Spyrosoft is booming in every location we have. Our recruitment team have their hands full. However, hiring in the UK with so many open roles across the industry continues to be challenging. We’ve asked Duncan Johnson, COO of Spyrosoft LTD, to share what life in our UK branch looks like from the inside. Let’s see!
What do you think makes Spyrosoft stand out and is a deal breaker when it comes to choosing a position in the company?
Globally, Spyrosoft is an amazing company to work at, but in the UK, we are more of a family. From a people perspective, Spyrosoft UK is quite small, but from a business perspective, we pack a punch. The UK provides approximately 50% of Spyrosoft’s clients and delivers approximately 25% of the global revenue. We certainly punch above our weight. Spyrosoft UK has a number of cornerstones when it comes to our team.
- “Family comes first” – this is something we always say. A great example: our Head of Delivery attended his first kid’s school sports day this week – when working for previous employers, he was always “too busy”.
- “Flexibility” – we believe being in the office with your teammates is good for the soul and good for mental health, so we encourage people to come in approximately 50% of the time. But, you decide the 50% – morning, afternoons, in between school drop off and pick up – whatever suits you.
- “Quality” – we employ very good people who are surrounded by other very good people, both in the UK and in the other Spyrosoft locations. This allows every individual to develop and grow, change paths in their career, visit and work in other locations and become whatever they want to be.
- “Leadership” – Spyrosoft UK is led by one of the original co-founders of Spyrosoft, Andrew Radcliffe, who is in the office regularly and attends all of our social events. It’s not often you can sit and talk work and life with a co-founder of Europe’s fastest growing tech company.
- “Social” – Spyrosoft UK believes in the power of “social”. In the past four weeks, we have had a “games lunch” where people brought in different board games for everyone to enjoy, a last-minute team lunch when people took their packed lunches, and we sat on the roof terrace next to the Sky Lounge in our new state of the art office next to Bournemouth Airport.
It truly is a place to work where people are at the heart of what we do.
Wow, that is amazing. How big is the team in the UK, and what are the growth expectations?
The team in the UK is currently 25 people. We have a number of key open roles, and we hope to grow this to 40 people in 12 months and 100 people in 48 months.
Your new office has recently been opened in Bournemouth. What’s the feedback from the team?
The feedback from the team has been fantastic – from the roof terrace and Sky Lounge, to the free parking, breakout spaces, communal areas and the areas where you can have quiet 1:1 meetings or Zoom/Teams calls. The gym and treatment rooms are about to open, so I expect things will become even more positive.
What team activities have you had recently, now that the atmosphere is finally more relaxed after a few hard Covid years? Or do you have plans for the next quarter?
As mentioned, big and small social events are key to Spyrosoft in the UK. We recently had a team visit and lunch in superb weather to The George at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, so we sat having lunch, fully funded by Spyrosoft, overlooking the beach and sea. We have a simple “pizza delivery” lunch this week. Also, we have already booked in two nights of fun on the roof terrace for the Bournemouth Air Show, where staff and their families will be invited to enjoy a different aircraft and chat with colleagues and new friends. We have even started to look at venues for our Christmas lunch.
It sounds like you guys in the UK really know how to have fun and combine it with work and great results. In one of your earlier interviews, you said that we have one role in technology: to help. A lot of companies start with that mindset but forget it on the way. What helps to keep that ethos a priority in a big company?
I started my technology career in a support function, so helping others is in my DNA, and we will always strive to help our customers. Those customers could be internal, colleagues from the UK or different Spyrosoft offices, or from our amazing clients whom we work with in partnership. I won’t let Spyrosoft forget we are here to help, and Andrew supports that 100%.
You are a family man, a relaxed type of leader, and you trust and support your employees. And within Spyrosoft, we do put people before anything else. When you look back, did you ever think you would have the opportunity to work in a company that nurtures that kind of culture?
I still can’t believe that I work for a great company, in a great local office that puts its people first – I spent 25+ years working and commuting into central London, and I occasionally catch myself and remember how lucky I am to have joined Spyrosoft – Spyrosoft has changed my work-life balance, and this has helped both my personal and professional lives.
We asked one of our student trainees to think of a question for you. So here it goes: How hard do you need to work, and how long does it take to be able to become a COO?
There will be times when you have to work hard, but the main quality you will need is dedication. You cannot switch on your laptop at 9 am and turn it off at 5 pm and not be contactable – you may have to join calls in the evenings or answer emails at the weekend.
You will also need a wide breadth of knowledge. You don’t need to be a project manager, but you need to understand how projects run. You don’t need to be an accountant, but you need to understand finance. You don’t need to be a software developer, but you need to understand development, and you don’t need to understand your customers/clients’ business, but you need to understand your customer/client. It’s a great role, and with dedication, a wide breadth of knowledge, and some hard work, you will get there.
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