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The ONE project intends to encourage entrepreneurial spirit

Blog from Kelly Howell, HR Director at Atalian Servest

In February 2020, during National Apprenticeship Week , Atalian Servest launched the ONE project to discover hidden talent, encourage entrepreneurial spirit within the business and inspire people to put forward innovative ideas. The launch event took place at London Business School and it was great to see such anticipation and an eagerness among the audience.

We’ve recently invited our 27,000 employees to participate in a competition which blends Dragon’s Den and Britain’s Got Talent, offering our people the chance to become Atalian Servest’s next home-grown entrepreneur. The aim of ONE is to reach and engage with colleagues at all levels and locations throughout UK & Ireland and to promote a company-wide commitment to idea generation.

This fully inclusive programme is about offering our people the opportunity to be the best that they can be, to go beyond the typical parameters of an assigned role, and to believe in themselves and in their ability to make a positive difference. ONE is a fully circular project that spans the realms of communications, learning and development, and corporate social responsibility. It has been designed to tie in with our company values, improve diversity and inclusion, and to encourage a growth mindset.

Professor Carol Dweck suggests that 40 per cent of people fall into a fixed mindset. In other words, they believe their qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. A growth mindset is what’s required to develop, achieve great things and inspire. The good news is everyone has the potential to do just that. The key is learning how to get back to and maintain the growth mindset and unleash your potential.

JK Rowling is an excellent example of someone with a growth mindset. She was rejected 100 times before Harry Potter became the success that it is. Bill Gates is another case in point. Before Microsoft was born, he’d spent years developing an audit tool for taxes which nobody invested in.

Aside from their growth mindsets, what else links Rowling and Gates? Opportunity. They had that precious window of opportunity where they could make the ideas in their head manifest into being. That’s what we want to offer our people because it’s ideas that drive us forwards. And yet many companies make the mistake of only seeing and hearing those who have reached the upper rungs of the corporate ladder. The real potential often lies elsewhere. Atalian Servest is turning this on its head. We want to find and celebrate the hidden heroes. We are determined to create opportunities and to help people of all backgrounds and demographics advance their careers within the business.

Nana Osei graduated from a university in Ghana and began working for us as a part-time cleaner in 2005. Now he’s our Regional Operations Manager. On his first day, he found himself an hour late because he didn’t know the geography of London. The next day he arrived an hour early. That shows dedication.

Positivity, integrity and determination were fundamental to Nana’s success but he himself admits that his journey through the business wouldn’t have been possible without the support from his mentor Sean Fisher, Atalian Servest’s Chief Operating Officer UK and Ireland, who provided him with the guidance, training and tools to develop, enabling him to put his ‘best foot forwards’ – those are his words.

So, how do we unearth the next Nana Osei? By communicating and building bonds with our colleagues and understanding what motivates people. It is down to us to give them the confidence to believe in themselves.

To that end, Atalian Servest is looking for innovative submissions from individuals or groups within the business that are relevant to the business and fit within our company values:

• Entrepreneurial spirit • Agility

• Sustainable development • Simplicity

• Integrity

Shortlisted teams will be provided with a subject matter expert who will coach them to the final which will take place in November, during Global Entrepreneur Week (https://www.genglobal.org/gew). The UK & Ireland board will then select an overall winner and present a prize. The winner will receive a bespoke training and development plan and their innovation will be phased into the business at the beginning of 2021.

ONE will encourage people to put themselves out there, to be brave and to speak up. Ultimately, though, it’s about driving ourselves forward and having a bit of fun in the process. We’re really excited about the individual, collective benefits it will bring and the diverse ideas it will unearth.

About Sarah OBeirne

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