At first, Auticon may see another company in Los Angeles, with white-tiled artworks and soothing fresheners scattered around. But you'll be surprised to learn that all employees are autistic.
This company created Gray Benoist, on behalf of MindSpark, before being acquired by German company Auticon. Since Benoist was the father of two children with autism, he saw that the workplaces that might fit the needs of his two children were very few.
The company all employees are autistic!
"They both have great abilities, they are smart and they deserve a chance to prove it," Benoist told the BBC on a recent visit to his company. "I felt that this gap (in the labor market) should be bridged, and there was no other way to fill it myself," Benoist said.
Benoist founded the company in 2013 and now has more than 150 employees. His eldest son, also named Gray, currently works in the finance team. "Our mission is to empower a group that is deprived of its rights," Benoist said. "There are many sectors in society that are not exploited, and those with autism are different degrees from these sectors."
Autism affects more than one in 100 people, but fewer than a quarter of them have full-time work.
Many of them fall with the first obstacle they face in getting a job, because of anxiety, which can reach very high levels often in people with autism at various degrees, which makes the possibility of interviewing work very frightening.
"People tend to hire people like them," said Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes, a book that examines the development of autism.
"The list of things you are not supposed to do in a job interview is practically a definition of autism. Do not look away, look at the employer in the same eye, and convince yourself. All these things are very difficult for people with autism. "
Some companies have found ways to circumvent the traditional interview process. For example, the German software company SAP, which also employs people with autism at different degrees, gives the candidates the opportunity to build robots from the limo cubes instead of conducting a formal interview. "This reflects problem-solving skills and commitment to missions," said Silberman.
Apart from being very anxious, autistic people often suffer from social contact. Therefore, employees at the Company can get headphones because of their sensitivity to noise. Employees are also entitled to work in a dark room if they prefer, and they do not have to have a lunch break if they do not want it. If they do not feel able to communicate orally with their teammates, they can use messaging applications instead.
If someone feels the pressure increases, they are entitled to a "leave of absence".
When it comes to the appalling staff assessment process, there is an emphasis on non-criticism. "It's all about having good human resources principles, which other companies can easily implement," Benoist said.
For the successful Etonian, the team seems to support each other hard, even if they are not all going to lunch together. When new office space was designed at the company recently, staff requested that they be open-plan, rather than enclosed compartments.
Peter said: "The company is wonderful, simple, patient and really understanding. Everyone is very happy. "
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