In honor of Neurodiversity Celebration Week Engtal explored key issues around neurodiversity in the tech and engineering community, aiming to raise awareness, challenge misconceptions, educate employers and create diverse and supportive working environments within the tech community.
Have you ever considered how an applicant with ADHD or Autism experiences your recruitment process?
Around 15-20% of the population are thought to be ‘neurodiverse’. Neurodiversity refers to a range of cognitive differences and thinking styles, and it typically includes autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia as well as a range of other learning differences.
Companies are losing out on top talent because they haven’t considered how the recruitment process might put off candidates who are neurodiverse.
Why hire neurodiverse talent?
Aside from being a fair and inclusive employer, hiring neurodiverse talent can bring a whole host of benefits to your business.
People often wrongly assume that cognitive differences are a detriment. In fact, differences in thinking can mean heightened levels of analytical processing or more creative thinking. For example, studies suggest that autistic people are often more empathetic than neurotypical people, while those with dyslexia tend to have stronger analytical thinking skills.
Homogenous teams leave little room for innovation. Having a range of different people in your team – whether that’s gender, ethnicity, or cognitive, will improve the ability to generate ideas, problem solve, provide fresh perspectives, and ultimately achieve your goals. Furthermore, if nearly 1/5 people are thought to experience neurodivergence, you also want to ensure the products, platforms, and services you are building take these customers into account.
If you are keen have an accessible and inclusive workplace for neurodiverse talent there are a few things to consider. Firstly, ensure your hiring process doesn’t put candidates with cognitive differences at a disadvantage. This might mean changing screening processes and considering whether automated software and tasks give all applicants a fair chance. It’s also important to consider the idea of ‘cultural fit’ and whether that could be exclusionary for candidates who aren’t neurotypical.
When you’ve looked at your recruitment process, you also want to make sure that your working environment is set up to be a safe and inclusive space for everyone. This might mean providing quiet workspaces, changing the way meetings are held or providing specific assistance tools to support employees.
The tech and engineering sectors often drive innovations from within. As a community, this sector has the potential to lead the way in providing safe and inclusive workspaces for neurodiverse employees. Companies who embrace candidates with cognitive differences will reap the rewards, with employees with unique skills and creative thinking.
Keep your eyes peeled for more content on how to create neurodiverse friendly hiring processes.