It’s February and we’re well into 2024. So we all got together for a pre-booked day to reflect on our achievements, nurture teamwork, and plan improvements in our service.
We took time-out from repairing buildings, so we could cover ‘Communication’, ‘Teamwork’ and have some fun. Breakfast first, and then a presentation via Flagship Partners, who’s managing Director Peter Rushmer, was on hand to deliver a insightful and fun session for the entire team. As we approach our third year of employee ownership, we’ve experienced some of the inherent challenges, which come with leadership change. Pete has direct experience in helping firms manage this. Potential confusion, stress, and anxieties must be watched for. They are similar to those in a management ‘buy-out’ scenario, of the kind many business founders include in their succession plans.
Our founders want all employees to share in the company’s fortunes, without the need to raise money to buy shares. So whilst an employee ownership model is very different to a buy-out in that way, the changes in management and such, are broadly similar. It’s essential that owner-employees are supported, and mentored throughout. Feedback from our team was great, Pete is an engaging and expert trainer, who inspires, with an inclusive delivery. We’ll certainly ask him for further advice and assistance. Why do this – so we can carry on being the best team our customers could choose to work with.
Mental Health with Andysmanclub
After lunch we turned to mental health at work, and home. Our team is predominantly male, so it was Andysmanclub’s, Andy Bampton next. Andy is a project development champion with Andy’s. I challenge anyone to watch his presentation without coming away much-moved by it. We are full of admiration for Andy’s, and the people behind the scenes, who drive it forward.
Andy used a combination of short videos, stories from stakeholders, and his own experience to guide us. Interaction with the guys was used to great effect. As a result, our awareness of the issues around male suicide and poor mental health is much improved. We’re so glad and grateful for the visit. Andy left us with cards to hand to any men we may meet who could be referred to the club. Any male over 18 years old is welcome to come along on Monday nights. There are many venues across the UK. There’s even an online club for those in remote areas.
Talking is not mandatory, listening is. Andy’s is non-judgmental and inclusive. Allowing men a safe space to talk about their problems and worries, it saves lives. It give guys a better chance of happiness too. Some are desperate, others are anxious, lonely, or just need to get something off their chest. A few are just curious. All are welcome. For a list of venues follow this link to Andysmanclub web site.
Our employee owners share profits with worthy charities, holding a annual ballot to choose those we can help. This is how we chose Andy’s, to receive a donation of £1900 from the Brick-Tie Preservation 2023 profits. #itsgoodtotalk
Giving employees a voice – and responding
Our employee trustee, Sian Hamilton was next up, to hold a session dedicated to listening. Employee opinion and ideas is on the agenda. These regular meetings are out-of-bounds to directors, because they are for the benefit of employees, and are a way to harness their thoughts and feelings, free of ‘bosses’ overhearing them. However, our founder was invited to chat with the team for a few minutes beforehand.
Bryan spoke about the past year, and his hopes and aspirations for them. He described how the leadership team has evolved to better represent the employees. Hence David Gill’s appointment to the board of directors. Bryan was able to reassure everyone, that whilst his and Julie’s hours are much reduced, as they slide towards retirement – they are still guiding and mentoring, to promote a sustainable future – and have some fun. With a combined 74 years at the helm, this experience is valuable. It wont be lost, just passed on, and improved. After this, Bryan and Julie were promptly shut out 🙂
Sian then writes an anonymised review, delivered to the board jointly. Are the meetings “Just a talking shop”? No, Sian skillfully draws out the group opinion, sifting out individual points of self-interest. Everyone is listened to, but the object is to find the communal voice. Sian’s report is valuable for us because we are a company run for the benefit of employees, and customers. We can’t guess what’s best for them – we have to ask, and then deliver!
Last session of the day was our weekly debrief of completed projects, and those which are booked-in – our work is never done!
Looking for help and advice on leadership and management? Try Flagship Partners.