Made Talent, a Bristol-based Tech for Good talent management business, takes time out with Andrew, a CTO who has helped grow a number of Tech for Good businesses in the UK, including building a successful Tech for Good business currently going through an acquisition.  

Andy shares thoughts and advice for other Tech for Good businesses out there looking to scale sustainably without losing identity or sacrificing the quality of the process. 

Made: Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with an inspiring CTO and entrepreneur who has guided Tech for Good businesses through sustainable scaling plans whilst also founding a Tech for Good business of his own. We’ll be discussing various aspects of running such an organisation and focusing on the most important aspect of any business, its people. Andy, Thanks for joining us!

Andy: Thanks, Chris! Happy to be here.

M: So, when it comes to growing a Tech for Good businesses, what is the number one consideration for business leaders?

A: Well, it’s all about finding people who align with your mission and values. You need folks who not only have the technical know-how to deliver your product or service efficiently, but also share the business passion for making a positive impact. Cultural fit and a genuine belief in the power of Tech for Good are vital considerations when building your team. If you get it right, it’s the lifeblood of the business and automatically generates the right culture and shared belief system that allows growth to occur with less friction. 

Hiring skills are important, of course. But hiring the right people has a much higher effect on business outputs, motivation, loyalty, happiness, the aura of the business internally and externally; the list goes on. 

M: That makes sense. How do you ensure ethical recruitment processes when scaling?

A: Ethical practices are a top priority for the businesses I work with. We aim for fairness, diversity, and inclusion throughout our hiring process. We actively seek out a diverse pool of candidates, promote equal opportunities, and keep things transparent. 

“In some instances, technology can play a great part in assisting ethical processes”

We also care about sustainability and social responsibility, so we consider the environmental impact of our recruitment activities. We nail these on and embed them into the process from the start, to avoid washing over them and becoming a tick box exercise. 

We achieve this by ensuring whoever is performing the recruitment activity is invested in and upskilled where necessary, from engaging recruitment practices to increasing their awareness of EDI and the value of diverse workforces.

In some instances, technology can play a great part in assisting ethical processes, whether it be data collation for hiring campaigns or unconscious bias policing, or bettering outreach and attraction. There are some wonderfully helpful and easy-to-integrate software out there for businesses to use if they know what they want to achieve. 

M: Great! Now, let’s talk about what you look for in an ideal candidate when building your own tech for good business. We all know it is much easier to test for hard skills compared to culture fit, but clearly, this is something that businesses need to ensure they focus on? 

A: It’s a mix of hard and soft skills, Chris. You want candidates who have a strong technical foundation in relevant tech and programming languages, or whatever that role requires in order to understand the problem or goal and apply solutions. But it’s not just about technical know-how. We also value soft skills like empathy, collaboration, adaptability, and a hunger for learning.

“Staying agile, embracing emerging tech, and adapting to market demands are key to sustained growth” 

We want a well-rounded team that can communicate and work together to drive positive change. The people that end up being the most loyal, most productive and help to build the culture we set in the company vision on day one are those that intrinsically share and buy in to the mission or story of the business. It is so important. 

If you have a workforce where everyone is proud of what the collective do, stands for, and operate then that’s a very powerful business. Luckily for Tech for Good businesses, this is easy to attain! You talk a lot about being ‘profit-purpose driven’, Chris, and that is bang on. A Tech for Good business already has a mission and story that people naturally feel good about driving, but a lot of them don’t understand how to harness that into a USP. 

M: Absolutely, Andy. Without this being a shameless plug, how important is it to have a specialist Tech for Good talent partner who understands how to unlock that USP and tangibly activate it? 

A: Oh, it’s a game-changer, mate! Having a specialist partner who gets the skills we need and understands our unique culture is invaluable. They bring industry knowledge, connections, and insights that help us find candidates who align with our mission. Made Talent, for example, has been the perfect bridge for tech for good businesses like ours, it works because we credibly share the same values, the story is compelling and the networks you have built are primed for the conversation.

“AI has massive potential for startups. It can streamline operations, automate processes, and give valuable insights for decision-making”

Wider than that though, it’s not just about shouting about the values on a LinkedIn post. Credibility and authenticity are paramount for it to work, the partnership has to speak the same language and to the right target audience. 

M: That’s fantastic to hear. Now, if you could go back and give yourself advice when starting your first ever business, what would be your top tip if growing a Tech for Good company amidst current market challenges?

A: Ah, hindsight is a beautiful thing! I’d tell myself to build a strong network of like-minded folks and organisations right from the start. Collaborating with other tech for good businesses, forming strategic partnerships, and tapping into the supportive ecosystem can help us tackle the challenges we face. And staying agile, embracing emerging tech, and adapting to market demands are key to sustained growth. Start moving towards partnerships across your supply chain, especially when considering your people strategy. 

M: Speaking of emerging technology, what’s an example that can be helpful to new startups in building their business more effectively?

A: There are loads! The obvious one everyone is talking about is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and I think AI has massive potential for startups. It can streamline operations, automate processes, and give valuable insights for decision-making.

“It’s all about telling your story”

And don’t forget about blockchain—it can enhance transparency and trust in our social impact initiatives. Startups need to stay up to date with the latest tech advancements and leverage those that align with their mission and goals.

M: Fantastic advice. Lastly, how can tech for good businesses showcase their mission and values to attract candidates in this competitive skills shortage?

A: It’s all about telling your story. The need to highlight your purpose-driven work through your website, social media, talent attraction operations and other channels. Sharing success stories, testimonials from those you’ve helped, and the positive outcomes achieved can really resonate with candidates who are passionate about making a difference. Collaborating with industry influencers, participating in relevant events, and building a strong employer brand also go a long way. 

M: Thank you for sharing these insights. And in your opinion, what makes Made Talent a bridge for tech for good businesses looking for purpose-driven employees?

A: Made Talent understands the credibility of the market. Made isn’t different from other agencies in understanding the skills needed, but more importantly, the difference lies in credibly and authentically amplifying a brand and its mission (or USP) properly to the right audience. Made has been spot on in connecting us with purpose-driven individuals who are passionate about creating positive change without sacrificing the quality of the hard skills needed.