“I Truly Believe in the People” – Gillian French on Joining Workvivo

Gillian French

Employee Experience Officer

1 Dec 2021

It was 2018 when I first met John Goulding, CEO of the newly founded startup Workvivo. At the time, I was working as a Chief People Officer in a growing company and had dealt with countless pitches from HR tech companies, each one boldly professing to improve the employee experience for everyone.

When John spoke about Workvivo and the impact he hoped it would have on the employee experience, I wanted to learn more.

From the outset, it was clear to me that Workvivo had many differentiators that set it apart from the others. I was aligned with John’s views about companies needing to focus on open communications and empowering employees to connect with each other on a deeper level. This was something I had noticed was lacking in many companies, yet was so valuable to a business’s performance.

We implemented Workvivo soon after and it enabled me to experience first-hand the benefits of the system. From helping employees to foster a deeper sense of connection between themselves and their employers, to building a sense of community within an organisation so that like-minded individuals could connect. Workvivo was transformative in its ability to simplify our company culture, but also how it helped to bring our strategy to life and made it understandable for our employees. Recognition around the organization improved, contributing to a more positive employee experience.

Throughout my career, I had experienced cultures of all different types and flavours, and knew how powerful a healthy one could be when brought to life correctly. Workvivo quickly proved that it could really enhance and highlight the effective aspects of our culture. Engagement, adoption and importantly, sense of belonging all improved among our people.

Fast forward three years and after many coffees and Zoom calls, I am delighted to have joined Workvivo as Expert in Residence – Employee Experience. Leaving behind my career as a Chief People Officer in an organization to join a scaling startup was not a decision I took lightly, but I just couldn’t ignore my gut feeling that Workvivo was a company with the ability to make real change to the lives of employees throughout the world.


The three main reasons for joining were simple:

– I truly believe in the product
– I truly believe in the people at Workvivo
– The pandemic has given me clarity on who I want to work with moving into the future

Luckily, I’ve had a strong career that has afforded me the ability to make a choice about where I want to go professionally. I only want to work with products and businesses that can enhance people’s lives. In Workvivo, I found a company with a driven leadership team whose intentions are positive and genuinely care about helping others.

I have been involved in many startups during my career as both a Chief People Officer and a consultant, and I know when a company has something special. Workvivo has a great product, a highly engaged workforce and ambitious, empathetic leaders at the helm, a certain recipe for success.

I don’t know where this journey will take us, but I do know we will make a difference for people throughout the world. That’s what excites me the most.

Gillian French is Expert In Residence – Employee Experience at Workvivo and the founder and CEO of SISU consulting. She is a veteran Chief People Officer and an expert at scaling high-growth businesses and building strong organizational culture.

Prior to joining Workvivo, Gillian served as Chief People Officer at Cubic Telecom, where she oversaw all aspects of people strategy, development, culture, employee engagement, policies and practices. Gillian was also Chief People Officer at CarTrawler, where she was an integral member of the leadership team for 12 years and scaled the business from 25 to 550 people.