• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


ByMOLE Creative

May 17, 2023

OVER 200 North East businesses will come together on Tuesday 23 May to hear leading voices discuss what doing ‘good business’ really means for the future of our region.

The free event, Good to Grow: Realising success and growth through better Business, has been created by North of Tyne Combined Authority in-line with its popular Good Work Pledge. The speaker line-up includes keynote speaker, writer, film-maker and doer ‘Big’ Ian Donaghy, alongside an inspirational panel of North East business thought-leaders, including Dr Patricia Prado, a senior lecturer in Business Ethics at Northumbria University, Stuart Miller, managing director at Newcastle Strategic Solutions and Darush Dodds, head of corporate affairs at Esh Group.

The speakers will be joined by panelists Simon Hanson (NEPO), Jonny Grubin (SoPost), Nigel Moralee (AWS), Sheena Widdowfield (Opencast) and Kari Owers (O Agency) to discuss the concept of ‘doing better business and the opportunities available for leaders to make positive change.

‘Big’ Ian Donaghy is a change maker and doer, who’s passionate about the power of kindness. He’s renowned for his key note slots at conferences across the UK and overseas where he draws on his 30 years’ of supporting young people and working in the care sector. He’s worked with some of the UK’s biggest names in music and is a powerhouse of ideas.  Every attendee at the event will go home with a copy of ‘A Pocketful of Kindness’, Ian’s book which discusses the power of kindness and the idea that nobody ever changed anything by doing nothing.

Speaking about the event Ian said, “No matter how big an organisation – an investment in a great culture creates the perfect environment for people to grow and thrive.”

Caroline Preston, who leads the Good Work Pledge project for the Authority said, “The work place has changed and sustainable growth now needs to be a top agenda item. This event is a way for businesses to discuss how we can pull together as a community and encourage good practice as a means to grow, retain staff and attract the next generation of talent to our North East businesses.

“The North East currently has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK at 38% and 75% of families that fall within that figure have at least one person working. We need to act now as a business community to make work better for everyone. We have an amazing spirit here in the North East and many businesses are working hard to make sure their employees are happy, healthy, and well rewarded but we need to do more. Poor employment can have a really detrimental effect on our communities, these jobs are low paid, often unreliable  and offer zero or minimal additional benefits. Worse still these low paid jobs are often done by the very people who keep us supplied with food, who look after our loved ones and keep us moving.

“While there are many factors that affect this, businesses do have a part to play when to comes to offering opportunities to progress, flexible working so families can juggle childcare or other responsibilities, promoting health and wellbeing and proving security for their people wherever possible.

“A lot of our sectors are still suffering from a skills shortage, and this is a proactive and actionable way of addressing this as a region. Research shows that when businesses invest in their people, employees are more loyal and perform better in their roles, giving you space and resource to grow your business in a sustainable way.

“It’s customers too that are looking for something more these days, as are the next generation that are entering the workforce. They actively want to support companies who are supporting the people who live and work in the region and businesses can no longer ignore this. There are already businesses doing amazing things here in the North East and this event will be a catalyst for new conversations and connections to help everyone learn from each other in a really practical and inspirational way. We’ve always come together as a region in the past, and it is time to do it again, let’s aim higher, harness the skills in our network and get this moving.”

The Good Work Pledge scheme was launched in early 2021 to make poor employment a thing of the past, and Good Work the norm. As part of the scheme businesses are awarded a level of the pledge, helping to build a ‘community of good work’, where members will have access to learning, networking opportunities and support in the pursuit of good work and sustainability. The pledge includes five pillars of best practice; promoting health and well-being, developing a balanced workforce, valuing and rewarding your workforce, effective communication and representation and demonstrating a social responsibility.

O Agency was awarded the advanced accreditation Good Work Pledge in 2022. Kari Owers, founder of the creative communications agency and panelist at the Good to Grow event said, “From our very first hire our people have been the heartbeat of O, and we’re continually looking for ways to build our culture and improve their working life. Creativity is enhanced in an environment where people feel supported yet challenged, and by focusing on what a truly good culture means we can give our talented people the best platform to succeed. This has had a direct impact on our growth and resilience as an agency, and allowed us to attract and retain the best people in the region’s creative sector.

“The Good Work Pledge award shows our continued commitment to making O a great place to work and is true recognition for the role everyone plays in making the agency such a fun, healthy and positive environment. I’m excited to be part of this event and I’d encourage anyone passionate about their people and company culture to sign up to find out more about what is possible within your business.”