Dr Peter Langford grew Voice Project out of Macquarie University over the course of eight years. Without his passion for organisational psychology and an initial $50,000 internal grant from the University, Voice Project might not be where it is today.
“At one point there were four of us working out of my academic office,” said Peter.
Between 2002 and 2010 Voice Project worked from the Macquarie Campus. When the company grew too large for Peter’s office they moved into an incubator that used to be run by Access Macquarie. Recently they moved off campus but are still based in Macquarie Park.
“We’ve averaged more than 10% growth year-on-year since we began,” said Peter.
Voice Project specialises in workplace surveys including employee engagement, customer service and 360 leadership surveys. It has worked across all industries and is a market leader in non-government organisations and universities. The company has delivered projects for 37 of Australia’s 39 universities and continues ongoing work with 34 of them. Over time these relationships have matured a highly valuable suite of longitudinal data on the sector.
Peter made the choice to start Voice Project at the conclusion of an internal grant, the non-government organisations he was working with wanted the relationship to continue. What was originally a 50:50 grant co-funded by industry became 100 per cent funded by industry and Voice Project was born. Now the company has delivered more than 1,500 survey projects to over 500 clients including Macquarie. As an example, Macquarie’s most recent staff survey was delivered through Voice Project.
Peter had a young family throughout the time Voice Project was gaining momentum and he says Macquarie played a huge part in enabling the company to grow. Although the normal risks relating to start-ups may not have been removed they were greatly minimised. Having the opportunity to build a business while employed was important. At the time, the Faculty of Business and Economics permitted one day a week to be spent on industry engagement which went to Voice Project. There was a Faculty acceptance that industry engagement could contribute to teaching quality and research opportunities.
“There was no alleviation of my normal academic duties,” said Peter, “but I was never discouraged either.”
Voice Project still recruits staff from Macquarie, often graduates out of the Master of Organisational Psychology program, and Peter continues to deliver the occasional guest lecture or workshop at Macquarie. He enjoys the ongoing relationship Voice Project has with Macquarie. What sets the company apart from its competitors is the focus on research that Voice Project maintains.
Peter sees Voice Project continuing to grow in the future. The loyal client base and word-of-mouth marketing has developed the long-term relationships that underpin the company’s growth.