A reward for the homeless……… McDonalds? Really?

A small feature appeared in the Metro this morning.


I’m not sure it was published to applaud or complain about this new initiative.


The idea is to get the homeless to collect rubbish once a month for 90 minutes with the reward being vouchers to spend in McDonalds doesn’t seem quite right.


A number of questions sprang to my mind on reading this.


  1. Were homeless people and the outreach charities supporting them consulted to understand what they wanted as a reward?
  2. Why homeless people? What about excluded youth, isolated single parents? How did the Councils agree on Homeless.  I’m not saying it’s right or wrong to focus on this group, just how was the decision made.
  3. Instead of fast food, why not a healthy nutritious sit down meal with other members of the community to feel a true part not an outsider?
  4. Were the options looked at to offer showers and clean, dry clothes instead of a ‘happy meal’?
  5. How do you ensure the people you are helping are truly homeless?  A lot of people in London aren’t and/or run by gangs.  We are actively told not to give money to ‘homeless’ people but to call the outreach charities who ensure no on sleeps more than one night outside unless they want to.
  6. How often are the vouchers issued?  Doesn’t seem much reward if it’s just once a month after 90 minutes litter picking. You can still get a Happy Meal for 99p, I believe – well below the minimum wage!


Much more impressive would have been some inclusivity to invite/encourage the homeless to rejoin society.  This initiative, on the face of what’s reported, seems to focus on an isolated, vulnerable group and keep them there……………

The Furture of Employment – Robots or People – What do you think?

Interesting feature in the Independent – interview with former CEO of McDonalds in which he explains the attraction of replacing staff with robots.




The feature highlights the demands for higher pay for McDonalds staff in the USA.  As we know, what starts off in the USA seems to find its way to the UK.   Clearly, it makes sense for the management to consider ways of ensuring the highest return of profits for themselves and their shareholders.


However, there is no attention paid to the potential higher costs of this.  Employment is key for people moving out of deprivation.  By earning – even a low wage – they can start to take control back of their lives.  They may save some of their money for education to get a better job or work their way up in their existing employment.  They become positive role models for family and friends.  Communities start to regenerate.  There’s a positive domino affect.


The proven stats of unemployment are available.  Without a regular job and wage, families, communities and individuals ‘breakdown’.  For those trying to move away from deprivation, social or mental health issues, employment is crucial.  Yes staff may be problematic.  But treated right, supported, trained and developed they will become a huge asset to a business.  A robot on the other hand will only be able to deliver the set task it’s been programmed to do.  It will not add additional value.


Businesses and indeed humanity need to decide if they want integrity or more money.  The costs of making/keeping people in deprived positions are huge to all taxpayers.  As business and shareholders are also taxpayers, maybe they should consider what really costs more.


Robots are essential in the right area – space, science, medicine – operations, prosphetics, paraylsis – where they enhance our lives, not crush them and take them over.


Diversity or not Diversity – when is it really an issue?

Recently there has been a media scramble over the injustice of what women have to wear to work in the UK compared to male counterparts.


Over the weekend uproar has erupted over Muirfield’s decision to remain a male members club and continue their long tradition of male only members –  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36337914.


This decision has cost them the future consideration to be host of the Open Championship – a prestigious event in golf and money spinner for local businesses.  There has been an outcry over women’s right to join this club.


Yet again the media seems to stoke the ‘diversity’ fire without balance.  Why doesn’t the WI admit male members?  There are a lot of male, single parents who manage a household as well as the children and would probably welcome the knowledge and support of people (both sexes) in the same position.


Does the media feel we are all too stupid to form an opinion if given all the information?  I guess inflammatory headlines sell papers .


Is the fact we live in a country where private members clubs such as Muirfield and WI can set gender exclusion barriers testament to our freedoms?  Or should all clubs/institutions be open to all – mandatory?



Green Light To Talk Mental Health!

Inspiring step by one of my clients today.  Leading the way to encourage businesses to talk openly about mental health issues with staff at all levels.


Will others follow?  All great changes started with a small step. This is mental health awareness week so it makes sense to do something fitting.


But wouldn’t it be much better if we wore green ribbons all of the time to signify we are comfortable having a conversation on Mental Health?


It almost seems we are only giving permission to speak up about mental health on a set date!  Which is crazy.


We all know someone who is struggling with a mental health issue.  Lets start a conversation, and keep talking/listening/signposting.  Remember to be mindful of your own wellbeing as well.


Take very good care of your mental health.

Thoughts on the Orientation week from the Associates…..

“Without this programme, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to push myself enough to have gained the job role I have been offered.  It’s made me have more self-belief’


‘Jane was so welcoming, I feel I can speak to her about anything.  A truly lovely person’


‘The experience has been hugely beneficial for me.  I’ve enjoyed every part of it as well as meeting employers and learning their stories and making friends’


‘Jane’s a fantastic trainer, pleasant, friendly and made me feel really important and relaxed throughout’.


‘Thank you Jane, fantastic programme you run here!’

‘It was great’


‘definitely worth doing,  Great coming out of comfort zone.’


‘A real eye opener for me.  I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what I can do better’


“Jane’s amazing – very good at what she does”


“Brilliant experience – very different from what I expected. I’m more confident and able than I thought”


” I recommend this programme to others.  I’m very glad I joined the programme”


What great thoughts from the current GrowingTalent Associates……………..

The art of checking facts……..

It’s a human tendancy to jump to conclusions and believe everything that is written in the press.  After all headlines sell, does it matter if the content isn’t wholly correct?


Initially we could believe it doesn’t matter.  Usually it’s big companies or rich celebrities who find themselves the subject of such miscontext reporting.  They can afford to defend themselves in court if necessary.  But what of those caught up in the domino effect?


During the Orientation Week I run for Growing Talent the news story broke concerning an actress who worked with a temp agency inbetween jobs.  On one such job was for a hospitality outsourcer on a global firm’s offices, she was asked about the inappropriate footwear she was wearing.  The press and social media portrayed the situation as follows:


‘temp actress sent home without pay for not wearing high heals’.  This escalated and was featured on tv news stations and in various press features attracting celebrity backing over the weekend.


None of the facts came out:

  1. She was employed by a temp agency – whose name has never appeared in the press
  2. She arrived on site in trainers
  3. The flat shoes she had were inappropriate
  4. She was invited to wear a pair of the new shoes the outsourcer had in store – she refused


The domino affect is this.  One of the Growing Talent Associates was due to start with the outsourcer concerned.  She only had the one side view portrayed in the media.  She had no idea of the four points above nor the support and flexibility the outsourcer offers it’s staff.  She was highly reluctant to go forward risking the chance of  a well paid, permanent job.  Female staff can already wear plain black flat shoes, opaque tights compared to the flesh coloured general uniform, trouser suit instead of skirt suit.


After discussing all the facts, the Growing Talent Associate was a lot more confident and happy she was in fact joining a caring employer.


In instances like this, why does the media not support a blanket ban on all dress codes?  Why should children wear uniforms at school? why should air hostesses wear certain shades of lipstick? Why should Brietling be allowed to continue with their logo?  The list of questions goes on.


Shouldn’t we focus on giving all the facts to enable a balanced decision to be made?


What do you think?