Q&A With Godel’s new Head of Talent Management, Dmitri Maklakov.
Godel has doubled its headcount year-on-year for over five years, having reached over 1,000 FTEs in 2019. It is providing software engineering teams to a growing client base, but such growth presents risk to the company’s number one priority: to maintain its reputation for quality as it scales. Since Godel’s people are an integral factor of its entire value, it has built an organisational structure over the years which supports every person within every company division. This structure is split into “Functions”, which are groups of people that take responsibility for different aspects of employee wellbeing.
Dmitri Maklakov is Godel’s Head of Talent Management. The Talent Management function has existed in different forms since Godel’s early days as a means to support ongoing career development for Godel employees, and ensure they are working in the best role for them.
What’s your background at Godel?
I have spent three years with Godel, during which time I have had close involvement with the talent acquisition and onboarding functions. Having spent two of these years as a talent manager, my experience with the function began when I was given a small pool of Godel people to look after¬¬. From there, I helped those individuals to develop their careers and better themselves on both a social and skills-based level, which is essentially when I joined the Talent Management team. The wider Godel team and I believe it should be the responsibility of any employer to help its employees with their own professional development, and I am very proud that my employer has chosen me for the role of Head of Talent, as this is something which will further develop my own professional skills.
What are your Function’s responsibilities?
Each Function in Godel has a “value proposition” to make sure everyone knows its importance. The Talent Management value proposition is “to make sure that the right people are on the right engagements”. Over time, Godel has nurtured a ‘one team’ culture, meaning employees turn to one another, sharing the tasks on hand. Our function is key to helping Godel people to grow their skills and competencies, through different projects which they are engaged in. Consequently, the quality of service which the company is able to offer to clients is ever improving.
As Head of Talent Management, what are your priorities?
I believe my new role is incredibly important as it has a ripple effect, effecting each function within Godel, as well as our clients. There is no doubt that developing an individual’s skills will initially benefit the individual, but by doing this, it also means they are able to ‘bring more to the table’, meaning they can add value for the client by delivering in a more efficient way. This means that Godel are evolving with this process and improving at each stage.
It goes without saying that helping people develop their talents, as well as developing your own, all whilst working on a development project for a widely recognised client is no mean feat. This presents me with a variety of challenges from all angles, but I have faith in Talent Management team that they will always lend a hand when there are challenges to be overcome.
What do you see as your biggest challenge?
Taking on such an additional role incurs a certain amount of work, which to many could seem incredibly demanding. I believe that maintaining a “can do” attitude is what enables me to power through my workload. In fact, I like the amount of work. If I had any less, it would be boring for me!
An additional challenge which I am often faced with, is trying to encourage a “feedback culture” where employees are not afraid to give each other well-deserved praise and constructive criticism in order to improve themselves continuously. Currently, this is something which is already in place, but I believe that there is always room for improvement. For many people it’s sometimes difficult to speak up, which is why it is such a victory for me to see the value which can be added to a project when somebody has the courage to do so.