Socializing with colleagues was an uphill task for me initially. But my manager and the team were patient with me. Each of them guided me slowly and steadily on different tasks and gave me the space and time to be comfortable.
At SAP, we believe that every employee brings something different and unique to their roles and to the company. Everyone’s diverse skills, experience and talent help us build a passionate workforce that builds breakthrough together and ensure continued customer success.
People who identify on the autism spectrum often have some of the most unique abilities and talents, making them a compelling addition to the workforce. Yet, the unemployment rate for neurodiverse individuals is staggering. It is startling to note that upwards of 80 percent of individuals who are on the spectrum do not have a job.
Making neurodiversity a priority is essential for fostering a more inclusive workplace. At SAP, the Autism at Work program focuses on hiring employees that are on the autism spectrum. Started in 2013, it was one of the first of its kind to place an intentional emphasis on hiring and developing candidates that are differently abled. Through this program, SAP has been able to incorporate employees on the spectrum into the organization, and it has been a huge success.
One of these employees is Bharat who grew up in a bustling city in South India with a very supportive and loving family. While his parents gave him all the security and confidence that a child needed, he was keen to be more independent and have a career that can support his development. He was selected for a role with SAP in 2015 as part of a structured programme with the help of Enable India, an NGO partner. Shortlisted candidates underwent three months’ intensive training to enable them with life skills such as being able to travel independently and job-related skills like computer skills, corporate know-how along with the SAP related onboarding topics.
This is when he met Kiran, who is a passionate D&I advocate and lead for the Autism at Work program in India. The two have since stuck a chord and Kiran continues to besome one who Bharat revers and considers a mentor over the years. Kiran is very proud of how far Bharat has come from the shy, reserved boy he first met to the confident professional he is today. He is still very closely involved with Bharat and the other recruits from the program to make sure they continue to feel motivated and feel supported as part of their roles in SAP.
“SAP is one of the most well-known companies in India. So, I was excited to be starting off my career here. Before my joining, my manager and teammates reached out to me and made me feel comfortable. That gave me the confidence that SAP is a great place to be where people are warm and friendly” says Bharat.
Bharat feels like he has discovered so much about himself and is learning more each day. Prior to SAP, he lived with his parents who took care of his day-to-day life and were sceptical if he could manage on his own. Today Bharat lives about 370 kms away from his hometown, by himself managing all his tasks independently. He has recently purchased his own apartment in Bangalore, an accomplishment he is proud of!
“Socializing with colleagues was an uphill task for me initially. But my manager and the team were patient with me. Each of them guided me slowly and steadily on different tasks and gave me the space and time to be comfortable” he says.
Today Bharat is an Developer Associate in Development in Landscape Management (DLM), Software Logistics Centre and provisions complex SAP landscapes to the SAP developer community, ensuring that these systems are up-to-date with the latest releases. His manager and teammates laud his professional ethics and work commitments and call him a perfectionist. He is known to follow rules and processes accurately and enjoys the work he does immensely.
In his spare time, he loves to travel and has recently discovered the joy of biking. He hopes to be able to bike long distance to various locations across India. He also loves Indian classical music and plays the keyboard. He also has a keen interest in learning new languages and is currently learning an classical language of South Asia called Sanskrit.
He says “In a nutshell, have the confidence and faith in your abilities and be open to new experiences. You can surprise yourself. “
Bharat is one of the many success stories we have as part of the Autism at Work programme in SAP. A conducive work environment, a supportive and accepting team culture and above all, the flexibility to adjust, ensure success of an especially abled individual helps SAP retains over 90% of our employees in this programme.
SAP has taken this initiative a step further and launched the “SAP Autism Inclusion Pledge” to re-shape thinking about employment possibilities within the ecosystem for individuals on the autism spectrum. With this, SAP provides a complimentary access to resources for other organizations to start, expand us enhance their autism inclusive journeys.
Bharat and Kiran are raising awareness for neurodiversity and inclusion through their work with Autism At Work, a groundbreaking SAP program launched in 2013 with the goal of hiring employees that are on the autism spectrum and sharing best practices for Autism inclusion with the global business community..
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