04 Nov That solitary feeling when you work in a specialist role
With business success, there comes an element of the unknown. You need to take calculated risks to continue to grow and diversify, and this includes developing roles in areas that you are not necessarily well versed in.
Myself and Caroline have both experienced being in communication roles, with a focus on responsibility. Within the business, there was only so much knowledge that could help with our development and success, we were basically learning on the job.
When in a role like this you have to seek out your own support and knowledge so that you can continue to bring that back into the business, to share and utilise, as part of your responsibility strategy.
Being clear about best practice is difficult when you are working in a solitary or specialised role, without others to work alongside, who are in similar positions. You crave a place where you feel supported and can share your challenges and your successes. Ultimately you want to be the best you can in your job but how can you, when you are working in your own solitary silo.
With the support of the business, I sought out help within my local community. I reached out to the partners I worked with, in the charity and business sectors and collaborated to set up a CSR forum. We came together offsite every 2-3 months and talked about the activities, events and initiatives that were taking place across the city, nationally and within different industries.
This forum gave me the ability to work with others at different levels, who could give me an element of support that I couldn’t find in the workplace. It was a great feeling to be able to bring back knowledge and learnings that I could feedback into our programme. The only problem was that the sessions were only 2 or 3 times a year, and as we all know, business moves quickly, even more so when it comes to responsibility.
At Bibby Line Group, our focus was on employee and community engagement, we were only just scratching the surface with our environmental initiatives. We had a great programme in place for workforce development and sustainability, working with universities and charities to offer mentoring and work placements and the business was very keen to prepare the seventh generation of the family to work within the company.
In setting up Be Ethical, we knew we wanted to support a business to get clear on their responsibilities, but what then? What about the person that is tasked with the role of aligning their activities with their core business. Who would report back to the board about their success and impact? How would they bring new ideas to the table to engage their people and communities?
That is why we deliver our training to support these individuals. But before that we prepare them for success. We spend time working with them to understand their key skills, to give them insight in to what is expected in the role of a responsibility coordinator. This session then sets them up to join our 8-week training programme, which is focus on bringing the results of the survey to life and building a programme of responsibility for that business.
Caroline and I absolutely loved the role we were in, no more so than when we actually worked together. But when Caroline moved on to a new role in the business, I know that if I had had an opportunity to train and be coached to support my role, I would have been right at the front of that queue!