HR Directors' Dinner

HR Directors' Dinner - Mental Wellbeing, Flexible Working and Rewarding Staff

Published on 17th March 2020

Last month we were delighted to hold another HRD Dinner for our professional services clients. The dinner was hosted by our Chairman and Co-Founder, Nick Waterworth, who flew in from Sydney especially for the occasion. We were joined by a select group of HRDs and Heads of Resourcing from our legal, accounting, consultancy and property clients.

The dinner provided a fantastic platform for Nick to share some recruitment and market insights from around the globe and for everyone to share some of the challenges and opportunities that exist within the professional services sector.  Here’s a taster of some of the topics discussed:

Mental wellbeing

Unsurprisingly, a major challenge for professional services firms is mental health.

One of the key takeaways from the discussion was the need to normalise it. Getting someone in a leadership position to speak out and share their experience is a great way of achieving this. After all, we’ve all experienced it – either personally or with families and friends.

Good examples of how firms are tackling this issue include introducing an in-house therapist, further training on how to deal and manage mental health and being careful not to reinforce behaviours that increase anxiety.

Flexible/agile working

This is a topic that continues to raise eyebrows.  

From a HR perspective one of the key complexities that have arisen from having more agile workforces is workflow planning. It was suggested that a lot of the flexible and agile working policies in place aren’t working in practice, and that balancing business needs with individual needs is becoming a challenge.

From a recruitment and talent attraction perspective however, it’s clear that firms must support flexible working to secure the best possible talent. Therefore, companies need to continuously review their policies to ensure managers are being trained in how to manage in a more agile and flexible environment.

Rewarding non-fee earning staff

The professional services sector has come a long way in recent times and there are less and less examples of an “us and them” culture with business services and fee-earnings functions.

However, challenges still exist around financially rewarding the performance of non-fee earning staff. One of the key takeaways was that non-financial recognition can be hugely impactful. Those firms who publicly recognise individuals who contribute to the firm’s overall purpose and objectives tend to enjoy better engagement and retention. Aside from that, the power of a simple ‘thank you’ should never be overlooked.

It was a fantastic evening with lots of great discussion – and of course, lots of food and drink! Thanks to everyone who came and contributed.

We are looking forward to hosting another HRD dinner over the summer so if you are interested in attending or hearing more about some of our other leadership events, please do get in touch.


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