As originally published on LinkedIn.
Belonging is fundamental to our success at EY. It means we’ve invested in creating a workplace where individuals not only feel they belong but that they can bring their full and authentic selves to work and feel seen, heard, valued and celebrated for their differences.
One of our best examples of unlocking the potential of diverse perspectives and true belonging at EY is our Neuro-Diverse Centers of Excellence, which was featured on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening.
With Anderson Cooper reporting, the piece focuses on the challenges that individuals on the autism spectrum face in finding employment – as many as 85 percent of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed, according to the CDC – and how companies like ours are working to ensure that this group, and the broader neurodiverse community, of tremendously talented individuals can fully engage in the workforce.
When we first launched our Neuro-Diverse Center of Excellence in Philadelphia in 2016, we understood there would be learnings along the way, and we also knew that there was an opportunity to support growth and innovation in our business, tapping into a talent pool of people with very valuable skills who were too often overlooked by other organizations and industries.
We evolved our recruiting, onboarding and training processes to meet the needs of neurodiverse individuals. The deliberate changes allowed these talented professionals the opportunity to demonstrate their technology acumen, aptitude and interest. We were able to bring people together from different backgrounds, with different perspectives, and different approaches to create positive change on multiple levels as we worked with community organizations who’ve been supporting the neurodivergent adults in their search for employment. What started as one Neuro-Diverse Center of Excellence (NCoE) in Philadelphia has since grown to four other cities including Chicago, Dallas, San Jose and, most recently, Nashville.
We are proud to be among the first companies to build a neurodiversity talent model. We are embedding neurodiverse talent into the fabric of our business, and sharing what we’ve learned with likeminded companies, so they participate in this transformative journey with their stakeholders.
Over the past four and a half years, our team has made immeasurable contributions to EY’s business, culture and the services we deliver to clients.
Today, we employ 80 neurodivergent individuals in the US, and are replicating this model around the world. We have a 92% retention rate and believe part of the reason for that is that we’re recognizing their contribution to our broader organization through projects that leverage their unique skillsets. Because of their efforts, we have made incredible headway in the areas of artificial intelligence, automation, blockchain, cyber, data and emerging technology like virtual and augmented reality.
I am grateful to our NCoE team members for their excellent work, and I extend my deep gratitude to Warren Hendricks, Stephen Oppegaard, Adrienne Rutledge and Jayram Sataluri, who were featured in the piece, as well as Hiren Shukla, founder of EY’s Neuro-Diverse Centers of Excellence.
You have allowed us to see things differently, do things better and pave the way for future neurodiverse leaders.