Autism in work place

5 Things Every Employer Should Know About Autism Spectrum Disorder

The recent pandemic has drastically changed the way that the British Columbia job market operates. From remote working being a preferred option for most workers to a wider range of perks. And benefits being offered to attract the best candidates, there’s never been a better time to look for a job in the province.

The one demographic that continually runs into employment barriers is autistic workers. With almost 80% of the 50,000 adults with an autism diagnosis being unemployed or underemployed. A large part of this chronic employment problem for autistic jobseekers is a general misunderstanding. Misconception about autism and how it can be incorporated into the workplace. This blog will look at 5 things that all employers should know about adults with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. To help them take advantage of this vast untapped talent pool. 

No two autistic individuals are alike

There is an old saying in neurodivergent circles: once you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.  The meaning of this adage is that the official diagnosis of autism is placement on the autism spectrum disorder. There are, of course, some common traits across many autistic workers. But it’s a mistake to assume that you know exactly what you’re signing up for when you start your journey towards greater neurodiversity in your workplace. On the positive side, it means that each time you hire an autistic individual. You’re going to get another unique talent set to add to your team. 

Autistic workers bring a lot of soft skills to the table

A popular misconception about autistic people is that they struggle with the “soft” skills that are increasingly necessary for the modern workplace. teamwork, negotiation, and loyalty are among the traits that more and more employers are looking for. However, a recent study has shown that autistic workers are more likely to be highly motivated to improve their performance.

less likely to leave the company, and have better productivity levels than their neurotypical peers. All of these soft skills are hard to train and result in high levels of loyalty and commitment. which in turn pays back any training costs over time. 

Achievements will look different for autistic employees

Understanding what the world looks like and feels like to your autistic employee is an essential step towards autism acceptance.  This means recognizing that achievement and success for your autistic worker will look different from other neurotypical employees. This means that you might see them celebrating something that for a neurotypical worker would just be part of the day. such as answering an unknown phone call or replying to a time-sensitive email. As their boss, you’ll need to help them celebrate these achievements and work with them during the onboarding process .To work out what unexpected challenges they might face in their day-to-day work. 

Mentoring brings higher levels of success

There’s always scope for growth and support no matter what brain type your employee has. However, there is research that shows that a formal mentoring process helps autistic employees to succeed at their job. A mentoring program can be intensive. where it’s almost like a one-on-one buddy system at the start of employment. Or it can be more informal, with scheduled check-ins. In either scenario, your mentor should be someone with direct experience of autism. Or who has received high-quality training in neurodivergence in the workplace? so they can balance the fine line between advocating for change and holding the worker accountable. 

Your whole staff needs to be trained

Finally, your autistic worker will not work in a vacuum. For many companies, choosing a neurodivergent hiring process is a drastic move away from the norm, and there are still plenty of negative stereotypes out there. You should consider intensive autism awareness training for all your staff as part of the onboarding process no matter if the new hire is on their team or not.

Armed with all of this knowledge, you’ll be in a much better situation to make your next autism hiring process a success. It’s important to know, however, that you can get professional help with autism spectrum disorder employment through Focus. We find, recruit and train only the highest quality autistic talent for you so you can put your knowledge about autism in the workplace to good work.

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