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The Necessity of Advocacy: How Talent Acquisition Teams Foster Neuro-Inclusivity

Nadia Clarke

Tue, 24 Oct, 2023

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes

“It takes all kinds of minds.” – Dr. Temple Grandin

In the corporate realm, the need of thinking about your team members as unique individuals is far beyond a mere alternative; it is an essential. When we sincerely comprehend how individuals prefer to operate and convey, we unleash the potential for heightened productivity and a sense of unity within teams. Without this understanding, organisations risk impeding employee contentment and team harmony.

Over the past few years, numerous organisations have taken steps to safeguard, promote, and bolster individual differences. Corporate investment into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-related initiatives, such as employee resource groups (ERGs), is projected to hit $15 billion by 2026 – a twofold increase from the expenditure in 2020.

Nonetheless, substantial progress is yet to be made – specifically concerning neurodiversity, and hence, neuro-inclusivity. Talent Acquisition (TA) teams bear a crucial role in advocating for neuro-inclusivity, endeavouring to create room for neuro-diverse individuals and ensuring their opinions are acknowledged and appreciated. These viewpoints are vital for corporate success.

Championing Talent

Despite advancements in recent times, we need to intensify efforts to proactively propose diverse ways of working and communicating – and not merely for neurotypical colleagues. This implies facilitating modifications that eliminate any hindrances that prevent your team from performing to their optimum capability.

Such modifications could encompass altering workspaces, offering bespoke equipment and training, or merely enquiring about people’s workplace environment preferences. The key lies in refraining from assuming you comprehend how people perform best.

As TA leaders, our primary business is people. Therefore, striving to understand individual differences forms the core of our operations, with the objective of empowering individuals to challenge and influence viewpoints.

Neuro-Inclusion from Employee Lifecycle Inception

Several of our neurodiverse colleagues have indicated that over time, they have felt increasingly comfortable discussing the subject of neurodiversity during their job interview, but this is not a universal experience. Numerous candidates might be wary of checking for any support or adjustments offered due to the fear of being underestimated, judged, and ultimately, rejected.

A potential solution is to assess the openness and representation of your interview panels. Without significant representation of different groups in your interview processes, it can be almost impossible for many candidates to envisage themselves in your business.

The Importance of Language

There exists an apprehension of uttering the wrong thing when it comes to the subject of neurodiversity – and around DEI in general – and this is acceptable. Much of this caution originates from a natural ‘fear of messing up’ (FOMU) and causing offence. However, the key aspect to recognise is that demonstrating commitment to continual improvement and asking questions is the sole way to dismantle these barriers and initiate sincere conversations.

Fostering an inclusive workplace is not a mere procedural task. At Elements, we have endeavoured to identify opportunities for us to learn and grow when it comes to our approach to DEI.

We initiated by establishing a neurodiversity advocates programme, where a team of our employees were formally trained to support neurodivergent colleagues – with a focus on policy and HR. But as we listened and learnt, our plans evolved.

Initially, these dedicated individuals were titled “Neurodiversity First Aiders”, with the aim of creating a safe space for awareness, education, and training. However, after consulting with our teams, we were urged to reconsider this language.

It was crucial that this title emphasised the focus on advocating the creation of an inclusive workplace, rather than providing ‘help’ for neuro-divergent individuals, leading us to settle on the title of “Neurodiversity Advocates”.

While this might seem negligible, language matters. Therefore, don’t hesitate to consult your teams, and seek feedback.

Empowering Future-Proof Talent Acquisition

Progressive TA teams keep inclusivity at the forefront of everything they undertake. By cultivating a company culture that values individual voices and welcomes innovative perspectives, we will not only promote creativity and innovation but ensure each and every employee feels a genuine sense of belonging.

Inclusion isn’t merely about presence; it’s about feeling appreciated and comfortable within the team. This blog series will persist in exploring the five crucial pillars of future-proofed TA teams:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Innovation
  3. Communication
  4. Strategy
  5. Advocacy

Work with us to transform how you attract and engage talent through embedded talent acquisition. Our experts match your company with the right talent on a flexible basis. You get an aligned, diverse, engaged team to drive your company to sustainable growth. Write to us today!

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