How can our organization retain our neurodiverse employees?

How can our organization retain our neurodiverse employees?

For those who may need an overview, neurodiversity is the idea that no two brains work alike. Neurological differences like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and dyslexia are the result of normal, natural variations in the human genome. Being neurodivergent means having a brain that works differently from the average or neurotypical person. However, these are not disabilities, but different abilities.

Neurodiversity can include persons identified as living with:

  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • OCD
  • Tourette Syndrome

Globally, one billion people identify as neurodivergent. Yet, neurodiverse individuals are massively underemployed. Neurodiverse individuals are often left out of the employment market due to stigma or misperceptions about their abilities. This results in an 85 percent unemployment rate among college graduates in the U.S. with autism spectrum disorder. That is a huge highly educated talent pool that employers are missing when evaluating applicants.

Additionally, retaining this talent pool may require modifications to the work environment. Some common modifications include:

  • Reducing noise by offering a private office, sound machine, noise canceling headphones, or remote work.
  • Being mindful of light sensitivity by providing anti-glare filters, fluorescent tube covers, personal visors, and window shades.
  • Considering air quality by installing air purifiers, or other odor control (the employee may need to sit away from others), and considering the use of masks.
  • Reducing stress by providing access to service animals, flexibility to attend counseling, and stress management apps.
  • Recognizing that verbal communication for this group might be different than others.

Always remember to be respectful and follow all employment laws protecting these individuals. Make sure you protect their privacy by keeping details regarding their neurodiversity private.

For more information about retaining your neurodiverse employees reach out to your Littler counsel.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.