As 2019 draws to a close, we’ve been taking time to review the year that was, reflecting on the highs as well as some of the challenges we faced as a team.
Our aim is to maximise the impact we have on our people, on our clients and on wider society, through the work we do and the way we work – while retaining the heart of what makes IFF tick – being human first.
2019 has been a great year for IFF.
Our team has grown, both organically and by joining forces with Voluntas MRS in March. And while size isn’t everything, it has enabled us to deliver some amazing projects and have a greater impact.
We’ve delivered 114 projects this year, during which our incredible team have completed 311,016 telephone interviews, speaking with respondents for over 266,000 hours. As well as focus groups, face-to-face interviews, evaluations, and through online and SMS surveys.
We’ve directed a number of very large projects simultaneously which required us to significantly increase our team size, and we managed to deliver without losing too much hair.
We’ve significantly increased our work in the housing sector, strengthening our team and developing our processes to support clients effectively, poised for growth in 2020.
We appointed our first Director of Technology & Innovation, reflecting our focus on developing the best systems and platforms to produce real-time feedback solutions to our people and our clients.
And we’re proud to have been selected as finalists in two MRS Awards – Best Place to Work and Best Public Policy / Social Research for our ongoing delivery of the Employer Skills Survey; with renewed determination to get the gold next year to recognise the hard work of our team.
Embracing a new way of working
Our growth would not have been possible without embracing a new way of working. Having spent many years working together in a small office in Shoreditch, developing a large network of remote-workers was a huge change and a real learning experience for us all.
This year, at the height of our delivery we had over 1000 interviewers on our team. As well as a growing number of our executive team working remotely from across the UK and even beyond.
Embracing remote-working opportunities has allowed us to attract new people, offer more flexibility to our team and provide freedom to work in ways which suit them best. But it can also impact on culture, systems and processes and we’ve had to develop rapidly to meet the demands of a changing team. Meetings have certainly changed shape over the last 12 months, with an increasing number of people joining via video.
That said, nothing beats a bit of face time. To combat geographical barriers, we recognise the importance of getting everyone together regularly to celebrate success and give thanks. This Christmas, that meant throwing five Christmas parties, with an IFF roadshow, meeting staff in the North and the Midlands, as well as closer to home in London. There are worse ways to spend December that partying the length of the country. Especially when it gives you the chance to give thanks to those who have spent so many hours making calls and speaking with respondents on our behalf.
Having a positive impact
As part of our commitment to making a difference we’ve found new ways to make a positive impact outside of our work this year.
We worked with charity Future Frontiers mentoring two groups of young people this spring and autumn. In our increasingly busy lives, it’s not always easy to find the time to engage, but those that took part reported gaining as much as the young people – reminding us of the importance of making time for things that matter.
Rather than giving out the usual goody bags at events, we made charitable donations on behalf of attendees, offering guests the chance to decide on the charity to support.
And as part of our Christmas celebrations, we organised a reverse advent calendar for Crisis and gifted places in Crisis Christmas centres on behalf of each of our 100 clients, providing warmth and company for homeless people over the festive period.
Looking ahead to 2020
As we raise a glass at the end of the week we’ll be discussing the year that’s passed, and looking ahead to 2020.
Conversations will undoubtedly include the possible impact of the newly elected government as well as the timing and impact of Brexit in its final form. But with the absence of a crystal ball, and things changing at pace, we are focused on delivering the best research for our valued clients.
So here’s to 2020. May it be as fruitful and rewarding as 2019, with a trophy or two for the team 🙂
We’re looking forward to working with new and existing clients, supporting and challenging our people and delivering insightful and impactful research that makes a positive difference to our clients and beyond.