Neurodiversity in the Workplace


In recent years, the concept of neurodiversity has gained significant traction, underscoring the importance of recognizing and valuing the diverse neurological makeups of individuals. Neurodiversity refers to the variety of ways in which the human brain can function. As workplaces strive to become more inclusive, understanding neurodiversity and responding thoughtfully as a leader is crucial for fostering an environment where all employees can thrive.

What is Neurodiversity?

Coined in 1998 by sociologist Judy Singer, the term neurodiversity means that people naturally differ in terms of how they think, understand information, interact, and communicate with others. It challenges the notion of a “normal” brain and instead embraces the spectrum of cognitive functioning. Conditions commonly associated with neurodiversity include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A developmental disorder affecting communication, behavior, and social interactions.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
  • Dyslexia: A learning disorder affecting reading and writing skills.
  • Dyspraxia: A condition affecting physical coordination and movement.
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

Understanding Neurodivergent Employees

Studies show that neurodivergent individuals have significant potential to be highly engaged and productive employees. However, barriers to their employment persist. According to the most recent Canadian Survey on Disability, only 33 percent of adults on the autism spectrum reported being employed in 2017.

In a study conducted by the Future Skills Center, funded by the Government of Canada, 40 one-on-one interviews were conducted with 25 neurodivergent workers and 15 employers of neurodivergent workers. This research explored best practices for building and supporting a neurodiverse workforce. One significant finding was the fear of disclosure as a substantial barrier in the workplace. Half of the neurodivergent employees surveyed expressed concern that informing their employers about their neurodiversity status might limit their career progression opportunities or result in other negative repercussions, such as being perceived differently in the workplace. These findings suggest that many neurodivergent employees don’t feel comfortable sharing their neurodiversity status in the workplace.

However, a recent report by Deloitte indicated that “teams with neurodivergent professionals in some roles can be 30% more productive than those without them. This is likely because of neurodiverse employees’ unique skills and cognitive abilities, allowing them to solve problems and approach tasks differently than their team members.”

Creating a Neuro-Inclusive Culture

As the number of neurodivergent individuals in the workforce continues to increase, every organization must ensure its environment is conducive to all employees. A neuro-inclusive culture and comprehensive support system boost team morale, create a sense of community and belonging, and encourage diversity of thought, creative approaches to work tasks, and new innovations. However, many organizations are hesitant or resistant to hiring neurodiverse talent.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review states, “many people with neurological conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia, have extraordinary skills, including in pattern recognition, memory, and mathematics. Yet they often struggle to fit the profiles sought by employers.” Companies that have reformed their HR processes to accommodate neurodiverse talent are seeing productivity gains, improved work quality, boosts in innovative capabilities, and increased employee engagement.

Accommodating Neurodivergent Job Candidates

Accommodating neurodiverse job candidates in the recruitment and selection process involves creating an inclusive environment that recognizes and values the unique skills and perspectives these candidates bring. Here are some suggestions for a more inclusive process of neurodiverse candidates.

Job Description and Advertisement

  • Use straightforward language to describe job requirements and responsibilities. Avoid jargon and overly complex terminology.

Application Process

  • Allow candidates to submit their application via different methods (e.g., video submissions, audio recordings) if writing is a challenge.


  • Provide clear, step-by-step instructions for each stage of the application process.

Interview Process

  • Send detailed information about the interview format, location, and what to expect. Include a clear agenda.
  • Offer different types of interviews (e.g., one-on-one, panel) and allow candidates to choose their preferred format.
  • Minimize potential sensory overload by choosing quiet, well-lit rooms and scheduling interviews at times when the environment is less busy.
  • Offer to send the questions for the interview in advance or allow additional time for responses.

Training for Hiring Managers

  • Provide training for hiring managers and interviewers on neurodiversity and inclusive hiring practices.
  • Educate staff on unconscious biases and how to mitigate them during the recruitment process.

Supporting Neurodivergent Employees

As people managers, implementing the appropriate supports can be challenging without a clear understanding of the many facets of neurodiversity. More than 90 percent of participants in the Future Skills interviews agreed that managers would benefit from tools, training, and supports to assist them in their day-to-day management and communication with neurodivergent employees. However, when asked whether managers in their organization are currently provided with any tools, training, or supports, over 80 percent of respondents either answered “no” or were unsure about the supports that exist.

Leveraging Flexibility to Create Inclusive Workplaces

When asked about the types of workplaces supports that might be helpful, many neurodivergent employees emphasized the importance of offering flexibility in work location and scheduling. While employees in general may benefit from flexibility, neurodivergent individuals can especially benefit because they are more likely to be affected by office distractions like noise and social interactions that can lead to sensory overstimulation and limit productivity.

Neurodiversity Inclusion in the Workplace

Implementing a Neurodiversity Strategy:

  • Start With Awareness Training: Educate all employees about neurodiversity and its benefits.
  • Find Alternatives to Traditional Hiring Processes: Develop hiring practices that recognize the unique strengths of neurodiverse candidates.
  • Develop Flexible Accommodation Processes: Create policies that allow for personalized accommodations.


Supporting your neurodivergent employees means equipping your leaders with the tools to understand neurodevelopment differences, foster empathy, and normalize conversations around them to combat stigma. There are several ways to cultivate a neurodiverse-friendly workplace, including these proven strategies:

  • Avoid assumptions—instead, take the time to discuss each employee’s individual preferences, needs, and goals.
  • Communicate and acknowledge expectations regarding work performance and workplace etiquette.
  • Offer customized task management tools to help employees complete work and achieve performance goals.
  • Establish structure and consistency in daily routines, providing advanced notice of changes.
  • To accommodate unique needs, provide flexible workspaces and environments, such as managing sound and light.
  • Use inclusive language that promotes understanding and respect. Above all, practice kindness, patience, and empathy in all interactions.


By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, organizations can unlock the full potential of their neurodiverse workforce, leading to greater innovation, productivity, and overall success. Embracing neurodiversity is not just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic advantage that can transform the way we work and grow.


Austin, R. D., & Pisano, G. P. (2017, May). Neurodiversity as a competitive advantage. Harvard Business Review.

Fisse, D. (2024, April 22). Neurodivergent employees boost productivity and innovation in the workplace. Spring Health.

Future Skills Centre. (2022, November). Neurodiversity in the workplace.


About the Author

Betty Yirsaw is a dedicated HR professional with over 9+ years of HR Management experience. She specializes in building strong and trustworthy connections with top-level executives, managers, and employees through effective communication and reliability. Betty is forward thinking leader with a strong business acumen and ability to adapt and provide thought-provoking solutions to various complex HR matters. Betty has a proven track record in developing and implementing change management and communication strategies to support Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives. She is certified in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

Enhancing Workplace Dynamics: Impact HR's Respect in the Workplace 3-Day Workshop

In an era where fostering a culture of respect, equity, diversity, and inclusion is paramount, Impact HR proudly presents its transformative 3-day workshop on Respect in the Workplace. With a deep understanding of the legislation and Human Rights guidelines and the importance of creating an inclusive work environment, this comprehensive program aims to raise awareness, provide leadership skills, and equip participants with the knowledge to combat discrimination, harassment, and promote a respectful workplace.

At Impact HR, we are committed to staying at the forefront of knowledge and training in order to provide the most up-to-date and effective strategies for creating respectful work environments. We constantly strive to explore emerging trends, innovative approaches, and exciting new tactics that promote respect, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. By staying informed about the latest developments, we ensure that our workshops deliver the most relevant and valuable information to our participants. Our dedication to continuous improvement drives us to discover new ways of doing things and to embrace the ever-evolving landscape of fostering respect in the workplace.

Day 1: The Employee Module - Building Awareness for Respect in the Workplace (7 hours)

Day 1 of the workshop focuses on building awareness and understanding of respect in the workplace. Participants explore the significance of respect in creating a positive workplace culture, learn about different forms of discrimination and their legal implications, identify and address unconscious biases, embrace an understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion, enhance communication skills for positive relationships, and gain practical knowledge of psychological safety and maintaining a respectful work environment.

Day 2: Respectful Leadership - Empowering Leaders for a Respectful Workplace (7 hours)

Day 2 of the workshop focuses on developing leaders as catalysts for fostering a respectful workplace culture. Participants explore the responsibilities of leaders in promoting respect, learn effective communication strategies for inclusive leadership, delve into team building and leveraging diversity, acquire conflict resolution skills for prompt resolution and understanding, and cultivate self-awareness to lead by example in promoting a culture of respect through consistent and fair practices.

Day 3: Respect in the Workplace and Anti-Harassment Policy Training (7 hours)

On the final day of the workshop, participants gain comprehensive knowledge on creating and maintaining a respectful work environment, with a focus on addressing harassment and implementing robust reporting and investigation procedures. They explore the definition and various forms of harassment, learn about the legal obligations and detrimental effects of harassment, and understand the importance of having comprehensive anti-harassment policies and procedures in place. Participants also gain practical knowledge on reporting concerns, conducting fair investigations, and promoting prevention through ongoing training and education to raise awareness, promote respectful behaviors, and create a safe and inclusive work environment.

Impact HR’s Respect in the Workplace 3-Day Workshop empowers both employees and leaders with the knowledge, skills, and resources to foster a culture of respect, equity, diversity, and inclusion. By addressing the importance of respectful leadership, anti-harassment policies, and effective reporting and investigation procedures, participants will be equipped to create a safe and inclusive work environment where every individual feels respected, valued, and empowered. This comprehensive workshop is an investment in building a stronger and more harmonious workforce, ultimately leading to increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and organizational success.

Participants of Impact HR’s Respect in the Workplace 3-Day Workshop may be eligible for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant, a training program where employers can apply on behalf of their present or future employees for eligible training costs. With funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Workforce Development Agreement, eligible employers can receive two-thirds of the training costs, up to $10,000 per trainee per fiscal year. The grant covers direct training costs such as tuition fees, textbooks, and required materials. To apply, employers can access the Canada-Alberta Job Grant Portal and submit the necessary application and training completion forms.

Welcome to Impact HR's 3-day Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Workshop

We are excited to invite you to the Impact HR 3-day Equity and Diversity Workshop, a revolutionary learning experience designed to empower you as an agent of change in fostering a more inclusive and equitable workplace environment. Through this comprehensive course, you will gain valuable insights, tools, and strategies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (EDI) within your organization.

Day 1: What is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and how can I as an employee be better informed in the workplace? (7 Hours)

Are you eager to foster a more inclusive and equitable workplace environment? Join us on Day 1 as we delve into the core concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion (EDI). Discover the power of embracing diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, and learn how these values can drive innovation and success within your organization.

During this engaging workshop, we will explore various aspects of EDI, including the importance of awareness and empathy in creating an inclusive workplace culture. You’ll gain valuable insights into identifying and challenging biases, both conscious and unconscious, and develop strategies to promote equal opportunities for all employees.

Day 2: Equity and Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership (7 Hours)

Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping a company’s culture and promoting equity and diversity. On Day 2, we will focus on equipping leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to drive meaningful change. Through interactive sessions and case studies, we will explore the challenges and opportunities that arise in leadership roles when it comes to fostering inclusivity and promoting diversity.

Attendees will gain practical strategies for creating an inclusive leadership style, building diverse teams, and championing equity throughout the organization. Whether you’re an aspiring leader or an established one, this workshop will empower you to become an agent of change within your workplace and drive the transformation towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Day 3: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Workplace Policy and Procedure Training (7 Hours)

Policies and procedures are the backbone of any organization’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. On the final day of our workshop, we will dive deep into the development and implementation of workplace policies that support and promote EDI. Through expert-led training, participants will learn how to align policies and procedures with EDI principles, ensuring fairness and equity in all areas of the organization.

We will explore best practices in policy creation, including recruitment and hiring practices, promotion and advancement opportunities, employee resource groups, and addressing workplace discrimination and harassment. This training will equip attendees with the knowledge and skills needed to create a more inclusive and welcoming work environment for all.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to enhance your understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and make a positive impact on your workplace. Join us for the Impact HR 3-day Equity Diversity and Inclusion Workshop and become a catalyst for change. Register today!

Training & Development


Over the years, we’ve developed many training modules that have helped the people of an organization succeed. We tailor our offerings to your exact needs and can focus on building the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that your organization requires. 


Our instructors engage your learners to ensure they get the most out of training. We offer a diverse mix of in-depth training, lunch ‘n learns, and seminars. Listed below is our course offerings.

You can also access our course catalogue by clicking here.












You can access our course catalogue by clicking here. The course catalogue outlines the course duration, fee per learner, minimum class sizes, course description, and learning outcomes for each course.

 We also work with a network of certified coaches and experts who can support with MBTI and DiSC Assessments.


You may be eligible to receive funding for our courses under the Canada-Alberta Job Grant Program, which may cover two-thirds of the cost to a maximum of $10,000 per employee per year.

See the link below to learn more about the Canada-Alberta Job Grant Program or contact us for more information.

Recruitment Services


We offer full cycle recruitment services to help you attract and retain talent that is the best “fit” for your business. Our services include:



As we are your outsourced HR department, we provide hiring services as if we were your internal recruiter, meaning we bill on an hourly basis. This means you are not paying an excessive fee for staff. 

Workplace Investigations

Workplace investigations can be extremely difficult and complex, and if not handled properly, lead to extremely negative consequences for an organization. Our firm takes the pressure off by following a methodical process in conducting workplace investigations, and will ensure it is backed up with credible documentation and recommendations.


We offer investigation services primarily in the following areas:

Not only have we investigated complaints against front line employees, but we have investigated incidents where senior managers and executives have been named as Respondents.


Our investigation process is very methodical, following a very specific investigation framework. This is to ensure the investigation is viewed as objective and credible. Once we have an understanding of the complaint, we will conduct interviews with relevant parties. After all interviews are complete, we summarize the data and provide analysis, findings, and recommendations in a formal independent investigation report. As a last step, we will schedule a debrief meeting to review the report, findings, and recommendations.


Investigations are different based on complexity and how many parties are involved. Each investigation requires time to review the complaint, prepare for meetings, conduct the interviews, prepare a report, and conduct a debrief meeting. Our investigation work is fee based at an hourly rate of $130 per hour.

Outplacement Services


Outplacement Services are intended to support both management and employees through the transition process of layoffs, restructuring, or terminations. For employees, they are intended to not only help navigate the job market but also transition to a new position and organization.


Employee Terminations

Terminating an employee, whether for cause, without cause, or during a workforce reduction can be extremely difficult. Terminations can present a large degree of risk to a business if not handled properly, whether it is legal and financial risk or physical risk during a termination meeting. We can help alleviate the stress and ensure employee terminations are done smoothly and respectfully. Our services for terminations are listed below:

employmee terminations

Policy and Employee Handbook

We can support your business with policies and procedures that will protect your business from legislative and reputation risk. Our consultants have many years of experience in developing policies, communicating to employees, and providing policy training.

Having workplace policies in place can benefit you in many ways. They outline rules and standard behaviours expected from employees, set guidelines for dealing with routine situations, promote fairness and consistency, and provide a mechanism for communicating to employees.

Listed below is a sample list of the policies we can support your business with:

performance management

Health & Safety

Are you struggling to keep up with changing OHS laws or not sure where to start? We offer a comprehensive set of services to help you navigate your requirements under OHS and implement solutions that will protect your employees and company stakeholders.


Succession Planning


Through many years of experience in leading succession planning programs, we offer a simple step-by-step process that will elevate the overall talent level of your company. We’ll help you figure out who your future leaders are and recommend development plans that will put them over the top.

Our process for identifying and assessing talent, and building development plans is straightforward and involves the following:

succession planning

Compensation & Benefits


We will help you design pay bands that are based on valid market research, fit your competitive position in the market, and ensure pay equity. 

We also have considerable experience in designing incentive plans. We can design a new plan aimed at driving behaviours that will elevate the performance of your organization. 


Our process for designing your benefits plan focuses on getting the most value out of the plan for your employees while managing the cost structure to a level that is sustainable for your business. We’ll work with you to determine the right mix of benefits offerings and coverage levels. We can also be an important liaison with your benefits consultants and carrier, ensuring your best interests are kept front and center.


Employee Engagement


We offer a few methods to help diagnose your engagement issues. Hiring a 3rd party can be advantageous as employees may feel safer providing feedback due to the independent relationship. We can support in the following ways:

We have many years of experience in organizing various initiatives to solicit employee feedback. From survey design to facilitating focus groups, we know how to dig deep into engagement issues and develop effective solutions to increase engagement.

Performance Management


Performance Management is a complex area in human resources and can be administered in a variety of ways. We have worked with several organizations in creating and administering complex performance management mechanisms, conducting 360-degree evaluations, and providing training and coaching for supervisors and management.

While performance management can be administered in many shapes and sizes, our focus is building a culture of accountability. This involves supporting you in establishing goals for your direct reports, gaining acceptance of those goals, objectively measuring performance, and providing timely and ongoing feedback.

Organizational Design

We analyze your business and advise you on the organizational design and structure that will allow you to meet your strategic business goals. Our goal is to ensure you have an efficient operation and that the right people are deployed in the right positions.


Proactive planning and forecasting can help you become more productive and efficient. We help you plan for the future by implementing robust forecasting techniques that properly anticipate required headcount and potential organizational changes. 

organizational design

Business Process Improvement

At Impact HR, we have several years of manufacturing experience to draw on to help you lead your lean initiatives. We’ve studied world leading lean manufacturing systems and we use a proven approach in helping you become more efficient.

We’ve led many lean initiatives over the years that have allowed various companies to thrive in cost competitive industries. We’ve also applied the same thinking to the field of human resources. Through process mapping and HR program design, we maximize the efficiency of the HR department and allow you to earn a higher return on your people practices.

business efficiency

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

Our change management process allows you to be proactive, engage the right stakeholders, and enable the people of your organization to lead the change effort.

People instinctively don’t like change and can sometimes throw a wrench into your change effort. We have led many change initiatives over the years, many of which have resulted in improved business performance and increased engagement across the organization.

How can a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) help your business?

It can automate many processes within your HR function and relieve the burden of paper filing and manual data management for your HR team and management. Vacation, benefits, hiring, onboarding, and performance management are some areas of your HR function that can be streamlined and save your company in administrative and non-valued-added time.

Human Resource Info Systems

Strategic Planning

We help you gain a clear understanding of the strategic goals of your company and the strategy in place to achieve those goals. We will also help ensure your HR priorities are aligned with the long-term direction of your company.

Not only are we equipped to develop strategic HR initiatives, but we can also help you formulate your mission, vision, and values. We work with you to analyze your internal and external environments and translate that data first into strategic goals and then into people solutions that make sense for your unique business.

We use a thorough planning model to help ensure you consider all your options and craft a business plan that will optimize your business results and maximize the contributions of your people.

Performance Management

Performance Management is a complex area in human resources and can be administered in a variety of ways.

Compensation and Benefits

Offering competitive compensation and benefits programs can help you attract top tier candidates and avoid loss of top performers to the competition.

Human Resources Consulting Projects

We can support you business with a variety of HR projects that will help you build your human resources foundation. We have experience in planning and executing projects in the areas of performance management, employee engagement, compensation & benefits, succession planning, performance management, and health & safety

Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety is a dynamic and complex field. It’s important to ensure you are compliant with OHS laws and demonstrate your commitment to protect your employees and other stakeholders of the company.

Employee Engagement

Finding new ways to engage your employees can substantially increase productivity. Employees who are engaged have a greater desire to remain with the organization, advocate for the organization, and exert extra effort above & beyond the call of duty.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning allows you to proactively identify the skills you need to be competitive long-term, develop the bench strength of your organization, and plan for changes in leadership.

Policies, Handbooks, and Employee Relations

Navigating employee relations issues can be time consuming and complex. The employee-employer relationship is very dynamic and is impacted by several pieces of legislation, such as human rights law, employment standards, and Occupational Health & Safety. Employers must take precautions to ensure they do not expose the organization to risk that could result in hefty lawsuits and long-term damage to their reputation. We offer many solutions to help you manage your relationship with employees and minimize legal exposure from changing legislation.

Please click on the images below to find out more information on our policy and employee handbook, employee terminations, and outplacement services.

Policy and Employee Handbooks

We can support your business with policies and procedures that will protect your business from legislative and reputation risk

Employee Terminations

We can help alleviate the stress and ensure employee terminations are done smoothly and respectfully

Outplacement Services

When your organization is going through a transition process and is faced with layoffs or organizational restructuring, we provide outplacement services so management are prepared to deal with the aftermath of layoffs and employees don’t miss a beat in the workforce.

Strategic Human Resources Management

We offer a number of services that can support your business in achieving its strategic goals. Please click on the image beside to find out more information on our strategic planning, HRIS implementation, business efficiency improvements, or organizational planning/design services.

Strategic Planning

A business can become stagnant and fail to maximize the potential of its people if its HR and corporate strategy is not aligned.

Business Efficiency​

Process efficiency improvements can be a game changer, especially for a company in an industry where margins are tight. Adopting lean methodologies and a continuous improvement mindset can help your company with cost reductions and minimizing waste.

Human Resource Info Systems (HRIS)​

What drives change in a business? It can come from just about anywhere. Effectively dealing with change puts a company in a better position to compete long-term.

Organizational Design

Alignment of all your HR practices is critical in allowing your company to achieve its strategic goals. If a company does not properly deploy its resources, it may not be able to capitalize on opportunities that would allow it to grow and prosper.

Our aim is to deliver solutions that will protect your business from risk, improve employee relations and engagement, and maximize the contributions of your workforce.

We offer clients diverse services aimed at supporting them in building a foundation for their human resources function. Our home is Edmonton, AB, but we support businesses throughout Alberta and across Canada. Please see our service offerings below.

impactHR is your dedicated outsourcing solution for human resources. Think of us as your fractional HR department. Whether you need us on an ongoing basis, for a one-time consulting project, or just need an occasional resource to ask questions when you’re dealing with an employee issue, we help ensure you have a strong HR foundation that will support your business. We work with any type and size of business, from startups, to small and medium enterprise, to multinational corporations.