It is imperative that work mentors and line managers ensure continued open channels of communication with employees. This allows employees to feel supported but also able to report any worries, concerns or ideas.
It is helpful that employers are mindful of the peaks and troughs of mood and exhaustion as part of Autism. This can often put potential employees off from applying for roles but having an understanding of this can encourage an excellent employee not only to apply to your company but to stay in that role and develop their talents more widely.
Be aware that ‘reasonable adjustments’ in working conditions may be required at any time during employment and not just at the start. It may be that the employee needs to spend some time in the work environment before indicating what needs to be adjusted to make their work environment more appropriate to their needs. After spending some time in the role, it may be that both you and the employee recognise a need for regular planned breaks. Making reasonable adjustments to working patterns could allow this.
If the help an employee needs at work is not covered by the employer making reasonable adjustments, an employee may be able to get help from Access to Work. An Access to Work grant can pay for things such as special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help an employee with tasks such as answering the phone or attending meetings. There is a 6 week window in which the employee may make a request for an assessment where 100% of the grant will be paid. After that, the costs will be shared between employer and Access to Work.
Clear and honest communication is all that is needed at all stages of the recruitment process. It is imperative that both employers and employees demonstrate a willingness to learn and understand each other which will result in an excellent, diverse workforce.
Here are some further resources you may find useful:
Pentreath’s bespoke Autism Acceptance training can support groups of up to 20, across Cornwall, to develop a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all. If you’d like more information on this training or how we could help you, please contact us on 01726 862727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you feel that you need to talk to someone urgently then please call the 24/7 Cornwall mental health helpline on 0800 0385 300. You can call for free, any time of day or night, if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health. The team behind the 24/7 telephone service will listen to you and determine how best to help. Alternatively, please call the Samaritans on 116 123.