Business News President’s Focus

This month’s President’s Focus is by new Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce president Katie Hale (pictured), who discusses different ways of empowering people in the workplace. She believes businesses can get more out of their staff by being agile and working together to share insights and best practices.

It is often said that success is in the detail. A recent shopping experience in

House of Fraser in Sutton Coldfield provided me with a heartening example of an employee who was empowered to go the extra mile. On returning home from the trip

to buy some new shoes for for the Chamber’s annual dinner, I opened the box to find a lovely handwritten note from the store assistant who served me. It read: “These shoes look

stunning on you! Enjoy your special night!” Not only was this a wonderful

touch, it struck me that this girl had been empowered to use her initiative and make a positive decision for the good of the customer. The Chamber’s recent Growth

Through People campaign brought up some fascinating talking points on unlocking potential and, in turn, boosting productivity. Of course, there are many

different ways in which businesses can empower their staff. The most forward-thinking

companies will recognise opportunities to optimise the performance of their employees by being agile – both in terms of their thinking and by offering people greater choice of where, when and how they carry out their jobs. I have spent a lot of time

working with businesses in the creative sector, where agile working has become increasingly important. As well as the obvious benefits

of attracting and retaining staff by offering flexibility to meet their individual needs, employers are also able to widen their talent pool. This is critical to smaller businesses

in places like Sutton Coldfield. It has been well documented that

there is a shortage of suitable office space in the royal town, so allowing employees to work remotely would be a natural step to prevent their growth from being stifled. What’s more, we’re losing more

and more working hours to our increasingly clogged up road network – a Chamber report released last year revealed congestion is costing the Greater Birmingham region around £407m a year.


‘During my term as Sutton Coldfield Chamber president, I am keen to demonstrate to local businesses the value of coming together to share ideas and best practices’

So what can we do as a Chamber to help businesses get the best out of their workforce? We hear the word ‘collaboration’

used so often, but it is true that businesses can achieve so much more by communicating with each other.

During my term as Sutton

Coldfield Chamber president, I am keen to demonstrate to local businesses the value of coming together to share ideas and best practices.

So many businesses are still

working solo – perhaps reticent to communicate with others who they see as competition. But rather than viewing other

firms as rivals, there is plenty to be gained by sharing our insights. One of my clients in the

recruitment industry has discovered this through being part of the Progressive Employers Group alongside other like-minded companies (see for more

information). By working together, they have created a more dynamic community of investment-minded employers. If we can pool together our ideas

on empowering people, everybody wins – business owners, employees and customers.

• See page 43 for details on Katie’s appointment as Sutton Coldfield Chamber president and the announcement of two new vice-presidents.

Sutton Coldfield

Chamber of Commerce

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