Member Spotlight – Phase 3

Kate Wadia, Managing Director of Phase 3 tells us more about her business, talks talent pool and accessibility for WHY Wakefield, why she wishes she had set-up in the district sooner and how this great City could tantalise her taste buds!

1. Summarise your business in a couple of sentences

Phase 3 specialise in providing Independent Services, Consulting and Insights in HR systems, payroll and other people technologies. We are locally-based, and, in practice, our business is all about offering an easy one-stop shop to support organisations make the best of technology without becoming experts. That means choosing and using products for you, running payrolls and managed services, configuring systems our customers have bought and offering advice about how to move forward with technology to support people. With our Insights brand, we also go in for all that we can do by way of knowledge-sharing.

2. Can you showcase your work by offering an example of a recent project/initiative/event?

We’ve a 14-year history in delivering really excellent advice – and the thing that we really do differently is to offer the best expert consultants yet running astonishingly affordable services. That’s because we are practical, down-to-earth people behind the technology we support.

Some of the projects we support are for enterprise-scale businesses. It is surprising though how little difference your size makes to the affordability of technology these days. Whilst it used to be true that ‘size matters’ for HR systems and payroll services, that becomes less true with cloud.

So, for example, we have been able to step in to run payrolls for hundreds of employees for a few months to cover absence. We’ve run a payroll for a charity with just one employee. We’ve moved sizeable organisations from costly payroll systems they had to run themselves to a product costing just £99 per year! There is a great new course running from our Wakefield office on ‘Payroll for Non-payroll People’, where we try to take away the dark art of it all.

3. How long have you worked/been based in Wakefield?

It was daft really not to open offices in Wakefield sooner, because our simply fantastic Head of Services has always lived locally, but we only first established our largest premises here in 2016. I wish we had done so sooner. Our Head Quarters are in central Manchester, which by the way, we think is another really great city.

4. Why Wakefield?

Wakefield for Phase 3 makes absolute sense. Many tech-oriented companies focus still on London and running a business from London and the South East inevitably raises the price point at which you can afford to offer what you do. The accessibility that we benefit from, as well as the talent pool around, is a great draw.

And being in Wakefield feels right to me. James is my right-hand man and he’s born and bred here. Despite the scale of our company now and the scale of some of the customers we look after, we are a desperately personal business and so the personal nature of local connections is something that we value too, for all the business metrics that I as an MD have to worry about.

5. Why have you become a Bondholder?

I supported our becoming a Bondholder – which came from an ‘ask’ from the management team – because I wanted to make real what we say about liking the local connections and wishing to make a contribution to those networks. Now this is selfish but being a part of a business community is very much give and take. We joined to build more and stronger relationships with other companies in the area in a very active way. There is no point running a great business in a great place and being an industry island.

6. What’s next for Wakefield?

Personally, I’d like to see Wakefield increasingly on the map, in the same breath as the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’. I live myself in Surrey and I’ve had my eyes opened in the last 10 years as I’ve run Phase 3 from Wakefield and Manchester. I believe that there really does remain a divide and it is a terribly misguided one. You can see the opportunity of the area – and even enjoy its beauty too.

7. Do you know an interesting fact about the district?

Well, no, I don’t – except I know this: as a true Mrs Surrey I’m teased because all I had known about of Wakefield was that it was one of three points on a Rhubarb Triangle. I spend half of my working weeks up in the offices now and my colleagues treat me brilliantly, but no one has ever come up with even the teeniest taste of rhubarb for me. The (long!) day shifts may be all about running a people tech company, but I’m quite a home bird and I really do fancy making a fool for (of?) myself and finding a local supplier of jars of something to lob on my cheddar and oatcakes.

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