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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Microsoft: So Far, So Good

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Many posts have discussed companies and nonprofits that provide them with training and experience.

At Fast Company, Vauhini Vara writes of Microsoft's autism hiring initiative:
So far, it appears to be working. Autistic employees told me they feel better at Microsoft than at past jobs, because they know they’ll be assisted in asking for accommodations, they have people who can help them navigate social situations, and they don’t have to hide their quirks. So far, all of those hired through the new program have performed at or above expectations. None have left Microsoft.
Still, this aspect of the program highlights just how different it is from other diversity initiatives. In theory, supporting autistic employees is no different from making sure employees in wheelchairs have access to a ramp. But in practice, it brings distinct challenges, because it involves interpersonal dynamics—what some people believe to be at the center of how colleagues interact with one another, and, in turn, crucial to a company’s success.