The virtual world left many a gap in the workplace, including that of water cooler chats, impromptu meetings, and the ability to breakdown hierarchical structures with management having an office presence.

With a significant part of CHR’s growth taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, this presented a question mark over how it would be possible to glean relevant and important information and thoughts from the individuals who are so critical for the growth and success of the business and our culture.

Then the Employee Forum was formed. The purpose, to give a voice to the employees that is independently led by staff outside of leadership.

With two team members at the helm, led by Senior Consultant Simon Vanstone, the Employee Forum became a platform for staff to anonymously provide feedback and ideas to the leadership of the company. Throughout Q4 last year, around 20 sessions were held between team members and the Employee Forum leads. These sessions were made up of around five employees per session, who were all presented with the same four questions:

What’s something a colleague did recently that had a positive impact?
What is it that is fun, interesting, or stimulating at work?
What has been your biggest challenge in the last 3 months?
What resources would help you succeed in your role?

Hearing the answers to these questions, from colleagues across the different business functions and offices, allowed key themes and issues to be identified. These were then presented directly to the CHR Board of Directors. This process really engaged individuals throughout the business, highlighted some interesting topics, and sparked some stimulating discussions. This feedback has helped the Board and the Senior Management Group (SMG) to better understand the team and focus their efforts in addressing issues which are key for our team both now and for the long term.

Employee Forum lead and Senior Consultant Simon Vanstone says “It was great getting to engage the entire company and understand the successes and challenges that colleagues are facing in their roles. This form of group interview was far richer than an online questionnaire for gaining feedback, especially as we could probe details or vague points. Also, it was great to get so many ideas and suggestions, from those who joined a few months ago, to some of our most experienced staff.

We were able to collate and take these directly to the Board of Directors in two separate meeting. They were receptive to the findings and immediately pushed to initiate several high priority workstreams that will begin to deliver results for the business and the team in late February and onwards. It was also great to share on behalf of the team all the positive aspects of working at CHR, from the variety of the work to the opportunity to progress, and the supportive and collaborative environment.

Most importantly the feedback generated through the Employee Forum was not only used to inform the Board and SMG, but it has directly contributed to improving and shaping our onboarding program, recruitment, internal training initiatives, and plans for social activities

We [The employee forum] have now set up a direct two-way line of communication between the team and board and we’ll continue to work together for success as the company grows.”

CEO Matteo Perucchini says “As a company we thrive on teamwork, personal connections and strong camaraderie, these are at the core of our culture and the coronavirus pandemic could have had a devastating impact on it. Despite all the challenges of the past two years, we have protected our culture and remained connected, we built new relationships and we continued to develop and evolve as a business. During the pandemic we doubled the size of our business, we gained new clients and most importantly we continued to build our team. Although the Employee Forum is only the latest of a range of initiatives that we have introduced over the past two years, it’s a critical one and the extremely high level of engagement in this initiative across the business is testament of our culture and our values. I look forward to working with the Employee Forum in the future to continue shaping our culture and build the future of CHR.”

We are looking forward to the Employee Forum being an initiative that we carry into the future of CHR and that this positive outcome was not a one off. The Employee Forum will be engaging with the team and the Board on a regular basis, and we look forward to what changes are to come in the near future from this.