As an IT Contract Staffing firm, we engage in conversations with numerous individuals each week, each unique in their own way. Our primary objective is to assist our clients in identifying the most suitable candidate for their job requirements. Given the diversity among candidates, there is seldom a one-size-fits-all approach to achieving this outcome. That's precisely why we've created this blog – to provide valuable insights for our clients when interviewing candidates with neurodiverse backgrounds.
What Is neurodiversity? "Neurodiversity" refers to a movement that emerged in the 1990s to combat bias against individuals with autism but now extends to various conditions associated with neurological differences. Some common types of neurodiversity in your team may include ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia, and Autism. It's likely that you know someone in your network who is neurodiverse, such as a colleague or team member.
The Importance of Creating a Culture that Supports Neurodiversity in IT Consultants
Current data shows that 1 in 4 adults are neurodiverse. Unfortunately, many neurodiverse consultants do not disclose this to their employer due to the stigma and misconceptions associated with neurodiverse conditions. They worry about how they will be perceived by their coworkers and managers, including concerns about being viewed as difficult or facing unrealistic expectations of their skills due to stereotypes. Ultimately, it's up to the individual to decide if disclosing their neurodiverse capabilities is beneficial to their career development or a hinderance to finding a new assignment.
The lack of transparency regarding a consultant's neurodiverse capabilities is a disadvantage to companies. Employers lacking knowledge of an individual’s neurodiverse capabilities miss the opportunity to leverage their true talents and skills. Supporting consultants who disclose their neurodiverse capabilities sends a message to the entire organization that your company fosters a culture of inclusion for all to succeed. This, in turn, leads to higher engagement and a positive work environment.
How to Provide Accommodations to Neurodiverse Workers?
First and foremost, if an individual shares their need for work accommodations, simply ask, "What accommodations are necessary for you to perform your job successfully?" Together, you can devise a reasonable plan to determine what accommodations are necessary and feasible. For example, consultants who are easily distracted may simply need to sit in a quieter area of the office. Others may request the installation of assistive technologies not part of the traditional software offered on their work computers. Employers may offer flexible communication opportunities, clear step-by-step instructions, visual aids, or in-person meetings.
Why are Neurodiverse Workers an Asset to Your Company?
Some typical traits of neurodiverse consultants include being highly passionate, innovative thinkers who bring a fresh perspective, excellent observational skills, being hyper-focused and detail-oriented, and having loyalty with lower turnover rates - especially when provided with appropriate accommodations. It's important to understand that individuals with neurodiverse conditions in your team will not all possess the same strengths or confront identical challenges.
Benefits of Embracing Neurodiversity in Your Workplace
Embracing neurodiversity in your workplace yields several benefits, including positive impacts on company morale, diversifying, and expanding the pool of talented IT consultants, higher retention rates for companies that embrace neurodiversity, and a positive image in the eyes of outsiders. People naturally gravitate towards companies that stand for the greater good. To fully grasp the benefits of neurodiversity in your IT team, companies should cultivate a culture that embraces and supports inclusion by providing accommodations. Understanding the unique strengths that neurodiverse consultants bring to work can help employers harness those skills and talents to drive productivity and innovation in their workplace.
Embracing neurodiversity in your workplace is a socially responsible choice and also a strategic one. Neurodiversity encompasses a range of conditions associated with neurological differences, and it's more prevalent in your network than you might realize. Unfortunately, stigma and misconceptions often lead many neurodiverse individuals to keep their conditions hidden, potentially depriving companies of the unique talents and skills they bring.
Creating a culture that supports neurodiversity is essential. By fostering an environment where IT people feel safe disclosing their neurodiverse capabilities, companies can tap into a wealth of untapped potential. This leads to higher engagement, a more positive work atmosphere, and a diverse and innovative workforce.