According to the national skills agency Skills Development Scotland, Scottish tech companies are missing a trick by not tapping into the huge pool of neurodivergent talent. This is the first in a series of articles designed to help you find, recruit and accommodate these individuals who often have inherent skills ideally suited to working in digital technology.

Passion4Social is a marketing agency whose mission is to create sustainable employment opportunities for people with disabilities, or long-term health conditions, which contribute to their feelings of inclusion, health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Co-founder Thiago Carmo tells us what he has learned on the journey to create an agency that has inclusivity at the heart of everything it does. 

Can you provide us with some background about your agency?

Passion4Social was found in 2018 with only four people. We now have 11 including volunteers and consultants. Our aim is to create sustainable employment opportunities for a range of people with disabilities, including neurodivergent people. These individuals have the same drive, passion, skills and talents as anyone else. They may just need a little bit more help and consideration to unlock those talents. 

How do you embrace neurodivergent talent in particular?

The main thing for us is flexibility. Our entire business model is based on this, and always has been, even before the pandemic. Our workforce had already worked remotely. We are very open-minded, and diversity is embedded in our DNA, so we have the ability to adapt, adopt, embrace and learn every day from our neurodivergent staff. 

We have also learned to make adaptions based on the actual individual’s needs, not on the perceived needs of the disability, and we are always improving by learning from each other, which is the real benefit of having such a diverse workforce. 

Have you seen any benefits to you as an employer?

Helping neurodivergent people has had a great impact on our business and our culture. We get the opportunity to see work completed in unique and creative ways, as they often see the world in a different light, which in turn gives their output a special perspective that no one else has. In turn, this makes our wider workforce feel more valued and that makes their talents go way beyond what you would expect. But they bring much more than just brilliant results. They enrich our entire vision!

What advice would you give to other employers?

Employers should re-evaluate their business model to ensure flexibility is front and centre. It’s so important that neurodivergent people are given the freedom to work when and how they like to really get the best out of them. I would also highly recommend having agreed deadlines to meet. This sets out clear expectations from the start, while giving the talent the freedom to work within those parameters that make them feel comfortable, productive and valued, and will result in the best possible work from those individuals. 

For more information about the support available for companies to recruit neurodivergent talent, visits SDS’ employer dedicated site Our Skills Force where you will also find more case studies to inspire you.