IBM has launched a program to hire neurodivergent staff in a bid to increase neurological diversity or neurodiversity throughout the company. 

Neurodiversity is a concept where the neurological differences are to be recognised and respected as any other human variation. Some of these differences include those with dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD and autistic spectrum.

The technology giant has partnered with Specialisterne, a firm that helps organisations in recruiting and supporting people on the autism spectrum. 

They have a well established program for the selection and assessment of neurodivergent people. 

Belinda Sheehan, senior managing consultant at IBM client innovation centre said, “Specialisterne also work to support IBM and our new employees in their transition to employment. Specialisterne helps us as managers understand the unique strengths of each new employee and implement strategies to help them thrive in the workplace.” 

Sheehan said the assessment and training program was run in March to April this year with 16 candidates. Ten of those were selected for full-time employment at the Ballarat Client Innovation Centre. 

There is not a made role for these individuals, IBM manages its people by finding the right person for the role, regardless of the role, according to Sheehan. 

She said, “Each person is different with different strengths and we will place people in the roles that suit their levels of capability and interest. IBM also support our employees with training, mentorship and education throughout their career.”

Anam Shahab, desk service consultant at IBM who works at the Ballarat centre said as more and more of these children graduate and become a part of the workforce, it is imperative for IBM to hire neurodivergent individuals. 

Employees at IBM

She said, “This not only helps to strengthen and continue IBM’s story and long history of hiring diverse individuals but also remain competitive.”

Shahab said there are a number of strengths these individuals bring to IBM including innovative thinking, out of the box approach to problem solving, great attention to detail, punctuality, dedication and loyalty. 

She explained, “They are also often able to suggest different ways of doing things. Their exceptional ability to assimilate and retain detailed information can render them to be a powerful technical resource in a specific work area. 

“We value these strengths and to be able to create the best teams we need a diverse range of people who think differently. Ultimately this is good for business and also good for our people. People who feel valued are more productive. 

“IBM’s diversity and inclusion policies are essential to the success of our business. These values result in collaborative teamwork, increased productivity, the creation of better innovations and outcomes for our clients.”

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