‘Neurodiversity’ is a hot topic in the world of work. However, are organizations putting in real effort to make the changes that their neurodiverse workers require? Firstly, they must have a quotient for neurodiversity. This will help organizations to understand what their neurodiverse workforce percentage currently is and what their goal percentage should be. So, let’s discuss it.
What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is a term that refers to the diversity of human brains and minds, the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.
When thinking about neurodiversity, it’s important to understand that there is no ‘right’ way of thinking or learning. By that same logic, you shouldn’t expect one neurodivergent person to be the same as the other, even if they have the same neurological condition. Multiple neurological or developmental conditions are understood in the category of ‘neurodiversity’, these include:
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- and more…
The percentage of people who are neurodivergent changes depending on what article you read, some say 10% others 30-40%. This figure varies as it’s hard to measure. But the most commonly referenced statistic is “15-20% of the population are neurodivergent”.
A lot of people may not even have the knowledge to identify that they are neurodivergent which makes the number of people diagnosed significantly lower than it really is. In turn, the quotient of neurodiversity is much harder to calculate compared to a physical condition.
Why are quotients relevant to the discussion of neurodiverse workers?
A ‘quotient’ is defined as a quantity produced by the division of two numbers. It can be helpful to identify what progress is needed in a business between different characteristics like age, gender, ethnicity, and neurodiversity.
It’s important to set quotients so you have an understanding of the diversity within your organization. They’re not only helpful in gaining understanding of neurodiversity within the company, but other types of diversity as well. Once you figure out a quotient, you can encourage vital conversations and changes in your organization surrounding diversity. In terms of neurodiversity, it is a great way to share knowledge surrounding the subject. A conversation may make your current neurodivergent workers feel encouraged and more comfortable to open up about their barriers.
What does this mean for your organization?
In an ideal world, your neurodiversity quotient would reflect the percentage of the population who are neurodivergent. For example, if it’s 15-20%, the same percentage of your workforce should be neurodivergent.
However, this currently isn’t the case, and many organizations are perhaps pitifully low in their neurodiverse population. Thankfully, neurodiversity is a subject that is rising in popularity, and awareness of this topic has improved.
What can organizations do?
#1 Measure neurodiversity
First, you need to identify how many of your workers are neurodivergent. You could do this in different ways, depending on how large your workforce is.
As an example, you could do a session on neurodiversity, so your workers have an understanding of the topic and consider if they could be neurodivergent. Then, once they have that knowledge, release an anonymous survey asking your workers if they might be neurodivergent and, if so, what condition they think they have.
#2 Calculate your quotient
To do this, you just calculate the percentage of people in your workforce with a neurodivergent condition. Then, you can set new goals surrounding neurodiversity and build it into your workforce strategy.
#3 Find the solution that works for your organization
Every organization is different, and each one has different budgets and requirements to grow. Fact is, not every solution will work for every organization. However, my advice would be to start making changes now. This is something you can do in different ways.
For example, you could set a percentage of your vacancies to be aimed solely at neurodiverse talent. Then neurodivergent and neurotypical candidates are not competing for the same role, and you can adapt the hiring processes to suit them. This is vital, as neurodiverse candidates often struggle to get through the ‘typical’ hiring processes which are traditionally aimed at neurotypical candidates.
This begs the question: what is a good percentage? For smaller/new organizations, it’s much easier to have a higher percentage of neurodivergent workers. However, for a bigger business than let’s say 1% of their workforce is neurodivergent, aiming for 15% would be unrealistic. To do this, they would have to replace 14% of their neurotypical workers – that just wouldn’t happen.
Organizations need to display a commitment to achieving neurodiversity goals, whether they reach them or not. It’s about adapting hiring practices and workforce management strategies that include neurodiverse talent. At the beginning of the conversation surrounding neurodiversity, it’s in every company’s interest to demonstrate their openness to all forms of diversity because it not only helps their company’s reputation, but it’s the right thing to do.
Take part in our neurodiversity survey using the link below! We’re interested to find out your thoughts on the topic: