Having addressed service leaders at a conference recently, Cheryl- Anne Sanderson felt something was missing from the sector. Here, she outlines how mentors and leaders can work together to approach the issue of the ageing workforce...
In May I had the opportunity of a to speak in front of over 90 people at Field Service Connect. Every delegate was an amazingly talented person from the industry, many have given their entire careers to the service sector. It was this final thought that got me thinking.
How amazing would it be if next year’s conference we encouraged these leaders to bring someone within their business who themselves could be seen as the next generation of leaders? Imagine the power, passion and great ideas which could come out of the conference next time. Voices from the future and present could really drive things forward.
Since that conference, I’ve joined a new company Churchill Services, having spent seven years at G4S. To some, it may seem like a sidestep in my career. I’ve gone from an entire TFM package with one key client to moving into a specific service stream of cleaning, managing a multiple of managers across a portfolio within the South West of the UK: from education, to local government and even managing blue chip contracts. It’s truly epic I won’t lie!
Whilst I found it hard to leave G4S I knew that I had reached a point in my career where I had outgrown the business. Making this leap was the best way forward for me but it was a decision made possible from speaking with leaders, coaches and mentor; people I had surrounded myself with throughout my career and will continue to as my career develops.
However, this move highlighted the issues surrounding the ageing workforce, all of whom are dedicated and committed but at times reluctant to embrace the changes the industry needs to adapt to a different type of client demand.
A new up and coming workforce seems rather pocketed at the moment with few individuals coming through. But what do we expect when we don’t set the scene from the start and we don’t invest in their time when they do eventually take up a role?
"Our board meetings should be full of diverse and inspirational people..."
I really do feel that those of us who sit in a leadership and management role should make one commitment for 2020 and take five minutes out of our day-to-days, to mentor and coach those who we see as future stars. If we took the time to embrace their personalities and finesse the areas which may stop them reaching their goals, we could potentially negate a stale workforce.
I also feel the way we recruit needs a full review: using agencies and corporate company adverts really doesn’t do it for me, and again I’d urge that in 2020 we push into our local schools and colleges. This is something I’m about to attempt in my new role as we are literally in their buildings 24/7 cleaning. I recently sat in on a webinar with two sisters running a campaign for kids against plastics.
If two sisters, aged of 16 and 14 can set up a charity to educate and encourage the next generation to become plastic aware, empowering children and young people to believe they can make a difference why can’t we, the older generation, take a leaf out of their book and do something about our ever ageing workforce?
We should raise awareness of our industry and make it sound sexy to the point where the employment gap won’t be at the top of each agenda for our monthly board meetings.
Our board meetings should be full of diverse and inspirational people; the agenda items should forward thinking, all about bringing great, new ideas to the table. I can just see meeting rooms awash with blue sky thinking, attendees wanting to embrace change. Decisions will be made more creatively and communication around change should be passionate to the point people will embrace and thrive.
However, these things will only happen if we all do the right thing and encourage our next generation and actually challenge the norm within our businesses.
Latest insights from the #FSN20
Check out the latest insights and opinions from members of this year's #FSN20