In October 2022, we took time to regroup as an organisation, connect with new colleagues, and provide another route for feedback to reach the Senior Management Team.
ElectraLink employees, including myself, already followed a hybrid working model several days a week before COVID-19 required extended periods of working from home (WFH). The lockdowns highlighted how valuable WFH is for maintaining productivity while improving work-life balance.
The business also grew during the pandemic, meaning some leavers and loads of new starters. While hybrid working requirements continue to evolve for us, visibility of new starters remains essential for a sense of community, collaboration, trust and room for growth. On a similar note, a change to our ways of working has meant we have had to change policies and processes.
ElectraLink’s first-ever People Conference took place on Thursday, 13 October 2022, at Church House in Westminster. We used this event to combine ideas as the world witnesses a permanent change to culture in the workplace after the pandemic disrupted our ways of working.
On the day, after my introductory remarks with a short icebreaker, the conference started with teams presenting to their colleagues. Each team explained in their own way how they saw themselves aligning with ElectraLink’s overarching vision, gave a clearer view of what their individual roles and responsibilities were, and made use of props, games and some impressive video and animation concepts.
We discussed employee engagement, communication and wellbeing in the following session where we covered flexibility and collaboration. The aim of this session was to collect feedback on how ElectraLink’s approach to flexible and hybrid working has played out and gather ideas from employees on ways to improve, to benefit colleagues and customers.
Both sessions were eye-opening and inspiring. The amount of teamwork, thinking, effort, reflection and creativity everyone showed clearly demonstrates that ElectraLink is an organisation of committed thinkers and doers, keen to try new things and face up to challenges.
After lunch, Lizzie Benton from Liberty Mind guided us through a session on culture and how we interact with colleagues. Part of this session at the People Conference saw table groups discussing their green (motivating) and red (demotivating) buttons in the workplace, strengths and weaknesses in their roles, and places where others can provide support intuitively.
This discussion was another eye-opener for me. My colleagues at the table, in various departments and differing levels of seniority, were extremely open, honest, self-reflective and trusting when revealing their answers to the questions guiding our conversation. It was an encouraging sign of trust and comfort among people in a work context, visibly intent on building connection and a shared purpose rather than isolated self-preservation.
Next up was a presentation on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) from Director of Diversity and Engagement, Amelia Heatley, and Director of Legal and Commercial, Rachel Ollis. This was another interactive session where table groups contributed their perspectives and expectations for EDI at ElectraLink. EDI is a significant focus for our business vision, as well as our objective to leave a wider impact on inclusion in the UK’s energy workforce.
Comments from this session were recorded and will contribute to our upcoming EDI strategy. EDI is an ever-changing consideration for businesses, and we will publish our first attempt for public feedback and improvement next year, on top of updating the strategy as market and social conditions shift.
The conference ended in the best possible way: by celebrating our colleagues for their achievements over the years. Nine awards were handed out for categories including long service, teamwork and individual efforts. The remaining six awards were themed according to our new Values and Behaviours Framework – a set of characteristics which have become firmly embedded in the organisation this year as we have internally defined how we should treat ourselves, our customers and our co-workers. I’d like to congratulate everyone who was nominated for and won an award.
The People Conference was an extremely valuable checkpoint for us as a business after the pandemic changed our world for good. We have made huge progress with our internal culture while customer-facing projects and activities have run at a high standard. The conference also marks a culmination of our efforts to knock down siloes between internal teams, facilitate collaboration across business units, and deliver a joined-up, high value offering to the energy market.
Words by CEO Dan Hopkinson