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Diversity and inclusion

Coders with autism pave the way for more inclusive workplaces

inclusive workplace, CEO, Great Place to Work

John Ryan

CEO, Great Place to Work

Diverse and inclusive workplaces may well be words that strike fear into employers. John Ryan, CEO of Great Place To Work, says improving diversity of minds is a good place to start.

The words ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ can be misinterpreted as being the same thing. Organisations tasked with improving both find becoming more diverse is far easier than being truly an inclusive workplace.

Have more inclusive workplaces made up of who people are. Then, move on to building a more diverse workplace. Therefore this is a far more effective way for businesses to operate, according Ryan.

Seeing people sets of skills means you’re missing out on the essence of who they are as an individual. “That’s a really huge loss for an organisation.”

Ryan’s argument is based on the premise that, if inclusivity is absent in an organisation, its employees will inevitably end up being less innovative and creative.

Your inclusive workplace should reflect your market

Diversity, similarly, is often dismissed as a tick box exercise, with organisations completing a demographic assessment before deciding how they should recruit.

“Diversity is a mindset – not a tick box. It’s relishing the fact that, if you want to be relevant to your marketplace, your workforce has to reflect your marketplace.”

It’s good to have different mindsets on your team

‘Cognitive diversity’, according to Ryan, simply means employing people who think and operate differently to ourselves.

SAP, a software company who now look to employ 10% of their workforce from people on the autistic spectrum, have seen employees with autism flourish and repay the faith shown by their employer. Ryan recognises the need to adopt tailored management approaches that meet the needs of various individuals within an organisation in order to effect inclusivity, and hopes this will pave the way for similar initiatives.

Consequently, remember, “they’re not making inclusive workplaces to be nice. They’re doing it because it has genuinely been brilliant for their organisation.”

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