Managing Neurodiverse Employees in the International Workplace 

November 2023

In today's workforce, diversity and inclusion have (rightfully) become cornerstones of successful international businesses. While much attention has been paid to gender, race, and cultural diversity, there's another dimension that is gaining recognition — neurodiversity.  

Neurodiversity encompasses a range of neurological differences, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more. Fostering an inclusive environment for neurodivergent employees is not only the right thing to do for your organisation, it can also yield business success. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace and how businesses can create a more inclusive workspace for all.

Encouraging your neurodiverse employees to be their best selves at work can have many benefits, including: 

  • Unlocking untapped talent: Neurodivergent candidates often possess unique skills and perspectives that neurotypical employees may not. By embracing neurodiversity, companies can tap into a pool of talent that may have been previously overlooked.
  • Innovation and creativity: Neurodivergent people can approach challenges in unconventional ways, leading to fresh and creative solutions that can inspire the entire organisation.
  • Better employee retention and engagement: Research has shown that neurodivergent individuals often experience higher rates of unemployment compared to the general population. But when organisations embrace neurodiversity and invest in inclusivity, they can provide a more welcoming environment, leading to higher employee satisfaction and retention. 
Before engaging with any individual employees, it’s important to create a positive environment and raise awareness about neurodiversity among everyone in your organisation. Training sessions to help employees and leaders understand what neurodiversity is and why it's essential can be particularly helpful.
Don’t try to create a neurodiversity policy from scratch without consulting experts in the field. Psychologists, therapists, advocacy groups and charities can all inform your HR department of best practices and approaches for your workforce.
Develop policies that cater to neurodivergent employee needs. Practices like flexible hours, clear communication strategies and deadlines, sensory accommodations, etc. can all have a positive impact on neurodiverse employee experiences.
Consider whether your recruitment processes could be improved for neurodiverse candidates. Alternative interview formats, like skills assessments, can often be a better fit to evaluate how a neurodiverse candidate may perform in the role.  
If you have a large enough contingent of neurodiverse employees, consider setting up a mentoring/support group where newer neurodiverse employees are paired with their more senior counterparts for guidance and support.
While not every neurodiverse employee might feel comfortable disclosing their background, it’s important to create a safe environment for those that do. Make sure that all employees are aware of the benefits of disclosure, from increased flexibility and accommodations to support and mentorship.
We are all learning more about neurodiversity all the time, so it’s important not to view training around this topic as a ‘one-and-done' practice. Encourage ongoing learning and training to keep all employees, including leaders, informed about best practices in supporting neurodiversity.

Conduct regular audits to measure the effectiveness of your neurodiversity initiatives, paying special attention to any feedback from employees.

Managing neurodiversity in the international workplace isn't just about compliance or corporate social responsibility; it's about recognising the value that neurodivergent individuals can bring to your organisation. 

The best way to let your employees know you care about their health and well-being is through robust healthcare – especially for international organisations. Allianz Partners offers a range of global health services for expatriates - find out more about our international healthcare plans for employers and start your organisation’s journey.