Harris Lamb Blog – June 2010



Marc Wilson

4th June, 2010.


By Tim Rudman, Head of Marketing.

The debate within companies has been going on for years. Is there value in having an annual staff conference? Can the loss of time in the office of many of your key staff and the resulting impact on revenue and client service make it a valuable exercise? Does the company gain anything from it?

At Harris Lamb the answer has always been unequivocal. Yes it is. That is why Harris Lamb has just held its twelfth conference.

The company has always believed that there is great value in having one day a year in which all our fee earners take time away from the office- assemble together in a conference room somewhere- arm themselves with plenty of coffee and hopefully decent biscuits and reflect on the year that has just passed.  More importantly, it is an opportunity for everyone to input their views and ideas as we set the course for the forthcoming year and beyond.

We take the annual conference very seriously. We all work hard preparing for it.  We spend time compiling a day that will give all our staff who attends an opportunity to give their perspectives on the business. We create time to discuss the key issues facing us and the market in which we operate.  Hopefully somewhere along the way there will be a few bright ideas emerging and the creation of strategies we can employ going forward to improve the business, our offer and service.  Of course, it is also an opportunity for a night out, to let the hair down, though this not physically possible for a growing number of attendees!  This year it seemed a major point for discussion was to reflect on the comparative merits or otherwise of growing a beard.

As Harris Lamb’s Marketing Consultant, I have been involved now in 6 annual staff conferences. Each year the number of attendee’s increases, the scope of what we put on the agenda becomes more widespread and robust and the ideas and actions we take a way are more useful and progressive.

It would be an easy decision to cancel or postpone the conference when times are hard. They can be an expensive exercise. But I would argue that is last thing you should do. It is when the market is tough and businesses need to employ an evermore complex strategy to develop and refine their offer and to adapt to a new business world that a day in which you can take a step back and explore the landscape ahead is very beneficial.   Yes I am afraid I will use that awfully overplayed phrase it is important to be able to take time out from the office and reflect on the bigger picture.

This year’s Harris Lamb conference set an ambitious agenda. We looked at where the business had been in the past twelve months and discussed the trends and issues that have faced us and our clients.  We spent the rest of the morning hearing the fascinating perspectives of clients and industry experts in banking, house building and manufacturing. All delivering stimulating, revealing and thought provoking presentations that clearly demonstrated the opportunities and the challenges within the commercial property market in the short and long term.

I had the opportunity during the morning to present the results of the company’s latest independent client perception survey. Always a useful measure of how clients rate our work. It was good to know that we are performing well and clients value the quality of our service and expertise and that 98% would recommend us.  That rightly was something to be proud of.

One of the biggest challenges for any conference organizer is how do you devise a session for the afternoon that can inspire, stimulate and have relevance to the business- especially on a Friday afternoon when the week is catching up with you and that chilled bottle of Peroni seems to be getting ever closer. This year we turned to the Worcester Business School who gave their unique perspective on building and developing client relationships particularly in changing markets. We also got an insight into the workings of the brain thrown in. Amazingly it seems that we have at Harris Lamb a perfect split of left and right brain thinkers. What a recruitment policy.

So was our day at Worcester Rugby Club a useful exercise? I would say absolutely. We looked at the issues we face as a business and we all took part in discussing how we move forward. We heard from the marketplace first hand with plenty to think about. We came away full of ideas, actions and a few challenges to reflect on.

We set some goals achieved during a day when our hosts were dismantling theirs for the season! Not forgetting a good time was had by all and a beer or two sunk in Worcester on an early summer evening. And what is more no one was banned from entering the city gates again. Result.


If you would like to speak with Tim about any of the issues raised in his blog, please feel free to contact him on +44(0)121 4559455 or email tim.rudman@harrislamb.com.