Roller Coasters come in all shapes….

19 July saw the start of the first Growing Talent hybrid for ten fantastically talented, currently unemployed people keen to work.

Selected by one of the ‘Big 4’ organisations for permanent roles in their growing virtual business support teams, they commenced step one – the orientation and holistic week – virtual of course!

So what did we cover over this week?

Mondaycommunication – a vital area to get right in all areas of our lives – no matter what our social status is nor our seniority in the workplace. But how much time do we put into making sure we get this right? Have you considered the following?

  • Speaking – what is the aim of the conversation? what content will you cover? where and how are you going to hold this conversation? what are the possible outcomes of this conversation? have you considered your tone, clarity, volume and pace?
  • Listening – do you automatically listen without judgement? do you ensure there will be no interruptions nor distractions? Do you listen with empathy or sympathy – do you know the difference?
  • Reflect back – paraphrasing is essential to ensure you have understood what you have heard – get the evidence, don’t just assume.
  • Body Language – did you know non verbal cues make up the biggest part of communication?
  • What method is appropriate for the conversation you are going to have?
  • What types of conflict might you encounter?
  • What’s your conflict style? accommodating, avoidance, collaboration, competitive, compromise
  • You statements – also known as the communication destroyer. Do you know why?

There is more to communication than most think!

Tuesday – invest in yourself. Critical – not selfish. Airline safety talks ‘state put the oxygen mask on you BEFORE helping others’ That makes sense, so why not scheduling in some self care windows throughout the day? This section covered:

  • Stop avoiding fear
  • Mantra and personal values
  • Overcoming negative thoughts
  • Control your brain – stop letting it control you
  • Self care toolkit
  • Dealing with imposter syndrome
  • Nurture your soul

Wednesday – nurturing your body – a car only runs on the right fuel. So does your body. Fuel it mindfully!

  • Food fads – the power of marketing vs facts
  • Superfoods – really
  • Understanding sugar – in all it’s forms
  • Exercise
  • Social media – good, bad and ugly

ThursdayMoney talks! Sharing basic financial tips together. 3 little bottles – waste and recycling, why is it so important. Moving on. Encompassing…..

  • Managing debt
  • How to increase savings
  • Ways to increase income
  • Considering credit cards, debit cards and cash
  • Money mantras
  • How to apply for new roles uniquely

Friday – I-act – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing

How to look after yourself and those around you. This accredited course delivers a solid understanding of what mental health and wellbeing is, over 50 tools for self care and evaluation, robust evidence reporting – amongst a whole lot more.

So what did the fabulous 10 participants feel about the week? Below are some of the feedback – anonymous in line with GDPR:

“The content was exciting and engaging – which surprised me. I was expecting it to be a bit boring because it’s delivered by Zoom”

“The journey book which accompanied the week was clear and helped me understand the course. I can refer to it ongoing.”

“This week was so worthwhile – it’s taught me how to be more professional”

“I’ve been implementing things I learned in my personal life such as delaying my response in conversations until I understand what’s been said. It’s easy to misunderstand people if you jump in too soon.”

“The contents of the week were fantastic, very informative and engaging with loads of tools to assist me going forward”

The accompanying book was significantly relevant”

“I found everything insightful and enlightening. There were a lot of topics. I especially liked mental health and how to engage with someone who might be struggling. I feel I can now demonstrate a lot more empathy. I also really enjoyed finance considering how much I wasn’t taught much about the topic at school.”

“I’m glad to have the accompanying book as I can go back and refresh my knowledge anytime.

“This is probably the best training course I have every attended. T/he contents cover life inside and outside work”

“The book will be extremely useful going forward. On the course it enabled everyone to read at their own pace.”

What were the thoughts on the trainer?

“I loved how Jane had everyone engaged and included in all of the topic areas. She allowed us to digress within reason, which helped explore the topic further but she was also able to control anything that was not relevant to our learning.”

“Jane’s style was inclusive, warm and welcoming. Everything was clear.”

“Jane is very interactive and gives off a very positive vibe. I really felt like my opinion was relevant when she asked questions and she’s always very impartial so we didn’t feel like we were being judged. It was a pleasure doing my training with her”

“Jane’s compassionate and a very good listener”

“”Jane’s style was nice and precise, she knows what she is talking about and is a confident lady who taught us in a respectful professional manner.”

For me, the week was a mutually positive experienced. When we see each other as humans, we can learn so much together. Essential for work and life – don’t you agree?

EI – Just a fad or a key business tool?

Businesses have undergone a a sea change – unforeseen and unplanned – due to the pandemic. The same sea change has happened to their employees.

What can help both business and employees flourish? – Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Wikipedia’s definition:

“EI is the ability to perceive, use, understand and manage emotions in ourselves and others. The term first appeared in 1964 but gained popularity in Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman in 1995 – a best seller. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership and performance”

Let’s think about that for a minute ‘an array of characteristics that drive leadership and performance’ – so how can we ignore EI. Isn’t now, more than ever, the time we need strong leadership and performance to ensure our businesses and employees flourish?

So, what can businesses do right now to grow the EI of their teams and ultimately businesses?

Adapt, change what you’ve done traditionally. Recognise EI as a real tool for your business’s survival and growth.

ISO45003 is the new international standards guidelines issued this summer. Global agreement focussing on EI. Everyone can’t be wrong!

We don’t know what the coming months will bring with the twists and turns of the pandemic but we do know from reflecting back over this time, we’re adaptable. With the aid of technology we can build EI virtually.

Empowering our employees to be as resilient, adaptable and strong for whatever the coming months bring and beyond.

Is now the right time for your business to consider EI training with accredited EI course and/or bespoke workshops on empowerment, resilience etc?

Take a look at the virtual workshops and courses I deliver on the home page of this website.

Can you afford not to take Emotional Intelligence seriously?

Why keep doing the same old same old?

Of course ‘Mental Health’ isn’t such the taboo subject it was but there is still a huge social and self stigma fog to break down.

Back in 2017, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, commissioned Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer (CEO of Mind) to investigate and report on mental health at work. This resulted in “Thriving at Work” published in October 2017.

Some of the key findings of this report were disturbing:

  • 300,000 lose their jobs each year due to mental ill health – far higher than the incidence of physical health
  • Around 15% of people at work have symptoms

Key recommendations from this report:

  • Produce, implement and communicate positive mental health in the workplace
  • Develop mental health awareness among staff
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health
  • Provide employees with work/life balance options
  • Routinely monitor employee wellbeing

More ambitious ‘enhanced’ standards from this report include:

  • Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
  • Demonstrate accountability
  • Improve the disclosure process
  • Ensure provision of tailored inhouse mental health support and signposting to clinical help

At the time of this report only 11% of employees discussed a recent mental health problem with their line manager – meaning 89% did not feel able to disclose. In addition at the time of this report in 2017 only 11% of the Top 100 companies disclose their initiatives in their annual reports.

Only 24% of managers in 2017 received some form of training in mental health at work.

4 years later – has anything changed?

That’s what I keep asking myself. On the surface, businesses seem to feel they’ve done all that they can. They’ve usually rolled out MHFA training, assigned some people who’ve done MHFA training as ‘First Aiders’ to their peers who might be struggling. Is that effective? Is it enough?

I don’t think so. Businesses need to think about what their business and staff need to really thrive not just do a tick in the box training exercise with a proven reactive programme like MHFA just because it’s the most well known.

MHFA is an excellent programme for those interested in the subject area. It teaches in-depth information on mental health conditions, legislation and how to support, listen and signpost someone once they have experienced an issue. Devised by Betty Kitchener, a mental health nurse in Australia, and her partner Professor Anthony Jorm. With a global reach, it has become the go to product for businesses to deliver mental health training – but it was not designed for the workplace!

Selecting a unique, accredited programme like I-act, specifically written for the workplace and accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with over 50 self care tools, guidance on how to build a mentally positive and healthy workplace as well as evaluation and development tools for those doing the training to support others – makes more sense. Cost effective and efficient.

Maybe if more employers choose to build a select menu of options for resilience, wellbeing, and positive mental health for their business and staff – the stats will be much better in another four years.

Or will we continue to kick the can down the road? Businesses are not the same. Why select the same training as your competitors when your business is different? Isn’t it better to lead than follow?

At Jane James’s Consultancy Ltd, we deliver the I-act training for managers and non-managers along with devising bespoke bolt ons to meet staff and business needs. Financial awareness, self-employment, team empowerment, financial awareness, know your purpose, what’s your journey – and many more. Financial awareness for staff is a key point in the new international guidelines ISO45003.

If you want to ensure your business and staff are thriving, why not get in touch to discuss options?

Ever had that sinking feeling because you’re missing something?

Something I’m trying to get better at is gardening. Like many others, growing up I never listened nor showed interest in grandparents trying to teach me about growing fruit, vegetables, herbs etc. For them, they learnt out of necessity – food was still scare for them growing up.

Looking back, I don’t doubt they also got a lot of calmness, wellbeing and resilience from their planting and of course harvesting even if these weren’t the primary reasons they gardened!!!!

For the last 20 plus years, the voices for environmental wellbeing, impact on the world of wrong types of food productions, water consumption etc has been a catalyst for many to embrace gardening. For some, it’s the mindfulness nurturing plants, tending soil etc. Others want to save on their food bill and /or teach their children where food comes from.

The arrival of lockdown saw many start tending their gardens, balconies and/or window sills as their previous routines had evaporated virtually overnight.

Whatever the reason, the joy of growing something, especially from seed, seems to lighten the spirit no matter the age or background. Like laughter, gardening seems to be a universal medicine.

Personally, I’ve never been that successful growing vegetables from seeds. Either I get a frail, shrivelled seedling that doesn’t mature or nothing at all.

The universal ‘go to’ now is the internet. YouTube is perfect for step by step guidance in many things from plumbing to gardening. Here I learned about a method to increase germination of seeds to help growth. Using a mixture of 1:10 hydrogen peroxide to water mix, dampen some kitchen towel and wrap the seeds in this before placing them into a plastic bag for two days. The film showed not all seeds would germinate but most would. It seemed worth a try. The only thing was no hydrogen peroxide. I had that sinking feeling. So I went with just water and it worked!

The reason for sharing this is to show just because you haven’t got all the ingredients for something, you can improvise and still get great results.

Don’t let any ‘sinking feeling’ deter you from trying.

“Thousands of jobs & no one to fill them” – can that really be true?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57349802  This features a report by KPMG on the situation UK PLC finds itself in: “thousands of job vacancies but no people to fill them” How can that be so?

In other reports from @BBC we know there are 1.7m unemployed and over 4m on furlough who may not have jobs to return to when furlough finally ends.

There seems a huge disconnect.

From the people I’ve spoken to over the past fourteen months I think there’s an elephant in the room we are not addressing.  Fear.  

Fear of stepping outside their door.

Fear of leaving their family.

Fear of stepping onto public transport.

Fear of walking into a new environment.

Fear of getting to learn a new role.

Fear of a new routine

Fear of not being respected by colleagues

Fear of not ‘gelling’ with the team/management

Fear of losing this new job

Fear of failing

There is an expectation employers will address this fear. Those integrating the new ISO45003 guidelines will go a long way to achieving this. Using Growing Talent to gain new talent will see them go even further in achieving the goal of sustainable new talent who have grown into the available role through the methods taught on Growing Talent to flourishing adding real value to everyone.

If you have a real job to fill, why not consider www.growing-talent.co.uk?  It’s completely free and not a Government funded programme. 

The global pandemic has seen businesses change the way they operate to get the results they want. 

Isn’t now the time to change the way you recruit to reveal those hidden gems of talent you’ve potentially been missing?

#psychosocial #risks #business #leadership #talent #socialmobility #inclusion #diversity

What has fairy tales got to do with business?

Everything if we want workplaces, people, profits, brand reputation to flourish.

After reading the Stevenson Farmer 2017 report ‘Thriving at Work”, the ISO45003 new international standard guidelines “Psychological Health & Safety at Work – Guidelines for Managing Psychosocial Risks” and CIPD’s April 2021 member’s survey report it’s clear business has to slay a few dragons to truly thrive.

Let’s look at those three core pieces of work a little more closely. What are the core results of each?

Thriving At Work – 2017

  • 300,000 staff lose their jobs each year through longer term mental health – far higher than those who have lost their role through physical issues.
  • Around 15% of staff have symptoms of mental ill health
  • Over half the cost to employers estimated £33bn-£42bn is due to presenteeism
  • Deloitte’s estimated for every £1 invested in management training for workplace mental health and wellbeing the return is £9.98
  • Only 11% of staff discussed a recent mental ill health issue with their line manager
  • Staff fear disclosing will lead to discrimination. Line managers fear getting involved will make matters worse.
  • Only 11% of the Top 100 companies disclose their initiatives for wellbeing and mental health in their annual reports.

ISO45003 – guidance notes available now. Certification available later in 2021

  • Understand and identify what is a psychosocial risk/hazard, then mitigate it – ISO 3.1
  • Understand legal requirements – ISO 4.1.1
  • Ensure appointed staff to be first aiders and listening ears for mental health and wellbeing are not only trained but competent too – ISO 8.2(B)
  • Address staff working location – isolation, IT issues – home working responsibility – ISO 4.1.3
  • Management of change – ISO 8.1.3
  • Return to work – psychosocial risk assessment – ISO8.3
  • Emergency response -(examples – terror acts, dismissal, suicide) ISO 8.2
  • Ensure staff can identify signs in themselves of psychosocial risks – ISO 8.1.25

CIPD April 2021 Report – member survey

  • Financial wellbeing is still lacking. Only 19% of companies have financial wellbeing information in place
  • Employers’ are the key financial provider to their employees and should have a menu of information/training to reflect the make-up of their staff to reflect key requirements.
  • Just over 77% of respondents believe their company is actively promoting positive mental health and wellbeing BUT less than half of these felt it was effective.
  • Many employees don’t feel their managers are comfortable supporting someone experiencing a mental health issue.
  • Stress remains the biggest issue for staff. 71% of staff said they had taken sick days due to workplace stress. This percentage rose to 91% for companies over 250 staff.
  • COVID has been the. biggest cause of workplace stress
  • In November 2020 Mind said more people had experienced a mental health crisis than ever previously recorded pre-Covid.
  • Overwhelming majority of respondents have observed presenteeism – 75% in the workplace and 77% whilst working at home over the past 12 months.
  • Seven in 10 people have observed leaveism – working outside contracted hours, during annual leave.

Conclusion

Clearly there are many adults from all backgrounds experiencing their own ‘dragons’. The snapshots of the above three documents show employers’ role in slaying those dragons are clear.

Having worked in the field of training in positive mental health, wellbeing, resilience building, finance building blocks for a great many years, I’ve seen a shift from some employers keen to address some of this and roll out training. 

But is it the right training? For well over the 10 years I was involved in MHFAEngland whose mission is to ‘train 1:10 of the population’ in their reactive first aider programme. 

But what if the wrong people are being trained? 

If staff do not feel their line manager is comfortable speaking about mental ill health issues, they won’t disclose even when they know that manager has been trained. First Aider programmes inform on what to do when something has happened. They don’t inform how to build resilience, improve wellbeing, mitigate psychosocial risks. I-act does. Check out what is covered in i-act’s courses and make sure you are buying something as robust when looking at mental health and wellbeing training in your workplace:

1.     Bespoke courses for both those managing teams and those not 

2.     Accredited by Royal College of Psychiatrists and carries CPD points

3.     Proactive – teaches resilience building not just reactive when there is an issue

4.     Those receiving the training improve the quality of their own lives, those around them and makes the workplace inclusive and resilient

5.     Evidence based, systematically reviewed every three years

6.     Both courses have an accompanying 168 page evidenced-based training manual, toolkit and resource pack 

7.     Participants gain access to i-act’s website to download resources

8.     Virtual delivery – saves time, money and anxiety for staff who find travelling difficult

9.     Has over 50 practical step-by-step tools and over 95 organisations to refer to

10.  Can be delivered nationally and internationally – ideal for global organisations wanting uniform training

11.  Whilst it teaches how to support someone in distress, it uniquely focuses on improving wellbeing and building resilience to reduce the risk of becoming unwell – hence the name i-act rather than re-act.

12.  Has unique evaluation and development tools for those team members supporting other team members so collectively the pillars give the acronym of i-acted:

I – Improve wellbeing

A – Advocate help and signpost

C – Connect with people

T – Take tools and advice

E – Evaluate and monitor

D – Develop further

If you are interested in learning more to grow the resilience of your business and teams, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Time to plan your Bank Holiday?

We all know innovation comes from free thinking. However, to implement that innovative idea, we need to have a plan of action in place.

That got me thinking. Would I have a more empowering bank holiday weekend if I made some targets I wanted to achieve and a plan to achieve them?

Only one way to find out!

The feature photo is my plan to sort out my garden this weekend and take the time at the end to enjoy it.

I expect to get the majority of this done – maybe not in the right order but does that really matter if the end goal is met?

For me, the end goal is to spend some time reflecting on what I’ve achieved and how amazing nature is within this world we live in of contradiction, unkindness, assumptions, pressure etc, nature just keeps going.

That for me is a key lesson. Accept the things we can’t change and just keep going – like nature.

How about you? Do you have a plan for this Bank Holiday?

Do you work in a Psychosocial safe environment?

Before answering that question we need to understand what Psychosocial means. International Standards have coined the phrase to cover mental and psychological health in the workplace. Psychosocial is core to their new standard – ISO45003 which is due to be released this summer.

A good starting point is to ask if we feel comfortable raising a concern. Will we be listened to?

To ensure their people and workplaces – even virtual ones – flourish, employers need to consider the psychosocial health of both. Risk assessing any hazards in the same way as assessing physical hazards under Occupational Health and Safety.

ISO45003 is an excellent framework for employers to follow., It’s a strong complement to the previous ISO45001.

For those not fluent in Health and Safety, HR or Occupational Health, it can be difficult to understand some of the language.

Asking the 10 points in the feature photo above will help you understand if you work in a psychosocially safe environment or not. Let’s take a closer look at each point:

  • On this team, I know what is expected of me. It’s critical to know what is expected of us in terms of our role – duties, shifts, training, deadlines etc as well as our behaviour – dress code, time keeping, following processes, interaction with team and customers. Clear communication is required to ensure expectations are understood. Employers need to communicate in a clear, inclusive way. If expectations are not clear we will not deliver and that will cause us the stress and anxiety of failing.

  • The company values outcomes more that outputs or inputs and no one has to ‘”look busy”. Outcomes – such as revenue earned, products sold, customer satisfaction etc matter more than targets of outputs met – amount of sales calls made for example. If the team focus on what truly matters to the business, they are safe to make decisions which can improve the outcomes even if they reduce outputs (targets) to get there.

  • If I make a mistake on this team, it is never held against me. A psychosocially safe workplace will never blame a team member for making a mistake when the intentions were good. By enabling mistakes to be made without fear of blame an organisation enables innovation which can a game changer against competitors. Key is to utilise systems and thinking to develop approaches to prevent mistakes before they happen and then work together when the do happen to resolve them quickly.

  • When something goes wrong, we work as a team to find the cause and solution together without blame. Relates to the point above. Simply put every failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. By being psychosocially safe, the entire team can learn and grow.
  • Every member of the team feels safe to bring up any problems or tough issues whether they are workplace or home based ranging from personal struggles, concerns about other team members – even senior management. Psychosocial safety is key to enable vulnerability to disclose and courage to raise these difficult subjects.

  • Members of the team never reject others for being different or having different views – therefore no one is left out or feels excluded. Evidence shows diversity, inclusion and respect in teams results in higher quality products and happier team members. Team members should be included in the process to make decisions to deliver results. This leads to team empowerment. This is especially crucial for remote/virtual workers.

  • It is safe for me to take a risk on this team – different to a mistake, a risk is about actions that might not work. In a psychosocial environment the framework is there for positive risk taking. This enables innovation ultimately delivering competitive business edge.

  • It is easy for me to ask my team for help – In psychosocially unsafe environments people hide their perceived vulnerabilities and don’t ask for help.

  • Nobody within my team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts – In psychosocially unsafe environments, team members compete with each other to achieve their individual goals even undermining colleagues to get ahead. This counter-productive competition doesn’t exist in psychosocial safe environments.

  • My unique skills and talents are valued and utilised – In psychosocial safe environments team members are valued for being their true selves. This inclusion means individual assumptions (biases) about others are less likely to manifest.

After reading this, you will be able to evaluate whether or not you work in a psychosocial safe environment. You will also be able to recognise if you are a psychosocial safe colleague.

Change often starts with us.

Taken a wrong turn?

Ever put your trust in someone who’s then let you down?

It’s a situation we can all relate to – especially at work.

A conversation with someone in this position recently reminded me of a couple experiences in my distant past. The trouble with some humans is it can sometimes take repeat experiences to learn the lesson!

Similar to the person I spoke to recently, I was in a recruitment admin role in a complete rut. I knew the role was never going to expand and neither was the micro business it was in. One of the clients headhunted me to a role in their new start-up. Looking back, I didn’t reflect on the offer to check it was real and what I wanted. I believed everything I was told after all the offer was made by a client – they wouldn’t exaggerate the truth…..would they?

Of course! The thing I’d buried at the time was they were human first and foremost.

At that point in time, I was bored, frustrated and going nowhere professionally so I accepted the offer which I quickly realised was a big mistake! I could do nothing other than try to make the best of things until something better revealed itself. After all, who can leave a job without another to go to when they have bills to pay?

Shortly after came my repeat lesson. I was approached by a headhunter I knew about an ‘exciting new opportunity’ to set up a talent hub within a business who had done a lot of research and had interested clients lined up to use the hub’s services.

Too good to be true? Yep it was. The opportunity was real but they had done no research. There were no interested clients lined up.

The difference this time was my attitude. This was a blank canvas. I could grow it how I wanted it to be. Over a number of years I grew that talent hub into a multi award winning programme which made a real difference to many people who had experienced barriers to get into work.

So why share this with you? Well a couple of reasons really:

  1. We are all human and trust those offering us an escape – without considering it might not be the right escape.
  2. Sometimes when you make a mistake you can turn it into the most magical thing ever just by changing the way you look at it.

If you are in a rut professionally, frustrated and feeling like you are on a burning platform, take the time to stop and think what your purpose is. Plan your own escape journey to where you want to be. Otherwise you may end up having repeat experiences which are exhausting and worthless.

Is your business Psychosocially ready?

Refreshing to see ISO (International Standards Organisation) have recognised the need to put mental and psychological health front and centre of business. The terms are interchangeable. For clarity, global agreement has been reached by ISO to use the term ‘psychosocial’ which you will see more and more over the coming months.

ISO’s new certification due for launch later this year – ISO45003 – is designed for businesses to ensure their workplaces are psychosocially healthy and is especially attractive to businesses already holding ISO45001.

Having read the advanced final framework of ISO45003 – ‘Occupational health and safety management – psychological health and safety at work – guidelines for managing psychological risks’ – it is clear any business, even micro, businesses can use ISO45003’s guidelines as a framework without applying for accreditation.

Throughout the global pandemic, businesses have risen to diverse challenges. Some have flourished without making many changes such as the logistics and IT sectors. Others have embraced agile working remotely. Some will return in full to their workplaces whilst others will have a blended mix.

One thing is certain for all. The need to ensure their workplaces and teams are psychosocially safe and robust is critical for their staff, profits and reputation to flourish.

Now is the time to put tools in place to aid this.

Growing Talent is a strong tool for employers looking for new talent in their business. The programme has a solid track history of revealing untapped talent, delivering diversity and inclusion to the business as well as personal empowerment and growth to that talent.

Growing Talent covers many of the areas highlights in ISO45003 – see below.

Recruiting through Growing Talent gets employers ahead of the game when it comes to the psychosocial health of their workplaces.

Why not at Growing Talent to your recruitment tool box?

http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

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