For any company to grow and develop, it’s important to have the best quality employees in position. However, it’s also important to have a good variety of workers to avoid stagnation; a company full of the same aged individuals with the same experiences and qualifications will eventually run out of creative ideas as they will tend towards the status quo. For many organizations, this drive towards diversity usually focuses on gender and ethnicity, but there is a growing trend across all sectors to add neurodiversity into the inclusive hiring equation. There are so many benefits to hiring autistic individuals that go beyond the company to society-wide improvements.
Benefits to the organization
There are so many negative stereotypes and prejudices around autistic people that it is no surprise that they are one of the most underemployed groups in British Columbia (and indeed across all of Canada). However, they bring a lot of unique skills to any organization:
- Out-of-the-box thinking – it’s widely accepted that autistic individuals perceive and understand the world in a different way to their neurotypical peers. In the workplace, this means that they are building a reputation for creative problem solving and thinking about novel ways to solve existing problems.
- Attention to detail – a common misconception about autistic people is that they only focus on one thing in incredible detail. The truth is that they are able to control this fascination for the most part and this gives them excellent pattern recognition and data analysis skills.
- Increased empathy – away from measures of productivity and output, hiring neurodiverse talent will also increase the empathy among existing employees. This is with the caveat that the inclusive hiring process isn’t just lip service towards diversity. The changes in communication and adaptations to the workplace will make all workers more aware of each other’s needs which will have positive long-lasting benefits on staff morale and the company’s interactions with clients.
Benefits to the individual
It’s not just the company who benefits from hiring autistic people; the individual themselves gains just like any other employee from full time, meaningful work. Many autistic individuals, spend a lot of time reliant on other people for support, both financially and emotionally. A full-time job gives them financial independence and the confidence that they can take their rightful place in today’s society. This belief in their own abilities often translates to greater loyalty to the hiring organizations and many autistic employees will remain in the same company for long periods of time, especially when there are opportunities for career growth.
Benefits to society
Finally, society at large benefits when companies begin truly inclusive hiring programs. Many autistic British Columbians rely on either their families or the welfare state when they become adults, but full-time employment changes that. For every autistic person hired, the welfare system benefits, and while the community outreach programs will still exist to support autistic people in employment, studies have found the amount of time and money required becomes drastically reduced.
The local economy also benefits from inclusive hiring practices. For each person in employment, the tax base grows and reduces the overall burden on everyone. It also puts more disposable income into circulation which helps to grow local businesses which also positively impacts the tax base.
With all of these positive benefits, it can be surprising that more businesses across the province aren’t creating inclusive hiring practices. For many, it’s because the changes and adaptations to their hiring and onboarding practices can feel overwhelming. That is when you need to call Focus, who will support you and your staff throughout the entire process so you get all of the benefits with none of the pain.