Illustration of a person with different shapes superimposed over his head, indicated neurodiversity.
From Pivot Magazine

Why embracing neurodiversity benefits everyone

To acknowledge the benefits of neurodiversity, organizations must actively create a culture of inclusion and support

In today’s rapidly evolving corporate landscape, the inclusion dialogue is gaining necessary traction, embedding itself at the core of organizational strategies and values. Yet, an often-overlooked facet of this dialogue is neurodiversity, an element that is integral to fostering a dynamic, innovative and resilient workforce.


Neurodiversity is a term that was coined in the late 1990s by an Australian sociologist, Judy Singer. It’s not a medical term or a diagnosis. It refers to the way our brains function, learn and process information. Just as left-handed individuals navigate a world designed for the right-handed majority, neurodiverse individuals grapple with environments not always tailored to their unique wiring. As such, it becomes common for them to believe something is wrong with them or for others to underestimate their abilities.

Traditionally, the narrative around neurodiversity in the professional environment has been somewhat constrained. The focus often fell on the perceived limitations or accommodations that individuals with autism, ADHD or dyslexia might require. The conversation was primarily rooted in a medical or pathological model, where neurological differences were viewed through a lens of disability, often emphasizing the challenges and overlooking the strengths. Employees with these characteristics were sometimes unfairly labelled, and their unique skill sets and perspectives were underutilized or overlooked. The emphasis was on adapting these individuals to fit into pre-existing workplace structures rather than adapting the workplace to leverage their unique abilities fully.

But a new perspective is emerging, one that recognizes that difference does not equate to negative. It’s a perspective that considers the full spectrum of human abilities and has profound implications for everyone in the workplace, whether they identify as neurodiverse or neurotypical.

Organizations include large and potentially hidden neurodiverse populations with significant and hidden talents. In recent years, innovative organizations such as Microsoft, Ernst & Young, JP Morgan and Ford have all adopted inclusive recruiting processes, reporting success in hiring neurodiverse people, decreasing turnover and increasing retention rates. A conscious effort to create and support such diversity leads to more creativity, innovation, productivity and resilience, and everyone benefits.


Resilience pertains to the ability to endure adversity, adapt and emerge even stronger. Resilience is paramount in a corporate workplace marked by constant regulatory changes, economic uncertainties and shifting market dynamics.

The resilience mindset recognizes that every person, neurodiverse and neurotypical, possesses distinctive strengths and challenges. It sees the whole picture.

Consider the case of an accountant with ADHD who struggles with focus and time management but possesses an extraordinary ability to think creatively and identify patterns that others might miss. Or an autistic colleague who excels in attention to detail, making them an invaluable asset in auditing processes. In both instances, the focus is not solely on the challenges but on the individual’s unique strengths and contributions.

By shifting the mindset from deficit-focused to resilience-focused, organizations can unlock the full potential of all individuals, enhancing creativity, innovation, productivity and resilience within teams and organizations.


Organizational climates that connect neurodiversity with inclusion and ethical climates do better. And there are many benefits:

Creativity and innovation: A diverse team, including neurodivergent members, brings various perspectives and problem-solving approaches together. This diversity can lead to innovative solutions to complex financial challenges, giving organizations a competitive edge in a rapidly changing business environment.

Productivity: Neurodivergent individuals often possess hyper-focused abilities in areas that align with their interests and strengths. Harnessing these talents can significantly boost productivity within teams. Moreover, neurodivergent individuals are often strongly committed to their work, contributing to a positive work ethic.

Resilience: Neurodivergent individuals have, by necessity, developed resilience throughout their lives as they navigate a world that may not always understand and accommodate their differences. This resilience can be a valuable asset within organizations, helping them weather storms and adapt to unforeseen challenges.

However, more is needed to acknowledge the benefits of neurodiversity; organizations must actively create a culture of inclusion and support.


Here are some steps that organizations can take to harness the power of neurodiversity:

Education and awareness: Start by educating teams about neurodiversity. Encourage open conversations and dispel myths and misconceptions. Awareness is the first step toward fostering an inclusive culture.

Flexible work environments: Recognize that neurodivergent individuals may thrive in different work environments. To accommodate their needs, offer flexibility regarding workspace, hours, and work arrangements.

Mentorship and support: Establish mentorship programs that pair neurodivergent individuals with experienced colleagues who can provide guidance and support. Creating a strong support network is crucial for their success.

Inclusion training: Invest in inclusion training for all employees to ensure that everyone understands the value of neurodiversity and feels empowered to contribute to an inclusive workplace.

Accommodations: Be proactive in identifying and providing reasonable accommodations for neurodivergent employees. These accommodations can range from noise-cancelling headphones to alternative communication methods.

Ethical climates: Promote a culture of ethical conduct and integrity within the organization. Neurodivergent individuals often excel in areas where precision and adherence to rules are crucial, making them valuable contributors to ethical climates.

The benefits of embracing neurodiversity extend beyond immediate work environments. They extend to society, setting an example for inclusivity. When organizations consciously create and support inclusive climates, everyone benefits. Neurodiversity is not a challenge to overcome, it’s a strength to harness.


Check out some books that can take DEI initiatives to the next level. And find out how DEI initiatives are key to supporting LGBTQ2SIA+ employees.

Photo caption: Fifteen to 20 per cent of the population is neurodivergent, according to different studies (Freepik)