Driving ND outcomes

Striking the right balance between promoting neuro-inclusivity and achieving real world outcomes is critical to neurodiversity (ND) success, writes ND champion and Train to Win CEO Julie Mills.

More comms industry companies than ever marked this year’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week in March. Events such as this, and the Neurodiversity in Business conference I attended in April, are often a first step for businesses to get to grips with ND, providing a catalyst for uniting staff around the issue and helping to spread awareness. These foundations can then be built upon to create and support neuro-inclusive workplaces that deliver a win-win for employers and employees.

While I can’t put a number on how many comms industry professionals are now ND-aware, it’s up into the thousands and a very encouraging picture for those who care about addressing workplace inequality and capitalising on all talent.

Further evidence of blossoming ND awareness came with the wonderful news of TalkTalk/PXC’s fundraising effort for Ambitious About Autism in March, generating £366k and bringing their total raised for the charity to almost £5 million. Not only does this money go towards a wonderful cause (including work opportunities and support for those up to the age of 25), it raises the profile of autism and helps remove some of the stigma.

True measure
But despite the positive impact of much-needed fundraising there remains no true measure of practical progress made around investments into neuro-inclusion. That got me thinking about the metrics we could use as an industry to benchmark where we are and how much further we need to go to make a meaningful and compelling assessment of what’s happening at the coalface.

Investments in DEI programmes for example, like charitable giving, are an input rather than an outcome. To achieve solid neuro-inclusive outcomes I see self-examination of employment rates as the most important success factor. Not only for individuals but for businesses as a whole. Striking the right balance between investments in ND initiatives and positive neuro-inclusive outcomes has to be the goal. It’s the logical next step in embracing awareness of neurodiversity and the opportunities it presents.

With ND awareness on the up it’s time to consider your own neuro-inclusive workplace outcomes. How many people with ND traits have you interviewed, recruited, trained, developed, promoted and retained in the last year? How does this compare with other industries? I doubt we will ever see the full picture, but it’s easy for individual businesses to measure how far they are moving forward with true purpose by matching their ND inputs with desired outcomes, and then set modest goals to improve performance.

Share this story