When Matthew Mantvydas Narusevicius first arrived in Malta on a two-week holiday, little did he think that five years down the line he’d be at the helm of WFDM Ltd, one of the island’s leading recruitment firms.
Today, WFDM Ltd counts 200 employees and is responsible for supplying some of the biggest organisations in Malta with a pool of highly-trained personnel.
Not bad going for a young man who spent his first summer here working as a waiter. How did this meteoric growth happen?
“Let’s start with this – I hate the word ‘employees’, or ‘staff’. We are very much like a family here. In fact, the company keeps growing because no-one ever leaves.” He laughs, but he is serious. “It’s about paying it back and giving to the community, right?”
He must be doing something right, because his company supplies companies like WOLT, Uber, BOLT taxis and even Transport Malta with the majority of their personnel. To put it simply, as a global recruitment agency, WFDM Ltd sources the most suitable personnel wishing to relocate to Malta and matches them up with the right employer.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Recruitment agencies operating within this sector have attracted significant bad press. Where does WFDM fall on this?
“Not all agencies operate to our standards. When I say that we treat the employees like family, I mean it. For example, all our drivers are offered a free meal from our food truck every day. When you’re driving around in the cold, something like that goes a long way,” Mr Narusevicius replies.
He adds that they also like to have fun together. A significant percentage of employees come to Malta from India, and are committed cricket fans. Thus, the WFDM cricket club was born.
“Basically, if anyone ill-treats one of our employees they’ll have to face me. I’m on a bike too, so I can get there very fast, believe me,” he chuckles.
Mr Narusevicius points out that WFDM works closely with local authorities such as JobsPlus and Identity Malta. He prides himself on ensuring that the company operates to best practices, and communicates those practices to the relevant Government agencies.
Malta, he says, is home, and he has settled here beautifully with his wife – a Lithuanian woman he met in London and proposed to on the spot – and son, daughter and cat. This is also why he likes to work closely with the community and why WFDM relocates people who “will not just take from the country, but also give back, have values and appreciate the culture here”.
Business for WFDM really escalated after the Maltese mission in Dubai and the UAE kicked off. Mr Narusevicius describes how all successful candidates are vetted by UAE authorities first.
“We select about three out of every 10 people. I still do interviews myself on Saturday and Sunday and I know all my employees’ names, including all drivers and cleaners. This is how I wanted to be treated when I was starting out, so I make sure I pay it back.”
“We want to be compliant with local rules, because we’re not here for a day, we’re here to become one of Malta’s valued brand names,” he affirms.
Starting out happened when Mr Narusevicius moved from his native Lithuania to London, to study. To make ends meet, he worked in construction, retail and hospitality, literally rising the ranks. He ended up on holiday in Malta after meeting a young Maltese woman in Covent Garden; later, after graduating with distinction in accounting and finance, he started interviewing for the big London firms.
“I had a lot of interviews, a lot of rejections and then I realized that I did not want to be this hamster on a wheel, with the 9 to 5. I sold off all my belongings – well, at this point I only had a pillow to my name as I was living at my uncle’s – and flew back to Malta, where I knew it was sunny and full of opportunities.”
He’s certainly made the most of all opportunities. He was one of the names behind the iconic Foam and Fork restaurant in Marsascala; he had a stake in a vegan and vegetarian focused eatery called The Grassy Hopper; he also did a stint in real estate. Now, he has his sights set firmly on a diversification strategy for WFDM.
In 2023, he is set to bring about the launch of three new food trucks specialising in Thai, Indonesian and Macedonian food. Daba, another food truck serving Indian food, has already proven to be a massive hit with customers and employees alike. Investment in a PR agency, real-estate and a sports club is also on the cards. But the project that has him most excited is possibly DOUP.
“DOUP is an environmentally-friendly, digital business card that automatically syncs up to your phone’s list of contacts. Business cards always had a big significance to me. I you had one it was like… wow. Nowadays I tend to think more about the impact they have on the environment. DOUP is a perfect solution. You’re networking and making the contact without destroying the planet.”
DOUP is scheduled for a February launch in Malta. Meantime, the focus is also on ensuring that WFDM stays on the upward trajectory it’s been on since starting out of a garage in Birkirkara.
“We were three people working in this garage. Today we operate out of our Ta’ Xbiex offices, we have a branch in Cyprus and we’re planning on expanding our missions abroad,” Mr Narusevicius says.
As for his critics, he reminds them that WFDM selects people based on their capabilities, not on the basis of trafficking people to Europe.
“After all, I have a reputation to uphold,” he concludes.