Industry giants SAP, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Hewlett Packard (HP) have all reported tremendous success with the neurodiversity hiring programs they launched six to eight years ago. They’ve found these employees to be creative, focused, and more likely to stay with their respective companies. All boast retention rates of 90% to 100% for these workers.
Smaller companies, anxious to tap into this underutilized talent pool, might wonder how they, too, can successfully recruit neurodiverse employees. The Autism at Work website offers some useful tips:
- When creating an ad for an open position, be very specific about which skills are mandatory and which can be learned on the job. People with autism tend to take things quite literally. If they see 10 requirements for a job, but they only have nine of those skills, they aren’t likely to apply. List only those skills that are absolutely essential to the role.
- Neurodiverse people need to know – upfront – that the company has a culture that values diversity and inclusion. Including this information in the job posting will help them envision a workplace where they’ll be accepted, increasing their motivation to apply.
- Replace formal, nerve-racking interviews with casual, hands-on demonstrations of what the candidates can do. Provide interview questions in advance and tell the candidates who else will attend. Share details about the meeting space and tell them exactly how to get there. These steps will significantly reduce their anxiety. Another way to reduce stress is to conduct group interviews instead of one-on-one. This also helps employers to see how the candidate will interact with other team members.
- Proactively manage unconscious bias among the hiring team. Ensure everyone involved with the potential employee is trained and fully understands that neurodiverse candidates are quite capable, and their creativity and unique perspectives can add tremendous value to the organization.
- Communicate clearly and intentionally. People with autism can’t always read between the lines, so avoid nuanced language. Be specific and precise.
According to a Harvard Business Review article titled, “Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage”, unemployment was as high as 80% among the neurodiverse population in 2017, four years after SAP launched its neurodiversity hiring program.
This, and countless other articles regarding unemployment among this population point to standard interview practices as one of the primary reasons. Making these interactions less stressful will go a long way toward matching companies with these uniquely talented people.
Connecticut Manufacturer’s Resource Group (CTmrg.com) works with manufacturers to understand how to hire, engage, and retain neurodiverse employees. Check out our previous blog, Part 1 of this series: Neurodiversity in the Workplace which discusses implementing a hiring program and the immense value neurodiverse people can bring to your organization. Contact Us to learn more.