Talking strategy at the VONNE Staff away day

Author: Amy Coates

Earlier this week, all VONNE staff met at Gosforth Nature Park for a day of restructure and strategy review. Here’s what happened and what we learned.

Why was the away day important?

VONNE’s number of staff has more than doubled over the last few years, this has resulted in some organisational changes and the need to reassess ways of working to ensure we communicate effectively across the whole organisation. As a membership and projects organisation, it’s also key to our work that we’re able to nurture collaboration across teams. We still promote hybrid working and have outgrown our current offices at MEA House, so an away day is an opportunity for all staff to come together in one space with a shared task and aims to work towards as a collective. 

VONNE staff team standing outside as a group and smiling at the camera

What was on the agenda?

VONNE had a restructure 18 months ago, during which the member services team was created, and changes were made to the roles within the operations team and projects team. After 12 months, we carried out a restructure review inviting all staff to give their feedback on how the restructure was working, as well as discussing workplace wellbeing, capacity and inclusivity. Our DCEO has been evaluating the responses and the away day was an opportunity for us to work as a whole team on the points raised from the survey, including the values and behaviours at VONNE. 

VONNE staff sat talking round a table in the Gosforth Nature Park event room

In addition, we’re currently evaluating VONNE’s strategic aims for 2024 – 2027. So far, we’ve conducted a strategy survey with our members and stakeholders, and the senior management team have worked with the board to identify key areas to be looked at more closely with staff and members. At the away day, staff were invited to feedback thoughts on the current strategic aims, whether they’re fit for purpose, if work priorities fit into the existing aims and if anything was missing. It was an opportunity for the management team to check in and reflect with staff around key areas of the strategy to inform the next stages of the strategy review process. 

You can learn more about our strategy review in Carol’s blog here.

The next stage of the process with be focus groups at our Conference and AGM 2023 on 16th November. If you’d like to be involved in this important piece of work, you can sign up to the event here:

Attend in person

Attend online

How did it go?

The agenda was full, and it did feel like a long day with thinking caps on, but the team ended the day feeling informed, included and inspired (a few responses from our end of day check in). Personally, feel incredibly lucky to work for such an inclusive organisation and to have the opportunity to be included in discussions that will ultimately shape the future work of VONNE.

It’s wonderful to come together as a whole team to be reminded of what great people we have in the organisation and how collaboratively we can work to achieve great success. 

Most importantly, the team were tasked with providing lunch in a VONNE Bake Off! A delicious selection of sweet and savoury vegetarian and vegan treats were laid out to enjoy, with our 3 judges (Laura, Nathaniel and Menisha) feeling the sugar rush after tasting everything on the menu. 

At the end of the day, Greta was crowned Star Baker for her delicious chocolate chip cookie slabs and took home the coveted VONNE Star Baker apron!

Nathaniel, Laura and Menisha presenting Greta with the Star Baker certificate and VONNE apron

Thank you to Gosforth Nature Park for hosting us for the day. If you’d like to know more about VONNE’s strategic review and future plans, please join us for our Conference and AGM on 16th November.