“The new normal every company must accept to be successful is to create an emotionally safe working environment marked by respect, acceptance, and celebration of differences among employees. In other words, companies innovate better with diversity and inclusivity.
Kenny Rogers, in his hit song, ‘Know When To Fold ‘Em’ tells us that the hand we’re dealt is the only one we have to play. Sometimes it’s a lousy hand, and we must know when to quit.
Yet people are not cards. In fact, those working among us with atypical learning, communication, or organizational styles may very well be the “royal straight flush” we’ve been waiting for. It’s not a time to “fold them” but to play out the hand with a full investment of resources.
Those who find themselves somewhere on the autism spectrum (and you’d be surprised how broad that spectrum is) are often that winning hand for the company hidden in plain sight” (Michael Parise, MDiv, MA, CSD, 2020).
Michael recently spoke at the Great Careers Groups on the Joy of Negative Self Talk. He is a former Catholic Priest who decided to join The Great Resignation and fold ‘em.
After over three decades as a priest, he walked away from his retirement but still listens to people’s stories as a life coach. He shared some very thought-provoking information, and we are delighted to welcome him back in June.
I knew I wanted to share some of Michael’s wisdom in light of April being Autism Acceptance Month (ACCEPTANCE; not AWARENESS)
Individuals with autism are part of the neurodiverse community including dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and more.
These individuals with neurological differences can bring a new lens to the workforce, but they have to feel like they belong as an employee. Everybody wants to feel like they belong. Neurodiversity makes teams more productive, says recruiter, and there are many reasons why that are listed in the article.
Firms may have a DEI policy, but how about a DEIBA policy – diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility? If an autistic presents themselves differently than their neurotypical peers, will they be treated with respect and feel like they belong?
Is the company’s culture the right fit? According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), “An organization’s culture defines the proper way to behave within the organization and establishes the context for everything the enterprise does.” You can even take a quiz to test your understanding about culture.
To find out what your employees are saying about your company, you can check out some company review sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, Kununu, Comparably, InHerSight, Team Blind, and other platforms. There are also apps, like Fishbowl Professional Network. Is someone at your company doing “social listening” on social media? Are you acting upon what you hear?
With The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffle, or The Great Reset, companies that need to hire new employees need to attract desirable candidates, and a lot has to do with making sure there is a right culture fit.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics updated its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report showing that there are 11 million jobs available. Reuters noted that there are 1.5 job openings per unemployed worker.
So, how does a company sell its culture? Are there subcultures? What makes up a culture, you ask? There are lots of areas to consider, so here goes the listicle!
Beliefs and Core Values, Business Hours, Client Relations, Client satisfaction, Communications, Community, Corporate Social Responsibility (Employee Volunteers), Customs, Traditions, Ritual, Norms, DEIBA, Dress Code, Efficient Decision-making, Employee Benefits, Enhanced Trust and Cooperation, Ethics, Family-friendly, Fun Factor? (contests, ping pong, etc.), Hiring Decisions, Innovation, Integrity, Honesty, Listening, Metrics, Office Setup, Onboarding, People or Task-Oriented, Policies and Procedures, Rewards and Recognition, Stability, Teams, Technology, Training, and Professional Development, Turnover, and more!
Where does your company stand? If you have poor customer relations, employee engagement is down, a high turnover rate, or a toxic culture, you have an ineffective company culture, and you might need to do something about fixing it. Culture is essential if you want to embrace an inclusive workforce that includes autistic and other neurodivergent individuals.
As an employer, are you ensuring you meet the EEOC requirements for accommodations? Many autistic and neurodivergent people may need accommodations, and iIt might be an excellent refresher to read the Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in the Workplace and the ADA.
I asked Hanan Isaacs, Esq. of Kingston Law Group, to provide a couple of gems as an employment lawyer for disabled job applicants and workers. He is regularly called upon to advocate for or coach those in need of reasonable accommodations in the workplace, so people can get a job or more successfully perform in one.
“There are an estimated 2.5 million Americans in the workforce affected by intellectual disabilities. We all have a duty to respect and help people with intellectual and other disabilities reach their full potential. Federal law and the laws of many states support that goal, and so do employment lawyers for workers. I am proud to be one of them” (Isaacs, 2020)
An excellent article to read by Paige Gross is Autism at work: How you can support neurodivergent employees through DEO practices.
For previous articles on the topic of neurodiversity and autism in the workforce, read these:
Aside from autistic employees, there are also autistic bosses. I interviewed with an autistic boss eight times in 2013, as described in my recent LinkedIn post, and I did not get the job.
While you are there, please participate in the poll before it expires. I’ll be posting this article in a LinkedIn newsletter in my featured section, so I invite comments to expand on this topic.
Did you read the previous article on How Can Employers Recruit & Hire Top Talent in the Great Resignation?
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