Experts in flexible working, workplace culture and employee wellness have met in Bristol at an event designed to showcase the future of work.
Called The Irresistible Organisation, the event featured input from thought leaders and a panel of experts at the coalface of the evolving demands on the modern workplace.
It was jointly hosted by flexible working consultancy Flexology, workplace culture experts Hello Performance and wellness specialists Discover Your Bounce, all based in Bristol.
Attendees and organisers addressed the challenges of recruiting, retaining and motivating a workforce, focusing on the role of company culture, on talent management and new ways of working, and on wellbeing in the workplace.
The event was held in the offices of law firm DAC Beachcroft in Portwall Place, Bristol and was attended by more than 40 delegates from large and small organisations around the city.
Among those with stories to tell were legal services company DAS UK Group, who have rolled out a UK-wide wellness programme called WellWise which incorporated presentations and events hosted by Discover Your Bounce.
Event hosts DAC Beachcroft have been through a process to define and design their workplace culture over the last few years and have worked with Hello Performance in their Bristol office on core skills such as ‘feedback’ and ‘managing difficult conversations’.
Kristal McNamara, director at Flexology, said: “We wanted to create this event, with our partners, to focus on culture, talent and wellbeing in the workplace as these are themes that we know businesses struggle with.
“Unemployment is at an all-time low and competition for the best people is a huge challenge, with CIPD research finding that 67% of organisations currently hiring say high skilled vacancies are proving difficult to fill. Staff turnover is rising and mental health issues are also on the increase.
“It’s a difficult time for businesses and also for staff. We hear stories every day from the challenges facing people across Bristol and the South West – the interview bias they have experienced; that they were overlooked for promotion; that their role lacks purpose; that they don’t feel represented or have a career path with their employer.
“With research finding that a third of employees say they are not motivated at work, often blaming lack of progression and poor senior management communication, it’s important that businesses have the tools to overcome these challenges.
“This event aimed to tackle these challenges head-on. We wanted to enable leaders to take meaningful actions back to their businesses, as well as creating a panel discussion to share insight, experience and debate from business leaders across Bristol and the South West.”
Among those sitting on the panel discussion at The Irresistible Organisation were: Susan Durbin, Professor of Employment Studies and Human Resource Management at UWE’s Business School; Caitlin Kirwan, Internal Communications and Engagement Manager at DAS UK Group; James Reed, Partner at DAC Beachcroft; and Alan Bec a social entrepreneur and speaker who has designed a tool called The Wellbeing Indicator Badge.
Flexology are pleased to be partnering with panellist Professor Durbin, who has gained British Academy/Leverhulme funding for research into reduced hours, working amongst senior managers and executives – event attendees who work reduced hours in these roles were invited to take part.
Nicky Marshall, director at Discover Your Bounce, said: “Our company was founded in response to the biggest epidemic business had seen in the last 50 years: stress. To combat it, focusing on an area like mental health is great, but working on mind, body, spirit and vision provides a longer term, thorough solution that will lead to happier people and a healthy bottom line.
“We take a holistic view when working with people, knowing that life doesn’t happen in compartments. Therefore, when looking at a business it makes sense to include culture and working patterns as a part of the wellbeing of people.”
Marita Howell, director at Hello Performance, said: “We all inherently understand the benefits of a thriving workplace culture but often fail to recognise the early warning signals which indicate that there may be cultural challenges ahead.
“Culture can often feel rather abstract but in reality, it stems from a few simple principles. The sizzle factor comes from how well equipped an organisation is to manage, develop and grow these elements and allowing them to live and breathe. Done well, management of culture, talent and wellbeing really will help you take steps towards forming an Irresistible Organisation.”