October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and this year the Office of Disability Employment Policy has chosen “Access and Equity” as the theme to promote inclusive workplace cultures. When we think of access for the disabled, we might think of wheelchair ramps, flashing lights in addition to audible alarms for the hearing-impaired, or Braille signage. But what does access and equity look like for neurodiverse individuals, those with conditions such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia? And how can creating an organizational culture that embraces the unique strengths that come with neurodiversity benefit your business, your brand, and your bottom line?
One of the challenges in making your workplace welcoming for the neurodiverse is simply identifying who could benefit from understanding and accommodations. After all, these are “invisible” disabilities that may not be readily apparent to onlookers, making it difficult for businesses to know how many employees or applicants are affected if they don’t voluntarily disclose their condition. How common is neurodiversity? Studies estimate that it affects 15 to 20 percent of the population. In addition, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an acquired neurodiverse condition, has increased in prevalence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, your organization probably already includes neurodiverse individuals, whether you know it or not. But is your workplace culture helping them excel—or inadvertently standing in their way?
While it may be automatic to think of disability in terms of what people can’t do, neurodiversity comes with significant strengths that should not be overlooked. For example, those with autism are known for being detail-oriented, having superior pattern recognition abilities, and being capable of extended focus (particularly on topics or tasks of interest). Those with ADHD tend to be creative and adjust well to change. And across the board, neurodiverse individuals bring unique perspectives that can lead to novel solutions, providing a competitive advantage and greater financial return on investment to your organization.
However, awareness is critical for bringing those strengths to the fore. Because these disabilities are not visible, and may be poorly understood, the risk is high for a colleague’s behavior, communications, or reactions to be misinterpreted or for working conditions that could easily be modified to negatively impact their performance. The key to unlocking the full potential of your neurodiverse team members is to create a workplace culture that is receptive to and inclusive of neurodiverse talent.
Of course, inclusivity must go well beyond merely adding friendly buzzwords to the employee handbook to be effective. If you’re not sure where to start, or how to help your neurodiverse employees thrive, Iffel International can help. We offer executive coaching on how to reshape your organizational culture from within to create a better working environment for all employees, including the neurodiverse. As a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) advocate, our founder and CEO Hema Dey is passionate about disability inclusion for a simple reason—businesses win when every individual is given the environment they need for their strengths to shine.
In addition, we can help your branding accurately reflect your commitment to inclusivity and acceptance. Recognition of neurodiversity is an opportunity to reach out to those whose challenges may have been overlooked or underappreciated, even though they make up a significant fraction of the population. We create brands in tandem with our unique SEO2Sales™ process that keeps your marketing focused on profit-boosting strategies, as well as engineering ADA-compliant websites that demonstrate with concrete action that your culture truly supports inclusivity for the disabled.
In a cutthroat business environment, companies can’t afford to be behind the curve. Those that recognize the advantages of embracing neurodiversity, both within their organization and in their customer base, gain a significant edge over their competitors. To find out more about how Iffel International can help your inclusivity efforts boost your bottom line, contact us here today.
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