06Jun

In the five years since starting its Autism at Work program, global investment bank JP Morgan Chase has discovered there’s almost no job someone on the spectrum can’t do.

An autism spectrum candidate was interviewed for a developer job that required Java. It turned out it was a language he didn’t know, said Anthony Pacilio, the global head of the bank’s autism program.

“We interviewed him on a Friday and although he didn’t know Java he said he would be able to learn it by Monday,” Pacilio told eFinancialCareers. “He did that using a few books and YouTube tutorials and by Monday he was proficient enough in Java to get the job.”

Since starting the Autism at Work program in 2015, JP Morgan now hires some 180 people annually, placing them in a variety of jobs, many in technology. From initially hiring into quality assurance, people on the autism spectrum fill jobs in coding, cybersecurity and compliance.

“For the most part, a person on the spectrum can do any job that you give them,” says Pacilio.

They also outperform neurotypical hires. “We have also found that autistic people have an incredible approach to problem-solving. They are very granular and see things in completely different ways to neurotypical employees,” says Pacilio.

He says that autism program employees in just one technology role, for example, were as much as 140% more productive in completing tasks than their neurotypical colleagues, and they did it with no mistakes.

“That is almost unheard of,” Pacillo noted.

The bank has invested in training recruiters how to interview people on the spectrum and teaching managers new skills to accommodate their different styles and ways of communicating.

“Our recruiters have been trained to understand that a person on the spectrum may not make eye contact, or could take longer to answer questions than other recruits,” says Pacilio. “We are trying to get beyond the idea that when we hire we are looking for people who are gregarious and outgoing and look you in the eye.”

As cybersecurity specialist Jake Richard said in an article on the company website, It’s great knowing I have a support system here and that people understand what my strengths and challenges are. It’s very gratifying.”

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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HR’s Jobs of the Future Are Already Here

What will the human resources profession be like 10 years from now. How about in just five years?

In many ways, it will still be recognizable to a practitioner today. There will still be recruiters and benefits managers and compensation specialists, though they’ll be aided in the heavy lifting by artificial intelligence. HR generalists will still be around, especially at smaller companies, but with automation handling much of the rote work, they’ll take on higher value work.

What will be different will be the multitude of new HR jobs, some already here, many just beginning to emerge and others like “genetic diversity officer” and “distraction prevention coach” sounding like something out of sci-fi.

The Harvard Business Review recently published the results of a project by The Cognizant Center for Future of Work and Future Workplace predicting what the future of HR will be like in the next few years. The 100 HR executives they brought together brainstormed the possibility of 60 new HR jobs by 2030. The HBR article focused on 21 with the most organizational impact.

It’s a list that leans heavily toward the techno-capable.

“All jobs will utilize innovative technologies,” write the authors, Jeanne C. Meister and Robert H. Brown, who go on to add, “but only the most tech-centric will actually require a grounding in computer science.”

That any HR role should require a tech background is a remarkable development for a profession traditionally dominated by liberal arts and psychology majors. Yet at many companies, this is already happening. What the HR think tank dubbed HR Data Detective is a job that already exists in many of the largest – and some smaller – companies where it’s called simply analytics or workforce analytics or more commonly, people analytics.

“People analytics,” explains the HR analytics technology firm Visier, “Is the practice of collecting and transforming HR data and organizational data into actionable insights that improve the way you do business.”

Speaking to the HBR authors, Chase Rowbotham, who heads people analytics at Genentech, says, “As remote work becomes the new normal, we are able to gather insights from our HR information systems to develop a number of new HR practices such as training managers of remote workers on successful strategies for leading a remote global team to ensure both productivity and continued employee engagement.”

That job of developing and training for remote work and building their engagement will be the domain of the Work from Home Facilitator.

Whether that’s the actual title, the job, according to the think tank, will “ensure that the organization’s processes, policies, and technologies are optimal for remote workers. A key metric of success for this role would be to build remote workers’ strong sense of belonging within the organization, ensuring that they know their purpose and feel deeply cared for.”

Such a job might not have been thought of a scant 6 months ago. But as the authors point out, the coronavirus pandemic has changed much. The work from home movement was well underway before COVID-19, but when the pandemic sent everyone home, it provided workers could be as productive – or more — working remotely.

“The advent of Covid-19 compressed time like an accordion, resulting in a handful of these roles becoming ‘jobs of the now,’” say the authors of the HBR article.

That compression is continuing and is illustrated in the timeline for these new HR jobs. Two-thirds are predicted to emerge in the next five years; several will be a fact in just two or three.

The authors conclude their overview of the new jobs with this advice, “Change is coming, and it’s best to get a head start. Companies that can anticipate their organization’s future HR roles are not only in a position to outperform competitors, they are also squarely positioning HR as a strategic business driver.”

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

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