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Why personalized training is vital in today’s neurodiverse workforce

Why personalized training is vital in today’s neurodiverse workforce

A new study into workers found that more than a third (38%) of 16- to 24-year-olds identify with neurodivergent conditions such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. At the same time, the findings suggest current one-size-fits-all approaches to workplace training and development could form a barrier to success for more workers than previously thought.

Benefits of adequately accommodating neurodiverse workers range from profoundly enhancing your workforce’s creativity and innovation to creating a more positive work environment. If your company is still using traditional training and development methods, you’re leaving out a big portion of the workforce, impeding many workers' ability to learn new skills and information.

This study underscores the critical need for tailored programs and inclusive training to ensure every individual, regardless of their neurocognitive profile, has the opportunity to thrive professionally. Embracing personalized training not only better equips your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, it also provides your business with a valuable competitive advantage.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the natural variation in human brain function and behavior across the population. It encompasses a broad spectrum of neurological differences, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more.

The Australian physician Judy Singer coined the term neurodiversity to promote equality and inclusion of people with different brain function and behavior. It reminds us that differences are not deficits, and there is no one “right” way of learning, thinking, or behaving.

Just as biodiversity is essential for a thriving ecosystem, neurodiversity is vital for a vibrant and inclusive workplace. Each neurodivergent individual brings unique strengths, talents, and ways of thinking to the table, and tapping into these strengths via personalized learning and training can give businesses a competitive edge, promote a more positive work environment, and show employees how invested the business is in their growth.

Benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace

There’s a common misconception that people with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, have an inability to focus. While that’s true in some contexts, ADHD learners also have a hidden superpower – hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is a state of intense concentration where you lose track of time. ADHD learners can achieve this state if they’re focusing on something they really enjoy doing. Hyperfocus is also common among those with autism.

A high level of concentration is just one of strengths neurodiverse workers bring to the workforce. Other skills and talents may include:

  • Innovation and creativity
  • Technical, design, and creative strengths
  • New ways to solve problems
  • High levels of concentration
  • Keen accuracy and ability to detect errors
  • Strong recall of information and detailed factual knowledge
  • Reliability and persistence
  • Ability to excel at work that is routine or repetitive in nature
  • And more

“It has been reported that neurodiverse groups are better at creative and unconventional thinking, pattern recognition, stronger observational skills and the ability to stay focused. Adapting the workplace to suit their needs isn’t just a nice to do – it’s a smart business decision. And training and development is a huge part of that. While previous generations, L&D teams had little choice but to create one size fits all programs, with AI that is no longer the case. In the new AI era of L&D, personalized learning is achievable. This will help to make the workplace more inclusive, while driving benefits to the bottom line – everyone wins.”

Graham Glass, Founder and CEO of CYPHER Learning

Barriers faced by neurodivergent workers

The statistics paint a concerning picture: unemployment rates among neurodivergent adults are estimated to be as high as 30 to 40%. Plus, individuals with conditions like ADHD are at a higher risk of chronic employment issues and job loss. These challenges highlight the urgent need for tailored support, training, and accommodations in the workplace.

More than one in five (21%) neurodivergent workers reported that the workplace training they receive does not meet their needs – a figure that rises to 26% for those aged 16 to 24. With some 28,000 graduates within this age group expected to enter the workforce this September, businesses need to ensure now more than ever that their learning and development plans are suitable for all workers.

Neurodivergent workers often face various barriers in the workplace that impact their participation and success. Some people continue to view neurodivergent traits as deficits, rather than just differences. These outdated, and frankly incorrect, perceptions contribute to systemic challenges such as discriminatory hiring practices and lack of awareness about neurodiversity.

Some neurodiverse individuals also face obstacles related to communication, social interaction, and sensory sensitivities. For instance, individuals with conditions like autism or ADHD may struggle with maintaining focus in open-office environments or navigating complex social dynamics. Without training tailored to each individual, you’re assuming every worker has the same strengths and weaknesses. Not only does standardized training fail to adequately address challenges in this context, it also wastes valuable time and resources.

The absence of appropriate accommodations and support systems further exacerbates these challenges, making it difficult for neurodivergent workers to reach their potential and thrive in their roles. Addressing these barriers requires proactive efforts from employers to promote inclusivity, provide reasonable accommodations and tailored training, and foster a supportive work environment where all employees can contribute meaningfully.

The need for personalized training programs

It’s clear that traditional one-size-fits-all approaches to workplace training and development exclude a significant portion of the workforce, especially neurodiverse individuals. With nearly 40% of the incoming workforce identifying with neurodiverse conditions, providing adequate accommodations and training will not only help companies level up their workforce, but it will also promote a more inclusive workplace and attract top talent.

“An untapped well of potential is about to enter the workforce, and HR teams should welcome the challenge of leveling up their L&D programmes to get the most out of their new employees,” said Graham Glass, CEO and Founder, CYPHER Learning. “This is where personalized training comes in – if an employee knows they’re receiving the best training for them, they’re being set up to succeed. The power of AI can help with the move towards bespoke learning. With this, businesses stand to gain a more engaged workforce with supercharged skills.”

Many companies who have reformed HR processes to access neurodiverse talent have benefited from productivity gains, boosts in innovative capabilities, and increased employee engagement. Personalized training may be the secret to a more inclusive workplace.

Personalized training acknowledges and accommodates the diverse ways in which individuals process information, learn new skills, and navigate their work environments. By incorporating personalized learning paths, allowing employees to set their own learning goals, and providing audio, video, and written versions of lessons, businesses can empower and support employees.

Survey Methodology

CYPHER Learning worked with independent surveyor Censuswide to survey 4,000 workers – from owners and C-level executives to entry level employees. Censuswide surveyed 2,000 employees from the United States and 2,000 from the United Kingdom to better understand their attitudes toward workplace training and learning development.

How CYPHER accommodates neurodiverse learners

Personalized learning paths and goals

Trainers can set personalized learning paths, which guide learners through courses, media options, quizzes, and more. Learners can also take charge of their learning journey by setting their own learning goals. CYPHER then offers targeted recommendations and resources aligned with their goals, which enhance their understanding and progress at their own pace.

Diverse reading support

CYPHER provides a diverse range of reading options, including text-to-speech options, dyslexia-friendly fonts, and adjustable text sizes to ensure accessibility for all learners. Our AI voiceover feature can read any microlearning course aloud to better accommodate learners.

Multiple content delivery options

We recognize that learners have diverse preferences for accessing content. That’s why CYPHER offers multiple delivery options, including interactive multimedia presentations, textual materials, audio recordings, and video lectures, ensuring flexibility to accommodate different learning styles.

Calendar functionality

Our platform includes robust calendar functionality to help learners manage their schedules effectively. Users can set reminders for assignments and assessments and sync important dates with external calendars, promoting organization and timely completion of tasks.


Elevate learner engagement through CYPHER's advanced gamification, encompassing awards, competition, and motivational elements. Employ leaderboards, periodic leveling, and gamified elements within courses and learning paths. Enable accumulation of individual, group, and site-wide points and badges contingent upon participation, scores, and more. CYPHER has the largest implementation of gamification, with 120,000 users using periodic leveling.

Accessibility features

Accessibility is a top priority, and our platform adheres to the highest standards of inclusivity. From customizable color schemes and keyboard navigation to alt text for images and closed captioning for videos, we ensure that all users can access and engage with content comfortably.

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