With the pandemic in our midst, it was a hard decision to make for those behind the Talent Summit- Should it go ahead or should it wait?
For Talent Summit Founder and chief commercial officer of Sigmar Recruitment, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, his decision to proceed was clearly the right one. With an attendance growth of 100% percent in comparison to last year, it was clear to him that it was now more than ever that people needed a conference on building better workplaces and work lives in an increasingly complex world of work. 2000 people attended the virtual event from 26 countries. “It has become much more about the human experience than employee experience,” Robert said.
Robert’s highlight from yesterday was when Ryan Smith, Founder & Executive Chairman at Qualtrics won the Dermot Costello Outstanding Leadership award. When Ryan was asked how he was influenced by Dermot, he said that when he was a young CEO he was frightened but he felt with Dermot that he always had an arm around him. For Robert, this is exactly the kind of work culture every leader and company should adopt as we move towards a new way of working.
Research commissioned for the summit by Sigmar and the insurance group AON found that 22 percent are expected to work full-time remotely. While 44 percent will opt for a hybrid model.
“Work culture is less about the place, artifacts, and frills but more about ideology, values, and substance of work”, Robert said. But there are 2 big risks of full-time remote work;
- If companies don’t deeply consider the communication and structure of workflows.
- If leadership teams decide to go to the office, people gravitate to positions of power, and people who opt for a hybrid model rather than a solely remote work model might benefit more from that managerial capital creating biases and disconnections in the workplace.
“If you choose remote work that’s a double-ended sword, certain things won’t be available to you, proximity, resources etc.” he said. “We run the risk of introducing new institutional biases which become a major problem for our workforce,” he continued.
Mental Health and working from home
“Person first, player second, that’s what we must adopt,” said Robert. In the same survey, it showed that mental health and wellbeing are the number one priority for employers in the year ahead.
With over ten years of experience in this field, Sigmar takes pride in the fact that it was an early adopter in addressing mental health in the workplace.
“At lunchtime today, for example, we completed our latest wellbeing challenge which is the circumference of the world by steps. We achieved it yesterday and it brought us back to the Convention Centre before the 10th anniversary of the Talent Summit.”
Previously Sigmar took part in Sig marathons which was a collective run, cycle, and swim from their offices all around the world. They also have continued with boxing classes and yoga for their employees.
Content is another aspect of how Sigmar aims to improve mental health in the workplace such as speakers and apps like PepTalk, this is wellbeing enabled to enhance employee communication. “We invest in this, we participate and we set the tone. We’re very open about psychological safety.” Robert said.