Following the job offer, it can be really useful to provide more in-depth information about the job role.
Do you offer an informal meeting and tour of the workplace? It can be useful for your new employee to see their workstation and to learn where the toilets are and where they will go to take breaks and have lunch. It allows the employee to picture what a working day will be like and to acclimatise to their new environment in advance.
Have you considered offering a week’s work trial so that both you and the potential new employee can get a real sense of what the in-work experience would be? Some people on the spectrum would find this useful to get a feel of what everyday would be like for them and whether they would be able to sustain this before formally accepting the role. This could be a much more realistic approach to recruitment- a ‘try before you buy’ approach. Many potential candidates believe that guess work scares them off applying for jobs and having experience of a role could help them. Such an approach is considered a reasonable adjustment.
Ensure open dialogue from the start. Reassure the employee that you want them to ask questions and to discuss any concerns they may have at this point and throughout their employment with you. Employees may wish for confidentiality and don’t have to declare their disability to an employer or colleagues. If an employee discloses a disability to you, you may ask the employee if they wish to share this with work colleagues or not and how they would prefer to go about doing this. It may be that an employee does not want to disclose their disability at all or until they feel ready. Please be led by the employee on this. You can support all employees by creating a culture and environment in your company that invites people to disclose as they feel supported and included.
Have you considered allocating your new employee a work mentor who can answer any questions that arise for the new employee? Some employees find it can be easier to approach a work mentor to ask any questions or raise concerns rather than approach a manager especially if they are finding their feet and want to make a good impression. As people on the spectrum often experience extra anxiety, especially if they have questions to ask, having a work mentor can make all the difference in terms of retention for a new employee on the spectrum.
Offer positive feedback- For many people on the spectrum, finding employment can be a very daunting experience and getting a job equally so. It may be the first time they have got a job or perhaps they are returning to employment after some time away. Positive feedback and appreciation only have to take a few seconds but can make all the difference to an employee on the spectrum. It can also increase productivity and staff retention.
Here are some further resources you may find useful:
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.