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on July 11, 2024 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion The Stitch

Autism Awareness: Promoting Inclusion in the Workplace

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Your employees come from all different backgrounds, with a variety of strengths and abilities. No doubt, you’ve noticed that employing a staff from all walks of life has resulted in an enhanced workspace and thriving culture.

This is no accident. Companies that promote diversity and inclusion enjoy benefits beyond office culture—a study by Deloitte found diverse organizations earn 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. A 2019 McKinsey survey found companies with strong gender and ethnic diversity outperformed their competitors. 

The evidence is clear, diversity and inclusion is a win for businesses and employees.

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion make up an organization’s policies that help integrate employees from differing backgrounds into the workplace successfully. The term diversity refers to an individual’s identity—gender, race, class or religion, for example. Inclusion allows each employee to participate in their role fully and make meaningful contributions to the company.

While the above identifiers are often what comes to mind when we think of diversity, there’s another area to consider, neurodiversity.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the varying ways we interact, communicate and experience the world. Those who are neurodivergent, meaning ones whose brains develop differently, may need assistance adjusting to a new environment while also bringing a set of unique strengths.

Neurodivergent individuals include those with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is still not fully understood, as symptoms range depending on the person. For many with autism, it affects how they learn, communicate and interact with others, and behave. This can be challenging, but individuals with autism can also bring strengths to the table, including a detailed memory and a talent for the fields of math, science and art.

Regardless of where someone falls on the autism spectrum, it’s important to accommodate their needs in your workplace. There’s never been a better time to learn, since April is Autism Awareness Month!

There are many ways to advance diversity and inclusion in the office, and you can get started using your employee app! Read on for three app-based methods:

  1. Simplify your onboarding process

Today’s modern hiring process asks a lot of neurodivergent employees. It can feel overwhelming to take in all of the documents, meetings and scheduling required for a new hire.

The simple answer? Keep it all in one place!

Using your employee app, replace paper documents and endless emails with a paperless onboarding process. Your new hire will know exactly what is needed, and everything can be read and signed in a single convenient location.

  1. Implement autism awareness training for your team

It’s difficult to create lasting change without everyone on board. So bring your team into the conversation. Within your app, host a video training series highlighting the ways colleagues can best support employees with autism. This can also function as an educational training opportunity given that autism is often unfairly stereotyped.

  1. Include resources and support for autistic employees

Utilizing outside assistance, such as therapy, can be beneficial for those with autism. However, it’s difficult to know where to start. Here’s where you can help!

Within your app, dedicate an area to a list of autism resources and support opportunities that an employee can access whenever it’s needed. Your staff will feel encouraged by your efforts to accommodate them at every step.

Now that you’re ready to create a culture of diversity and inclusion, consider backstitch to lead the way! With a fully customizable employee app, you can make sure every employee feels valued and included.

Liang Deng

Chief of Staff