What autistic people need to succeed in the workplace

What autistic people need to succeed in the workplace

Mental illnesses have taken a front seat as a result of the recent global pandemic, so it’s not surprising that some of the biggest multinational corporations out there have set up dedicated autism hiring departments. Industry giants like JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft understand that the benefits of hiring autistic workers far outweigh the costs and time involved in helping them take their rightful place in the workforce. Some of the common strengths of autistic employees include heightened pattern recognition, increased concentration span, and true out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to solving old problems.

However, for smaller organizations looking to get on board with neurodiversity in the workplace, it can be hard to overcome some of the logistical challenges. You can mitigate some of the learning curve by knowing what autistic people need to succeed in the workplace.

Hiring Practices

Preparing for success with neurodiversity starts way before your new employee sets foot in your office space. You need to change your entire hiring process to become more autism-friendly and send out the right vibes that you are doing this from a place of inclusion and acceptance instead of tokenism. Best practices for recruiting autistic workers include:

  • Concrete job descriptions: reading the generic, abstract language of most job advertisements can be tricky for many autistic job seekers who deal with concrete and specific job descriptions. Your job descriptions need to detail exactly what would be expected of them and the specific skills that they will need to have (as well as a list of those skills they can expect to learn with you).
  • Verbal applications: in the same vein, asking autistic individuals to be skilled at the complex dance of the cover letter and resume immediately puts them at a disadvantage. Encouraging and accepting verbal interviews (either over the phone or in person) will help you find high-quality employees who might otherwise be put off from applying for the positions.
  • Task-based interviews: decades of research have shown that the formal face-to-face interview is an incredibly poor indicator of future job performance, both for neurotypical and neurodivergent applicants. Try moving to a task-based interview, where you can watch your potential new superstar engage in a task (or series of tasks) that they would be expected to do in your workplace. You’ll see how they handle social interactions, organization, and time management, as well as any job-specific skills that you would want to test out.


Once you’ve found the right autistic worker and hired autistic employees, you can help them succeed by modifying your onboarding process over the first few weeks of their employment with you. A big step is to meet with your new hire and, preferably, an autism expert or advocate to discuss any accommodations or modifications that you’ll need to make to help them succeed. Common changes include a secluded working environment or somewhere quiet they can escape to, a written checklist for their day-to-day tasks, and written agendas and minutes for all meetings. These simple steps will help your autistic worker navigate the new changes smoothly as well as set them up for long-term success.

You’ll also need to provide support to your existing staff, who might never have had experience meeting or working with an autistic person. This should take the form of whole-staff training to discuss what autism is and what it isn’t, as well as what to expect and ways to help their new colleague truly integrate into the company.

Post-hire support

The old adage says that once you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. As you and your new hire get used to working with each other, you’ll continue to learn about them and how to help them succeed in a neurotypical working environment. This will take the form of regular meetings to discuss progress and challenges, as well as an opportunity to discuss ongoing professional development.

Getting Professional Help

It’s clear to see that providing autistic workers with everything that they need to succeed in the workplace can be a daunting task. This is where teaming up with Focus will help bring the best out of everyone at your company. Our autism experts are ready to work with your entire staff from start to finish to make all the necessary changes and accommodations to make your company autism-friendly and help you get the next competitive edge from your autistic employees.

Also read: High-Quality Cotton-Polyester Blend Fabric Manufacturers in India: R.K. Cotweaving

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