- A year out, Microsoft's program that focuses on hiring people with autism has successfully recruited and retained a cohort of strong employees, Fast Company reported yesterday.
- The story profiled a group of employees who were part of an experimental hiring program that was built to better accommodate those on the autism spectrum, including a less formal interviewing process and a longer timeframe. Each candidate was invited out for multiple weeks and was observed as they completed projects and got to know different managers. A more formal interviewing process continued toward the end of the stay.
- The program does not end at recruitment, as Microsoft also offers mentors to each employee in the program to ensure that they integrate well with other employees. These mentors serve as a touchpoint to help with "the logistics of moving" and "demystifying in-office interactions," as GeekWire put it.
As more hiring managers continue to focus on diversity, including neurodiversity (a term used to describe and normalize variations in brain functionality), experimental programs like these are an example of effective innovation in the field. While Microsoft is not the first to complete such a program, they are one of the largest to "go public," Fast Company notes, which will inevitably impact its peers in the U.S.
This program has seen success largely because it considers the needs of those it seeks to hire, respects those needs, and continues to consider those needs after the initial interaction. Successful commitments to diversity and inclusion tend to be woven in the fabric of how a company functions, and must be continual.
As tech fields in particular face unusually low unemployment rates, thoughtful strategies to include more diverse perspectives are one way to overcome the talent shortage, too.