"We have changed the way we run things": Sparta Global CEO discusses the firm's response to Covid-19
Sparta Global is a technology services company specialising in the provision of highly skilled business and technology consultants. The business attracts, trains, delivers and supports these professionals in the early stages of their career. In conversation with The Parliamentary Review, CEO and founder David Rai discusses the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and how the firm has responded.
Rai informed us that challenges have certainly been plentiful in the wake of the outbreak, even if the role of the technology sector has been critical in helping keep the country running throughout the crisis.
Rai said: “It’s true that technology is continuing to keep the world turning in these uncertain times, but nevertheless Covid-19 has presented our business with a number of challenges.”
One of these issues has been the enforced reluctance of some businesses to take on new members of staff during the crisis due to the uncertain financial outlook.
Rai explained: “We work with close to 100 organisations across almost every industry vertical, and we have seen certain partners declare hiring freezes.
“The travel industry has been particularly badly hit by the global pandemic and while we hope it will bounce back, for now our services are simply not a priority for them. All of us are dealing with the unknown and this has meant that other companies are also pausing digital transformation projects and delaying product releases as they negotiate ever-moving deadlines.”
Yet, although these issues have arisen, Rai was determined to ensure that business would proceed as usual within Sparta Global.
“Despite these obstacles, we are continuing to maintain business as usual and drive digital change programmes for those organisations that cannot and will not slow down. We want our clients to be able to maintain momentum with key digital projects, with the support of our ‘Spartans’ as a flexible and capable technical resource.
Indeed, the ‘Spartan’ consultants that the firm has allocated to the healthcare industry and public sector are playing a key role at present, as Rai elaborates.
“From a services perspective, the healthcare industry and public sector continue to communicate requirements for passionate and capable technology consultants and the ‘Spartan’ consultants working in the NHS and Home Office are playing an increasingly important role.”
Rai adds that due to the importance of ‘Spartans’, the firm will stop at nothing to continue to work and invest in their futures, even through the pandemic.
“We have invested in the futures of each of our Spartans and they have worked incredibly hard to complete our intensive training programmes. Our mission to find them their first job in technology and support their career progression, has not and will not change.
“Our commitment to this mission is exactly why we have changed the way we run assessment centres, how we deliver our academy training and why we have developed new services for organisations that need our ‘Spartans’, all the while helping them to navigate this trying time”.
One way which Sparta Global has been able to continue to carry out its work is by running its training programmes entirely remotely since the UK lockdown came into force back in March.
Rai said: “Although our academies in London and Birmingham have had to close, we are continuing to run our training programmes. Now running an entirely remote training operation, we have migrated our academy-based training programme online.
“This means that our course curriculums are now delivered via video by our dedicated training team, and our trainees have not had to suffer loss of momentum with their learning. Trainees have access to one-to-one coaching, senior technical consultants for advice with day-to-day tasks, and round-the-clock community support from the wider Sparta Global team.
“Our trainees are thriving in the virtual environment and at the completion of their academy course, I believe they will be ready and willing to jump into their careers.”
Indeed, Rai informed us that a current Sparta Global DevOps trainee said the following in their feedback:
"Our trainer has done a lot to make working from home pretty much the same as working in class. He encourages positivity, and includes the whole class in his topics, asking questions and still doing the morning stand ups. Not to mention, I’ve gained a lot of experience of self-discipline, time boxing, agile values, collaboration and teamwork."
Rai also stressed the importance of one-to-one support and how Sparta Global’s HR, client services and engagement arms have been active in making it available to trainees and active ‘Spartans’. The company has also been active in running its own remote HR forums to allow members of the Sparta community to catch-up and share ideas and experiences, despite being cut-off from human contact with each other.
“At this time, we know one-to-one support is more important than ever. Our HR, client services and engagement teams are staying in continuous contact with our trainees and ‘Spartans’ to ensure they are informed of our business changes and have access to round-the-clock support.
“Through Microsoft Teams, our community platform of choice, we have also been running a designated Human Resources forum every day between 11:00-12:00 BST. This gives our community a chance to get together and share any challenges that they may be having, with professional advice immediately available to them.
“Our HR teams are contactable at any time and our technical teams are on-hand to help with any project-related queries and to remotely offer advice. We also run a technical forum for one hour every day aimed at our ‘Spartans’ and trainees. Within these, the technical team provides regular video content offering helpful tips to help with remote working, video interviews and other matters that may help them”.