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pre conference talk with Lee Corless | JPMorgan | Autism Ambassador Conference 2020

Updated: Aug 25, 2021


Lee Corless | JP Morgan | Global Technology Diversity and Inclusion 0:10

Good morning. Good afternoon. My name is Nicolas land I work for JP Morgan. My role at JPMorgan includes leading the autism at work program here in the UK and in the Amir region as a whole. And thank you for inviting me along to tell you a little bit more about that autism at work program. But what I'm also going to tell you is I'm only going to be here to talk for 510 minutes, I'm not going to edit this down and make it anything other than as if I was in the room with you. The reason for that is, I much prefer you to have a lot of questions, and come prepared with a lot of questions on the actual day. So you can, you can ask away, and I will attempt to answer as many questions as I can for you. So the JP Morgan program started around five years ago now in our Delaware Tech Center. Other companies that started programs, and what what JP Morgan did was, was start to liaise with some of those companies and understand how they started them and how we could start to build build ours, the biggest learning very much at the beginning was start small, pick a, pick a specific area of the business. And, and, and grow from there and learn from there. And that's exactly what we did. So we chose that we would start within technology. And it was that time, Delaware, as I say, our Delaware tech center that we that we began. The the area that we chose was quality assurance. And we brought four individuals in on a pilot to, to into those roles into a larger team of individuals that had varying experience, but it was quite an experienced team with many of the people being there, five years plus. So from those early beginnings and tracking those individuals, we found that productivity was was a lot higher in most respects, the right first time stats were very much higher. And, you know, so we progressed to other business areas, the things that we tend to look at when we look at roles as well are very rule driven role roles, very process orientated. So have clear and set out process. And the work is pushed at individuals not pulled. Those those are sort of basic parameters that we look at when we're when we started to look at the roles that we had. We We then moved into another business area, again, within technology. And we brought a couple of individuals into that. And that's very much a rolls around giving system access. So very repetitive pieces of work but needing to be right first time that the accesses are given very much rules bound because the access given had to have the risk parameters, etc. across those sort of two areas that that we piloted in, we found productivity levels to be anywhere between 40 and 140%. Higher than then colleagues who had been in that role for a long period of time. And that that, you know, is quite staggering. And that's why that pilot program moved into a full out program very quickly. And and it wasn't as if we monitored over a short period of time we did monitor over the good six month period across those two different business areas. So very humble beginnings, very small number of roles, but very, very successful pilot. Now JP Morgan at that point was also working alongside other companies that had an autism at work program when we formed what is called the autism at work around table. There are six founder members of that roundtable there is ourselves and some other large companies. So we have dx C, that's formerly Hewlett Packard, you have a Y, you have Microsoft you have Ford Motor Company. So some some very big companies within within that founder Roundtable. We are very open at sharing how we've gone about doing these. These programs. We're

Unknown Speaker 4:57

very open sharing some of our dark Meditation and some of our successes. So if you do go and you want to learn a little bit more, if you go on to the autism at work Roundtable, if you search that, then you will probably see that in there, there's some documentation around how to go about setting up a program. That program is, is now we like to say in our fifth year, so let me fast forward you now to where we're at. So, through the program, now we currently have employed, we are just passing through 200 employees coming in to the organization through the program. And that is in eight different countries, we are across all lines of business. So no role has proven to be a barrier at all, and it should never be a barrier. And we have representation at all levels of the organization. That's right through from our interns, right the way up to through our MD level. The way that our program is slightly, I would say different to to some of the other roundtable members is the fact that part of our leadership of the program is is somebody on the spectrum. So clearly, I'm sat here talking to you, I am diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. And having, you know, worked in this organization for a while and being able to put my experience of working in corporate life, but also my experience of working in a corporate environment. And being artistic means means that our program has that unique angle and that unique perspective. So we are one of only a few of the programs that have somebody on the spectrum actually leading the program or part of the program, so quite unique. What we've also focused on across the organization is training and support for management and for teams in general. So here in the UK, last year, I spearheaded and we brought in an external supplier to do some classroom training and take some of our senior leadership and our senior hiring managers through an awareness training, but also a skills training and that training was around, you know, what are the skills? What are the unique mindset that somebody on the spectrum will bring into your team? And therefore, you know, why should you hire somebody on the spectrum that went down very successfully, we have turned that Deaf training into, into now an internal program that is available to all staff, we have put it down as one of our training modules. So 20 minute training module. So that goes globally. So we are approaching 6000 of our employees globally have now taken that training. And you know, we've successfully rolled it out online, so those numbers will rapidly increase. We've also looked at our processes, end to end hiring processes end to end support processes. And working with our HR teams, we've looked at improving those processes, changing those processes. And we've looked at it through the eyes of somebody on the spectrum, but we've made the changes for everybody that's very much what we're about, if we actually are going to make a change, we don't just make a change for somebody coming through that that may be on the spectrum, we make the changes for everybody. So therefore we're keeping that level playing field throughout.

Unknown Speaker 8:55

When we look at our hiring, and bringing in new individuals, we will obviously give one to one contact throughout that entire process for somebody. We give support to the hiring managers we give support to the recruiters. This is all about ensuring that everybody who applies is on a level playing field that there is good support there for the individual when they come through that we can help manage as much as possible, their anxieties, and we get to see the skills that they're able to bring the organization. Well, what we also do as a program is we support the individuals that we have already here within the business. So we offer a buddy system. So if if they require somebody that they can go and talk to that buddy will either have been through the training, or wherever possible, it will be somebody on the spectrum who supports the program. We also offer mentor programs so if they want to develop their career, there's more senior people People will help mentor them with with that. And, and their body or their mentor can also act as that go between for them and the manager. So that buddy will generally be aligned to the manager and the individual themselves as well. We offer internal training not only for management, or the individual line manager, we also offer training to individuals within the team and increasing their knowledge, increasing their awareness, but also, you know, what they can do to help support the individual. Of course, this is all based on how much that individual wants to disclose any on we always work with each individual. Some only want the management to know some only want us as a team to know others are very comfortable actually disclosing to their entire team. And we do in encourage disclosure, we have an exceptionally good culture here at JP Morgan, we do encourage that if you're going to bring your best self to work that the best way to do that, to everybody is you know, talk openly to your team, etc. So we are there we're very supportive of of every individual that comes into our company, whether they be a new start, or whether they be here for quite some time. And what we have found some of the greatest successes of doing the training and the awareness training is managers going back and talking about the training that they've had. And what that's led to is a number of current staff who may never have disclosed to us before actually stepping forward and disclosing looking at what additional support they can get to improve their careers. And some of that support can be technology as well. So what is a reasonable adjustment. As you can see, I'm sitting here with noise cancelling headphones, I am working from home, so I can keep one off my head. But actually, if I'm in an office, and I do wear both, I can clearly block out the noise from within the Office. We also look at things such as we share a lot of desk space, etc. We can look at fixed desks. So an individual coming into the office will know exactly where they're going to sit on a daily basis, helps them to choose we will look at sensory issues might be light might be sound, and we can help find the right desk for them. There's lots of lots of support we can give. But the biggest thing that we will always say is it does not cost a lot of money. That was one of the big misconceptions that we dispelled very early on that, you know, making adjustments for people on the spectrum is not costly. Equally, what we also dispel very early on the managing people on the spectrum is not any more difficult than managing anybody else you manage by individual then, you know you will bring the best out of every individual. And clearly what we've also found as well, because I'm in a senior role that people on the spectrum are more than capable of, of managing people. So through it all, I think the program itself is very successful.

Unknown Speaker 13:31

great successes that we've seen, like I say we are at 200 roles, we are higher productivity rates anywhere between 40 and 140% more productive for the majority of the roles that we hire for we across all levels, we're in a country's and expanding. And the other big number for us is our retention rate of the individuals that we brought in through the program is in the high 90%. So again, you know, this is this is exceptional people that we've brought in have been exceptionally loyal to the company. Other things that we actually do as well to support individuals coming in is we don't just teach them the skills of the role that they're about to undertake, we actually teach them some some basic skills of life because for many, this could be their first role. This could be their first full time role. So we, we, we we give some training around money management, we give some training around the bills that you could expect to pay, paying your house rent, all of those kinds of things, how to how to budget for throughout the month. So you each individual learns, you know life skills as well. So we're there to support the individual through through it all. What I'm also very came that you would get a chance to look at is actually get to see some of our individuals in action. So if you look, go into YouTube, and you type in JP Morgan autism at work program, what that will do is bring you up a list of our videos that we that we actually have. And if you go into the one that's called JP Morgan autism at work at global program, and watch that it's about a three minute video. And that is just showing three of my colleagues around the globe. And their experience of working within our program. We have one young lady that works in in my office where I'm based, which is in Bournemouth. And we have one in the US out of a Delaware office, and we have one in Buenos Aires. So please go and review that. And that will hopefully bring you a little bit more questions around the program as well, we're also very much supportive of and I work really hard in the UK on is, is how do we get more companies to to start programs, we clearly have found that people on the spectrum are a great employees, they bring a great skill set. And let me be very clear at JPMorgan. This is not a charity play this is this is a skill play, we are looking for skills that we're able to bring into our company, and new talent that perhaps has never been brought into our company before. We are building diverse and inclusive teams, the more diverse the team, in our in our opinion, the more successful and people on the spectrum can bring a unique way of looking, looking at problems, how to solve problems, and each situation. I've got a very analytical brain, I will always look for data that backs up, you know, a decision, and I will always bring that to the table. And whereas some other colleagues may bring the I feel I think I I just know it's the right decision. And that that brings a good healthy debate. So So I think, you know, we're starting to build really balanced teams. So we're, we're quite proud of the program. It has been exceptionally successful. We're working hard now with the likes of the national autistic society and more locally, autism, Hampshire, to really now start to to look at how we ramp up more of our hiring. And we're looking at all ways into the program as well. So we partner with bath University, and their center for pride autism research. And we have a program that we run with annually where we are inviting students from all universities to come along to bath and learn about our graduate programs. But we also invite other companies along that have an autism at work program to to attend and talk to students. We give them some practical help advice around writing CVS, how to prepare for interviews, what to expect at interviews.

Unknown Speaker 18:32

And then we bring them along to the Bournemouth campus, and they get to see that in action. Now clearly this year, slightly different. So we aren't doing it all online. So that program is if you want to look that up, it's the bath better program. So, again, we are trying to support students coming in some other exciting things that we're looking to do over the next 12 months, we are starting to look at our school age and how we can help build pipeline and help build better prospects. So again, working with the National autistic society, we are launching some cyber camps that is where students from the ages of 13 and upwards can come along and do a week of some, some games some fun some some serious learning around what we do in our in our technology arms. Perhaps what what they need to do whilst at school to give themselves the best chance to find employment within a technology role if that's what they want. So we are now starting to work with it with the school age. We work with colleges and universities already. We have our internship programs, we have our apprenticeship programs, that we're looking at all of the ways that people come in an emphasis We have what we call our experienced hire. So this is people looking to come into JPMorgan in a full time paid role. And again, we're starting to partner with our not for profits and say, Well, how do we get more people to apply to our roles at JP Morgan? And how can we make sure that when they apply that, that they're seen on a level playing field. So a lot of that work is now done. We've done a lot of that background hard work that what we've done is we've just removed the barriers to employment, we have not done anything in any way, shape, or form that will allow people to be given an advantage. We've purely removed barriers. So it's an exciting time to be working here at JP Morgan. And I hope that when you've reviewed the video that I've said on YouTube, so if you go into YouTube, again look up JP Morgan autism at work and click on a global program, you will, you will have lots of questions to ask me when it when it comes to the actual day. I am going to stop there because I think I could go on all day about this program is absolutely fantastic. And I am so excited to be working on it. It is part of of the role that I hold at JP Morgan. My actual full role is to work within global technology and within our diversity and inclusion team. And I look after what we call communities and inclusion globally, as well as leading the diversity and inclusion efforts here in EMEA. So I'm so excited that part of my job is to look after the autism at work program. So please review, please come along with lots of questions. And I'm happy to share happy to to answer and I look forward to seeing you on the actual day of the conference.

Unknown Speaker 22:00

Thank you very much.

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