Here at Spectrum IT, some of our core team have been with us for over a decade (read more about 10 years of Spectrum IT). So we thought it would be a good time to get to know them a little better. In this blog, we’re focusing on Spectrum IT’s Director Steve Wright who, as a founding member, has been with the company since the very beginning, back in 2008.
Steve manages a large and successful permanent recruitment team servicing a range of SME, corporate and start-up customers. At the time of writing (October 2020, mid-coronavirus pandemic), the team have just had their biggest-ever month and the pipeline is as good as ever.
A typical day is split into two key parts for Steve. First, it’s about reacting to the day-to-day challenges of recruitment and supporting the rest of the team, making sure they have the knowledge and tools at their disposal to provide the best possible service to the customers. Second, and just as important, is planning for tomorrow and the future, taking a step back from delivery of analysing market trends, looking for new business opportunities and making sure the business is moving in the right direction.
This latter task is of particular importance in the current climate. “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a real gamechanger for the sector and businesses have changed, working practices have changed,” explains Steve. “It’s created a fantastic opportunity for a lot of businesses, while simultaneously decimating others in industries such as hospitality and travel. A lot of change is happening, and change creates significant movement of people, which is what we’re seeing right now.”
Back to the beginning
Steve’s journey with Spectrum started in a pub, which he says is the “birthplace of all the best ideas!” At the time, Steve and managing director Ian Cruickshank had been working for large multinational recruitment agency for several years and felt the time was right for something more bespoke and tailored to the needs of a busy and demanding market. Steve says: “Starting a company from the ground up and being able to put our own stamp on things was the most exciting thing. I have complete faith and trust in the people and our USPs were a product of industry needs; it all made complete sense and the journey is what has kept me here for so long.”
Spectrum IT has shown great resilience over the years, something that Steve attributes to the company’s ethos. “Riding out the storm from the 2008 financial crash turned out to be a blessing in disguise, although it didn’t seem like it at the time!” he says. “Companies around us were shrinking, while we were growing our market share with our service-driven approach.”
A large part of the success of the company comes down to the team that work there. “It’s great to work for a business that gives a great customer services and customer experience, but we also need to have fun and be a great place to work,” says Steve. “We’ve got a good balance of both. We have tons of social events; monthly, quarterly and yearly incentives for the sales teams; and a very inclusive culture that tries to knit all the teams and people together (read more on all that here). We’re stronger and far better working together in collaboration, and that is one of our key success factors, there is a real sense of team and company-wide achievement. No one is out for themselves.”
Work and play
So, given that there is always so much going on at the company, does Steve have any particular memories that really stand out from the last ten years? “So many! The first year struggling through the recession in our box-sized office in Southampton city centre. The first few new hires into the business and the buzz around seeing the company grow. Trips to Las Vegas, Dubai and San Francisco. Seeing our people develop and succeed, and celebrating with them in that success.”
Team members soon start to feel like family in this close-knit environment. So much so, that when people move on, it can be a sad parting of ways. “The majority of our people have been with us for over five years; several with 10 plus years’ tenure. It’s a pleasure working with them and it feels like we’ve been together for a lifetime – in a good way!”
For a team that’s used to being together, the last few months have been very different and taken some time to adapt to. The pandemic has completely changed working practices for most of us, and it’s no exception for Steve. “I spend a lot more time now at home with my wife and kids, which I love. Watching the kids learn and grow is amazing and you find yourself rekindling your affection for childhood games like LEGO, boardgames, chess and puzzles!”
Steve’s looking ahead to the future, and already has personal plans for the post-pandemic world. “We were lucky and had two holidays just before lockdown: Dubai and Sri Lanka. When things return to ‘normal’, we will be seeing more of the world; travelling holidays with the family is me living my best life. My daughter is desperate to go to Hawaii – no idea why, but she’s got it in her head! So that’s on the agenda at some point in 2021 (fingers crossed).”
With his years of experience in the industry, and having weathered a few storms in that time, Steve is well placed to consider what the future holds for IT recruitment. “Right now, there’s a big boom in digital and tech start-ups. The service and product industry is shifting with the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic; ecommerce, digital retail and digital services is a huge market. This will drive huge growth in the IT recruitment market, which we are just seeing the start of now. It’s a very exciting time to be in tech recruitment, so I see the great potential for growth and progression.”
Steve has always had a confidence in Spectrum IT and the services it provides. “We always had the ambition to achieve this kind of success and confidence in our ability and approach. That said when you look back at the journey, growth and success of the business from our humble roots, it’s a great story and good to reminisce!”