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Bespoke Careers

28 June 2023

28 June 2023

The Power of a Positive Workplace Culture: Insights from HTA Design

Bespoke Careers were proud to present HTA Design with the prestigious title of ‘Employer of the Year’ at the AJ100 Awards for the second year running. HTA's exceptional practices and unwavering commitment to an employee-centric approach have firmly established them as industry leaders in cultivating a positive workplace culture, making them deserving winners of this esteemed award. 

As the world continues to navigate through a rapidly changing professional landscape, organisations have come to realise that a positive and thriving workplace culture is not just a desirable attribute, but a vital factor in attracting and retaining top talent, driving innovation, and achieving long-term success.

Let’s take a closer look at the things HTA are doing to foster a supportive and thriving work environment. 

Putting Employees at the Centre

When employees feel valued and supported, they become more motivated to contribute their best efforts and go above and beyond expectations. Placing employees at the heart of your strategies encourages a culture of collaboration, trust, and open communication. HTA’s dedication to fostering a nurturing work environment is exemplified at their Hackney Wick head office. ‘The culture of accountability and responsibility enables them to continue innovating to meet employee needs,’ said the judges. Despite the challenges of a cost-of-living crisis and hybrid working, HTA continues to provide an exceptional employee experience. 

Work-Life Balance and Employee Well-being

HTA recognises the importance of work-life balance and places a strong emphasis on employee well-being. By closely monitoring metrics such as overtime, training, and staff absence, they’re able to better understand whether employees are enjoying a healthy work-life balance. Impressively, sick days have significantly reduced from an average of 9 per year in 2016 to just 3.3 in 2022. Overtime now accounts for less than 1.5% of overall working hours, demonstrating their commitment to maintaining a positive and sustainable work environment.

Compensation and Hybrid Working

It’s no secret that fair compensation is a crucial factor in attracting, motivating, and retaining top talent. HTA Design prioritises fair compensation for their employees, as evidenced by the 6.5% average salary increase in March 2022. This commitment to fair pay is met with overwhelming satisfaction from employees, with 96% rating HTA Design as an excellent place to work in a staff survey.

By offering hybrid working options, companies can tap into a wider talent pool and empower their employees with flexibility and autonomy. Hybrid working also promotes increased productivity as employees can work in environments that suit their preferences and optimise their focus. 90% of respondents to HTA Design’s staff survey appreciate the company's positive response to post-pandemic work arrangements, with 70% now working three or more days in the office. HTA Design's commitment to offering flexible working arrangements further underscores their dedication to accommodating employee preferences.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Embracing Difference

Diversity and inclusion are integral values at HTA Design. In 2022, two-thirds of staff who achieved Part 3 Qualification were women, with nearly half coming from ethnic minority backgrounds. By the end of the same year, 39% of HTA Design's architects were women, and 18% were from ethnic minority backgrounds. To foster a sense of belonging, HTA Design has established various forums and policies, including BLACC@HTA (Black African Caribbean Collective), incl. (LGBTQ+ network group), Women@HTA, and a recently formed neurodiversity group. The company has also implemented supportive policies for menstrual and menopause leave and provided complimentary period products. Comprehensive guidance has been developed to address sensitive topics such as miscarriages, stillbirths, and sudden deaths.

Investing in Staff Development and Leadership

Organisations that recognise the value of staff development and leadership understand the profound impact it has on their overall success. Staff development is a top priority for HTA Design, offering employees 150 hours of focused training every year. The company provides comprehensive training and mentoring programs, including post-Part 3 study groups and future leaders mentoring, to facilitate professional growth. The recent addition of 12 new associate partners reflects HTA Design's investment in leadership and shared success. By investing in their employees' growth and providing opportunities for development, HTA foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation.

Creating a Haven for Employee Well-being

HTA’s London office, housed in a converted 19th-century warehouse, embodies their commitment to employee well-being and have clearly been transformational for the working culture of the growing practice. The office is centred around a communal space which includes a kitchen where all staff can come together to eat, meet, discuss and collaborate. The office features an in-house café offering complimentary breakfast and lunch with locally sourced and predominantly vegan options. The workspace provides diverse settings and acoustics designed for a calm environment, catering to the needs of neurodiverse staff. Additional amenities, such as a bookable well-being room and impressive shower facilities with towels, enhance the overall working experience. 

Celebrating HTA Design's Outstanding Accomplishments

Bespoke Careers extends heartfelt congratulations to HTA Design for their exceptional achievement as the AJ100 'Employer of the Year' for the second consecutive year. Their unwavering commitment to employee well-being, inclusivity, innovation, and staff development sets an inspiring example for the industry. 

The ‘Employer of the Year Award’ serves as an opportunity to celebrate the industry's best, shining a spotlight on the remarkable achievements and advancements in workplace culture. Each shortlisted practice has contributed to raising the bar and pushing boundaries in creating supportive and thriving work environments.

Practices within the architecture industry are increasingly realising the importance of a positive workplace culture in attracting and retaining top talent, driving innovation, and achieving long-term success. HTA Design's success story serves as a reminder of the transformative power of a people-centric approach. By emulating their practices and embracing a culture that puts employees at the centre, organisations can create supportive and thriving work environments that foster employee well-being, professional growth, and shared success.

Author: Micah Davis-Rae, Bespoke Careers

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