Gapstars: Inside A Millennials Dream Workplace
By Mazin Hussain
Recently, Great Place to Work Sri Lanka released its latest list of Best Workplaces for Millennials in Sri Lanka. The list consists of organisations that have created a great place to work for millennials. Among them is Gapstars - a B2B service provider helping innovative Dutch software companies grow rapidly with high-performing agile offshore development teams in Sri Lanka.
Gapstars has enjoyed explosive growth as its team of IT professionals now consists of over 120+ individuals and counting with 90% of its workforce consisting of millennials. The company has prioritised maintaining a healthy corporate culture. These efforts have paid off. Employees from all walks of life describe it as an inclusive workplace that celebrates difference.
With the millennial generation coming of age, they are entering the workforce in record numbers. Having a strong affinity with the digital world and the use of technology sets them apart. Millennials seek a flexible approach with regular feedback and encouragement to help them grow.
Millennials seek a corporate culture that is markedly different – one that meets their needs. It’s observed the world over those companies attracting talented millennials are unrestrained, innovative employers. Hence, they can take the best young talent to achieve their long-term business goals.
The award for being among the Best Workplaces for Millennials in Sri Lanka recognises Gapstars as an innovative employer. Yet, it’s more than that. Companies that adapt to meet the demands of millennials are innovative employers committed to listening to all employees creating an inclusive workplace culture for everyone.
Gapstars has invested in the personal and professional development of its employees. These were the foundations where the well-being of its employees at all levels mattered.
Being the bridge between innovative scale-ups in the Netherlands and agile software development teams in Colombo, the company facilitated numerous visits for its Sri Lankan team to its client headquarters in Amsterdam. For Gapstars employees, such visits help to better engage with clients and gain a deeper understanding of their business.
For IT professionals this knowledge is invaluable. While good IT professionals understand technology, great IT professionals understand how it can be utilised to solve challenges and enable clients to succeed. With the onset of the pandemic, such engagements now take place virtually.
Client engagements are only the surface of the professional development initiatives within Gapstars. Through its specialised training programme titled Moonshot, the company helps map out a personal development plan for employees. There’s a detailed roadmap, which is prized by millennials, on how they can grow in their careers.
Manager’s guide and mentor employees to pick up new skills. “At Gapstars, we have an open-door policy. While working on the job, you’ll find yourself picking up new skills that you might previously have considered to be out of your wheelhouse. So it’s a constant cycle of learning and growth,” said Head of Operations, Meditha Karunatillaka.
Faced with heavy financial losses due to the pandemic, several opted for salary cuts and layoffs. However, Gapstars went against this trend. no salary cuts were made and paid employees on time.
To safeguard employees and family members, Gapstars instituted a ‘Work From Home’ policy. Given that its teams work remotely and build innovative technologies for fast-growing European scale-ups, the company implemented a remote working policy. Gapstars implemented a special COVID-19 medical insurance scheme and arranged special care packages with household items, food, and other essentials for employees in quarantine.
The office space is fully sanitised and provides rapid antigen kits, facemasks, alongside other medicines within the premises thus providing a safe workplace.
According to research conducted by PwC, 85% of millennials prioritise a company’s policy on diversity, equality, and workforce inclusion when deciding where to work. However, within the local IT industry, a massive gender leadership gap exists. If companies wish to attract the millennial talent it’s imperative to address this issue.
Consistent effort to offer more opportunities to empower women in the local IT industry has been made. During its expansion, it focused on providing equal opportunities for all. Approximately 30% of the workforce consists of women working across a variety of sectors.
Senior Manager Marketing, Asma Cader, said, “As a tech firm, we are aware of the gender imbalance within the workforce. This is why Gapstars is empowering more women and offering equal opportunities to grow in their careers to establish themselves as leaders.
“Hard work is celebrated. We have a high-performance culture that rewards passion,” Meditha commented.
To ensure employee mental well-being, Gapstars has several company events. This time around these were held virtually and are a defining part of the Gapstars culture. He further added, “At Gapstars the work-life balance isn’t simply a system of flexible hours of working from home options. It’s about making everyone feel like they belong. We believe the ideal corporate culture is built on the pillars of community, flexibility, and freedom of expression.”
CEO Hugo Hemmenthe stated, “Whether it is technical expertise, timely delivery, or simply the assurance that comes from a trusted developer relationship, it’s our people who make the difference,” he concluded.