Image by Frazer J. Grunshaw
We’ve recently come to understand how diversity affects us all — in society and the workplace. But there are forms of diversity we don’t talk about enough; specifically, we need to start embracing neurodiversity.
If your workplace is like most, you likely have a whole range of different thinking styles on your teams. But too often, they’re not all recognized — let alone appreciated or accommodated.
On #WorkTrends Conversations: Ed Thompson, CEO & Founder of Uptimize
In this episode of our podcast, Ed Thompson, the CEO and Founder of Uptimize, joined us to discuss the importance of recognizing — and then embracing — neurodiversity in the workforce. I’ve often said we need to revise our approach to welcoming and appreciating neurodiversity in the workplace — just as important, we need to see it as the incredible workplace advantage it is. Ed, after telling us that neurodiversity is simply “the natural diversity of human brain wiring” and “that everybody process information differently,” agrees:
“This is a sizable demographic; some people say one in 10 people might be neuro-distinct in some way. Some even say one in five. So we must recognize the strengths neuro-distinct people can bring to the workplace. We also must recognize that many of the challenges that neuro-distinct people can face in the workplace are the result of people, processes, and environments that simply aren’t inclusive.”
Ed added: “This has always been a fact of human collaboration. It’s just that until now, we humans have done a poor job of recognizing that. Nor have we taken steps to leverage neurodiversity.”
A Practical Approach to Embracing Neurodiversity
I asked Ed how we best approach neurodiversity in the workplace and talent management. His answer was enlightening:
“The key point here is all workplaces are already neurodiverse. Any manager already leads a team whose members have different preferences in how they communicate, problem-solve, and so on. Some prefer communicating in person; others prefer Slack or Zoom.” After reminding us that these preferences are an example of people being neuro-distinct, Ed suggests: “A significant number of people are neuro-distinct, regardless of whether they’ve chosen to disclose.”
“So neurodiversity isn’t a thing we need to add to our DEI efforts; it’s something we already have.”
In this episode, Ed went on to tell us how to recognize how people might be neuro-distinct, how to optimize their productivity, and what employers can do to serve everybody well — from those with distinct communication and learning preferences and needs to those who identify as autistic. In other words, he shared with us everything we need to do to start recognizing and appreciating this form of diversity in the workplace.
My discussion with Ed was everything a #WorkTrends Conversations podcast is supposed to be: informative, informal, and insightful. Please listen to the entire episode, and then ask yourself:
Is my company embracing neurodiversity? Or can we do better?
Download a Free eBook from Uptimize
We can all do better, of course. Which is why we encourage you to download your free copy of Introduction to Neurodiversity at Work: Embracing Diversity of Thought as a Talent Strategy by the sponsor of this podcast, Uptimize. In this e-book, you’ll learn how neurodiversity programs drive business results, five key tips that will help you create and execute a successful neurodiversity program, and much more.