By @SimonCocking, interesting interview with Gary Hopwood, general manager, Ricoh Ireland
Your background briefly?
I started out my career with Ricoh UK in 1981 and worked in a variety of progressive technical and management roles. In 1996, I had the opportunity to move to Ireland as I took up the position of national service manager with Ricoh Ireland for seven years. In 2003, I moved back to England and worked as regional services manager and regional operations manager respectively for Ricoh UK for 11 years. When the opportunity came up in 2014 to move back to Ireland and assume the role of general manager for Ricoh Ireland, I jumped at the chance as I love living and working here. I also recognised it as a fantastic opportunity to spearhead growth in Ricoh’s Irish business.
Does it seem like a logical progression to what you do now?
Absolutely! My career to date has provided me with a deep appreciation for and understanding of the technical, operational and business needs of organisations. These are all essential in being able to anticipate and meet customers’ needs. Similarly, my management experience built up over 30 years is crucial to looking after our most important asset – our people. We recently opened a new HQ in Swords and have committed to taking on 110 additional hires before the end of 2019, so recruiting and retaining the best people to work at Ricoh is now an integral and really enjoyable part of my role.
What are you now working on?
My primary focus is on growing our business in Ireland. In addition to the significant jobs growth planned, we are also aiming to double our annual revenues to €32M in the next three years. To do this, we are building a service-led organisation that enables our customers and their employees to thrive in a world of constant digital change. We’ve recognised that work styles are changing. We’re developing and launching services to meet this evolution. We’re providing our customers with the processes and tools they need so that their employees can collaborate, share information and ultimately do their jobs better. It’s really exciting and rewarding to play my part in this.
Tell us about NWOW (and what it stands for?)
NWoW stands for New Ways of Working. In business today there are up to five generations of workers, with different ideas and different ways of doing things. NWoW is our vision. NWoW recognises that all employees are different, in terms of how they communicate, learn, respond to management styles and also what their outside work-life pressures and responsibilities are; and are therefore most productive when these individual needs are recognised. We have adopted policies and technologies to ensure that every employee has the opportunity to work in a style that suits them, whether that’s at the office or at home. We also embraced the 4 C’s in our new Irish headquarters i.e. communication, collaboration, concentration and contemplation spaces, that promote knowledge sharing as well as the ability to complete tasks in quiet environments.
You mentioned Ricoh is exploring and developing the whole aspect of working remotely.
We believe flexible and remote working is central to this new way of working, particularly for organisations that want to attract and retain the best talent. In our experience, the most successful firms promote a flexible working environment which facilitates mobile workstyles and a better work/life balance.
Why and in what ways have you done so?
In Ricoh, we have adopted a flexible approach, which includes the ability to work remotely. Employees can choose to work their preferred hours and we have provided them with the devices and systems to work seamlessly and productively from home, if they wish to. By giving them the secure, collaborative technologies they need, employees now have the freedom to work from anywhere. Everyone in the business is connected to colleagues and customers, through their smartphones, laptops, and our Ricoh interactive white boards and projectors.
This approach works really well for Ricoh and is contributing to our business success. It’s also good for the environment as we play our small part in reducing the amount of traffic on the roads and the volume of Co2 emissions in the atmosphere!
What is Ricoh’s vision for the future of work in next 3 years & then further into the future?
Our vision for the next three years is all about empowering digital workplaces by developing innovative technologies and services which enable individuals to work smarter. We believe that technology is a force for limitless positive change, enabling people to create better businesses and a stronger society. Our mission is to combine big ideas with cutting edge IT, unlocking human potential through individual workstyles and delivering sustainable, responsible growth.
Who do you follow / read for inspiration?
Ricardo Semler and Elon Musk are two visionaries I follow that constantly inspire me.