The Best Employers virtual conference on Thursday 22 April 2021, marked the launch of the Best Employers Eastern Region programme.
We were delighted to welcome guests from a variety of organisations to kickstart the 2021 Best Employers programme through the programme’s virtual launch conference with our co-founders’ eras Ltd and partners, Birketts and Archant.
Lynn Walters opened the session by sharing how the programme had to change in response to the pandemic. Lynn said, “When we postponed the programme last year, our only consolation was we expected that there would be great some stories to tell and what an understatement! There has never been so much change and opportunity within the world of work and the programme provides an ideal place to learn from each other, share ideas, explore challenges, experiment whilst having fun.”
Co-hosting alongside Jeanette Wheeler from Birketts, they paid tribute to Best Employers co-founder, Alex Pearce, who sadly and unexpectedly died last year, and confirmed that so far, the programme has raised over £6,000 in his memory. Winston Wishes and Nelsons Journey, supported Alex’s family last year during this difficult time and the proceeds will be shared between them.
Our first speaker was Debra Corey award-winning Global HR leader and best-selling business author and self-titled Chief ‘Pay It Forward’ Officer. Debra’s presentation was on “Unlocking the power of employee engagement for the future”, sharing research on how high engagement can lead to higher productivity, profits, customer loyalty and lower staff turnover and absence. Debra talked about four critical areas that determine when employees are truly engaged:
- Engaged employees understand and believe in the direction that the company is going.
- Understand how their role impacts and contributes.
- Genuinely want their company to succeed.
- Believes their company cares for and supports them.
Debra illustrated these points by sharing real examples from the clients she has worked with and her energy and passion clearly resonated with the audience.
Our second speaker, Tamara Lohan joined us after the break and despite some technical issues, Tamara was able to share an insight into Mr and Mrs Smith, their experience during the crisis and how she responded as a leader. Tamara shared that initially she felt ill-equipped going into the crisis,(like most of us!), but focusing on the team was the most important and hardest thing she did. It required constant work, constant change but was the most rewarding.
She explained how she became far more open with her people. From very early on, she decided to openly share financial updates and more personal stories – which brought the team much closer. Commenting on how the pandemic had affected business Tamara said, “With flight routes shut down, national lockdowns imposed, and hotels shuttered, we found that we were haemorrhaging cash, firefighting every day and trying to manage thousands of cancelled bookings with a skeleton team.”” As we progressed through the pandemic, our all-hands meetings became more important, we introduced AMA (ask me anything) sessions, we created our ‘cup of tea’ sessions where people could chat about anything. Together we learned how to communicate effectively in a pandemic world to the extent that we won’t be going back to a full-time office. We look forward to safely meeting, but it won't be in an office. Instead, we’re planning new opportunities to enable the personal, social side of communication that has been largely missing from our lives for so long.”
Reflecting on leadership during the pandemic, Tamara said “the most important qualities of a leader in challenging times were adaptability, courage and empathy. The only constant these days isn’t merely change, but the rate at which change is accelerating – the past year is a testament to that. I’ve always embraced the notion of being agile, not only to stay relevant but to successfully lead a growing business.”
Due to the technical difficulties on the day, we are working with Tamara to provide another opportunity to hear her story, share her knowledge and valuable insights into how she lead and managed Mr & Mrs Smith through an incredibly challenging time.
The Best Employers survey is now open and we are looking forward to seeing how engagement has changed over the course of this year. So much has changed in the world of work, and what workers expect of their employers has changed too. So, it will be exciting to find out how employers are engaging, motivating and leading their team in 2021.
There is still time to take part in the Best Employer 2021 programme and join a series of monthly webinars. Here is an overview of forthcoming events:
Wednesday 19th May - Engaging and leading remote and onsite teams
- Paulo Moscuzza from OE Cam.
- Catherine Hodds, Saffron Housing.
Tuesday 22nd June - Developing workforce resilience
Wednesday 14th July - Fostering an innovative, hungry and progressive culture
Wednesday 15th September - Recruitment, onboarding and rewarding your team.
Thursday 30th September - Awards conference and winners announced.
For more information and to sign up click here >
Lynn is a founding Director of Pure and leads Pure Executive with over 25 years recruiting for Executive appointments. Lynn supports East of England-based businesses with senior management and Board level recruitment. Lynn leads the Best Employer Eastern Region Initiative and the Women In Leadership Programme both of which are aimed at helping companies and people to develop.