Why Hiring ADHD Employees Is a Win-Win

ADHD Superpowers in the Workplace

When it comes to work, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) gets a bad rap. But is it really deserved?

The research suggests a resounding “no.”

ADHD often comes with some highly sought-after strengths. For example, consider the talents and achievements of celebrities like Simone Biles, Emma Watson, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Adam Levine, and even (probably) historical baddies like Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci. They—along with many, many other highly successful people—have all reportedly been diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, experts estimate as much as 20% of the population is neurodivergent!

Let’s talk about what neurodiversity brings to the table - and why hiring managers should take note.

ADHD Strengths at Work

Other common traits of ADHD — like quick problem-solving, curiosity, and the ability to easily adapt to challenges — are often essential to success in the workplace. Here are a few examples:

🎨 Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving

Research shows a link between creativity and ADHD and divergent thinking—the ability to generate many solutions to a problem. While we may need some help sorting and organizing those ideas, you definitely want us in the room during the brainstorming phase.

🧐 Curiosity

ADHD employees are almost guaranteed to be naturally curious. ADHD brains are chronically low on dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for fueling skills like motivation, learning, and attention. Thus, when we stumble upon something new or interesting - which triggers the brain to release a burst of dopamine - we can find the urge to dive in and investigate nearly irresistible. In short, point your ADHD employees at a new or interesting puzzle, and you’ll soon have an expert on your hands.

🔬 Hyperfocus

Hyperfocus - the ability to become completely absorbed in a task for great lengths of time (often to the exclusion of literally everything else) does have its drawbacks. But if you point us at a project we’re curious and interested in, we’ll probably get it done quicker than anyone else, often without sacrificing quality. For example, in school, I often completed 15 page papers in a span of 2-3 days. While neurotypical students who attempt this are likely fail - either by not getting it done on time, or submitting shoddy work - I aced nearly every paper I turned in.

💖 Compassion and Empathy

Most people with ADHD grow up hearing a lot of negative feedback. One study found that children with ADHD received 20,000 more negative comments than peers. While heartbreaking, it often means we become fighters for justice, not wanting anyone else to feel what we felt. ADHDers are also typically more sensitive than neurotypical counterparts. We feel emotions very strongly. All of that makes for truly kind and caring employees suited perfectly for careers in the service industry.

💬 People-Oriented

Aside from the fact that we’re sensitive softies, our creativity and divergent minds mean many people with ADHD are engaging, and fun to talk to. We make great customer service and HR reps, social workers or therapists, salespeople…you name it - as long as we don’t have to keep the conversation short 😆

Higher Energy

One subset of people with adult ADHD - the hyperactive type - are especially likely to benefit from almost superhuman energy levels. While we may need additional support with completing tasks that require sitting for longer periods, like filling out paperwork or long trainings, we’re perfect for jobs that keep you on the move, like nurses, EMTs, or teachers.

👩‍🚒 Risk Tolerance

Research shows people with ADHD may be more willing to take risks. This one goes back to dopamine. We make excellent firefighters - literally and figuratively - because high-pressure situations provide a hefty dopamine boost that brings everything into focus, making for fast-paced decision-making and thinking on our feet.

The Benefits of Hiring People With ADHD

Neurodivergent individuals think in ways that are truly unique. They bring advantages to any workplace, such as out-of-the-box thinking, creative solutions, and unique perspectives which can strengthen the success of projects and tasks. In fact, research shows that companies with more diverse workplaces:

🤑 Are more profitable, standing  to gain as much as 28% higher revenue

💸 Stand to double their net income

📈 May have as much as 30% higher economic profit margins than their peers

🌏 Appeal to a wider consumer base, as persons with disabilities also represent a significant portion of the consumer market, and many consumers will prioritize goods and services that are inclusive of persons with disabilities.

I won’t pretend that ADHD is all gain, no pain. We encounter (probably more than) our fair share of challenges, especially at work. But given the right support, “neurospicy” employees have so much to give - and companies likewise stand so much to gain from seeking out divergent minds.

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