Autism-friendly Hiring and Retention Guide
You’ll never regret the decision to hire an autistic person at your company. They bring a unique range of skills, from true out of the box thinking to exceptional pattern recognition and data analysis work. They’ll also benefit your entire company on a social and emotional level; for example, your staff will need to learn to communicate using clear and concrete language. This will spill over into their interactions with each other, and this will reduce miscommunication across the organization.
Autism-friendly Hiring Practices
Given all the benefits of hiring autisitc people, it may seem surprising that their employment rate is among the lowest for any population in British Columbia. This is in large part due to the lack of autism-friendly hiring practices, and the standard process of written application and formal interview is heavily weighted against autistic job seekers. However, there are some simple steps you can take to attract the highest quality autistic talent:
- Simplify applications – at the end of the day, a job application is simply a filtering tool to help you screen out unqualified candidates or those who simply can’t do the job. The written format is often a big hurdle for autistic people, so try creating one with multiple choice answers and check boxes of skills and attributes that they may possess. This will help you avoid losing quality candidates before you’ve even started interviewing.
- Scenario based interviews – for many autistic people, a sit down interview is not the best way for them to showcase their skills and abilities in the workplace. To get a better idea, create some scenarios for them to take part in, including interactions with your existing staff members, and observe them in action. Not only will you see just how much they’re capable of, but you may also decide that this is a more accurate tool for all of your interviewing processes.
- Work with Orbital – even these changes may not help you find the best autistic employees as many won’t seek employment through typical routes. By reaching out to Orbital, you get a double benefit. Firstly, we have a large client base of autistic people actively seeking work. Secondly, we will have screened and tested these individuals so that you know anyone we send for interview is pre-qualified and has gone through our workplace preparation training.
Retaining Autistic Employees
As with their neurotypical peers, successful employment for autistic people doesn’t end once the contract has been signed. The on-boarding process will need to be adapted and you will need to continually monitor and adjust as the weeks go by to retain the employee. Again, here at Orbital we can help with the retention process in the following ways:
- Staff training – one of the biggest causes of autistic people leaving their posts is a feeling of a lack of relationships and respect from other staff members. Orbital provides a variety of staff training on autism awareness that can be tailored for the individuals on your team.
- Progress monitoring – autistic people will need a different progress monitoring and goal system process than their neurotypical colleagues. Orbital will work alongside your supervisors to help adapt your current models and train them in how to give feedback to the autistic employee.
- Personalized support – finally, if you chose to work with us to employ the autistic person, we will know them well and have a positive working relationship with them. This will allow our workers to work alongside your new employee to provide updated training and support as they get used to their new position.
Becoming an autism-friendly employer does require some changes and adaptations, but you will never regret the decision to hire your first autistic person.