WorkInConfidence - Employer Spotlight

Digital Gum – Employer Spotlight

As Digital Gum gears up to a packed new programme of trainings, we’re reviewing last year’s cohort successes. We’ve seen Digital Gum alumni go off into flexible works with global organisations and others set up their own businesses. Lives have changed - positively.

Playing the long game is what Digital Gum is about.  For us to nurture a truly flourishing talent pipeline, we need to collaborate with employers who share that vision. As well as being a 50 Game Changer, WorkInConfidence share our commitment to digital skills; last year they brought on Digital Gum grad Katrina Mullins to run their social media.

Here, Neil Thompson tells us how Digital Gum helped the team access flexible, relevant digital talent.

What’s WorkInConfidence about?

WorkInConfidence is the industry-leading workplace platform that allows staff to raise ideas, issues and concerns anonymously with senior management in their organisation.

WorkInConfidence was started by my co-founder, Tim Martin, when for the second time, a boss tried to bully him into ignoring fraud. It was clear something was missing in organisations. Problems like harassment and bullying were getting missed, and so were engagement opportunities. Employees lacked a voice, companies were missing insights.

Our mission is to ensure that all employees can feedback at work - whether that’s an idea or a concern.

What’s your current recruitment strategy?

I think using the word strategy might be implying more than is the case! To date, we’ve had mixed results with hiring for the business, having tried a number of different methods to bring in the skills we need in a cost effective manner. This has meant relying upon online resources to find the individuals we needed no matter where they are located worldwide.

What are the challenges you’ve faced when recruiting?

The biggest challenge for WorkInConfidence is being able to afford the right technical resources. It’s where being in the Thames Valley is a distinct disadvantage as we are competing with the likes of the Microsofts and Oracles for technical skills without the financial clout and cachet that they have. This also applies to a lesser extent to non-technical skills but is not as acute.

Why did Digital Gum appeal to your business?

DG was ideal for us for a number of reasons. Firstly it was a personal recommendation from Louize, someone I hugely respect and admire, and so I knew that it would be worth considering and the quality of the individuals high. Secondly, we’ve long felt that there is an untapped seam of resources of people that have left the workforce for a number of reasons that have great skills and can’t find a role. Finally, we wanted someone part-time.

How did you know Kat was right for your business?

Kat came to the interview with examples of just what she could do for us. Kat had done her research and turned up with things that looked great and were right in terms with what the business was doing. It felt right straight away.

How do you work together?

It’s great that she is in Reading too as that means we are able to meet regularly but we also talk a few times a week by phone, Skype and email. Over the year, we have worked together we have increased the hours Kat does and also the responsibilities. Now, she’s starting to co-ordinate all our marketing activities and the people doing those.

Relaunchers are carving out a space in the workplace. To what extent do you feel employers are ready for them?

It shouldn't be a problem after all this time but I still get the impression that finding part-time roles for returners is difficult. Employers must be more open to the possibility of part-time workers, working around the school run etc. Similarly recognise the value of having someone that has experience and drive but not a 100% skills match.

What are your tips for other start-ups looking to hire?

Work your personal contacts to find people. Don’t be afraid to look in unusual places. Offer short, one-off, jobs to people on sites such as to test their skills before longer engagements (this is exactly how we found our developers in the end).

Fit is as important if not more important in a start-up. Look for someone that is going to be a good match for the business and grow them into the role rather than finding the ideal skills match and someone that doesn’t fit your culture.

Louize ClarkeDigital Gum