Managing Neurodiverse Employees
DEI: Neurodiverse Training for Leaders, Managers, and Teams
How much profit and employee retention is your company losing every hour because your culture and systems only support how your neurotypical employees think and work?
Most companies don't realize the massive daily losses they're incurring because their neurotypical cultures unnecessarily result in low fulfillment, low ROI, low efficiency, low retention rates, weak productivity, high retraining costs, and high recruiting costs.
A little education on how brain operating systems work ,and the creation of better strategic systems, can quickly and easily solve these problems while benefiting both neurodiverse and neurotypical team members. And even better, these more efficient systems result in improved communication, productivity, efficiency, fulfillment, and employee retention.
ADHD and neurodiverse employees' talents are often undervalued and mismanaged because company management is focusing on executive function related inputs (i.e. writing reports and spreadsheets, how many keystrokes we use, being on time for meetings, hitting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, shifting between responsibilities, being focused in meetings, not speaking up at inappropriate times, following through with projects, getting started on tasks without procrastinating, and not being chronically late) that require higher executive function and working memory than our neurodiverse brains have.
This is understandable until you realize that our brains have 20% executive function. Then, it’s important to shift deliverables to fit our brain’s operating system. It’s more effective to ask us to deliver valuable high ROI outputs (i.e.; solving hard problems, hitting high ROI goals faster, developing better products, features, and customer satisfaction, attraction and retention) that are being overlooked.
1 in 20 adults have ADHD and 1 in 5 are neurodiverse.
Do you know how many neurodiverse employees work for your organization?
Do you know how to evolve your company culture to maximize the benefits they deliver in areas where your neurotypical employees aren’t as strong?
“A growing number of prominent companies have reformed their HR processes in order to access neurodiverse talent; among them are SAP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Microsoft, Willis Towers Watson, Ford, and EY. Many others, including Caterpillar, Dell Technologies, Deloitte, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS, have start-up or exploratory efforts under way.” - Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business Review
You can think of neurodiverse and neruotypical as brain operating systems similar to how Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows, and Google Chrome are different cloud and computing operating systems. None of them are wrong, they are just different in how they operate.
If you have primarily used a Windows OS for 10 years and then take a new job where you are asked to work every day on an Apple computer running an iOS operating system, you’re going to run into challenges because some things are similar and many things are different in how to operate them.
Differently Abled, Not Disordered
While neurodiversity is categorized as a ‘disorder’, that’s not how many of us neurodiverse folks experience it. Rather, we feel challenged by living with a neurodiverse brain expected to perform in neurotypical ways.
Because our culture and most of our business systems are built for how neurotypical people think and do things, neurodiverse people are continually told every day that we are doing things wrong because they aren’t done in a neurotypical way.
Our biggest challenges are around organization, planning and working memory because of our low percentage of executive function, dopamine, and rejection sensitive dysphoria. When company systems understand this, and support how our brains work as well as which tasks we excel at, we consistently over deliver.
Most of us neurodiverse folks live with challenges that are invisible to our coworkers and managers. This is because we usually have very high IQs and overproduce in many areas. This can be confusing to a neurotypical person when we’re weak at performing tasks related to executive function and working memory.
Limited Executive Function
When the smart person who had the best product idea in the company forgets about meetings or usually can’t be on time it can look like she’s just selfish or doesn’t care. In reality she may care a lot though her ADHD brain chemistry is the reason for these behaviors, rather than it being a conscious psychological choice.
We simply don’t want to do tasks that we know we’re not good at, that take us ten times longer to finish, that produce weak results that are going to disappoint our teams and managers, and that will have us apologizing yet again for delivering another unfilled expectation to a neurotypical team member. All of which means we’re also full of anxiety and expecting rejection while doing the tasks because our job role requires it from us.
Imagine if that time was used instead to have us do tasks that neurotypical employees cannot do or cannot do well, but have us work on tasks that we’re excellent at and enjoy doing. This is a much more effective way to support us into being loyal, fulfilled, and effective in driving innovation, productivity and ROI for the company.
If you would like to learn more about how to support, retain, & unlock more efficiency from your neurodiverse team members please contact us to learn more. Your teams and your company deserve to have the most effective and fulfilling culture possible. We’d love to help you create powerful systems to get you there.