Fostering a Culture of Inclusion with Vicky Walker, Head of People at Cyberfort

15-02-2024

As Head of People at Cyberfort, you are responsible for Cyberfort’s people strategy. Can you outline your key priorities for the upcoming 12 months?

As always, recruiting the best people and having them stay with us in a fiercely competitive market is our priority. For Cyberfort, 2024 will see us focussing on leadership development to ensure that we have the right blend of technical ability and leadership to help grow the business and ensure the amazing people we recruit remain motivated and engaged and can develop their careers with us. We will also be focussing on our social values to ensure we are competitive when it comes to winning new business. This naturally incorporates E, D & I, and we will be looking to develop junior talent from a diverse range of backgrounds – whether that’s from within our teams or whether we recruit them into our organisation.

You have implemented an impressive system to support individuals identifying as ‘neurodiverse.’ Can you share the impact this initiative has had on the organisation?

We don’t ask our employees to disclose this information. However, I have personally noticed a very open and honest culture around Neurodiversity. Our hiring managers are happy to send interview questions in advance as they understand why they would do this. Candidates are open and honest about any adjustments they require, and our employees who participate in our Neurodiversity Community Group are happy to share their experiences and learnings. Therefore, I feel Cyberfort creates a safe space for people to be themselves and who they are without fear of being held back by biases or assumptions. For our hiring managers, we can also recruit from a wider talent pool as we’ve broken down barriers in recruitment. As I said, I cannot comment on the number of neurodivergent candidates or individuals we employ, but our time to hire stats are excellent. Our agency utilisation is at an all time low, even for our roles that have been notoriously difficult to recruit for in the past.

Looking ahead, how do you anticipate Cyberfort evolving and expanding over the next two years?

Additionally, how do you envision your role continuing to make a positive difference in the lives of your colleagues? Over the past few years, we have primarily focused on the internal development of products and services to the point that we now have the complete portfolio of offerings we had always aspired to. Therefore, the next two years will be primarily focused on accelerating our organic growth by taking these to market across existing and new clients. As our growth is also predicated on retaining and attracting specific talent in a permanently competitive market, we are constantly looking at how to open access to new talent pools at all levels. The investment from Palatine PE has played a significant part in Cyberfort’s growth.

Can you elaborate on how this support has influenced your role and initiatives at Cyberfort?

Our Palatine investment has enabled us to embark on a journey based on building specific capabilities and growing our team accordingly to support the client base along that journey. Palatine places a great deal of focus on ESG initiatives, which have been relevant to specific areas of a diverse organisation from a serviceoffering perspective. These range from a significant emphasis on carbon reduction, where we operate two Data Centres, to a real focus on D&I as we seek to attract specific talent. The latter has culminated in a particular focus on Neurodiversity, which has a clear crossover regarding skills and attributes against our new employee profile, together with a need to alter how we operate as a business and employer to make such an initiative successful.

Reflecting on your career, what have been the most challenging and enjoyable experiences you’ve encountered so far?

Where to start! My HR career developed within the Logistics industry, which is naturally fast paced and ever-changing. I undertook different roles whilst in this industry as my career progressed. I would undoubtedly say that moving from an individual contributor to a Manager and supporting the development of people within my team was, and continues to be, hugely enjoyable. My role at Cyberfort gives me full autonomy over our people strategy, and bringing this to life and seeing my department evolve has been an absolute pleasure. Moving from Logistics to Retail and then to cyber security means I have had to adapt to different business priorities, cultures, and working with different types of people. That’s always a challenge, and I haven’t always got it right the first time, but I feel I work well with different personality types and getting to know people and working with them to achieve common goals is always enjoyable.