The second day of our annual conference looked to the future: how organisations are going to change in response to burgeoning technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI); the impact of shifting work attitudes; and further strengthening the obligations organisations have to people and the planet.
Kate Sayer, Director of Integrity & Ethics, Oxfam GB, gave the keynote address talking about how to build integrity as an organisation. She stated that organisations should avoid chalking things up to individual misconduct and instead try to examine what potential failings there are in the organisation that led to that point. She also recommended that organisations should move to being proactive rather than reactive and gave examples of good practice such as regularly surveying employees to identify potential cultural issues and signposting secure whistleblowing structures.
The next panel discussion focused on the ‘four Ps’ – people, planet, profit and purpose. The panelists detailed how having a clear organisational purpose can support the achievement of goals related to the other three ‘Ps’. On the panel, Priscilla Serukka, Chairperson, Uganda National Airlines Ltd., pointed out that protecting the planet and people was a clear-cut way to achieving long term goals. The panel wrapped up by talking about how organisations should engage with social issues which directly match their purpose, rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon.
The next panel was moderated by Mike Fry, Partner, Entity Compliance & Governance at EY. The session detailed the experiences several of our speakers had had in harnessing digital technology within their organisation. Engaging with those who would be using the new systems the most was seen as critical, as they will have the greatest insights into how processes can be improved. By taking a processes-based methodology to implementation you can more easily free up your team to focus on the value-add work, thus raising the profile of governance.
The morning ended with delegates and speakers breaking out into a variety of sessions on career development, business transformation, changes to reporting and novel approaches to environmental, social and governance issues (ESG). This was followed by lunch and networking, before launching into a talk on the new wave of sustainability reporting requirements. Advice was shared on how to maintain clarity and purpose in your reports despite the increased weight of mandatory requirements.
Afterwards, attendees joined breakout rooms to participate in sessions on the CGIUKI qualifications, the role of AI in the boardroom, governing subsidiaries and developing resilience. A second round of breakout sessions followed covering topics as broad as the future of board performance reviews, cross-border compliance, the current government call for evidence on tax-advantaged all employee share plans and whether virtual annual general meetings (AGMs) will become the format of the future.
The conference concluded with discussion between Yvonne Smyth, National Specialism Director for HR and Legal UK&I, Hays and Sarah Woodhouse, Deputy Company Secretary and Head of Corporate at Unilever about ‘The Great Reset’, covering the mega-trends that are likely to influence the post-pandemic world of work. The talk discussed how employees’ focus has shifted, with many now placing greater emphasis on work–life balance and working in an organisation that reflects their own morals.
We would like to thank everyone who made the CGIUKI annual conference such a success, from speakers to delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and staff. You can also read our breakdown of day one.