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Part 1 – Inclusive Recruitment: Attraction and Selection

Jun 10, 2024

3-minute read

Organisations should take advantage of every opportunity to attract top talent. Embracing inclusive recruitment practices is one of the most impactful strategies. This approach enhances diversity, drives innovation, improves employee satisfaction, and strengthens the company’s reputation. Research shows that companies with diverse teams are 39% more likely to outperform competitors (McKinsey & Company, 2022). Additionally, inclusive recruitment can lead to a more dynamic workplace, with varied perspectives fostering creativity and problem-solving.

When combined with psychological safety and shared understanding, diversity enhances teamwork and improves performance. Creating this environment will allow teams to tap into their full potential by approaching challenges from various perspectives, leading to better problem-solving, innovation, and growth.

Attracting neurodivergent talent

When creating job adverts, it’s important to make sure that they are welcoming to neurodivergent talent and do not exclude candidates who may not meet traditional criteria such as educational background and employment history. Using clear and concise language and focusing on only the essential skills necessary for the role will help encourage neurodivergent individuals to apply.

The job description should include company benefits and salary information and outline the organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. A report has shown that 66% of UK workers say that acceptance and inclusion of employees is important to them when searching for jobs (People Management, 2023).

Adapting job interviews

A traditional job interview can be problematic for someone who is neurodivergent, however there are many ways to adapt interviewing techniques. One strategy that John Lewis and Waitrose have recently introduced is to give job applicants the interview questions in advance. This allows the candidates to give more detailed, quality examples which can help interviewers better understand their suitability for the role.

Dell has adapted their interview process to allow applicants to showcase individual talent by presenting portfolios or having skill-based interviews. This shows that following a standardised recruitment process for every role might not lead to the best-suited candidates.

Apprenticeship programs

Designing apprenticeship programs specifically for neurodivergent individuals can help bridge the gap between education and employment. These programs should include structured learning paths, clear expectations, and mentorship opportunities. According to a report by the Autism Society (2024), more than 66% of autistic graduates are unemployed, highlighting the need for tailored programs. Apprenticeships that offer hands-on experience, clear instructions, and a supportive learning environment, are preferable for neurodivergent individuals who perhaps don’t have enough qualifications for a permanent role.

Goldman Sachs Group is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services. In 2023 they partnered with Specialisterne to create a paid internship program for neurodivergent individuals. This program uses training, coaching, and mentoring to empower participants for their future careers.

Engaging with universities

In a research study conducted in 2023 by the University of Southampton and Lancaster University, and supported by AGCAS, it was discovered that over 50% of the surveyed neurodivergent graduates were not employed in roles commensurate with their level of education. Additionally, 72% of the participants reported encountering challenges in the recruitment process. These findings underscore the presence of a substantial pool of untapped talent among neurodivergent individuals. This highlights the importance of actively engaging with universities as a proactive approach to identifying and leveraging neurodivergent talent.

Furthermore, while Career Services serves as a primary point of contact for employers, it has come to light that neurodivergent students often do not actively engage in the job search process at an early stage. As a result, it is recommended to establish partnerships with disability services and career centers to enhance opportunities for meaningful connections with neurodivergent students. This concerted approach can facilitate the effective inclusion of neurodiversity in the workforce.

Case Study: SAP

A number of organisations have focused on the implementation of inclusive hiring practices; an example of this is SAP, one of the world’s leading producers of software for the management of business processes

In 2013, SAP began its journey towards inclusion, through the Autism at Work program with specific goals of cultivating an inclusive work environment, negating barriers, and tapping into the many strengths of neurodivergent employees. Since then, SAP has successfully onboarded over 240 neurodivergent colleagues and reported a 90% retention rate for employees through the program. Furthermore, to support their commitment to inclusion they have established various Employee Network Groups (ENGs) with over 40,000 members, where they focus on attracting and engaging talent, driving D&I programs, and influencing policies.

Conclusion

In summary, embracing inclusive recruitment practices is a powerful strategy for organisations looking to attract top talent. Specific strategies such as clear job advertisements, adapting interview techniques, and designing tailored apprenticeship programs, will create a more innovative, dynamic, and equitable workplace.  

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