The Version 1 Shadow Board
What is the Shadow Board?
At Version 1, we want to ensure that everyone, at all levels, has a voice in the company. Traditionally younger people with less experience would rarely be offered an opportunity to air their thoughts, suggestions, and feedback to their more senior peers. Version 1 wanted to change this, and we are delighted to share news of the establishment of our Shadow Board, a new concept that has been introduced in Version 1 since January 2020 for the first time in the history of the organisation. Here, a mix of employees from different backgrounds, qualifications, locations and roles come together with management monthly to discuss topical happenings in the business and to see how communication channels can remain open across all levels of the organisation.
With Trust and Empowerment at its core, Version 1 created the board to ensure that perspectives of the younger members of the organisation have a means through which they can learn from the senior team by sharing ideas and hearing business updates directly from them. The purpose of the board is to bring new and diverse viewpoints to our ideas generation and decision making as well as for them to hear about company plans and progress. While the plans for the shadow board were laid out early in the year, COVID has presented many challenges that the Shadow Board has had to respond to. This article is going to give you an update on what the Shadow Board has done to date.
Who is on the Shadow Board?
Our Shadow Board is a forum made up of a diverse group of younger members of the Version 1 team, a generation who make up a large portion not only of our own company, but of our customers’ companies and our customers’ customers.
The Shadow Board consists of a group of 13 people brought together as a forum for 12 months from a cross-section of the Version 1 business, and all are under the age of 30. The shadow board is sponsored by the CEO and its primary directive is to provide insight, feedback and ideas to senior decision-makers in the business, representing their generation’s perspective, as well as to hear about the company strategy and decisions so they can share with their peers and network. The Shadow Board members have been working closely with the senior executive team which consists of our CEO Tom O’Connor, CFO Andrew Langford, Director of Strategy, Planning and Communications Louise Lahiff and People Success Director Jarlath Dooley since January.
What is the Board's role?
The mission of the Shadow Board is to contribute to building something special. The three key pillars of the Shadow Board framework include ‘personal development’, ‘sharing a perspective’ and ‘demonstrating impact’.
- Personal Development –Version 1 has identified the development of the Shadow Board members as a key aspect of the programme. As well as learning through project work, regular team meetings and knowledge sharing sessions on key initiatives in the business, each shadow board member has been paired with a mentor from the senior management team. This mentoring programme offers a mix of mentoring, coaching and a focus on career development all while learning from the most senior people in our business.
- Sharing a Perspective –as a collective group and a voice for their generation, the shadow board will continue to meet with the senior executive team every 4-6 weeks to share a perspective on organisational challenges and communications, ensuring their perspective is accounted for in organisational decisions and actions. The first real impact was seen recently when the senior executive team met the Shadow Board where they shared a number of suggestions and a perspective from the younger generation in Version 1 on the back of the COVID-19 situation. This collaborative discussion helped to shape the wider communications to employees in the height of the COVID-19 situation. This was just the beginning of seeing the impact that the Shadow Board could potentially have in any organisation.
- Demonstrating Impact – the Shadow Board has been divided into three subgroups to work on internal projects to bring new and diverse viewpoints on existing initiatives. Each project has an executive sponsor who will steer the teams and ensure the project objectives are aligned with business objectives.
The three key focus areas are:
- Great Place to Work: Building a Great Place to Work (GPTW) through offering a perspective on employee engagement, community first and diversity, inclusion and belonging.
- People Development: sharing a perspective on developing our people with a focus on career development and recognition.
- Operational Excellence: Focusing on life after COVID and adapting to our ‘new normal’.
What's next for the Shadow Board?
We will update you again in three months on how things are progressing. If anyone is interested in hearing more about how to set up a Shadow Board feel free to reach out and we will be happy to discuss this with you. Feel free to leave a comment below or you can also contact us via the Version 1 LinkedIn page here or otherwise on our website here.