Salesforce started a neurodiversity hiring program in the summer of 2019 and they implement their core value of equality by providing everyone the same opportunities while, at the same time, finding a rich source of untapped talent pool in the neurodivergent network.
This is something we at Uptimize experience quite often— neurodiversity programs usually start from a personal connection and experience. The way the neurodiversity program started in Salesforce is by one parent, who has a neurodiverse child, asking the leadership team what they were doing about neurodivergent employees. This spurred a neurodiversity program to start at Salesforce.
WAYS THAT SALESFORCE IS CREATING AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE
Salesforce started their pilot programs with programs like Autism@Work and Inclusively because they didn’t have enough people with disabilities coming into the pipeline. However, for the program to work, you need to change the hiring process for it to fit neurodivergent employees. Some members of the HR team were deeply involved with the interview process to make sure that they have a great experience while at Salesforce.
Neurodiversity Hiring Program
Salesforce started a hiring program to help address talent needs, which introduced the topic of neurodiversity to the company. With great resultant enthusiasm for the talent hired and the training provided to staff, this also led to an increase in self-disclosure and employees feeling more confident at a company that clearly valued neurodiversity.
“Our goal is to eventually have neurodiversity embedded in our hiring practices because our culture will be built to handle the diverse community. Get the training built up, get our resources built up, and then eventually just have that as part of our typical inclusive hiring practices.” – Jessica Roth, Program Manager in the Office of Accessibility at Salesforce
With the success of the program, Salesforce’s ambition then naturally progressed to create a neuroinclusive culture across the whole company. Salesforce is now giving everyone access to similar training, with a vision that the organization could ultimately not need a specific targeted hiring program.
Salesforce is leveraging Uptimize’s Neurodiversity 101 training that is designed for everybody, no matter their role. It provides a critical foundation of appreciation for neurodiversity, helping staff realize they already work in a neurodiverse team and there are things they can do to support their colleagues. When you complete the training, you will have the skills to communicate with your peer, manager, or employee. This will ensure better results for collaboration and engagement all across the board. “Uptimize’s training will now reach a global audience of 50,000 as it will become a training done for all employees at Salesforce.” – Nick Carter, Supervisor, ES People Service
“There has been an increase in awareness” says Thomas (Tom) Frantz, Senior Manager of Accessibility Partnerships. “I’ve seen gains with not only the teams that were in our pilot program, but it’s spreading throughout the organization. Teams are wanting to learn more and they’ll come to me and proactively ask for the training.”
Job Coaching and Mentorship
Salesforce has implemented a mentorship/job coaching program for their neurodivergent employees to help with retention and improved performance. If employees are having issues working together, their job coach can provide some best practices.
Office Of Accessibility
On the Salesforce Career Page, Catherine Nichols, the Senior Director of Accessibility Programs at Salesforce announces the opening of the Office of Accessibility.
“We are proud to have opened our Office of Accessibility and launched a partnership with the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) to support their Salesforce Administration Certification Prep Course by providing certification and recertification vouchers along with a grant to fund the salaries for on the job training. We’re also honored to have partnered with Disability:IN and other great companies to create the “Digital Accessibility and Other Best Practices for Remote Working” guide which helps ensure virtual meetings, events, and the resulting materials are accessible to everyone.”
Slack Channels for Inclusivity
Salesforce has multiple Slack groups such as “Neurodiversity,” “Mobility Disabilities,” and “Silent Disabilities” for the neurodistinct community to use as a resource.
Jessica Roth shares, “Our employee who is around 30 years old and has been working for Salesforce for 9 years was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). He was a part of the Slack group of employees with disabilities and their allies. This group helped him understand other people’s perspectives and helped him disclose his neurodivergence to the manager. He recently switched roles in Salesforce from an individual contributor role to a hands-on management role. And learning about other people’s experiences not only helped him share his own, but also made him feel empowered.”
As the program evolved, employees from the company started to feel more comfortable with their neurodivergence at work.
Neurodistinct employees started disclosing. One of them was Tom Frantz. “I can just say, I am neurodiverse, I have ADHD. So I’m personally invested to make sure that we have programs here covering the entire disability community.” And recently, more people have been coming out behind the scenes about having ADHD.
The accessibility team has heard multiple stories of employees disclosing and having better working relationships with their managers and even request accommodations where they may have been too nervous to bring it up, maybe due to stigma or any of the other reasons out there.
Tom explains, “We’re opening up the conversation – that it is okay to disclose, and it is okay to ask for help. And even if it was only one person, the whole program was worth it to me.”
THE VALUE OF NEUROINCLUSION
“We are all neurodiverse in the ways we learn, think, and communicate. That’s why I think programs like this are important is we need to find all these different ways to help somebody be able to be successful in a workplace. You’re not going to get there unless you try different approaches.” – Tom Frantz
With the war for talent raging on, companies will have to get creative in finding the right talent. And one of the ways to find it is to go to the untapped talent pool— neurodivergent employees.
Salesforce is one of those companies that started their neurodiverse hiring programs to find the much-needed talent and integrate it into its own workforce.
Uptimize is helping Salesforce by delivering the training on working with neurodivergent employees. If you want to implement better communication and neurodiversity within your company but don’t know exactly how to do it, Uptimize has a free eBook on neurodiversity in the workplace to get started on your neurodiversity program.
Is neurodiversity training right for your company? Schedule an introduction call on our Calendly link.