In the past month, we celebrated Autism Awareness Month and discussed different topics to help workplaces understand individuals with autism and how they could tap on this talent pool.
Statistics have shown that unemployment rates among individuals diagnosed with autism is between 50-75%. However, there have been more awareness and understanding created around the strengths of those with autism. Workplaces are also beginning to leverage on the unique perspective that they could bring to the table.
Many individuals with autism struggle with social communication, which is critical for interviews, thus inadvertently creating a barrier for them. However, our hiring practice can be made more inclusive with minor adjustments, which will empower them to fully demonstrate their potential.
1. Job Descriptions
Job Descriptions often include qualities that are not essential for the job to be carried out effectively, such as ‘excellent communication skills’ or ‘good team player’.
Applicants with autism may assume that they are ineligible for a job, even though they have strong technical skills that are directly relevant to the job.
Conventional conversational interviews rely heavily on social and communication skills, which applicants with autism may struggle with. They may not be able to fully lean into their strengths and potential in an interview, even if they have all the right skills.
We could make adjustments to our interview process, which is essential in allowing applicants with autism to fully portray their skills and true potential.
Organisations could perhaps provide them with a print out of the questions beforehand, allowing them time to process and prepare.
1. Clarify expectations
Employers may need to be more explicit and clearer with their expectations for an employee with autism, explaining the etiquette and unwritten rules of the workplace. However, they need to understand that it is to help them continue doing their work well, not because they are not good enough.
2. Make sure instructions are concise and specific
Individuals with autism work better with clear & concise instructions, this will lay the foundations and build a culture of good working practices.
Try to provide them with clear instructions about how to carry out each task exactly from start to end. Don’t assume that they will infer your meaning and have understood from informal instructions.
3. Provide sensitive but direct feedback
Individuals with autism often find it difficult to pick up on social cues and subtle hints, so ensure your feedback is honest and constructive.
When a task is done incorrectly, we should not hint or imply. Instead, we can explain tactfully but clearly why it is wrong and how exactly they should do instead.
Empauwer is a movement that seeks to connect the untapped talents of neurodiverse professionals to the hiring needs of organisations.
If you would like more information, please reach out to us here, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information on www.empauwer.com
Farida Charania – CEO
Russell Yim – Sales & Business Development
Zed Wong – Marketing