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making dyslexia a valuable thinking skill: a practical guide for CHROs and senior HR leaders.

making dyslexia a valuable thinking skill - a practical guide for CHROs and HR leaders

In the dynamic landscape of talent acquisition and talent management, fostering diversity and inclusion goes beyond compliance; it's about embracing unique skills and perspectives

One such valuable but often overlooked skill is dyslexia. Dyslexic thinking skills like creativity, problem-solving, and leadership are vital to the 21st-century workplace, when we reach a 50-50 work split between machines and humans, as predicted for 2025 — the skills humans will need are Dyslexic Thinking skills. The skills actually match with the skills needed by organizations for the future as defined by the World Economic Forum. They also match with the top skills workplaces need today, as found by our In-Demand Skills research.

Last year, added ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a term, and the world’s largest professional careers platform, LinkedIn, recognized this by adding ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a vital skill. By redefining dyslexia as a valuable thinking skill, HR leaders can unlock a wealth of untapped potential within their organizations.

We’ve talked about the evolution of dyslexia understanding for some time now, but how do you go about making Dyslexic Thinking a vital skill in your organization? Sure, you get it, but how do you elevate it so the rest of the business supports this view? You need it to be raised to the highest level so that hiring looks for it, talent acquisition benefits from it, and managers know how to nurture it. Those are some big questions that we hope to address but every organization is different.

There is no set blueprint, but communication at multiple levels across different functions will be critical. For example, if you’re a CHRO, you’re able to make a firm recommendation in your planning and you’ll need to speak with the executive leadership team. If you’re not C-level but work in the HR function, the likelihood is you’ll need to work with teams that are intrinsically linked to yours: HR, Learning and Development, Talent Acquisition and others. You could represent a business resource group looking at neurodiversity or even one directly targeted at dyslexia. It might even be you have nothing to do with the People function in your business, but you’re a Dyslexic Thinker, Made by Dyslexia, and wish to have more support or more acknowledgment for fellow dyslexics.

section 1: defining dyslexia as a valuable thinking skill in your department

awareness and education:

  • Start within your HR team by raising awareness about dyslexia as a cognitive diversity factor.
  • Provide educational resources and training to help HR professionals understand the strengths associated with dyslexia, such as creativity, problem-solving, and out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Encourage open discussions and share success stories of dyslexic individuals within your HR department.

assessment and self-identification:

  • Offer a safe space for HR professionals to self-identify as dyslexic, emphasizing that it's not a limitation but a unique cognitive advantage.
  • Collaborate with dyslexia experts to conduct assessments and identify specific thinking skills associated with dyslexia among your HR team.

skills integration:

  • Recognize and appreciate the dyslexic thinking skills already present in your HR department.
  • Encourage HR professionals to leverage their dyslexic strengths in their daily tasks, such as problem-solving exercises or brainstorming sessions.

section 2: securing organizational leadership buy-in

align with organizational goals:

  • Clearly demonstrate how harnessing dyslexic thinking skills aligns with the organization's mission, vision, and strategic objectives.
  • Emphasize the potential for innovation and improved problem-solving that dyslexic thinking can bring to the table.

data-driven insights:

  • Gather data on the positive impact of dyslexic thinking within your HR department.
  • Highlight instances where dyslexic team members have excelled, leading to better outcomes or creative solutions.
  • Utilize external data, resources and best practices to help show the value of dyslexic thinking in organizations.

engage leadership in the conversation:

  • Organize workshops or presentations for organizational leaders to understand dyslexia as a thinking skill.
  • Share stories of successful organizations that have embraced dyslexic thinking and witnessed transformative results.

inclusivity and accessibility:

  • Position dyslexia inclusion as part of the broader diversity and inclusion strategy.
  • Showcase the organization's commitment to fostering an inclusive culture where all thinking skills are valued.

section 3: gaining wider stakeholder support internally

people department advocacy:

  • Encourage professionals working across the people teams who have self-identified as dyslexic to become advocates for this thinking skill within the organization.
  • Foster mentorship programs where dyslexic HR professionals can guide their peers in understanding and appreciating dyslexic thinking.

continuous education:

  • Host regular training sessions for employees across the organization to create awareness about dyslexia as a valuable thinking skill.
  • Provide resources and tools for employees to better collaborate with dyslexic colleagues.

celebrate achievements:

  • Recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of dyslexic team members.
  • Share success stories and case studies to illustrate the positive impact of Dyslexic Thinking on projects and initiatives.

In today's diverse workforce, valuing cognitive diversity is not just an aspiration; it's a necessity. Dyslexia, once perceived as a limitation, is emerging as a valuable thinking skill that can drive innovation and problem-solving. This practical guide, tailored for CHROs and senior HR leaders, has outlined a comprehensive approach to redefine dyslexia within your organization.

The journey to reframe dyslexia with the due credit and respect it deserves as a valuable thinking skill requires a collective effort. As CHROs and senior HR leaders, you can drive change within your organizations. By redefining dyslexia, supporting cognitive diversity, and creating a culture of inclusivity, you will unlock the full potential of your workforce.

Dyslexia isn't a disability, it's an ability: a distinctive thinking skill that can propel your organization towards innovation and success. It's time to embrace this invaluable resource and shape a future where every employee's unique thinking is not just recognized, but celebrated. The time for change is now.

Learn more about how you can unlock the power of Dyslexic Thinking at your organization.

about the author

Matt Higgs is vice president of Global Sales & Solutions, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) at Randstad Sourceright.

Profile Photo of Matt Higgs