Employee dedication has been central to the soaring fortunes of Global Shares, the Clonakilty-based fin-tech company whose staff numbers have doubled in the past 12 months.
An employee share plan management company, Global Shares has just added Cork City to its 15 global offices, including New Jersey, London, Barcelona, Beijing and Tokyo. Founded in Clonakilty in 2005 with a staff of five, it now employs 310 people across the globe.
Global Shares advises companies, from global multinationals to SMEs, on sharing ownership with their employees. The tax and regulatory issues can be quite complex, notably for companies operating in multiple jurisdictions and with shares quoted in numerous stock markets.
The company’s fortunes have been snowballing since Tim Houstoun was appointed CEO in 2012. That coincided with a shift in its scale of ambition, ever since it began developing its own software to manage its complex services to clients.
“We describe it as our move from being a financial services company to being a fin-tech company,” said Derek Gallagher, managing director of Global Shares.
We are now a one-stop equity shop, and Mr Houstoun was the driver of that shift.
“The industry is quite complicated. With some of our largest clients, we used to work with them to understand their share plans, advise on their choice of stock markets, then we’d find the software that best suited them, but they might end up using a mix of three or more software products.
“We found that every software provider had gaps. The client might end up using one software in the US, another in China and a third in the EU. We decided to build our own. We’ve been growing ever since.”
This is a busy week for Global Shares, opening a new Cork office and being listed in the Deloitte Fast 50 for the third year in a row. It has also rolled out the findings of a survey of 1,000 employees across Ireland.
- Half the people surveyed take their work home with them, with another 75% either regularly or occasionally staying late at the office
- 95% of respondents said they’ve attended work while feeling unwell, compared to 29% who admitted to “pulling a sickie”
- 79% say they feel appreciated at work
- 65% have faith in their management team
- 6% don’t like their job
While views on workplace attitudes to mental wellbeing were mixed, respondents are fairly positive in their views of the Irish workplace in relation to issues such gender, parental leave, pensions ,and employee share plans.
The survey paints a picture of a deeply committed workforce, with just 39% of employees taking all their allocated breaks, and with only one in four people leaving their desks to take a proper lunch break.
Mr Houstoun, CEO, Global Shares said: “It’s clear that Irish people are working harder than ever — they’re doing longer hours, they’re taking work home with them in a lot of cases and they’re certainly feeling stress.
But at the same time, only 6% of people dislike their jobs and 79% of people aren’t planning to move jobs within the next six months to a year.
Mr Houstoun said it is more important than ever to offer rewards and benefits to loyal, talented staff. For instance, Global Shares uses employee ownership to retain its top talent.
Mr Gallagher adds: “The key finding in the survey is that Ireland has a very committed, dedicated workforce. Against a backdrop of full employment, Brexit, and other challenges, it is important to note that Ireland remains very competitive.
“Of course, if you’re working in HR, you have to ask yourself how do you attract and retain talent? I know that some of our employees like the idea of sometimes working remotely in New Jersey or Beijing.
“I also know that we bring people from all over the globe to visit Clonakilty. They love the region, and they’re also very impressed by the skills and the dedication of our staff. We have no plans to move our global headquarters out of West Cork.
“It is great to be in a position where you’re working within the global fin tech industry, then ten minutes after you leave work you find yourself on one of Ireland’s finest beaches. Our team can see that benefit, just like they can see the benefits of employee ownership.”