Keeping our culture during a global pandemic

How the 2M Group of Companies embraced change to keep its team engaged

*This article was originally published in Elements Magazine (Spring 2021)

With a portfolio of Material & Life Science companies, the 2M Group of Companiies, which includes Banner Chemicals and Surfachem, is committed to delivering chemistry-based solutions for a healthier life today and a better world tomorrow.

This ethos has never resonated with us more than last year. Up against a pandemic forcing drastic changes to the way we work; we faced the challenges by successfully adapting our business & culture.

Through strategic acquisitions and international expansion, the 2M Group of Companies is constantly growing. We have international presence in Benelux, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Scandinavia, and export to customers in over 90 countries. Aligning with this growth, in 2020, we welcomed 32 new people to the Group.

Embracing Digital

Like all companies, the pandemic reshaped the way we operate. In 2020, the 2M Group of Companies has embraced digital communication tools like never before, to accommodate our existing team working from home and to facilitate welcoming new staff.

We launched an Open-Door Call to connect all employees within the Group. Hosted by Mottie Kessler MBE, our Chairperson and CEO, this call continues to offer regular business updates and gives people a voice to share their individual experiences, successes and struggles of the pandemic. At the simple click of a button, we have united teams across the globe. We also introduced a new intranet platform to communicate important changes, using this platform to increase interactivity across the Group and host recreational activities.

Photo above: L-R Beate, Liran, Richie and Mottie Kessler MBE on the 2M Open Door call.

Maintaining Physical and Mental Wellbeing

Due to the industries, we serve, including industrial cleaning, hygiene and sanitation, and Personal Care, our team were busier than ever as a result of the pandemic

With lockdown restrictions restricting free movement, the 2M Group of Companies recognised that physical and mental health were of critical importance.

During 2020 and into 2021, we partnered with Active Teams, a company that helps employees achieve the NHS target of 150 minutes + of activity per week, and Spill, a message-based, mental health support provider.

Our commitment to enhancing physical wellbeing gained momentum when we launched a range of fitness challenges. Since the introduction of Active in November, the 2M team has logged over 5600 activities, covering over 17,600km.

To help facilitate this initiative and as a ‘thank you’ to our team, we gifted employees with a GPS fitness tracker to support our fitness aspirations.

Photo above: 2M colleagues took up cycling, running and hiking to get fit with “Active Teams”

Building upon this, our team took part in ‘Self-Improvement September’, a month to try something new and foster a mindset for personal development. From shed conversions, to fitness challenges, employees used this month to focus on themselves, sharing their stories to inspire others across the business.

Photo left: One of our team transformed the garden shed into a “den” for his two children during lockdown, as part of “Self-improvement September”

Promoting STEM Education

The 2M Group of Companies has a long-term commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education. Over the last few years, we have sponsored the Bradford Science Festival, hosted ‘Bring Your Kids to Work’ days, and offered apprenticeships / Year in Industry placements to students.

However, due to COVID-19, we had to shift our approach to promoting STEM. We recognise the ongoing importance of making science engaging for young children. We have recently formed a partnership with the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC),  working closely to provide an enticing educational initiative for local primary schools, with the aim of making the chemical industry appealing to all.

Photo above: 2M’s “Bring your kids to work day, February 2020”

Transforming Our Culture

Despite being a tough year, together, we transformed our culture to empower one another.

From a recent wellbeing survey, we found that our team’s happiness is significantly higher now than it was before the pandemic. We are proud to have successfully adapted our culture to not only maintain our team’s wellbeing but explore meaningful ways to boost it.

*This article was originally published in Elements Magazine (Spring 2021)