Adam Matthew Digital FAQ

13 English questions out of 13

18 October 2019

How are senior leaders perceived at Adam Matthew Digital?

Pros

I worked at Adam Matthew for almost exactly a year as an editorial assistant and feel that my experiences were fairly typical of an Editorial Assistant in Production. AM are willing to employ humanities graduates straight out of university with little to no prior experience, whilst the pay won't make you rich I would say it is broadly speaking fair for the job you do. I never felt any pressure to stay late at work or to take work home with me, which does allow for a good work life balance. The staff wellbeing committee is a good idea and does help a little in creating a social environment.

Cons

I've tried to be as fair as possible and not let the fact that I ultimately didn't enjoy my time at AM colour what I consider cons. -The job description for Editorial Assistant Production suggested to me that I would spend a reasonable amount of time visiting archives, writing content such as resource introductions and blog posts and liaising with academics. The reality is that these tasks are pretty occasional and the vast majority of work you are likely to do is filling in spreadsheets (often just copying and pasting vast swathes of information into them) or clicking through thousands of digital images to quality check them. Both of these are quite repetitive tasks and do make you wonder why the company has such a focus on the academic excellence of it's editorial assistants. Whilst the 'fun' jobs can be quite enjoyable they only represent a few hours work in a project's lifecycle and you may well be on that project for 6 months to a year. Repetitive or technical tasks make up the bulk of the work of an editorial assistant. I know many within the department had taken the job as a stepping stone towards something in the heritage sector or print publishing, if this is you I would not recommend applying for the job. Personally I did not feel I required a degree to do the job I did. -The management culture at AM leaves rather a lot to be desired. Many amongst the senior management are quite aloof and tend not to bother to interact with those lower in the company. There are also some amongst senior management who hold quite a patronising view towards editorial assistants and often write-off what are quite legitimate complaints from them. At all levels of management at AM there tends to be a peculiar reluctance to give praise. Instead it is very common to be told what you did wrong or what you could improve, rather than to receive praise for what you did well. Ultimately the response from management is much the same whether you work really hard or just coast doing the bare minimum, this isn't exactly conducive to making you work at your best. Something I also experienced was a feeling that if management felt you were getting too comfortable they seemed anxious to cut you down to size, often in the forms of 'complaints' lodged by senior management, or by finding (relatively minor) issues with the quality of your work. Ultimately I did not feel valued as an employee at AM, I felt like I was considered to be expendable and did not feel like any or the skills or experience I gained in my year there were particularly recognised. -Progression within Production is not particularly clear, promotions sometimes seem a bit confusing and there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason as to who is and isn't promoted. It is not particularly clear how one might go about progressing within the department. -Diversity at AM leaves quite a lot to be desired, the company has a very definite white middle class feel to it, whilst I understand this is an industry wide probably, and the area doesn't necessarily lend itself to diversity I do feel that AM could do more to encourage a wider variety of people to join AM and then to feel welcome once they've joined. There is a very set character that many at AM conform to and if you are different from this it can feel quite difficult to fit in within the company. I don't feel this is a conscious decision on the part of the company, but is certainly a product of employing a large number of people that are very similar.

Advice to Management

If you do genuinely value your employees make attempts to communicate this better, throwing money at big events such as the Christmas party is not a substitute to actually offering routine praise for the work that people do day to day. Creating a culture where people feel valued rather than a cog in a machine that they aren't particularly invested in will not only improve employee morale but would make people put more into their work. Be willing to give praise where it is deserved and don't just pick up on the negatives. Be more honest about the job you are employing people to do and don't write off diversity as something that isn't practical in the industry or the area.

Many amongst the senior management are quite aloof and tend not to bother to interact with those lower in the company.

18 October 2019

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8 April 2019

What kind of career opportunities exist at Adam Matthew Digital?

Pros

A niche business operating within an interesting sector

Cons

Adam Matthew present themselves as a modern, progressive company. Unfortunately, beneath this veneer is a dysfunctional organisation struggling to evolve and adapt and a workforce constantly subjected to the whims of the Directors. Employees are denied access to resources and information essential to allow them to meet their objectives. As an example, where an essential function of a role might be, say, the procurement of goods and services, yet there is no access to a budget, nor inclusion in relevant meetings or discussions, then decisions based on sound rationale are vetoed with friends, acquaintances and historic associates being given preference. Things are done on a ‘need to know basis’ and regrettably, who needs to know what is decided on the basis of how a person looks, or their accent, or whether they went to the right university rather than their skills, experience and industry knowledge. Directors display a lack of experience in how modern businesses function. Archaic practices and processes persist with a thick layer of middle management making decisions by committee, often resulting in confusion and procrastination as egos compete to have their own personal opinion take precedence, however lacking they are in understanding that particular discipline or process. The resulting culture is one of micromanagement with employees disempowered, emasculated and repeatedly hindered in their ability to accomplish even the basic objectives of their role. Professionals, with many years of experience, are denied the opportunity to use those skills and are left frustrated yet denied any opportunity to address these issues. It would be easy to dismiss this opinion as that of a disgruntled ex-employee, but I think the level of staff turnover speaks for itself

Advice to Management

If you truly desire an agile, effective and collaborative business allow your workforce to be empowered, allow them to take ownership. Give them autonomy and the opportunity to collaborate and communicate across the organisation. And perhaps take time to gain some exposure to effective, modern business practices and strategies.

Professionals, with many years of experience, are denied the opportunity to use those skills and are left frustrated yet denied any opportunity to address these issues.

8 April 2019

See answer

2 March 2019

Why do Adam Matthew Digital employees quit?

Pros

– Good stepping stone for graduates/interns looking to start out in editorial/publishing space - Various social activities for staff to get involved in outside of work hours - Interesting work to get involved in, in a niche space - 1hr lunch

Cons

- Senior Management lack basic leadership skills/experience - Dated management style, tangible ‘them and us’ divide between senior management and rest of workforce - Inflexible hours, staff generally not trusted to manage their own time/workload (below Senior management level) and are micromanaged extensively (at all levels) - VERY high staff turnover for business of its size; large proportion of staff do not stay long, are terminated prior to passing probation or are ‘nudged’ to resign by management Significant emphasis is placed on new recruits having ‘the Adam Matthew character’, this phrase is used extensively in the office and creates a peculiar culture whereby staff must all conform to a particular set of behaviours/attitudes that, to this day, remain undefined. I am unable to articulate what the ‘Adam Matthew character’ is, but I can confirm that staff have had their contracts terminated due not having the correct ‘character/personality’ that management deems necessary for recruits to be successful in their roles. Being shy is not one of the desirable attributes, and nor is suffering from any kind of mental health issue such as stress/anxiety. This toxicity and medieval mindset are, unfortunately, deeply rooted at the very top of the management chain and I have seen no attempts to try to rectify this; it is very much a case of 'put up and shut up' or you are out. I would advise anyone to think carefully before resigning a role to start at Adam Matthew Digital and really weigh up the risk, I have seen multiple instances where contracts have been terminated or staff pushed to resign (mostly prior to probation being passed), resulting in them being made unemployed with no legal rights to contest their treatment. I would urge anyone thinking about joining to ask about how the vacancy they are interested in first became available, how long the last employee was in it and the reasons why they left or were terminated.

Advice to Management

Stop taking the 'ostrich approach' to your staff retention issues. It is not because of the office location and it "being too remote" (it is on the M4 and easy to get to), most people are willing to commute for a job that fulfils them. You are not losing staff because you "hire them young and they leave to go travelling or to start families". Your high staff turnover is no accident, you may find it a helpful exercise to look inwardly and try to pinpoint the reason(s) why people do not want to stay at Adam Matthew, instead of pointing the finger at those who have been bullied out of the company and are now struggling to rebuild their lives, with families to feed and no real reason as to why they were made to leave. Self awareness and integrity cost nothing, yet are still such an alien concept to those running the business. I wish the very best for the individuals affected by the unethical (and legally questionable) treatment they received at Adam Matthew.

I would urge anyone thinking about joining to ask about how the vacancy they are interested in first became available, how long the last employee was in it and the reasons why they left or were terminated.

2 March 2019

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8 April 2019

How do employees feel about their professional development opportunities at Adam Matthew Digital?

Pros

A niche business operating within an interesting sector

Cons

Adam Matthew present themselves as a modern, progressive company. Unfortunately, beneath this veneer is a dysfunctional organisation struggling to evolve and adapt and a workforce constantly subjected to the whims of the Directors. Employees are denied access to resources and information essential to allow them to meet their objectives. As an example, where an essential function of a role might be, say, the procurement of goods and services, yet there is no access to a budget, nor inclusion in relevant meetings or discussions, then decisions based on sound rationale are vetoed with friends, acquaintances and historic associates being given preference. Things are done on a ‘need to know basis’ and regrettably, who needs to know what is decided on the basis of how a person looks, or their accent, or whether they went to the right university rather than their skills, experience and industry knowledge. Directors display a lack of experience in how modern businesses function. Archaic practices and processes persist with a thick layer of middle management making decisions by committee, often resulting in confusion and procrastination as egos compete to have their own personal opinion take precedence, however lacking they are in understanding that particular discipline or process. The resulting culture is one of micromanagement with employees disempowered, emasculated and repeatedly hindered in their ability to accomplish even the basic objectives of their role. Professionals, with many years of experience, are denied the opportunity to use those skills and are left frustrated yet denied any opportunity to address these issues. It would be easy to dismiss this opinion as that of a disgruntled ex-employee, but I think the level of staff turnover speaks for itself

Advice to Management

If you truly desire an agile, effective and collaborative business allow your workforce to be empowered, allow them to take ownership. Give them autonomy and the opportunity to collaborate and communicate across the organisation. And perhaps take time to gain some exposure to effective, modern business practices and strategies.

Professionals, with many years of experience, are denied the opportunity to use those skills and are left frustrated yet denied any opportunity to address these issues.

8 April 2019

See answer

18 October 2019

Does there seem to be diversity at Adam Matthew Digital?

Pros

I worked at Adam Matthew for almost exactly a year as an editorial assistant and feel that my experiences were fairly typical of an Editorial Assistant in Production. AM are willing to employ humanities graduates straight out of university with little to no prior experience, whilst the pay won't make you rich I would say it is broadly speaking fair for the job you do. I never felt any pressure to stay late at work or to take work home with me, which does allow for a good work life balance. The staff wellbeing committee is a good idea and does help a little in creating a social environment.

Cons

I've tried to be as fair as possible and not let the fact that I ultimately didn't enjoy my time at AM colour what I consider cons. -The job description for Editorial Assistant Production suggested to me that I would spend a reasonable amount of time visiting archives, writing content such as resource introductions and blog posts and liaising with academics. The reality is that these tasks are pretty occasional and the vast majority of work you are likely to do is filling in spreadsheets (often just copying and pasting vast swathes of information into them) or clicking through thousands of digital images to quality check them. Both of these are quite repetitive tasks and do make you wonder why the company has such a focus on the academic excellence of it's editorial assistants. Whilst the 'fun' jobs can be quite enjoyable they only represent a few hours work in a project's lifecycle and you may well be on that project for 6 months to a year. Repetitive or technical tasks make up the bulk of the work of an editorial assistant. I know many within the department had taken the job as a stepping stone towards something in the heritage sector or print publishing, if this is you I would not recommend applying for the job. Personally I did not feel I required a degree to do the job I did. -The management culture at AM leaves rather a lot to be desired. Many amongst the senior management are quite aloof and tend not to bother to interact with those lower in the company. There are also some amongst senior management who hold quite a patronising view towards editorial assistants and often write-off what are quite legitimate complaints from them. At all levels of management at AM there tends to be a peculiar reluctance to give praise. Instead it is very common to be told what you did wrong or what you could improve, rather than to receive praise for what you did well. Ultimately the response from management is much the same whether you work really hard or just coast doing the bare minimum, this isn't exactly conducive to making you work at your best. Something I also experienced was a feeling that if management felt you were getting too comfortable they seemed anxious to cut you down to size, often in the forms of 'complaints' lodged by senior management, or by finding (relatively minor) issues with the quality of your work. Ultimately I did not feel valued as an employee at AM, I felt like I was considered to be expendable and did not feel like any or the skills or experience I gained in my year there were particularly recognised. -Progression within Production is not particularly clear, promotions sometimes seem a bit confusing and there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason as to who is and isn't promoted. It is not particularly clear how one might go about progressing within the department. -Diversity at AM leaves quite a lot to be desired, the company has a very definite white middle class feel to it, whilst I understand this is an industry wide probably, and the area doesn't necessarily lend itself to diversity I do feel that AM could do more to encourage a wider variety of people to join AM and then to feel welcome once they've joined. There is a very set character that many at AM conform to and if you are different from this it can feel quite difficult to fit in within the company. I don't feel this is a conscious decision on the part of the company, but is certainly a product of employing a large number of people that are very similar.

Advice to Management

If you do genuinely value your employees make attempts to communicate this better, throwing money at big events such as the Christmas party is not a substitute to actually offering routine praise for the work that people do day to day. Creating a culture where people feel valued rather than a cog in a machine that they aren't particularly invested in will not only improve employee morale but would make people put more into their work. Be willing to give praise where it is deserved and don't just pick up on the negatives. Be more honest about the job you are employing people to do and don't write off diversity as something that isn't practical in the industry or the area.

Diversity at AM leaves quite a lot to be desired, the company has a very definite white middle class feel to it, whilst I understand this is an industry wide probably, and the area doesn't necessarily lend itself to diversity I do feel that AM could do more to encourage a wider variety of people to join AM and then to feel welcome once they've joined.

18 October 2019

See answer
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13 English questions out of 13

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