Strong values drive Avail Consulting; just ask any of its employees who cite the firm’s collaborative spirit as the secret of its success. The company culture, which includes putting the client first, delivering value for money, honesty, good humour and mutual support, has ensured rapid growth as well as staff engagement.
“We all come from different backgrounds, but the firm recruits people who naturally have the same ethos,” says senior consultant Heather Rolinson, who has been with Avail for five years. “If the person’s values do not fit the company’s, then we wouldn’t hire them, even if they had the technical skills.”
Consultant Leanne Sheldon joined five months ago and believes she is viewed not as just another employee but as an individual who contributes. “It is not just a case of here are some values, meaningless words you have to recite by heart,” she says. “They are ingrained in everyone’s behaviour and reinforced from the top down.” According to our survey, employees say senior managers truly live the values of this organisation, giving them an 85% positive score. They believe they can make a valuable contribution to the success of the organisation (88%) and agree that Avail is run on strong values (89%). London-based Avail, a member of the Tribal Group, is a public sector consultancy, which advises a variety of organisations such as the School Food Trust, which was set up by the then Department for Education and Skills to make school meals more nutritious.
The firm has grown from two to 51 consultants in just five years and is an £8.7m business. According to the founders and joint managing directors, Martin Wilson and Rob Garner, the aim was to create a medium-sized, people-centred firm based on respect. “Martin and I subscribe to an extended family style of management, where you know your colleagues,” Garner says. “So what we have done is attract individuals with a wide range of technical skills, but what binds them is mutual regard.” Wilson says: “I really enjoy working with these people because they are talented and good fun.” Employees not only feel inspired by Wilson and Garner (89%), but also have a great deal of faith in them (92%).
They feel a strong sense of family within their teams (81%) and agree that colleagues are fun to work with (87%). For Garner, cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit is another reason for the firm’s success. “We not only encourage ntrepreneurship in the client-facing side of the business, but allow people to influence the business directly,” he says. Managing consultant Mat Orman joined the firm five years ago on April Fool’s day. He has not joked around, however, but seized on the ability to develop in the rganisation. “The appeal for me is the chance to work for a relatively new company and be able to influence its direction,” he says. “Because I have had some input, I do feel the work is interesting and the business is a part of me.” Colleagues agree, saying senior managers listen (81%), that there are opportunities to learn and grow (82%, a top 10 score) and that they can make a difference (83%). Their work is stimulating (85%) and the experience gained invaluable (92%, a score bettered
by just three other companies).
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
At least 33% of senior managers are women
Companies where employees are offered share options
Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave
On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships
10% of staff undertake charitable activities during business hours
On-site nursery or vouchers
Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme
At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay
Full family cover
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