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Last Saturday night with Argus
Working with the leaders and teams at Argus Fire Protection has been an absolute pleasure. Right from the get-go, it became clear that the Senior Leadership Team is truly dedicated to supporting the well-being of each and every employee.
The commitment to their people shines through every leader, and the CEO – Jacqui Bensemann– greatly supports them. But the support doesn’t stop there; it extends throughout the board, chaired by Jacqui’s brother Clive. It might seem unusual for a board primarily consisting of accountants to champion a ‘people-first’ mantra however, they trust in the greater vision.
Argus put a lot of genuine energy into creating connections between team members and the company itself, and last Saturday night’s event was a great example of this commitment.
I had the honour of being invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Argus Fire Protection. I have been to many company shindigs in my time, but never have I been to something like this.
The theme took us back to the 80s; we were invited to dress up, but there was no pressure, which I thought was cool. I dug out my denim jacket and brought back the double denim. I expected only a few to dress up, but as I stood in line, I was pleasantly surprised by the sea of people dressed in all sorts of ’80s gear (it’s rare for everyone to make that much of an effort these days).
Jacqui, dressed as Sandra Dee from Grease, enthusiastically greeted everyone at the door. Next, I am met by a punked-out Bryce (member of the SLT), and I think, this is going to be fun.
I walked into the reception area, where people enjoyed drinks, shared stories, and looked at easel boards that tell Argus’ story. This encouraged everyone to begin telling their own stories and build deeper connections.
Di meets me, a wonderful lady who I suggest was a key player in all the logistics. I told her I was impressed with everything from the layout to the people’s happiness. Di replies, “Oh, this isn’t it; look ahead.” … I gazed further and was gob smacked by the number of 80s outfits that populated the venue. Safe to say I was cussing out of shock. Di then explained they invited about 1800 people, and 800 were confirmed. “We have invited all employees throughout the country (which include many from the past), suppliers and customers,” and to add, Argus footed the bill for all travel costs.
This was massive. A fantastic 80’s band began playing, and the floor was packed from the first guitar strum. People were mingling, sharing stories, and having a fantastic time.
I took time to observe the people. The SLT, Jacqui, Clive and other board members were pressing the flesh and engaging in genuine conversations.
When it was time for the hosts to do their thing, Jacqui started, and the message was short and sweet. It was all about thanking their people – past, present and those who are absent now. Clive then speaks, and again, he is all about thanking the people and appreciating everybody’s efforts. They both also thank their long-standing clients, but there is no doubt who the stars are – their people. No PowerPoint slides with performance results. Just short and sweet with heartfelt integrity.
I was literally tingling, not from shortness of breath after leaving the dance floor but from experiencing the greatest company event I have ever attended. Argus has firmly planted a legacy they can be proud of in the Argus history books. Every person who attended the event will have grown in some way, which is special.
This brings me to the Future of Work
I have been focusing on “The future of work,” which is based on the fact that people want more from their employers than just money. My recent workshop was on the same topic, and everyone virtually agreed that their employees are their most important asset. But when I asked, “What per cent of your time is dedicated to supporting your employees?” it sparked irony.
I know I continually harp on about employee engagement, and I will continue to do so. It really is one of the most, if not the most important, thing leaders need to focus on. Financial controllers will say it is sales and profit, but that is the byproduct of people’s efforts.
Dedicated effort paves the path to productivity, customer satisfaction and a notable decrease in staff turnover. But it’s not just about the employee’s efforts; it’s the authenticity behind the leader’s efforts to improve employees’ lives – the type that stems from genuine care. I say “genuine” for a reason. If leaders are trying to increase engagement purely because it will present self-serving benefits, people will see through that. If leaders are genuinely interested in a person’s well-being, it radiates integrity and, in turn, builds trust.
They didn’t have the event to try and increase employee engagement and get better results– they just cared. Argus has allowed me to be part of something wonderful, and I can take this experience and share it with anyone who will listen. Hopefully, this story will positively influence a leader.
Thank you, Argus, you made my Saturday night 😊