Is Neurodiversity Part of Your Talent Retention Strategy?

Is Neurodiversity Part of Your Talent Retention Strategy?

Neurodiversity – the fact that we are all wired differently – should be something appreciated and leveraged by all managers and teams. When it is, good things happen – greater innovation potential, greater productivity (with teams reporting 50%+ increases) and greater retention, too. Some of Uptimize’s customers have reported significantly higher retention amongst particularly neurodiverse teams, with accompanying awareness and support, as against organizational norms.


Many organizations continue to see retention issues. And if you don’t think your organization is in this group, think again! Recent research suggests employees continue to look for new opportunities – 46% of employees plan to look for work in the next three months (nectar hr).


It’s interesting, then to dig deeper into why this is the case. If employees as a whole seem restless, and often unhappy with their current role, why is this the case? And what can we learn from this as employers that understand that turnover comes with real disruption, and a real impact on the bottom line?


According to Forbes, many of the top reasons employees leave match, very closely, what we at Uptimize hear from the neurodivergent focus groups we use as part of the research that helps us build our neurodiversity training.


These include – perhaps most notably – lacking clarity on career paths and possible rewards, stress and a lack of resources and support.


At Uptimize we have highlighted the importance of the Employee Experience – and shown how many existing strategies adopted by organizations to improve it are falling flat. You can read more about this in our EX-focused eBook here:


And it’s simply the case that if you’re talent retention strategies aren’t considering neurodiversity, they’re likely to underperform in terms of achieving the tangible results desired around reducing turnover and boosting long-term employee commitment.


So how can this be changed? Well, embracing and leveraging neurodiversity isn’t just about accommodations.


Something that is consistent in our neurodiversity training at Uptimize is the importance of flexibility, for example, across all aspects of an employee’s experience and their work. With our own team, we look to practice flexibility almost obsessively, allowing team members to set their schedule, breaks, and so on. This has helped us win awards, such as featuring in TechNationals’ Top 10 Employers  – It’s also something likely to be appreciated by everybody, and not just employees who are neurodivergent: the same Forbes report found a whopping 88% of workers believe schedule flexibility is an important work arrangement.


Another key element – back to the key reasons why people are looking to leave jobs – is ensuring career development is genuinely optimized for all types of contributors. Are you, yourself, currently clear on exactly what you need to do to get to the next level? Or what types of ‘levels’ may exist, in terms of reward paths? If you’re not, chances are a lot of your employees aren’t either, and some may go in search of roles where such paths are both more numerous (allowing people, for example, to rewarded in terms of greater work responsibilities, rather than conventional management), and – crucially – far more clear. Organizations like the Rising Tide Car Wash, a business in Florida that has been build off neurodivergent talent, have focused on almost gamifying career development routes, making them more simple to understand, engaging, and motivating.


A third way to ensure neurodiversity is considered in your talent retention efforts: ensuring the culture of your organization is open, welcoming and enthused by the fact that everybody thinks, works and learns differently. Again, you may think this applies to your organization already, but at Uptimize we see a different story coming from many neurodivergent employees (and remember, this is perhaps 1/5 of the population overall!). A recent study conducted by Uptimize with the CIPD on neurodiversity at work, for example, found that a third of “neurotypical” (here, take that to mean “not neurodivergent”) employees don’t know what neurodiversity is. Two years ago, a shocking study found that 50% of managers said they wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring or managing a neurodivergent employee, even though demographic numbers suggest many already do.


When it comes to retention, culture is king, and neurodiversity training for employees, managers, HR and more can help everybody contribute to a culture that is a genuine asset in the retention of employees of all thinking styles – and one that serves to reduce costly turnover.




Want to find out more about neurodiversity at work?

Book a Discovery Call today.


Ed Thompson Founder CEO Uptimize

Ed Thompson is the CEO and founder of Uptimize – a unique corporate training platform that helps organizations attract, hire and retain talent that thinks differently. Uptimize works globally with organizations like Salesforce, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte and IBM, building robust and impactful neurodiversity at work programs. Ed has also become a frequent speaker on the topic of neurodiversity in the workplace. His book, A Hidden Force, is available now.

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