As part of the UK IT Industry Awards, Organisational Excellence Awards, Simon Kershaw, Director of Technology at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK explains why it was shortlisted as the Best Place to Work in IT.

Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK is a leading provider of software solutions and local expertise that helps tax, accounting and audit professionals research and navigate complex regulations, comply with legislation, manage their businesses and advise clients with speed, accuracy and efficiency.

Tell us about your award entry?

Our award entry for the Best Place in IT reflected our recognition that the technology employee experience is something that many companies overlook. As a technology organisation, providing an amazing experience and working environment that promotes innovation, collaboration and career development is paramount to us. Being shortlisted in the Best Place to Work in IT category of the UK IT Industry Awards is a real testament to the work our technology team has put in to create such a positive working culture.

Tell us about your customer feedback?

We regularly receive positive feedback from our customers surrounding both our product and our people. Many of our employees have been with us for 10+ years, which provides a great foundation to foster positive long-term customer relationships.

The bottom line is that if, as technologists, we come to work engaged, motivated and happy, we function better together, deliver faster and with the exceptional quality that we always aim to deliver to our customers. We constantly ask ourselves how to create a superior environment in which to work. How do we generate, particularly in this COVID world, truly amazing technology employee experiences, to keep our employees engaged and happy and delivering?

Yes, it's about collaborative tools, but it's also about the way we work and the processes that we use to deliver software. It's important that I, as a leader in my organisation, create an environment that is, primarily, engaging to people and one that also ensures we are delighting our customers at the same time.

How have delivered value within the business?

As a technology organisation, providing an amazing technology employee experience and environment that promotes innovation, collaboration and career development is paramount. We want to innovate and automate to deliver an exceptional experience for our customers and our people. We back this up with an 8-10% investment of revenues back into innovation and research each and every year. Our people are creative and experimental, and I love that.

Does your work have wider applications: is it of benefit to the wider society?

It’s important to give back. Our UK office is based in Kingston and we have great relationships with both Kingston University and also the Kingston Chamber of Commerce. We have spoken at their events, provided mentoring to students and undertaken joint research too.

For you

Be part of something bigger, join the Chartered Institute for IT.

Our charity partner for 2021 was Mind, which supports anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We recently coordinated two ‘company challenges’ to raise money for this great cause.

Exercise can ease anxiety, relieve depression, reduce stress, improve sleep and boost mood, so we encouraged our people to undertake challenges linked to running, walking, cycling - anything to get them moving and keep them physically and mentally well. As a result, we’ve raised a considerable amount through fundraising for Mind.

What motivated you to enter the award?

We felt this awards programme was most closely aligned with our focused purpose, emphasis on cross-functional engagement, and continued programme innovation. It was the ideal opportunity to recognise our tech team’s achievements, while also showing the value of providing a nurturing environment that fosters happy, engaged tech employees. Becoming a finalist was a testament to the hard work our tech leadership team has done in creating a culture of IT innovation and wellbeing.

What did being a finalist / winning mean to you?

We wanted to demonstrate our dedication to promoting excellence in IT and work / life balance among our IT teams, and becoming a finalist was a very assuring recognition of the dedication and effort we’ve put in as a technology organisation. Our technologists are experts in their fields, and the entry celebrated their many achievements gained through an environment that gives them the freedom and flex to innovate and try new things that one would have as a member of the business and specifically as a member of the tech team.

Did you attend the awards? If so, how did you find it?

We thoroughly enjoyed the awards evening. It was wonderful to be part of such a tremendously important event that recognises and champions the many verticals that make up the UK tech scene and to celebrate the achievements of such outstanding contributors.

What are you working on for next year?

Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK are in the process of transforming to become a SaaS business. Technology, and specifically the opportunity to explore what the cloud has to offer, is a big part of that.

Another big focus is Project Novus, our innovation programme, which crowdsources ideas from across the business and our customers with the simple aim of identifying ideas that either make life better for our customers, our people or both. We give our people every opportunity to investigate and explore their ideas, take risks and, in many cases, bring those ideas to life.

Our next showcase for Novus is coming up very soon. The top three innovations chosen by the Project Novus steering committee will move to judging phase, and our people all get to vote for their favourite. All the ideas benefit either our customer or our people and it will be great to see who tops the chart after the vote.

We also recently held our eighth annual Code Games, a two-day internal coding event designed to bring innovation, fun, and a spirit of friendly competition to employees across the globe. Originally started in 2014 by a group of developers at a single office to help expose employees to smart thinking and the latest advanced technologies, the Code Games has rapidly grown in size over time. This year, despite moving to a virtual format due to the pandemic, the event encompassed over 500 participants across more than a hundred teams in 12 countries.

About the author

Simon Kershaw is Director of Technology at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK.