Neurodiversity is the idea that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits. The core belief behind the idea is to first value the strengths of thinking differently, rather than the challenges.

Neurodiversity week in particular, is a time for celebrating those differences, our individuality and the beauty of thinking in a different way. It’s also a time to reflect on how we can support neurodiverse colleagues and make changes to create work environments that are suitable to everyone’s needs.

Most neurodiverse conditions are considered invisible disabilities. As a result, you may already have an untapped population of neurodivergent talent within your organisation.

But because of stigmas associated with these conditions, people are often afraid to disclose their diagnoses or ask for support. This leads to what is called “masking,” where a person changes behaviours to appear more socially acceptable, which takes a great deal of energy and can lead to burnout.

In fact, almost three quarters (70%) of neurodiverse employees are currently suffering with mental health issues, according to our Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, with many reporting low mental, physical and financial wellbeing. So, there’s certainly a need for greater support in the workplace.

What neurodivergent thinking brings to the table is important: a different way to approach problems that may elude others. Many employers may be underestimating how hiring neurodivergent talent will improve sustainability and innovation. One of the greatest impetuses for innovation is thinking differently. But to tap into this resource may require new ways of working and engaging with talent.

So, how can we create work environments that allows neurodiverse employees to thrive?

“It’s about meeting employees where they are and where they want to go.”

Beyond hiring diverse talent, organisations have an opportunity to focus on the overall employee experience for neurodivergent employees and the importance of programmes, practices and supporting culture.

And while these neurodivergent conditions may be different, some of the solutions for one group might also benefit others.

Quiet spaces

For example, individuals with ASD or ADHD may be more sensitive to noise or lighting or find either distracting. Therefore, solutions like designated quiet spaces, noise cancelling headphones or natural lighting may benefit both groups.

Flexible work arrangements

Likewise, flexible working arrangements are another fantastic tool in helping neurodivergent individuals. Working from home may reduce some of the distractions or sensory issues common in office environments. Additionally, some people with these conditions may be more productive at hours other than 9 to 5. A company culture that allows flexibility more than “face time” is essential in helping neurodivergent employees succeed.


Position employees with neurocognitive conditions for success by offering job coaching opportunities, manager training, flexibility in the performance management process and clear pathways to change roles based on strengths and interests.

Mentors can help neurodivergent employees. Keep in mind, though, neurodivergent individuals may require different career guidance, so the mentors themselves should be diverse in skills. For example, people with ASD can benefit from an “accountability buddy” who offers connection, validation, inspiration and advice, while those with ADHD are even more likely to flourish when they receive positive feedback.

Employee Listening

Ask employees how the company can best support preferred workstyle and communication needs through pulse surveys, virtual focus groups and other employee listening strategies.

Reduce the stigma and provide social support via employee resource groups, ally training and unconscious bias training.

Attracting, serving and retaining neurodiverse individuals will be a key part of employers’ people strategies going forward. Change the way you recruit and hire by tapping into different talent pools, modifying interview formats and rethinking the onboarding process for neurodivergent talent.

Employee Benefits

Inclusion and diversity (I&D) was ranked in the top 3 most important priorities for employers to support their workforce, according to our latest Benefit Trends Survey (2023). However, whilst 34% of employers believe they are delivering the I&D benefits employees want, only 13% of employees feel their inclusive wellbeing needs are met (Global Benefits Attitudes Survey 2022). This highlights an opportunity for employers to support neurodiversity in the workplace as part of their wider I&D strategy.

Consider reviewing the package of health benefits you have on offer, to include habilitative therapies (e.g., occupational), mental health benefits, and care navigation or advocacy tools. Also, consider providing benefits that offer more support around day-to-day finances, as more than half of neurodiverse colleagues are living payday-to-payday.

There are varying levels of support and intervention that a company can engage with, such as reviewing specialist vendors to help with programme delivery, using insights and benchmarking, and engaging in workshops to build an inclusive care strategy – but, doing something is better than nothing.

A diverse workforce enriches your employee experience and encourages innovation. You have an opportunity to further diversify your workforces by hiring and supporting neurodivergent talent. In doing so, you also convey and endorse company values to your existing workforces – especially the hidden neurodiverse talent already in your midst.

Christie Hedge
Christie Hedge
DE&I Lead at WTW | + posts

Christine Hedge has over ten years' experience in the employee health and wellbeing benefits market. Christie leads the DE&I consulting proposition for the GB Health & Benefits practice, specialising in helping clients to progress their policies, benefits and culture, and to ensure these are fully inclusive and accessible for everyone. Christie is also co-chair of WTW's GB Neurodiversity network.