“When you have exhausted all the possibilities, remember this – you haven’t” – An interview with Will Hardman, Elucidata.
I started working with Will and the team at Elucidata early last year and when they were a team of 2 in Bristol, fast forward 12 months, 2 office moves and an additional 22 people they absolutely smashed 2018 and I have loved every second working with this growing Bristol business.
Will and the whole team have fully supported both myself and Women Rock, and from day 1 made it clear that they had a solid mission to have one of the most diverse teams in the city which we have build pretty successfully. I caught up with Will and we talked about how he has built the team and what’s next for Elucidata in 2019 and beyond.
CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ELUCIDATA?
We build high quality, bespoke software. We’re known for producing solutions that do clever things with data.
YOU HAVE GROWN VERY QUICKLY AND BUILDING A DIVERSE TEAM WAS A HIGH PRIORITY FOR YOU. I’D SAY YOU’VE DONE REALLY WELL AT THIS, BUT FROM YOU HOW HAVE YOU BUILD SUCH A GREAT TEAM?
Cultural fit is the most important thing we look for when hiring people. This doesn’t mean, however, building a team who all think alike; we have quite a diverse set of personalities, backgrounds and cognitive styles. The key traits we look for are:
• People who are able to give and receive candid feedback from their colleagues, and are willing to act upon it;
• The ability to work within a group, presenting and defending their ideas and scrutinising those of others. And most importantly, people who are willing to accept the group’s decision and own it;
• The ability to work with ill defined or complex problems and work methodically to clarify them or break them down into small, easily understood pieces;
• The willingness to take appropriate decisions and be accountable for them, and to be proactive in spotting and resolving problems of all sorts;
Generally speaking these attributes are more important as universals than is the depth of programming experience –a range of coding skills and experience levels can be successfully incorporated within a team.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN THE COMPANY AND IN THE BRISTOL OFFICE?
25 in Bristol. 34 overall.
NOT GIVING AWAY ALL YOUR TRICKS BUT WHAT CAN COMPANIES DO TO FOLLOW IN ELUCIDATA’S FOOTSTEPS?
Stick at it! It’s all about having the resilience to keep generating opportunities for your business until some of them start to stick. Don’t get disheartened along the way.
WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO WOMEN WHO ARE LOOKING TO GET INTO OR BACK INTO THE INDUSTRY?
The same advice I’d give to anyone, really: figure out the totality of your skills: what makes you a good person to work with and a good problem solver. Bringing these skills to the forth is at least as important as the number of technical keywords you can list on your CV.
WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE TEAM TO DATE?
Not falling out with one another even during the toughest and most demanding of times!
I ALWAYS SEE THE TEAM IN THE BAR/CAFÉ DOWNSTAIRS, YOU’RE QUITE A SOCIABLE BUNCH WOULD YOU SAY?
I’d agree. And I think that’s a consequence of getting the “cultural fit” right during the hiring process. Building bonds socially also leads to better teamwork in the office.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE FOR PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT?
This is a complex area and something we are working with HR specialists to achieve. Our vision is for a situation where goals and objectives and surfaced by each individual and the company finds a way to help manifest them, rather than the other way around.
WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED?
I think we have some fantastic opportunities as a company and I want us to make the most of them.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?
“When you have exhausted all the possibilities, remember this – you haven’t” – Thomas Edison
Thank you so much Will. I defiantly have a soft spot for this business and can’t wait to see what you achieve this year and beyond!
a voice for women in tech