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Elizabeth Fuss Arnott, SPHR  I have been working in Human Resources for 23 years. Since 2011, I have been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).  I have a BA in English and a Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law from Tulane Law School. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband Luke and our cat, Poirot. I write about HR, non-profits, the art of managing people and Neurodiversity in the workplace. I'm available for employment, contract work, consulting, coaching and training virtually and in the Portland, OR area. Please email me at for more information. 

  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Arnott, SPHR

What is Neurodiversity?

You may have heard it buzzing around the business world lately. Neurodiversity. Diversity in thought, right? Yes. But it's more than that. defines it as: "the variation and differences in neurological structure and function that exist among human beings, especially when viewed as being normal and natural rather than pathological."

What does that look like in the workplace? A neurodiverse workplace has a wide variety of personalities, with jobs that play to each person's strengths. Quirks in personalities are appreciated and normalized, not judged or prohibited. An employee who needs an adjustment in work environment, such as a quieter cubicle or slightly different work hours feels comfortable talking openly with their supervisor about what they need. Supervisors have regular dialogue with their employees about how they can help them succeed. Non-job related activities such as holiday parties and social events become optional. Employees are valued based on the work they perform, not the social interactions that so often become weighty in a traditional workplace.

As employees are free to be themselves, instead of worrying about conforming to the traditional employee model, they will be more engaged in their work and strive to do their best, creating the best results for the company, improving your bottom line.

This isn't an easy transition for an organization - laying the groundwork for neurodiversity has to be a company-wide initiative, starting from the top down. Stereotypes and pre-conceived ideas get thrown out, and a new open mindset takes over - on every level. The reward, though, is loyalty and hard-work from your employees and ultimately, a better bottom line for your organization.

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