How can businesses pave the way for a brighter future in the workplace for children of today?
There’s no question that diversity and inclusion matter for the children of today. While there’s been great progress for gender representation in the workplace, with more women now taking up leadership roles, can the same be said for neurodivergent individuals? It has never been more important than today to embrace neurodiversity to close the gap in the workplace, so children will be able to tap into their hidden talents in the future. Neurodivergent individuals offer unique strengths. Diversity of thought is what many companies are striving for so why are neurodivergent individuals being side-lined? While every neurodivergent condition has its own set of challenges, there are huge benefits that come with individuals whose brains work differently.
Realising the potential of neurodiverse children
As a society, we must ensure that neurodivergent individuals are properly nurtured in the workplace and feel safe, and welcome. That way, we can break the cycle of inequality. Teachers in schools are often trained in identifying children on the spectrum. They often look at social behaviour and these children are referred to specialist assessment to make an accurate diagnosis. Neurodivergent children are being given a significant amount of help at school, particularly in their junior years. It is important to continue this support once they approach adulthood so they can enter the workforce and build successful careers without limiting their potential.
Organisations must prepare for the next generation of workers and help them thrive. Ultimately, we need to change the workplace and the negative perceptions around neurodiversity, which is ingrained in society. Everybody should be appreciated for their strengths and how for how they think and communicate. Neurodivergent conditions are not weakness, but valuable assets to the workplace and wider society.
Research has shown there’s a massive autism employment gap in the workplace, with only 32% of autistic adults in some kind of paid employment. There has long been a lack of understanding and awareness of neurodiversity, especially when compared to the other categories within diversity and inclusion. Neurodivergent individuals possess valuable skills that can be applied in the workplace, such as attention to detail, logical and abstract thinking. Other notable skills include problem-solving, creativity, and the ability to work independently. It is time for businesses to start taking neurodiversity more seriously so that children will be able to enter an inclusive work culture in the future. But how?
Changing the workplace culture
If the children of today are to be able to look forward to a future where they feel confident and valued in the workplace, businesses need to promote diversity and fair treatment for every employee. This can be achieved through actions such as training managers to recognise, support and facilitate the strengths of neurodivergent employees. For example, autistic individuals may need certain equipment, such as headphones to reduce sensory issues. Where possible, those with ADHD should be allowed to work in a quieter location to limit the number of distractions.
Companies need to spend more time encouraging neurodivergent individuals to apply for roles that utilise their skill set. Some sectors like the civil service are leading the way in championing neurodiversity. Civil Service Fast Stream has launched an autism internship programme to help attract neurodiverse talent, to become leaders of the future. Initiatives such as these signal that change is coming and there will be more opportunities for today’s neurodivergent children to capitalise on their strengths. Businesses need to provide meaningful employment opportunities for neurodivergent individuals and ensure that the employee journey, from recruitment to retainment is inclusive.
Do you need help with your recruitment?
At Hanover, we’re very committed to ensuring businesses recruit and employ neurodiverse talent. Our executive search team have years of experience in hiring the best professionals in roles within the financial services, wealth management and banking sectors. We’re able to identify candidates who can strengthen your company’s output, as well as leaders who can drive your business forward. Hanover offers executive search, leadership solutions and market intelligence. Contact Christina Ratings, a strong advocate for equality in the workplace, or please get in touch with our wider team if you would like to discuss how you can make your recruitment more inclusive. Also, keep reading our insights page for more interesting articles.