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.

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.

Since the establishment of the Shadow Board, their impact has been felt right across the business. As the business has grown, more functions have recognised the benefits of gaining additional perspective and reached out to the Shadow Board for their insight. I’m looking forward to seeing what they will get involved with next.
- Tom O'Connor - CEO

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 Oracle Applications Unlimited Commercial Director Emma Jones.

Having been involved with the Shadow Board from the outset, I am thrilled to see the impact it has made on the business and also how our Board members have challenged themselves and grown over the course of their tenure. They have delivered beyond my expectations and have been leaders in demonstrating the Core Values of the organisation daily.
- Louise Lahiff – Director of Strategy, Planning and Communications
Employees chatting

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’.

  1. 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.
  1. 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. A number of key impacts have been seen from the Shadow Board, notably in response to the COVID-19 situation. Other notable impacts so far have included: Introducing a company-wide Scaled Agile Framework, Implementing the CallOut platform for recognition as well as now shaping the return to office post-COVID with a number of initiatives being worked on.
  1. 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. Other Executive-driven projects have also been undertaken, focused on garnering a youthful perspective on other key challenges facing the business.

The three key focus areas are:

  1. 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.
  1. People Development: sharing a perspective on developing our people with a focus on career development and recognition.
  1. Operational Excellence: Focusing on life after COVID and adapting to our ‘new normal’.

Awarded the Inspiring Award 2021

The Shadow Board programme at Version 1 was awarded the prestigious ‘Inspiring Award 2021’ by Great Place to Work in 2021.

This is what Great Place To Work had to say:

Creating a sense of belonging for all employees, regardless of tenure, age or background is a noble endeavour, more prominent than ever amongst many organisations at present. Reaching that goal requires meaningful practices, which give a voice to all employees. Version 1, never shy of innovating, has done just that with its Shadow Board initiative. The Shadow Board is a forum made up of a diverse group of 13 younger members of the Version 1 team, all under the age of 30. This cross-functional group bridge the generational gap in perspectives within the business while working closely with the senior leadership team. This initiative not only offers diversity of viewpoints but provides an excellent development opportunity for board members, who are supported by mentoring and coaching from senior leadership members.

A great place to work, not an 'easy' place to work

That probably seems like an oxymoron, right? We are proud to have been recognised as a Great Place to Work year after year, however, we believe that our reputation as a Best Workplace can sometimes give people the wrong impression of us; that a great workplace is one that is ‘easy’.

That’s why, upon seeing this review on our Glassdoor, we felt that the statement reflected the real culture of Version 1 and we would like the opportunity to tell you why… It’s in our DNA. Our DNA gives you a clear understanding of who we are and what truly makes Version 1 a great place to work.

Discover Our DNA

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