Joining the club
My experience in the big firms and my own business showed me that it’s hard to grow fast while maintaining that small company feeling. In a business of, say, 80 employees, people know each other deeply and make the right decisions for the team. This benefits clients through a personalised service, achieved by motivated and happy people. When you get to over, say, 100-200 people, it is hard to retain that essence, and people start to feel they are ‘just a number’.
We designed AND Digital to overcome this problem. The business is made up of clubs and business units, which each have 80 people or so, as well as a leader and management team, their own clients and their own office, or clubhouse. We now have 16 clubs and units across different locations, each operating like an autonomous, small company.
Here’s an example of how it works: we don’t have a central human resources function. Each club has a ‘people lead’, who is responsible for everything that may be done by a traditional HR team, from absences to grievances, from career development and rewards through to wellbeing and communications. It means that the person closest to each ANDi – as we refer to our people – decides whether they get promoted, not central HR. This creates a heightened sense of belonging.
Some of our locations are in big cities like London, where we currently have five clubs; others are in smaller location like Halifax and Reading. We opened a club in Amsterdam.
We are essentially building a business that blends the best of a small company with the impact of a big company. That’s why we named the company with “AND” – how can you be both big AND small at the same time – helping clients grow capability AND grow ourselves.