Work Diaries: Meet Sara Halliday from Our Sustainability Team

Ever wondered what it’s like to work on Kloeckner’s Sustainability team? Well, in the first episode of Kloeckner’s Work Diaries, Sara Halliday, our Sustainability and ESG Manager, takes you along her journey and gives you first-hand insights into all the things she does during the work week. 

Day 1 – Work from home

Today is a work-from-home day, but it’s also the deadline for reporting our 2022 carbon emissions to our German head office! It’s the culmination of a lot of data collection, from energy management systems, finance teams, procurement offices and so much more. 

After the data is collated, my colleague in the finance team has the lovely job of being the second set of eyes in our ‘four eyes’ approach. Simon goes through all of the data diligently and notes down any errors (only a few, thankfully!). Then I take a deep breath and press ‘Submit’ to Germany.

I’m pleased to say that we have continued to reduce our emissions, but you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for our full announcement later in the year for further details 😉

I’m lucky to work for a company with a great flexible working policy, which means when I close my laptop today, I’m already at home, ready to start my evening.

Day 2 – Nexigen sales meeting at Organically Coated Steels

It’s an early start today in below-freezing temperatures to get to our Organically Coated Steel division in Kidderminster – only my trusty giant yeti mug full of Yorkshire tea will get me through the day!

Today I’m meeting with Arcelor Mittal, with colleagues Darren and Mike, on an exciting possible sustainability collaboration – their XCarb™ recycled and renewably produced product has the potential to map well into our newly launched Nexigen® brand. With Nexigen®, we support our partners in accelerating their green transformation and making their progress in sustainability visible.

Later in the day, after getting stuck in traffic on the motorway, I attend a virtual meeting with our head office managers. The yeti mug is still doing me proud and keeping me topped up while I catch up with our managers across the different teams, all while being trapped in a motorway service station – it’s not all glamour on the roads…

Usually on a Tuesday evening I hit up the gym, but tonight my husband and I are catching up with friends for a surprise evening to celebrate 50 years of our friend being adopted – she only found out recently, so it’s been a wild ride. 

Day 3 – Managers’ conference

Another early start today, travelling to Nottingham for an internal senior managers’ conference, picking up my colleague Katja Pandza on the way.

The theme for the conference is our vision, mission and principles, and it’s opened by our CEO, Peter Whiting, who talks about how far we’ve come since 2019 when the last conference was held. I particularly enjoy the discussion around the positive culture that has developed and grown since then.

Next, Robert Brien and Helen Shaw give us a ‘look in the rear-view mirror’ at what we achieved as a business in 2022 – and what a list! New equipment, Capex approvals, business relocations and expansions, processing efficiencies, carbon reductions – the list is so long it’s in type so small you can barely read it. A great quote from the day that sticks with me comes from Helen – ‘Where there’s a storm, there is energy.’

Led by James Moffatt, we’re split into groups to challenge what we can start, stop and continue doing in order to make sure that we live and breathe our principles in every aspect of our working, building on the idea that our great successes are led by our people and positive culture.

In the afternoon, we welcome Casper Craven, public speaker and ‘Big, Bold Goals’ motivator, who talks through the challenges he met and overcame when sailing around the world, not once but twice! It’s a long but inspiring day and it’s all topped off with a three-course meal and networking drinks with colleagues across the business. Shout out to Simon, Amy and Andrew whom I had fun getting to know better!

Day 4 – Managers’ conference

Still at the conference and Day 2 starts with Tracey McQuade’s overview of yesterday’s activities and a breakdown of the fantastic results from the employee survey that took place at the end of 2022 – we achieved better results in almost all areas in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Next it’s the turn of Barrie Salter to remind us of our goals and action plans, and pump us up ahead of what’s set to be an interesting afternoon!

Now, I haven’t worked at Kloeckner for long, so not everyone will know that I am very competitive…very! So, when David Gross and Kristel Graham challenge me to be the best astronaut I can be, and lead a rocket ship off the moon and back to Earth, OBVIOUSLY I’m going to do it! We aren’t really on the moon, of course, but we’re one team part of a wider team of four that has to get back to Earth after a series of challenges and a major ‘Houston, we have a problem’ moment! Unfortunately, our wider team doesn’t quite get off the moon, and we do all hypothetically suffocate…BUT we do all reap the benefits of the hidden message within the task – lead strong, lead with your other teammates and everyone’s strengths, lead with your eyes and ears open, and always, always prepare for failure. And, as my manager Robert Brien always says, ‘Fail, but fail fast, fail cheaply, and fail better next time.’

I for one leave the conference feeling pumped for a challenging year ahead. We’re also gifted a great book – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins (Random House Business, 2001) – to help us along the way.

You might think I go home and straight to bed, but no rest for the wicked – I like to get to the gym to keep my mind sharp and unwind after a busy week, so an hour with my husband and our personal trainer is just what we need!

Day 5 – Work from home

Wow, what a week – and it doesn’t finish there! I start the morning with a call from Matt one of our managers at Dudley who, energised by the last two days, has already got back to his team to discuss the sustainability ambitions of his location and set to work on finding a sustainability champion for Dudley. This is the kind of goal I can really get behind! During the day, I was also joined or let’s say supervised by my work from home friends. They make sure my tasks are completed on time and that my teams meetings are not too long. 

I’ve a couple of meetings in the diary today, but generally I’m catching up with things from the last two days and trying to arrange another busy week ahead. I’ll be on site at Westok next week, talking all things steel reuse, environmental product declarations and cellular beams – there’s a lot of exciting work going on there.

Thankfully, after a busy week, it’s a relatively quiet weekend ahead for me, but that just gives me a chance to rest in time for next week’s full schedule!

Interested in joining the Kloeckner team? Check out our open positions and apply here

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