In 2019, learning teams will increasingly be looking to put employees at the centre of learning design in order to build engagement. By involving the person you are looking to help in the design of the solution that aims to help them, you are building engagement through the design process. You will also create and co-create relevant and useful leaning interventions.
Now imagine if that employee-driven thinking was taking place at the board level. What impact could employees’ perspectives at board level have for learning and wider business decisions? L&D professionals know that diversity of thinking can help produce better decisions, which is why appointing employees to your executive board should elevate new thinking and introduce new ways of working within the organisation.
If this sounds too ambitious, then it needn’t be. At Capita, we are creating two non-executive roles for employees. They will have equal authority to the rest of the board in the decision making process and creating business strategies.
Sound radical? Yes, but it isn’t really. Capita will be appointing two employee non-executive directors in 2019 because we feel this is how organisations should represent the diverse thinking and perspectives of their employee community. As our chief executive Jon Lewis says: “I’m proud that Capita will be the first company in decades to appoint employees to its board. But this is not a radical move; it’s just the right thing to do. A decade on from the financial crisis and corporate Britain still needs to rebuild trust. Different perspectives at board level are part of that effort.”
Capita is not the first UK company to make this move, but we are the first to do so for nearly 20 years. The last company was First Group in 1989. Trust is fundamental to better engagement, better engagement drives improved retention and makes the organisation a more desirable place to work. A more diverse board helps build that trust amongst employees. Engagement can go only so far when the board fails to properly reflect the employee community it serves.
By opening up the opportunity to become a non-exec director to anyone in the business, regardless of job role, Capita is aiming to show current employees and future employees that it is a forward-thinking organisation and one that is an attractive place to work.