World Autism Awareness Day: Creating genuine human impact through access to opportunities
- Posted on April 1, 2020
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
World Autism Awareness Day is internationally recognized on April 2 each year with the aim of raising awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This year, “the United Nations observance of the Day draws attention to issues of concern related to the transition to adulthood, such as the importance of participation in youth culture and the community self-determination and decision-making, access to post-secondary education and employment, and independent living.”
Celebrating inclusion and embracing diversity underpin our culture at Avanade. This is because we see true benefits in being diverse, understanding that such settings are critical to innovation and sustainable growth.
In November 2018, Avanade partnered with the Singapore Autism Resource Centre (ARC) to champion an inclusive workplace by equipping people with ASD with digital skills and eventually offering full-time roles to be a part of our work family. Why hire people with ASD? Because we see an opportunity to create a genuine human impact by being creative in the way we identify, recruit and nurture talent as we continue to enhance the diversity of our workforce.
Under the partnership, we established assessment, onboarding and training to ensure the success of our three participating candidates from ARC. This included working closely with ARC to conduct a personality and job-fit assessment, developing structured training programs to equip the selected candidates with both technical and soft skills and preparing them for real-life work environments (i.e. at Avanade and our clients’ offices).
For example, an analyst tester within our teams carries out tasks that are highly structured, repetitive and require a keen eye for detail. Through our partnership with ARC, we learned that such tasks, which require focus and precision, are well-suited for people with ASD. Recognizing this, we designed roles and tasks that leverage the candidates’ strengths and equipped them with more skills to help them feel confident and cared for.
To ease the onboarding process, we assigned work buddies to each candidate to help them adjust to their work environment. On top of that, we conducted internal training sessions for all employees to help everyone gain an understanding of what autism is and an awareness of how to embrace our differences. All these efforts are aimed at demonstrating that everyone counts, and diversity is valued in Avanade.
Through the success of this initiative, we were able to demonstrate the positive impact of focusing on each person's abilities to create a highly engaging team environment and culture, higher business productivity and a competitive advantage not just for Avanade, but our clients and partners.
We hope to deepen our partnership with ARC and continue to extend our initiative with them. We also hope to encourage and inspire others to follow suit – to come forward and provide equal opportunities to people with autism or special needs.