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Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity workstream

Neurodiversity is a relatively new aspect of overall workplace diversity. It refers to the diversity of human brains, and considers differences of how our brains are "wired" as simply another natural variation in humans.
Neurodiversity can make a particularly important contribution to overall diversity of thought. Neurodivergent brains are wired differently and hence by definition think differently. From an organisational point of view, these differences in cognitive functioning can provide easy access to often sought-after skills: people with ‘a different mindset’, who ‘look at things in a different way’, who ‘challenge established ways of thinking’.

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Neurodiversity: Meike Bliebenicht, Senior Product Specialist – Multi-Asset, HSBC Global Asset Management

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Neurodiversity, work and me I HSBC Now

Role models

If you would like to be a neurodiverse role model or ally, please email us at i[email protected].

Case studies

Some financial industry firms have started to explore the often unexpected benefits neurodivergent colleagues can bring to the table, and have launched hiring programmes:

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank UK, in cooperation with charity Autistica, launched an internship programme aimed specifically at autistic graduates. The three month programme aims to change attitudes towards autism in the workplace.

The first round of the scheme ran in 2016, the second round commenced in September 2017, in both the bank’s London and Birmingham offices. Feedback on the programme has been very positive.

Jon Spiers, CEO at Autistica, commented: “Senior leaders at the bank already knew that the strengths associated with autism - attention to detail, focus and pattern spotting - could be beneficial to the business. By working together, we made their processes and workplace more inclusive to those with different ways of working.”

EY

In an effort to bring in new perspectives, EY launched a neurodiversity pilot in 2015, initially focused on hiring individuals on the autism spectrum. EY experienced that people with autism often challenged the office’s status quo, and made it easier to question whether existing communication channels and management strategies were effective and logical.

EY also observed that working with people on the autism spectrum has made managers more patient and taught them to avoid abstract language and use shorter, more precise terminology. This has made them better communicators, which EY consider a particular benefit in a work environment where professionals are often from different countries and cultures and may use language in different ways.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs offered work experience to someone with Asperger’s as early as 2003. The four-week pilot was a success and the firm decided to launch a formal internship initiative.

The programme does not only help recruit the qualified staff, but has also raised awareness among existing employees.

J.P. Morgan

In 2017, J.P. Morgan announced to set up a special programme aiming to hire people with neurodiverse conditions. Efforts are initial focused on individuals with autism, but may expand over time, according to J.P. Morgan’s HR team. The firm has observed that their employees with autism often excel in areas like data analytics, compliance, software testing, and cyber security.

J.P. Morgan plans to employ several hundred individuals over the next three years. The firm says the recruitment programme also raises awareness within the organisation and has encouraged more existing employees to disclose their condition.

Further resources

Neurodiversity at work – Guide by CIPD and Uptimize aiming to raise awareness among employers of neurodiversity in the workplace and to inspire more employers to take action to create more inclusive workplaces where neurodivergent individuals can thrive.

Neurodiversity at work –  Research paper by ACAS on the subject of 'neurodiversity' specifically within the context of employment and the workplace.

Psychology at work – Report by The British Psychological Society on wellbeing and productivity in the workplace; includes a section on neurodiversity.

Neurodiversitynow.com – a comprehensive website on the various aspects of neurodiversity in business.

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