The Business Magazine asked the CEOs and leaders of the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth listing, which celebrates the region’s high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises, to share their experience of managing a company in 2021. We asked Alastair Scott, the managing director of S4labour the following three questions:
S4labour, which provides labour management software for the hospitality industry, reached number 37 on The Business Magazine’s Thames Valley SME100 Growth index and had an overall growth of 25%.
Alastair Scott: One of the biggest challenges, not just for us but for so many people in the past year was understanding furlough, a word that had never been used before 2020. Not only did we need to understand furlough for S4labour employees, but additionally, develop a support system to help customers manage, calculate and make furlough claims through its various versions. Hospitality has notoriously complicated patterns of work, with flexible and variable hours. However, the team worked incredibly hard over those months to ensure the customers had what they needed during such a difficult and confusing time.
As a small business, S4labour has developed a great working relationship with the team. It was challenging to maintain team engagement and communication whilst being furloughed or working from home. Utilising video technologies helped, in addition to regularly checking in on everyone to continue to maintain wellbeing and morale. Lastly, in the past 12 months, the hospitality industry has been like a roller coaster, from being shut for such a long period to suddenly taking off again at full speed. It was S4labour’s role to support users in having a smooth transition, as well as helping new customers receive training and be proficient in dealing with the demands. This is a challenge S4labour is still tackling, as staff shortages are at an all-time high, but demand for our system has flourished.
Alastair Scott: Despite such a challenging year, the S4labour team have collaborated and performed amazingly. One of the reasons for this development is due to our P.R. and relationships with the industry throughout the pandemic. S4labour regularly featured in news publications, commenting on the industries position and rapidly became experts in furlough management. This has allowed us to grow the team, especially in our graduate programme that is investing in young people and helping them to develop lifelong skills. To grow the S4labour family is a privilege, especially as we continue to create a positive and inclusive culture, that creates an open and supportive environment. S4labour has recently hired a Head of People and Culture to encourage this progression. As the business continues to flourish, we have lots of new innovations to launch after the next 12 months.
Alastair Scott: An ambition of mine for S4labour would be for us to widen our reach and help as many businesses in the hospitality sector as possible. We want to continue to contribute to the industry’s recovery. In the coming year, we also want to be at the forefront of providing solutions to some of the industry’s biggest problems, such as recruitment and productivity. Evolving integrations and product developments enable to solve these issues. More than ever before, the last year has illustrated how important the team at S4labour is to ensuring our success as well as the success of other businesses in the industry. One of our biggest ambitions is to focus greatly on developing the professional and personal skills of the team to help in and outside of work.
S4labour is a new entry in the Thames Valley SME100 Growth index in 2021. To qualify for the listing, businesses need to be based in the Thames Valley, have a turnover of no less than £1 million and no more than £20m, and to have grown their turnover significantly in the past year.
All Thames Valley SME 100 Growth members are now invited to enter the nominations to this year’s awards, which will recognise outstanding achievements in six categories.