Regional Network Focus: South West

Garry Davis has worked as the network coordinator for the South West EOA Regional Network since the beginning of 2016. In seeking to derive maximum value for those attending the regional meetings he is able to reflect on his considerable experience of employee ownership having spent 25 years at John Lewis in a variety of HR and employee engagement roles. He currently works freelance with a wide variety of organisations including in this role with J Gadd Associates.

Q How would you describe South West EOA Regional Network meetings?

A A really engaging and evolving group of individuals who come prepared to share their successes and challenges, listen and learn from others, encourage, question and challenge each other. Our network meetings are flexible in format and content, being focused on identifying and responding to the needs and interests of those present. As in all the regions, we provide the opportunity for individuals from established employee owned businesses to share knowledge and experience with those at much earlier stages of the journey. And of course those who are just wondering if employee ownership is right  for them.

What also adds value and variety is that events are hosted by a different EOA member business each time. We get to hear their stories. And where appropriate, we have had fascinating tours around business premises. Often a  great opportunity to hear from the employee owners working at other levels in their business.

Q What kind of things can businesses/ individuals find out?

A Difficult to cover in a few sentences! Any aspect relating to the different stages of transition and the business cycle. From ‘I’m not sure EO is right for me’ ‘we’ve been going 10 years and I’m not sure we are getting the best from out elected representatives’ to ‘we are trying a new approach to gather employee feedback’. We might also reflect on the latest trends commercially, politically and on finance/legislation issues.

Q Are there any stand out moments from the EOA Regional Network events?

A I never fail to be inspired by the network meetings. At one of the meetings a question was raised as to how a particular organisation information had engaged employee owners in the running of the business including ways of communicating complex information on strategy and finance. What was meant to be a conversation between two individuals escalated to the whole room engaged in discussion, generating a seamless flow of associated issues. It was great to see people so enthusiastically engaging in shared learning.

Q What value do you feel the EOA Regional Network offers?

A It’s a question that is rightly on all our minds before, during and when reviewing meetings. It needs to be worth the effort of taking a few hours out in of a busy working day. I believe that what we offer should  inspire, challenge and encourage individuals to make a difference back in the business.

Q What lies ahead for the next Networks?

A We’ll continue to grow the network and look at ways to add value for those who attend. We are looking to continue many of the themes discussed in sessions at the EOA Conference at the network sessions in 2017. Also we are looking for opportunities to see issues from other perspectives: for example, from employee representatives.