Case study: Redwigwam
Redwigwam are a Liverpool tech business disrupting the world of recruitment. We caught up with CEO and Founder Lorna Davidson to see how Gather has helped the business grow and her thoughts on flexible working post the pandemic.
What’s the driving force behind Red Wigwam?
We’re on a mission to shake up recruitment by kicking off a flexible working revolution. It’s all based around our online platform that uses an algorithm to match workers with open positions. That could be anything from a 15-minute task to a full-time job.
The world of work has changed and so has technology. Red Wigwam is about giving people choice and flexibility and we’re helping workers to find that and helping businesses to navigate it.
Who do you work with?
It’s really varied, everything from helping a small B&B fill their kitchen team to supporting big hotel chains. As you probably would expect, at the moment there’s a huge demand in warehousing and logistics and we’re working with big brands to help them recruit large numbers of people.
Currently we’ve got 169,000 workers and 3,500 hirers working with us. Regardless of the sector we employ everyone directly. This is really important to us as it means we can make sure the workers are looked after with holidays, pensions etc and take the hassle of the admin and paperwork side of things away from hirers.
Have you seen the employment landscape change during the pandemic?
Definitely, the pandemic has seen people recognise the need for flexibility – from hirer and worker. Individuals are demanding different terms and working patterns and hirers need to respond to that. I actually think Brexit has had and will continue to have a bigger effect on the marketplace though, not just on the volume of vacancies, it's really accelerated the need for hirers to meet the needs of workers.
I think it’s so important for people to be treated well at work and if you’re an employer looking to grow it’s more important than ever to consider that – it’s a real workers market. Listen to your staff, be fair, and check in with people. I try and ask people how they are feeling that day on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a really quick barometer that helps me see where challenges lie and understand when people need support.
How has Gather helped you and your business?
When the pandemic hit, I was attending Gather's Shift programme and it allowed me to take a step back and realise the whole world was going through what we were! Connecting with leaders who were taking on the same challenges really helped when it came to thinking about the next steps for Redwigwam.
And we've just completed Hive which has been so interesting. If I'm honest when I signed up for it my team were a little reluctant because of the investment of time as we were just so busy. But without a doubt, we all feel like we've benefitted from the programme.
We've become a better leadership team because of it, it gave us space to come together and understand how we all operate as individuals, what drives us and how our personalities work together. We’re all on the same page now as well, we’ve got a clear focus on what’s next for the business and what we want to achieve.
The Gather team really take time to understand your business, put the right programme in place to support your growth and help you make the right connections.
Has Redwigwam always been based in Liverpool?
We have, and it was really Baltic Creative that brought us here. The space and the opportunities it offered really enticed us to set up in the city and since then it’s felt like a natural home for us.
One of the things I've loved since we started the business here is how welcoming and open people are. We’ve benefited hugely from the peer and local business community. People are always happy to make introductions and you can pick the phone up and get advice and support. Just waiting for a coffee in the Baltic you get talking and get a sense of what everybody is doing, and it opens-up new opportunities.
I think as a city Liverpool has really upped its game with support for the digital sector over the past few years. I feel like I can go and talk to someone and say: ‘I've got this issue I want to talk to someone’ and you’ll be given support to navigate your way through it.
What does the future look like for Redwigwam?
It's a challenging time for us, but an exciting one. During COVID the team grew rapidly and there’s now around 34 of us. Hive gave us the opportunity to look at some of the younger members of our team – their personalities, attributes, and energy, to see if we’ve got the right mix in our future leaders.
As we continue to grow, we’ll be building on that and making sure we’ve got the right structure and people in place.
And as the market evolves, we’ll adapt to that too. Connecting the right workers with the right positions and continuing to change work for good.
If you have roles that need filling, speak to Redwigwam and see how they can support you.