This congenial American decided to move to Prague to start his career many years ago and now runs a new HR concept called GoodCall. What was his motivation to leave the US and establish a life and business in the Czech Republic?
The first thing that we noticed when we came into their offices was the relaxed atmosphere. Everyone was smiling although nobody knew us. In a moment, we understood this is the place where all sorts of people can cooperate together.
Blake, what brought you to the Czech Rep.?
My great grandmother was Czech so I always had some connection with the Czech Republic. I chose Prague because it was still raw. There was something to be completed here. I felt there is a challenge. Recruitment in the Czech Republic is still a market that has a lot to develop. But one of the original reasons I came here was the idea that people in America live to work. But you (Czech people) work to live.
Do you remember what was the hardest part for you in regards to business?
We are a startup. We’ve gone through numerous challenges. One was moving from a tiny startup to, let’s say, a midsize one. Going from 4-5 people to 30 or 40 people. We had some growing pains because we needed to change the structure.
Plus in the early days, we needed to learn how to use flexibility properly. While we did and do offer flexible hours and home office, we had to work hard to ensure that such policies don’t infringe on people’s ability to communicate, learn from others, and engage. So we moved to a slightly more managed complete flexibility. For example, if you say you’ll be at the office at, say…10 AM, you shouldn’t arrive at 1 PM.
Which nationalities do you have in your team?
We are a nice mix of nationalities. Every year we have an intern, usually from the US. In the office, we have had and have Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, German, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovak, and even Moravian!
How do you think your employees would describe you?
I think my employees would say that I am a positive and happy person. Someone who is optimistic but at the same time trying to be realistic.
My goal in life is to enhance the lives, the careers, the experiences of all the people around me. I try to bring this approach into the office too.
How many people do you have in your team?
GoodCall has about 120 people. We have branches in České Budějovice, Hradec Králové, Liberec, Ostrava, Brno, Zlín, and Bratislava. In Prague, we are about 55 people.
How would you describe your team?
We have a group of people that have the vision and belief that we can do recruitment differently. They built the GoodCall concept themselves. Each one of them does things a little bit differently in their own, personal way.
What is most interesting, challenging and the future of work possible, is that we have recruiters who are in their mid-twenties managing talent sourcers. We believe that honing people management skills is crucial to creating future leaders.
What are your plans for the future?
We want to expand. All three of our businesses are expanding already but we need to keep scaling. For example, Recruitment Academy has a web platform that we are creating. We want to expand to the Polish market, probably by the end of this year.
And next year we will see. There are a few markets that we are considering – Romania and other countries in Eastern Europe. We believe there is so much more development and impact to be had in Central and Eastern Europe.
Author: Kristína Kredatusová for Proudly.cz