Neurodiversity refers to the idea that all humans have diverse cognitive profiles, neurological abilities and strengths and weaknesses, which should be recognized and respected. Neurominorities are on a spectrum of cognitive functioning, who think differently and perceive the world in different ways – often due to conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, Tourette’s syndrome and other neurological differences. Businesses are increasingly recognizing that neurominorities can bring much needed talent and skills to workplaces if reasonable adjustments are made to enable their full professional potential.
To provide GBDN members with more information and guidance on recruiting, retaining and promoting neurominorities, the GBDN has entered into a licensing agreement with Business Disability Forum (BDF) for access to their Neurodiversity Toolkit. The toolkit explains the concept of neurodiversity, focuses on the barriers that a neurodiverse individual might be encountering and what a line manager or organization can do to remove those barriers through simple and inexpensive workplace adjustments. The GBDN webinar on “Neurodiversity in the Workplace: The Power of Difference” held in January 2021 provides an introduction to the Toolkit (https://youtu.be/UzeIdV0ONMI). For more information and access to the toolkit, please contact the GBDN secretariat.
The webinar covered topics such as the concept of neurodiversity and the different groups it covers; proactive neurodiversity adjustments that benefit all employees; the Neurodiversity Toolkit of the Business Disability Forum (BDF); and avoiding tokenism and stigmatization in neurodiversity inclusion. Speakers were Nancy Doyle, CEO and Founder at Genius Within CIC, Adrian Ward, Head of Disability Partnerships at Business Disability Forum (BDF) and Neil Milliken, Global Head of Inclusion at Atos. Ilka Schoellmann, Technical Specialist on Equality and Non-Discrimination at the ILO moderated. Live captioning and International Sign were provided.
Discriminatory hiring practices and obstacles in the workplace have long contributed to the unemployment of a large majority of adults on the autism spectrum. These challenges have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, new ways of working, including the use of new technologies and remote working, have created opportunities for employees who previously found it difficult to thrive in traditional workplace environments.
This virtual event included moderated panel discussions with individuals on the autism spectrum. It was organized by the UN Department of Global Communications and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Specialisterne Foundation.
For years IBM, the international IT-company, and Specialisterne Foundation, the Social Business headquartered in Denmark, have applied leadership working together to include neurodivergent persons such as autistic persons in workplaces around the world. In this session, they will invite participants to get an insight into the vision, model and experiences from across business units and geographies.
Natalia Lyckowski, Neurodiversity@IBM Global Business Resource Group Co-Chair, joins the program to discuss the importance of addressing neurodiversity in the workplace, and the stages of representation. Discover the strengths and challenges that neurodivergent talent bring to the workplace, and how to create an environment where everyone can do their best work.
Cornell University is offering an online self-paced course targeting HR professionals — Autism at Work. Course content explores these emerging initiatives in business to actively recruit and hire individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Participants are encouraged to assess implications for human resource (HR) policies and practices within their organizations and investigate opportunities and challenges encountered across the employment process in designing and implementing these initiatives. Participants will learn the importance of creating a workplace culture that embraces a diverse workforce, how to build internal and external support systems to promote success for employees who are neurodiverse, and use metrics and analytics to determine the program’s effectiveness at individual and organizational levels.
Cornell University researchers have been gathering qualitative data on the barriers and facilitators of job acquisition and retention for Autistic individuals, with a specific focus on improving Autistic individuals’ performance in the interview process and within the work environment (as well as gaining insights for how employers may alter their interview practices).
Results of interviews with employers, individuals on the autism spectrum, and employment service providers consistently identified that interviewees often struggled with the interview process in specific ways – incompletely answering questions (giving “yes/no” answers to open-ended questions), struggling to understand the context of unstructured questions (e.g., “tell me about yourself”), managing and regulating emotion to unexpected events or questions during the course of an interview.
Research on neurodiversity in the IT workforce, conducted as part of the IDEA Hub at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) reports that high-tech firms need to take advantage of the talents of a growing neurodiverse workforce—including workers on the autism spectrum, and those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyslexia, and other conditions—in order to support neurodiversity and foster a more inclusive work culture.
Over a few years, IBM has progressed its program to hire Neurodivergents and is now living with an integrated neurodiverse workforce. This video series encapsulates the experience and impact this program has had on both IBM neurodivergent and neurotypicals.