Employing Autistic Workers: 4 Tech Companies that Value Neurodiversity

Are employers in the information technology (IT) sector looking to hire individuals with autism? This is an increasingly common practice, as companies recognise the value of bringing on board a diverse range of talent. Many IT businesses are actively seeking out individuals with autism for their unique skills and perspectives, and Microsoft and SAP are two examples of corporations that are particularly open to hiring people with autism. This is due in part to the fact that software developers must have an eye for detail and be able to work independently. Many people with autism have these qualities, making them ideal candidates for such positions. Ultimately, it is clear that companies are increasingly recognising the importance of diversity and the value that individuals with autism can bring to the workplace.

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Contents:

  • Why is it vital to hire autistic people?
  • Top tech businesses that prioritise employing autistic people
    • Microsoft
    • SA
    • IBM
    • DELL
  • The Advantages of Hiring Autistic Employees
  • Practical strategies for hiring autistic employees in your firm
    • Step 1: Modify the interview procedure
    • Step 2: Create a well-balanced working atmosphere
    • Step 3: Instill self-awareness in the workplace culture of your organisation
  • Finally, consider recruiting autistic employees for your firm.

Why is it vital to hire autistic people?

People with disabilities make invaluable contributions to businesses on a daily basis. Their abilities are evident in the various roles they fulfill, from entrepreneurs and inventors to community leaders. They are active participants in all types of businesses, from the highest levels to the most basic operations. Through their hard work and dedication, they demonstrate the potential of individuals with disabilities and the value they bring to the workplace.

Despite the fact that persons with disabilities constitute a significant portion of the population, research has found that their employment rate is significantly lower than the rate for the general population. This is especially true for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According to estimates, approximately 1% of the world’s population is affected by ASD, yet only around 20% of those individuals are employed, indicating a substantially low autism employment rate. Furthermore, many of those who are employed are in jobs that are not suited to their capabilities and skill levels.

Numerous research studies have demonstrated that individuals on the autism spectrum possess remarkable intellectual capabilities, including meticulous attention to detail, unwavering dedication to tasks, and innovative problem-solving strategies. Despite these valuable assets, they are often unable to secure employment due to their difficulty in exhibiting the verbal and nonverbal communication skills that are so essential to a successful job interview.

Despite the fact that many businesses do not like to address the prospect of hiring autistic individuals, there are some Information Technology (IT) companies that are taking a proactive approach by creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all individuals to thrive. These firms recognise that by providing an environment that acknowledges and embraces diversity, they can benefit from the unique perspectives and talents of all their employees.

This article includes a list of firms who are paving the way for neurodiversity in tech by recruiting autistic employees.

Let’s get started.

Top tech businesses that prioritise employing autistic people

It is becoming increasingly widespread for Information Technology (IT) businesses to employ autistic personnel. Many major IT firms have taken steps to modify their hiring processes and work settings, such as providing additional rest periods and introducing sensory-friendly gear, among other initiatives. Furthermore, numerous software companies that hire autistic people have started to offer remote work opportunities to neurodiverse workers. To illustrate, here are four IT businesses that are actively recruiting autistic staff:

  1. Microsoft

    In 2015, Microsoft initiated ‘The Microsoft Hiring Program’ in partnership with Specialisterne and Provail, two organisations which specialise in providing training and assistance to individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The program was launched in conjunction with the Washington-based multinational, Microsoft Corporation.

    The organisation has adopted a tailored approach to recruiting autistic individuals and has created an interview process that emphasises preparation and assessment. This strategy enables applicants to showcase their strengths and gain insight into Microsoft’s status as an employer of choice.

    Is Microsoft employing autistic people? For further information, go to the Microsoft careers website.
  2. SAP

    In 2013, SAP launched their ‘Autism at Work’ program in order to capitalise on the unique strengths and perspectives that autistic individuals can bring to an organisation, with the goal of fostering creativity and innovation.

    The recruitment of autistic personnel typically takes at least four weeks to complete, and involves screening and seminars, as well as a tour of the facility. Additionally, a one-on-one interview, a group interview, and individual exams are all integral parts of the recruitment process. As part of its company-wide initiative, SAP has made autism awareness a priority, aiming to educate its employees on common misunderstandings and challenges related to neurodivergence.

    Is SAP looking for autistic employees? For further information, please see the SAP career website.
  3. IBM

    Adults on the autism spectrum are being given the opportunity to join the IBM Ignite Autism Spectrum Disorder Program. This program assists autistic applicants with the transition to their new job roles and the onboarding process. Additionally, the iconic New York-based corporation provides autistic individuals with noise-cancelling headphones to help protect them from potential sensory overload.

    Moreover, IBM Watson has developed a helpful tool called the ‘Content Clarifier’ to assist people in understanding complex instructions. This tool can replace difficult words with simpler ones, reorder phrases, and provide contextual information such as phonetic pronunciations, images, maps, and links to external sources. In this way, the Content Clarifier can help simplify the understanding of difficult content.

    Is IBM looking for autistic employees? For further information, go to the IBM careers website.

    Related article: Is your Brand Strong Enough to Attract Top Executive Talent?
  4. Dell

    The ‘Dell Autism Hiring Program’ offers neurodivergent job seekers career preparation training and full-time work prospects.

    Candidates must first pass a pre-screening process to demonstrate their enthusiasm for the position. Those who meet the criteria are then invited to take part in a two-week assessment to evaluate their skills and determine their true potential.

    Is Dell looking for autistic employees? For additional information, go to the Dell careers website.

More businesses that recruit autistic people:

  • Ernst & Young Inc.
  • J.P. Morgan and Chase
  • Ultranauts
  • Aspiritech
  • Daivergent
  • Spectroomz

The Advantages of Hiring Autistic Employees

Studies have shown that organisations that recruit and employ individuals on the autism spectrum can reap a number of benefits. Not only do these organisations tend to have a more positive and productive work atmosphere, but they may also achieve greater outcomes in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, there are numerous other advantages to hiring autistic individuals, including:

  1. Workplace innovation In order to achieve success within the market, businesses must be willing to be dynamic and embrace change. Hiring a diverse range of personnel, including individuals on the autism spectrum, will help businesses present themselves in the best possible light. This will enable them to remain competitive and take advantage of the benefits that a varied and unique workforce can bring.
  2. Access to a broader talent pool Companies have access to a larger pool of talented and competent people.
  3. Improved productivity After managing neurodiverse personnel, managers become more aware of the need to use clear, concise language, providing instructions that are more explicit and detailed. This helps ensure that the workplace is inclusive and beneficial for all employees.

Practical strategies for hiring autistic employees in your firm

Step 1: Modify the interview procedure

Recruiting managers often overlook the potential of autistic applicants due to a reliance on traditional recruitment methods which are heavily skewed towards assessing hard skills such as data analysis, software understanding, and project management ability. Unfortunately, these methods are not well-suited to autistic applicants, who may struggle to demonstrate their technical competence during the interview stage. As a result, many autistic individuals are denied the opportunity to demonstrate their technical prowess and are excluded from the recruitment process.

So, how can you make your interview process more inclusive? Here’s how it’s done:

  • When recruiting autistic staff, employers should include questions that assess the candidate’s sensitivity and decision-making skills. As part of the interview process, employers should ask questions about the candidate’s former employment experience and the processes they used to make decisions. This will help employers to better understand the candidate’s capabilities and how they will fit into the role.
  • To minimise overstimulation, divide virtual or in-person interviews into many sessions or spread them out over several days.
  • We should consider offering remote work opportunities to prospective candidates, as this will enable us to assess their creativity, communication abilities, and other skills through do-it-yourself case studies, presentations, and quizzes. This will provide us with an effective method of evaluating potential candidates, and will ensure that we make the best possible hiring decisions.

Step 2: Create a well-balanced working atmosphere

Autistic individuals are highly sensitive to their environment and can be easily impacted by stimuli from their surroundings. For instance, when an autistic individual is in a waiting room with other applicants, they may find it difficult to communicate due to the unfamiliarity of the situation. This can create a barrier to communication, which can be further compounded by the individual’s autism.

So, how can you build a harmonious environment? Here’s how it’s done:

  • Having a healthy work-life balance is essential for any person to lead a fulfilled life. For autistic persons, it is especially important to take appropriate measures to ensure that their work-life balance is managed in an effective manner. One way to ensure this is to explicitly define work hours and response times so that they are aware of when they should be working and when they are expected to take a break. Additionally, it is important to encourage and urge autistic persons to take breaks to prevent them from overworking, as they may be prone to do.
  • Normalise ‘no meeting days’ and ‘do not disturb mode’ on work messaging applications in your firm.
  • It is essential to take proactive measures to ensure a healthy, productive, and safe workplace for all employees. This includes eliminating individuals who exhibit toxic behaviours, such as intimidation, belittlement, or fear-mongering. These behaviours can have a detrimental effect on the morale of the workplace, and can be particularly damaging to the retention of your most valued employees. Therefore, it is important to take swift action to remove these individuals in order to maintain a positive and successful working environment.
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Step 3: Instill self-awareness in the workplace culture of your organisation

Studies have shown that a gene associated with heightened sensitivity is linked to increased self-awareness in autistic individuals. This heightened self-awareness could be beneficial in the workplace, as research has suggested that self-aware employees are more likely to perform better than those who are not. These findings imply that autistic individuals with higher levels of sensitivity may have an advantage in the workplace.

So, how can you incorporate self-awareness into the culture of a company? Here’s how it’s done:

  • It is essential for team members to understand each other’s work routines, and in order to facilitate this, we propose creating a User Handbook. This document should include details about the ideal work environment for autistic individuals, as well as preferred communication methods and any other pertinent information. By having this information readily available, we can ensure that our team is well-equipped to work together to achieve our goals.
  • Autistic individuals typically possess a heightened sense of self-awareness and are aware of their unique skills and abilities. Therefore, it is important to provide them with opportunities to utilise their natural talents in areas such as communication, problem solving, and project management. By allowing them to choose tasks that match their capabilities, we can help foster their development and further their potential.
  • Educate managers and team leaders on common personality differences. Autism acceptance and respect must start at the top.

Finally, consider recruiting autistic employees for your firm

Autistic individuals who are employed in traditional office environments have the potential to enhance the creativity of their colleagues. Moreover, they often possess the abilities which employers are seeking, including the capacity to be flexible and creative.

Companies that are looking to embrace and promote neurodiversity within their organisation may be met with resistance from employees and other stakeholders. However, experts suggest that the most successful approach to implementing a neurodiverse workplace is to emphasise the potential benefits that can come from such an environment, such as increased creativity and productivity resulting from varied perspectives. By proactively addressing any potential concerns or anxieties around this shift, organisations can create a positive atmosphere in which all employees feel welcome and valued.

Works is certain that isolation cannot bring about the kind of transformation that the sector needs to see with regard to diversity and inclusion. An open dialogue and collaborative environment must be established in order to foster the exchange of ideas and engender real change. As a consequence, Works is committed to creating an inclusive workplace that promotes equity and does not discriminate on the basis of physical or mental ability.

Works is an innovative data science-driven platform that provides businesses with the capability to quickly and easily assemble engineering teams with exceptional technical and communication skills. We understand how difficult it can be to source experienced and knowledgeable cloud engineers, which is why at Works we have already pre-vetted our teams, so businesses can be sure they are getting the best. If you are looking for top-notch engineering teams, then look no further than Works.

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