On 30 June, Empauwer hosted a webinar – Employ, Engage & Retain Your Workforce Better by Embracing Neurodiversity.
We heard from different perspectives about the topic of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace. In our midst, we had Diversity & Inclusion leaders like Giles Matsell and Pratima Amonkar, neurodiverse talents like Geethanjali Ganapathy, and hearing from our very own, Chief of Technology, Sri Harsha.
Apprehension in Neurodiverse Hiring
“Neurodiversity is kind of considered under the disability framework, that in itself could create some challenges, as the word disability is stigmatised.”
When asked about the apprehension in neurodiverse hiring, Giles mentioned the stigma that comes with neurodiversity being under the disability framework.
Many colleagues and human resource managers would have preconceived notion of neurodiverse individuals, of their disabilities and weaknesses. Such stigmas would only affect the company’s ability to effectively view the neurodiverse candidates for their strengths, ultimately leading to lack of objective hiring.
It is understood from statistics that less than 10% of the workforce have known about neurodiversity and its benefits, thus making awareness the first hurdle.
Awareness of Neurodiversity
“Companies need to be more aware of neurodiversity, only when you understand it, you can have the appreciation, and that is where empathy comes in” – Sri Harsha
Indeed, with all the appreciation and accommodations that could be made to make a workplace neurodiverse inclusive, fundamentally there should be awareness and understanding of neurodiversity.
There is so much more to these neurodiverse individuals, their ‘superpowers’, exceptional workplace skills and even interpersonal skills. Read more about Neurodiversity in Workplaces
Many place the onus of neurodiversity awareness on the company’s management and hiring team, however, the awareness should be throughout the company, in all we do, as part of our DNA.
“It is important to manage accessibility like a business, it needs to be part of the DNA and the business conversations we have.” – Pratima Amonkar
Expectations from Neurotypical Colleagues
Beyond changing company policies and hiring practices, there needs to be accommodations made on the ground among neurotypical colleagues as well.
Geethanjali suggested that there should be an understanding to “accept variety in modes of communication – written, spoken; synchronous, asynchronous.”
With the topic of neurodiversity, different individuals have different needs, however the fundamental acceptance and understanding needs to be there.
“Expectations can be different for each person, but the underlying expectation is empathy” – Geethanjali Ganapathy
Creating a Neurodiverse Inclusive Workplace
Pratima, Board Chair at D&I Microsoft, have worked with many organizations and the community of neurodiversity at large. She spoke about how a workplace can create a neurodiverse inclusive workplace.
“It begins with the Culture – embrace the thought that working with neurodiversity is both a responsibility & opportunity”
At the heart of inclusive hiring, it is to build a company’s culture to be embracing of neurodiversity, and the workforce at large to leverage on the skills and abilities of neurodiverse talents.
It is the company’s responsibility to make such accommodation to embrace neurodiversity in their hiring.
It is also their opportunity to be a market leader, by leveraging on the innovative and ground breaking skills that neurodiverse talents have.
“Making accessibility & inclusive hiring more mainstream” – Pratima Amonkar
Ultimately, the goal would be to make inclusive hiring of neurodiverse talents the standard for all organizations.
Empauwer is a movement that seeks to connect the untapped talents of neurodiverse professionals to the hiring needs of organisations.
If you would like more information, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information on www.empauwer.com
Farida Charania – CEO
Russell Yim – Sales & Business Development
Zed Wong – Marketing