About this Episode
"One in every seven human beings worldwide are neuro-divergent. That's an estimated 1.1 billion people in the world that are under and unemployed by 80%. However, that 80% is not due to a lack of skills or ability. It's due to the systems in place that aren't designed to be cognitively accessible for this population."
In this episode of Offer Accepted, Shannon Ogborn sits down with Jhillika Kumar, CEO and Founder of Mentra. Kumar shares her personal journey — inspired by her brother's experiences as a non-speaking autistic individual — which led her to create Mentra, a platform aimed at building the world's largest neurodiverse employment network.
Shannon and guest Jhillika Kumar discuss the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals in the workforce, emphasizing the need for a shift in how talent is evaluated. They focus on the details of a more inclusive approach, focusing on non-traditional measures of talent such as past projects, work samples, and certifications. Kumar also highlights the importance of creating a supportive environment for neurodivergent individuals, especially with the advent of hybrid and remote work.
The conversation also delves into the benefits of neuro-inclusive hiring practices. Kumar cites studies showing increased productivity and lower turnover rates among neurodivergent employees when placed in the right environments. The episode concludes with a discussion on the importance of empathy and understanding in fostering neuro-inclusion in the workplace.
- Neurodiversity is a crucial part of DEIB. Jhillika emphasizes the importance of bringing together different talent pools, including universities, boot camps, and government vocational rehabilitation centers. She also highlights the potential of neurodivergent individuals who are looking for a career pivot, underscoring the need for inclusivity across all age groups and underserved populations, saying, “A lot of the challenge with this population is how can we look at those non-traditional measures of talent? Because it’s a population that might not have had previous work experience or might not have a linear path to education. There's so much more that we have to look for and evaluate when assessing talent."
- Neuro-inclusive practices benefit everyone. Jhillika sheds light on the benefits of neuro-inclusive practices in the workplace. She cites, “When placed in the right environments, neuro-divergents have demonstrated a 30% increase in productivity compared to the average employee. In addition to that, we're seeing that there's a 50% less turnover in studies conducted by Harvard Business Review for this population."
- Accessibility is key to creating neuro-inclusion. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of cognitively accessible systems to fully "I think it takes every single one of us going through a mindset shift in an organization. And I think that's sort of the principle of universal design — that if you build something that's accessible for one subsection of the population, it makes life better and easier and more accessible for everyone."
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