What’s going on in your business?

It takes a leap of faith to ask your staff – all levels – ‘what’s going well, what could be better and what solutions do you feel would fix things’.

That’s exactly what a global financial services company did in the UK over August. Just look at some of awesome results delivered:

1.         The company got some fantastic ideas they can implement relatively cheaply.  No huge fees for external consultants!

2.         The staff felt empowered, valued, listened too and were far better connected with peers across all services and departments. 

3.         Staff stepped out of their comfort zones and recognised they could rise to any challenge and achieve more than they previously felt possible.

4.         Senior management got to see the hidden talent of their staff.

Instead of doing the usual staff survey, the company organised a challenge.  Working in teams each region presented their thoughts and solutions to a panel of senior management on a given subject. In this instance, the subject was ‘Better Connections’ – how well connected are we with each other across the business? 

The prizes were individual awards of vouchers for a leading online retailer but, way more impressive, the commitment of implementation nationally of the winning ideas.

The winning team was the London region for their tangible ideas with the Southampton team a close second for their innovative, passionate ideas.

I had a small input on this journey which enabled me to see the awesome integrity, commitment and passion of the teams.

So, if we know and accept our greatest asset in the world of business are our people, why aren’t we regularly asking and listening to their ideas? Not all ideas will be viable – but many will be. Just think of the positive impact on the business with committed, engaged, staff who know they belong. 

Are you ready to take that leap of faith? 

Have organisations evolved during and post Covid?

That is the question I’m asking myself after watching a discussion featuring global financial businesses, academics, medium sized businesses and emotional intelligence global leaders all discussing their experiences.

Read on and consider whether or not your business has truly evolved. I’d love to know your thoughts….

One global financial services company spoke about how they pivoted quickly to move their business to home working as the pandemic hit.  There was no ‘pandemic game plan’ to follow.  They ensured their staff had the equipment they needed to do their jobs from home but looking back, they felt they could have done more to ensure the feeling of  wellbeing and connection.

All the other representatives agreed – their organisations did the same. Logistically it was relatively easy to send equipment to staff homes.  They also shared and agreed the following:

Virtual working amplified good AND poor leaders.  They noticed good leaders, leaned into what different support their teams needed individually.  They gave ownership and support to their teams to enable them to take responsibility to get their jobs done without micro management.  Cohesion and trust thrived leading to strong, innovative positivity. However, bad leaders continued to operate exactly the same as they did pre-pandemic leading to isolation, pressure, fear, anxiety, distrust and disconnection within poor leaders’ teams.

I wonder, will any behaviour impact training be offered to those ‘poor‘ leaders to see the shadows they currently cast and give them the tools to change that shadow ?

The pandemic brought an air of ‘rip the band aid off’ and just do it.  Implementing ways to build a psychosocial safe environment remotely where teams felt valued and safe sharing ideas lead to strong trust and cohesion where everyone thrived.  Ideas were tried and tweaked by collaboration with all parties.

With Covid restrictions lifted, the panel shared what their businesses had learned from their teams to evolve effectively in this new era:

  • Place of work should be decided at a local team level based on whether work requires concentration, collaboration or connection not set globally and will be fluid.
  • Collaborating with all staff on what they need to do their jobs and exploration together on how this would fit with the business is critical.
  • Collective onboarding of new joiners enabled a community of support to be built delivering a feeling of belonging, connection and feeling valued.
  • Leaders need to think about the shadow they cast on their team by their behaviours.
  • Work needs to be judged on contribution not on how ‘busy’ someone is.
  • See staff as individuals not a ‘resource’ nor ‘asset’

A member of the academic panel shared their thoughts on The Great Reflection:

  • What do businesses want to retain on the other side? Connections with family?, trust staff to work where they want to by judging them on their contributions not hours in the office?
  • If businesses are going to revert to pre-pandemic modus operandi – why? 
  • It’s clear hiring has increased, but so has burnout.  Organisations must have measures in place to prevent burnout not manage it once it’s happened.
  • Many staff will reflect on where they are, where they want to be – will they remain where they don’t feel connected and valued?

As the discussion concluded, I found myself reflecting on what has really changed?  What lessons will really be learned? How many will revert to old ways ‘just because that’s how they’ve always done it’?

Time will tell…..

ISO45003, the international guidelines on psychosafety in the workplace, was released in the Summer of 2021 – mid-pandemic when workplaces had many diverse guises.  

Is the time now right for all organisations to ensure the positive wellbeing of their people regardless of where their workplace is? 

Not a ‘tick box’ mental health first aider course but a combination of options to give a selection of tools to ensure all leaders and teams thrive maybe comprising some/all of the following:

  • Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing – proactive – teaching over 50 self-care tools.
  • How does your behaviours impact those around you – analysis and development?
  • Making better connections through self-awareness
  • Building self-empowerment for you and your teams
  • 360 degree risk assessment
  • Finding your why

So, has your company evolved? What new learning will be retained and implemented into operational DNA?

One thing is very clear to me.  Regardless of what organisations do, we all have the ability to control our own wellbeing to build our resilience to enable us to be top of our game.

Will you make your personal wellbeing non-negotiable?

Shining a light on our new Growing Talent Associates….

Last week was the 28th Orientation and Holistic element of Growing Talent! We covered a lot including:

  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence and behavioural impact
  • Conflict styles and management
  • The power of body language
  • Nutrition on a budget – the perils to avoid
  • Wellbeing windows and non-negotiables
  • Basic finance tips and tricks
  • Workplace ettiquette
  • Case studies – what would you do in these real situations?
  • Facing fear and overcoming procrastination to move forward
  • Fake it until you become it
  • Automatic habits
  • Challenging thoughts
  • Schedule in self-care

Working from etc venues in Fenchurch Place, London Monday – Thursday last week, we enjoyed an energising breakfast, mid-morning break, full on lunch with hot and cold options, desserts and cheeses. Smoothies, vegetable shots and tea, coffee (in many different compilations) as well as water!

On Thursday Paul, Ella and Suaad’s prospective employer was able to join us for a networking lunch along with Anna and Mick from DWP. Ella, Florence and Suaad shared some of their experiences over the week and questioned Paul, Anna and Mick on how they had dealt with a range of things from Covid to conflict both at work and in their personal lives. I sat and listened with pride at how their confidence had grown over that few days. Our guests were very generous in sharing past and present experiences. Mick’s previous life in the Met Police gave a lot of insight that maybe we don’t always think about. It was a powerful reminder that everyone has a back story we usually know nothing about.

After the ‘grilling’, We had a sumptuous lunch together before departing for the week.

The feature photo above shows Ella, Suaad and Florence completing their @I-act Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing ready to use some of the tools and learning to empower their resilience in the workplace as well as support those around them where they feel safe to do so.

So what did Ella, Florence and Suaad think of they journey so far?

“I enjoyed all of the workshops and found them very informative- I didn’t necessarily have the most open mind (I generally don’t about lots of ‘work training’ things) in advance of attending but Jane’s attitude and openness made me want to attend. What I enjoyed the most (besides the food which was phenomenal) was being able to openly share my background, hopes and fears, experiences with others in such a safe and encouraging environment. So much about looking for work requires us to be constantly positive in attempts to oversell ourselves. What Jane does so well, and what I enjoyed the most, was being able to be a whole person- with room for improvement but a clear pathway to that improvement. It was such a boost to my self-esteem and made me feel that there were practical steps to moving forward that didn’t involve berating myself for not having achieved them yet.”

“I found the ‘five second rule’ very practical- I could definitely recognise that in myself and the way my brain talks me out of doing things I am worried about. I also found the discussions around confrontation and interpersonal workplace relationships (and outside) really helpful. Also the continual emphasis on maintaining good channels of communication is definitely something I am trying to keep permanently in mind until it becomes second nature.”

“Personal well-being and learning how to structure your work day to make sure your mood is optimal and you’re making the most of your day. If you take a proactive stance and not react to what life throws at you, you can be in control and change the quality of your day to day experiences.”

“Jane has been wonderful over the week. The way the programme was delivered over the week shows this is something Jane deeply cares about and enabling participants with the right information and boost of confidence/morale is just as important as securing a job. After facing unemployment you have to mentally prepare yourself before starting a job, you may feel out of the loop or in a low mood. By completing a holistic short course beforehand, it allows you to evaluate how you are doing on a scale and gives you insight to what to work on going forward.”

“The I-Act course is a great source to keep around and use as a reference, it provides a great summary of different types of mental health issues and illnesses. Once again, it is a tool you can use to see how you’re doing on scale and can be used to advocate for yourself and others. Courses such as this are needed to destigmatize the issue of mental health, a simple heartfelt conversation may change the trajectory of someone’s health and even their life.”

“I am very grateful and happy to be given this opportunity, it is a unique and lovely programme that would not be possible if curated by someone who didn’t understand how to genuinely help people (to help themselves!). It’s clear this is a labour of love and it really shows in the quality of the programme and the impact it has on me over just one week. Bravo, thank you!”

“Jane made us feel very comfortable and secure enough to share our personal stories as to what led us to Growing Talent.  I also enjoyed the company of the other people on the journey with me. There was nothing that I didn’t enjoy.  I looked forward to each day!”

“The whole concept of having a “Holistic Employment Programme” is such a great idea and perfect in my situation.  It provides a level playing field for everyone.  Thank you!”

If you are unemployed, live in London and interested in a different route to employment – check us out and or speak with your work coach at JobCentre Plus.

If you are an employer with permanent jobs in London which you are willing to train in, why not consider Growing Talent? Like Ella, Florence and Suaad you will have empowered, resilient, enthused, empathetic new talent before you formerly hire them with qualities you wouldn’t usually see in traditional recruitment – and it’s free. Get in touch to discuss.

#StarsOfTheShow!

A beautiful, sunny Spring day in Central London is always energising. The mist of historic buildings including the Tower of London and London Bridge against the glass legacy buildings of global firms and City Hall with the Thames running majestically alongside makes it even more so.

PwC More London hosted Growing Talent’s information session today for pan-London JobCentre Plus managers to explore if Growing Talent would be the right journey for some of their unemployed clients.

Growing Talent has run for eight years. Anna and David – have been on the journey from the start as trailblazing cheerleaders to their colleagues at JobCentre Plus. Despite their intense day jobs, the still supported Growing Talent from the beginning.

Following a film and powerpoint presentation, a Q&A session followed.

Of course, the absolute stars of the event were Navin and Jamie, who despite intensely disliking public speaking, they always step up for Growing Talent! A fabulous double act, their heartfelt experiences, their humour and their latest promotions – and of course pay rises – held the audience’s attention immaculately.

Anna with Navin & Jamie

Members of JobCentre Plus pan-London asked lots of questions and were really engaged in the potential Growing Talent offered some of their clients.

Team JobCentrePlus!
Navin & Jamie networking!

Watch this space to see what happens next………..

Workplace in a post pandemic era – scary?

Its essential employers do everything possible to ensure their workplaces – physical and virtual – are operating at peak wellness and wellbeing especially with the nearing post covid era we are entering – emotions can be in turmoil.

Delivering training on how our behaviours impact those around us (Emotional Intelligence), how to communicate and collaborate effectively, how to build a resilient, productive environment where individuals at all levels learn skills and tools to look after themselves – and those around them – is critical in these constantly changing and uncertain times.

Where to start? We can overthink and procrastinate for ever trying to identify the ‘perfect’ solution but end up not actually doing anything.

Working during Covid has been a unique experience for everyone depending on their own particular situation. Not everyone has worked from a safe home with its own garden, financially secure with a solid network of support.

Coupled with this is everyone’s unique level of resilience. This is a key area for employers to look at as it directly impacts their business, brand reputation and bottom line. How to give some tools to ensure their people know their level of resilience, how to increase it and thereby be more able to deal with the curve balls life throws.

Having delivered many accredited courses and my own bespoke workshops in this critical area over many years, i-act is the most effective, robust commercial product for staff and their businesses on the market in my view. Why?

  • Quick deliver – 4 hours – delivered virtually making it accessible for hybrid workers across the globe
  • Robust, easy to access 168 colour co-ordinated manual, containing over 50 tools for self-care and 95 referral organisations. Digital version also available.
  • Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and carries 3 CPD points -for delegates
  • Accreditation lasts three years with access to I-act’s website for news, updates and downloads
  • Designed specifically for the workplace
  • Proactive – not reactive. Focus is on early intervention, building resilience
  • How to set and maintain personal protective barriers
  • So much more!

Collaboration and learning together is the best way to grow. Some of the key findings delegates shared on recent courses from diverse industries and levels of seniority include:

“A complex topic nicely categorised by the book and the ‘I-acted’ approach – so ordered, accessible and useable”.

” The self-care and wellbeing advice and activities was a key takeaway for me. It has given me more concrete ideas of where I can improve, particularly as someone who has a diagnosed mental illness.”

“Learning the simple scale tool to start a conversation was my standout. I will definitely use this going forward.”

“From some of the past support I’ve given my team, having the opportunity to understand more about some of the classifications of mental ill health was really helpful.”

“Learning how to ask the suicide question really helped me, It’s a difficult subject”

It seems to me the title ‘First Aider’ gives the impression delegates are ‘qualified’ to deliver first line intervention. This isn’t always the case. The emotional intelligence to speak to others at the time of emotional vulnerability whilst looking after yourself is critical and not something everyone can do naturally.

Yet, many employers don’t assess their employees before putting them on these kind of courses. Are they in the right headspace to do this kind of course? Do they have the communication skills to support someone else? Do they have the insight to know when to get involved and when they need to pass it on to protect themselves? Do they make their self-care a priority? It seems to be more a ‘tick in the box’ exercise. How much damage could that potentially do to both parties – not to mention brand reputation of the business?

I’m often asked what I would do if I wanted to make sure my staff and workplace thrived – not just survived. I would use a journey of steps – ensuring collaboration with staff at every step:

Step one – discover what the emotional temperature of my workplace and people is? To know and not just assume where the pressure points are I would run an Emotional Culture Survey. A quick survey which takes just a few minutes to complete online and examines 10 key areas of pressures across all departments and levels of staff giving results in minutes.

Step two – workshop to understand the impact our behaviours have on those around us which we may be completely unaware of but this impact can last years. Not an issue if that impact is positive – but what if it isn’t?

Step three – run the developmental, global Genos Emotional Intelligence assessments across all levels of staff for them to see any gaps between the level of importance of six core competencies and the level of demonstration raters see followed by coaching sessions to enable them to see insights, actions and benefits leading to stronger 360 connections and increased personal development.

A global programme delivering specialist workplace and leadership critical tools.

Step four – deliver I-act – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing – for line managers and Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing for non-managers. Both deliver the key tools noted above.

Step five – run continuous workshops, discussions, fun events during which work is not discussed. Instead focussing on empowering staff to break the stigma and fear our emotions can have by talking without fear about emotions. In addition have fun getting to know each other as humans working together who have lives outside of work not just colleagues doing a job.

Now, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Government has announced the end of restrictions in England next week.

Is now the time to start preparing your teams and workplace to thrive?

Let’s talk self-awareness….

As a certified #genosinternational Practitioner, I’m inspired by the positive impact their products have on individuals, leaders and businesses.

Their #emotionalintelligence assessments reveal gaps in level of importance compared to demonstrated experience in six critical core competencies enabling insights, actions and benefits to be considered. A strong development tool for individuals, teams and the business.

We judge ourselves on our intentions when doing or saying something. But here’s the thing, those receiving that message don’t know our intentions so they judge us on how we make them feel.

‘People forget what you said. They’ll forget what you did. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel’ – Maya Angelou

What impact do you have on those around you? Do you know or making an assumption?

The #genosinternational film below gives some top tips on what you can do to increase your self-awareness. Thanks to the amazing Aoife and Holly #genosinternational for putting this short film together.

Why not take a look?

#emotionalintelligence is critical in business – not a ‘nice to have’.

Diamonds….. interested?

When they are dug up, diamonds look like insignificant dusty pieces of glass. Without the trained eye to see what amazing gems these can be polished into, their value can be missed. We aren’t just talking surface beauty here in the jewellery market but their unique strength in other industries including:

Mining – diamonds are used in deep surface drilling due to their toughness and heat resistence

Dentistry – diamond tipped tools are used by dentists for their endurance

High end speakers – diamond domes never wear out meaning the sound never deteriorates

Super computers – diamond’s heat resistance make them invaluable in this field where heat can be a problem

Construction – diamond embedded saws cut-up roadways more easily – harder to break and aren’t affected by friction heat

The same can be said when recruiting new talent. Unpolished gems are missed everyday because employers see the surface label not the gem underneath – a little like that dug-up diamond.

On Growing Talent, the polish is delivered in a unique bootcamp intensive week of orientation delivering life and workplace skills. Delivered during this week is the global I-act course – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and designed for the workplace. Embracing critical awareness of emotional intelligence in all areas of life ensures by the time your selected ‘rough diamond’ arrives on your site, you have something unique and magical – your own diamond to polish.

We are launching a new campaign in January 2022. If you are looking for new talent with drive, commitment and the ‘edge’ why not try us out?

For more information check out http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

Zero cost. Zero risk.

Control what you can – ignore what you can’t!

What a roller coaster the past couple of years have been.

It seemed we’d turned a corner with the Government lifting restrictions, more and more people leaving their hybrid workplace and returning to their offices – even booking holidays, events and Christmas family gatherings! Life getting ‘back to normal’?

Then, earlier this week came the news of yet another variant. Omnicron had arrived!  A vortex of fear, dread, overthinking fell on some intensified by the re-introduction of some restrictions by the UK Government.

Scientists in South Africa alerted the world to this new variant. We know by the time a new variant has been announced, it’s already out there in the world’s population. They couldn’t control the reaction of countries closing their borders. Had they known, would they have shared their discovery?

Borders are starting to close.  Restrictions are being re-introduced.  It can feel like news channels are on repeat cycles of doom without any context or balance.  There is no evidence of which way this new variant will go. The UK Government’s consistent guidance of ‘we have to live with this’, seems to have now been reversed.

It’s no wonder anxiety, fear and overthinking is rising in many of us.  So, what can we do? 

Control what we can – ignore what we can’t.

Accept some things we cannot control.  Governments and scientists will make their decisions. But, here’s the thing.  When we accept these things are out of our control, we can stop focussing on them and look at what we can control.  The fear, anxiety and negative thinking starts to dissipate.  We start to grow stronger and move forward.

Change your thoughts – start by questioning them.  What evidence do you have to think that way? Often, we think negatively because our minds are designed to keep us safe and so they over amplify negative thoughts. Merely by questioning our negative thoughts, their power starts to dwindle.

Control – what areas of your life can you focus on, control and inject positivity into? Building in some self-care windows to everyday routines, learning new skills these are some of the building blocks to growing self-esteem, empowerment and resilience. Doing something for somewhere else makes us feel better and them. Start with a simple smile. Watch – it’s infectious!

For employers, what additional things can be considered? 

Emotional Intelligence behavioural assessments – our emotions impact our thoughts.  Our thoughts impact our behaviours.  Our behaviours impact our actions which impact everything and everyone around us.  Thing is how we see our behaviours can be very different to how those around us experience them.

i-act’s Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing delivers all the tools to proactively build a resilient workplace. The 50+ tools taught in i-act are life-long skills that enable us to deal with all life events. Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, designed specifically for the workplace and global.

Therefore, I’m going to control what I can and ignore what I can’t – how about you?

Is there a different way?

In the UK we are experiencing a lot of news traffic about the lack of HGV drivers and the knock on impact of petrol shortages, Christmas goods not making the shelves etc. We can look at the blame game or we can focus on what we can learn to do differently to really move forward.

For so long there has been adulation for ‘celebrity’. With the growth of social media, there has been a new career title ‘influencer’.

The global pandemic has shone the spotlight on the careers we really need, should value and respect all of the time, yet many don’t – HGV drivers, social care workers, delivery drivers, auxiliary specialists in NHS – the list goes on.

There is an old saying which seems apt here “keep doing what you’ve been doing, keep getting the same results”.

I just wonder if now is the time to do things differently. Instead of trapping people in the hamster wheel of benefits and state support, why not invest in specific training to give unemployed people real skills to move into careers where they can support themselves, their families and pay taxes to support those vulnerable people coming after them?

If we take HGV training. It costs over £4K to train as a Heavy Good Vehicle driver – and rightly so. HGVs are weapons of mass destruction in the wrong circumstances so drivers must be robustly trained. This initial cost will be repaid several times other by each individual leaving benefits for good – not to mention their mind health will increase.

Of course, training is one part of the issue. Wages need to reflect the responsibility essential services like this carry which means either lower profits for shareholders or higher costs for consumers.

The same applies to social care. One thing seems to be forgotten in the talk about pay and conditions in this highly under rated sector. That is despite the growth of AI in many sectors, it won’t replace the need for humans to be trained well and WANT to work in social care looking after the most vulnerable of our society. Many seem to forget those of us luckily enough to have a healthy adulthood will likely need social care of some sort in our twilight years.

What kind of care would you want? Someone exhausted holding down multiple jobs to make ends meet or someone who has a passion to work in social care? If it’s the latter, don’t they deserve a wage commensurate with the nurture they give?

There seems to be a shadow over humanity at the moment where the wrong ‘careers’ are feted and respected. Is now the time to look at our priorities?