Embracing Differences: Fostering Neurodiversity in the Modern Workplace

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

Embracing Differences: Fostering Neurodiversity in the Modern Workplace

Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

Guest: Ed Thompson, Founder & Ceo, Uptimize

This episode of At Work in America is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. Right now, new customers can take advantage of their best deal of the year. If you sign up today, you’ll get 6 months of payroll processing, free. You heard that right: get 6 months of payroll processing for free when you sign up with Paychex today. This special promotion is only available until May 31, so visit paychex.com/awia right now to sign up today. That’s paychex.com/awia. Terms and conditions apply.

This week we met with Ed Thompson from Uptimize to get an update on new advancements in the area of neurodiversity in the workplace.

– What is the value to organizations of embracing neurodiversity at work?

– What do organizations get wrong when it comes to neurodiversity? What are common misconceptions?

– The importantance of an informed, inclusive culture

– How to bring more neuroinclusion to your own work and team


Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcript follows:

Announcer 0:00
Welcome to At Work in America sponsored by Paychex. At Work in America digs in behind the headlines and trends to the stories of real people making a difference in the world of work. And now here are your hosts, Steve Boese, and Trish McFarlane Steed.

Steve 0:27
Hi, welcome to the At Work in America show. My name is Steve Boese, and I’m joined by Trish McFarlane. Trish, how are you today?

Trish 0:33
I’m great, Steve, how are you?

Steve 0:35
I’m well, it’s great to see you. I love this topic. It’s one we’ve done a couple of times before we ever get returning to the show to talk about neuro diversity in the workplace. It’s an important issue. We’ll keep talking about it here on the show. And I’m glad to be covering it again today. I’m excited.

Trish 0:53
I am too. We’ve been really focused on this for at least let’s come up on three years now. So I’m glad we’re starting to see some return guests as well to maybe get an update on what’s been going on over the past couple of years.

Steve 1:05
Before we welcome our guest Trish, we want to thank our friends at Paychex. This episode of At Work in America is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As the workplace continues to evolve, businesses are being forced to adapt and innovate to meet these challenges. Paychex fifth annual workforce trends study will help you understand this year’s top business challenges and help you set your strategic priorities. You can get the report the 2023 priorities for business leaders, trends, Insights and Ideas for an evolving workplace. To learn about the challenges facing businesses like yours. Now you don’t have to go it alone. You can visit paychex.com/awia to check it out today, and thanks to our friends at Paychex.

Steve 1:54
Alright, Trish, let’s welcome our guest. We’re happy to welcome back Ed Thompson. Ed is the founder and CEO, Uptimize the leading inclusion training company whose mission is to help organizations embrace and leverage every type of thinker. And he was born and raised in London and educated at the University of Oxford. And he founded Uptimize in 2016, recognizing the urgent need for a greater understanding and appreciation of neurodiversity within the working world. Ed, welcome back to the show. How are you?

Ed Thompson 2:24
I’m doing well. Thank you for having me. Thank you for having me back.

Steve 2:28
It’s great to have you. And yeah, since you’re coming back to the show, thank you for doing that. Let’s do a little quick status, or maybe an update on neurodiversity. As Trish mentioned, we’ve been talking about it for three years ourselves here on the show, it’s been a couple of years since you’ve been with us, maybe tell us what’s been happening over the last couple of years in this kind of area of increasing inclusion by thinking about neurodiverse individuals in the workplace.

Ed Thompson 2:57
Absolutely. It’s still a very mixed bag. I think some organizations now are multiple years into newer inclusion programming, including at some scale. And you’re seeing employees in those organizations, report the benefits and say things like I can’t imagine going to work somewhere that that wasn’t doing this. But of course, I still think that this is a new air quotes enough topic, that’s not the norm. And so I think there’s a lot of organizations that are still very early in this journey, or even right at the beginning. I think the biggest change, since we spoke a couple of years ago has been an incredibly important one, which is what I call the rise of self advocacy at work. And while there was data fairly recently that suggested 90% of neurodivergent employees typically don’t disclose at work.

Ed Thompson 4:03
What we’ve seen in organizations that have started to take this seriously, is neurodivergent employees find their voice and find their voice together. And that’s something that organizations have had for some time. If you think about employee resource groups, these are not new. Many organizations have had resource groups for advancing the interests and rights and rights of women or people of color, and so on. But neurodivergent people didn’t necessarily have that representation and that change. And that’s been critical. Because what it’s enabled is not only the voice of neurodivergent employees to be included in solutioning because look, these are people who are in the organization who’ve experienced it every day, right? They can say what about changing this thing in the hiring moment, but also for just motivating an organ was able to go on this journey. And it’s one of those things where like one person says, Hey, can we do this and HR might not come back. But 50 hey, can we do this and it becomes hard to ignore. So that’s the biggest thing. And as that continues to roll, I think we’ll see more and more organizations. You know, see, this is as a matter of urgency.

Trish 5:21
You know, I’m so glad that you describe it that way. Because, as you were talking, I’m thinking, we’re sort of talking about like, maybe organizations starting on this journey, right of hiring, and providing support for people who are neuro divergent, but you sort of hint at them a little bit like we we already have organizations full of people who are neuro divergent and just not feeling safe or secure enough to disclose, right? So even if you’re thinking like, oh, I have, we’re not really actively hiring people who are maybe different in some way, but they’re already there. Could you talk a little bit about maybe more just on sort of some of the reasons people might not be disclosing in your organization? And if you think that’s the case, you’re listening to this podcast, if you think that’s the case, what are some of the steps you can take maybe to encourage that or to help influence that?

Ed Thompson 6:23
You’re just to build off your point there. I mean, not only do you have neuro divergent thinkers, but there is no such thing as a normal brain. Humans are neurodiverse. Sometimes the word neurodiversity is used for Neuro divergent, but actually look any team. Any organization is neuro diverse, any candidate pool is neuro diverse. And of course, what’s happening because people haven’t been educated about neurodiversity is that all of these interactions are taking place, whether it’s a job interview, whether it’s a conversation with your boss, whether it’s a meeting, and those interactions are taking place between people with different brains. But most people aren’t thinking about neurodiversity. And as a result, they’re not practicing your inclusion, which I think is an easy there an explanation for why people who may be neurodivergent might not choose to disclose there is, I think, a fear in missing out in hiring, that it might be misjudged and misunderstood. And that’s because many people are ignorant of the topic still.

Ed Thompson 7:36
And I think what they think they know is often fueled by stereotypes. We’ve spoken to many new divergent professionals who’ve gone through this process and sometimes disclosed in one organization and not disclosed in another. And stories of people disclosing and having a great reaction from a manager who maybe they’re a divergent themselves, or maybe they just are very inclusive and prepared to have those conversations. But are there cases where people have been, you know, shut down, marginalized or sort of challenged, that they’re making it up? And so on all sorts of stories of colleagues, disclosing to coworkers, and getting responses like, oh, you know, you can’t possibly be autistic, because you’re female, or one person I know, in London disclosed to somebody and they said, Oh, you know, I’m so sorry, that gives you a shorter life expectancy. That’s the sort of ignorance that I think fuels the data point I gave earlier, which is around nine in 10, not disclosing now, what we’ve seen. And it’s an absolute truism of, of any kind of neurodiversity program, and program is sort of a grand word, but really program can just be, let’s start talking about it. And what we found is when an organization starts to talk about it, and that conversation builds, and of course, again, it’s a neuro diverse landscape with neuro divergent workers within it. And so the conversation can really ignite, you start seeing that change, and people start feeling more confident in disclosing when they see the organization say, we’re not experts, but this is a journey we want to go on. And you know, we value our staff, and we value the fact that they might think differently, that stuff a lot of people haven’t heard, and when they start hearing it, it’s empowering.

Trish 9:29
Right? I think that’s why it’s so important that people are doing training in this because if I think back, you know, early in my career even growing up, you’re sort of told not to point out or ask about someone who may be different in any way from from you. And if you’re raised that way, like many people are generation work. I think that it’s very different to shift gears because you don’t want to sometimes hurt someone’s feelings by asking a question or asking it the wrong way and that doesn’t there. could go for gender identity could go for a race, it could go for whatever, right religious beliefs. But that is a problem. And I think that’s across the globe where in order not to make yourself feel uncomfortable in the other person feel uncomfortable, we often just don’t talk about it. And so I love that you’re sort of working with organizations to bring this bubble it up right to where it’s okay to discuss it. And we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to say things that probably aren’t said the exact right, I’m doing your quotes right way. But that’s okay. Because at least you’re having that conversation. And I think it’s really important.

Ed Thompson 10:34
Yeah. And to build on that. And people often ask that, you know, what can you do, right now to bring this topic to your work? What can you do to bring it to your team, that’s all very much topics in the book I’ve just released. What I say to that is talking about it, and you can talk about it, if you’d like at the sort of organizational level, whoever you are, you know, whether you’re a leader, a manager, or a colleague, start engaging with others, and say that this is something that you think matters, and asking other people if they want to be part of that conversation. But what you could also do, and let’s say can manage it, for example, you can talk about this in your team, without treading on delicate issues of quote, unquote, conditions, and so on, or asking people to slow down. And the way you can do that is by surfacing some of the preferences that you have, as a result of your own brain wiring. And so any manager, for example, is going to have their preferred way of giving instructions, their preferred way of strategizing. And you could say, as a manager, look, I have a new direct report, I’m going to say to them, here’s how I like to give instructions.

Ed Thompson 11:57
Here’s how I like to communicate. How do you like to receive them? How do you like to communicate? And you just have that conversation? Same thing, if you want to strategize with the team, you might say, Look, I’m a verbal thinker, I’m a very visual, I like standing in front of the whiteboard, I realized not everybody likes that. How do you want to contribute to our strategy, and you’re going to be surprised that you’re going to get different answers, and people are going to value that you care about them enough to want to really optimize their work and their contribution. By, you know, considering those differences. People ask us, as a neuro diversity training company, what do you do internally to practice what you preach? That’s the sort of thing that we do. I love that.

Steve 12:42
Yeah. And that sort of leads me to something I wanted to ask you, which is kind of for organizations or HR leaders or business leaders, right? Who might be aware of the issue, right, because we’ve been talking about neurodiversity at work for a while, right? And you guys have been working for a while at optimize, we’ve we’ve done, you know, quite a bit on it ourselves. So I think the awareness part, the certainly for people who are kind of dialed into what’s going on in the workplace is maybe improved a lot, but perhaps not a bit of uncertainty about where to begin, and you made some great suggestions that about sort of almost a one to one kind of interactions right to to foster a little bit more inclusion at work. Is there something that when organizations come to you, and optimize more programmatically use the word program a couple of minutes ago, to say, look, we want to embrace your diversity at work a little more broadly, throughout our organization, perhaps we’re a big organization, right? What are some of the ways that can kind of begin in a way that’s, you know, sustainable and effective and can can take hold in an organization?

Ed Thompson 13:47
Yeah, great question. Again, I think we have to accept that most people don’t know much about this. And yes, it may be. And it’s great that it is it may be a topic in HR circles that you know, is growing and growing. And, and that’s clear and fantastic. But when we do surveys of learners, we find still 60 to 65% of people will put their hand up and say don’t know much about that. And that’s a problem when maybe 20% of people are neurodivergent. And again, every team is neurodiverse. So most people are navigating this reality, but completely oblivious to it. And you also have the problem that maybe around 30% of people say I do know something about that. But often it’s because they’re, you know, next door neighbor’s dyslexic or something, you know that that’s probably not enough to really be informed as to as to how to practice this. So we found by far the most important and urgent and effective first step is, you’ve got to you’ve got to change that for everybody. And so in a sense, everybody needs something in terms of education and training and we have a tools, whether it’s live sessions, whether it’s elearning is very short primers that just pivot people into this reality. Look, I work in a neurodiverse team, I have my own thinking style. So does everybody else, you know, these are things we wish everybody considered anyway. But they don’t. And that really is the foundation.

Ed Thompson 15:20
Because once you do that, what you do is you get people in roles, like managers, or HR or recruiters, who realize, gosh, this is actually really important to my work. And I hadn’t thought about this before. And they start joining the dots, and you get this sort of bottom up, change happening, where people start spotting, where they can apply these inclusive behaviors on the ground, they start connecting with each other and saying, let’s look at the onboarding process in our department and see what we can do. more effective than just imposing it, you know, from the top, but you do have to, again, acknowledge that most people don’t know much about it. People don’t know how to talk about it. And we have to change that as a first step.

Trish 16:10
Yeah, you’re so right, I’m sitting here nodding my head, because I’m thinking everyone knows someone, whether it’s a family member, like you said, next door neighbor, someone who has, you know, neurodiversity. But the type of training you’re talking about is something that not only helps you at work helps you in your life, right? Because often, if you have so many in your family, maybe in your you don’t even know what their what their capabilities are, because you’ve never asked them, right, they’ve just been treated a certain way, their whole life, right. So even when someone who might have a different type of learning difficulty or something like that, in their home, they might not be accepted either. So it’s a really interesting thing to me that what you’re what you’re talking about, and what you’re providing, is something that will help a person throughout all aspects of their life. It’s not just for your, your team and your work. But I would love you to talk a little bit about when, what stories are there when maybe you’re a leader? You’re wanting to do better. You haven’t maybe been through some training yet, but like, what are some of the things that you can be doing as you’re interviewing, so that you’re not making some of the mistakes of asking people appropriately? Because people interview in a very different way, like so to give them a great experience from that first interaction with your organization? What could they be doing or be thinking about?

Ed Thompson 17:39
So I call them the boulders in the road with a there’s a chapter in the book about this. But barriers essentially, what are the friction points that people find challenging when they when they get high? And as you say, it starts from the very first interaction for interviews, we often we’ve heard from our focus groups, people will see an organization talk about diversity and inclusion, but they won’t see them talk about neurodiversity. So no examples. No language, like we welcome every type of thinker, easy to add, but they don’t see it. So think, well, you know, does this company get people like me, it probably not, maybe they don’t even apply. If they do apply, they often see job descriptions that contain confusing language, acronyms, and so on, that can be confusing. Often, job descriptions, don’t do a great job of separating the must haves from the nice to haves, the more literal thinker might read everything and think, gosh, well, I’ve got 90% of that, but not the rest. So you know, not going to bother applying application forms can be confusing, poorly formatted times that can add stress, and so on. So you know, we haven’t even got the interview. And we can be filtering people out. And then in filtering itself, of course, whether the tool isn’t necessarily inclusive, people talk a lot about some issues with psychometric tests. Many older neurodivergent people may have a more patchy resume as well, for reasons outside their control working on inclusive employers, and you know, that can be punished. So all of that can happen before you even get to interviews. And then of course, interviews, which are often I think, overweighted in the assessment process. If we think about what interviews really are, they are, to some extent, a test of social performance. Often, they’re a significant part of an assessment, where the skills of an interview, if you like, are not particularly part of part of the job. So I think they can be overweighted.

Ed Thompson 19:47
And then within that, you often have again, either the 90% odor, or sorry, the 60% or the 30% that I mentioned earlier, people who either don’t know anything about this or think they know a bit but might not know as much as they think, conducting interviews and asking confusing questions, lots of interviewers asking questions at the same time, expecting a certain body language expecting a certain amount of eye contact, expecting a certain tone of enthusiasm, spoke to some of the other day who said, he just has a sort of flat effect in the way that he talks. It’s just the way that, you know, his brain works. He said, He constantly gets asked, you know, do you really want the job? And he says, Well, look, why would I be here for the fourth interview? Yes, I want the job. But it’s just the way that I present. I think people can get punished for that some people aren’t very good at closing their thoughts, and can get punished for that. So all of these barriers, and I’ve tried to contextualize interviews within them, can be reasons why we can unintentionally exclude people who think differently.

Steve 21:02
Yeah. And I think that really underscores the education and awareness issue that you talked about a couple of minutes ago, were that 60, say to 65%? Let’s lump that into say, folks who are organizing these types of interviews, are the hiring managers who are responsible for making these decisions. If that imply a percentage of these folks are really just not that dialed in to these issues. Yeah, that it can be pretty convenient, and or easy to fall into those conclusions, right? Whether it’s the eye contact, lack of enthusiasm, the just the individuals presenting themselves in a way that seems just a little bit different than everybody else I’ve hired before who has worked out really well on the team, right? And we, we start falling into those traps, because it’s easy to as people right to fall into that trap, right to say, oh, this person, I can see this person fitting in with all the other people who are already here, right?

Ed Thompson 21:52
Yeah, and I can give you an example, right now, which speaks to what we just talked about, which is why everybody needs to know something about it. So one of the folks interviewed in the book, the book has a lot of stories of neurodivergent professionals and their experiences. Very successful in a professional services firm. This guy, very creative, really a top performer, but somebody who who didn’t feel he could disclose who felt his path to progression was blocked, and who decided to look elsewhere. And he decided to chance his arm in a way with disclosing when he went to his interviews to think well, let’s see, let’s see how people react. And he went to interview at a bank that was extremely early in their neurodiversity journey. But everybody had had something, right. So everybody who interviewed him, had taken a half an hour primer on just what is this? Why does it matter that we provide it? And so when he disclosed, he got a positive and constructive and relaxed response, you know, tell us what you needed to be successful in the past, you know, what would what do managers need to know to help you be be comfortable, had a productive conversation got hired, and is doing extremely well. So that’s how it can change. And nothing, you know, particularly profound happened other than we just saw that shift.

Trish 23:28
You know, I was thinking, and maybe you have information on this, if I just think back through my career, one of the things when I was studying for my masters in HR management was adult learning principles. And we were learning about how if you’re giving a training to a group of adults who all learn in very different ways that you can do things to sort of help them, learn the material, absorb it better, retain it longer, whatever the case may be. It made me think of when you were talking about asking people what their communication preferences are. Have you done any research around learning preferences once you have or once you know, that someone has disclosed? What can you do from a learning perspective? Can you provide them? You know, I’m thinking like if you’re if you’re teaching a session, and you maybe give playdough on the tables, right? So as people are learning, they’re working with their hands. Or maybe if you’re teaching someone how to do something, they actually have the components of that something in front of them, so they’re actually doing it along with you. What of what have you found in your experience with actually helping people who are neurodivergent learn better in your organization?

Ed Thompson 24:43
Yeah, it’s a great, it’s a great question. And actually, because this is such a muddy reality, human brains, you know, everybody thinks differently. All the time. People don’t want to tell you on time people haven’t necessarily had a diagnosis. We really preach universal design as being the starting point? Universal design, meaning how do we make an effort to design environments, processes, and so on, whatever it is off the bat to be inclusive for everybody. Now, universal design came from architecture, and people thinking about how do we create spaces that are inclusive for everybody. But the next big area that Universal Design got traction in is was learning. And that’s a whole field universal design, for learning. And we have a module in our training about learning and development, which takes those principles which are actually, you know, pretty well formed now, which, you know, Trish talks, all the things you mentioned, giving people information in different ways, in Clear Formats, upfront, setting expectations, thinking about the physical environment, as well, there’s a whole list of things you can do. And you can apply that same approach of universal design, to giving instructions or meetings or, you know, the application process, right, and so on. And so, again, we think of universal design, you start there, and then where that will always leave little crevices where somebody because of their brain wiring, and because of their environment, might have a particular need or request that our best efforts that Universal Design haven’t addressed.

Ed Thompson 26:28
You know, we call that space, the space for Person Centered support. So somebody comes to you and says, Hey, Trish, you know, you’re my manager, actually, I’m dyslexic, and I find the formatting of the spreadsheet, we all use a little challenging, you know, can we tweak that. And we want you to be in a position to have a conversation there. And not to be intimidated not to say, Oh, you’re dyslexic, I had a dyslexic employee five years ago, and they wanted this software. So you know, I’m gonna get it. But, you know, let the person really be the master of their own journey. And, and to, you know, and to support them with, with what they need. And that people I think, get concerned when they when they understand what a nuanced reality this all is, you know, we don’t have the clear lines, you know, if we’re talking about veterans in the workplace, I mean, look, you either served in Iraq, or you didn’t, really, this is a lot more muddy. But we can address it through universal design, as you said, learning everything else. And then Person Centered support.

Trish 27:31
Well, I think the big takeaway there is really, like you said, it’s about asking the questions and not assuming that you know, the solution for that individual. Right. And so maybe that’s the hard part, right? If you’re sitting at work, and you’re thinking, oh, what can I do to fix something for someone, you’re probably too far down the path, it’s backup, just ask the question, what do you need? You might be surprised how easy it is and how inexpensive it is to provide a solution for that person.

Ed Thompson 27:59
Totally. Always think of the prospects about company about to work with us, who said that it was partly they were a bit confused, because they wanted to be more neuro inclusive. And they said they’d got three dyslexic employees in a room and said, right, what do you need? And of course, they meant you plural. But they got three different answers. So they’re no thinking got is a bit more complicated than we thought. But actually, it’s not complicated. If you if you treat each of those employees as an individual with their own experience shaped by their brain wiring, somebody we’re paying a lot of money to, we want to get the best results from just a little bit of careful management to make sure that that’s the case. Not that difficult. And it’s interesting. You look at the wheat and I researched this for the book, there are organizations that hire mostly neurodivergent talent, it consultancies was really interesting to see what they do, and how we can learn from that. And that’s one of the things that they will preach is that attentiveness to the individual experience, it’s not that hard. It’s not that hard. But actually, they’ll really make sure people are comfortable, they’ll keep going back, got what you need. Do you feel supported? You know, just maybe we all know, that should be the case, but it doesn’t, it gets dropped. And for some people that really matters.

Steve 29:25
And because it’s so easy, whether it’s talking about issues around neurodiversity, or flexible work schedules, or you name it, right, like it’s so easy to default back to, oh, this is hard to think of people as individual people with individual goals needs, learning styles, patterns of thinking, let’s just make one rule. Everybody come to the office Monday, Wednesday, Friday, nine to five right? I I spent way too much time on that that nonsense in the last couple of years. Because I think that’s part of part of why it happens though, right? We don’t want Think about the person who moved away 200 miles away during the pandemic, but they’re great, you know, software coder, or whatever their job is right. And we should really keep that person at all costs. No, you know, we must drag them in. So thinking of people, as individual people really can solve a lot of problems, probably, but certainly, yeah, you’ve described really eloquently how it can really help organizations here, and their adversity. And you’ve mentioned the book a couple of times, and it’s my fault for not sort of setting that up at the beginning of the show. The new book is called a hidden force, unlocking the potential of neurodiversity at work. I read a little bit about the backstory, the book, maybe a little bit of the inspiration for the book, kind of a viewer, it’s in the pandemic, you’re out there getting outside, maybe clearing your head and you thought, maybe maybe a book, you know, you’ve been working on neurodiversity for a while, at that point, I’d love for you to tell us a little bit more about the inspiration for the book and the book itself and why you’re so excited about it.

Ed Thompson 31:00
Yeah, I was talking to a multi Best Selling Author the other day, she said, there are two types of books, the type of book that you have to really craft and conceive and work on. And the type of work that’s just going to come tumbling out of you at some point, you can’t really help it. And this was very much the latter. The challenge for me was having a day job running the company. So it’s really just a question of when, and it was at the beginning of the COVID lockdowns when I said to my wife with the world seemingly on hold, maybe I’ll have time to start that book that that I’ve been talking about. And I had a really a very clear vision for it. Having had a number of realizations and experiences that I just felt compelled to share, partly because although I had a traumatic brain injury, myself some years ago, not that long ago, I was also ignorant of all of this stuff, you know, so I went through these realizations. Firstly, the realization of just how many people are neurodivergent how easy it is, for people, very talented people to miss out on meaningful careers, and for businesses to miss out on their skills. Realizing as well that neurodiversity means everybody, technically, so we have this fact that you know, people are organization’s most expensive asset, the number one tool they’re all bringing to work every day is their brain, and which is not thinking about that. And that seems pretty profound to me, seeing the energy of some of the early programs, the early conferences, that response from the community, and the response to our training, we continue to see responses feedback that are quite emotional, people saying things like, I’m in tears, because what you’re saying is resonating so much, I’m so pleased that, you know, we’re finally doing training like this, and also a response from say, managers who might be neurotypical saying, I was a cynic. I didn’t know what this had to do with me. And actually, this is the best thing I’ve heard in leadership in 10 years. And, you know, I did think you probably don’t get that sort of response, if you’re training people in anti bribery, or, you know, health and safety, or whatever, this is really quite fantastic. And I want to share it, I realized, and as I’ve mentioned several times, in the interview, most people don’t know much about this, I’m in a world where companies are building their programs, and people are talking about it, and people are talking about it more. But lots of people, you know, are fairly new to it. So really, the book set out to say, right, what is this? Why does it matter? Why are we all talking about it now? And then what can you do to take this to your individual work today? And then what can you do to take it to your team or organization?

Trish 34:07
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. I think that one of the takeaways I’ll have from this conversation is that we may consider ourselves neurotypical. And if we really think about it, and what our preferences are, we might find that we also would benefit from certain different ways of learning different ways of consuming information. I mean, if you just look around, you know, your workplace, people use different methods for taking notes, write some audio, some writing with a pencil, some writing with a pen, some design computer, right? So we see, we see evidence of this every day. So this to me is really just sort of amping that up to the next level of being inclusive by just asking that question, and I think you might be surprised you might help yourself as well. You know, I don’t know if you would agree or disagree with that, but sort of.

Ed Thompson 35:02
Several thoughts. I think one of the very pleasant surprises of early neurodiversity programs was the response from everybody. And everybody saying this is good for everybody. Right? And I don’t think people expected that. And one of the things we found is that everybody, as you say, Trish, everybody has these preferences. And you take a show of hands in a room and you say, right, who prefers communication, channel ABCDEF, you get different responses that’s neurodiversity. So is, you know, when people like to work, and so on, to some extent, of course, with the rest of their circumstances, playing it. What we found as well, though, is that for neurodivergent, people, those preferences can be particularly acute. And where a neurotypical might say, Well, look, I would love my manager to let me work in that particular way, but I can sort of muddle through. And you’re a divergent person might say, actually, I’m fantastic if I can organize my work the way I want to, but if I can’t, I’m stuck. Absolutely, this is good for everyone. I think that’s a really important takeaway. This is not disability inclusion for a tiny niche population. This is the reality waking up to the reality, that we all have a different brain and embracing that and seeing what happens when we do.

Steve 36:27
Yeah. And I think that’s a great way to kind of summarize a much of what we’ve been talking about today. And even the last time you were with us, and I think it’s a great kind of message to send out to the audience as well, we’d certainly encourage them to learn more about, of course, what optimizer is doing well. And of course, check out the new book as well connect with that, and the team that optimize this is really important stuff. We care about it a lot here on the show, we’re so glad to see you again, and so happy that you’re able to come back and join us today, as well. And I’m glad you mentioned, by the way, just as a complete aside, you mentioned the anti bribery training, because I have like, everybody’s got like five corporate stories, right? They love to tell over and over again. And one of mine is about anti bribery training. Except at the time I worked for this massive international conglomerate, I won’t say who it was. But we didn’t call it bribery. Our policy on bribery was you know, we called it,

Trish 37:19
What do you call it?

Steve 37:20
We call it facilitative payments. That was our euphemism for bribery. And I did learn about it, and apparently to do so.

Trish 37:29
it started around.

Ed Thompson 37:31
I feel like that’s the worst possible training, because anybody involved in bribery is gonna say, no, no, no, don’t worry, it’s not bribery. It’s just a facilitated payment. And then people say, got it. No problem.

Steve 37:43
Do you think that was the context? Yeah, I think that was the context. It was bribery. No. Facilitated payments. Okay. I think that’s how I walked out. Alright, so Well, links in the show notes to optimize as well as you can learn more about the book and get it there. If there’s anywhere physically in the real world, you can get a book that would be cool to I’m going to, I’m going out today later, I will look around, see if I can find one. And if I do, I’ll take a photo and send it to you. Like a real physical one out in the in the real world if that’s such a thing. But we want to thank and of course for joining us. It’s great to see you again.

Ed Thompson 38:17
Great to be here. Thank you both

Trish 38:19
And come back for the next book.

Steve 38:21
Absolutely, specially you’re having the book agent.

Trish 38:27
I think I’m gonna be his book agent. I’m gonna all travel whatever’s needed. I’m here. I’m here for him.

Ed Thompson 38:33
Pretty excited to see people you know, engage with this one. And, you know, can’t wait to see more and more people do that and hopefully spread the word.

Steve 38:43
Yeah. Great stuff. All right Ed Thompson from Uptimize. Thanks again. Thanks to our friends at Paychex Of course, and thanks, Trish. Good to see you again as well. That’s it for today’s show. We remind everybody check out HRHappyHour.net for all the show archives, subscribe, telephone and all that so my name is Steve Boese. Great to see you, Ed. Thanks Trish, and we’ll see you next time and bye for now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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