Diversity & Inclusion

Neurodiversity and inclusive workplaces

May 7, 2021 - 2 minutes
A woman working on her laptop in her home.
In our new technology speaker series, "Innovation with a Purpose," we aim to increase colleague engagement with the tech business community, connecting with thought leaders to discuss topics such as innovation, diversity and inclusiveness.

For the first discussion, our panelists were Ultranauts' CEO and Co-Founder Rajesh Anandan and Senior Vice President of Quality and Strategy Nicole Radziwill. Founded in 2013, Ultranauts is a U.S. engineering and quality assurance firm where 75% of its employees are on the autism spectrum. One of the ways Ultranauts provides value to its customers is through a universal workplace design that specifically embraces a diverse workforce.

Rajesh and Nicole talked about embracing neurodiversity – the differences in the way the brain thinks and operates, particularly when it comes to autistic individuals – and the business benefits of accommodating diverse thinking patterns. We've highlighted a couple of key perspectives from the panel on how embracing neurodiversity can be a competitive advantage for organizations.

Focus on value, not mechanics

What's needed: Building confidence amongst teams allows colleagues to be their true selves and access their full potential when contributing to the success of an organization. However, the world wasn't designed with everyone in mind, and some alternative thinking styles and talents can be overlooked if the tools to support them aren't readily available.

Benefits: Businesses should consider implementing initiatives and creating an environment to bring out the best in each person and creating a path to meaningful work for all, instead of trying to "accommodate" one person's individual needs. This approach supports more cognitive diversity within teams as there are more avenues to bring forth valuable expertise, perspectives and insights that can drive outputs in many ways.

Flexibility needs to be the new normal

What's needed: A range of technical, social, physical or collaborative resources allows for a variety of different brain types and thinking styles to flourish from the beginning – as what might work for one person may not work for another.

Benefits: These various tools can support businesses with identifying the strengths of their colleagues and connecting those strengths to different frameworks and capabilities. The current pandemic has allowed many individuals working remotely to contribute and complete tasks using these alternative methods. Some of these innovative solutions will likely remain intact when most businesses return to the office; enabling a hybrid working environment for employees to choose their preferred tools and spaces.

Transforming the workplace in this way can build an environment of trust and respect. People can come together, enjoy how they work, and utilize tailored systems that bring out the best of everyone.

Find out more on how we support our colleagues and build inclusive environments on our Diversity & Inclusion page

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