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Hospitality and Tourism | Inclusion of Neurodiversity

Updated: 5 days ago



A Gaudí masterpiece.

A unique immersive experience.


Casa Batlló is an emblematic monument designed by Antonio Gaudí, located in

Barcelona, Spain.

Great recognition in one of the most important cultural spaces in the world

It is the first cultural site/museum in the world to employee a workforce where the majority of employees are neurodiverse. This social model has been designed intentionally.

From leadership through to attraction operations and customer service, 65% of employees have neurodivergent diagnoses including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and Tourette’s.

The team in Casa Batllo are fundamentally responsible to act as custodians of the building while running the day-to-day operations of the major visitor attraction to the public.

Casa Batllo attracts up to 50,000 visitors a weekend in its peak periods.

A Pilot Project with Specialisterne to engage neurodiverse staff

A targeted public campaign was established that called out to neurodiverse individuals interested in working at the Gaudi attraction.

Specialisterne team outlined some initial essential application criteria.

Target initial criteria included

interest in working with the public, willingness to work in a busy environment, interest in customer service, strong fluency in both English and Spanish.

Following these criteria, Specialisterne worked with Casa Batllo to set out and find neurodiverse employees to work at Casa Batllo.

Using a 3-day practical assessment activity which involved a series of language tests, problem solving, simulated real life work tasks relative to what would be needed within Casa Batllo.

The Specialisterne team conducted practical based assessments.

The teams also sought out and worked with candidates to identify individuals’ strengths, aptitudes and compatibility for certain role types and areas of working, including areas where individuals may feel less comfortable and what types of work revisions they may need to help they to work confidently with their team in Casa Batllo.

70% of the candidates that went through the 3-day assessment were then invited to participate in a 2 weeks training internship program that would take individuals through each of the work types and duty stations that sit as key activities within the Casa Batllo.

This 2-week program was facilitated within Casa Batllo so that candidates could demonstrate their capacity in areas of work, be exposed to real world tasks and learn more about the work.

Most activities took place out of operating hours but towards the latter stages candidates engaged in activities during quieter periods of attraction opening hours.

Of all candidates who entered into the 2-week training all but 3 individuals were offered ongoing roles in Casa Batllo. The candidates who didn’t progress had individually identified that either the work or the environment was not suitable for them.

The workforce model at Casa Batllo employs a mix of both neurodivergent and neurotypical staff, ensuring a workplace that reflects the diversity of our society.

Most of the neurotypical employees working at Casa Batllo have a previous Tourism, Hospitality and customer service background.

Across the workplace both neurotypical and neurodivergent staff are mixed in their allocation of work activities and when needed assist one another using a buddying system to ensure all employees have additional support from their team members where they may need to navigate more unpredictable or uncommon situations.

Within the team Casa Batllo with support from Specialisterne have employed three neurodiversity coaches. These coaches provide ad-hoc as well as formal coaching and mentoring to both neurodiverse and neurotypical team members.

For Australia this demonstration project is particularly compelling given the current workforce demand and shortages that exist across the Tourism, Major events, and Hospitality sector.
Here at Specialisterne Australia we hope we can work with businesses and the broader Tourism and event sector to bring workplaces like this to life.

Pilot Summary

New inclusive practical assessment methodology developed by Specialisterne and Casa Batllo for Tourism, customer service and attraction management.

Team of 60 people of which 65% have a neurodiverse diagnosis.

Both neurotypical and neurodiverse staff undertake the same tasks and duties; visitors don’t perceive the difference with the attention received.

+40 people trained across a range of attraction duties during the process.

First project of its kind worldwide.

Casa Batllo team and exhibit awarded World's best monument 2021 and International Exhibition of the Year (Museums and Heritage Award 2022).

Observable benefits of neurodivergent team

  • Greater punctuality

  • Less absenteeism

  • Less staff turnover

  • More stable and motivated team

  • Strong tour ratings from key review sites from visitors to the attraction.

Information and signage about the staff team who curate the Casa Batllo is very discreet and only referred to via very limited visuals and audio commentary towards the very end of the tour.

The design of this working model is one of the most pioneering of its kind

If you have a project or simply wish to connect!

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