Social enterprise startup Xceptional has developed a new tech platform for neurodiverse people looking a job to highlight their skills to employers.
CEO and founder Mike Tozer said autistic people exhibit highly sought-after skills including acute levels of concentration, high attention to detail, logic and reasoning, persistence, accuracy, an excellent memory and employee loyalty, but many employers are unaware of how to access those talents, and are missing out on this untapped talent pool.
That’s where Xceptional’s new skills assessment platform comes in, making the in-person assessments and interviews the startup uses to connect job seekers and employers available to anyone seeking work or to hire someone, on any device, at any time.
“Our team has adopted an evidence-based approach, leveraging research and best practice methodologies from around the world in the development of this solution and associated applications,” Tozer said.
“Between our team we have invested over 1,000 hours in puzzle development alone! I’m proud and honoured to work with a group of passionate individuals persevering to achieve the inclusion and participation of everyone in the workforce.”
The custom-built platform allows neurodiverse job seekers to demonstrate their skills by completing tasks, puzzles and activities in a safe online environment and was built by a team of neurodiverse Australians for the global market.
Xceptional’s work has been recognised by famed University of Cambridge psychologist Sir Simon Philip Baron-Cohen.
“It’s terrific that xceptional.io is collecting psychometric data to profile autistic people seeking jobs, to identify the individual’s unique strengths and to highlight that autistic people, despite their social-communication disability, often have talents that could be a great asset in the workplace,” he said.
“Employers can play a role in shifting the needle to ensure that the majority of autistic people, who are currently unemployed, are welcomed into work. This is a corporate social responsibility to increase inclusion of neurodiversity at work.”
More productive workers
The professor is not the only one advocating for the employment of neurodiverse people.
US banking giant JPMorgan Chase implemented an Autism at Work program, and after six months found that neurodiverse team members were 48% faster at the work and as much as 92% more productive than their neurotypical counterparts.
Tozer said that locally in the four years since Xceptional launched, Google, AMP, St George Bank, Westpac and Optus are among the companies that have provided meaningful careers for autistic people.
The Harvard Business Review found that there are two key challenges to hiring neurodiverse talent, starting with the interview process. The problem is that many neurodivergent job seekers do not progress past an interview to a skills assessment, especially because some with autism struggle to make eye contact and anyone with ADHD can be prone to moving or interruption.
The second is an assumption that assessment processes which conform to standardised approaches produce the best possible outcomes. Autistic and neurodiverse individuals deviate from standard approaches. Some need adjustments, for example if they are non-verbal or have environmental sensitivities.
Tozer said that moving towards a digital solution allows for the identification of talent and skills which may not be uncovered using traditional recruitment methods.
Anyone looking to register their interest for a profile can do it here.