“Each of us thinks in unique ways. We must start to accept people for not just who they are, but for how their minds work.”

Meghan M. Biro

What do you think, or maybe the better question is, how do you think? Many people think of a diverse workforce as including those from other races, genders and gender identities, those of various sexual orientations, people from various socioeconomic statuses, employees from various cultures and national origins with different religious beliefs and commitments, a variety of ages (generations) and those with various unique abilities. This last area, those with unique abilities, includes neurodiversity. As mobility programs explore and focus on how to better support a more diverse workforce and create a more inclusive experience in the talent mobility realm, how often is neurodiversity being considered? 

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, being "neurodiverse" means having a brain that is wired differently. According to this article in DiversityQ, "Approximately 15% to 20% of people are neurodivergent, i.e., have one of a collection of conditions that includes autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia." While some employers can't get past their preconceived negative perceptions of some of these conditions, the reality is  that neurodiverse people are gifted in many skills that are essential in the digital age.

According to this Forbes article, the world is slowly catching on to the fact that neurodiverse people make the workplace richer in many ways. Employers are beginning to recognize that, in addition to simply being the right thing to do, accommodating neurodiverse people can provide a significant competitive advantage. Hiring someone on the spectrum offers a new talent pipeline of innovative thinkers, and there is so much hidden talent available. The article points out that "The candidate whom you'd never thought you'd hire may indeed be your best hire yet!"

In this podcast, Ed Thompson, CEO and Founder of Uptimize, says that we need to "recognize that many of the challenges that neuro-distinct people can face in the workplace are the result of people, processes, and environments that simply aren’t inclusive." 

As more mobility programs work hand in hand with D&I teams to take the necessary steps to be more accepting and accessible to people of all backgrounds and talents, is this a population you have considered? It might be valuable to re-evaluate your mobility programs (policy, process, delivery, support) to consider the fact that different neurological conditions manifest in different ways, and even those sharing the same condition experience it to varying degrees. With a increasingly wider array of needs, is flexibility and personalization now a requirement to effectively providing the critical support to all employees relocating or going on assignment, including those who are neurodiverse?