Good Business Campaign – Lizzie Neave and Mel Taylor Q&A

Organisations are increasingly being called upon to re-evaluate their roles in society, their environmental impact, and their responsibility to their employees and communities. Churchill has not only recognised this need but embraced it wholeheartedly. In this interview for our Good Business campaign, I sat down with two key leaders at Churchill, Lizzie Neave and Mel Taylor, to gain insights into their backgrounds, the importance of ESG, and their strategies for building a better future.

Walk us through your backgrounds? How did you get to where you are today, and what excites you about your roles?

Mel: I started in operations, but my interest shifted towards the people side of things. This led me to HR, where I worked for a gaming organisation for over a decade, eventually becoming the HR director. I joined Churchill 11 years ago as the HR director. What excites me most is the journey and the ability to drive positive change. Churchill’s culture encourages accountability and change, which is incredibly rewarding.

Lizzie: I spent nearly a decade at Mitie, working my way up through marketing roles to become the marketing director across various sectors. Five years ago, I joined Churchill as the marketing and communications director. My passion lies in helping companies understand the true meaning of their brand and how it impacts every facet of the business. At Churchill, we’ve harnessed this to develop our purpose, and what excites me most is the ongoing evolution of our organisation, not just in financial growth, but in mindset growth and our potential as a company.

What’s the business case for organisations to think more carefully about the impact they are having on society and the environment?

Lizzie: It’s vital to recognise that there’s a misconception about what constitutes genuine social impact. It’s not merely about one-off acts like beach clean-ups, litter collection, or internal fundraising events for charities. While these activities have their merits, they may not truly impact communities in a meaningful way. In essence, building trust with our audience means not letting ourselves be swayed by superficial vanity communications but rather making a tangible and lasting social impact through meaningful initiatives focused on employability and community development. This is the path we’ve chosen, and it aligns with our vision for authentic, long-term, and purpose-driven corporate engagement. Our dedication to social value and social impact has become a focal point within our business and is what sets us apart.

Mel: Without this embedded focus, it simply wouldn’t work. Our passion for the business empowers us to engage locally. We recently became an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) which aligns perfectly with our ethos and reinforces who we are as a business. It empowers our leadership teams to take ownership and drive change.

What is the role of marketing and HR in this, beyond getting the message across internally and externally?

Lizzie: Our internal audience is just as crucial as our external audience. Mel focuses on HR and culture, with a broad remit that aims to position Churchill as an employer of choice and supports our existing workforce. Programmes such as WellMe promote positive mindsets, personal development, and physical and mental health awareness. Marketing works on cultural alignment and creating inclusive opportunities. We work hard to identify our different audiences, the best channels to reach them, and the authentic messaging that will resonate with each audience. This all supports our aim to attract top talent, improve performance, and enhance client satisfaction, which requires constant evolution.

Mel: It’s all interconnected; you can’t effectively separate one from the other. Collaboration is essential in making values authentic and actionable, and there must be consistency in the look, feel and language we use.

Lizzie: You can’t just refresh values and hope it sticks. If you haven’t collaborated on them, they’re not authentic.

Walk me through the importance (and challenge) of offering the Real Living Wage to HQ and frontline staff? Can you offer any examples of leadership initiatives to increase wages or benefits? What about examples of financial products, programmes, or services that help to improve financial health & wellbeing?

Mel: Paying the Real Living Wage is essential, but not all clients readily accept this in contracts. We often submit dual bids to sell the benefits of higher wages. For existing clients, we’re addressing hidden workforce issues and increasing benefits, including access to online GPs and programmes like WageStream to give employees an alternative to high-interest payday loans.

Lizzie: It’s right for us to drive the conversations with clients about the Real Living Wage, but we can’t fix this huge issue. It’s also essential to consider the entire benefits package, and our employee-owned structure plays a significant role in that. It allows everyone to share in the success of the business, fostering commitment, quality, and long-term thinking.

How do you demonstrate knowledge and understanding of customer/client, employee, and stakeholder needs, and create feedback loops to drive debate relating to key societal, economic, and political issues?

Lizzie: We maintain quarterly internal market updates that trickle down through our management team, fostering awareness of sector and national trends that may impact our organisation. We also host leadership breakfasts to encourage networking and discussion. We’re open to looking into solutions that address the challenges faced by our employees, clients and stakeholders. We know we have valuable insight and can lead client conversations with confidence. For example, we can steer discussions around the hidden workforce and what we can do together to support those people. We are also aware that some of these issues are bigger than Churchill or even the FM sector. When it comes to wider issues within the UK economy, there is only so much we can influence. So, we recognise what we can and cannot impact, and focus on the areas where we can make a positive difference.

Based on the expertise and insight Churchill offers the market, what would you say is the main thing that needs to change at UK government level, or how should marketing or HR practice change to make a positive difference moving forward?

Lizzie: At the government level, it’s essential to change the perception of FM away from commoditisation, which would help address wage issues with clients. It would also showcase what a great sector we are in and help to attract new talent. On the regulatory side, introducing standards for hygiene and air quality can improve contract specifications, leading to greater efficiency.

Mel: Keeping a close eye on legislative changes and staying ahead of trends is crucial. Our internal strategy helps to keep us all aligned.

What does ‘good business’ mean to you? 

Lizzie: Over the last three years, we have embarked on a journey of self-reflection to determine what true social impact entails and what its long-term effects should be. For us, it revolves around enhancing employability, particularly within local communities. This approach has proven to be incredibly transformative, with a profound impact on the areas we serve. Our commitment lies in creating employment opportunities that come with structured development pathways. This isn’t about superficial gestures; it’s about making a lasting difference. We focus on groups like care leavers and veterans, individuals who have the potential to excel in their roles but might face barriers. By investing heavily in these initiatives, we ensure that we don’t engage in superficial “social impact” activities. Instead, we take a long-term view, staying true to our authentic identity as a company that genuinely contributes to the betterment of society.

Follow our Good Business campaign

More information the Good Business campaign is available on our website.

The previous seven interviews in the series are available to read on our website:

If you’d like to find out more or talk about how you and your business can get involved, email me on

Jo Sutherland