Hiring Autistic Workers: 4 Companies Embracing Neurodiversity in Tech
Can autistic people be software developers? Why are companies choosing to hire people with autism? Which tech companies are hiring autistic workers? Is Microsoft hiring autistic employees? Is SAP hiring autistic employees?
Looking for answers to these questions? Let’s dive in.
Table of contents:
- Hiring autistic workers: Why is it important?
- Top tech companies that are hiring autistic workers on priority
- The benefits of hiring autistic workers
- Practical ways to hire autistic workers in your company
- Step 1: Alter the interview process
- Step 2: Construct a well-balanced work environment
- Step 3: Bring self-awareness into your company’s work culture
- Final thoughts on hiring autistic workers into your company
Hiring autistic workers: Why is it important?
Every day, people with disorders bring their talents and skills to their workplaces. They perform all kinds of jobs at all levels in all business sizes. They are innovators, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.
Despite this, people with disorders have lower employment rates than the general population. This employment trend is especially true for autistic people. Autism spectrum condition affects about one percent of the world’s population, yet nearly 80 percent of those affected are unemployed, representing a significant low autism employment rate. And others are performing mundane jobs below their ability and skill levels.
Autistic people possess high intelligence, careful attention to detail, outstanding commitment to work, and out-of-the-box thinking, as pointed out by several studies. However, they struggle to find work because they lack the solid verbal and nonverbal communication skills required in a formal job interview.
While most organizations are avoiding the subject of ‘hiring autistic workers,’ a few tech companies are paying particular attention to creating inclusive cultures that support everyone.
This post shares a list of companies leading the way to neurodiversity in tech by hiring autistic workers.
Let’s dive in.
Top tech companies that are hiring autistic workers on priority
Tech companies hiring autistic employees is not new. Many big techs are making adjustment to their hiring processes and work environment, such as offering more breaks, implementing sensory-related hardware and more. Many tech companies hiring autistic adults have also started to offer work from home to neurodiverse employees. Here are four tech companies that are hiring autistic workers on priority:
Microsoft introduced ‘The Microsoft Hiring Program’ in 2015. The Washington-based multinational partnered with Specialisterne and Provail, two organizations that provide training and support to persons with autism spectrum disorders.The company developed a special hiring procedure for hiring autistic workers. As a part of the procedure, applicants participate in an interview process that focuses on interview preparation and assessment. Additionally, the method enables candidates to demonstrate their unique skills while learning about Microsoft as an employer of choice.
Is microsoft hiring autistic employees? Visit the Microsoft career page for details.
SAPIn 2013, SAP launched its ‘Autism at Work’ program. The program leverages the unique abilities and perspectives of autistic people to foster innovation in the company.
The process for hiring autistic workers usually takes a month and includes screening and workshops. The recruitment procedure also includes a walk of the facilities, a one-on-one interview or a group interview, and individual tests. SAP has made autism awareness a company-wide initiative to familiarize employees with the common misconceptions around neurodiverse issues.
Is SAP hiring autistic employees? Visit the SAP career page for details.
IBMThe ‘IBM Ignite Autism Spectrum Disorder Program’ also hires adults with autism. The program assists autistic candidates in onboarding and adjusting to new responsibilities. What’s more, the New York-based giant provides headphones to autistic people to help reduce aural overload.
In addition, IBM’s Watson application ‘Content Clarifier’ simplifies complex instructions for them. The Content Clarifier replaces difficult words with simpler equivalents, rearranges sentences, and adds context to subjects, such as phonetic pronunciations, photos, maps, or connections to web sources.
Is IBM hiring autistic workers? Visit the IBM career page for details.
Related post: Is Your Brand Strong Enough to Attract Top Executive Talent?
DellThe ‘Dell Autism Hiring Program’ provides career readiness training and full-time job opportunities to neurodivergent job seekers.
Candidates go through a pre-screening round, which determines their level of interest in the role. Those who meet the qualifications participate in a two-week skills evaluation that reveals the applicant’s true worth.
Is Dell hiring autistic workers? Visit the Dell career page for more details.
More companies that hire autistic employees:
- Ernst & Young
- JP Morgan & Chase
The benefits of hiring autistic workers
Studies show that companies that hire autistic employees maintain a better work environment and generate better results in less time. Here are a few more benefits:
- Innovation at the workplace: Businesses must innovate and adapt to thrive in the market. Hiring a diverse group of people, including autistic people will help companies put their best foot forward.
- Access to a larger talent pool: Businesses gain access to a larger pool of talented and skilled individuals.
- Enhanced productivity: After working with neurodiverse employees, managers learn to avoid abstract language, use shorter and crisp sentences, and give more specific instructions that benefit everyone.
Practical ways to hire autistic workers in your company
Step 1: Alter the interview process
The typical interview evaluates and over-indexes hard talents like data analysis, software knowledge, and project management abilities. While many autistic candidates are technically bright, they fail to exhibit their skills and expertise in the interviews. As a result, hiring managers do not select autistic candidates.
So, how can you alter your interview process to make it more inclusive? Here’s how:
- While hiring autistic workers, include questions that evaluate a candidate’s inherent sensitivity level. For example, inquire about their thought process in decision-making process in their previous job role.
- To avoid overstimulation, break up virtual or in-person interviews into successive sessions or stretch them out over a few days.
- Provide ‘work from home’ assignments. You can examine a candidate’s creative and communication skills through do-it-from-home case studies, presentations, and tests.
Step 2: Construct a well-balanced work environment
Most times, autistic people are affected by their environment. For example, an autistic person’s encounter with other candidates in the waiting area can trigger a communication barrier.
So, how do you create a well-balanced environment? Here’s how:
- You can demonstrate a solid work-life balance by clearly establishing work hours and expected response times. Autistic people are prone to overwork, so it’s critical to encourage them to take time off.
- Normalize ‘no meeting days’ in your company, and the ‘do not disturb mode’ on work messaging apps.
- Remove toxic people who bully, belittle, or lead by coercion and fear. The longer these individuals remain with your company, the more likely you will lose your greatest talent.
Step 3: Bring self-awareness into your company’s work culture
High sensitivity links to a gene that makes inner feelings more vivid. Autistic people are more self-aware, and self-aware workers are more effective.
So, how do you integrate self-awareness into a company’s culture? Here’s how:
- Create a user manual – a document that defines autistic people’s ideal work settings, their preferred communication channels, and any other particulars. This step allows team members to understand each other’s work habits better.
- Autistic people have a good understanding of themselves. Therefore, allow them to choose projects that align with their natural skills in communication, problem-solving, and project management.
- Educate managers and team leaders on typical personality variances. Acceptance and appreciation for autistic people must begin at the top.
Final thoughts on hiring autistic workers into your company
Autistic people who work in a conventional office environment increase the inventive quotient of those around them. In addition, autistic people often exemplify the qualities employers seek, including adaptability and resourcefulness.
However, companies planning to embrace neurodiversity may face internal opposition. The ideal way to embrace neurodiversity, according to experts, is to promote the advantages of bringing diverse perspectives into work.
Turing is confident that isolation can not achieve the kind of transformation we need in the industry in terms of diversity and inclusion. Instead, we need strong communication and teamwork to share ideas and promote change. And so, Turing believes in building an inclusive workplace and does not discriminate on physical and mental abilities.
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