This morning we held a lecture talk on ‘How Neurodiverse Talent Can Benefit Your Business’ – an important topic which is often overlooked. The event was run by Adam Tobias, Co-Founder of The Inventum Group.
APA Chief Executive Steve Davies introduced the guest lecturer and the purpose of this talk, explaining the need for an informative event which educates the public, specifically those in the creative industries, on managing an inclusive workspace for the neurodiverse community. Moreover, how this neurodiverse talent could benefit our industry and provide a bright and fresh outlook to the work being done within production and advertising.
Adam began his lecture by identifying what conditions fall under the neurodiverse umbrella and giving a general outlook on the condition categorised under the label ‘neurodiverse’. He then explained the symptoms of the most common conditions (such as ADHD, dyslexia, ASD & more) you may encounter in the workplace and provided some tips and advice on how to approach such symptoms.
In order for our members to gauge a realistic understanding of what a neurodiverse individual may experience, Adam provided statistics detailing the most common conditions, the number of people experiencing these conditions around the world and how many of those people are likely to have other conditions. Backed with further statistics, Adam then explained the small likelihood of treatment being a viable option and further discussed the difficulties that people in the neurodiverse community go through, such as low self-esteem, a proportionately high rate of suicide and substance abuse.
The importance of familiarising the audience with some general knowledge of the neurodiverse community is to provide them with a different perspective on the neurodiverse experience. The workplace and employers should not look at a neurodiverse individual as ‘challenged’ but as someone with different capabilities and most importantly, with the right support, neurodiverse individuals are truly the most ambitious and loyal innovators to join your team.
But how do you provide the right support for a neurodiverse individual in the workplace?
Disclosure is the most important step in providing a safe and inclusive environment for your neurodiverse employees and co-workers, and the easiest and most respectful way of asking if someone has any neurodiverse conditions is by asking them whether they require any adjustments for their workday or interview (if they haven’t been hired yet). It isn’t always easy for neurodiverse people to disclose their condition, so any way that you can show your commitment to diversity ahead of engaging with neurodiverse people will help them to feel seen.
There are also various ways of training your peers and employees to be empathetic and understanding towards neurodiverse conditions such as:
- Training managers & colleagues in what to expect
- Try different attraction & assessment methods
- Set up a support system
- Customise career development
- Don’t generalise conditions
- Ask what support has worked before
You can find out more about neurodiverse inclusivity in the workplace by reading through the initiatives in our Initiatives Directory, which we are continuing to expand this year. Please find the deck from today’s event attached below.