Introducing Richard Standring, Quill’s new Operations Director

We’re delighted to announce that we recently welcomed Richard Standring to the Quill team as Operations Director.

After studying Civil Engineering at Bristol and Berkeley, Rich began his career as a Strategy Consultant with Accenture, focusing mainly within the energy industry. He later joined marketplace-based start-up City Pantry as Head of Marketplace, where he saw the team and supply network double within the space of one year.

We sat down with Rich to discuss his plans for Quill, as well as his thoughts on the unique challenges of the marketplace business model.

What drew you to Quill?

The role of Operations Director was a perfect combination of familiar questions and new challenges. The essence of the role is to streamline how Quill’s teams work together, sustainably embedding and optimising cross-department systems and processes to help us produce content more effectively and efficiently.

I also have the privilege of leading a really talented team of Production Coordinators, who expertly plan and manage high speed, high volume content production projects, balancing the priorities of our freelancers as well as our client-facing teams.

I was also hugely inspired by Quill’s senior leadership team – not only in the wealth of experience and education that they bring to the table, but in their positive personal impact on Quill’s culture. I’m a strong believer that company cultures are made or broken at the top, and this is something that Quill is getting really right; it was very clear throughout the interview process that they truly do live the company values.

What are your plans for Quill?

It’s been an exciting time to join Quill, with Webedia’s acquisition of the business closing a couple of weeks after I started. As Operations Director, I’m responsible for ensuring a smooth integration, from merging two technology platforms and rationalising processes to aligning on reporting structures.

Alongside all this, I’ve recently kicked off a project to increase the reliability and ease-of-access of data to the business. Quill has all the foundations of a strong data-driven culture; my vision is to take this to the next level, bringing together all our data from their respective silos and empowering everyone in the business to interrogate those numbers and make even better decisions going forward.

What are the unique operational challenges that face businesses with a ‘marketplace’ or ‘on-demand workforce’ business model, like the Quill Network?

I think a big challenge with any marketplace business is consistency of output. When you distribute your supply base, you’re at risk of your clients or customers seeing a lot of variability in the end products or services they receive. In our case, with our Network of thousands of freelance creators, we’re most concerned about quality – that is, how well we meet the client’s brief – as well as timeliness.

Another challenge of this kind of business is ensuring that you’re adding value to both sides of the marketplace; you need to provide your clients with competitive rates and speedy service, while also ensuring your suppliers are fairly compensated and happy. At Quill, technology has empowered us in this regard – not just in terms of efficiency but in building an environment of engagement and community within the Network.

What is your advice for company leaders looking to inspire and motivate an increasingly millennial workforce?

My first piece of advice would be to abandon the generalisation of the ‘millennial’ employee! But generally, I think one of the only important modern-day workforce tropes to keep in mind is job mobility: if a company or role isn’t meeting an employee’s needs, it’s easier than ever to move somewhere that does. This means that, as a leader, you have to be thoughtful about the value you’re bringing to your employees at the different stages of their career journey.

With regards to inspiration, as a leader you need to have a clear vision for your business and over-communicate this to your workforce. People will be inspired if they’re bought in to this vision and have a clear understanding of what their role is in achieving it – and, of course, where this role will take them in their future careers.

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