Diversity – is it only about gender?
by Tarun Gupta
How often do you consider diversity in your hiring decisions? How important is workforce diversity in winning over trust, employee engagement and eventually boosting firm’s productivity?
While gender, religion, socioeconomic status, are all critical dimensions of diversity, there is another one trending in the business community — “neurodiversity”.
Organizations are embracing this new demographic. Individuals are different by their own genotype- phenotype, and hence will have their own strengths and weaknesses. People diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder for instance are better equipped for jobs like ethical hacking, building algorithms for machine learning, a key reason why tech giants such as Microsoft, SAP, Hewlett Packard are hiring these individuals with special strengths for specific roles.
Rotate the prism, and you have people with dyslexia, who possess high visual abilities, and can process images that a non-dyslexic mind may find blurry. These guys are great at three-dimensional thinking, one that augurs well for jobs such as in engineering, computer graphics and astrophysics. Whoopy Goldberg says “I think the advantage is my brain sees and puts information in my head differently. Sometime more interestingly I think than if I saw like everyone else”. “The challenge will be always how we see ourselves – not as folks with a handicap but folks with interesting perspective on everything.”
I bet once we come to identify and recognize these unique abilities and strengths, these divergent minds would make a great success in many other roles, say as a fact-checker, as they could eliminate any leading-fact-bias from the literary art work, as they don’t “adhere” to the “standard”, and thereby not prone to that thing called confirmation-bias.
Then on the orbit are the neurotypicals, who possess great strengths in performing regularized tasks that require strong adherence to the predefined process. What is considered as out-of-box thinking for a neurotypical, and is rated as exceptional, is like a natural-instinct for the neuro-divergent.
All these individuals offer very diverse skills and the variation from the standard is indeed a positive one. As Harvey Blume noted, “Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?”
How absurd it would be to say that someone with brown hair is having “black hair deficit”. The acceptance for all brain types is just as normal. I bat for neurodiversity. Do you?