Neurodiversity Hiring – A Driving
Force at Cintas

By: Randy Siegel

Working with NEXT for AUTISM’s employment consulting practice, Cintas has solidified its leadership in neurodiversity hiring within the commercial services industry.  It operates nearly 500 facilities in North America, manufacturing and distributing corporate identity uniforms, mats, restroom supplies, and safety protection products to over a million business customers.  Randy Siegel, a director on the board of NEXT for AUTISM, spoke with Max Langenkamp, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer about the company’s inclusion strategy.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time in Cincinnati, Ohio, you know what a wonderful place it is. The “Queen City” sits magnificently on the Ohio River, has a beautiful Riverwalk and is the world-famous home of Graeter’s Ice Cream, Skyline Chili and last but not certainly least, Cintas, a leader in branded uniform and facility services that employs 45,000 people at more than 400 locations across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

And it’s where Cintas executive, Max Langenkamp launched a number of leading-edge disability inclusion programs that are a driving force behind Cintas’s overall business success. “This is a critical strategy for us,” says Mr. Langenkamp, who serves as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer & Vice President – Human Resources at Cintas. “We hired more than 700 employee-partners with disabilities in 2019 alone,” he adds, and this effort around diversity inclusion dovetails perfectly with our work with Wounded Warriors supporting our veterans.”

Since 2016, Cintas has hired partners with disabilities in 110 cities where it does business. The company has given more than 1,000 Cintas leaders special training on autism and disability awareness in order to build a more supportive environment. It works regularly with more than 2,000 community disability support professionals that are directly connected to specific Cintas locations. And it runs dozens of disability-focused hiring events, attracting hundreds of job seekers, many of whom are eventually hired.

“We don’t consider this charity,” says Mr. Langenkamp. “It’s a critical business strategy for us.”

Beyond adding a business advantage, the disability hiring program at Cintas has made a positive impact on the company’s culture.   The presence of employee-partners with disabilities has promoted teamwork, empathy and situational awareness for those who may be different in certain respects but share so much in common with all their colleagues at work. “We hear from our employee-partners all the time how much they value these programs. They help us come together as a family, not just as work colleagues,” noted Mr. Langenkamp.

For more information about the great work Cintas is doing in this area, and about how NEXT for AUTISM can help your company develop its own approach to diversity inclusion, please contact consulting@nextforautism.org