Workplace diversity has been a hot topic for decades. But priorities are shifting to focus on new minority groups, such as people with mental disabilities.
Autistic employees typically don’t stay at a company for a year. But this isn’t the case for SAP. Since 2014, the company has hired 66 autistic software testers, programmers and data-quality-assurance specialists at part of its “Autism at Work” program. — Only two of those employees have left.
In a recent ERE article Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht said he wasn’t surprised to hear this:
“A company with its size and resources, he says, is likely ‘much better built for this’ than many firms.
The article goes on to include Henry’s opinion that:
“There are a lot of easily forgotten ancillary benefits of bringing autistic employees into the workforce. For one, getting a job, for some autistic job candidates, can be a huge plus for their general well being and happiness, something that goes well beyond just getting a paycheck, and can make them highly engaged in their work. Also, it can, depending on the situation (like in more significant cases), free up a lot of time for their parents to work, if they were spending their time assisting the autistic person.”
This article prompted a broader discussion on diversity and how it shapes company culture. So we turned to our resident expert on culture, our Chief People Officer Laura Hamill.
Laura reminds us that workplace diversity goes beyond the diversity you can “see” (like disability, ethnic, age and gender). It includes different behavior styles, opinions, ways of working and thinking – and that all of these help create an environment that allows and encourages people to be themselves at work. Why? Because diversity brings a humanity, perspective and meaning to the day-to-day employee experience.
It’s also a benefit to company culture. Organizations that encourage employee differences and involvement tend to take more risks, generate more ideas, and question more assumptions and the status quo – some of the most important precursors to innovation.
We’d love to hear how you incorporate and support diversity in your organization. Be sure to comment below.