As part of our commitment to build a more diverse workforce in a fully inclusive environment we introduced agile working late last year after a 6 month engagement process. This wasn’t just about working from home occasionally, but a strategic move to empower our people to work in a more agile way to better fulfil their role, improve our client and candidate service and increase the diversity of our workforce.
A key enabler for Agile working has been a corresponding investment in a technology platform to manage our Telephony, CRM, Video Conference, O365/Mail remotely. We could not have delivered a sustainable agile model without the technology investment. We could not have foreseen then how pertinent this plan was in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
What started as a positive choice to increase our effectiveness for clients & candidates and promote greater wellbeing for our people and those we aim to attract, has quickly become a necessity. Last week, we enacted our Business Continuity Plan that created a ‘virtual GS’ with all our people working safely remotely and without any disruption to service. It’s been gratifying to witness how adaptable we are as an organisation; roles and responsibilities we might previously have considered office ‘bound’ are working incredibly well remotely and the technology platform has performed robustly.
At a time when leadership resilience and continuity is essential, this earlier investment in people, processes and technology has allowed us to focus effort upon client and candidate service delivery, which will be essential in ensuring public services remain fully operational during these challenging times. We are working tirelessly with our Clients as their transformation partner to enable more of them to join us in our Virtual services and enabling our platforms to support them too.
However, the current emergency should not disguise why we first introduced agile working. Not only did we want to retain our highly skilled GS team when their personal circumstances changed – need for working patterns, becoming a parent, having caring responsibilities or choosing to live away from our office locations – we also wanted to attract new talent who needed this flexibility. We also saw a direct correlation between work/life balance, mental health and agile working.
We saw some immediate benefits in our own GS recruitment campaign where candidates told us our positive promotion of agile working had made them either consider GS as on organisation or inspired and gave the, the confidence to return to work from previous career breaks. This was exactly what we were aiming for in helping to further build an inclusive culture and attract a more diverse field of applicants.
The introduction of agile working isn’t without its own challenges of course. Letting go of control can create a sense of greater risk for some especially when a companies accepted practices, its default mode, has to be reconfigured. What has been central to GS is a sense that we are building our inclusive and agile workplace together – we have shared problems as a business and agreed solutions. From a leadership perspective, the senior team has worked hard to identify and resolve any ambiguity and continued to focus upon the original objective of building a yet stronger business with happy, talented people at its core.
Earlier this year, we asked our people just to sum up their perspectives of GS as an agile employer and we were moved by the response of those who participated. Take a look to find out how agile working has changed our own GS community for the better.
Kevin Gordon, Cheif Executive Officer