Canadian HR Reporter - Sample Issue

April 2018 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER APRIL 2018 2 NEWS Few employers consider hiring workers with 'alternative thinking': Poll But boosting number of 'neurodivergent' workers provides benefits BY JOHN DUJAY A LOT of companies have made an effort in recent years to hire a more diverse cadre of employees, but not many have considered creating a more "neurodiverse" workforce, according to a survey out of the United Kingdom. Neurodiversity is "the natural range of differences in human brain function," according to the London-based Chartered Insti- tute of Personnel and Develop- ment (CIPD). "Often, alternative thinking style can be associated with a unique strength... like being able to spot patterns and trends and data-driven thinking or inferen- tial reasoning, being able to see the big picture, and also creativity and innovation," said Jill Miller, public policy adviser at CIPD in London. However, only one in 10 HR professionals are focusing on the concept in their staffing efforts, found the survey of 303 people. "A lot of HR professionals would like more information about how best to hire people (who are) high- ly neurodivergent individuals and how best to manage people and recruit people, to get the best out of them," said Miller. About 10 per cent of the U.K. population is neurodivergent in some way but only 16 per cent are employed full-time, while 77 per cent of autistic persons want to work, according to CIPD, a professional body for HR profes- sionals, with 145,000 members in the U.K., Ireland, Middle East and Asia. "at's a really significant num- ber of people," said Miller. "If we have a better understanding of neurodiversity, we can make sure that we're helping people to work for us to perform at their best as job applicants (and) we're not in- advertently screening out some really talented people." "We're already seeing quite a few large organizations that are running new diversity programs and focusing on the unique strength that neurodiverse indi- viduals bring to the workplace," she said. e CIPD recently released an employer's guide (co-authored by neurodiversity training company Uptimize) about tapping into the benefits of hiring workers who are neurodivergent, which includes people with autism, ADHD (at- tention deficit hyperactivity dis- order), dyslexia and dyspraxia. Creating more neurodiversity in the office can change an en- tire operation's way of thinking, according to Cris Brady, neuro- diversity consultant and founder of LYV Educational Consulting in Colorado Springs, Colo. "When you have a neurodi- vergent thinker coming in and changing the way that things are done or things are thought about, then you can start changing ev- erything that you do at the com- pany," he said. "We've got so many studies on placing neurodivergent think- ers on to neurotypical teams and seeing the progress that diversity makes, because it's not just the diversity and gender or culture — it's a complete perspective shift." is finding was reinforced by CIPD in researching the guide, ac- cording to Miller. "What was really interesting actually was that line manag- ers were telling us that by going through this kind of training and having more of an understanding of neurodiversity, the fact that everybody does think differently and experiences work differently, this made them a better manager overall because then they made the effort to understand ev- ery single member of the team, whether they were neurodiver- gent or neurotypical." SAP embraces diversity In 2013, software company SAP decided to tap into this potential workforce by creating an Autism at Work program. "Many of these people have difficulty finding jobs; they don't make it through the interview process given different social behaviours. And those challenges are easily remedied, and when you get them into the organization, their skills are just a tremendous fit," said Kirsten Sutton, vice-president and managing director at SAP Labs Canada in Vancouver. "For us, it was definitely not just a good thing to do and the right thing to do, but it is a business imperative for us to have a diverse workforce, and the talents of in- dividuals on the autism spectrum fit perfectly into the IT industry." SAP's initiative is now run- ning in 10 countries, at 22 dif- ferent locations. e company's three main offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto include 12 employees who are on the autism spectrum. "We're putting people into many different roles. People would assume it's just in the soft- ware testing where there's qual- ity assurance of some sort, but they're across a broad spectrum of roles," said Sutton. "Everything from marketing specialists and data scientists to IP and compli- ance rules — it really runs the gamut — all the way through to customer support." And SAP's program yielded in- stant results. "e very first cohort of indi- viduals that came in, one of the guys in his first day — first eight hours on the job — found a bug that had been in the software for 15 years and nobody had seen it," she said. "Day one, way before he'd even finished the eight hours in our organization — their produc- tivity is outstanding." SAP has worked with the Pa- cific Autism Family Network (PAFN) in its endeavour. "Your first order of business is to find a trusted partner in the lo- cal market and work with them because they have the connec- tions into that network of indi- viduals and they know the sup- port systems available and they can help you identify the talent," said Sutton. "In Canada, in each location where we're hiring, we have a social partner and we work with them to do the recruiting, find those individuals and help them all through the recruiting and onboarding process and then, in the job, coaching and continu- ous coaching that goes on." Shift in thinking e hiring process is a challenge for these individuals because many hiring practices are just so archaic, according to Brady. Health and safety With recreational marijuana legalization on the horizon in Canada, HR professionals should have strong health and safety policies in place in the workplace. Canadian HR Reporter talks to the experts about best practices. Job-protected leave requires co-operation, too Like accommodation, employee leaves require effort on both sides 'Inclusion riders' mark turning point: 2018 will be diversity's year Oscars put spotlight on practice of finding, keeping best talent Should you hang out your shingle as an HR practitioner? Human resources consulting is becoming a popular career option 53 more employees leave TTC after benefits fraud investigation Brings number of workers involved to 223 since investigation began in 2014 Canada ranks 4th globally for employee turnover Average of 16 per cent sits above United States at 13 per cent, finds LinkedIn research BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS FEATURED VIDEO BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS FEATURED VIDEO BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS FEATURED VIDEO Recent videos, stories and blogs posted on www.hrreporter.com. Check the website daily for updates from Canada and around the world. 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