Why neurodiverse talent is the best option for smart CEOs

purple brain, neurodiversity, neurodiverse

Diverse thinking is the key to creativity, enhanced productivity and success, writes Carlene Jackson. She says her dyslexia is a superpower, but too many firms are slow to adapt.  

Inflation is at a 40-year high. Businesses are at a standstill and increasing competition for the best talent is putting pressure on CEOs.  

Adapting to adversity is a vital component of success, but how can we expect our businesses to succeed when our workplaces look and work the same as they did 20 years ago? 

It’s increasingly easy to look at external factors and blame them for business failures. But it’s time for us to look at the key component of what makes our businesses unique – our employees. 

This National Inclusion Week is a brilliant time for businesses to step back and ask themselves whether they are taking the steps necessary to build inclusive workplaces.  

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Diversity and inclusion are finally on the agenda. Women are occupying higher positions in business than ever before, blind applications are becoming commonplace, and companies are seeking diverse talent using virtual reality. But this isn’t only representation for representation’s sake.  

A recent World Bank study found that gender inclusion not only helps companies better serve their customers but also aids the transition to green growth and improves resource use.  

This isn’t only the case for gender, but ethnic and cultural diversity too. Research from McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the bottom by 36% in profitability.  

Harnessing the creative thinking that diverse staff have is a gift to businesses. Inclusive workplaces open themselves up to a broader talent pool, harnessing the creativity of a wider number of people. As a neurodiverse CEO, I know that having employees who think outside the box makes businesses more productive.  

A quarter of my staff are neurodiverse, and we’re always looking for more talented people to bring into our workplace. Having an inclusive culture improves staff retention, by ensuring that employees feel valued and supported. 

With Millenials and Gen Z being the most diverse generations in history, it is vital that businesses do not miss out on the opportunity to transform their workforces for the better. 

By drawing on the strengths of our unique differences, businesses are better equipped to come up with innovative solutions. 

About the author

Carlene Jackson is the CEO of Brighton-based digital transformation consultancy Cloud9 Insight, which she founded in 2010 and has 40 staff. It is a Microsoft Gold Partner that has provided more than 800 UK businesses with cloud-based CRM software systems. Carlene has over 25 years working in the tech and software industry. She is an active speaker on D&I topics and advises Parliament on apprenticeships and training. A serial entrepreneur, Carlene established her first business aged 17. 

Carlene Jackson, CEO of Cloud9 Insight

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