In 2021, Flint opened its first two entities in North America with–Flint Canada beginning its journey in early March and the US following a few months later in the autumn. It was an exciting year for the Flint Group and Country Manager Colin Levey, who moved to Canada from South Africa, who has led the team through a tremendous year of growth – both business and cultural!
Flint has always had strong ties to the US and Canada, working with well-known tech giants since the creation of the company back in 1999. The move to open two new entities in this part of the world was strongly encouraged by these long-standing partnerships, the growing demands for our services in this area of the world and the wish to better support our clients locally. Conducting business in North America over the last year has been extremely rewarding in both the growth we have seen in the region and, importantly, the relationships we were able to build with people in the US and Canada who have been wonderful.
Since we entered the North American market, we have been able to work on exciting projects encouraged by the demand for network build-out in the Service Provider market in the US, which has driven and increased the need for specialised network engineers and project managers. This expansion has, in turn, fuelled our year-on-year growth at almost 60%, and, in a very short period of time, we now have as many as 20 associates deployed on customer engagements in the US alone.
Attracting Talent and Clients by Offering Different Engagement Models
In the post-pandemic era, where many workers’ values have shifted, it’s more important than ever to be flexible and meet talent needs. We have found that the best way to attract and retain top talent in the workforce in the region is to offer a number of flexible engagement options. As such, we now have a blend of contingent workers and full-time employees of Flint and draw upon our experience from our business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to do this in a compliant, cost-efficient and locally appropriate manner.
Flint North America Country Manager Colin Levey has immersed himself in the North American way of conducting business and has identified some important differences: “The North American way of contracting is very different from the European and African. Whilst each has its pros and cons, I have had to learn very quickly how to navigate the various State based legislations and employment regulations. Now we are now running as a well-oiled machine. One doesn’t appreciate the scale or nature of doing business in America until you deal directly with the different States and understand all their nuances.
“Our local partners immediately embraced the operating procedures and best practices we brought from our EMEA business as we offered a different way of working that they haven’t traditionally explored in North America previously. As such, our initial growth in the region was extremely fast, followed by a period of steady running before putting our foot on the accelerator once again in the last few months. “
Supporting our Global Customers Locally
Now that we have a strong foundation stone from which to build, we are turning our focus and attention to understanding what value and support we can bring to our global customers who have a presence in Canada, where Colin is based. “We are working with several local Service Providers interested in leveraging our EMEA-based work practices and network of skilled engineers to see whether we can help them address their local skills shortage challenge that they are facing, which has been compounded by strict immigration legislation. We are, however, extremely fortunate to have the support of both the Provincial and Federal governments to navigate these difficulties as we prepare to expand in the country very soon.
“To support our growth in North America, from the correct time zone and with people who fully understand the culture and politics much better than I will ever understand, we have hired local Recruitment Specialists who I am working with very closely.”
Flint – Your Global Talent and Services Partner
Flint is well-known for closely listening to customers’ requirements and acting on their needs. The expanding network of Flint offices across the globe is one of the very successful strategies to support our local and global partners and clients. To the Flint Group, it was especially important to establish a presence in North America, as Ian Ashford, Head of Sales and Marketing Flint, explains: “We are fortunate enough to be in partnership with several global customers. These customers have truly global requirements and are looking for a company like Flint to provide truly global solutions. We are increasingly finding that Service Providers who are based in Europe will have investments and customers in North America and are looking for a one-stop shop for their global requirements rather than having to manage a long tail of regional suppliers. We, therefore, invested in Canada and the US to ensure we continue to not only listen to our customers but also deliver on their requirements and requests.”
Do you want to know more about how we can support you in North America?