EOA Network Focus: Midlands
By Philippa Meaden, EOA Midlands Regional Network Coordinator
Since being involved with the EOA, my experience of being part of the Midlands Regional Network meetings has only been a positive one – not only from an involvement perspective, but also from being able to gain valuable knowledge and an opportunity to build a valuable network.
Little did I know a year later I would be responsible for co-ordinating these network meetings.
This February saw the first EOA Midlands Network meeting of 2016 in fantastic surroundings as our hosts were Classic Motor Cars Ltd. The event proved to be a superb opportunity for all members to build on what has gone before, and to draw up how we envision the next year’s worth of Network meetings to take shape.
Following lively debate, time to network and some facilitated conversations I believe that the EOA Midlands Network is now well placed for the forthcoming year.
One of the biggest discussions was around how we ensure that the Network appeals to the wide member base of EOA members, with organisations having various levels of knowledge of employee ownership and many at different stages of transition. Moving forward we agreed as a Network that we will try and ensure that there is a part of every Network meeting that will appeal to members at every stage of their employee ownership journey. To do this we have split the member base into three groups and arrange activities that are appropriate for each of these segments – newcomers to employee ownership, members who are fully into the transition who want to keep their knowledge current, and those who have been employee owned for some time but want to continue to understand how employee ownership can be brought to life within the organisation with a fresh perspective. Underpinning all of our facilitated sessions is time to network and share best practice.
Our next EOA Midlands Network meeting will take place on Tuesday 10th May and is being hosted by EOA member Cambridge Weight Plan, who are based in Corby and have been a 100% employee owned organisation for a little over a year.
Not only will this be a great opportunity for us to meet and kick off lively conversations but a valuable opportunity to learn from the stories of others.
There will be many topics covered over the course of the next year’s meetings, and we are always looking for ideas to discuss – the subject of engagement is a popular suggestion, but of course is not exclusive to organisations that are built on an employee owned frame work. What, however, does tend to set employee owned businesses apart is how ownership tends to drive different values and the difference in leadership capabilities required when you are leading employee owners rather than just a work force. I am sure we will at some point have a discussion about these and numerous other subjects, and look forward to your input and support of these meetings, which is vital to keeping the network vibrant and innovative in its thinking.
We often talk about the positive sides of employee ownership, of course why wouldn’t we, however the opportunity to explore what we might have done differently, or what we might change as a result from hearing others experiences is always helpful and provides valuable insight.
The EOA Regional Network meetings not only support the work of the EOA but help support the real growth of the employee ownership sector by providing the space to bring like minded people and organisations together to share stories, exchange expert knowledge and impart real experiences.
I hope you have all accepted your recent invite to your local Regional Network Meetings, and we look forward to seeing you in May.