Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Employee engagement, Wei and Lambeth dining

The traffic was appalling;and though I allowed plenty of time for the crucial pre meeting networking I was late for my event at No 10. Fortunately arriving just in advance of PM.

It was the launch of the taskforce on employee engagement which ACEVO has been strongly supporting and involved in. Of course the room was stuffed with the great and the good of the commercial and public sectors. The likes of Gus and Philip Green and the CEOs of SERCO, Lloyds etc.

I must say the PM was looking chipper- joking about the Cabinet meeting he was going to and then, of course Libya ! He even congratulated Brendan Barber for his successful March and rally on Saturday!

There was an interesting discussion on how to engage employees and how important that is for productivity and innovation. I think this is one area where both sectors can learn from us: both from how we engage with staff who may not be amongst the best paid in the country , and our huge volunteer workforce.

I suggested that this was partly because of the major alignment of our people with mission and the ethics and integrity of their organisations, but also because of leadership. Strangely, up to that point no one had actually mentioned the importance of leadership, as Philip Green ( not that one! ) commented on later , suggesting how interesting it was the third sector were the first to mention how that element is crucial.

Although I do think the sector is better than most I also know we can take employee engagement for granted. So we are going to work with the taskforce to drive this up the agenda in the third sector.

Then it was onto a very enjoyable lunch with Lord Nat Wei; charming, and on issues like social finance, very on the ball. We talked about how the sector can best maximise access to tendering opportunities, the need for consortia and capitalisation.

Then back to the office where we were getting some hassle from councils we had named and shamed in The Times story that morning. A good piece by Jill Sherman, speculating on whether Pickles will go further than his strong speech on councils not making disproportionate cuts to the sector by giving statutory guidance.

And the evening rounds off with a marvellous Lambeth dinner party with old friends; at the home of no less than 2 ACEVO members; Deborah Arnott ,the champion of non smoking and Jon Davies,who has been around our sector for some time and is currently going for a range of interesting sector CEO posts. They had asked their neighbours; Clare Gerada , the President of the Royal College of GPs and Lord Matthew Oakeshot, scourge of the wretched bankers and their bonuses!

Inevitably talk turned to Andrew Lansley and the NHS reforms....

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