A Week in My Life: Purnima Sen, Operations & People Director at Sparta Global Ltd
Purnima Sen, Operations & People Director at Sparta Global Ltd takes us through a week in her working life.
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Mondays are always frantic in our household. My alarm goes off at 6:30am and the whole household is up. I have always wanted to show my daughters it’s possible for a woman to have a fantastic career and be a mother at the same time so the morning routine starts with dropping the kids off at school, then on the underground and at my desk in our city office by 8am.
Any Monday is busy but at Sparta, we’re also preparing for a head office move and the opening of a brand new centre of excellence. We only signed the contract late last Friday, so I spent the morning writing an update and telling the rest of the office the big news!
We are growing at breakneck speed and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a part of a tech company – but this means planning. At 11am on a Monday, the Directors get together and spend the next few hours catching up and updating everyone on the team about our achievements, plans and challenges. We have a very honest group of people sitting at the top and this really helps with collaboration and making sure we are all on the same page.
Sparta Global’s academy courses provide graduates with up-to-date and practical technology or business training. Every week we run three assessment days at our Richmond Academy to find our next wave of trainees. Today, Lewis - one of our new hires - was running the “Sparta Day”. We spent the morning prepping and headed to the assessment centre together at 9am.
Over the next couple of hours, I watched him present, assess and run the group activities while I made notes and wrote feedback. When I am at a Sparta Day, I make sure to speak to every candidate, answer any questions they may have and - along with my assessment team - make sure we are picking the best candidates to move forward.
I then hotfooted it back to our new office site in the afternoon to select a finish on the training room doors and specify how our values should be displayed in the new offices (seems I am just about ready to add architect to my CV!).
Our values are so important to us and we want every detail to be right and everything in the new office needs to say, “This is Sparta Global”!
Sparta Global has an academy in Richmond and another in Birmingham. It’s important to keep my ear to the ground and I aim to visit both regularly. On Monday two new courses – complete with a new wave of passionate graduates – began at the Richmond academy.
Whenever a new cohort arrives, I make it a priority to meet them early on and set expectations. I like to give an introductory chat about the Sparta culture, our expectations and the drive and passion we want our Spartans to have. We want them to learn and take full advantage of the fantastic trainers and course content we have on offer.
In the afternoon, I held a D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) meeting with Lexie Papaspyrou, our Head of Academy, to talk through our plans for the next three months. We are very active with a number of partners in this area, including Code First:Girls, Color in Code, YBBA (Young Black Business Awards), codebar and the Tech Talent Charter.
Lexie and I regularly meet to make sure we are actively participating and hosting events for these amazing organisations. We want to show people from any background the opportunities in a tech career and attract a more diverse workforce to the industry. Working with a diverse group of people produces a plethora of ideas and we are aware of the advantages this will bring to Sparta in the future – and with a 52% BAME workforce, we are doing something right!
Thursday morning was spent getting an update from my universities talent team and reviewing the relationships we have with 47 universities across the UK. We make ourselves visible and available at university events and career fairs to attract top graduate talent. This year, we are launching a new data analysis course and this morning’s meeting focused on how we should attract the best talent for a new area of study. Imperial College has a data careers event coming up and we talked about showcasing our training at this event to attract the best analytical minds.
As is always the case with a move, I was then called away to an urgent meeting from our fit-out partners at the new offices. Turns out that the lighting I had selected for our new kitchen area would not arrive in time – so it was back to the drawing board!
Flicking through 72 pages of lights, it made me think about the amount of choice we have today. From lights for a kitchen to movies on Netflix, to clients looking for a service. Our clients have options for everything and unless we continue to deliver the best, and to the timescales required by our clients, they will simply move on to the next. This is why best in class delivery is the mantra we live by.
After a hurried lunch, I focussed on crafting our new Corporate Social Responsibility document. We understand the pressures facing young people today and want to focus on improving the level of support we offer our candidates. We now work with a number of charities and I wanted to share this with our team to let them know how they can get involved. Some of us attended a Centre Point Sleep Out at the end of 2018 to raise money for homeless youth, and we continue to work closely with Calm.
Friday is the day I get to have breakfast with my children in their school. This is a real tradition and one I rarely like to miss. I then had the opportunity to attend a Women in Tech event at the Westminster Business Forum - catching up on the industry narrative on this topic and meeting inspirational women leaders. A little later, I put what I had learned straight into action - catching up with my counterpart in the government’s digital and media agency to talk about how we could work together to bring a better gender balance to the tech industry.
In the afternoon it was back to Richmond to give a talk on “Being stubborn about your goals - but flexible about your methods”. I do these talks to the cohorts at the academy once a month and I’m already prepped for my next one on “Thinking Commercially”! These talks happen every Friday and it’s a great way to expand our Spartans’ knowledge, preparing them for the workplace.
I was back in the London office by 4pm for the Friday catch up with our HR and support teams. We use this meeting to discuss any HR issues, highlight successes and rewards, and talk about upskilling our Spartans where the project or the client requires.
The beer and wine trolley is rolled out after 5pm and it’s time for a quick drink with the employees! It’s important everyone has a chance to relax, talk shop with other departments and catch up on their successes of the week. But Friday is also the day I make sure to head home in good time to spend the evening with my family. Friday is family movie night - a time to reflect on our busy week and put our challenges on hold for another day.
I’ll realign, rest and get ready to take on another challenging, but hugely satisfying, week at Sparta Global.