‘Everyone talks about how we’re trying to do something different here at Brigad. We’re trying to make a difference, and we have a belief to carry that through.’
Joining the Brigad family
Mike joined Brigad in September of last year and came to the company after working in the tourism industry at a small vineyard in the south of France. Today he works in the U.K. sales team, he describes his role as ‘bringing businesses and workers into the Brigad family, broadcasting Brigad’s mission statement and all the great things that Brigad has to offer.’
There are more similarities than you would think between a quiet vineyard and a busy city sales office. He says ‘even in tourism we have to believe in our brand and mission, and that is easier than ever at Brigad. Those of us who work for Brigad believe that there is a value to what we’re doing.’
But Mike is quick to say that ‘At Brigad, we genuinely believe in the company's core values and want to help spread them ourselves.’ Brigad’s morals are at the heart of the company, the belief that Brigaders are making a positive difference in the world.
Brigad may be for freelancers who want independence, but the company fosters a team spirit. ‘It’s a platform that connects businesses and workers, but the value system at Brigad is the real binding factor - the trust that we are working together at Brigad to make the industry better for everyone.’ Mike goes on to say that Brigad is lucky to be full of ‘open-minded people, finding the best way for people to work together in the industries.’ Brigad’s community spirit brings Brigad’s success - and like Mike, every Brigader is valued and listened to.
So - why did you want to join Brigad?
Mike says that he was ready for a change - ‘I wanted to be around my peers, around people who were like me.’ He found himself surrounded by like-minded people at Brigad. But this isn’t the only thing Mike wanted. ‘I wanted to find a career, and Brigad could offer me that. After one interview it was clear that the company is going far, and fast, and I wanted to get on board. Brigad is an attractive place to work, especially if you’re young, ambitious and motivated.’
Brigad impressed Mike after only one interview. ‘I came out with absolute confidence in the service that Brigad provides, they provide independence to workers who’d never thought that they’d have that option - and this is paramount for anyone working in sales.’ He says that people working in sales can experience a dip in motivation, ‘but for a sales worker being able to believe and have confidence in the product, it’s a lifesaver in those moments. Brigad’s product is going to change the way we work, for the better. You have to believe in what you’re selling, else it’s never going to work. I have confidence in Brigad. It works. We work!’ He says, again talking of the success of Brigad as a team, ‘Brigad has a positive impact on its users - I saw this first hand after seeing it in London.’
Brigad has now been operating in London for 3 years, with excellent results even during the pandemic. The team’s quick response when the pandemic was first announced meant that businesses were able to find staff quickly and react to the ever-changing rules the hospitality industry had to work to.
‘Those of us who work at Brigad believe that there is a value to what we’re doing.’
Mike has seen the impact that Brigad makes first hand. ‘There was a Brigad event where I had the chance to meet some Brigaders and hear their stories. I really got to see the success of Brigad - how we were making people’s lives better. The proof is in the pudding.’ Mike has worked in hospitality himself, so he knows how difficult the job can be. ’I’ve worked when we’ve been understaffed - it’s not nice, to say the least. I know how good it would have been to have a crutch, to have extra people to come in and help.’ Brigad is the crutch that the industry so dearly needs. Large businesses recognise that too, with famous restaurants like Sketch London and Aquavit regularly using the app to support their full-time staff.
“We’re using it so much… It’s been an amazing and incredible support for the last two months“
- Giancarlo Princigalli, General Manager of Aquavit London and Brigad user.
Mike says that Brigad is not only good for staff but the business too. ‘For Businesses to give that freedom to their employees is a really nice thing. It will always keep morale up.’ It’s clear that the people working behind the platform understand the industry, and demand within it, to ensure its relevance and ability to serve its purpose: to offer the opportunity to work within hospitality with freedom.
Mike remembers how difficult it can be to take time off in hospitality jobs, he says: ‘try asking your boss for time off during busy periods like Christmas. It’s not going to happen - but Brigad makes that possible. It’s invaluable to be able to give that freedom to employees, to be able to let them go home for Christmas or have a two week summer holiday.’ And that is the point of Brigad - offering freedom and flexibility to those who work in the busiest and most demanding industry.
Since the start of 2022, Brigad has supported over 100 new businesses in London with qualified, temporary staff.
Can you explain your job role here at Brigad and your first few weeks?
Mike is modest and says that his role as a ‘business developer is very simple.’ At Brigad, he is part of a team responsible for calling businesses up and trying to get them on board with Brigad’s vision. The role suits him perfectly. ‘There’s nothing technical about it - it’s about having conversations and building relationships, that’s why I love it.’ Brigad is built based on connecting businesses to freelance independent workers, so Mike’s job is at the core of connecting the two.
He had two weeks of onboarding training and spent that time learning from the U.K. head of sales, Sarunas, who he says ‘had a wealth of experience to share. They understood the job was new to me and were able to coach me from day one.’ Working through the pandemic taught Mike and the Brigad team some valuable lessons: ‘that was a time when my managers showed me how to run a team. They kept up everyone’s morale. But we never doubted Brigad because we had confidence that Brigad is not a trend product and that we will always bounce back, just as hospitality bounced back.’ Once the pandemic was announced, Brigad immediately paid the workers who use the platform, out of their own pocket, recognising the importance and value that Brigad’s users bring to the industry.
‘The value system at Brigad is the real binding factor - the belief that we are working together to make the industry better for everyone.’
Mike tells us a little more about his daily life at Brigad. ‘I work in the open space with the Brigad team which really helps with motivation and keeps me focussed. We definitely lift each other up at Brigad - it really is a community.’ Being in sales is exciting for Mike, it is a dynamic environment that is always changing. ‘Brigad is full of young people who are all very determined, we all have personal ambition.’ Mike tells us that working at Brigad is fun, too: ‘we do know how to have a good time, we treated ourselves to a FIFA competition just before Christmas. They were very fun lunchtimes over winter!’
Mike became a core part of the team quickly, only three months after joining Brigad he had already been picked to take on a new project: launching Brigad for the healthcare industry in the U.K. This was a major step for the company, and Mike was honoured to be part of the team. He says that ‘it was a great honour to be asked - I hadn’t even finished my trial period yet! I felt like I was being trusted. From then on I was learning new things every day - I got to work under new managers, with a different team of people and really got to see the inner workings of Brigad and what it takes to be a successful company. I learnt so much!’.
Brigad is expanding fast after an exceptional end to 2021, having supported over 600 restaurants in the second half of the year, and an even better start to 2022 with providing over 100 new businesses with shifts this year.
How did you find moving from hospitality to healthcare?
‘It was challenging, but Brigad put us through a great training course with people experienced in the healthcare industry.’ Part of Brigad’s success has been driven by the sharing of skills and experience - Brigad value’s the strength of teamwork, and training new recruits with experienced trainers is key to this.
Mike told us that switching to healthcare was difficult, but that it all came together in the end. ‘It took me weeks to sign up my first business in the hospitality sector - and now that we’ve done that, it’s given me the confidence to know that we’ll make it a success. When I got that call, it was a great feeling.’ Luckily he had a great team surrounding him, there is a huge ‘level of camaraderie and teamwork’ in the Brigad office, and always someone there to talk to when he’s having a bad day.
Despite the knockbacks, getting his first healthcare contract felt like a breakthrough moment for Mike and he couldn’t be happier.
And it is great timing for Brigad to be stepping in to support the businesses that have a plethora of overworked, tired employees deserving a break after the pandemic. The success in healthcare in France proves this, with 20% of missions completed with Brigad in 2021 being in that industry. Mike is proud of his work in helping launch Brigad healthcare in the U.K. - he and the rest of the Brigad team have made the first steps in making healthcare better in the U.K. for everyone.
‘Being trusted with this project was the professional recognition that I needed. It’s great knowing that Brigad has faith in me as a person and as a colleague.’
Moving on to the next challenge
Brigad’s next goal is to relaunch Brigad in Manchester and Mike is at the forefront of this. He and his team are excited about the opportunity, and Mike is optimistic after living in the city for some years.
Mike and the Brigad team have learnt a lot from setting up Brigad healthcare in the U.K. and they will be bringing these skills to Manchester. ‘We learnt a lot about personal resilience, that’s for sure,’ he says, ‘and how to be adaptable,’ and adaptability is key to Brigad’s success. It is the willingness to change, to see problems in the industry model and find a better way of doing things - this value is the heart of Brigad’s mission.
Brigad used to operate in Manchester, before the pandemic, but due to the impact on the industry, they took the wise decision to refine their teams and focus on France and London. This ensured the business’s success throughout the tumultuous period of the pandemic. This means that now, due to their intelligent resilience, in 2022 we are able to focus on the prolific expansion into new markets and cities.
Mike talks about how Brigad ‘has great paths’ and checks in on their staff by offering a checkpoint meeting every six months ‘to have an open discussion about career progression. I’ve never had that in any of my previous jobs. Brigad really values their staff and we feel that. In my first week, I’d had meetings where people were there to check in on me and see if I was alright. It’s genuine, too - it’s not just ticking a box. They’re actually listening to us.’
Would you recommend working at Brigad?
‘Yes! Next question.’
Perseverance, drive, motivation - what else makes up team Brigad?
Mike tells us that ambition is important to work at Brigad. ‘Everyone at Brigad is ambitious and motivated. A business needs to have people like that - so if you want to work at Brigad you’d need to bring that drive and ambition’ Mike says he likes working at Brigad because it provides plenty of opportunities and is considerate of their employees. ‘They hire personalities, not positions. They find people who fit the company ethos and don’t try to fit them into a mould.’ Mike has found a family of like-minded people at Brigad, and with plans to hire over 50 new employees in the next few months, it is of precedence to ensure that our values remain the same for both the users and employees at the company.
Finally - is there a message you would like to send to anyone at Brigad?
‘Next time there’s a FIFA competition, I’m coming for you!’
Join the Brigad family
Looking for an exciting role in a dynamic and exciting company that is changing the future of work? Are you driven, ambitious and motivated? Then why not think about joining the Brigad family. You can find everything you need here. Get in contact, let’s connect and have a conversation about changing the way people work.