GSOFT = happiness and talent = GSOFT
As a software engineering company, “GSOFT must rise to the challenge of perpetual innovation. The more we succeed, the harder we have to work to achieve more. There are always younger innovative companies popping up and new technological developments to stay on top of. They key is to stay focussed on clear objectives, while constantly questioning ourselves.” – Catherine Salvail, GSOFT’s Director of Media & Visibility
Innovation creates happiness
Earlier this year, GSOFT closed its custom development division in order to concentrate solely on its own products, redistributing its teams to that effect. The company’s focus now is to develop and market Sharegate, software that simplifies the migration of Microsoft environments, and Officevibe, a platform that measures employee commitment and happiness at work.
Officevibe uses ten different indicators that allow employers to keep in touch with certain aspects of their office culture in real time, like general atmosphere, occupational health and quality of relationship between colleagues. Their clients, including Disney, Apple, Ubisoft, the SAQ and Bose can thus make changes in real time, and directly measure the impact of their improvements.
“The Sharegate market really needed an influx of innovation, while the Officevibe market was inexistent,” explains Catherine Salvail. Having successfully deployed their tools internally, GSOFT initially began presenting their product internationally, benefitting from the observed trend of employers paying more and more attention to the engagement of their employees. Now offered in French, interest is mounting in Quebec, especially among public organizations.
For the sale of their products, as well as for the development of certain elements of Sharegate and Officevibe, GSOFT teams up with partners who share their values and business practices. They also select partners according to their regional and economical needs.
Approximately 15,000 clients, in close to 120 countries, choose GSOFT products. Sharegate, which is used by clients like TESLA, Microsoft, AIRBUS and NASA, is available through annual or monthly subscriptions, paid in advance, which allows the company to finance the development of new functions and offerings for the product. The Officevibe package provides an economical option for clients with a large number of users. Clients, whether startup or Fortune 500 companies, can also discover GSOFT products through free trials.
“Our user support and customer service teams have a very personalized and human approach,” underlines Catherine. “They work here in our Pointe-Saint-Charles office. In fact, all our services are offered from here. So there’s an exchange, an easy follow-up with the development teams that serves the goal of always improving products to better respond to the needs of both clients and the market.”
GSOFT also makes its State of Employee Engagement platform publicly available. This free service gathers data related to employee engagement and catalogues it anonymously in order to offer a general idea of the level of engagement around the globe. In this way, employers can compare themselves against averages for the ten Officevibe parameters, according to various geographic and demographic factors.
GSOFT doesn’t just innovate with its flagship products, but also with its own management choices. One of the key decisions of the cofounders, Simon De Baene, Guillaume Roy and Sébastien Leduc, was to place employees at the heart of their business strategy. A choice that has paid off: last year, Profit500 noted a growth of 800% since 2011 for GSOFT.
Concretely, their “happiness approach” manifests itself with interesting social benefits, unlimited vacations, diverse meals offered at the office, beverages prepared on-site by the house barista, a hip environment (with a camper trailer for meetings and a skate ramp), and an annual team trip.
“There are certainly other circumstances that contribute to the phenomenal growth of the company, but we definitely notice an impact on the general feeling at the heart of GSOFT, as well as the engagement of people towards the products,” explains Catherine. “It’s not necessarily because of the perks that someone is happy at their job, but working at the heart of a fruitful company, where the structure and vision allows them to offer this type of environment: it’s a bonus. Our people feel recognized. In their day-to-day, they have a voice and the freedom to be themselves.”
The founders of GSOFT wanted to create a different kind of company after having worked in various IT milieus that they found dry and archaic. They fulfilled their dream, and the company now has 212 employees, with a 96% retention rate and sales revenue of $5 million. Over the course of the next year, the company plans on hiring around 50 new employees and the team will soon occupy the third floor of their Nordelec offices in Pointe-Saint-Charles.
In this context of growth, GSOFT is always aiming to improve themselves, with its office culture being one of its proudest achievements. The company’s Culture and Organization service, whose vision is anything but traditional, ensures that their employees are happy and well-taken-care-of, while offering them the freedom to manage their own time, as much in their daily work, as for their holidays.
A major challenge for GSOFT remains the recruitment of experienced developers. “Because the field is young, more seasoned candidates already have good working conditions. So it can sometimes be difficult to convince those candidates to come on board. We strive to achieve balance, with an employer brand that communicates that our employees are not just cool and know how to have fun, but also that we work well and have lots of talent,” indicates Catherine. “You have to be present everywhere and at the right place to shop for expertise, particularly in artificial intelligence.”
In 2015, GSOFT launched the GHouse, a satellite office that is far from the daily life of “planet GSOFT.” It serves as an incubator with which to stimulate the creation of new products. The project aims to highlight the incredible aptitudes and intelligence of the team.
The first edition, in Barcelona, gave birth to the robot Leo, who allowed Officevibe profits to double in less than a month. “Innovation has a cost, but when its projects work, we very quickly get our return on the investment,” emphasizes Catherine. “Also, this kind of approach indicates to employees that the company has confidence in them, truly wants them to be implicated in the realization of its mission, and will give them the resources to succeed.”
“CultureFest was conceived in the GHouse and created by employees here,” recounts Catherine as she points to colleague wearing a t-shirt with the CultureFest logo. “He was a volunteer during the day-long event organized at the TOHU that involved 500 participants, 21 sponsors and partners, as well as 271 organizations of all sizes, from Ubisoft to Busbud.” The theme, addressed to CEOs and managers, was company culture. They welcomed nine speakers, like Martin Gauthier from Sid Lee and Christiane Germain from Groupe Germain Hôtels. A great success, this very interactive and entertaining project aims to create a movement: getting (or convincing) CEOs or managers to be involved in their own company culture and offering them tools and solutions with which improve the life of their employees.
Happiness… it’s so simple
When Catherine Salvail is asked to share the secret of success for GSOFT products, she responds without hesitation: “Their simplicity. The Sharegate slogan is actually ‘Just Damn Simple.’ As simple as possible for users. Same thing for Officevibe. It’s incredibly fast, very simple, funny and light, even though the subject matter is very serious.”
Also, in a technological industry that is in constant evolution, GSOFT takes it upon itself to dare to do things differently. Daring is definitely the word that comes to mind when thinking about the young cofounders associated with this software creator. In fact, the company’s development was guaranteed solely by their own private financing. That means no debt for GSOFT, who prefers to concentrate on what they do best, taking risks with blow-your-mind projects, like GHouse.
Artificial intelligence is now playing a major role on the tech scene, making it the next big challenge for GSOFT…
Mélanie Pilon, Writer for the ICT Partners Vitrine TI Program
Photo : Louis-Philippe Maurice, CEO Busbud