NEWS11 December 2020

Best place to work: Northstar Research

Awards News People UK

At the 2020 MRS Awards, Northstar Research was awarded Research Live best place to work.

Northstar will mark its 20th anniversary in 2021. A recent survey of employees at the company indicated 90% staff satisfaction and a 91% retention rate in the year leading up to July 2020, while average employee tenure is 7.2 years, increasing to 13 years for management.

The company has increased its development budget to invest in external training in a range of areas including pitching, publishing, infographics, behavioural science and digital management.

Resources have also been directed towards internal learning, including: lunchtime speaker sessions; a day-long ‘Northstar Fest’, in which the company presented its work, innovations and future plans to colleagues; and data science skills training based on a syllabus designed by its associate director of innovation and analytics.

Northstar has also introduced various approaches to support staff technically, including the automation of quantitative research processes, which allows employees to focus on higher-value work.

Pre-existing technical support, including cloud-based remote working, meant the company was well-positioned to transition to home working during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company has trained managers in mental health training, provided by mental wellbeing charity Mind, and staff have access to professional counsellors.

In the staff survey, 100% of participants agreed: ‘Managers recognise when I do good work’. The company has promoted 44% of eligible staff, and those who specialise in design or analytics have co-created their job descriptions.

Additionally, employees with less than five years’ industry experience have pitched, moderated and ran workshops for clients including Primark, Samsung and General Mills, and been involved in the development of an app to address cyberbullying.

Matthew Sell, chief operating officer at Northstar, said: “This is one of the most prestigious and competitive categories available and our success here means so much to everyone who works for the firm.

“You might expect me to say that this is a victory for a culture that values people, not just profit, and one that recognises that the most effective businesses rely on contributions from motivated and committed colleagues whatever their experience – and it is. However, in addition, it’s validation for a strategy that gives junior researchers the time, space and opportunity to develop their skills and experiment with new ideas, techniques and tools which help shape the future of insight.”

Opinium was highly commended for Research Live best place to work.

The full list of MRS Awards winners can be found here.

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