Why You Need 'Cognitive Variety' in Your Team

People think in different ways, and conditions such as dyslexia and Asperger Syndrome can bring real value to your team.

Cognitive variety means recruiting people from all sorts of backgrounds. As well as taking in people of differing race, religion and sexual identity, you also should include people with dyslexia, those on the autistic spectrum and those with a range of physical and mental disabilities. It's only by getting that broad spread of thinking that you eliminate 'groupthink' and get the creative, problem-solving team you need.

All too often, employers look for people who mirror them. That eliminates a pool of highly talented individuals who have a lot to bring to the table. Whether that discrimination is conscious or unconscious, such biases can limit the scope of what you can achieve.

When you have cognitive diversity within your team, ideas are more easily bounced around and you avoid falling into stagnation. Not all great minds do think alike. A range of opinions and thinking styles have been proven to enable critical thinking and innovation, so HR departments and senior figures need to do more to hire those people with – quote, unquote – 'different' ways of thinking.

To do that, you could try a recruitment drive which is entirely focused on finding difference. When it comes to hiring, blind recruitment programmes could be a way of unearthing that hidden, diverse talent. That means knowing nothing about the candidates' backgrounds and judging purely on skills and experience. Alternatively, you could identify where the gaps in your diversity are and actively seek out those with differing ways of thinking.

Either way, the more cognitive variety you can get in your workforce, the better you will work as a team.


You need people from all sorts of backgrounds
Diversity of thought leads to creativity and problem-solving
Recruitment drives can focus entirely on diversity