Reduction in staff turnover:
Total costs associated with turnover can range from 90% to 200% of annual salary depending on the company. Autistic individuals tend to be loyal employees and will stay with the same company for a long time given the appropriate work and environment. Autistic employees are more often terminated for "not fitting in" or "not being a team player" rather than poor job performance. Therefore, recognizing and understanding the characteristics of autism allow for management strategies to maximize the potential of an autistic employee to possibly avoid a costly and disruptive termination.
Increase in productivity:
Autistic individuals are known for focus, attention to detail, accuracy, memorizing facts and figures, and ability to concentrate on repetitive tasks and procedures. They are often more interested in completing the task at hand than they are in socializing so are often highly productive.
Consumer appeal to a large affinity group:
People affected by autism are one of the largest affinity groups in the country. Adding parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins to the estimated 1 in 45 children being diagnosed with autism, as much as 17% of the US population, or 55 million people, are impacted. A 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study found:
- 93% of consumers have a more positive image of a company when that company supports a cause.
- 89% of consumers are likely to switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality.
- 54% of Americans bought a product associated with a cause over the last 12 months, increasing 170% since 1993.
As the number of companies employing autistic individuals increases, given the size and purchasing power of the autistic community, companies are ceding market share to competitors with autistic employees.
Employees on the autism spectrum that disclose can help companies meet compliance goals for employing individuals with disabilities.
Minimal cost for accommodations and hiring:
Adjustments made to enable neurodivergent individuals to thrive at work frequently benefit everyone. Most are low or no-cost, easy to implement and can make a significant difference to an individual’s working life, their potential to contribute to the organization and to build a lasting career. Typical accommodations include clear communication, providing social cues, giving notice of schedule changes, providing short breaks and flexible work hours, replacing fluorescent light bulbs with led lighting and developing an understanding of the behaviors of autism.
A recent, independent study[i] examined the benefits and costs of employing autistic adults from the perspective of employers. The findings of the 59 participants suggest that autistic employees provide benefits to employers and their organizations without incurring additional costs.
For example, managers that hire autistic professionals say they are initially surprised at how much more time they spend on-boarding but how little time they spend teaching the job function. The amount of time spent with a neurotypical employee is reversed. Managers find autistic employees are functional in their positions on average 3-6 times faster than neurotypical employees and stay 50% more productive. Managers also found themselves becoming better managers with more engaged staffs once they realized they needed to communicate more often with all of their staff members, not just the autistic employee.
Companies recognize that bringing diverse employees together results in different thinking on topics and issues, and it's this diversity of thought that drives innovation. Neurodiversity is another category of diversity, defined as "people who think differently". In other words, neurodivergent employees bring literal diversity of thought to the table. No wonder companies that employ the neurodivergent say they are more innovative!
[i] Employers' perception of the costs and the benefits of hiring individuals with autism spectrum disorder in open employment in Australia”, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177607 PloS one, 2017