Someone With Autism Might Just Save Your Company

Someone With Autism Might Just Save Your Company

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Photo: Bloomberg

Monday, May 5, 2014 - 11:30am

CAMPAIGN: Diversity and Inclusion at SAP

CONTENT: Article

Building a toy robot out of Lego isn’t something you would expect to do during a job interview, but the normal verbal ping-pong of questions and answers doesn’t work for everybody.

Germany-based software company SAP has committed itself to hiring around 670 people on the autism scale by 2020 – 1 per cent of its global workforce – and has come up with new ways of recruiting and managing people who don’t do conversation well.

Regional vice-president of talent acquisition for SAP, Finuala Hattori, says watching what candidates with autism can do with their hands is a better guide to their potential than the usual behavioural-based interview.

“It gives an insight into how they approach a task, how they are structured in their thinking, so it is very different,” she says.

SAP decided to undertake its Autism at Work program (launched last year) as part of its workplace inclusion objectives, but Hattori is clear that the special skills that people “on the spectrum” can have bring a real benefit to the business.

“There were clear synergies between the skills that were available [from the candidates] and software development, which is written in a highly structured fashion,” she says.

People with autism can have “amazing” powers of concentration when absorbed in a task, she says.

“They have a really highly structured thought process and the ability to complete repetitive tasks with a very high level of accuracy.”

These characteristics – which can make life difficult for people with autism – become real strengths in the right work environments, especially when it comes to quality control in software development, picking up errors in data or code.

Continue reading the original article on Business Review Weekly about SAP's Autism at Work program >>

Original Source: Business Review Weekly