The benefits of building neurodiverse tech teams
Author: IntaPeople | Date published: 02/12/22
Neurodiversity incorporates a range of cognitive variances that are different from the typical ‘norm’, such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia. While these have been viewed with some stigma in the past, which has led to some candidates being overlooked, or individuals feeling they have to mask symptoms for the sake of their career, modern thought is now seeing the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace.
Diversity of thought is a boon for all types of business, across all departments, however the tech industry is both a champion of and benefits from neurodiversity within the workplace. Different types of thinking and approaches means innovation and ideas can flourish, both of which STEM industries thrive on.
The importance of neurodiversity in the modern workplace:
As awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity increases, and with increasing diagnoses revealing that up to 1 in 8 of us are neurodivergent, it’s clear allowing access to great STEM roles means not only benefiting from a diversity of thought, but also in increasing the talent pool and ensuring neurodivergent people don’t miss out in contributing to the world of STEM innovation.
Inclusivity is also desirable in and of itself – it leads to a fairer workplace and has a positive social outcome as well – where any feelings of stigma and shame can be replaced with positivity.
Neurodivergent teams also have a broader understanding of potential customer sections, allowing a better, more empathy-led way creating products and services.
The benefits of neurodiversity within business
If we haven’t sold you on the benefits of neurodiverse applicants and employees yet, the below list certainly will!
Neurodivergent people can enable your company to:
- See things from a different perspective – this could be anything from how a product might work, to how to target a particular type of audience and so on
- Promote a culture of inclusivity – promoting positive work experiences for the neurodiverse helps create a happier workforce and has the additional benefit of positively impacting your employer brand
- Have an increased likelihood of innovation – varying perspectives allow broader solutions being found
- Enhance customer appeal – understanding and catering for a more diverse customer base means opportunities are not missed
- Better overview of skills in teams – a range of thought means skill gaps are less likely to occur, with a wider variety of strengths being present within the workplace
Examples of tech companies who have embraced neurodiversity
Several organisations, particularly in tech, are taking proactive steps to attract and increase their neurodivergent workforce. The idea is two-fold: to reap the benefits of a neurodiverse team, and to become more inclusive, closing the gap in numbers of employees who are neurotypical versus those who aren’t.
IBM and Microsoft are two tech companies openly targeting neurodiverse applicants, often using and engaging with the #NDEngaged (Neuro Divergent Engaged) movement, both to advertise and signal their proactive steps to recruit a diverse workforce, and to encourage neurodivergent candidates to approach them.
Microsoft hold hiring days for neurodivergent candidates, encouraging applicants to apply to the organisation as opposed to specific roles and then, once passing initial assessments, are invited to hiring open events where skills can be matched with specific departments and job roles.
BAE Systems and GCHQ have both recently publicised hiring drives specifically geared towards neurodiverse applicants within their tech teams, recognising both the potential for a varied skillset and for plugging in a talent pool until recently relatively overlooked or under-represented.
Are you looking to create a more diverse and inclusive STEM workplace?
If you are an employer looking to create a diversity and inclusion-led STEM recruitment strategy, we can help you recognise where you may be creating barriers between your company and diverse applicants, from the job description to where and how you market your role and even training to support neurodivergent applicants at interview.
Get in touch today to discuss your recruiting needs.