The importance of workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has grown significantly since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies need to be more resilient than ever to move beyond the current crisis and its potential long-term impact — and organizations with more inclusive cultures are likely to show more resilience. Companies develop this type of resilience by creating an authentic work culture driven by corporate leadership and extending through the entire organization.
As industries around the world face the most challenging times in their history, companies must realign their organizations in this post-Covid environment to find success. This means designing new methodologies for operation, introducing new products and services, or even shifting to an entirely new business model. People from diverse backgrounds pitching innovative ideas will be crucial to such efforts. In these circumstances, companies that embrace neurodivergence in the workplace will be able to forge a better culture of trust, collaboration and inclusion — where all employees feel like they have a voice. Why does this matter?
Neurodivergent individuals help drive a solution-centric organizational culture by questioning the status quo and finding new ways to address common bottlenecks. According to Harvard Business Review, a team of neurodivergent software testers at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, having identified a recurring issue with the project launch process for a particular client, worked with the client to mitigate the challenge. In another instance, a neurodivergent customer support analyst at SAP designed a DIY troubleshooting guide that saved precious time for thousands of customers.
Having neurodiversity representation in the workplace has the following additional benefits:
Boosting business performance. Many studies support the idea that DE&I is not merely an additional metric but an integral component of a successful organization. For example, a 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group found that organizations having a more diverse management team generate 19% more revenue due to increased innovation. The study is significant for startups and industry sectors where innovation is the key factor for growth. Further, respondents in a 2018 Hays Asia Diversity and Inclusion report identified improved company culture, improved leadership and greater innovation as three major results of DE&I initiatives in the workplace.
Leadership and balanced teams. Many organizations have not been structured to deal with today’s demographic realities, which puts them at a competitive disadvantage. To be truly effective, a company’s leadership needs to reflect the communities it serves. Diverse and inclusive teams are better at solving complex business problems, and companies that have built balanced leadership teams are more capable of realizing the benefits of DEI than companies that still prefer a more homogenous leadership and team structure.
The Next Few Years
Younger generations are set to make their mark on DE&I in the workforce. While older generations view DE&I through a lens of demographics, race and gender, millennials see diversity as a melting pot of varying experiences, individual perspectives and diverse backgrounds. Conservative estimates have predicted millennials will comprise nearly 75% of the global workforce by 2025. This means that they will occupy most leadership roles in the coming decade, bearing the responsibility of making important decisions affecting workplace culture and people’s lives. Millennials have a unique view on diversity. It is the convergence of ideas that can spell success for any organization.
DEI has a positive impact on business performance. It leads to enhanced creativity, better problem-solving abilities and stronger governance. In particular, neurodiverse workers coming from varied backgrounds bring their own perspectives that help organizations to outperform their peers.
Interested in learning more? Reach out to Rangam’s DE&I leadership team at firstname.lastname@example.org.