ESS recently held its first leadership conference since the start of the pandemic, bringing together 160 managers from its Defence, Energy and Government Services contracts across the UK.
The event reflected on a busy two years for the organisation which has remained fully operational throughout the pandemic delivering to its key worker customers. The agenda then looked towards the future with the unifying themes of ‘One Community’ and ‘One Vision’.
Over the two days, the leadership team and a variety of subject matter experts presented on the priorities for the business and some exciting innovations already in place or being implemented in the near future, including:
- Incredible Edible – Pam Warhurst, Founder of Incredible Edible, delivered a compelling argument for rethinking the way we view disused plots of land in our communities, seeing them as opportunities to engage people in growing their own food. ESS is partnering with Incredible Edible and its clients to achieve this, with gardens already in place at two sites and plans underway at a further 22 locations.
- Our Climate Net Zero Commitment by 2030 – Carolyn Ball, Director for Delivery of Net Zero at Compass Group UK&I, spoke about the importance of small actions at individual and site levels, building to create the substantial operational and cultural change needed to achieve Compass’ ambitious climate target. The necessity of which has been underlined again this week through the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- Community Development Plans – The team from RSME Brompton Barracks talked through initiatives introduced over the past two years to put sustainability and community at the heart of their contract. These include an allotment growing ingredients looked after by volunteer military veterans, two bee colonies that produced award-winning honey in their first year and worms now consuming 45% of the total food waste for the site.
- Charity Partnerships – The company’s strategic charity partners joined a sofa chat where they talked about how Covid-19 had impacted their organisations and the support needed by their beneficiaries. They also discussed the relationship with ESS and plans to drive the maximum social value from the partnerships.
- Sustainable Eating – Chefs from across the business showcased some of the work being done to minimise the environmental impact of the food we eat. Initiatives included plant-forward dining, using products that have historically been wasted, extending the life of ingredients through fermentation, introducing sustainable ingredients such as seaweed and using hydroponics to grow products with no pesticides, less water and zero packaging.
- Enhancing Foodservice and Retail – The team looked at how new ways of working are being implemented to meet the evolving expectations of customers. They covered the upcoming opening of the first fully frictionless store on the UK Defence estate and within Compass’ UK business and the recent launch of the company’s first hybrid catering, retail and leisure outlet which will form a model for the future.
- Facilities Management Innovation – Several supply partners attended to demonstrate how technology can deliver better quality and greater efficiency. Stars of the show were the robotic cleaners that cover extremely large areas quickly and effectively making them ideal for the large buildings cleaned by ESS.
- Customer Experience Training – All colleagues will be embarking on a comprehensive, bespoke training programme that teaches them how to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. The course has been developed by ESS people for ESS people to facilitate a step-change in all aspects of service delivery.
Mark Webster, Managing Director – ESS Defence, Energy and Government Services, commented:
“The ESS Conference 2022 was a fantastic opportunity to bring our people from across the UK together for the first time since the pandemic hit. It was amazing to have everyone in the same room again and I was overwhelmed by the energy and positivity. We were lucky enough to have some excellent speakers and insightful presentations which made me feel incredibly proud and excited about where our business is heading. The list above provides a taster of what’s to come and we can’t wait to share more information on these initiatives in the coming weeks and months.”