Driving meaningful working lives in a more automated workplace, motivating a multi-generational workforce and the future of skills and learning are just some of the topics being discussed at this month’s CIPD Festival of Work.
The two-day conference at Olympia London, which runs from Wednesday 12 to Thursday 13 June, will explore the biggest issues in the world of work, with a strong focus on technology. A mix of masterclasses, skills sessions, and panel discussions make up the programme, which aims to spark debate as well as offer inspiration and practical solutions.
130 speakers with a range of expertise and perspectives have been lined up to take part, including Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, who will talk about his shifting views around artificial intelligence, and the role human creativity has to play in the future of work. The closing address will come from the world’s first cyborg artist, Neil Harbisson, on the integration between humans and machines.
Matthew Taylor, CEO of the Royal Society of Art; Sir Anthony Seldon, best-selling author; and Caroline Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, will also be speaking, as will representatives from some of the most well-known and successful businesses including Google, McDonalds, British Land, L’Oreal, Siemens plc, and PepsiCo.
Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, said: “With technology rapidly changing the world of work, it’s more important than ever that we share and understand the many changes and implications on our organisations and people. At the very heart of a successful business is how to attract, motivate, develop and retain people; the Festival of Work will explore how we can do this in an uncertain world and with emerging technologies.”
This May we had the pleasure of attending the UK Employee Experience Awards at the Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel.
It was one of the better award ceremonies I’ve attended, and they made huge efforts to distance themselves from the normal, more corporate and stuffy ceremonies many are used to. We wrote entries for three awards – Use of Innovative Employee Engagement Technologies, Use of Digital Technologies, and Employee Centric Company – and were shortlisted as finalists for all of them, so naturally we were very excited!
How the day went
The day was split into three parts: presenting, lunch and entertainment, and the award ceremony itself.
Firstly, we had the nerve-wracking job of presenting. The written entries accounted for 50 percent of the scores, so the presentations were key – we’ve told them all about what we do and now we need to show them. It was so important to us that we got across how we put employees at the heart of our services and ensure our tech helps employees to be more engaged and have better lives, both in and out of the workplace.
We had 15 minutes to present and then 15 minutes of questions from the judging panel. All the presentations seemed to go well and the judges nodded along with smiley faces and seemed to really buy into what we were saying, which helped to ease my nerves! We had finished all of our presentations by late morning and it was officially out of our hands. Time to have some fun!
We were then treated to a three-course meal with a side serving of keynote speakers and some first-class entertainment.
And the winner is…
After everyone was well fed and watered, the awards ceremony began.
The first category we entered, Employee Centric Company, was announced and we all cheered when we heard our name. But it was to no avail, as sadly we didn’t get a podium finish.
I had only just stopped licking my wounds when the second was announced, Use of Innovative Employee Engagement Tech. Third and second place were given their trophies and we clapped along with all our peers.
“And the winner is…The Happiness Index!”
We were delighted! It really was a culmination of all the hard work we have put in this year and we were thrilled to get recognition for it!
We were still celebrating our win and being interviewed off-stage when our third award was announced, Use of Digital Tech. We were awarded bronze, which really capped off an amazing day.
Looking to the future
This has been such a great year for The Happiness Index. We have gone from strength to strength in terms of growth, numbers of employees, and innovation in our offerings. Now we have the trophies to prove it.
We can’t wait to continue our journey and see where we end up!
An incredible three Gold category awards were taken home by Holly staff at the ceremony in London’s Park Plaza Riverbank venue this month, which is one Gold award short of the haul they collected at the 2018 awards 12 months before.
However, they more than compensated when at the end of the event they were crowned Overall Winner.
This year saw the Holly team take the Gold titles for Employee Engagement – Reward & Recognition, Employee-Centric Company – Employees at the Heart of the Company, and Innovative Employee Engagement.
With 2019 looking to be an even more succesful year for Holly Private Hospital, Director David Henderson said: “We are absolutely thrilled to once again be recognised in the UK Employee Experience Awards. Over the past few years we’ve really been focussing on how we can create exceptional employee experiences for our staff so they in turn can deliver exceptional healthcare experiences for our patients, and this work has been recognised today. A huge well done and thank you to all our Holly team who work hard every day to deliver exceptional healthcare to our patients.”
The recent 2019 UK Employee Experience Awards in London saw one of the country’s most innovative training schemes for medical writers celebrated in a Gold category victory.
Ashfield Healthcare Communications took home the top award in the Employee Engagement – Learning & Development (programme) category, which team members have described as an “incredible achievement”.
Their allegro programme is a 12-month, fast-track training initiative for life sciences graduates, providing a foundation for a long-term career in medical writing. Comprising an eight-week training phase and two five-month agency rotations, at the end of the programme employees join one of Ashfield’s agency teams in the UK as a medical writer.
Ashfield’s Programme Director, Neil Marmont, said: “This is an incredible achievement and shines a spotlight on our bespoke accelerated learning programme for aspiring medical writers. As well as the obvious benefits of allegro in meeting the needs of our business from a resource perspective, the influx of talented individuals into the organisation is encouraging internal networking and the growth of really supportive, dynamic teams, which is impacting positively on the quality of the work we are delivering to our clients.”
At the awards, Ashfield’s team (Neil Marmont, Andrew Davidson, Sarah Jackson, Katie Buxton, and Danny Hawker) delivered a 15-minute presentation, covering the objectives, design, planning, implementation and business impact of the allegro programme, which has been running since January 2018. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session with the judges.
“The judges were particularly impressed with the individual stories of allegro alumni Katie and Danny, and with the collaborative learning environment that allegro has created,” Neil added.
“They were also impressed with the scale of the programme and opportunities it provides for current staff to be involved in training, mentoring, line management and coaching.”
The firm named Best Company to Work For at the 2019 UK Employee Experience Awards, Octopus Energy, has announced a new partnership to bring ultra-fast charging technology to British consumers.
Octopus Energy is teaming up with EV charging firm IONITY to supply their 350kW, high power charging (HPC) stations with 100 percent renewable electricity.
The move follows the launch of OE’s Electric Juice service, designed to offer EV charging networks with guaranteed renewable power.
The first ‘Electric Juice station’ is to be installed in Maidstone on the M20, and more sites are planned to open in the coming weeks. More than 40 stations are planned to be installed across the UK by 2020.
Zoisa Walton, director at Octopus Energy for Business, said that the company was committed to bringing a “fundamental change” to the country’s electric vehicle landscape.
She said: “By improving the affordability, practicality, convenience, and green credentials of e-mobility options, IONITY and Octopus Energy are making EV ownership more accessible. Both companies are intent on providing for the future, with forward-thinking plans and technology – pushing boundaries to deliver the fastest, cleanest, most affordable charging power on the market.”
Michael Hajesch, chief executive at IONITY, said the company was driven by the belief that charging an EV should soon be as easy as filling up a conventional vehicle at a petrol station.
“Our partnership with Octopus Energy means that not only will consumers be able to benefit from High Power charging, but they will have the peace of mind that renewable energy provides,” he said.
“The launch of the first of 40 IONITY high power charging stations at Maidstone on the M20 underlines the fact that the UK is a key market for us and we are delighted that we are able to partner with Octopus Energy to deliver renewable energy to consumers at ultra-fast speeds.”
The UK’s most desirable SME to work for in 2019 is international technical recruitment specialists VHR.
The global firm, with a base in London, recently secured one of the most significant titles at the 2019 UK Employee Experience Awards, Best Company to Work For – SME, following a presentation before a judging panel comprising some of the UK’s most influential Employee Experience experts.
Following the win, a company spokesperson said: “We were delighted to secure this victory and be named best SME to work for. What a fantastic result a recognition of the efforts and improvements we’ve made in Employee Experience throughout the year.
“On the morning of the awards, we impressed the judges with our presentation, condensing a complex range of working practices into a concise, engaging 15-minute pitch in front of a panel.
“Once the presentation finished, we had the chance to network with a diverse range of business leaders from all sectors. With awards going to organisations ranging from care homes to government agencies, it truly was a chance to attain meaningful new EX perspectives from other professionals.
“Then, of course, the day was topped off by our win. What a day, and we enjoyed celebrating our victory with the rest of our team that week in our monthly company-wide social event.”
Based in Cheadle and with a history dating back to 1826, the mutual society secured the wins at the awards final which was recently held at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank and hosted by Awards International. A delegation presented before a panel of expert judges in the hopes of securing victory in two categories, and their efforts won Gold for Employee-Centric Company, and Bronze for the highly coveted Team of the Year.
Nasrin Hossain, Chief Culture Officer of Shepherds Friendly, spoke to CXM following the event, and described the day’s success.
“This was a much-deserved reward for the Shepherds Friendly Society team and a recognition of the efforts and improvements we’ve made in Employee Experience throughout the year,” Nasrin said.
“More than 300 finalists gathered at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London to compete for a series of coveted prizes and share best practice ideas with one another. Everyone in attendance gained a greater appreciation for how organisations can enable their staff to be contented, productive, and able to realise their potential.
“In the morning, we impressed the judges with our presentation, condensing a complex range of working practices into a concise, engaging 15-minute pitch in front of a judging panel.
“Once the presentation finished, we had the chance to network with a diverse range of business leaders from all sectors. With awards going to organisations ranging from care homes to government agencies, it truly was a chance to attain meaningful new EX perspectives from other professionals.”
Speaking of the wins, Nasrin continued: “When the Employee-Centric Company category results came up, hearing our name read out is something we’ll never forget! It was a very special day for us, and we enjoyed celebrating our victory with our team when we returned to our head office in Cheadle.
“We are thrilled to have won Gold for Employee-Centric Company and the Bronze award for Team of the Year. Our commitment is to create an environment where our staff feel valued, supported and driven to achieve the best outcome for our members, and we are delighted that our efforts in doing this have been recognised.
“Thank you to Awards International for organising the event, and we look forward to entering next year to defend our crown!”
Let’s Get Healthy, which won Gold in the Health & Wellbeing category at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards in London, is delivering training to Co-op customer service centre staff that will equip them with techniques to offer support including arranging funerals and other post-bereavement plans.
Co-op – winner of the Best Contact Centre and Product Service Improvement: Transforming Customer Care categories in the 2018 UK Complaint Handling Awards – is one of many thought leader firms providing training for colleagues to help them be resilient in what can be very stressful times.
Following a successful pilot of the campaign in November 2018, the programme will now be delivered across the customer service centre. The campaign includes a briefing session with senior managers, a one-day face to face course, and a seven-week plan of activity led by team leaders and operations managers to embed the learnings.
The dedicated training is designed to empower more colleagues to be brave-hearted and resilient, supporting adults through the stages of bereavement while being mindful that employees will have lost loved ones too.
Leeds-based Let’s Get Healthy has previously provided corporate wellbeing services to firms including William Hill, G’s Fresh, Travis Perkins, and Northern.
Claire Carroll, Head of Member and Customer Services at Co-op, said: “We held sessions with our colleagues, and they shared with me their personal experiences of losing a loved one and supporting customers who have experienced a similar loss.
“Let’s Get Healthy designed a programme called Heart that helped my team be brave hearted when dealing with customers who may be broken hearted. The language itself has made it easier for us all to talk about death and how we deal with it. Providing tools and techniques to be resilient is essential in the type of work handled in service centres and this is the third year we have worked with the team at Let’s Get Healthy and we see huge benefits each year.”
Maria Bourke, Managing Director of Let’s Get Healthy, said: “Co-op identified the need to embed health and wellbeing as part of its wider business strategy to invest in its colleagues. This may be a unique topic to cover but bereavement affects every single employee in every single employer across the UK. It’s always great to support thought leading organisations and I am thrilled that the roll out has started across Co-op.”
We hear a lot of talk nowadays about a company’s culture and values. Why are these so important? What do they add to a company? How can we make sure we live by these values?
The core values of a company are the essence of its identity. They are the principles and beliefs which should underlie every decision. In family-owned and owner-managed businesses, the values often reflect the values of the founder. However, many business owners and directors fail to articulate their values. It can be time-consuming to work out what is truly important to you in a business, so why is it worth the effort?
Company values will guide decisions at every level, big and small; it is just as important for the directors to evaluate their strategy against company values as it is for a receptionist to express these company values when answering the phone. A strong value system will enable directors to delegate more – a company’s values will guide many of the decisions its staff have to make.
A strong value system also simplifies decisions. For example, if a company value is “always to put the client first”, and one afternoon you are pressed and find yourself having to decide between doing something urgent for a client, or working on a big pitch taking place the next day for a large new contract, which should you do?
You refer to your values. Decision made! Looking after your current clients’ needs must come first.
A company culture based on clearly articulated values will inspire your workforce. Employees motivated by the company’s values are likely to work to the best of their ability and speed. The number of sick days taken will fall as a culture of teamwork and support for one another builds. Increased loyalty to an inspiring business will improve employee retention and reduce staff turnover.
Strong company values will similarly attract new recruits, who will want to work for a company with meaning and purpose, where they feel they can add real value.
Strong values don’t just make life easier and more enjoyable for those working at the company – they also become a differentiator for the business in the market place. Customers will be attracted to the culture and know what they are getting. The most popular company values are:
Wouldn’t we all be likely to buy from a company delivering on even just three of these values?
A strong culture adds tangibly to the value of a business; when shareholders seek to raise capital or sell their business, they will experience first-hand the importance of a committed and loyal workforce. Investors unfailingly place value on a company’s ability to recruit and retain competent, motivated staff, recognising that this is an indicator of a well-run and successful business.
It is vital to remember that values are caught, not just taught. They have to reflect who we really are – it’s no good the CEO endlessly espousing on values if no one actually lives them out.
It is also a mistake to have too many values, as no-one will be able to remember them all. Three to five is a realistic number, ideally grouped into a memorable acronym. Each value needs to be unpacked and explained regularly so that everyone understands how the values should impact behaviour and decision-making. How about putting them on all your meeting agendas and on the wall in the staff kitchen?
Employees, customers, suppliers, and investors all cry out for a strong company culture; values create enormous value!
The finalists for the 2019 UK Employee Experience Awards have been revealed, with businesses across Britain competing in 19 categories covering every aspect of employee engagement and its impact on overall Customer Experience.
Shortlisted among this year’s crop of finalists are organisations including Octopus Energy, Badoo, and the Holly Private Hospital, to name but a few. All entrants will present to judges on the morning of the event before scoring occurs and category winners announced during a gala lunch.
Along with the category winners, an Overall Winner will be named.
Meanwhile, the judging line-up continues to grow ahead of the finals, and among the names on the panel this year are August CEO Donna O’Toole; author and co-founder of Fit 2 Communicate, Karen Dempster; and Director of Rialto consultancy, Richard Chiumento.
Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “Once again we see a stellar line-up of finalists competing to be the best in each category, and we are incredibly excited to be able to host such a gathering in the heart of London.
“Each year the relevance of the awards grows as Employee Experience rises to become a critical factor for businesses keen to hire the very best staff. The employment landscape is evolving, and these awards reflect this and reward those organisations that truly understand what good Employee Experience can bring to their business, and what it means for their customers.
“On behalf of Awards International I would like to offer a huge congratulations to all of the shortlisted finalists, and wish them good luck ahead of meeting them in London in May.”
Click here to view the full list of category finalists.