Assessing work preferences

A work preference assessment is a ‘getting to know you’ document.

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About work preference assessments

The aim of the Individual Work Preference Assessment (IWPA) is to gain insight into an autistic jobseekers’ individual work preferences, strengths and working styles. The IWPA is a ‘getting to know you’ document completed as a way of understanding the impact the individual’s autism may have on them in the workplace. The IWPA can be done by the jobseeker independently or collaboratively with the DES provider.

The assessment tool is really a ‘framework’ to have a conversation and learn more about the jobseeker. The assessment results are almost not as important as the actual conversation that the questions generate.

There is a long version, and a condensed version for those individuals who may struggle with self reflection. There is no right or wrong choice in which form to use, it should be decided on a case by case basis.

User manuals are provided for both forms, outlining objectives and instructions on the use of the assessment tools.

As the jobseeker’s employment consultant, you will need to prepare a separate work profile document for other DES providers, potential interviewers and employers. The work profile should describe an individual’s needs and preferences within a work environment.

The work adjustments profile is a document that would be created in collaboration with the employment consultant, as a snapshot of the individual’s needs and preferences – based on assessment conversation. This document would be given to employers and be updated over time to remain current and relevant.

The IWPA explores the following areas:

  • Communication preferences
  • Team and work preferences
  • Tolerance of change
  • Organisational skills
  • Focus and transition
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Sensory preferences

An autistic employee will need varied workplace supports and adjustments across the aforementioned areas. In the IWPA there is a separate section for each of these areas. Each section has a group of statements. At the end of each section there is an area for you to make rough notes. These notes should be transformed into a more helpful format in the work adjustments profile.

Work adjustments guide and profile

Workplace adjustments may be required for employees on the autism spectrum to ensure they have the same chance of employment success as other employees.

Every autistic individual is unique and will have different sensory and work preferences and a wide range of abilities. Adjustments are not ‘one size fits all’ and will need to be discussed and individualised for each autistic employee.  

Adjustments should be developed collaboratively between provider and employee. An employee may be too nervous to ask for adjustments and will need these discussions to be initiated and led by the provider. In many cases, autistic individuals are reluctant to reveal details of their diagnosis for fear of being stigmatised or misunderstood. Providers should take steps to ensure that employees on the autism spectrum feel comfortable disclosing their diagnosis, should they choose to do so.

The Work Adjustments Profile aims to individualise supports required for each individual and can be developed in conjunction with the Work Adjustments Guide. The workplace adjustments guide provides general information on commonly used adjustments for employees with autism.

Labour hire option

An optional labour hire arrangement is available with third party employer Untapped Holdings. Untapped can employ an employee directly and outsource the employee to work on a client site.

Benefits of a labour hire arrangement:

  • Untapped are an experienced Neurodiversity employer
  • Employee support can be provided and included in hiring rates
  • Untapped can provide training to the managers and co-workers in the workplace
  • Untapped have other support tools available to assist employees to be successful in the workplace
  • Provides an opportunity to trial employees before offering an ongoing role
  • Includes complete contract and payroll processing services