SAP: Innovators leading the way to neurodiversity inclusion
Diversity and inclusion have always been a cornerstone of SAP’s business model and success. In 2013, recognizing that hiring neurodivergent talent could increase global innovation and productivity, SAP launched their Autism at Work initiative. To ensure inclusion, they set a goal: have autistic employees make up one percent of SAP’s overall workforce.
Acknowledging the need for inclusive hiring practices, SAP reached out to local non-profit SpArc Philadelphia to tap into their decades of experience and expertise. From there, SpArc developed Neurodiversity in the Workplace to support both local and national corporations with the development of neurodiversity hiring programs. Collaborating with SAP proved to be an incredible launchpad for our work in neurodiversity inclusion.
Through conversations with internal leadership and external thought leaders, SAP and Neurodiversity in the Workplace identified the main challenges facing neurodivergent job seekers and employees. One of the main barriers was clear: the traditional interview process. In an effort to bypass the standard interview, we collaborated with SAP to develop a model that focused on matching technical skills rather than social fit.
We also recognized the need for ongoing support for employees and training for managers. In response, Neurodiversity in the Workplace began job coaching neurodivergent employees, serving as a sounding board for employees’ concerns and questions. Managers also received training on inclusive management practices—strategies that work not only for neurodivergent employees but for all employees.
Through many years of learning and growth, SAP and Neurodiversity in the Workplace developed a hiring process and company culture that supports and celebrates divergent ways of thinking and working.
Through its Autism at Work initiative, SAP has changed its approach to talent acquisition and identified the many benefits of a neurodiverse workforce. Divergent thinkers provided their teams with creative solutions and strong problem-solving abilities.
SAP quickly realized that this unique approach to hiring not only enhanced inclusion but also provided bottom-line benefits. The cost to recruit, interview, and onboard new employees is high, especially at a software company with highly specialized roles. Employees hired using Neurodiversity in the Workplace’s model have a 94 percent retention rate. These lower turnover rates continue to save the company money and time, as employees remain loyal to the company and their teams.
Neurodivergent employees now work in SAP offices across the globe in a variety of roles and departments—from marketing to software engineering to human resources. SAP’s dedication to an inclusive workplace has inspired companies across the globe to consider neurodivergence in their talent acquisition practices.
Neurodiversity in the Workplace appreciates our longest running partner and their ongoing commitment to hiring neurodivergent employees and creating a culture of acceptance.
The wide range of brain differences that naturally occur in the human population, resulting in varied cognitive, social, and behavioral traits. Neurodiversity encompasses all types of brains, from neurotypical to neurodivergent.