How neurodiversity can benefit businesses

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HR and business leaders have long been striving to diversify workforces, but still neurodiversity has remained somewhat under-represented and under-supported in the world of work.

Even in 2022, after many social movements and raising of awareness, there is still some way to go in ensuring everybody is offered equal opportunities at work: those who are neurodiverse are frequently left behind.

To clarify the definition, neurodiversity refers to differences in the human brain relating to emotions, learning, mood, attention and development and includes conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

More than 1 per cent of us are on the autistic spectrum and 10 per cent of us are dyslexic, 10 per cent are dyspraxic and the prevalence of ADHD in the adult population is thought to be between 3 per cent and 4 per cent which totals a considerable percentage of the working population, but these often talented individuals are still struggling to get good jobs.

Over 80 per cent of autistic adults are unemployed and 28 per cent of long-term unemployed are dyslexic. However, those who are neurodiverse bring with them a huge range of unique skills that businesses should be looking to invest in.

Not only does it give a real boost to the career prospects of those who are neurodiverse, but increasing diversity, neurodiversity and inclusion in the workplace can have a hugely positive impact on workplace culture and ultimately on the bottom line.

For example, within the tech industry, neurodivergent individuals can bring specific and rarer skills to a role. If companies want their employees to be the most productive that they can be, they should consider the benefit of hiring those with a range of diverse brains to capitalise on some of these skills.

Chris Quickfall is the founder and CEO of digital neurodiversity assessment and training provider Cognassist, offering the only NCFE accredited qualification in neurodiversity.

Founded in Newcastle upon Tyne, following Chris’ own experiences growing up with dyslexia, Cognassist works with over 100 organisations including Holland & Barrett, the YMCA and Lincoln College to help individuals identify hidden learning needs and “arm them with the tools they need to reach their full potential”.

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