Uptimize is the leading corporate training company uniquely focused on neurodiversity at work. We have always had a unique perspective on this emergent field, through working with organizations around the world on their own neuroinclusion journeys, as well as through our deep connections with academia and the neurodistinct community. Last year in 2021, we saw the emergence of a number of key trends – here, we are making our industry predictions for what should be another exciting growth year for neuroinclusion in 2022.
The 7 neurodiversity at work trends Uptimize predicts for 2022:
- Neurodiversity consistently included in the larger DEI and workplace wellbeing conversations. It is increasingly recognized that making efforts to include different thinkers is vital, with immediate benefits on hiring, culture and psychological safety, and more. Neurodiversity will no longer be a niche or overlooked category, but will continue to receive a substantial “seat at the table” at upcoming HR & DEI conferences, podcasts and webinars.
- Full scale, enterprise-wide neuroinclusion initiatives. The earliest neurodiversity programs followed the disability hiring paradigm – focused, targeted hiring initiatives designed to hire and retain ‘new’ sources of talent. Three factors have led to the scope of neuroinclusion initiatives now being far broader: 1) the rise of empowered neurodistinct self-advocacy (see below), with increasing recognition of the neurodiversity already present in the organization; 2) the successes of these early programs and recognition that neuroinclusion benefits everybody; and 3) the extent and scale of talent challenges facing organizations today like the “War for talent” and “the Great Resignation”, that require talent solutions at scale to combat.
- More data. As more and more organizations embrace neuroinclusion, and share their findings and results, we will continue to see both qualitative and quantitative evidence of both the social and business case for greater (and urgent) neuroinclusion.
- The emergence of the ‘Head of Neurodiversity’ role. Initial initiatives were often staffed by executives often with demanding “day jobs”. As the coverage and reach of neurodiversity initiatives necessarily grows, we are beginning to see senior executives in full time roles as neurodiversity “Czars” in their organizations, with unprecedented resources and mandates to drive neuroinclusion.
- The continued rise of self-advocacy. As mentioned above, the rise of the neurodiversity ERG has been one of the most important and notable trends over the past 24 months, and this is likely to continue as organizations address this gap, and as existing ERG members move firms and look to build new groups at a new employer. Such self-advocacy continues to play a vital role both in advocating for bottom-up change, and in shaping and guiding that change, hence…
- “Nothing about us without us”; neurodistinct employees taking a key role in their own organization’s initiative. Effective neurodiversity initiatives require the active participation and or/leadership from the neurodistinct community in the organization. Champions like Nat Lyckowski (IBM), Austin Aja (Salesforce), and Rachel Craddock (Thales) are all examples of neurodistinct professionals that have taken key roles in their organization’s neurodiversity initiative. All have become influential leading voices in the field both internally and externally to their own employer.
- Greater upstream support for neurodistinct students. Undergraduates who identify as having a disability or different thinking styles make up a significant portion of the upcoming graduating class (nearly 20%), and campus recruiters cannot ignore this untapped workforce. Landmark College and Stanford have programs training and matching students with positions, and we will see an increase in 2022.
According to Forbes, the neurodiversity movement came of age in 2021. Is your company embracing and leveraging the unique strengths that your neurodistinct employees bring? Uptimize’s neurodiversity training helps organizations achieve greater “neuroinclusion” – helping them hire untapped talent, create better places to work, and leverage true “diversity of thought”.