- While companies have made progress regarding neurodiverse inclusion, 34% of neurodivergent respondents to a Texthelp survey said they had difficulty in recruitment and interview processes and 32% said they have “experienced lack of career progression,” according to the report released Sept. 13.
- One big barrier to inclusion is a lack of awareness, the report noted. Most people surveyed (91%), including neurodivergent respondents, were not aware of how common neurodiversity is, Texthelp said. “Raising awareness could help to reduce some of the challenges experienced in the workplace,” Texthelp said, including communication barriers — a commonly reported problem.
- Texthelp suggested employers create more awareness and training about neurodiversity; develop support networks for neurodivergent workers; provide inclusion technology tools to everyone; and employ more neurodivergent workers.
More employers, especially in the tech space, have highlighted neurodiverse hiring initiatives to attract and retain talent. Microsoft, for example, expanded its Neurodiversity Career Connector program earlier this year and has a dedicated neurodiversity hiring program, as well. Individuals who apply through the hiring program participate in an extended recruiting process that has recruiters engage more directly with participants, answering questions about interviewing, workability and skill assessment.
Various studies — including Texthelp’s survey — have shown that workers are supportive of neurodivergence inclusion at work; members of Gen Z are particularly supportive and tend to have keen interest in DEI overall. That means neurodivergent-inclusive programs can be a retention strategy for workers of all neurotypes.
Employers can improve inclusion by focusing intently on inclusive language and retrofitting interview structures. Many autistic workers, for example, find job interviews challenging because of struggles conforming to societal norms, an expert previously told HR Dive. Focusing on skills, rather than “culture fit,” can help an employer get a better sense of whether a candidate of any neurotype would be a good fit for the job. In-office accommodations for neurodivergent workers may also be easier than employers expect. And plain language workplace policies can benefit everyone, experts have said.