Creating effective benefits packages to cater to the demands of certain demographics such as age or gender has long been a focus for employers. However, neurodiverse employees are one major group of the workforce which has been long overlooked.

Four in ten (38%) of businesses have seen an increase in the number of employees with neurodiverse conditions in the last year. A similar proportion (35%) of HR leaders believe that increasing the number of neurodiverse employees has boosted the productivity of the business – clearly, a more diverse workforce boasts a wider toolkit of skills ensuring an organisation is better positioned to deal with any challenges it faces but can also be much more agile to leverage any commercial opportunities for growth.

Therefore, it makes sense for employers to be stepping up their efforts to integrate neurodiverse employees and their skill sets into organisations. But are these businesses ensuring that the working environment they have cultivated allows these employees to thrive?

Given two two-thirds (64%) of neurodiverse employees believe that their company could be doing more to better support them, it suggests employers have room for improvement. This figure is particularly concerning as four in ten (37%) HR leaders say their organisation has increased its investment in more support for its neurodiverse employers.

There seems to be a disconnect between the support employers believe their neurodiverse workforce needs with what these employers actually want in order to perform to the best of their abilities.

There is a clear opportunity for employers to leverage their employee benefits packages to enhance support to their entire workforce and particularly those who are neurodivergent. After all, half (48%) of neurodiverse employees believe their benefits package is inadequate.

The importance of benefits packages should not be underestimated – half (46%) of employees admit they’d leave their current role if another company offered more inclusive benefits or initiatives. When it comes to neurodiverse employees, the risk of not providing a relevant or compelling benefits offering is even greater – six in ten (62%) of these workers said they’d switch jobs if better benefits were on offer elsewhere.

These figures should act as a wake-up call for employers persisting with a one-size-fits-all all approach to benefits. 62% of all employees state they require a benefits offering specific to their needs, this is specifically true for the neurodiverse workforce where this figure rose to three quarters (74%).

How can employers ensure they understand the needs of different demographics across their workforce? And how can they support employees to access the benefits available to them?

The answer to both questions lies in the benefits technology solution an employer offers.

Firstly, the only way for employers to ensure they are offering the benefits packages that their employees want is through effective communication that ensures specific benefits are personalised to employee needs – in order to offer bespoke benefits, employers need to accurately analyse employee demographics such as age, family status and other regional or cultural factors. By utilising these insights, employers can then look to tackle issues around low engagement to provide employees with the most personalised and effective benefits package possible – enhancing value for money.

Employers also need to consider engagement – ensuring that a platform has higher engagement rates amongst employees is key to enhancing value. Whilst engagement rates for most benefits platforms sit at around 40-50%, Zest’s customers typically see up to 90% engagement amongst employees driven by the simplicity of the platform and improved targeting of benefits.

Meeting all these requirements is much easier with a simple benefits platform that streamlines benefits in a cost-effective way to ensure that HR teams can stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of work, and crucially, meet the demands of individual employees. This approach is vital in order to enhance support and benefits for neurodiverse employees in particular.

Accessibility to benefits also needs to be improved – over half (52%) of neurodiverse employees would engage more with their benefits if the tech platform was easier to use. Unfortunately, these employees end up not maximising the value of their benefits packages, making them feel undervalued or not supported by their employer.

Whilst good communication can help to overcome this challenge, it’s really down to the simplicity of benefits packages. Employers must ensure they partner with a benefits platform which is jargon-free, easy to administer and for employees to use, allowing all employees to be able to easily manage their benefits whenever and however they choose.

Employers have a duty to offer enhanced support to make workplaces truly inclusive – ensuring an organisation’s benefits package meets the needs of ALL employees is the first step.

* Findings were conducted by independent research agency Opinium which surveyed 2,000 adults weighted to be nationally representative between 22nd – 26th March 2024.

Matt Russell Headshot
Matt Russell
CEO at Zest

Matt Russell is the CEO at benefits technology platform, Zest. Matt brings over 20 years of experience in the HR and benefits sectors and has previously held senior positions at HR-software business CIPHR, and benefits platform provider, Benefex. Matt has a long, successful history of leading large teams across multiple regions, executing global and enterprise sales strategies and M&A.