5 Things We Learnt from the CEO of First Direct (and 5* for our event!) 

An introduction from EFS co-founder Nita Clarke, a key note from IPSOS CEO Ben Page, an interview with the CEO of First Direct (FD), Chris Pitt and a stimulating panel debate made up one of our most successful online events to date.  Watch it all here.

The focus of the event focused on the 4th enabler of engagement – How to build organisational integrity, where the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours, there is no ‘say-do’ gap. It’s all about trust.

First Direct is up there on a pedestal as being an organisation that consistently delivers on the 4th enabler. FD famously launched at one minute past midnight Sunday 31st October 1989. A deliberate and very First Directy two fingers to the big banks where customers could only bank 9.00 am – 3.00 pm Monday – Friday. FD revolutionised banking making it 24/7 365 while putting humanity at the core of their brand and culture inside and out.

Here’s some of what we learnt from Chris during our chat with him:

  1. Stay humble, be approachable. Never get lost in your own sense of brilliance
  2. Treat everyone like a human. Everyone is the same and should be treated the same. The CEO is an employee just like everyone else, “this is not my company, this is our company”
  3. Stay close to your people – walk the floors. Everyone has permission, is in fact encouraged, to tell Chris what’s going on. He’ll be making a cuppa and people can come up and shoot the breeze
  4. Listen to your people, they have the answers. On these tea breaks Chris asks people how he can make things better. People can say what they like, there are no holds barred
  5. Give your people autonomy (side note, if you haven’t already then check out the RSA’s brilliant explainer video based on Dan Pink’s talk ‘Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us at work.)

Click here for more of Chris’ words of employee engagement wisdom, as well as insights from Ben Page. Also hear Tamar Hughes, Shaheena Omerod-Sachedina, Jo Moffatt and Nita join Chris as they share their thoughts on how to create organisational integrity.

The feedback during and after the event has been amazing- (delegates gave it 5 stars!) and we’d like to thank Partnerships Director and radio show host Jo Moffatt for all her hard work putting the event together. An especially big thank you goes to Dr Sarah Pass from Nottingham Trent University for her support to make it all happen. A stellar cast and a stellar event.

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