ABIC Highlights Neurodiversity In The Workplace

June 28, 2023 | 1 Comment

The Association of Bermuda International Companies [ABIC] hosted a workshop to “highlight the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace.”

A spokesperson said, “The June 15 event, which featured neuroplasticity expert Julia Harper, PhD, was part of ABIC’s drive to promote diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI] in Bermuda’s International Business [IB] community.

“Neurodiversity describes variations in brain function that cause an estimated one in seven people to learn, communicate and behave differently from the neurotypical majority. Research has shown that neurodiversity in the workforce can improve productivity, profitability and talent retention.

“Dr. Harper explained why some global businesses including Google, Amazon, EY and Deloitte, have adapted their hiring processes and career development programmes to attract neurodivergent individuals, who include those with autism, dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, and social anxiety disorders.

“Research has shown that many neurodivergent people have higher-than-average abilities, especially in areas such as pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics, yet they are more likely to be unemployed than neurotypical people. Dr. Harper said employers who invest in a supportive environment to attract and develop untapped neurodivergent talent stood to reap performance rewards.

“ABIC seeks to encourage and assist its member companies to advance their DEI culture, by hosting educational sessions, making available data-informed resources, sharing best practices and actively supporting organisations with a DEI focus.

“Last year, ABIC partnered with the Association for Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers [ABIR] and the Bermuda International Long-Term Insurers and Reinsurers [BILTIR] to fund a DEI survey of all three groups’ member companies. The aim of the survey, which was conducted by a professional-services firm, was to gauge and monitor progress on DEI outcomes and the results are currently being shared with members.

“The survey adds to the data ABIC has gathered, through member surveys for more than a decade, which have provided insights into the demographics of Bermuda’s IB workforce.

“ABIC’s DEI Committee, since its 2018 formation, has hosted a series of education sessions and virtual panel discussions on topics such as Bermuda’s employment data, Black women in IB, advancing racial equity and inclusion in IB, employee wellbeing and mental health, and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees.

“ABIC incubated and continues to support both the Association for Corporate Racial Equity [ACRE], which advocates for racial equity in Bermuda’s IB sector, and WeSpeak, which focuses on supporting women’s professional development.

“Supporting broader opportunity for Bermudians to participate in IB has also long been a focus of ABIC, through the ABIC Education Awards, which has funded the further education of more than 720 Bermudians in financial need over 45 years.”

Patrick Tannock, ABIC Chairman and CEO of AXA XL Insurance in Bermuda, said: “On behalf of the ABIC Board, I thank Dr. Harper for delivering an informative and impressive workshop. We look forward to including her ideas and recommendations in our DEI resources, to provide our members with actionable information that can help them realise the full potential of building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“Our aspiration is to be a leading domicile for diversity and inclusion where Bermudians and Internationals have equal opportunity to participate and progress in IB, for the benefit of their individual careers, the IB sector and the island. Having a diverse International Business sector at all levels is critical to Bermuda’s relevance and continued success.”

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  1. Loquat tree says:

    Neurodiversity needs much better financial, business and community support, plus increased focus and adaptations in the education system in Bermuda first, to enable such children to reach their full potential. (Private and public and at all school levels).
    Many cannot take advantage of the current system as appropriate support is not available and stigma is found throughout the education systems and community.
    Maybe ABIC could consider making inroads in this area to back up fancy sounding DEI policies?

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