There have been many social shifts in the modern-day workforce as we change how we view our team members. People managers, recruiters, and organizational decision-makers have increased focus on diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. Yet, one aspect of DEIB remains overlooked despite its importance – neurodiversity at work.  

Simply put, neurodiversity means that everyone’s brain is wired differently. So, when companies acknowledge and adapt to these differences, they can get the most out of their team.

What is Neurodiversity at Work?

Studies show that around 1 in 7 people at work have neurodivergent traits. On a larger scale, about 15-20% of the world’s population experiences some form of neurodiversity. So, if someone’s thinking and nervous responses don’t match what’s usually expected socially, they are considered neurodivergent.

As such, the general term of neurodivergence includes people with:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • And other related disorders. 

People with neurodivergent traits learn, work, and communicate in unique ways at the job. So, they might need some adjustments to do their best.  

Recognizing a Neurodiverse Company

A workplace that values neurodiversity is a supportive place where everyone can be themselves, no matter how they think or feel. So, it’s important to create and keep a neurodiverse organization because more people are recognizing that they have unique ways of thinking and feeling. 

Companies that embrace neurodiversity appreciate the unique thinking of each team member. So, everyone gets the same chance to succeed based on their skills. In these companies, all employees should also understand neurodiversity and know how to communicate well with others who may think differently.  

Office space - Neurodiversity at work blog

As such, workplaces that support neurodiversity usually have tools and changes that make it easier for individuals to do their jobs. 

In a neurodivergent office, for example, there might be special rooms to help people with autism disorders take a break from the busy workplace. So, these rooms have soft lights, calming colors, and panels to reduce noise. Thus, creating a peaceful space to relax the senses. 

Inclusive companies should also have clearly outlined neurodiversity requirements as a part of their DEIB policies. Those in charge need to make sure there are clear rules and consequences for bullying and harassment related to neurodiversity. So, these documents help define how employees should be treated. Also, it helps to make them feel secure and trusting in the company. 

A neurodiverse culture should encourage teammates by creating a psychologically safe and welcoming workspace. For instance, you could implement initiatives like installing hooks around the office to store noise-canceling headphones or setting aside low-traffic areas that help reduce social anxieties.     

How Neurodiversity at Work Affects Employee Experiences

If neurodivergent employees are hired in a workplace that mostly suits neurotypical people, they might face challenges in their careers over time. This could impact how they communicate and work with their team. It could also affect how they handle stress. Redesigning an employee-first workplace that favors  neurodiversity can elevate overall talent experiences, such as:

  • Broadening employee mindsets and creativity with positive influences from contrasting points of view.  
  • Introducing new skills and proficiencies in the workplace environment that could lead to new industry opportunities and collaborative techniques. 
  • Discovering breakthrough solutions since neurodivergent contributors may offer innovations overlooked by neurotypical team members. In one notable example, a neurodivergent employee’s attention to detail saved a company an estimated $40 million with a technical solution. 

The Benefits of Welcoming Neurodiversity at Work

Some employers still think that neurodiverse people don’t have the right skills and attitudes to do their jobs well or fit in with the company culture.

Research from The Institute of Leadership found that many biases exist against employees and job candidates with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD/ADD. More than half of the neurodivergent people in the study said that their colleagues in the workplace act in a way that makes neurodivergent colleagues feel left out. 

Overcoming Traditional Misconceptions about Neurodiversity at Work

More and more scientific studies are questioning old ideas about neurodivergent people at work. So, employers used to worry that neurodivergent employees might not socialize well, disrupting teamwork and the company’s success. But, research has shown that many people on the autistic spectrum actually enjoy socializing.  

Research has also shown that neurodivergent individuals can show exceptional mental function in pattern recognition, memory, and creativity. 

For instance, neurodivergent individuals have consistently scored higher in the Embedded Figures Test for identifying specific shapes within a larger design. The test reveals a person’s attention to detail, critical for various company roles and responsibilities. 

These cognitive skills enable neurodivergent talent to contribute to your organization through enhanced and multi-talented teamwork. 

Creativity is really important in today’s jobs. Studies show that 61% of employees often need to come up with new ideas at work. This creativity is essential for companies to be innovative and stand out from their competition.

A workplace that values neurodiversity encourages different ways of thinking, which is crucial for being creative. So, this kind of thinking helps speed up brainstorming, allowing your company to collect many different perspectives quickly. It also helps them to come up with powerful solutions faster. 

Improved Company Loyalty through Neurodiversity at Work

Brand Loyalty
Magnet and figures of people. Customer acquisition and retention.

Neurodiverse people are often hesitant to say they are different. So, this means they are more likely to support your company’s efforts for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) without forming exclusive groups. So, having a neurodivergent team also makes employees more loyal to the company. Studies show a retention rate of over 90% in these cases.  

The increased loyalty in a company may come from neurodivergent individuals’ tendency to follow rules. So, they are more likely to stick to the guidelines and procedures in your company policy. In some cases, this might also lead to a lower chance of breaking rules and causing problems in work relationships.

Eva Silvertant, the co-founder of Embrace Autism, thinks that following rules might be a way for neurodivergent individuals to manage overwhelming thoughts. So, this means your teams can rely on them for ongoing tasks and responsibilities.   

Expand Your Talent Pool with Neurodiversity at Work

A company that values neurodiversity can bring in and involve more skilled individuals with different ways of thinking and abilities. So, having a diverse pool of talent is helpful, especially in jobs where there’s a lot of competition. Job search firm WilsonHCG suggests 4 proven methods for attracting qualified neurodivergent hires as outlined below:

  1. Educating your team on neurodiversity – Getting training from organizations that know a lot about neurodiversity and good communication helps your team work well with neurodivergent talent. You can also team up with these organizations to show your support and boost your reputation with neurodivergent job candidates.
  2. Redefining hiring policies and practices to include neurodiversity – Using concise and unbiased language in your job description (JD) and titles is important for attracting every potential candidate. A job application that’s easy to understand makes the hiring process smooth and helps job seekers know what to expect from your company.
  3. Taking on a skills-first approach to hiring – Your hiring rules and culture should be open to people with various ways of learning and different educational backgrounds. It’s also important to teach hiring managers how to fairly evaluate someone’s character. So, teach them how to choose the most skilled person based on their abilities and merit. 
  4. Providing continuous engagement – To diversify your team, keep talking to existing members and understand diverse needs. This is how you will build strong relationships for a culture of belonging, boosting loyalty and retention.

How To Create a Neurodiverse Workplace

To make a neurodiverse workplace, adjust the regular office to fit different ways of thinking and behaving. So, create a culture that suits all types of minds by raising awareness and providing personalized accommodations.

Collaborate With Community Organizations

Community groups can help boost your neurodivergent recruitment efforts by directing qualified prospects to your organization. These community partners may include government-funded job agencies, educational bodies, and non-profits. 

In addition, think about promoting your company’s aim to have a more diverse workforce, including neurodivergent individuals, and offering good career opportunities for everyone. So, make sure you explain your values related to DEIB. You must also show how a team with different viewpoints can help your company’s mission and contribute to the community.  

You can also share real-life examples where a team with neurodivergent members used their skills to solve a problem. So, talk about the support your company provides, like special arrangements. Also, share how it helps team members do well at work. 

Kickstart Employee Journeys With Neurodiverse Hiring Strategies 

Keep checking and updating your hiring rules to make sure every candidate easily fits into your work culture that supports neurodiversity. Recognizing different thinking styles helps create a meaningful onboarding process. Thus, making new hires feel accepted and valued in your company.  

So, make sure your job application process is easy to use and uses inclusive language. In addition, when talking about neurodiversity in job descriptions, avoid terms like “special needs” or “differently-abled.” Also, don’t mention the level of functioning needed for the job.

Describing a job as “high-functioning” can be offensive and restricting to neurodivergent candidates. So, it might give the wrong idea about their abilities. So, make sure to follow the latest DEIB rules when writing your job descriptions and application forms.

The American Disabilities Act says that employers must give reasonable help to employees if needed. So, this might include making job requirements easier to understand and offering different ways for potential hires to contact you during their application.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides a comprehensive list of accommodations to help encourage a positive and neuro-inclusive hiring experience through effective HR communication. These accommodations include sun-simulating desk lamps for improving attentiveness for employees with ASD and dedicated time management applications for individuals with OCD. 

Streamline Your Talent Acquisition Campaigns

Ongig’s Text Analyzer tool can find and change job description words that might not be welcoming to neurodivergent candidates. The AI-supported software takes out biased language and makes the information better, so it attracts the right candidates.

The Ongig team constantly fine-tunes and updates the Text Analyzer algorithm with the latest research on candidate behavior and job market trends. 

The advanced program can help remove jargon and suggest the ideal JD length and readability level to keep prospects engaged throughout their application.

Organize Regular Neurodivergence Awareness Programs

Workshops and meetings throughout the company teach hiring managers and employers about different ways people think and the best ways to work with them. Neurodivergence programs can help provide:

  • The knowledge for establishing more inclusive hiring practices.
  • Conducting employee assessments.
  • Improving accessibility within the organization.  

You can also give these workshops to non-management employees. They can also learn useful skills to work better with neurodivergent team members and communicate more effectively.

Attending these insightful sessions can also give participants a clearer understanding of their neurological processes and discover actionable solutions for boosting their productivity.

Prioritize a Supportive Work Climate

Supporting neurodiversity at work means more than just giving accommodations to team members based on their needs. In reality, it’s mostly about creating a supportive and respectful environment where every employee can do well, communicate, and grow in their careers. 

Your workplace can offer special therapy sessions in your wellness programs for employees. Therapists who understand and support neurodiversity can teach important skills to help individuals accept their uniqueness and deal with challenges in stressful parts of their work. 

In addition, make sure the therapists you choose have the right experience to understand and acknowledge your employees’ unique ways of thinking. So, your therapists should never see neurodivergence as a personal problem or illness that needs fixing.

Implement An Interactive Approach 

Sometimes, offering the help you think your employees need might not work well if they feel it’s limiting and dismissive. So, some employees might not ask for support, even if they qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that companies work closely with employees through a tactful interactive approach to establish the most suitable accommodations for their needs. The steps in an effective interactive process include:

  • Assessing a specific role and determining the purpose and functions needed to fulfill required tasks. 
  • Speaking with neurodivergent team members respectfully to highlight potential job-related limitations and decide how you can mitigate them with suggested accommodations.
  • Discussing the range of accommodation options and their benefits to decide the best approach for the company and employee. It is crucial to gain the employee’s consent before finalizing an accommodation. 

Regular and open feedback surveys can provide neurodivergent employees with appropriate and proactive support. During these discussions, you should avoid sensitive topics such as your employee’s medical treatments or diagnoses. So, quality interactive sessions should focus on discovering how you can optimize a person’s individual accessibility at work to help them function at their best.

Other Measures to Consider for Neurodiversity at Work

Some company leaders may check out other resources like Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in their organization. You can also collaborate with leaders in DEIB to raise the budgets for ERGs that support initiatives for neurodivergent employees. 

Also, having flexibility at work lets employees have a schedule that works best for them. So, this can include options like working from home or making adjustments for caregivers with young kids or sick parents who need constant care.  

Establishing Neurodiversity For Organizational Success

Organizational Success
Shot of colleagues celebrating during a meeting in a modern office

Ultimately, creating a neurodiverse workplace is about respecting the boundaries of others and accepting that each person has a unique way of thinking and responding to the world. 

Appreciating team members’ uniqueness helps stimulate creativity and other inherent mental functions so they can perform in top form and collectively improve organizational productivity. 

Your team may refer to the following quick checklist of practices to maintain optimal relationships with neurodivergent talent in your company. 

  • Avoid social labels – These stereotypes are usually self-limiting and inaccurate and can affect the morale of talented individuals. 
  • Respecting boundaries – Some people who are neurodivergent may really not like being touched or dealing with loud noises. So, in these situations, respect these team members by using a communication method that they find comfortable. 
  • Reserve judgment in workplace interactions – It is important to empower every employee with the freedom to voice their opinions and embrace the working style that helps them achieve their tasks better.   

So, making more people aware of neurodiversity makes your company known as a place where everyone has a good work experience. This also supports the main idea of DEIB in creating a future workplace where every employee can do well based on their uniqueness.   

Why I Wrote This?

The Ongig team wants to make sure everyone has an equal chance to succeed, no matter their background. So, we help employers reach that goal using our Text Analyzer tooI. This tool makes job descriptions more inclusive and effective through AI and automation. In addition, we think neurodiversity is often forgotten but is crucial for successful DEIB recruitment and hiring campaigns. Request a demo to try Text Analyzer for yourself.


  1. DiversityQ – Half of leaders and managers would not employ a neurodivergent person
  2. Nancy Doyle, National Library of Medicine – Neurodiversity at work: a biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults
  3. Ben Wiggert and Jennifer Robison, Gallup – Fostering Creativity at Work: Do Your Managers Push or Crush Innovation?
  4. YEC, Forbes – Five Benefits To Hiring A Neurodiverse Workforce You Might Not Know About
  5. Marcia Scheiner, Training Industry – The Autistic Workforce Is Here. Are You Prepared?
  6. Megan Clark, Dawn Adams, Elsevier – The self-identified positive attributes and favourite activities of children on the autism spectrum
  7. Robert D. Austin and Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business Review – Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage
  8. Sleepout – Sensory Room Ideas for Adults: A Sanctuary for Relaxation and Well-being
  9. The Institute of Leadership – Workplace Neurodiversity: The Power Of Difference
  10. Neurodiversity – National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Statistics 
  11. Serena J Cribb, Michelle Olaithe, Renata Di Lorenzo, Patrick D Dunlop, Murray T Maybery, National Library of Medicine – Embedded Figures Test Performance in the Broader Autism Phenotype: A Meta-analysis
  12. Job Accommodation Network – Interactive Process
  13. Martin Silvertant, Embrace Autism – Keep Calm And Follow The Rules 
  14. Jaime A. Heidel, Specialistterne  – Outdated Autistic Terminology Companies Should Avoid Using (And What to Use Instead)
  15. Hunt Scanlon Media – Four Ways to Attract Neurodivergent Talent
  16. Maggie Wooll, BetterUp – What is creative thinking and why does it matter? 

by in Diversity and Inclusion