Vodafone looks to recruit people with autism

Vodaphone recruits autistic staff

Vodafone has been recruiting people with autism to its offices in Germany, hoping to reap the benefits of their high skills with numbers and patterns.

Its managers are now trained in how to work with people with autism as part of their team.

Marc Ruckebier, a manager at Vodafone, told the BBC that one of the main benefits to the company of taking on autistic people was that it made managers realise they had to treat people differently to get the best out of them.

The key is that managers understand that they may be wasting a lot of potential. This example of the autistic people was striking because you can explain it easily to managers, and they will understand the benefit of learning to work with a diverse workforce
— Marc Ruckebier, a manager at Vodaphone

At Vodafone, Fabian Hoff has an outside mentor or adviser to whom he can turn if the pressure builds up, or if he just wants a chat. That is Claudia Gawrisch, from a company called Auticon, which helps autistic people get jobs. 

Auticon often works with people who have Asperger's syndrome, which the company calls a "lighter form of autism". It affects perhaps one in every 200 people, who have normal-to-high intelligence but serious difficulties in relating to others.

But they can have strengths which Auticon tries to make the most of: strengths like a great power of observation;  concentration on tasks; photographic memories; lateral thinking; loyalty; and truthfulness. 

These are strengths to be tapped by companies in competitive markets, to the benefit of employer and employee.