Microsoft Leads Mission to Promote Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Workplace diversity has been a significant issue for businesses for years, with many devoting resources to ensure that their workforces are balanced in race and gender. However, one area that has been overlooked is neurodiversity — including individuals with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other conditions.

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Neurodiversity recognizes that every individual’s mind is different and unique, but the community suffers from a higher rate of unemployment than the rest of the country, somewhere between 30% and 40%. Microsoft is taking action to reduce that number.

Inclusivity during the interview process can identify talent that may have been otherwise missed, according to Neil Barnett, the director of inclusive hiring and accessibility at Microsoft. Now, the company is putting his cause front and center. Previously, in 2017, the tech giant founded the Neurodiversity @ Work Employer Roundtable, which is made up of more than 50 organizations committed to hiring more neurodivergent talent. These efforts have led to the creation of a job portal for neurodivergent applicants across many fields and industries.

To ensure that the interview process is optimized to prevent neurodivergent talent from falling through the cracks, Barnett has identified a few best practices. Companies should be clear and concise about what is needed from the role, assess the inclusivity of their interview questions and accommodations, and promote cultural awareness about neurodiversity.