Learn about autism spectrum disorder, what it means for the workplace, and how to create an inclusive environment for people with ASD.
Do you have an employee on the autism spectrum? If so, it’s crucial to understand the disorder and how it can affect their behavior in the workplace. Beyond that, there are specific steps managers and employers can take to help accommodate these individuals and make sure their work experience is safe and productive. In this blog post, we will delve into autism spectrum disorder (ASD), explore its implications for employers, discuss potential accommodations as well as how to develop a supportive environment for employees with ASD. Along the way, we will look at research studies which suggest certain policies which may be beneficial for creating workplace success stories involving autistic individuals.
The world is waking up to the importance of understanding and leveraging ASD for business success. Microsoft, SAP, HPE/DXC are just a few examples of major firms that have actively looked beyond traditional hiring practices by recruiting employees with autism through specially tailored programs. The Dandelion Program at HPE/DXC has been leading the charge in tapping into this vast untapped talent pool – already providing internships & jobs opportunities in fields such as cybersecurity, data analytics and software testing to 58 people with autism!
People with ASD often face challenges navigating social situations, exhibiting repetitive behavior patterns and interests, creating successful job opportunities or forming meaningful friendships. As an investor in individuals on the spectrum it is important to understand these obstacles so strategies can be devised in order to help them reach their maximum potential.
ASD is often disregarded as an intellectual disability, yet astoundingly around 60 percent of those diagnosed have average or superior intelligence. Harvard Business School professor Gary P. Pisano notes that their “intellectual horsepower is quite high,” signifying a greater potential for success than previously believed! Furthermore, many adults with ASD are college-educated and possess unique talents sought after by employers today – highlighting the remarkable capabilities of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Despite the huge potential of college-educated adults with autism, a shocking 85 percent are currently unemployed. Integrate in San Francisco, an organization dedicated to helping companies recruit and retain professionals on the spectrum is working hard at mitigating this issue – which partly arises from difficulties navigating job interviews or simply not applying because many assume they won’t get hired. Investing here could help make a real difference for thousands of talented individuals!
The importance of social and communication skills in organizational cultures can create a daunting challenge for individuals with autism. Added to that, other related symptoms such as sensory sensitivities, an inability to easily adjust to change and executive functioning difficulties make it all the harder for them to succeed professionally without adequate support.
Human resource services are increasingly focusing on the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace. Neurodiversity is the idea that different types of minds should be supported and respected. This could manifest in the form of ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or other neurological differences. By recognizing and managing these differences appropriately, employers are realizing significant gains by providing their employees with a unique set of skills, strengths and perspectives. A productive workforce is one that embraces diversity as an asset in meeting organizational goals while providing employees a comfortable place to succeed and grow. Human resource services can help to ensure that employee recruitment processes are inclusive and provide adequate support for those with neurodiverse differences — thus leading to improved hiring outcomes for all parties involved.
Austen Hoffer is right – when it comes to hiring employees with autism, it’s a win-win. Employees with autism bring many strengths and skills to the workplace, and with the right supports in place, can be successful employees. If your company is looking for ways to increase diversity and fill skills gaps, considering hiring employees with autism may be the answer.