On Making Newsweek’s 100 Most Loved Workplaces List

After receiving news of an exciting award, we spoke with Chief People Officer Melanie Vongswang about what makes Megaport so special.

People around Megaport are thrilled at the news that we made Newsweek’s UK 100 Most Loved Workplaces list this year. 

The list recognizes companies that put respect, caring, and appreciation for their employees at the center of their business and, in doing so, have earned the loyalty and respect of the people who work for them.*

To delve more into the culture that makes Megaport stand out from the crowd and enabled us to win this honor, we spoke with Melanie Vongswang, Megaport’s Chief People Officer. 

Q: Please tell us a little about your background and how you came to Megaport.

A: My first role was with Virgin Atlantic where I held multiple roles. I learned so many life skills, so much about people, and I had the opportunity to see a lot and culturally grow through my travels. I loved it. I loved the company and its culture, and the fact that it challenged the status quo. As I moved up the ranks, eventually taking a role in performance management, my interest in human resources was ignited. There are so many different facets to it, and all of them are fascinating to me.

Various human resources roles led to positions with more responsibility leading eventually to eight years at Bertelsmann, going from Human Resources Director to Chief Human Relations Officer. It was from there that I was invited to work at Megaport, which is the smallest company I’ve ever worked for and the most exhilarating of rides.

What struck me from the beginning was the passion and the pace. I loved the story of what we were trying to grow into, to bring to people that have done cloud networking before in a different way. I started six weeks before COVID hit, which posed some challenges in learning the business and role without being able to meet with people in person. Megaport is in the top two best roles I’ve ever had. That’s what keeps me here. We have such a great offering, a very cohesive senior team, and a very proactive board. It’s so inclusive, and I genuinely believe that we live, deliver, and enact our values.

Q: What does being on the 100 Most Loved Workplaces list mean to you personally?

A: I am thrilled to get recognition from somebody who doesn’t work for the company realizing what a great place it is. For me, it endorses a lot of what we espouse about Megaport, what we are trying to achieve with our culture, and I appreciate its leverage to open the door and put us on the bench of comparisons.

Q: What do you think sets Megaport’s culture apart from other companies?

A: It’s hard to quantify, but it’s attitude. The attitude is one of responsiveness, willingness to help, team mentality, and desire to do a good job. We are passionate about what we do, and everybody is visible.

Belief in the mission is key to retaining motivation.

Melanie Vongswang, Chief People Officer, Megaport

Q: What do you hear from employees about why they love working at Megaport?

A: People. They enjoy each other. Sometimes people ask, “What’s the criteria you use for recruiting that gets you people with the right mindset?” We don’t do that explicitly, but what people are seeing is a can-do, will-do attitude. It’s people that don’t just want the job, they want the experience. Those who are here and stay love the pace, even though it gets very fast and chaotic at times. Also, people value the opportunity to just be themselves here. I think it’s very telling that several people have returned to Megaport in the last year, because they missed the culture, work, and opportunities here.

Q: What do you think is key to building a great company culture?

A: The essence has to be transparency through communication, and trust. Visibility of leaders is important. The other part is the lack of layers so you can know what’s going on at all levels, and there are no barriers to communication. With so many people working from home, bringing people into what we are doing and who we are is critical. Belief in the mission is key to retaining motivation.

Q: What are some things you and your team have done in the last year to enhance Megaport’s culture?

A: We have built a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) effort from the ground up through our ChangeMakers team, including an advisory board. We now offer a Lifestyle Benefits Programme that gives employees a monthly stipend that they can spend on items such as wellness, outdoor activities, food delivery, spas/saunas/fitness, and more to enhance their wellbeing both inside and outside of work. We have a mentoring program, and we are implementing learning and development plans at all levels.

We also hosted RUOK? Day from Australia for mental health awareness and built a team of mental health first aiders to support our people. We also have a women in leadership programme. 

Q: What are some things you’re considering for the future?

A: Our next focus is about gearing people to enhance their own capabilities. One of the “wow” factors of our company is that we’re global, and people can move around and take a global assignment to broaden their experience horizontally and gain invaluable lived experience which can’t be taught in a classroom. We also have a focus on organic growth, promotion from within, and building our next leaders and senior leaders from within. We’re looking at skill enhancement through projects.

Fairness and equity is very important for a great culture.

Melanie Vongswang, Chief People Officer, Megaport

Q: Since the early days of Megaport, we’ve grown from just a few people to hundreds, and have maintained a great culture along the way. What advice would you give to team managers on how to keep a good culture alive as a business changes and expands?

A: Know what people want and what motivates them to put in the discretionary effort. Be responsible for creating a positive environment. Fairness and equity is very important for a great culture. Share the story of our success; for us, a key link is our founder, who is also our Chairman. His continued presence guiding the company helps to keep the original principles of success alive.

Q: What advice would you give leaders at other companies about what damages culture?

A: Too much process. Too little communication and lack of rationale for change. Making changes without telling people why and what’s in it for them. Not asking people their opinions. Lack of respect for individuals. Complacency.

Q: From your experience, what advice would you give to team managers looking to improve their company culture?

A: Be present in your day. Know your people. You need to know what makes people tick.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Balance and variety, and flexibility and trust are key aspects to our approach. A lot of companies tout that their employees can work from home, but then monitor email, Slack activity, etc. We don’t do that because we operate on trust. If someone wants to work in a different place for a while, that’s okay.

Also, we believe that people can and should work when they need to and where they need to. We provided that before COVID; we weren’t forced into that because of the pandemic, we already realized that’s what people wanted in their lives.

*The results were determined after surveying more than 1.4 million employees from businesses with workforces varying in size from 50 to more than 10,000. To identify the U.K.’s top 100 companies for the Newsweek ranking, companies were evaluated and scored as follows: 35 percent of the initial score was based on employee survey responses; 25 percent was derived from analysis of external public ratings from sites such as Comparably, Careerbliss, Glassdoor, Indeed and Google; and 40 percent came from direct interviews with and written responses from company officials. Newsweek then conducted additional research into every company on the list, as well as the top runners up, to determine the final list of 100 companies and their ranking. (The list includes both U.S. firms and companies with a strong U.S. presence that are based overseas.)

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