After a guest speaker from AsIAm visited our Dublin office in 2022, a few MongoDB employees realized there was a need for a global employee resource group (ERG) focused on disability and neurodiversity at MongoDB. This group of employees brainstormed and gathered information for a few months, contributing to a defined strategy for our new ERG, Config (a play on the word “configuration” and a nod to the database industry). Config officially launched in April 2023 with an AsIAm speaking event held in our Dublin office – the same organization that inspired the group’s formation the previous year.
Neurodiversity in the workplace
Recognizing neurodiversity within the scope of diversity and inclusion initiatives is a crucial aspect of modern workplace diversity efforts. It promotes a more inclusive environment where individuals with diverse neurological profiles, such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, feel valued and included in the workplace.
Neurodiversity can manifest in various ways and may show up as communication differences, sensory sensitivities, attention to detail, and unique approaches to problem-solving. Some neurodivergent individuals may have challenges with verbal communication or understanding non-verbal cues while others might excel in written communication or have a unique communication style. Sensory sensitivities can bring discomfort in environments with bright lights, loud noises, or strong odors. Also, many neurodivergent individuals thrive on routine and predictability, seeking consistent work schedules and clear expectations.
How to create an inclusive environment
In regard to recruitment and hiring, actively seeking neurodiverse talent through partnerships with neurodiversity-focused organizations, job boards, and outreach programs contributes to building a diverse workforce. On top of that, it’s important to educate recruiters and interviewers about neurodiversity to ensure they understand and appreciate different cognitive profiles and can create an inclusive interview process.
Alternative interview formats can provide a more accurate assessment of a candidate’s abilities, and structured interview questions and clear instructions help to reduce ambiguity during interviews. Allow candidates to choose interview settings that are comfortable for them, such as in-person, video, or written formats.
With workplace support, consider establishing mentoring programs to help neurodivergent employees navigate the workplace and build social connections. Work to create a sensory-friendly environment, clear communication, flexibility, and supportive supervision. In helping employees to become more supportive of their neurodivergent peers, create Neurodiversity Training to raise awareness about neurodiversity and promote a more inclusive culture. Peer Support Networks are also helpful for neurodivergent employees to share experiences and advice.
Some reasonable accommodations to consider are individual accommodation plans, quiet spaces for those who need a break from sensory stimuli, task modifications, and communication aids.
By implementing these accommodations and support structures, employers can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for neurodivergent employees, enabling them to thrive and contribute to their unique talents.
Config members share their stories
Supporting my neurodiverse family
Yair Bar (He/Him), Escalation Manager
Four out of my five children are neurodiverse: two have ADHD and two are on the autism spectrum. I've gained a deep understanding of their employment challenges once they become adults, and these barriers often stem from our neurotypical society's lack of understanding, empathy, and flexibility.
Workplaces must proactively create inclusive environments for neurodivergent individuals not only to participate but also thrive. My children have taught me valuable life lessons, like resilience and embracing diversity. My experience as a parent and my awareness of neurodiversity have helped me hone my skills including empathy, encouragement, active listening, and helping individuals redefine their vision and goals.
I've applied this perspective in my career and value neurodiverse talent on my team. I firmly believe that organizations should prioritize supporting neurodiversity as it aligns with important values like commitment, social mobility, equality, and personal growth. As neurodiverse populations grow, organizations must address their specific needs.
My goal is to support those facing neurodiversity challenges, making a real difference in their lives. I aim to raise awareness about neurodiversity within and beyond MongoDB, and I aspire to contribute to a more inclusive and understanding environment where everyone's unique abilities are celebrated.
My personal experience with neurodiversity
Rachelle Green (She/They), Workplace Coordinator
Prior to 2022, I was not familiar with the concept of neurodiversity. It was through social media that I came across the term, sparking a process of self-reflection. I began to analyze my relationships, cognitive processes, organizational strategies, and sense of belonging in different communities and spaces.
In 2023, I made a conscious decision to prioritize my mental health and investigate any concerns or suspicions I had. My goal now is to focus on understanding myself better, maintaining my well-being, and fully embracing my neurodiversity.
In my journey, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of organizations embracing neurodiversity in their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. By doing so, they not only foster a more inclusive environment but also tap into a wider talent pool that includes individuals with unique perspectives and exceptional abilities.
Config at MongoDB creates a space where neurodivergent thinkers like myself can feel valued and supported. I am eager to contribute my skills and experiences to this cause and make a meaningful impact in promoting neurodiversity acceptance and support within the workplace.
An ally for the neurodiverse community
Boris Subotic (He/Him), Employee Experience Manager
In my HR career, I've witnessed the valuable contributions of neurodiverse individuals, including problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and innovative thinking. I'm committed to advocating for neurodiversity at MongoDB, ensuring all employees, regardless of their neurological differences, feel supported and valued. This fosters a culture of acceptance and enhances productivity and innovation.
Recognizing neurodiversity aligns with MongoDB's value “Embrace the Power of Differences”. As an HR professional, I aim to be an ally and influencer in shaping company policies and initiatives.
I prioritize empathy and understanding, offering mentorship and professional development opportunities. Creating a supportive environment is key to ensuring everyone thrives. I'm enthusiastic about the role of Config in promoting diversity and inclusion. Collaborating with peers and implementing change initiatives can make a significant impact.
I'm excited to continue advocating for inclusivity, challenging stereotypes, and unlocking the potential of all employees through Config.
We’re committed to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for everyone. Learn more about diversity and inclusion initiatives at MongoDB.