When thinking of autism, employers often consider its drawbacks alone. However, many autistic individuals may possess unique qualities in addition to their professional skill-sets that make them an exceptional candidate for your next role.
Autism also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a broad range of life-long conditions with characteristics of challenges with social skill, repetitive behaviors, interests, activities, verbal and non-verbal communication. It usually manifests during the child’s first three years of life. The manner in which people with autism think, learn and solve problems range from very skilled to highly challenged. There are many types of autism that affect individuals, however, each individual has a set of strengths and challenges peculiar to them. The rate is high in all parts of the world.
More than eighty percent (80%) of adults living with autism do not have a job or are underemployed. Though every applicant for a job should be treated as an individual, an agreement with people with autism can be done so when companies recognize this, the hiring procedure will be easier for both parties. Do not be quick to write off that applicant just because of his or her autism; reasons why people living with autism should be hired alongside the benefits that come with hiring them will be listed below.
- High integrity and authenticity
Due to the nature of their condition, people with autism will usually not engage in office politics. They are also open, transparent and honest in all situations, they say it as it is. Due to their thinking capability, an autistic person will not plot evil plans for their boss or co-workers as this requires a complex thought process. When they speak or give their opinion, be rest assured it is genuine and that is exactly how they feel. There is no need to worry if the individual truly means what they say with autistic people. This way you run a company or organization that you are sure a part of it is not based on deceit or eye-service. People with autism will work with integrity for you and always have your back and hold you accountable. This does not imply that people who do not have autism do not have high integrity and authenticity. This also means they will be focused and committed even when no one is watching.
- Diverse range of jobs can be done
There are myths that there are specific roles that cannot be handled or are not suitable for autistic people. This is just a myth and should be debunked. People with autism come from different walks of life with different backgrounds. They can be found everywhere. They all have different qualifications in different fields. Do not be quick to put off a person with autism for a particular role. Just look at it as an opportunity to bring more individuals with experience, skills and other pros to your company. Research shows that people with autism have some abilities in greater abundance than neurotypical worker such as logical reasoning and heightened pattern recognition which makes them valuable in several types of jobs.
- Inclusion of neurodiversity is beneficial for business
Neurodiversity refers to people with different brains and is not just restricted to autistic people but also people with Dyslexia, ADHD, autism and so on. It is the opposite of neurotypical which refers to people who are ‘normal’. Being diverse is one way of reaching of to your targeted market. Nothing says more diverse than have a diverse range of workforce from different walks of life. There is practically no business or company that does not affect the life of at least one autistic person at one point in time. If you cannot reach or understand this type of people, the products or services you are offering would also not reach them. Having autistic employees will help you in understanding this group of your clients better, help in brainstorming and giving diverse perspectives relating to your clients. This also has an added advantage of your previous employees developing empathy and understanding to the autistic employees and will challenge their thinking in helping them grow as professionals. It will also create an attractive work environment for potential and current employees because an environment autism can thrive is a good place for all.
- Unique manner of thinking and solving problems
The neurodiversity of people with autism means their brains process and responds to information in a different manner from a regular person. This gives them a unique perspective to their work and the manner in which they solve problems that is different from other people. They do not usually follow the conventional manner or the unwritten social rules, thereby giving a broader range of possibilities for the company in problem solving tasks.
- High productivity
People with autism are typically highly productive. The unique set of skills they bring to the table such as attention to details, out of the box thinking and the ability to do repetitive tasks accurately accounts for their level of productivity. They also have the ability to identify defects and issues that no one else has identifies, this is a valuable asset to any company. In addition to these skills, they possess high level of technical ability and memory for facts and figures, skills every company requires. People with autism are highly beneficial to any company they find themselves, the productivity and success rate of the company. When an autistic is working in a place where he has intense, specific interests, he comes hyper-focused and productive because the passion results in a win-win situation for both the employer and employee.
- They are inclusive
Quite alright, they might not greet a colleague or acknowledge a colleague in the office when they walk past them. Most of the people with autism have experienced discrimination and abuse at one point in their life if not all their life because of their difference. This is maybe what has led to the social justice and drive for equality for all they possess. They are open to any form of diversity. Sometimes, you may need to explain and help them understand what the different form of view is about but you will never have to worry about why they should care in the first place. They make a positive contribution to your company’s diversity and inclusion culture in several ways. Do not be surprised if your previous employers imbibe this inclusive mindset from the autistic employee.
- They are not afraid to speak up
Employers who love employees who are yes-people or those who do not ask questions should probably not hire people with autism. People with autism will challenge you and your thinking constructively which will push you and your company to greater heights. Having someone do this will change your organization and eventually change the world. The free-thinking fearlessness of people with autism will produce real changes. One has to have an open-mind to this feature so it is not misinterpreted and cause misunderstandings. They speak up for the benefit of the team and business to achieve overall success.
To reap these benefits, employers need to integrate people with autism in their workforce and provide the necessary vocational training needed to make them fit into the work environment. Employers have to give adequate support to autistics such as placing the person away from noise and people passing by regularly, educating staff about what to expect and how to act. If all of this is put in place, the benefits cannot be overlooked.
– Josh A.