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Cpl launch World Class Talent Series with Johnny Sexton

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On Wednesday, March 20th, Cpl held the first in a series of World Class Talent Series panel discussions bringing together sports and business people to inspire winning performances, organised and chaired by Cpl Group Sales Director Cormac Loughlin.

The inaugural event, at Dublin's Westin Hotel, was introduced by Cpl CEO Anne Heraty and featured:

  • World Rugby Player of the Year, Johnny Sexton

  • Chief People Office & Group Head of Corporate Resources at Irish Life, Simone Macleod-Nairn

  • Cpl Strategy Director & Future of Work lead, Barry Winkless

  • Chief of Client Success at Pep Talk and former Irish sprinter, Ailis McSweeney

Embracing the theme of 'Adaptive Performance in Times of Change' key topics throughout the evening included preparing for the Future of Work, how to implement a wellness program that works, new technologies and the intrinsic value of teamwork and how to make the workplace a more social and engaging enterprise.

Cpl world class talent series

We can only improve business through change

'Society has changed, and work is catching up'

Despite the various backgrounds of the panel an overriding sense of embracing change was evident. Johnny Sexton spoke about the Ireland team implementing new wellness techniques, such as mindfulness, to improve performance and deal with demands, while Simone Macleod-Nairn discussed the importance of not underestimating our employee's openness to change.

For both, to ensure strong performance, complete trust is key.

Simone, who has introduced a range of changes and a program of new employee benefits at Irish Life, spoke about the importance of keeping employees informed about changes and communicating the value behind these workplace adjustments.

'Trust is the most important thing you can never communicate enough.'

Learning from failure

The world of work is changing and already has changed immensely in the past 10 years, how we learn from and adapt to these changes will determine our success.

Always analyse business results and outputs - what works, what doesn't work? Only by reviewing data and performance can our teams and our businesses improve. Results and goals are how we keep each other accountable, and only with the best people can we achieve the best results.

Speaking about Ireland's recent performance at the Six Nations, Sexton emphasised the value of always looking forward, learning from mishaps and leaving your work struggles at the door to achieve a true work-life balance.

Cpl world class talent series

Wellness at work

The interest in wellness at work and striking a strong work-life balance was another key talking point. Ailis McSweeney, Chief of Client Success at PepTalk and former Irish sprinter, spoke strongly about looking after employees physical and mental wellbeing.

'Wellness is not just about physical wellbeing, it's deeper than that.'

Although wellbeing programs and initiatives are now common, driving engagement can be a road black for many employers. Ailis and the panel spoke strongly about the need for senior level buy-in and continuous analysis and adaptation.

A yearly review is no longer enough. Wellness initiatives and benefits must be tracked and adjusted in real time. Only then will you connect with your teams and create wellness programs that benefit both employees and employer. Always be looking to learn and adapt - companies that last are those with purpose, not just profit.

Adapting to and embracing new technologies

Unsurprisingly technology was another strong thread during the evening. Barry Winkless spoke about the importance of choosing the right technology for your business, smart technologies that:

  • Streamline processes

  • Improve analysis and communication

  • Are easy to use and are human orientated

Closely linked, the panel also spoke of the need to encourage and invest in continuous upskilling -tech skills and otherwise. Illustrating this, Simone spoke of developing employees internally and investing in L&D programs to ensure employees are fulfilled and growing in their roles, which in turn helps the business grow.

'Our most critical investment is our employees.'

Teamwork - people power success

Despite the volume of new workplace trends, the power of good people and teamwork was the most discussed topic of the night. How we work is changing and organisations are becoming more social enterprises.

Work is a more social space than it ever has been before, workers no longer expect a stagnant 9-5 with no people-centered initiatives. Good performance and good business are based on people.

Relating sports to business Johnny emphasised that teamwork is the most important thing to success and to remain resilient. When asked about how the Ireland team bounces back from negative press Johnny again spoke of teamwork, and how surrounding yourself with a good team allows resilience and to move forward.

'You can't perform when a team isn't gelling'

Attend the next Cpl World Class Talent Series event

Cpl is determined to ensure our clients are ahead of the curve when it comes to the evolution of the workplace. To share our knowledge and help you prepare for the future of work we have designed a number of World Class Talent Series events featuring workplace experts and inspirational speakers.