Business South conference to show benefits of harnessing flexible working and inclusive practices

Sep 9, 2019

A half-day conference in Southampton on Thursday 16th May will provide Human Resources Directors and CEOs from across the southern region fresh insights into how flexible working and inclusive employment practice create a smarter and more productive workplace culture

Organised by not-for-profit organisation Business South, the ‘Workforce South Annual Conference’ invites attendees to discuss best practice to enhance recruitment, workplace culture and employee retainment with like-minded professionals.

The conference takes place from 8.30am-12.30pm on the 16th May at the Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel, Chilworth, Southampton, SO16 7PT. Tickets cost £40 for Business South Champions and £80 for non Champions. Lunch and refreshments are provided. 

Shirley Anderson, Chair of Workforce South, said: “As businesses of all sizes face increasing competition for talent, creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture is becoming increasingly important to recruitment and employee retainment. Promoting inclusivity, equality and a positive work-life balance can help businesses maintain a happier workforce, achieve higher productivity and turnover, and attract the best talent. Through this conference, our expert panel will deliver the insight businesses need to harness inclusivity and flexible working and capitalise on the benefits it can bring to both employee and employer.”

This year, a panel of industry experts will cover pay equality, flexible practices to support parents and how to encourage workforce diversity.

Headline speaker Anthony Fitzpatrick, Employee Relations and Global Employment Policy Lead at Aviva, will demonstrate how the company’s pioneering approach and attitude towards flexible and inclusive working has benefited both employees and the company. Drawing on case studies and experience, Anthony will then share Aviva’s practical tips and techniques to help businesses enhance their workplace culture.

Consultant, blogger and ‘mumtrepreneur’ Ursula Tavender will discuss how businesses can make work better for parents. Prompted by her own experiences of returning to work after having a baby, she will demonstrate how businesses which offer simple and creative flexible working opportunities help more talent come back, stay and progress at work while raising a family. She will also discuss how her blog, ‘Mumbelievable’ supports and empowers parents in work.

In addition to her talk, Ursula will showcase ‘Working Forward’, a new nationwide campaign created by the Equality and Human Rights Commissioner’s office. This campaign encourages employers to pledge to offer better working conditions to pregnant women and new parents through flexible working, employee support and ethical leadership.

Dr Zara Nanu, CEO of Gap Square, will share her personal experiences of the gender pay gap and will discuss how her company helps organisations to identify, understand and tackle the gender pay gaps in their workforce. Claire Williams, Inclusion and Diversity Director at Inclusive Employers, will illustrate how her organisation helps companies embed inclusivity, diversity and equality into their business practices.

Returning speaker, Mark Smith, CEO of The Southern Cooperative and former Prince of Wales Ambassador for Business in the Community, will highlight the benefits of responsible business practice. He will subsequently provide an update on the ‘Responsible South’ initiative, which is now set to launch an action group for businesses interested in responsible leadership.

All talks will be accompanied by roundtable discussions with other professionals and a Q&A with the industry speaker.

The conference is hosted by the Business South ‘Workforce South’ action group, which brings together professionals, academics and business people to promote the south of England as a great place to live and work. Business South hosts the group in line with its goal to connect leading employers, promote the area and champion the economy in south of England.