In the latest column brought to you by Skills Development Scotland about the benefits and importance of taking on neurodivergent talent, Rebecca Wones from Lexxic gives us her expert opinion on the subject.
Although no organisation is the same, those that are high performing have one thing in common – an outstanding team. A winning team that all bring different talents the table. That difference leads to increased innovation and creativity, a diverse skillset and broader insight and understanding, better problem solving and decision making, and ultimately increased productivity, revenues, and reputation. So having a diverse team is critical to business success.
Now every one of us is unique. Our brains are wired differently. So, we think differently, act differently, and have different strengths, and challenges, to bring to a team. People with a neurodiverse condition, like dyslexia, will bring amazing talents to your team; big picture thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurialism for example, but they may have challenges with specific language skills, such as reading, writing, and spelling.
With one in seven people being neurodiverse (ACAS), this is a significant proportion of your current and potential workforce. So as an organisation, it is critical to create an environment where neurodiversity is understood and to provide the right support for neurodivergent individuals, allowing them to flourish and add real value to your team.
As a specialist psychological consultancy, Lexxic believes that all minds belong, so it is our mission to inspire a working world that supports and values the talents of neurodivergent minds, empowering individuals to be their best selves at work. Hence, we partner with organisations to make a positive difference, creating tailored, strategic change programmes and delivering psychological support services to neurodivergent talent (for example dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD), dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and cognitive functioning difficulties).
So how do you, as an organisation, attract, recruit and retain neurodivergent talent in your team?
Attracting neurodivergent talent
Tell your future neurodivergent employees that you are looking for people with their talents and that you value their contributions. Make sure that you have done a job analysis of the role, so that you can ensure you have an accurate job description written clearly.
Make it clear that you offer adjustments throughout this phase. Offer different ways of applying, for example online, video application or CV. Encourage candidates to speak up about reasonable adjustments that they may need by stating what you can offer them and giving examples. Be clear in what you expect from the role and what it involves. Make your communication clear and neurodivergent-friendly, sending information to them in an audio file as well as in a word document if possible.
Offer your employees the chance to have a workplace needs assessment to see if there are adjustments that would help straight away, for example assistive technology or extra time to learn new processes. Ask them what would help them settle into their new role and help their own learning.
It can be useful for your candidate and employee to see what the future could hold in terms of support alongside any career aspirations that they have. Let them know that support for their neurodiversity is ongoing in the form of adjustments, updated assessments and coaching that is tailored to them. It is really encouraging for an employee to see what will help them flourish in the workplace.
For more information about the support available for companies to recruit neurodivergent talent, visit SDS’ employer dedicated site Our Skills Force where you will also find more case studies to inspire you.