Art Processors named one of Australia’s best places to work

An office space filled with desks and computers, lots of plants hanging from the ceiling, and a few people spaced out.

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Art Processors has been named one of Australia’s best places to work, ranking 8th in the technology category of the 2023 AFR BOSS Best Places to Work.

These prestigious awards are underpinned by rigorous scientifically-proven methodology provided by leading behavioural science consultancy, Inventium, and designed to assess the 10 key factors that are critical to employees feeling motivated and engaged at work. More than 700 companies competed for a place in the awards this year.

CEO Mark Nihill says, "I am thrilled Art Processors has been named one of the best places to work. It is testament to our commitment to investing in the wellbeing and vitality of our people, enabling everyone on our team to be their best self and do their best work.

"The diversity of talent on our team is magic. Nurture, deep respect, trust, vulnerability – these are hallmarks of our creative capacity as a business, but is also the essence of the workplace we have created and a reflection of the portfolio of international clients who have journeyed with us."

A great deal of our success in achieving this recognition can be attributed to Vanessa Doake, who is now in her fifth year as Chief People & Culture Officer at Art Processors. Our global headcount recently tipped past 100 employees, but at the time Vanessa started, there were only 15 on the roll call.

AP’s Chief People & Culture Officer Vanessa Doake.
AP’s Chief People & Culture Officer Vanessa Doake.

“Everyone worked super closely, and it was very organic in a way,” she recalls. “The workplace culture wasn't something that was deliberately crafted at that point in time, but the fact the company’s leadership wanted to bring on a People & Culture role at such an early stage was testament to what they believed needed to be prioritised.”

Vanessa saw the opportunity to craft a positive and progressive working environment, and establish meaningful workplace values from the ground-up. And the drive to turn this into a collective effort is gaining momentum—the first workplace engagement survey three years ago had a response rate of only 59 per cent, but has since steadily trended upwards to 87 per cent in the most recent survey, with 94 per cent of staff recommending Art Processors as a great place to work.

“When I speak to our partners such as Project F, the thing they acknowledge us for is the fact we didn't have a culture that became toxic or negative, which we had to undo and then rebuild upon. We were able to grow the organisation with genuine values that were important to us at the time, and that led to such a different experience. It’s a really rare situation.”

It’s a forward-thinking vision that can be applied to any start-up aiming to grow their workforce. “Think about it earlier, think about it as an investment,” encourages Vanessa. “It really does have such a positive impact, and there is a lot of benefit to investing in people and culture sooner rather than later, or thinking you don't need to at all. We're now able to be very deliberate with our decision making and it’s been for the greater good of the business.”

An office space filled with desks and computers, lots of plants hanging from the ceiling, and a few people spaced out.
Our office in Melbourne, Australia.

Vanessa was awarded Grand Prix in the Women in Business category at last year’s Pause Awards for implementing progressive and industry-leading policies at Art Processors—the most recent of these being our Gender Affirmation Policy announced last month. She says building an inclusive and supportive workplace together with her team has been a rewarding journey, but the recognition from AFR BOSS is a personal assurance that Vanessa and the People & Culture team are making meaningful change.

“I’ve never wanted to be in an echo chamber of thinking, ‘We do things really well, we’re a great place to work.’ So, with our policies and benefits, I’ve always sought to have that external validation or feedback on doing the right thing, and knowing where we stand across the industry and other organisations,” Vanessa says. 

However, it’s not about gratuitously patting ourselves on the back or finding the next shiny award to tout on our website. Ranking in the Best Places to Work list is a reflection of the core values by which we work, Vanessa’s team constantly pursuing an ever-growing realisation of these values, and the incredible people in our team.

“We participate in certifications and award programs to have a certain rigor applied to what we have, how we work, and how we can do better,” explains Vanessa. “If, through this process, we discover there are things to work on, that's such a win as well. It's an extra piece of feedback to improve or build upon what we’re doing.” 

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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the many Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and honour Elders past, present and emerging. We respect their deep, enduring connection to their lands, waterways and surrounding clan groups since time immemorial. We cherish the richness of First Nations Peoples’ artistic and cultural expressions.