Charlotte ValorFounder of the Neurodiversity Institute, recently posed this rhetorical question in a panel. She said: “As an investor, I have worked on board diversity for decades. I was asked to justify the business case for more women, for racial diversity, for neurodiversity. But seriously, what’s the business point of NOT striving for diversity? »

It’s a good question. Minority people are often required to “do the work” to educate others about our value, to justify our existence beyond our daily jobs. Not only do we have to do the job well, but we have to provide a “business case” for our inclusion in decisions and at the top tables. As a neurodiversity activist and business leader, I have spent decades lecturing on the rationale for including ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Tourettes in work. Why? Let’s review the business case for “neurotypicals”.

1. Neurotypicals represent the majority of the population.

So isn’t it fair that they are in charge of the workplace? Well, looking at the evidence, there are serious problems in the world of work right now. Endemic talent and skills gaps, the need to pivot our business models to adapt to climate change and find a way to implement sustainable success. We are going through a cost of living crisis and many of our global corporations now hold more power than sovereign states, but they lack governance, transparency and ethics. Executive pay has skyrocketed while entry-level positions in G7 countries need state subsidies to prevent hunger and homelessness. Are neurotypicals on top of all that, or do they need left-field strategic thinking?

2. It’s easier to get along in homogeneous groups

Why rock the boat and bring in people who might be difficult? In the short term, it plays out. Greater diversity research suggests that there may be short-term ease of communication in cohesive teams, but that longer-term diversity leads to increased productivity and creativity. For companies to innovate, a kind of dissonance between groups adds novelty, a welcome change from stagnation. So maybe it’s easier, but it’s not better. Difference and challenge need not necessarily result in conflict, if people are curious and enthusiastic. Working on a culture where diversity is embraced might require a change in direction, but the evidence supports the long-term payoff.

3. All of our talent management and recruiting programs are structured for neurotypicals

We therefore continue to hire in our image and to attract more and more people like us. Moving these hard-coded implicit expectations out of our HR systems and protocols is like the proverbial running a tanker, and it’s expensive. But seriously if not now, when? The talent pool has dried up. We’ve employed leaders for centuries who cut their teeth in middle management where their success depended on compliance and keeping time, while keeping everyone nice. Then we expect those same people to pivot to strategy, innovation, change with a few promotions, a longer to-do list, and maybe a few workshops or an occasional coach. It does not work. And if we keep doing what we do, we’ll keep getting what we get.

No one in any equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging role is suggesting that we need a business case to keep neurotypicals. Our work is about proportional representation. If 51% of the world’s population are women, 51% of women leaders simply ensure that women’s needs are part of the strategy – the cost of failure here affects car accident survival rateAI design and much more. 15 to 20% of the population is neurodivergent, we have genetic biological differences that carry on across generations, races, ethnicities and nations. The evolutionary case has marked clearly in the sand, and what is our business if not microcosms of humanity at large? I think mother nature made her point well.


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