The Candidate recently attended a panel discussion on Neurodiversity: why it’s essential to the future of Tech as part of the Digital City Festival. Check out the key points from the event here!
How to attract neurodiverse people to your business?
Ellie believed that businesses could best do this through inclusion and open conversation. She felt that if your business was value led it would attract a more diverse candidate base, and also that openness, understanding, and education were the key to being inclusive.
Rachel informed us that research shows if you recruit for neurodiverse people you will automatically attract other minorities, so in all it would reduce all hiring biases. She also said that small accommodations such as job apps being more neurodiverse friendly (e.g being shorter and more direct) it would save time and money across the board. She mentioned that ‘53% of accommodation for neurodiverse people cost nothing at all.’
Kate felt that companies putting the wellbeing and health of their staff at the centre of what they do and being clear and transparent on what that was to potential employees would attract more neurodiverse employees.
Why is neurodiversity essential for the future of tech?
Ellie explained that as she mentioned earlier, it was because they are full of ideas that are different to their neurotypical peers. She mentioned a pioneer in this field, Matthew Syed (author of Rebel Ideas), who found that if you ask 10 employees for 10 ideas you should get 100 back, but if some of those employees are neurodiverse you will receive more than 100 as they will have many more than 10!
Rachel then asked if she could talk about Bananas! She explained that at one time, all the different species of banana all lived under one roof in the greenhouse of Chatsworth house in Derbyshire. Because of this, there is one species called the ‘Cavendish Banana’, and if that banana ever succumbs to disease or natural disaster there will be no bananas left! She compared this to neurodiversity in that if the neurodiverse mind was to go ‘extinct’ then so would that way of thinking and we would all lose those ideas.
Kate felt that the neurodiverse mind was excellent at spotting patterns and issues, and was therefore valuable in the tech world in order to grow ideas and innovation. She explained that they can generate ideas but also find limitations - such as the app developers that were all right-handed and didn’t realise that the games couldn’t be used by a left handed person. This was an example that could be applied to a workplace where people were all neurotypical and they would miss the viability of products and services for the neurodiverse.
This was an enlightening and open discussion to highlight the great skills and sometimes overlooked opportunities there are in having a neurodiverse workplace. With our understanding of what neurodiversity is growing exponentially, it is clear that businesses will benefit and need to understand how to nurture these people in order to get the very best for their businesses.
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