#timetotalk – annual day tomorrow 2.2.23 – are you ready?

Talking about emotions is tough.  

How do you start? 

The automatic answer to ‘how are you feeling’ is  usually ‘fine thanks’.  Where are you going with that?

Remember, anyone struggling with their own emotions will also be struggling with self-stigma.  We may need to check in more than once.

Most humans are not brought up to talk about their emotions which can lead to negative thoughts not being challenged and a state of becoming overwhelmed.

The critical practice of building in non-negotiable windows of self-care to our daily routines is not taught.  Therefore, we don’t build the mind muscle to challenge negative thoughts when they arrive.  As our minds are built to amplify negative thoughts to keep us safe, we can lack the insight that we are becoming overwhelmed.

It’s easy to work on automatic pilot and not see our spiralling descent as we support everyone around us – work, family, community – whilst neglecting our own mind health.

It often takes someone else to notice the changes in us to start a conversation where we can be reassured, validated and supported to identify the help we need.

With the introduction of psychological safety in the workplace with #ISO45003, employers are more aware of the critical need for the health of their business to proactively train staff at all levels on how to look after their mind health.

With the arrival of #timetotalk today, many will be overthink – what to say and how to say it.

Having delivered training in this key area for over 15 years across multiple industries, one key tool I find useful is the 1 – 10  scale when asking how someone is.

“Tell me on a scale of 1 – 10, how are you feeling today”. They have to give you a number – not just say ‘I’m fine thanks’.

Their response can provoke a more authentic conversation.

If it’s low:

 ‘Looks like you are dealing with a lot right now.  That must be exhausting. Can you share with me what’s going on for you?’ 

Or maybe 

‘Tell me, is there something I can do for you to help you move closer to that 10?’

If the response is seven or higher:  ‘It’s great to hear everything is going well right now’ – the fact you reached out to them will prompt them to have the confidence to approach you in the future if anything changes.

Before we can support others, we have to be in the right place. 

So, ask yourself, on a scale of 1 – 10 – how are you feeling today?

Ask this everyday!

Contact me to discuss how I might be able to help you, help your business to grow a little more.

Time for a rethink?


It’s natural to keep doing what’s comfortable – right? Even though employers don’t seem able to find the right talent for their businesses, they keep using the same recruitment formula – job ad, cv sift, interview, maybe further interviews, hire, start the on-boarding process. This, in my experience, is a heavy pressure on time and money. Why keep recruiting this way when:

  • CVs don’t really tell you anything relevant about the applicant
  • The interview process doesn’t give any insight nor confidence the match is right
  • Employee’s sense of belonging and connection with the employer starts with the on-boarding process, which in traditional recruitment comes after hiring, generally lasts one week depending on the role. 
  • Generic on-boarding processes vary in quality often they don’t include any wellbeing or workplace psychological wellbeing – critical in all workplaces across all industries including higher education as we have seen with the introduction of ISO45003.
  • This process is a barrier to the hidden talent within local communities who need a different way to gain employment and flourish delivering a positive impact to their employer, family and community.

In the BBC News feature, the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) have polled employers and see the clear divide between the enthusiastic recruitment of younger people compared with older.

Having devised and run Growing Talent for over nine years, it’s clear the benefits to all in ripping up the recruitment rule book and disrupting the norm to get innovative results.

On Growing Talent, there are no cvs, job descriptions nor formal interviews. We create a level playing field for applicants and employers. Employers select on those they believe can grow into their roles with the collaborative mentoring Growing Talent delivers.

First stage employer selection is via ‘speed dating’ – no questions on ‘what’s your greatest strength’ or ‘where do you want to be in five years”!

Anyone shortlisted by employers, undergoes a one-to-one meeting on their site to see where the end role is based, get a feel for the environment and team, gain a real understanding of transport costs and time to make an informed decision to go ahead.

Those offered and accepted undergo a weeklong orientation with me including accreditation in the global i-act course for managing and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. A journey book containing an audit evaluation trail and a mentor for both parties delivers a strong pre-onboarding process and connection with the employer – before even being hired.

Next comes a four week in role paid mutual evaluation which gives the participant the tools and confidence to showcase their ability and future potential in the role and team.

Retention of talent recruited via Growing Talent is around 2 years before people move on within the business to new roles or externally with other employers continuing to grow.

Our age limit is no under 18s. We had no upper age limit. In the words of the employers who have recruited through Growing Talent – they would never have recruited the people they did via traditional recruitment methods because they could not have been able to see their hidden talent and potential.

We have many examples of people deemed ‘older’ like those depicted in the BBC News feature. 

V.E applied to Growing Talent when she was 62. A yoga teacher, V.E had a long held dream of opening a retreat to deliver yoga and associated therapies. V.E accepted a role within a front of house role in a corporate setting in London working all shifts, full-time for over two years before leaving in May 2021 to set-up a retreat business!

In 2018, D.F had been out of work for 10 years at the time of applying to Growing Talent just over 50 years of age. With the encouragement and empowerment of the Growing Talent process, they secured their role, stayed for over three years before moving to another employer where they are still working.

Disrupting the norm in recruitment isn’t just essential in attracting ‘older’ applicants but anyone who has lost their confidence and feels a little invisible.

How much talent is being wasted because it’s hidden?

Time for a rethink ? 

Check this out!……

Some incredible opportunities confirmed – some from new employers taking part in Growing Talent for the first time!

Disrupting the traditional recruitment route.

The Growing Talent collaboration delivers a partnership of mentoring to someone who has lost their self confidence.

You’ve likely heard the phrase: 

“It takes a village to raise a child”

9 years of running Growing Talent has shown me it takes a multi-stakeholder collaboration to nurture people into permanent jobs, when they can’t see the talent within them, where they not only grow their career and make a difference to their employer but are empowered to be the best they can be for their friends, family and community.

More roles are expected over the next week for this London based initiative. 

Will the 32nd Growing Talent be the best yet?


Meet the latest accredited Practitioners in the global I-act Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing course.

With over 50 tools to use on themselves and those around them – at home and work – coupled with the steps to consider in having a conversation on emotional pain – and how to compose boundary statements to always stay safe – all are now empowered to recognise a change in someone, start a conversation, enabling them to get the help they need and deserve whilst ensuring personal safety.

Delivered in four hours virtually – the course is ideal for any work environment across any industry.

How psychologically safe is your workplace?

So inspiring to deliver this global, proactive, accredited knowledge to Associate Language Tutors at one of the UK’s leading universities – the first to gain #ISO45003 accreditation – over two evenings this week to fit in with their roles training others!

Associate tutors hold down a number of teaching posts, whilst supporting their students – academically and emotionally – being there for family, friends, community – before even thinking of their own well-being!

Despite being exhausted from the day’s teaching, everyone engaged, shared and learned together both evenings.

At the start of the first evening all viewed self-care as something that was important when they felt under pressure and/or had time – but not critical. This completely changed in the end poll taken last night with a 100% swing to critical!

Now armed with tools and techniques to help themselves as well as those around them.

Learning never ends for any of us!

Spreading the word of Growing Talent….

Yesterday I was invited to present the benefits of Growing Talent to Inam’s teams at JobCentre Plus covering Wandsworth and Putney.

Sharing the unique aspects of this established programme with work coaches enthused to learn and share with their customers looking for a different way to get into work was empowering.

We all carry labels in life. Some we covet – employed, home owner, holiday maker, car owner – but others are thrust on us: unemployed, single parent, homeless, care system leaver, domestic abuse survivor. 

These labels are heavy to bear, especially when we can have more than one label to carry at a time.

Overtime, we can feel more and more invisible as our confidence diminishes.

It can be like being in a deep dark pit with no ladder to start climbing out. Growing Talent is that ladder.

Together confidence and self-empowerment starts to grow, then flourishes throughout the journey until people have the self-belief and tools to take control of their lives back, make decisions and fly! Growing their job into a career is seamless opening up lifelong opportunities.

Growing the collaboration of Growing Talent with new stakeholders is exciting.

The classic Four Seasons said it best – “Oh what a night….”

Monday night saw the relaunch of Growing Talent at the London HQ of our host and sponsor PwC.

With over 90 people present the pre-event networking was a hub of energetic networking.  Interspersed with ‘OMG it’s been so long’ as ex-Growing Talent Associates over the years met-up for the first time since their journey began.

In addition to these awesome people, guests included members of JobCentrePlus, senior management of DWP, community organisations including SLAM, Southwark Care Leavers and Breyer Foundation as well as employers – veterans of Growing Talent and those new to the collaboration – looking to find out more.

The co-ordinator of Growing Talent kicked off proceedings explaining what Growing Talent was and when it started, why, in their view, it is as important today as when it started, the social value it has delivered and the benefits to all taking part.

We were incredibly lucky to have Ian Elliott, Chief People Officer at PwC join us to share why social mobility programmes like Growing Talent are so important to the Firm, why they support these initiatives and how important it is for businesses to engage with their local communities to gain innovative talent to grow effectively.

Following Ian, David senior manager from DWP, a long-time staunch supporter of Growing Talent, shared why they support Growing Talent when it is not a Government programme.

Following David, were the stars of the event – ex-Growing Talent Associates  Charlie-Ray and Rehana – sharing their experience, where they were at the start of their journey and where they are now. 

From a starting point of no confidence nor direction at the start of his journey on Growing Talent, Charlie flourished and won promotion to his current position as Senior Welcome Host with Portico leading a team of 30 direct reports!

He’s taken ownership for a lot of diverse projects nationally, including a secondment for a number of weeks to help mobilise a new regional office ensuring new staff feel they belong and have a strong sense of connection.  This secondment was meant to be a one day trip!

Rehana was next to share her roller coaster journey on Growing Talent.  Working with Portico for a few years as Welcome Host following completion before returning to full-time education to study to be a Counsellor – a long held passion.  

But how to fund such an intensive course? 

Rehana started her own craft business ‘Sealed with a Stitch’ selling crochet items within the UK and  internationally – ideal for corporate gifts, unique birthday presents or to mark a special event.  

Easter Bunny example of Rehana’s work during Covid!

Rehana juggles this business with her position as a Counsellor supporting vulnerable people with Headstrong.

Charlie and Rehana both shared the power of what saying ‘yes’ to someone can have.  

Neither of them would have been recruited by their employers in a traditional recruitment process – but look at the awesome talent that would have been missed!

Allen, Head of Information Management Services at PwC as well as lead for Growing Talent at PwC, was last to speak and share his personal experience of supporting Growing Talent over the last nine years, from holding roundtable discussions on basic finance considerations to being a judge on our previous social enterprise challenges.

It was powerful to listen to Allen share his thoughts of meeting the Growing Talent Associates at the start of their journey and see the empowering transformation they underwent.  He still sees many working in the PwC offices continuing to grow every day.

It was fantastic catching up with some of the ex-Growing Talent Associates and learning of where they are now…..

Chloe and Sophia joined Growing Talent virtually during Covid in August 2021.  

Several promotions later for each of them, they are still working for PwC and ‘so happy’ – their words.

Sophia is now Team Leader and PwC Support Specialist coaching and developing many team members into other areas of PwC’s business. Sophia shared she can now make ‘grown-up’ decisions on investments and pensions.

Chloe is now an Executive Assistant organising and supporting her managers delivering projects.

In addition to clearly loving their careers, both shared how making their children proud of them was a powerful realisation.  

L-R – Stephan, Miyuki from ISS, Kieron, Bernie of Swiss Post Solutions, Anna – JobCentre Plus lead who has taken countless early morning calls to sort out any issues participants were experiencing over the years, Charlie-Ray of Portico, Navin and Jamie of Swiss Post Solutions with Chloe & Sophia – PwC.

The ripple effect of the positive impact on those around the Growing Talent Associates is clear.  One example, Navin shared the huge recognition his dad, Nalin, received from his employer recently (met on Growing Talent in 2019). Nalin has won so many testimonials from guests and colleagues over the years, the hotel recognised this commitment by awarding him a visit to New York taking his wife and Navin along for some shopping and sightseeing!  How great is that?

Of course, I had to get in the photos too!!!!

The post event networking went on longer than anticipated with wonderful bitesize canapes and drinks.  Thanks to the team at Baxter Storey especially the particularly tasty beetroot bites! 

Employers were buzzing about what roles they could ring-fence to take part in  the next programme and community groups were thinking of the awesome clients they could refer.

It was certainly a night to remember!

The Growing Talent story continues…….

Let’s recap the benefits so you can decide to get involved:

Potential applicants

  • No cvs nor job descriptions = no assumptions.  
  • Mentored to grow into a permanent role which you can turn into a career
  • Empowering orientation and holistic week which includes a qualification in positive mental health before going on the employers site
  • Retain your benefits, have all fares paid and get paid by the employer during the mutual ‘test drive period’
  • Be confident the role, employer and team is right for you
  • Start to believe in the talent you have within you

Check out  https://www.growing-talent.co.uk/applicants/ information session will be held on 6 February 2023. Contact me for details before this date.


  • No recruitment fee
  • Assigned Growing Talent mentor
  • Cost free robust pre-onboarding process aiding retention
  • Differentiator with competitors in commercial bids
  • Fish from an innovative, diverse talent pool to grow some awesome new talent
  • Confidence the match is right before making a permanent hire

If you are an employer with vacancies to fill in London, why not recruit a different way?  Contact me for more information or see https://www.growing-talent.co.uk/employers/

What are you waiting for?  Experience the power of saying yes!

A big thank you to all organisations including Pertemps, MasterFix Properties, Swiss Post Solutions, ISS@PwC and Aviva, ISS UK & Ireland, Office Concierge, Honeywell, Portico, Baxter Story, senior management from PwC, ex-Growing Talent Associates, members of DWP and JobCentre Plus, community groups including SLAM, Breyer Foundation and Southwark Care Leavers who gave up their personal time to attend.

A very special thank you to Adrienne Simpson who juggled her ‘day job’ as Allen’s Executive Assistant with organising the whole event start to finish – Ads – you are a superstar!

Thank you all!

What an awesome line-up!

Our Growing Talent event on Monday 16 January 2023 in London has some awesome confirmed speakers.

Some senior management from our global corporate sponsors – including a Partner from the Exec Board! A senior, regional manager from Department of Work and Pensions, an energetic double act from one of our staunch employers who have been with us from the start nine years ago and two people who have been on the Growing Talent journey themselves.

Rehana has built her own successful online craft business providing unique crocheted gifts as well as becoming a qualified Counsellor and Charlie-Ray oozes positivity to all around him – team, guests, management as Senior Welcome Host in a global corporate.

Both know the life-long power Growing Talent delivers. It really does make participants see their talent within, step into the light and shine knowing they have control of their lives and the opportunities ahead of them are truly limitless!

Oh what a fantastic night it will be!

Introducing our awesome new cheerleaders!

A massive shout out to our new @Growing_Talent cheerleaders from London and the South East region of JobCentre Plus.

The superstars listed have taken on the additional responsibility of cheerleading Growing Talent programmes locally so all of their teams can explore this opportunity with their customers.

Why does JobCentre Plus support Growing Talent when it is not a Government funded programme? As the senior lead at DWP said:

“I am really keen that we get Growing Talent well and truly back on everyone’s radar as I know it works.”

@Growing_Talent is a collaborative journey into work for unemployed people who have lost their ‘mojo’.


The unique Growing Talent collaboration includes, employers, those currently unemployed with hidden talent, JobCentre Plus across London and niche charities working in this area.

Zero cost.
Robust pre-onboarding aligned with ISO45003.
Ring fenced permanent job.
Giving control back to unemployed people
Delivering higher retention, diversity and inclusion to employers as well as a key differentiator against competitors in bid processes

What’s not to like?

Get in touch if you want to know more….

Awesome feedback………

Check this out.

All participants of Growing Talent undergo this training to empower their mind health and resilience as part of their orientation journey with Growing Talent delivering a solid pre-onboarding with their potential new employer.

We have a relaunch event in January. If you are an employer based in the London area with permanent jobs and a will to recruit more diversely, why not contact me for more information.

#raisingretention #buildconnections #belongingatwork