The innate abilities of neurodivergent individuals coupled with RPA training can fill in the technology skills gaps required to advance companies’ digital transformations, says Anthony Pacilio, VP of neurodiverse solutions at CAI.
Digital transformation is no longer a forward-thinking decision to implement. It is necessary to stay relevant and maintain a competitive edge. Impacting nearly all industries, including healthcare, insurance, banking, manufacturing, and logistics, the move to digital is imminent. But as companies begin to switch, they recognize a large technology and skills gap.
A digital transformation initiative is comprised of many different parts. It can impact workflows, employee skill sets, supply chains, customer experience, and more. The key is adopting digital technology, like robotic process automation (RPA), to improve business processes or solve a specific business problem. As the appeal of digital transformation turns into action, companies need to move forward with a strategy of processes and personnel who will deliver this transformation with little error.
RPA is one of the best technologies to help all organizations’ functions evolve with digital transformation. RPA replaces repetitive, low-value tasks and frees human workers to spend time on more innovative and higher-value activities. RPA also produces fast, accurate, and consistent results while reducing time and cost as companies realize the benefits of RPA, an unexpected source with a natural ability to identify innovative ways to build and deploy this high-quality automation: neurodivergent individuals.
The Untapped Talent Pool
An estimated one billion neurodivergent individuals have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, dyslexia, or other neurological differences. Of those, over 111,000 American workers every year with ASD turn 18 years old and are eligible to enter the workforce. With common strengths, including attention to detail, high concentration, problem-solving, and pattern recognition abilities, neurodivergent employees can solve complex business challenges. These skills are ideal for careers in technology, finance, legal, cybersecurity, healthcare research, and many others.
However, despite their contributions, unemployment rates for neurodivergent adults reach as high as 30-40%. End-to-end neurodiversity employment programs help individuals showcase their strengths with a hands-on evaluation process that removes the barriers of traditional interviewing. Organizations that use these programs for job entry and career mobility have witnessed up to a 120% increase in productivity and performance.
Neurodiversity & Technology
Neurodiversity is a competitive advantage that brings practical and financial benefits along with improved workplace culture and captures the attention of major global corporations. Many jobs within the technology space naturally utilize strengths that members of the neurodiverse community already possess. This intersection between the work available in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and RPA, and the need for more neurodivergent individuals in the workforce is the sweet spot.
“The automation space can be an excellent opportunity for neurodivergent individuals to leverage their strengths and abilities and build a career in tech,” Margareta Mucibabici, Public Affairs & Social Impact Director at UiPath said. “But for that to happen on a larger scale, businesses, nonprofits, and the larger community must develop partnerships, share knowledge, and create inclusive employment opportunities.”
These partnerships are already materializing between RPA providers and organizations that understand and value neurodiversity. Industries harness this combined power from upskilling neurodiverse talent in RPA and machine learning models, assisting in the enterprise-wide adoption of automation, and combatting the staggering unemployment rates for the neurodiverse community. This collaboration comes in the form of professional development courses offered to neurodivergent employees that refine and further advance their talents and strengths.
For machine learning automation to perform efficiently, the copious amounts of data that fuel it must be consistently and accurately labeled. This is where attention to detail is pertinent. Christina Kucek, Executive Director of Intelligent Automation at CAI utilizes RPA courses to upskill her neurodivergent team members. “Our neurodiverse talent possesses the laser-focused attention required to accurately identify data discrepancies and patterns crucial for optimal machine learning performance,” said Christina. “After completing the RPA training, their technological knowledge expands from novice to advanced practically overnight. If you ask any neurodivergent teammate to find a bug in automation, they will quickly find the root cause of the problem and resolve it.”
Work for Good: The Big Picture
In an ever-evolving global workforce, this technology and employment solution disrupts the industry by setting a foundation that can scale and permeate into other business areas including the improvement of companies’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices. Blended teams of neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals learn from one another and organically transform company cultures for the better. As this happens, we are going to see more neurodivergent people achieve their dreams by acquiring executive-level and C-suite roles, building new processes, and founding their startups. In today’s world, DEI is not merely a buzzword. Like digital transformation, DEI is a standard because the full benefits of a diverse workforce are finally being realized; production and morale are increasing, and company culture is improving.
Margareta knows the larger societal benefit this collaboration brings to the world of work. “By doubling down on their purpose and understanding the impact of hiring a diverse workforce, companies have the chance to tackle the talent shortage while becoming advocates for positive change,” she said. Christina agrees, “We have a business and moral responsibility to remove any stigma that comes from neurodiversity in the workforce. In our experience, it’s a productivity win and a humanity win”.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM recognizes the contributions of American workers with disabilities, past and present, and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices. The spotlight is on inclusion throughout October, but it must continue all year. This intersection is just one example of how we can create meaningful and long-lasting career opportunities for the neurodiverse population.