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How Can A Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative Boost Business Productivity?

Nina Cofer, product marketing manager at Breezy HR weighs in…

Neurodiversity can be a competitive advantage at the workplace. Not only does this talent base provide exceptional skills to complement the team, these workers are highly-skilled. In fact, neurodiverse teams have been found to be 30% more productive than their team counterparts.

 

In this QnA, Nina Cofer, product marketing manager at Breezy HR discusses this hiring practice and shares a few key tips to keep in mind when it comes to building neurodiverse teams.

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Hi Nina! It’s good to have you back! We’d love to use this time to talk about the growing importance of building more neurodiverse teams, can you talk about your observations here and how some of the biggest companies are pursuing this goal?

Great to be back! This is a topic that I absolutely love. Neurodiverse teams are just as productive and competent–if not more so–than their neuro-typical counterparts. Neurodiverse candidates have a lot to bring to the table, and although they may lack some of the social soft skills, they are every bit as qualified when it comes to the hard skills of the job. Microsoft is a great example of how changing your hiring process for neurodiverse candidates can help immensely and result in a better overall experience for these candidates.

Read More: The Changing Face of Employee and Health Benefits: a Chat with Steve Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer at Alegeus

What are some of the biggest benefits of hiring and building out a more neurodiverse team? Can you share some examples, thoughts on how HR heads and team leaders can identify candidates when hiring virtually is the norm today (because of the pandemic and otherwise)?

One of the biggest benefits to hiring neurodiverse candidates is that each person will bring something new to the table. They will undeniably bring a great skill set, but will also be a great culture-add to your team.

I would say to be less concerned about identifying a neurodiverse candidate from their resume or first couple of emails, but if you see a candidate struggling to look at the camera in a video interview or looking excessively nervous, be agile and switch to a more straightforward, quick interview. Once you get to know the candidate better (yes, you should get to know your candidates!), you may be able to pick up if they are neurodiverse and ask them what helps them work more efficiently and if they would prefer an online assessment rather than a one-to-one interview. You can glean just as much information in non-traditional forms if you take an extra minute to accommodate these candidates. You will be thankful that you did!

In what ways according to you will teams who focus on building neurodiverse teams need to inculcate employee best practices, to create a balance and bond at the workplace?

Always have resources available for employees on what neurodiversity is, how to communicate, and create groups for your employees to get to know each other better. Get involved, ask questions and most importantly, understand that what makes someone different also makes them great.

Any cautionary tips for teams still putting in place their neurodiverse hires (onboarding) or hiring policy?

Check your bias at the door. Understanding the differences in people is one of the best ways to keep the human in hiring. If you truly want to tap into this diverse talent pool, you will need to put an arsenal of hiring techniques in your back pocket. Be agile, always keep learning, and again, get to know your candidates.

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Breezy HR is a recruiting platform and applicant tracking system that believes hiring doesn’t have to be messy. Based in Jacksonville, FL and with customers around the world, Breezy has thrown out the traditional hiring model and replaced it with a set of tools that engage hiring teams, manage day-to-day chaos and ensures teams continue to attract and hire great employees with less effort.

 Nina Cofer is a product marketing manager at Breezy HR, an applicant tracking system based in Jacksonville, Florida. Nina’s entrepreneurial spirit, creative mind, and artistic talent have given her more than a decade of experience working in marketing, pay-per-click advertising, web and graphic design, and search engine optimization.