Fran Driver, Head of Quality and Corporate Assurance, ECL
As leaders we are in a truly privileged position to be able to help shape the current and future workforce and business. From my own perspective, my leadership style has been shaped by those I have worked with, and for, throughout my career. I’ve been lucky to have worked with inspirational, passionate people and this has certainly rubbed off on me, contributing to how I lead.
To me, being a leader means being present and listening to our workforce and customers. I believe that you should never think you are more important than the next person. When you work alongside people rather than in front, you get real and honest feedback and some of the best ideas.
As leaders our job is to support and invest in the next generation. A great leader nurtures their team to overtake them to become great leaders themselves. This takes time, when there are many competing demands it’s not always easy but ensuring that you plan time for this is important. People leave managers not their company, so making the time to be a good leader is fundamental to staff retention.
You can’t create the next generation of leaders if you don’t invest in training and development. ECL invests in our staff with a comprehensive training programme, providing opportunities to develop career pathways in all roles. This results in the vast majority of staff being promoted from within.
The two things I hold dear are the importance of leading by example and listening. These both go a long way towards motivating a team and making them feel valued. ECL’s core values are teamwork, excellence, integrity and caring and I ensure I demonstrate these across everything I do – how can I expect the same from others if I am not displaying and fostering the values myself?
Listening comes in many forms within ECL, such as regular one to one’s, team meetings, quarterly department-wide meetings and our annual staff survey. The staff survey is anonymous to allow staff to be completely open and honest. We take this incredibly seriously and each year we pick key areas for improvement from the findings. Using the feedback from frontline roles to shape the business, which results in progression in each of our services.
One of the outcomes from last year was to improve how we support those staff going through the Menopause. We are currently designing new Menopause friendly uniforms to support our menopause policy and learning programme.
In my role as Head of Quality and Corporate Assurance, working with colleagues to ensure we provide a great service to those we support is key, and this is driven by giving the leaders of tomorrow a voice. I bring our leaders from across the company together through our Quality Improvement Forums, which provide the opportunity to reflect and learn together. We use this opportunity to reflect on practice and identify areas for improvement to achieve ‘excellence’ across all services. It’s this reflection and learning that ensures that we are the best that we can be to provide person-centred support to our customers to live independently.
Consistently learning and improving and being a great place to work, results in passionate, dedicated staff who are inspired to live our values and strive to be our next generation of leaders.
But how do you retain these great assets? Having inspiring leaders that listen and lead by example helps, but you’ve got to offer a great package too. We do this by paying a competitive hourly rate, providing additional support payments to help with things like the increasing costs of living, offering flexible working options, training and progression opportunities as well as a comprehensive health and wellbeing scheme.