Top Tips for Managing Neurodiverse Employees

If you’re looking for work, it’s never been easier to find work in Vancouver. The city, like the rest of Canada, is taking strong strides as it comes out of the global pandemic, and many companies are actively hiring for many different positions. However, if you’re an employer, it can be overwhelming trying to comb through the applications for each job, looking for that next superstar to take your company to the next level. It’s at this point when you need to look to the movers and shakers in your industry to look for the next hiring trends to look out for. Major players like Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase and SAS have all found the key for unlocking future growth: neurodiversity.

Benefits of Neurodiversity In The Workplace

There are many reasons why these big corporations are hiring neurodiverse employees to solve the problems of the future. Some off the biggest benefits they’ve found are:

  • Blue sky thinking

    it’s often said that autistic individuals see the world in a different way. What this actually means is that they have different ways of perceiving and understanding social situations and problems. In the workplace, this comes out as blue sky thinking, and neurodiverse employees have a solid history of finding novel solutions to existing problems and finding ways to streamline their practices.

  • High levels of concentration

    while it’s true that no two neurodivergent people are exactly alike, there are some common hallmark traits. One of the most frequent is the ability to focus on specific tasks for extended periods of time. This is especially true if the task or job is one that is of particular interest to the worker. You’ll also find high levels of concentration when the task is one that is routine-based, or that can be completed with a series of checklists.

  • Streamlined communication

    finally, companies who have hired neurodiverse individuals have shared that they have found that communication between all employees improved significantly. While there will be a variety of factors that affect this, the most common reason is that autistic individuals like to deal in concrete, literal language use. This means that others learn to avoid abstract linguistic tools such as sarcasm, idioms and innuendo. All of these can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding, but when they’re absent, communication becomes streamlined and the overall morale across the company improves.

How To Manage Neurodiverse Employees

With all the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace, it can seem strange that the employment rate for autistic workers in British Columbia persistently hovers around 20%. Again, there are many factors that affect this, but one of the most common findings in scientific research shows that most companies are worried about how to include and manage neurodiverse employees. However, with the right training for all parties, you can start to reap the benefits.

Training For The Employee

To successfully manage neurodiverse employees, you first of all need to make sure that they’re trained and ready for the workplace. This workplace preparation falls into two sections: being ready to do the specific job, and being ready to handle a neurotypical workplace. The former is relatively easy to do with your in-house onboarding and training programs, while the latter requires more specialist help targeting the specific autistic worker. Working with an autistic talent management agency will help to make sure that your new hire is ready to navigate meetings, deadlines and professional feedback sessions.

Training For Your Staff

It’s essential to remember that your new neurodiverse employee is only part of the equation for successful hiring. Your existing staff may not have any direct exposure to autistic individuals in their day-to-day lives, and the sad truth is that there are still plenty of negative stereotypes about autistic individuals promoted by the media and movies. You’ll need to make sure you have provided access to in-house training and information sessions about autism, including best practices about how to include and assimilate their new colleague into the team. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have an autism expert on hand to deliver this training, however, so again it makes sense to work together with an autism talent management agency that will be able to provide this initial autism awareness training.

Training For Managers

The final piece of the puzzle to make sure your neurodiverse hiring program is a success is to make sure that those with supervisory responsibility for your autistic worker have some guidance about how to get the best out of them. This will include mediated meetings, discussions about how to give positive, constructive and concrete feedback as well as tips and strategies for integrating the new employee with the rest of the team. Unsurprisingly, it will help to work together with the same autism talent management agency to provide this support to help you realize the full benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace.



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