The Ocean Housing Group came together virtually on Friday December 11, to reflect and celebrate achievements of the past year.
Like many events in 2020, our annual staff conference had to be held online. This however did not prevent around 200 colleagues, engaged tenants and board members getting involved and marking the occasion in style.
Determined to make sure that the event – originally due to be held in the spring – went ahead before the year ended, we decided that hosting it via video-conferencing was the only solution.
“At Ocean, our staff conference is very important to us,” said Mark Gardner, chief executive.
“It gives us the opportunity to come together with colleagues from all across the Ocean Group, Ocean Housing and Gilbert and Goode.”
He added: “We were delighted to be able to host it, albeit in a different form, this year. It was fantastic to see everyone engaging and championing their colleague’s achievements.”
“Working remotely may mean teams are apart, but it has done nothing to affect the team spirit and togetherness of the Ocean Group, or our motivation to serve our tenants.”
Participation packs, which included details of how to get involved as well as refreshments, arrived at the homes of Ocean staff all across Cornwall beforehand, to ensure everyone could join in comfort.
“Working remotely may mean teams are apart, but it has done nothing to affect the team spirit and togetherness of the Ocean Group, or our motivation to serve our tenants.” – Mark Gardner, Ocean Group chief executive.
Those who tuned in slightly earlier were greeted by welcome music. Colleagues shared their dance moves from their homes, creating a celebratory atmosphere from the start.
As part of the conference, awards of achievement were given to staff who have demonstrated core characteristics of the Ocean Group’s values.
The Ocean Group ‘Going the Extra Mile’ (GEM) Awards recognise themes including exceptional teamwork, enthusiasm, innovation, and passion for customer service.
Special golden tickets were placed in the participation packs of all those shortlisted, just to add to the excitement and congratulate them on their hard work.
Jill Hughes, who works on the reception desk, won the ‘Tenant’s Choice’ award and was also voted overall ‘Winner of Winners’ by her colleagues.
— Nikki Ocean-Housing (@NikkiOceanHR) December 11, 2020
She said: “It was a really nice feeling to be voted for by my colleagues, and also tenants, I’m really grateful. Coming together and seeing everyone virtually during the conference was a brilliant way to end a testing year, especially when we’ve all been apart, working from home.”
The ‘Tenant GEM’ award celebrated Ocean tenants. Brenda Edwards won the award for her dedicated community work.
She said: “I was very pleased to receive this award. I think it’s really good that Ocean recognise the efforts of tenants, there was a really strong shortlist of people who have worked hard for their communities.”
Mark Gardner concluded the conference by wishing both staff and tenants alike the very best for the Christmas break and 2021.
As the date coincided with Save the Children’s National Christmas Jumper Day, conference attendees wore festive attire and donated to the charity.