of mentalities. So, why should you consider investing in neurodiversity in the workplace?

Further reading: A guide to neuroinclusive job interviews

What is neurodiversity?

While no one is exactly the same, some people differ enough from the majority of the population that they are considered neurodivergent. Labels such as autism, ADD/ADHD, Tourette's syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia, are all examples of neurodiversity, while those who fall outside of these categories are referred to as ‘neurotypical’.

An estimated 15%-20% of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence, however, half of people managers and leaders admit they wouldn’t hire a neurodiverse employee. This is due to prejudice and misconceptions that must be debunked, as employing a neurodiverse workforce is extremely beneficial for businesses.

What are the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace?

Like any other kind of diversity, hiring neurodivergent people will make your organisation flourish. Here are some of the benefits of investing in neurodiversity:

1. Improve problem-solving

Solving problems becomes infinitely easier when you are able to include a variety of perspectives and viewpoints into your solution. However, in our particular case, neurodivergent employees were found to be better at problem-solving than neurotypicals. For example, people on the autism spectrum consistently score higher in assessments that test attention to detail, allowing them to make fewer mistakes in the first place.

The unique outlook brought about by neurodiversity means that your employees would be able to see alternatives overlooked by others, as well as process and interpret information in creative ways.

2. Reduce turnover

Turnover is one of the biggest challenges for businesses in the 2020s, with an average turnover rate of 47%. It is extremely costly to replace an individual — estimated at one third of their annual salary — not to mention the harm to productivity and morale.

A supportive and inclusive workplace will benefit from lower turnover rates among neurodiverse employees compared to their counterparts. In fact, it was found that autistic employees have a retention rate of 90%! This means that, not only are you going to save money on recruitment, but you’ll also have a much more loyal and appreciative workforce.

3. Better company culture

In the past few decades, businesses have truly started to realise the importance of company culture. It improves engagement, reduces turnover, and makes for an overall happier, more productive workplace. Diversity is a vital element of this, and neurodiversity is no exception.

By making your workplace inclusive, your employees will be more likely to bring their true and whole self to work, which increases engagement — companies with inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative and agile.

4. Higher performance

Overall, a neurodiverse workforce is a more productive, better performing one. Autistic employees achieve up to 140% more at work than neurotypicals, while JP Morgan & Chase found that they work 48% faster and 92% more productively. Neurodivergent people are also more creative — research shows that adults with ADHD, for example, are more original, and point out long periods of hyper-focus that allow them to be extremely productive.

This shows that supporting neurodiversity in your workplace is not just a nice-to-have, but could have a real impact on your bottom line, both from the perspective of diversity, but also because neurodivergent people are inherently higher performers when given the opportunity to shine.

5. More revenue

Speaking of the bottom line, everything that we previously discussed has some hard data to back it. Companies with a neurodiverse workforce are shown to consistently outperform others financially, which explains why companies like JP Morgan, SAP, Microsoft, and EY all invest so much energy and money into developing and enhancing their neurodiversity.

If you want the hard numbers, organisations that hire neurodivergent people achieve 28% higher revenue, twice the net income, and 30% higher economic profit margins. It really is a no-brainer.

With the Thrive platform, you can ensure you’re not glossing past star performers only because they are neurodivergent. Book a demo with us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve neurodiversity.

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