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LCN Says

What is neurodiversity at work?

updated on 11 May 2022

Reading time: three minutes

Recently, diversity and equality have been a major focus of the corporate world, and many employers have gone through great lengths to achieve more racially, culturally, and gender diverse workforces, as well as policies that are more inclusive of minorities.

As the business case for diversity and inclusion has become clearer and more evidenced, much of this has rested on the power of so-called ‘diversity of thought’ – the (proven) concept that people with varying experiences and thought processes can contribute different perspectives to their teams that benefit their organisations.


Neurodiversity refers to the natural diversity of the wiring of the human brain (how people process information differently). While there is no one ‘standard’ human brain, certain thinking styles and traits are more common, and these can lead to practical norms in societies and workplaces that disadvantage people whose preferences fall outside of those norms.


As a result, neurodistinct or neurodivergent individuals – such as autistic people, dyslexic people, and ADHDers – often find themselves marginalised in the workplace, despite bringing significant strengths in the way they process information and see the world. Such different perspectives, of course, can be key inputs to a company achieving and harnessing true diversity of thought.

Due to (until recently) widespread ignorance about neurodiversity at work, many work policies and practices have been created with neurotypical employees in mind (or those whose preferences fall broadly within the social ‘norms’), creating considerable barriers for neurodistinct individuals when it comes to getting hired, promoted, and just being able to thrive on a day-to-day basis in their roles.

As a result, the term ‘neurodiversity’ has also become shorthand, over the past few years, for a new category or ‘pillar’ of corporate diversity and inclusion: alongside gender diversity, ethnic diversity, disability, LGBTQ+ inclusion, and other topics. Why? Because there is great benefit in having a workforce that is made up of employees with a wider range of cognitive approaches, perspectives and problem-solving skills.

How businesses benefit from a more neurodiverse workforce

Studies show that increased diversity in the workplace accelerates market growth. A study by K4D in the UK reported that having a diverse workforce provided benefits such as reduced costs, better products and services, enhanced corporate image, better creativity and problem solving, innovation, and greater flexibility.

In addition, diversity in the workplace is – practically speaking – an effective recruitment and employee retention tool for businesses today. Culture Shift’s recent report cited that 79% of prospective employees in Great Britain say that diversity is an important factor for their happiness at work, 40% think diversity seems like less of a priority in the workplace currently, with 50% stating it should be more of a priority. Diversity has been shown to be especially important for millennials who are looking for work.

Today, many companies are starting to realise the benefits of creating more neurodiverse workplaces, and as a result, they are establishing practices, policies and initiatives within their organisations that will allow them to attract and retain a more neurodistinct individuals.

Taking these steps helps employers to:

  • recruit untapped talent;
  • boost employee wellbeing and engagement;
  • improve employee retention levels;
  • increase innovation and productivity due to more well-balanced teams; and
  • drive up market share and revenue growth.

Read more on how firms can better support neurodiverse employees in the workplace and during recruitment in this LCN Says, written by Phil Steventon.

Ed Thompson (he/him) is the founder & CEO of Uptimize.