Tom manages the custom research side of Acritas, overseeing a team of research executives and assistants who manage and deliver numerous research projects, tailored to each client’s individual needs. He is responsible for the integrity of our custom research, and ensuring the team deliver research outcomes which provide value to our clients and help them achieve their goals.
Tom has extensive experience advising our clients on how to realize their research objectives, designing and delivering a large number of client feedback, thought leadership and employee engagement projects for Acritas’ key clients.
In addition to managing the team, Tom has an active involvement in the scoping, design and analysis of many of our projects, with his understanding of research delivery earning him a reputation among clients for offering incisive feedback and sound practical advice from project start to completion.
Before joining Acritas, Tom worked for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as a social survey interviewer.
Tom holds an MA with Distinction in Human Geography Research, a qualification covering the theory and practice of quantitative and qualitative research.
T: +44 (0) 808 178 3020
Describe what you do at Acritas:
My role at Acritas is primarily to look after the custom side of Acritas’ research projects – this means any of the research projects we deliver that are designed and tailored to each individual firm’s needs which includes numerous client feedback programs and increasingly internal engagement surveys for law firms. I oversee and support a team of Research Executives, Assistants and interviewers who, along with Acritas’ Account Managers and Directors, deliver a wide range of client feedback, employee engagement and thought leadership research to Acritas’ clients.
I also maintain a hands-on role in managing a number of research projects for Acritas’ key clients, supporting them in planning, designing and executing their research initiatives to ensure they achieve their goals.
What has your team been working on recently?
Q1 of 2017 has been a very busy time for the custom team. We have in-depth qualitative client feedback projects approaching the analysis and reporting stage which involves holistic review of themes across multiple client interviews and crafting the report in a way that inspires action. We have also completed a quantitative survey of 300 senior in-house counsel in the US for the second wave of thought leadership research on the value drivers of labor and employment work. In addition to helping some of our long-term clients refine their ongoing programmes for the coming year, we have two large-scale employee engagement pieces we are also currently working on, the custom team has taken a central role in the execution of the Acritas Stars™ research in early 2017, a global survey of over 5,000 Star lawyers as nominated by their own clients.
That is a lot of interviews! What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are two things that I love the most about my work at Acritas: firstly, working with a team of excellent colleagues and seeing them grow and develop over time, and secondly, knowing that the team’s work has a significant impact in helping our clients achieve their goals.
What trends have you noticed in the last 12 months of research among law firms?
Many firms are starting to focus strategy on their Clients and People – as a result we are seeing greater investment in measuring engagement of their internal people alongside their client listening initiatives. Having the opportunity to be involved in research projects that support both sides of the equation has been very rewarding over recent months.
In the last couple of years we have found our clients looking for better and smarter ways to collect and access the data collected in their client programs and as a result we have developed our own technology and online platforms to help our clients maximise the outputs of client feedback for example our Client Feedback Hub is an online system designed to take the unstructured, qualitative, ‘messy data’ collected in client reviews and turn it into structured, quantitative data that allows you to identify themes and make decisions.
Tell us more about Internal Research and other ways it can be employed:
Employee engagement has a number of obvious uses and benefits; it can quickly generate huge amounts of detailed data to perform a temperature check on a firm’s internal workings; looking at the satisfaction of employees across different aspects of their roles, assessing their morale and what motivates them, establishing how to attract and retain key people long-term, and uncovering (or providing hard evidence of) issues which the firm may need to resolve are some of the clear applications, especially when these results can be drilled down to a granular level to isolate pockets of under-performance or alternatively best practice.
Giving employees a voice in the firm is another key benefit. Taking the case of a large global law firm – an entity which may have grown quickly and be operating across a large number of countries, cultures and practices – employee engagement surveys are an excellent way to ensure employees feel involved, developing a sense of ownership in the firm and a chance to input to its decision-making process. Seeking feedback on the cultural impact of a recent merger or office acquisition, launching (and testing reactions to) new firm initiatives, and giving employees a forum to voice their ideas or concerns to leadership are just a few examples of this.
What do you do for fun?
I’m a very keen cyclist, so spend a lot of time riding, fixing, racing, or justifying the purchase of bikes. I’m also the owner of a young Labrador, so enjoy spending lots of time out in Northumberland on walks / swims with him and my wife.