“Organisations reap the benefits”
“BBC Children in Need’s vision is that every young person should be given the chance to reach their full potential. Time and time again, we see that given the right support, children and young people can overcome obstacles in their lives and go on to achieve amazing things. Improved access to opportunities like this can empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups, broadening their horizons and extending their life choices—this is at the heart of everything we do.
Organisations can also reap the benefits when they engage with a young, diverse talent pool; there are clear opportunities to understand and learn from today’s young people, who represent the next generation of leaders. Taking time to invest in future organisational talent is vital for any organisation that wants to thrive and make a difference in these uncertain times. It’s equally true for the commercial or the charitable world.
For me and for BBC Children in Need, we need future talent to help lead us through this ever changing and increasingly complex environment but more importantly to spot, create and make the best of the opportunities. The opportunities are rich and diverse and our investment in and support of leadership talent needs to reflect this. I was lucky enough to have someone take time and invest in me at an early stage in my leadership career and that’s why I think it’s important to offer the same as CEO of BBC Children in Need.”
Simon Antrobus is CEO of BBC Children in Need.
“A fresh way of looking at things”
“When I stepped into the role of CEO at Avanade in September, one of the first things I did was formally reintroduce our company’s purpose, the reason we do what we do. Avanade’s company purpose is to make a genuine human impact, something that is personal to me and more important to companies today than ever.
I was thinking about this earlier this year when our CEO Emeritus Adam Warby spent a day with a Generation Z young woman as part of Odgers Berndtson’s CEOx1Day programme. Our young guest CEO, Imogen Orchard, said one of the most important things she would be looking for in a company would be a strong sense of corporate citizenship. To me, that aligned instantly with our purpose.
Imogen’s perspective benefited us in two ways. Research tells us that working for a company they can believe in is especially important to Generation Z. When given the chance, they will choose a company whose purpose they can believe in. In fact, the 2019 Global Talent Trends report, as reported in The Guardian, indicated that 74% of candidates want a job where they feel their work matters. As a people-driven organisation that is constantly recruiting, this is important for us to know.
At an even deeper level, as a technology company, it is easy to get lost in the magic of what we can do for our clients and their customers. We can make their business processes faster, more efficient and accurate. We can show our clients how a digital transformation can help them reach their most ambitious business objectives. It’s what we do. Imogen and our company purpose remind us that what we do is important.
We at Avanade look forward to participating CEOx1Day again this year. I’m confident that once again my partner CEO will bring us valuable perspectives and a fresh way of looking at things. I’m looking forward to talking with her or him about the importance of purpose in companies today and how we are incorporating our purpose into every aspect of our business.”
Pamela Maynard is CEO of Avanade.
“The really important factor is the cultural commitment”
“Over the course of my career I’ve come to recognise three factors that need to be in place in any organisation to help it make the best use of its talented female employees: organisational flexibility, proper personal support and a real cultural commitment to diversity. Now, as a CEO, I recognise my responsibility to influence all three.
I was fortunate that I didn’t have to choose between my career and having a family because my employer at the time, another high street bank, went beyond the HR policies it had in place to ensure I had maximum flexibility in how I organised my working week. As my career progressed, I also found the personal support available from successful female mentors invaluable. And now I realise that, while sometimes it can be exceptional executives and directors that inspire women into leadership, most of the time the really important factor is the organisation’s overall cultural commitment.
I’m taking part in CEOx1Day because it gives me an opportunity to provide someone with the type of support that I’ve benefited from in the past. It will also help me to focus my attention on what support aspiring young women need today, to be the best talent in organisations tomorrow.
Being able to work flexibly, which I enjoyed early in my career, is now almost commonplace. The challenge for CEO’s today is to ensure that their organisations reflect the new needs of women leaving education or returning to work. Successful organisations now need to provide the flexibility to support young women to succeed in our less structured working economy, whilst balancing the millennial passion for wider social issues. It will be fantastic for me to hear first hand in the CEOx1day programme just how I can contribute to that.”
Debbie Crosbie is CEO of TSB.
“We hoped to create life-changing opportunities”
“From the outset, we set up CEO for a Day to help build personal connections between today’s most influential business leaders and an aspiring young generation of talent. Whilst no one’s pretending this will change the world, we hoped to create life-changing opportunities for some. We have offices in 30 countries and, I am glad to say having that, run the programme for almost ten years, around 1,000 graduates and CEOs have now taken part.
The case amongst CEOs for embracing meritocracy and diversity in all its forms is now well made and understood. The challenge has been to improve the execution to secure the talent they need and demonstrate greater fairness and purpose to an upcoming generation of younger people who—rightly—want to work for ethical and purposeful businesses and leaders.
Since launching CEOx1Day in the UK around half the young people chosen each year have come from less well represented groups and this year, we wanted to extend the opportunities. By partnering with charities—including the Social Mobility Foundation and the disability charity Leonard Cheshire—we hope to reach wider networks of talented young people who might not otherwise be aware of this opportunity.
Every year that I myself take part in CEOx1Day I’m struck by the curiosity, honesty and enthusiasm of the young people finally chosen to partner with a business leader for the day. Their questions often give food for thought and they bring a refreshing outside perspective to the challenges we face.
We might often discuss these things in broad terms, or a theoretical way but CEOx1Day makes them both personal and real.”
Kester Scrope is CEO of Odgers Berndtson’s UK and Asian Offices.
For more information about the CEOx1Day programme visit www.odgersberndtson.com