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Comment | How to Attract and Retain Neurodiverse Talent

Rebecca Wones

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In the latest column brought to you by Skills Development Scotland about the benefits and importance of taking on neurodiverse talent, Rebecca Wones from Lexxic shares her expert opinions.

Although no organisation is the same, high performing organisations have one thing in common – an outstanding team. A winning team that all bring different talents the table.

That difference leads to increased innovation and creativity, a diverse skill set and broader insight and understanding, better problem solving and decision making, and ultimately increased productivity, revenues, and reputation. So having a diverse team is critical to business success.

Now every one of us is unique. Our brains are wired differently. So, we think differently, act differently, and have different strengths, and challenges, to bring to a team.

For people with a neurodiverse condition, like dyslexia, they will bring amazing talents to your team; big picture thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurialism for example, but they may have challenges with specific language skills, such as reading, writing, and spelling.

With one in seven people being neurodiverse (ACAS), this is a significant proportion of your current and potential workforce.

So as an organisation, it is critical to create an environment where neurodiversity is understood and to provide the right support for neurodiverse individuals, allowing them to flourish and add real value to your team.

As a specialist psychological consultancy, Lexxic believes that all minds belong, so it is our mission to inspire a working world that supports and values the talents of neurodiverse minds, empowering individuals to be their best selves at work.

Hence, we partner with organisations to make a positive difference, creating tailored, strategic change programmes and delivering psychological support services to neurodiverse talent (for example dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD), dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and cognitive functioning difficulties).

So how do you, as an organisation, attract, recruit, and retain neurodiverse talent in your team?


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Attracting neurodiverse talent

Tell your future neurodiverse employees that you are looking for people with their talents and that you value their contributions. Make sure that you have done a job analysis of the role, so that you can ensure you have an accurate job description written clearly.

Recruitment

Make it clear that you offer adjustments throughout this phase. Offer different ways of applying, for example online, video application or CV. Encourage candidates to speak up about reasonable adjustments that they may need by stating that you can offer them and giving examples.

Be clear in what you expect from the role and what is involve. Make your communication clear and neurodiverse friendly, sending information to them in an audio file as well as in a word document if possible.

Onboarding

Offer your employees the chance to have a workplace needs assessment to see if there are adjustments that would help straight away, for example assistive technology or extra time to learn new processes. Ask them what would help them settle into their new role and help their own learning.

Ongoing support

It can be useful for your candidate and employee to see what the future could hold in terms of support alongside any career aspirations that they have. Let them know that support for their neurodiversity is ongoing in the form of adjustments, updated assessments and coaching that is tailored to them.

It is really encouraging for an employee to see what will help them flourish in the workplace.


Skills Development Scotland

For more information about the support available for companies to recruit neurodivergent talent, visit SDS’ employer dedicated site Our Skills Force where you will also find more case studies to inspire you.

Rebecca Wones

Head of Psychological Assessment

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