Neurodivergence in the Workplace - How Businesses are Strengthening Inclusivity Initiatives
Businesses must ensure that they have the training and support available to nurture neurodivergent employees’ unique skill sets. Learn how.
Neurodivergent workers face higher unemployment rates than any other disability, as high as 80%. At the same time, the cost of caring for neurodivergent individuals in the U.S., particularly for those with Autism, is projected to rise to $461B by 2025.
The same report revealed that amongst 25-year-olds, the average age in which full-time employment opportunities are gained, the majority of those with autism have never held a paying job.
By enabling better employment opportunities and providing optimized training initiatives, businesses can ultimately help solve this major gap in the market. The concept is simple: if neurodivergent individuals can receive proper training and support at earlier stages in life, they will be better equipped to care for themselves financially, physically, and mentally in the long run.
Organizations like SoF help instill independence in those facing unique challenges by facilitating fundamental life skills, including career path preparation.
Current corporate leaders in the sphere are partnering with neurodivergent workforce intermediaries to better understand how to properly vet, interview, train, and manage these prospective employees.
Hiring Neurodivergent Employees is a Win-Win Situation for Companies
Beyond ultimately helping to solve discriminative, societal gaps in employment, businesses are abandoning bias and seeing the true benefits of a more diverse employee base.
Current leaders of the inclusivity movement span multiple industries and include SAP, Microsoft, Ford, IMB, AMC Theaters, Caterpillar, JPMorgan Chase, PepsiCo, and Office Max.
A recent report by JPMorgan Chase found that professionals in its Autism at Work initiative performed better than neurotypical employees, making fewer errors and proving to be 90% to 140% more productive. Neurodivergent workers can provide both a unique skill set and a strong work ethic to employers.
In the same suit, IMB has hired more than 1400 neurodiverse team members. One core aspect in supporting employees with challenges is in providing mentorship opportunities. Companies that provide mentorship opportunities as a part of expanding neurodiversity-inclusive work culture have experienced a 16% increase in profitability, 18% in productivity, and 12% in customer loyalty.
Looking to serve as a career mentor for neurodivergent individuals seeking employment opportunities? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
However, mentorship opportunities can only go so far. Companies must actively seek to improve their hiring, training, and management practices.
Key Program Examples and Next Steps for Employers to Take
Microsoft’s Neurodiversity Hiring Program launched in 2015 and can serve as a great example for employers seeking to increase inclusivity.
This program was one of the first in the country and includes a four-day skills assessment to enable prospective workers to showcase their strengths in a non-conventional interview setting. Oftentimes in America, these candidates are filtered out during the interview process, not having the opportunity to fully communicate their capabilities based on challenges associated with live interviews.
Microsoft has created this strong process to overcome potential barriers to hiring. Once hired, employees are provided with a job coach through a partnering intermediary, The How Skills. The coach serves as a liaison between the management team and the worker.
Core training sessions are provided based on the employee’s individual neurodivergent conditions and needs. An internal job mentor is also provided, oftentimes from another employee.
Microsoft is just one of many businesses expanding career opportunities for neurodivergent candidates. The leader is a member of the Neurodiversity @ Work Employer Roundtable, among other top Fortune 500 companies. Companies seeking to get started can consider participating in this effort.