As an employer, it is important for your work force and teams to include a diverse range of voices and opinions. This helps to ensure your teams are at their most creative and that you are considering the wide variety of experiences your customers may have.
As an employer, ask yourself the following questions:
If your answers to these aren’t positive ones, you may want to consider increasing creativity and diversity of thought within your teams by recruiting neurodivergent individuals – people who are often naturally creative individuals.
But how do you attract and retain neurodiverse talent? Below are some easy steps you can implement today to be more attractive to those with a divergent way of thinking:
1) Be adaptable
Some of the current structures of the organisation may not be the most effective processes for your neurodivergent colleagues. For example, be accommodating in finding a quiet space for those team members if the open-plan office is too distracting (or better still have a flexible homeworking policy).
2) Solicit guidance from professionals
Use tried and tested specialists that can support you fill your open roles and skill requirements with neurodiverse talent. At Exceptional Individuals, we train people with neurodivergence, connect them with inclusive employers and then work to make sure the individual thrives.
3) Build your team’s understanding of neurodiversity
Even the most inclusive, adaptable team will struggle to adapt to a neurodiverse culture without specialist training. Training allows everyone to have the same level of understanding and fills in any knowledge gaps.
A starting point could be having a team meeting, or simply an office email about the importance of having a neurodiverse workforce and an inclusive culture. This could help clearly explain the reasonable adjustments that get made for new recruits and how it will benefit them and the team as a whole. It is also worth letting your team know you have an open-door policy and will always be willing to listen if anyone has any questions or concerns around this.
4) Infuse creativity into your interview process
An interview allows organisations to evaluate how suitable the possible employee will integrate with the team. Yet if you are recruiting for an innovative skillset in your team or a different way of thinking, the traditional style of interviewing may not always be the best. A talented neurodivergent individual might have the ideal set of creative abilities you need, yet might lack the conventional communication skills. Current practices can unevenly favour a neurotypical mind.
One way to address this is a skills-based approach. Having an interview process that enables neurodivergent interviewees to display their skills is vital. Companies must move away from focusing on expert communication skills if it is not a direct requirement of the role, or you could risk missing out on creative talent.
Neurodivergent employees are creative and innovative by nature, listen to their ideas and be willing to question the status quo. After all, that is the point of having a diverse team – to continue growth and build new ideas.
By nurturing diverse viewpoints and ways of thinking differently, you will see that creativity and innovation will follow.