Workplaces are typically built for neurotypical conformity and are ill-equipped for neurodivergence. This means that many work environments and practices do not support neurodiverse employees.
Due to the lack of awareness and knowledge surrounding neurodiversity, many employers do not understand the ways in which a neurodivergent condition may negatively impact the individual at work.
While ill-equipped workplaces can pose significant challenges to neurodivergent employees, when supported correctly, neurodivergent talent can significantly increase the competitive advantage of an organization.
Creating neuroinclusive workplaces can be simple and complex at the same time. Inclusion is a culture, and building culture takes time and consistency. But even at the individual level, there are simple things you can do to embrace neurodiversity in your workplace. Here are a few.
- Awareness is Key
Labels like Autism and ADHD have a stigma associated with them and are shrouded in misunderstanding. Self-advocacy can be a great starting point to change the conversation. But wider education is needed.
- Psychological Safety is Essential
Organizations must actively be inviting different ways of thinking, to create a safe space where people feel comfortable being themselves and speaking up without fear.
- Ask, Listen & Take Action
Listen to what people need to be at their best. Don’t assume. Don’t rely on averages. Ask. What works for you may not work for others. We are all different, often in invisible ways. Look beyond the surface, probe deeper. Take action in response to this feedback.
- Recognize and Embrace Differences
Recognize that people also connect with each other in different ways. There is no one way of building human connections. Just like there is no one way of collaborating or one way of being creative. Inclusive environments embrace those differences, empowering everyone to thrive in their own ways in order to build stronger collectives.
Don’t wait for your organization to initiate neuroinclusion. Take whatever action you can at your level. Involve your colleagues. Start by being an influencer for neuroinclusion in your workplace. Be the change you want to see.