EIDR APM: Embracing Neurodiversity in the Workforce

At the May 7 EIDR Annual Participant Meeting in Culver City, Calif., representatives from disability employment recruitment firm Zavikon spoke to attendees about the need to embrace neurodiversity in the industry, and how they’ve worked with EIDR to champion diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Zavikon’s Rebecca Beam, CEO, and Hilary Kokenda, COO, noted that creating inclusive environments harnesses the unique strengths of all employees, which in turn drives innovation. With one out of 32 Americans born today diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and the unemployment rate for that group of people running as high as 40 percent, both talent and money is being left on the sideline, to the tune of $25 billion per one percent of disabled people out of the workforce.

It’s not just a social issue, it’s an economic one.

“If you bring in people who think differently, who see things through a different lens, you’re going to see innovation,” Beam said. “We’re always looking for disruptors? Who better for this industry?”

As many as 20 percent of people have brains that develop or work differently, and that doesn’t mean less than others: experts believe neurodivergence brings real benefits to

Businesses with employers surveyed saying that neurodiverse workers are hyper-focused (80 percent), think innovatively (75 percent), and show extreme creativity (78 percent).

Zavikon offers risk-free opportunities for media and entertainment companies to bring in neurodivergent people for six months or more, with wages covered by the state of California, to see what they can bring to the organization. EIDR is among those that’s tapped Zavikon for just that purpose, with three total Zavikon-referred employees, including a software developer and two data quality analysts.

“They need one open door, one person to give them a chance,” Beam said.

Richard Kroon, director of technical operations for EIDR said the employees’ productivity is high “and they’re excited to be there. They’re wanting to be there, and it’s been so far a very positive experience.”

“Having a diverse workforce is a good thing, and having an opportunity to work with someone who might not normally be hired at this level … [sees] them ready for their next job, or potentially continuing with us,” Kroon said.

Click here to listen to the full Zavikon EIDR APM presentation. Click here for the presentation slide deck.