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Raring to Go

GO-VA hunts for top talents in the market, and assists its clients to decide specifically how tasks will be completed

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The company has often been held up as an exemplary example of how employees react to care and concern that goes beyond regular corporate human resources.

ONE of the ACES Awards' Most Promising SMEs is a sibling act par excellence. Go Virtual Assistants Inc (GO-VA) was founded in Australia in 2014 by Matt Kesby. The company was registered in the Philippines a year later when his sister, Fiona Kesby, relocated to head the new unit.

This was done with the goal to offshore low-value tasks to staff in the Philippines in order to create more time for Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom and Singapore-based team members to execute on strategy and scale their business.

Now located at the Cebu IT Park in Cebu City, Philippines, the corporation hunts for top talents in the market, and assists its clients to decide specifically how tasks will be completed, while providing exceptional benefits and care for talents in their office.

A relatively young enterprise, the six-year-old company makes it a point to spur its employees to go farther and do more, both personally and professionally. It is one of the few Filipino companies which offer its employees private medical insurance, among other perks. These benefits are granted to the employees (along with one dependent), the moment they agree to work for GO-VA, as opposed to the norm of most companies only offering staff benefits after a probation period.

This underscores GO-VA's belief in investing in its talents. Its commitment to helping its employees extends to providing them the resources to tide them through difficult times, with employees being able to request for advances to pay for medical fees or loans. These, and other incentives, had their genesis when Ms Kesby attended a three-day culture camp hosted by Zappos in the United States in 2018.

Enlightened after reading the book The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage and Wow, she returned to the Philippines with many great ideas, including inventing a new position in the company for a chief happiness officer.

The organisation's investment in its employees has resulted in many successes. In 2019 alone, GO-VA was awarded the Circle of Excellence for SME Company of the Year in the Asia CEO Awards, and was a finalist in the Australian Fintech Business Awards for Payments Innovator of the Year. The company has often been held up as an exemplary example of how employees react to care and concern that goes beyond regular corporate human resources.

GO-VA's care also extends to the community. GO-VA supports Mercy in Action, a United Kingdom-registered charity established in 1995. The charity works to protect vulnerable children from the perils of the streets by offering them sustenance, nurturing and an education. Mercy in Action also works on bigger projects which include house building, small business enterprises, schooling and feeding programmes. During festive seasons, Mercy in Action organises a big grocery haul to be distributed to families in distress. GO-VA works annually with Mercy in Action for this initiative. It has been supporting the charity for two years.

When on June 27, 2019, 1,000 Filipino families lost their homes to a fire that broke out in Mandaue City, GO-VA announced that the company would be taking part in a donation drive to help the afflicted families. By July 1, donation boxes were placed in the lobby of the office, awaiting donations which were then sorted, packed, and delivered by members of the internal team, headed by the chief happiness officer.

The business-to-business service provider also takes its impact on the environment into consideration. On the operational side of business, it tries its best to minimise waste. Most of its communication is paperless; the only documents GO-VA prints out are those which are necessary, for instance, employment contracts.

GO-VA's ten-year goal is to create 4,000 jobs in the Philippines and help its clients grow their businesses at least three times, using a combination of people and technology. Another ten-year goal is to bring the World Mosquito Program to Cebu City and help stop the threat of dengue fever. ACES Awards jury member, Shanggari B, said: "GO-VA is a company that knows how to be human, and places compassion and care at the core of its business. The corporation reminds us all that it definitely pays to be kinder."

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