Q&A: GForce’s Giles Smith

GForce website

GForce’s Chief Executive Officer Giles Smith discusses what the firm learned from lockdown, how it recruits and how it keeps employees engaged

What are the key education and training requirements for people entering GForce?

It’s role specific and varies from developers to project managers, finance to marketing. We don’t specifically require candidates to have academic qualifications, but more job specific credentials. For us, it’s more important that an individual has experience, both worldly and professionally.

How do you source talent?

We advertise on our website, LinkedIn and online job boards. We then use an HR portal which manages all of our recruitment, via an application tracking system which captures all applicants for each advertised role. With flexible working practices, we are able to reach a wide talent pool by recruiting far afield.

How important are apprenticeships to your business?

We have always embraced the value of having interns within the business and have a history of employing future talent in both our UK and Vietnam offices. As our business has a number of departments across a broad range of roles and disciplines, we’re able to provide interns with valuable experience to nurture their skillset.

What lessons have you learned from the COVID restrictions that you’ll continue to use?

We learnt that we were very well prepared for lockdown. We already had flexible working policies and technology in place as implemented by our ISO27001 management system. This enabled us to transition very quickly and supportively for our employees and our customers.

We also realised everyone’s individual circumstances are completely different, and we have taken this on board, including checking in with staff regularly with weekly calls, 1:1s and team meetings. The last 12 months has definitely given us more of an awareness and understanding of employee mental health.

What leadership development programmes do you run?

Leadership development is done within the individual teams through empowerment and delegation. We provide a platform and environment whereby employees are given the opportunity to lead various projects and teams, and therefore enhance their professional skillset on a daily basis.

How do you make sure employees stay engaged at work?

Pre-lockdown, we had half-yearly all staff company updates to celebrate the company’s achievements and reward staff with social activities and events. In time, we hope to be able to reward staff with these updates again. We also have an internal awards scheme where we recognise ‘risings stars’ and MVPs, as well as awards for the highest achieving teams.

We have introduced a monthly newsletter to keep employees informed and updated with what is going on within the organisation. This covers items such as onboarding, key client wins and fun stuff! We are focused on staff wellbeing and recently signed up to a wellness portal and introduced weekly online yoga, pilates and mindfulness classes.  

What is your key focus for the next six months?

Ensuring that our teams are happy and engaged. Key to this will be the reopening of our UK operating facilities and to reform collaborative working and get our staff back into a ‘normal’ way of life and working, while still offering them the flexibility to work from home should they wish to do so.