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    The sixteenth in the series of PM+M’s ‘Navigating the Now and Next’ virtual panel events took place on Thursday 30 June, facilitating discussion between a panel of speakers on the current challenges faced by businesses and highlighting support, guidance, and best practice to navigate these going forwards.

    Hosted by our very own Neil Welsh, with digital hosting managed by our friends at The Landmark in Burnley, we welcomed panellists:

    Gary Robinson (Blackburn Rovers Community Trust)
    Oli McCann (Napthens LLP)
    Simon Brierley (East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce)
    Lisa Sourbutts (CUBE HR)

    Following the opening introduction and welcome from Neil, Gary Robinson (Blackburn Rovers Community Trust) kicked off proceedings by discussing the important work the charity is currently undertaking within the local community, like hosting the recent Eid prayers on the pitch at Ewood Park which received very positive feedback.

    Gary went on to describe the ever-increasing importance of prioritising employee mental health and wellbeing in times of rising pressure and uncertainty, which has included the introduction of forums, wellbeing calls and the training of staff to increase awareness of the importance of mental health, as well as coping devices for those who may be struggling.

    Oli McCann (Napthens LLP) was up next and discussed the exponential growth of the Napthens team in the past ten years as well as some of the key takeaways from his experience with the firm. From the position of the employer, Oli highlights some of the more desirable qualities in a candidate, besides working hard and being committed, which include being true to yourself and having some front-of-house experience. Excellent interaction skills are key for those in the legal profession, and some would argue they are more valuable than technical skills.

    Next up, Lisa Sourbutts (Cube HR) shared some extremely valuable insights of her experience of recruitment and retention during the so-called ‘great resignation’. Lisa explained how employee engagement and culture are the main areas that need attention to improve staff retention. Businesses should offer some level of personal focus when it comes to supporting their staff to avoid alienating individuals, as not all team members will have the same issues and needs. By adopting a better company culture, staff are encouraged to speak more freely of their issues, letting employers draft up a plan of action, before it’s too late.

    Steering the conversation back to recruitment, Lisa advised it was much better to be proactive and have a succession plan in place, than run the risk of having to react every time a team member hands in their notice. Lisa also suggested that businesses may benefit from being quicker at making decisions during the interview process, or at least keeping the candidate informed of realistic timelines.  Gathering feedback from successful candidates on their experience during the recruitment process can also be useful in providing key insights into improving your methods.

    Our final panellist, Simon Brierley (East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce) added further valuable insights into the topic of culture and retention by sharing one of the most challenging moments he has experienced in a previous role. In a time where 2BR (a previous business Simon worked with as a radio presenter) was getting ready to merge elsewhere, rather than rushing to leave the business to find new jobs, Simon found that staff members stayed for the final few months and were working hard to outperform any of the previous achievements made by the business. The experience goes to show that a great company culture will be reflected by a great team.

    Neil brought the panel discussion to a close and opened the floor to the audience, with additional comments and thoughts from Ceri Dixon (PM+M), Andy Platt (Simply Corporate), Azeem Khan (Gemini GRP) and Claire Rhodes (The Landmark), before thanking Claire for hosting the event.

    If anyone would like to be introduced to members of the panel or audience, included in the invite for next month’s event or wish to speak to one of the PM+M team about our services, please get in touch with Neil Welsh via the button below.


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