Why Mason Advisory ranks as one UK's top technology workplaces

18 December 2020 Consultancy.uk 7 min. read
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Mason Advisory has been lauded as one of UK’s Best Places to Work in Technology. What makes the firm such a top employer? Steve Watmough, CEO at Mason Advisory, and his colleagues share their insights and experiences.

Steve says that any great company to work for has three key elements to balance:

  • a great company culture and work environment – create a supportive, fun, and exciting place to work;
  • a sense of shared values and goals – set out clear company values and demonstrate them in the way you run the business, the way you expect staff to behave, and the way you work with clients;
  • stimulating work and opportunities – ensure staff are working on a blend of projects that challenge them and given opportunities that will allow them to thrive and demonstrate their skills.

He continues: “We are led by a highly experienced senior management team with a mix of Big Four and boutique consultancy experience. That has led to a less hierarchical, much more collaborative business, where staff can operate with more freedom and innovation. We’re always looking at ways to improve communications, as we’re a business where most people work away from the office regularly, and since the Covid outbreak almost all of us have been working remotely.”

Steve Watmough, Chief Executive Officer, Mason Advisory

Steve and the senior team are keen that the culture at Mason Advisory promotes a caring environment and ensures that everyone feels valued and appreciated. A member of the senior team commented: “Our CEO is very hands on and approachable, and engages with staff across the business. Steve takes part in our ‘virtual’ running club, for example, and joined the ‘Tea and Talk’ mental health awareness zoom call to share fun stories about his dog.”

“The leadership team also ensures there is great flexibility around working practices, which has been really beneficial during the pandemic. The team makes sure staff feel valued and rewarded for their efforts, from our formal bonus and benefits schemes through to taking staff out for meals and sending gifts to their families.”

Commitment to the community

Mason Advisory prides itself on supporting good causes through individual and team sporting efforts, sponsored by the company, as well as other fundraising activities. It has recently introduced a scheme to enhance its commitment to the community. Once a month, it gives employees the opportunity to donate £100 to a cause of their choice, in recognition of their achievements. Recent donations have been made to Mind, Macmillan, Shelter, Mental Health Foundation and Who Dares, Cares, 

Staying motivated during the pandemic

Mason Advisory is continually investing in and implementing improvements in workplace culture, employee wellbeing, career development and communication. During the pandemic, it has continued to operate effectively and flexibly with staff working remotely, but with the choice of coming into the office should they want to, and within strict safety guidelines.

Steve says: “As a company that focuses on digital and technology transformation, we were perhaps better prepared than some for the disruptions of the pandemic. Plus, as some of our employees work remotely when not face-to-face with clients, we already had the infrastructure in place for working from home, accessing central systems, project management software and communications. We placed a huge emphasis on good communication and giving staff the opportunity to engage with each other socially as well as professionally.” 

“When it was possible, we opened the office to enable essential face to face meetings but also to support staff wellbeing, giving people a safe space to work from if they preferred to work from the office.”

“We have also facilitated and encouraged participation in virtual communications, including video calls for our team to catch up on consulting industry insights and success stories, as well as company team threads to share fun videos and articles – Covid-19 talk is out of bounds in this chat. We chose to do this as everyone is aware of the global situation and can access news channels at any time, so this was a relaxed space to escape daily stresses and keep the mood light.” 

“We’ve also moved our monthly team meeting to a Zoom call where we have an external guest to share wisdom, insights and knowledge – we’ve had a Michelin chef, an Olympic gold medal winner and an ex-SAS motivational speaker. This brings experience from other sectors and stimulates interesting discussion to keep the team engaged and entertained.”

The team of Mason Advisory

“Some of our team have joined in virtual yoga sessions, a running club and we’re also planning a book club, a beer festival and a Mason Advisory’s Got Talent contest too!”

A Mason Advisory employee adds: “It has always been a really fun place to work, and people really make an effort to see each other and share our lives beyond the workplace. We also give back to the community – something we all feel strongly about as individuals and as a company.”

The importance of wellbeing

Steve firmly believes that wellbeing is fundamental to the overall health of the team, and especially so during the pandemic. He comments: “We launched a wellbeing initiative this time last year and have been rolling out different elements throughout the last 12 months – this has been particularly important given the mental health implications of Covid-19.”

“We have formed a wellbeing focus group that has undergone dedicated coaching so staff can approach them about any wellbeing issues. We have also developed a quarterly wellbeing newsletter, and a ‘Get Active’ mind, body, and community initiative, as well as an Employee Assistance Programme, an emotional mental health check-in tool, and a stress self-assessment system.”

Why it’s important to be a Great Place to Work in Technology

Steve says: “How we conduct ourselves as a company, and as individuals, is the key to our success, not just for clients but also for the team.”

“For the past three years, we have featured on the Great Place to Work list, because we consistently score well in the staff survey, which is feedback anonymously completed by employees. We actively use any constructive criticism or changes in score to drive forth improvements. Our senior management team reviews the anonymous results and takes responsibility for highlighting areas where more work may be required.”

“For example,” he continues, “two years ago we asked an HR consultant to undertake informal chats with all staff to look more closely at some of the responses. That led to a programme to enhance staff development and career progression. We’re always looking for opportunities to engage with staff and do better.”

“It’s also important to say that despite having started out as a small company six years ago, we’re growing rapidly, and have worked hard to develop a really mature offering for staff – focusing on supporting their development, ensuring their wellbeing and rewarding them. We take time to focus on the bigger picture, at a time when we’re all working to build a viable business.”

With offices at MediaCityUK, Salford, and London, Mason Advisory provides IT consultancy and advisory services, solving complex business challenges through the intelligent use of IT resources including IT strategy and transformation, sourcing, architecture, cybersecurity and IT delivery. It operates in sectors such as financial services including banking and insurance, health, emergency services, education, retail, government, not for profit, and transport.

Based in Salford, the company placed 9th in the small companies list (between 20 and 50 employees) – confirming that employees feel Mason Advisory is a great workplace. The report was compiled by Great Place to Work, an organisational consultancy working with businesses to become great workplaces, and reviews insights, workplace culture and people practices among employers in the technology sector. 

Earlier this year, Mason Advisory was also listed in the Financial Times’ Leading Management Consultancies 2020 report.