Performance reviews should consist of skills that are required for the job itself. For example, if the job does not require good social communication skills, this should not be a component that employees are being evaluated on. Many Autistic job seekers have failed to advance or meet probation requirements when performance reviews have evaluated skills that people with Autism have inherent differences in that may be out of their control and irrelevant to their ability to perform their job.
Feedback should be provided frequently and in writing. By waiting until a performance review to discuss an issue, the person with Autism is not being given a chance to learn and change their behaviour. Weekly check-in’s can help prevent issues from becoming bigger problems down the road. Allow the autistic employee to respond in their preferred mode of communication and provide them time to process their response as it may be difficult to respond appropriately in the moment. They may need support from their job coach or mentor to navigate any conflict. Feedback should be specific and concrete. For example, rather than saying “good job”, tell them what specifically they did well. Rather than only telling them what not do to, tell them specifically what they should be doing instead. Problem-solve with the Autistic employee to ensure that any solution is reasonable and that they have the proper support in place to be successful.
Routines and changes
Autistic employees work best in an environment with structure and routine. These routines should be adhered to as much as possible and sudden changes to schedules or work tasks should be avoided. If there are any changes, big or small, try your best to give advance notice and include the autistic employee in the process.