Managing Director Bernard Ward is celebrating his first year at Acorn’s helm. During this time, businesses have continued to develop and grow beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, reconnecting with the traditional and embracing ‘new normal’ ways of doing business in the process.
Here, he talks about the role well-being in the workplace has played in ensuring Acorn and its highly valued clients have continued to make the most of the opportunities made available to them as a result.
Recruiters, clients, candidates and employees were already talking about greater flexibility at work before Covid-19, but the pandemic itself pushed us all to really do something about it. I joined Acorn in summer 2021, just as the world was beginning to think about life beyond Covid again. Like so many in the UK, my new colleagues had by that point already spent a full year working hard, pulling together and, where necessary, making sacrifices.
I met many of my co-workers virtually in the early days, where an in-person introduction, and the chance to thank them face-to-face for everything they had done would have been far preferable. Remote working made integrating within the team more challenging, and though I could recognise pressure points, the route to relieving them needed some careful thought.
I could see that the previous 12 months of successes for Acorn had not come without its repercussions. I felt huge responsibility coming in at that time – and I had to make sure everything Acorn’s team had done for their organisation in the early days of the pandemic would be recognised, but also returned.
We have spent the last 12 months renewing and enhancing our focus on the well-being of the people that make our organisation what it is today. Our HR policies have all been, or are in the process of being reviewed, renewed and/or added to, including our terms for maternity and paternity leave.
Our highly valued colleagues are encouraged to make the most of the ‘You Day’ made available to them – to take a days’ paid leave in addition to their annual leave allowance to focus on a cause they are really passionate about, with the support of Acorn fully behind their cause too. We have new coaching performance software which supports us in opening up the conversation around our individual and shared goals, encourages and facilitates one-to-one conversations on a regular basis, and more.
To focus on their own mental health and well-being with Acorns full support.
The pandemic has made for some of the hardest times in business in recent memory and, although we’ve made great progress, a year later I am still reminded by our fantastic team every day that the process of giving back and supporting staff is very much ongoing. Our focus for the next year and far beyond, therefore, is on the continued support and development of the people that make Acorn what it is today - a leading UK recruiter that I feel very fortunate to be at the helm of.