The Business Benefits of Hiring Neurodiverse Talent
Barkuma is proud to champion the inclusion of neurodiverse individuals in the workforce. Danielle Broadway, Operations Manager – Open Employment at Barkuma, explains the advantages of hiring neurodiverse employees, debunks common misconceptions, and outlines how Barkuma supports both employers and employees on their path to meaningful employment.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is the concept that recognises and embraces the natural variation in human neurological traits and cognitive abilities. It emphasises that conditions like autism and ADHD are not deficiencies but rather unique differences in the human brain, and it encourages understanding, acceptance and accommodation rather than a medical view. Neurodiversity values the strengths and talents that individuals bring to society and promotes inclusion to harness their full potential.
Danielle explains, “Neurodiverse people have different thinking patterns, different perspectives and may be more in tune with certain things than someone who is neurotypical. So that might be gifts for numbers, processes or patterns.”
Benefits of Employing People with Disabilities
Employing neurodiverse individuals is mutually beneficial.
“For the employee, employment means developing independence, contributing to the community, all the benefits that employment bring, creating friends, social networks, earning money in an area that interests them and boosting self-esteem.” says Danielle.
For an employer, the benefits are also numerous.
“You’re potentially going to get someone who is exceptional at the role. The great thing about people with neurodiversity is that we can specifically match them to jobs that need to be undertaken. For example, you might have a job in accounting where you are looking for patterns of behaviours or occurrences of things, and it might be a really great match for someone who excels in picking up anomalies,” explains Danielle.
Other benefits include higher staff retention, increased customer loyalty, lower absenteeism, low incidence of workplace injury and a boost to staff morale
The Barkuma Difference
Barkuma supports organisations throughout their journey to hire neurodiverse employees. Their free support model includes:
- Identifying business needs and tailoring unique solutions to solve issues.
- Finding the right candidate and matching employers with neurodiverse individuals who fit their organisation.
- Assistance with job design, including setting up new roles, modification to existing roles, inductions and orientations.
- Dedicated and experienced support staff who offer the employer, employee and workplace long-term, ongoing support.
- Onsite training to ensure employees excel in their roles, and their team understands their needs.
- Regular communication to foster collaboration and success between all parties.
It’s crucial to dispel common misconceptions about hiring neurodiverse individuals, such as believing they are difficult or incapable of performing as well as neurotypical employees. In reality, neurodiverse individuals often bring exceptional skills and qualities that can benefit any organisation.
How Can Your Business Proactively Attract Neurodiverse Talent?
The easiest way to attract neurodiverse talent is to partner with a specialist provider like Barkuma, which has expertise in supporting neurodiverse individuals and connecting them with suitable employers.
Danielle says that there are other important factors.
“Consider the way you write your job ads and your job descriptions. Often, job descriptions can unintentionally discourage neurodiverse individuals from applying if they emphasise certain social expectations or teamwork skills. It’s important to focus on the core aspects of the role and use inclusive language that welcomes a diverse range of candidates, making the job posting more appealing and accessible to everyone.”
It’s important to emphasise your commitment to diversity and inclusion in your job postings. Make it clear that your company welcomes neurodiverse talent.
Challenges During the Hiring Process
Danielle advises, “Really formal job interview settings can be exceptionally intimidating for everyone, but particularly neurodiverse candidates”
Employers should consider conducting interviews in supportive and neutral environments, with a maximum of two interviewers. Providing the questions prior to the interview allows the individual to prepare and assists them to put their best foot forward. Focusing on a candidate’s skills is key. A lack of eye contact or other social behaviour is not a reflection of how a person will perform in their role.
Creating a Neurodiverse-Friendly Workplace
Employers can make their workplaces more neurodiverse-friendly by:
- Providing quiet spaces for employees to take breaks.
- Offering flexible workstations and arrangements.
- Respecting and valuing individual needs, such as sensory considerations or breaks.
- Focusing on results rather than rigid work hours or locations.
Barkuma offers ongoing support to neurodiverse employees to help them maintain employment, navigate workplace relationships and address any barriers they may encounter. This support can continue for as long as needed, ensuring the long-term success of both the employee and the employer.
Identifying, Preparing and Matching Candidates
Barkuma takes a personalised approach to identifying each candidate’s interests and skill sets. They provide work skills assessments and arrange work experiences to ensure the right fit. This tailored approach benefits both the candidate and the employer.
Embracing neurodiversity in the workplace is not just about corporate social responsibility; it’s a smart business decision. Take the first step towards a more inclusive and productive workplace. Visit barkuma.com.au or phone (08) 8414 7100