Declan Meenan and Amy Lowry from Alchemy Technology Services are presented with the ‘Innovation and Leadership’ Award by Roger Rooney, VP, Operations at event partner Options Technology

Alchemy’s vision is to bring new talent to forefront of digitisation of insurance industry

ANOTHER of The Irish News awards night’s double winners was Derry-based Alchemy Technology Services, a global centre of excellence for insurance software implementation and professional services, supporting the digitisation of the insurance industry.

Founded in September 2018, Alchemy works with insurance companies, system integrators and software providers to support the digitisation of the global insurance industry. It provides the talent and expertise needed to progress the modernisation and growth of core technology platforms.

But Alchemy is about so much more than the bottom line. Its vision is not only to bring new talent to the forefront of the digitisation of the insurance industry, but to bring meaningful, exciting, and long-lasting careers to a region in need of investment.

“We have always been, and will always be, committed to the socio-economic recovery of the north west region,” the company says.

“We offer our people industry leading training and globally recognised certifications. We have an open and transparent approach to everything we do, including our leading salary, bonus and promotion structures.”

Its founders decided to call the company Alchemy as a reflection of the highest level of adult human development: the alchemist. As alchemy is the transformation of base metal into gold, it aimed to achieve a similar level of transformation for its people and the city.

“We develop our people so that they are able to work in the area of digital transformation to deliver the best outcomes for our customers as well as feeling empowered, supported and confident to reach the heights of their career,” the company added.

In Alchemy’s submission in the Best Place to Work category, it said: “We know our people are talented enough to work anywhere but we want them to choose to work for us every day. We want to make sure our people are happy and confident in their work so we take a different approach.

“We attract talented individuals, equip them with relevant skills, experience and certifications while offering them a rewarding career in an exciting marketplace with access to ongoing learning and education. We do this in a responsible and caring way, which creates a win-win for the individual, their families and the community, along with stakeholders in the transformation of the insurance industry.”

A value which Alchemy communicates and helps its people strive towards is “becoming the best version of you”, and it is constantly improving and updating the resources and support in place for its people to help them achieve this.

It is about so much more than the bottom line. The vision is to bring new talent to the forefront of the digitisation of the insurance industry but to bring meaningful, exciting and long-lasting careers to a region in need of investment

The company sees education as ongoing, to equip its 150-strong staff with fully rounded knowledge, enabling them to provide customers with a market leading service and experience.

It operates a flat structure with no middle management, believing that without line managers, staff feel trusted and empowered in their jobs and as a result more confident.

Instead, Alchemy has a robust Mentoring Programme focused on coaching individuals both in their day-to-day tasks but also the bigger picture of their long-term career and progression.

The company has an open and transparent salary and bonus structure. It clearly lays out salary levels (Bronze up to Platinum) giving individuals full insight into what competencies, knowledge and skills are required for each level, with pay raises ranging from 10 per cent to 50 per cent between levels. Each employee is also eligible for a quarterly bonus equal to 20 per cent of their salary.

And staff have clearly thrived on this approach. For example, 90 per cent of employees achieved a pay rise between 10 and 20 per cent within 12-18 months of working with Alchemy. And several of its Academy 1 graduates have now achieved Gold 2 level, effectively tripling their salaries in less than four years.

Last year Alchemy took part in the Great Places to Work “Best Workplaces” programme, which consisted of anonymous survey and focus group feedback from employees about how it was doing as a company. It ranked 29th in the UK overall, 10th Best Workplace for Women and 11th Best Workplace for Tech.

Yet despite these rankings, the company did not rest on its laurels and put in place many improvements in how it does things as a result of the surveys. For example, it now provides more detailed updates and information about the company financial performance as part of it All Hands calls.

Alchemy recently launched a new partnership with Ulster University’s Magee Business School to deliver the “Leadership Skills for the Future” Mini MBA to senior employees as part of its succession planning. The course has been designed to cover business, leadership and to cultivate entrepreneurial spirit among employees.

Alchemy says: “The business benefits of our approach to people management are clear. Our people are happy, empowered and fulfilled in their roles, evidenced by our 5 per cent attrition rate. Over the three years we have been in business, our revenue has tripled and we now employ over 150 people, having paid over £8.5million in salaries in that time.”