Omni’s Managing Director Martin Wainman looks back at the first quarter of 2021…
It’s safe to say that we entered 2021 with a combination of expectation and trepidation. Like many businesses, Omni had to adapt to the changing circumstances arising from the pandemic, both in terms of the way we work and how we can best support our employees and clients.
With quarter one behind us, I want to highlight what we’ve learned and look at what the rest of the year could have in store for Omni, our people and our clients.
There’s no doubt the past 12 months’ events have brought us closer to our clients. Organisations have universally embraced a more collaborative approach, and there’s a stronger drive to bolster partnerships and work towards shared goals.
This renewed alignment of goals has resulted in a sense of togetherness that has helped accelerate progress in certain areas. In particular, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) has risen up the agenda, with businesses implementing or building upon existing strategies that directly address imbalances and help them to realise the benefits of a diverse workforce.
Understandably, career transition, internal mobility and redeployment will remain priorities in 2021 in light of the large-scale workplace disruption brought on by the pandemic. In particular, the retail and hospitality sectors continue to be impacted as they await the safe removal of lockdown restrictions.
Overall, it’s the resilience of British businesses that has stood out most to us this year. A renewed entrepreneurial spirit is going a long way in aiding recovery, with increased courage and a willingness to invest in services and solutions that drive growth and innovation.
Leaders have learned valuable lessons over the last 12 months, which will stand them in good stead for the future. In particular, progressive attitudes and action regarding remote working practices and mental wellbeing have accelerated much faster than they did pre-pandemic.
Since the first lockdown, Omni’s priority was to protect and support our people. Safeguarding as many jobs as possible meant granting ourselves an amnesty on short term profit and growth targets and instead focusing our efforts on rethinking and reprioritising the long-term vision for Omni.
While challenging, this time was pivotal for our business, and we’ve used quarter one to recover and re-establish our pre-Covid momentum and position in the market as a Resourcing Transformation specialist. Of course, like many companies, we’re mindful about a potential fourth wave and know work must continue to ensure we remain operational and continue to support our clients’ needs.
Despite the caution, 2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year for our business. Already, we are back to operating at pre-Covid levels, and we have plans to grow our team by a staggering 50% in the next 12 months, with opportunities in a broad range of business areas, including in our recruitment teams, our specialist consultant team and within our finance and IT departments too.
A Look To The Future
We have a good idea of what 2022 and 2023 will look like for Omni, thanks to four exciting new contracts we secured this year and our clear growth strategy. Our new hybrid working approach, which incorporates office and home, means our head office will relaunch as a Collaboration Hub, enabling our employees to meet one another and access any additional support they need.
Our hybrid working model is not only crucial to accommodate different working styles, set-ups and preferences, but it also opens the door to greater diversity, as we can now attract talent from all over the UK and are less restricted with our head office location.
On the subject of diversity, we have worked to improve Omni’s commitments over the last 12 months, and this will continue with our board sponsored DIB strategy (Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging). While we have always had an excellent gender balance, with zero difference in salaries and 50/50 male and female board representation, we know more can be done regarding ethnic, socio-economic and disability diversity. Workplace culture is key in this. Although we have always been proud of the environment we have cultivated for our people, we know that recruiting based on the traditional ‘cultural fit’ approach would mean hiring the same behaviours and characteristics repeatedly. That’s why our DIB team is reinventing both how we hire for ourselves and how we support our clients to select and hire more diverse talent.
As specialists in D&I hiring for our clients, working on our own strategy has been a valuable learning for Omni and one that we’re able to pass on and develop with our clients. The fact is, if the culture you promote is not already diverse and inclusive (and not many are), you’re never going to reach your D&I goals. If you know improvements need to be made to an existing culture, stop congratulating and publicising it as a blueprint for future hires.
Part of Omni’s DIB strategy has seen us become a signatory of the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter, which reflects the practical steps we’re taking to ensure our workplace is tackling the barriers that ethnic groups face in recruitment and progression. Additionally, as a member of the Business Disability Forum, Omni is working towards improving workplace equality for individuals with different abilities.
Growing and enhancing our culture of belonging will take time, but it’s something we are all incredibly passionate and excited about. Without Covid, such self-reflection and progress in this area may have taken years to realise and complete.
Just one year ago, we were facing a threat that no one could prepare for. Now, we are emerging from the other side, largely thanks to the resilience of British businesses and a universal positivity and determination to succeed and do the right thing by our people. I’ll return at the close of quarter two to summarise our findings and learnings, but I’m already confident that 2021 will be a year to remember for all of the right reasons.