Thursday Brunch: what did we learn?

Article By
Emily Allen
Emily Allen
Posted On25th November 2021
Posted On25th November 2021

Thursday Brunch: what did we learn. Find out everything you need to know about the #1 networking event in the UK – Thursday Brunch!

Thursday Brunch is jointly organised and hosted by re:find, the incredible Stuart and Tony from Masgroves, tech whizzes BVU and event experts Eventologists. We have a brand new website you can check out here.

This month’s instalment of Thursday Brunch was looking at what employers can do to ‘fight back’ and retain their talent:

The Great Resignation or The Great Retention?

Since the pandemic, employees are leaving or switching jobs in droves. A Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers showed that 41% are considering quitting or changing professions this year, and another study of the UK and Ireland by Personio says 38% plan to quit in the next six months to a year.

“We all say: ‘People are my most important asset‘, then we recruit in a rush. With 90 applications, the focus becomes getting rid of 60. But that’s not your job. Your job is to find the diamonds in the sand – to find the talent that no one else sees.”

Our three brilliant guests were:

Glenn Elliott, quoted above, founded Reward Gateway in 2006, a company he ran for 12 years. During that time, Reward Gateway grew to over 400 staff servicing over 2,000 clients from 6 offices in the UK, Bulgaria, USA and Australia. Now, he is Entrepreneur In Residence at Tenzing Private Equity having sold Reward Gateway in 2017. At Tenzing, his job is “to help companies grow” and he has some innovative thoughts and ideas on successful hiring in a candidate-driven market. All based on recent personal experience! 

Jo Taylor has worked in Talent Management and Organisational Development (OD) for over 25 years, but she started her career at the BBC as a storyteller! Six years ago, Jo launched Let’s Talk Talent who deliver a wide range of Talent Management and OD projects for global clients like Wagamama, Liverpool FC and The AA. Their aim? To make organisations irresistible by unlocking their people potential ensuring people at every level thrive.

George Bettany co-founded Sanctus in 2016 with his best mate and business partner, James Routledge after their previous business closed. They both struggled with their mental health, which led them to set up the kind of business they wished they could have turned to for help. A business like Sanctus. Sanctus want to create a world where mental health is viewed the same as physical health. And to put the world’s first mental health gyms on the high street! Red Bull, Just Eat and Peakon are just some of the brands they work with.

What were the main takeaways from this session?

  • Start with really great job adverts, be honest and put a whole load of people off – so the people applying are really excited by the opportunity.
  • Create your businesses story and make sure everyone knows their place in it.
  • Look after your mental health: pause, reflect and acknowledge where you need support.

Who killed employee engagement?

In 2018, HBR estimated companies were spending over $720 million each year on employee engagement – projected to rise to over $1.5 billion. There is no doubt, employee engagement is big business. But why is the dial not moving? 

Because it has been bastardised. So, who is to blame?

We had three incredible guests joining us:

William Kahn is professor of organisational behaviour at Boston University Questrom School of Business. However he’s regarded as the “Founding Father of Employee Engagement,” a label he strenuously refutes. Yet there is no doubt he changed the world of work with his research titled: “Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work”.

Blaire Palmer is a world authority on the changing face of leadership and work. An author, speaker, coach, consultant and commentator on future trends in business, Blaire shares her funny, insightful and challenging ideas about leadership and change with audiences around the globe, inspiring them to find ways to start running their companies in partnership with their people, lose the ego around leadership and re-think what leaders are here for in the post-Industrial Age.

Cliff Ettridge leads the employee engagement offer at The Team, delivering projects for clients such as IBM, RBS, Three and the BBC. Prior to joining The Team, Cliff headed internal communications at The Body Shop International, was creative director at Banner McBride, then the sole employee engagement consultancy within WPP.

And the main takeaways from this session?

  • Leaders must be aware of employees psychological safety.
  • Listen, with a willingness to change your mind.
  • Be obsessive with it – do it every day.

Business as unusual

Even before the pandemic, some companies had found a different way. A different way of thinking. A different way of doing. A different way of being. If 2020 has taught us to ask anything, surely it is this: How do we do business as unusual?

Our three champions of business as unusual were:

Nathalie Nahai is an international speaker, author and consultant, who explores the intersection between persuasive technology, ethics and the psychology behind evolving consumer behaviours. 

Luke Kyte is Head of Culture at Reddico and firmly believes traditional business structures are dying.

Gethin Nadin is an award-winning psychologist who has been helping some of the world’s largest organisations to improve their employee experience and wellbeing for two decades. He is also Director of Wellbeing at Benefex where he leads their thought leadership in the market.

And the main takeaways from this session?

  • Value your employees, listen to them, find out what makes them perform best.
  • Clarify your values and purpose, make sure it’s clear.
  • Empathise and sympathise, ensure psychological safety.

You can watch the full session here:

Scandinavians do “it” better (it = work)

The happiest countries in the world were recently announced, and all of the Scandinavian countries are in the top ten! Again. With Finland number one. Again. We want to ask what is it “they” do to lead such happy lives – at home and at work. Because we believe Scandinavians do both, better.

Our three brilliant Scandi guests were:

Rasmus Ankersen is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, speaker on performance development and a trusted advisor to businesses and athletes around the world.

Natasha Holland is a creative, collaborative change management consultant, helping organisations deliver remarkable results with happier humans.

Alexander Stephanou is Chief Commercial Officer at Open, a Copenhagen-based employee communication agency. Open work with some of Europe’s largest companies including Arla, Carlsberg and Maersk as well as global players such as Microsoft and Du Pont.

So what were the main takeaways from this session? 

  • Work-life balance – this was reiterated by all three guests. Be efficient during work time, then enjoy time outside of work with family and friends.
  • Trust first – give people the benefit of the doubt and don’t try to control too much, you’ll be happier for it.
  • Be more democratic – challenge helps innovation, so embrace it. (Even though it can be tough!) 

You can watch the full session here:

George Floyd: one year on

The killing of George Floyd on 25th May 2020 reverberated around the world. He was arrested after allegedly buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, George Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

One year on, what has changed? At the time, his killing resonated far beyond Minnesota where he died and disrupted politics, business, culture and sports. It sparked debate across Europe. Sports stars still take the knee. And his dying words – “I can’t breathe” – remains a parable for America’s racial story and a rallying cry for action.

Our three guests are pioneers of diversity and inclusion:

Nichol Whiteman – Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), which tackles the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice.

Eugenio Pirri is Chief People and Culture Officer and global diversity champion at Dorchester Collection, a portfolio of the world’s foremost luxury hotels in Europe and the USA.

Catherine Garrod is the founder of Compelling Culture, following a career in media and telecoms, where she led Sky to be named the most inclusive employer in the UK.

So what were the main takeaways from this session? 

  • Focus on an inclusive culture – and ask your employees for their honest views.
  • Be proactive, not reactive, and be intentional in your actions.
  • Education, communication and celebration: the 3 pillars of inclusivity.
  • Ensure that the people making the decisions are a complete mix, so everyone brings different ideas and challenges each other.
  • Provide compelling data, so your teams know what they need to work on to improve.

You can watch the full session here:

2021 AD: How will we work After the ‘Demic?

For many, 2020 was the year when “home” became “work.” Millions joined those who have ‘WFH’d’ for years – like small business owners, freelancers and sole traders. To say some have found it tough is an understatement. It has also been tough for companies to flip how they operate, literally overnight.

Now light is at the end of the tunnel, we look to life after the pandemic:

  • What will the world look like?
  • How do we rebuild?
  • Will things ever be normal again?

We got the views of three leading thinkers:

Tom Goodwin – #1 Voice in marketing on LinkedIn globally, with over 700,000 followers and currently sits on the World Economic Forum’s Future of Workboard.

Rebecca Seal  is an award-winning food, drink, lifestyle and personal development writer.

Marco Bertozzi was until recently Vice President EMEA and Multi-market Global Sales at Spotify.

So what were the main takeaways from this session? 

  • Focus on ourselves and what’s important to us and be more optimisic.
  • Look after ourselves when working from home by eating well, working in daylight, taking regular breaks and not sitting for too long – ‘sitting is the new smoking’.
  • Go “all-in” and embrace what’s happened and look at the benefits to carry on post-pandemic.
  • Trust your teams.

You can watch the full session here:

Mental health strategies for a crazy world.

The statistics on mental health are widely known. What is less well known are the strategies to adopt to respond to a growing workplace challenge. And the scale of the challenge becomes even greater as more of us struggle with the pandemic.

  • Deloitte say poor mental health in the workplace is equivalent to almost 2% of UK GDP (in 2016)
  • The cost ranges from £497 to £2,564 per employee depending on the industry and sector
  • The return on investment of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive, with an average ROI of 4:1

We look for answers with three of the leading thinkers on wellbeing: David Beeney from Breaking the Silence; ex-professional footballer, Drewe Broughton; and founder of The Performance Club, Stacy Thomson. What did we learn?

  • Kindness and wellbeing have a significant impact on culture and the engagement of colleagues.
  • Our brain is our most powerful tool, yet we are not taught how we can manage it to get the best out of it
  • The fear of failure and constantly striving for perfection are massive contributors to poor mental health.

You can watch the whole session here:

The joy or serotonin: why happiness matters.

Human happiness has a positive effect on productivity, organisational success, and a whole host of other things too. Here are some ‘stats’ to back that up.

  • Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%.
  • Employees who report being happy at work take X10 fewer sick days.
  • And happy salespeople produce 37% more sales.

Most leaders want happier workplaces – but aren’t sure where to begin or how to achieve it. Hear from three guests who will share practical tips and advice to make your workplace more than just colourful walls and a few free snacks in the fridge!

You can see what our three great guests –  neuroscientist, Amy Brann; author of “Freedom to be Happy: The Business Case for Happiness” Matt Phelan; and David Bellamy, founder and CEO of Happiness Lab – had to say, watch the recording here:

Thursday Brunch 2020

We ran three virtual Thursday Brunch events in 2020. The final Thursday Brunch of the year was a controversial subject that had a mixed response – How to thrive without HR:

Can companies not only survive but thrive without a formal Human Resources function?

Is it possible?
Is it legal?
Is it commercially savvy?

What a great event it was, some really thought-provoking and inspiring discussion with our 3 guests, PTHR’s Perry Timms, Brave Goose co-founder and radical truth-teller C-J Green and Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations.

If you missed it, here is the full show:

If you would like to chat with the guys at Masgroves and BVU about hosting an event like this for your business, they’d love to hear from you. Just give them a call on 012 1369 9631.

Thursday Brunch 2019

We ran three live events in 2019, the final event in November was the best, with over 60 attendees, a line-up of fantastic speakers and our hosts – Stuart and Tony from Masgroves – really knocked it out of the park!

For this Thursday Brunch, we gathered together to discuss ‘What leaders want, an alternative look at employee engagement’.

In the absence of a video recording to share, here is a roundup of what we learnt:

Don’t get too intellectual about it!

We can get too intellectual about engagement at times – particularly when it comes to company purpose.

You cannot just create purpose and expect people to care about it. It’s about helping people understand what’s important to them and then find some alignment to that.

If you work on a production line and do the same process 20 times a day, do you care about purpose or do you just want to get your job done?

Some people want to come into work, work hard and go home and there’s nothing wrong with that! Shoving engagement down someone’s throat isn’t going to make them engaged.

Keep it simple

The employer/employee deal has skewed. A lot of it is being driven by what we see on LinkedIn that other people are doing, rather than what the business and employees need and want.

Not asking what people want is a huge mistake. Doing initiatives that you think people will like rather than what they actually want is a risk. By doing things people haven’t asked for, it can disengage on a number of levels.

Every business is individual – dogs at work and beer fridges are great, but that doesn’t mean that is what your people want. Keep an eye on the basics and go with your gut on what will work.

For example – your IT hardware is hugely out of date. Are people more likely to leave your business because you don’t have a beer fridge, or because you haven’t invested in a decent enough laptop and operating system for them to do their job effectively?

Create psychological safety

Create an environment where people feel comfortable saying things that are unpopular and challenge the status quo. Creating an open environment where people can say what they mean is key, as is creating space and time to have those conversations. Tell stories about people challenging things within the business – put them on a pedestal. We need diversity of thought – the conversation may not lead anywhere, but let’s celebrate the fact the conversation was had.

To learn about all our upcoming events for 2021, you can sign up here.

And don’t forget to check out our new website here.

Thursday Brunch is jointly organised and hosted by re:find Interim & Executive Search, BVU and Masgroves.  

If you would like to chat with the guys at Masgroves and BVU about hosting an event like this for your business, they’d love to hear from you. Just give them a call on 012 1369 9631.

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