I recently watched a video about how companies are starting to hire more people with Autism in the workplace, and I don’t mean the low paying jobs either. They are computer programmer jobs, lawyers and any other job. SAP, Microsoft, and about 50 other big companies are seeing the benefit of hiring people with Autism. I think this is awesome, but the way that these companies are doing it should be expanded to other disabilities too.
People with Autism are usually smart but lack social skills, so the normal interview process does not work well with these people and I would say other disabilities as well. The average length of an interview is about 30 minutes to an hour and that is so hard to see what a person is capable of doing if the person has problems with socialization or even being nonverbal. The video had a guy who had about 100 interviews and nobody was giving him a chance to show what he could do. I had about that many interviews as well, and after some time, it gets very depressing to be rejected.
5 Week Process
SAP started a program which eliminates the interview altogether. So, what do they do to determine if the person is right for the job? Well, it is a five-week process where the person does problem-solving challenges with other people. I really like this because it is not one thing, so the company really sees what the person can do. This is an awesome way to get people with Autism in the workplace.
If the person with Autism gets the job, the company has a buddy program where an employee is there to help the person out time to time. The employee feels good about helping out. One woman, who is helping out in the buddy program, has a son with Autism and hopes that he will get the same opportunity when he gets older.
Another great thing about these programs is that people who have Autism can socialize with each other after work. I am not saying that this is always needed, but it does help.
The video said 97% of the people with Autism get hired actually stay at SAP. I am shocked that companies are not hiring more people with disabilities. I already talked about this in many other blog posts and the employment rate is super low. The statistics show people with disabilities work hard and are loyal to the company. Why aren’t companies hire more people with disabilities? SAP said they are planning 600 people with Autism.
While I was watching the video, I was wondering one thing. That is what is the motivation of doing all of this? If it is to hire the very bright part and that means to hire people with Autism or it is to prepare a process to hire more people with disabilities in general, I don’t know. I am not saying what they are doing is bad, but they never said that they are going to expand the program to other disabilities. When they interviewed Microsoft, the woman who talked was deaf, and she didn’t comment about other disabilities. Naturally, it was for a segment on a morning TV show. So, they didn’t have time to ask about other disabilities to give hope to people with disabilities as well.
We have come a long way since the ADA was passed, but there is so much more to accomplish. I praise what SAP is doing among other companies. I feel that we have to let them know that there are other people with disabilities who want the same opportunity as people with Autism in the workplace. The way that I see it is that they are discriminating now. If you feel that too, please leave a comment below.