Martin Stokes, CEO of membership-owned insurer and financial services provider Medical Assurance Society (MAS) sat down with us recently to discuss their journey as an organisation and how the team from TwentyTwo helped support their campus expansion back into the Wellington CBD and workplace planning journey.
The insurance and financial services industries are currently undergoing an extraordinary amount of change through technology disruption, and businesses are being forced to rethink how they remain relevant to their customers. This is no different for MAS, and around 18 months ago we completely revamped our business strategy. We understand how our Members want to interact with us, how we can best meet their needs, and how we need to compete. To do this, we are investing in better experiences for our Members through new channels, and improving our products and services.
We’re also committed to doing what we can to make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of future generations of New Zealanders, and for a sustainable New Zealand. Our branding has been refreshed to better reflect a fresh and energetic approach to working closely with our Members for a greater good. It also projects that we’re a company going through a significant transformation within an industry that’s also undergoing some big changes.
New Medical Assurance Society (MAS) logo
As we embarked on this transformational strategy, we realised we would face many challenges, including the need to attract and retain the right talent to help us succeed.
We needed to think about what MAS would look like with the benefit of enhanced technology, and then the sort of talent we are going to need to innovate and move forward.
We had to consider what we needed to attract and hold onto this type of talent, and the type of workplace environment this sort of work requires, including corporate support functions like marketing and IT. Our brand is an attractive one, and working in Johnsonville suits some people, but it also limits our talent pool available through recruitment.
We have been at full capacity in our Johnsonville premises for several years now, and our transformation strategy has increased demand for space. It became clear that a return to the CBD for some of our business (MAS had been domiciled in The Terrace until the late 80’s) was needed to get the benefits of increased space, attracting and retaining talent, and better business continuity options in the case of a disaster.
Site 10, in the heart of the regenerated Kumutoto Precinct in Wellington CBD met our needs on many levels. There are synergies from being co-located with businesses we already enjoy non-competitive relationships with, such as FMG and The Cooperative Bank, Site 10 is located close to multiple forms of public transport for our people, and it’s a low-rise building.
While this seemed like a straight-forward decision, we determined that we needed help in the form of independent advice regarding the commercial property to ensure we were making the right decisions for the long term.
We used TwentyTwo to help us right through the process, including our due diligence. They were able to take our high-level requirements and work with us through the negotiation phase. They did a great job. We went into this with very little commercial property experience at this scale, so it was great to have some independent advice we could trust.
We used TwentyTwo’s help in considering our new workspace and they helped facilitate the process end-to-end, from internal engagement through to designing a new environment. We wanted all our people involved in a conversation that considered what a 21st century collaborative working environment might look like for MAS, and it needed to reflect our unique brand and culture.
TwentyTwo used a structured process to understand how the people in our organisation worked today, and what type of environment they would need to do their job well and be happy in the future.
We needed to cater for two different working styles in particular. One was very knowledge-based, requiring higher levels of collaboration, innovation and engagement. And the other was more focused on day-to-day operations – serving our membership well.
There’s quite a contrast, yet we needed to find ways to merge these parts of the business when they needed to, without parts of our organisation operating in silos.
We wanted an environment that is conducive to collaboration across all functions of the organisation, with different zones, small intimate meeting rooms and large casual working zones, quiet focus areas and spaces where people can make noise, chatter and think creatively. It’s important that both sites remain connected, which different technology solutions will enable for us.
We’re due to move in mid-year, and we’re excited to be able to realise the benefits that a new collaborative environment will bring to help achieve our strategy.
Our current premises in Johnsonville will eventually be refurbished to reflect what we’ve learnt from our city project, while taking into consideration that the teams working on this site are doing different functions within our business and have different needs. That’s the next project!