Officially a Very Good
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Officially a World Class
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Officially a Good
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PEOPLE MAKE THEMSELVES at home in this architectural practice. Make architects was established in 2004 by director Ken Shuttleworth as a company held in trust for the benefit of all: everyone has a share, everyone's equal, and it cannot be sold unless that is in everyone's interest. More than half its 135 employees have been at the London-based firm for at least five years, and it scores highest in the Personal Growth category (gaining a top-30 score of 83%). Every Friday night there is a guest speaker from another business, charity or a health specialist. Sometimes an employee — referred to as a “partner” — will share experiences from an event or training in such matters as the latest construction technologies or time-management skills. The firm offers flexible working and sabbaticals so people can attend courses or give something back, by teaching at their former university, for example. It moves people between projects — an Olympic building here, a Harrods escalator hall there — to help achieve its aims, offering experience that feels valuable for the future (90%). The business has recently introduced six-monthly appraisals, giving people an opportunity to raise issues and make suggestions. The induction for new staff has been extended to introduce key people from across the studio, and quite a few partners feel they have never had a bad day at work (44%, a top-30 score). They feel fairly paid for the industry (77%), with architects typically earning almost £49,000 a year plus their profit bonus, free private healthcare and a generous non-contributory pension. The practice genuinely cares about the environment (86%), with a mission to create “innovative, striking and environmentally responsible places, spaces and buildings that have a positive impact on all who use them”. Staff believe Make makes a positive difference (82%). “Our studio is a vibrant, zesty, challenging place to work,” says one partner. “We are passionate about doing the best we can — where everything is possible.” www.makearchitects.com

Featured Workplace Factors

Giving Something Back

98% of staff agreed

My organisation encourages charitable activities

Make encourages all partners to discuss their personal ambitions and where possible support them to do so. This may be by approving sabbaticals or allowing flexible working to attend a course. A number of their partners wish to give something back to the universities they attended to teach those now going through the same course. Make encourages individuals to do this and allow people to either use their holidays to give them a paid day off a week or amends contractual terms for them to do this. This is in addition to taking time to understand the types of projects individuals would like to work on through the appraisal process. Where possible they move people between projects to assist their aspirations.

Personal Growth

96% of staff agreed

The experience I gain from this job is valuable for my future

Make is a 100 per cent employee-owned organisation; each member of staff shares in the profits each year. This business model engenders a genuine sense of ownership and entitlement and encourages commitment from all partners as they are guaranteed to be rewarded for their motivation and efforts. As a result, they are able to attract and keep the very best talent. Make encourages this ‘sense of ownership' to translate through into the practice operations. For example, all partners are encouraged, regardless of length of tenure or experience, to take on an active role in progressing the profile of the practice. Traditionally in architecture, it is the more senior architects that are permitted to network and to pursue new business, but at Make they actively shun this approach, instead encouraging all employees to network, attend events and to go after the clients and projects that excite and inspire them. They find that this trust pays real dividends in helping Make stand out from the crowd - both for the individuals who feel empowered and for the benefit of the company. This trust is also applied internally within the practice with broader ‘practice-wide' job roles rotated within the firm. For example, architects can volunteer to review CVs of new candidates before selecting those for interview. These roles usually rotate on an annual basis to ensure no one gets overloaded and that those interested can each get a chance to apply themselves.

My Company

96% of staff agreed

My work is an important part of my life

Make studio is located close to a Church that caters for the homeless. They have supported their daily soup kitchen with small teams visiting to help prepare and distribute lunch. 23 Partners signed up for the Centre Point Homeless SleepOut. Make paid the sign-up fee for all, and individuals needed to raise £250 each in sponsorship for sleeping ‘rough' for a night – collectively raising total of £8,500. Nationally, they are a Foundation Partner for the property industry charity LandAid, which aims to help the young and disadvantaged access the facilities, skills and opportunities to achieve their potential. They participated in LandAid's annual fundraising fun run with 20 people taking part to raise money for the charity and promote awareness of their work. They have also continued to provide pro-bono design services for a new community centre in North Devon. This project has seen them dedicate almost £6k worth of their time and expertise in 2013 alone. The practice also supports numerous causes throughout the year as well as working with the charity Open City on their Accelerate programme aimed at young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them gain experience and mentoring from Architects. In 2013 alone they have contributed £10,000. They designed a doll's house which went for £4,000 in the auction raising money for the charity KIDS.

Benefits

Long Service

Companies where at least 40% of the staff have worked there for more than five years.

Pensions

Companies offering a final salary scheme to all employees, or one in which the employer's contribution is at least 5%.

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