Thinking outside the box when you business takes a hit

Coronavirus and Covid-19 have put some businesses into positions of having to explore new markets and make themselves attractive to new customers whilst still being accessible financially to their new customers.

 

One such business is a ‘club’ of fishermen and women who had their usual market stopped overnight due to the pandemic with the immediate shutdown of restaurants, gastro pubs etc.  Under the Pesky Fish website, the daily catch is advertised at 8am each morning – be quick though most things are sold by 9am!  You can elect to have the fish filleted or left whole.

 

I made my first order a little nervously.  How can fish be delivered by courier and still be good quality and fresh?  I need not have worried.  My first order arrived today.  Sealed in an insulated box – full recyclable with a really nice touch of information cards about who caught the fish, their boats etc.

 

Not only have I got a good quality selection of fish that will last 4-5 days, it’s cheaper than supermarkets and higher grade but I also feel I’m supporting a niche industry too.

 

So Dean caught my Pollack fillets:

 

 

Matt caught my Mussels

 

Ian smoked my Salmon!

 

 

Fancy some fish? why not check these guys out and support our fishing industry as well

 

https://www.peskyfish.co.uk

 

Growing Talent 25 has completed…… bring on GT26!

In January, we started off with 40 enthused, unemployed people applying for Growing Talent.  Following the Employer Speed Dating held mid-January, 15 were selected by employers for a 1-2-1 second stage meeting.  Offers were made, some rejected so we commenced Growing Talent 25 with three participants from diverse backgrounds who all shared one thing in common – they wanted to work!

 

Michelle & Tara from PwC joined the session and selected Annarita , below, to join them!

This is a big departure for Annarita.  Following a background in textile design she is now part of PwC’s secretarial community.

 

Kate – a regular recruiter on Growing Talent – from Firmdale Hotels, selected Kerry to join their Haymarket hotel within the housekeeping team.  Kerry is loving the role and already got her eye on progression not to mention the staff perks!

 

Annarita & Kerry – trained first aiders in Mental Health during the holistic part of Growing Talent.

 

Lastly, Sergio and Lina from ISS selected Nazzarriey to join their waste and segregation team.  Naazzaariey – seen below with Kerry is getting used to the routine of working and planning things she can do with her wages….

 

 

We wish them well on their adventures ahead now they have a regular salary coming in…..

Highlights of their journey include:

Awaiting feedback on their excellent Social Enterprise presentation and more importantly the winner!

 

Emma from Unravelling Minds showing how art helps with wellbeing….

 

Lesley mid-flow delivering her 3Rs – techniques for staying healthy in the workplace.

 

This is one of the few times Growing Talent has experienced 100% who started completed and went into work!  Great outcome for all…

 

What does the road ahead hold for them? who knows – but that’s part of the excitement of life – right?

The 26th programme starts in March…. watch this space!

 

The end of Growing Talent for 2019

Our Graduation on 16 December marks the closure of Growing Talent for 2019.  Thanks to the funders, it will be back in 2020 with 6 new programmes confirmed.

 

As we approach closure of this year, I reflect back on the trials and triumphs of 2019 for Growing Talent.

First the trials!

January 2019 we kicked off with the new format of Growing Talent – reducing down the time spent training in the vacant role with the employer from 10 weeks to four.  The Orientation and Holistic weeks remain the same. This has caused a few concerns.  For those people who have multiple barriers to employment, four weeks isn’t always long enough to grow in confidence to be sure the end role is the right role.

JobCentre Plus has been restructured with leads who knew Growing Talent well moved to different roles.  This has meant a vastly reduced support from East, West and North London districts.  Unfortunately, this meant we lost an excellent employer with great roles based around the M25.

With the full roll out of Universal Credit, JobCentre Plus has little contact with unemployed people who just need a confidence boost.  Each JobCentre is authorised to display what posters they want.  With so many of their own Government programmes, Growing Talent posters were never put up!  Therefore, those people submitted by JobCentre Plus often have more barriers to overcome in their quest for employment.

 

Now the Triumphs! – which for me eclipse the trials!

From January – December 2019 we had 34 unemployed people start Growing talent from all social, educational backgrounds.  Out of these, 27 completed Growing Talent and secured their permanent jobs.

 

We had our first father and son success story!  Referred by a friend who secured their role on Growing Talent in 2018, Navin applied and secured his role with Mitie based at Embankment Place.  Navin introduced his dad Nalin to me.  A fascinating career with diverse experience including a long tenure supporting the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to London!  After multiple senior management roles, Nalin decided to retire.  When he realised it was too early and he wanted to return to work, he encountered employers looking at his past experience rather than what he wanted to do now.  After an introduction, Nalin started a night role as hotel manager with Club Quarters.  He told me last week he’s now secured the day role he wanted at another Club Quarters Hotel and is very happy!

 

Bernie who was on the same Growing Talent with Navin, wanted to go to Canada and see a bear.  He told me a few weeks back he’d achieved his dream.  Bumping into the Graduates of Growing Talent and seeing them achieve their goals and grow so much is awe inspiring.

 

I know from the feedback all participants give me at each stage of their journey, Growing Talent has literally changed their lives.

 

The triumphs far outweigh the trials!

 

The end of the road…………

Today is the final day of Growing Talent 21.  Nine of the 13 who started the journey have completed and secured their permanent roles.

 

Their true grit and determination has paid off.

 

Congratulations and respect to:

 

Amar – joined MitieTDM – Specialist Internal Firm Services

Bernie -joined MitieTDM – Specialist Internal Firm Services

Navin -joined MitieTDM – Specialist Internal Firm Services

Kelly – joined Melia White House Hotel

Heavenly – joined Firmdale Hotel

Robert – joined Firmdale Hotel – initially as Kitchen Porter but his performance saw him start as Commis Chef

Natasha – joined Firmdale Hotel

Charlie-Ray – joined Portico at PwC

Katrina – joined Portico at PwC

 

We wish them all well in their careers ahead………………

 

 

As an employer – how do you know you’ve found ‘the one’?

It’s difficult and time consuming trying to identify the right talent for your business before hiring, not just from a skillset point of view but also personal outlook, fit with the team and company ethos as well as future potential, before hiring them.

 

At the point of hire in traditional recruitment, a lot of time and money has been spent on composing the vacancy, advertising it, potentially engaging recruitment agencies, a contract has been drawn-up, payroll has been set-up – all without knowing if the individual is a good fit in all areas and has the potential to grow.

 

If there is a ‘miss-match’ there is not only a cost implication but also a decrease in team moral.

 

Surely a ‘try before you buy’ works for both sides.  Enter Growing Talent!  Now I know what some employers may think who have not been involved in anything like this before…”the unemployed never work out”, “there is no commitment from the unemployed – they’re used to not working”.

 

As the saying goes – the proof is in the pudding – as many naysayers have found.

 

Alex, on the current programme with Portico, recently had his first appraisal.  After just a few short weeks on site, he’s exceeded expectations in all areas.  Outstanding feedback from the team is a natural self esteem booster.  Alex is looking forward to the remaining training ahead.  Already, he’s been identified as a perfect addition to the team – something the employer would not have secured without Growing Talent.

 

Why aren’t all employers recruiting through Growing Talent?  I’d love to know…

 

 

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

Is it difficult to show good customer service when you don’t like your employer?

It’s well documented that helping others, smiling, giving the best possible service we can to others increases our positive mental health.

 

This is easy when we feel valued by our employers.  It’s a natural reaction when a customer asks for help or  raises an issue which could impact the business/other customers.  But what about if we don’t feel valued or empowered by our employers?  We’re already in a negative outlook situation.  Can we automatically switch on the positivity and charm to help others?

 

Clearly for the two floor assistants in a reputed high end retail chain of grocers I encountered over the weekend, they proved that some people can’t automatically be positive/helpful when they don’t feel valued….

 

I noticed a smashed bottle of whiskey in the drinks area.  Broken glass was spread across the floor.  Being a busy Saturday morning, there were many children out with their families – a nasty accident was clearly likely as was a law suit for the shop.  I saw two assistants talking nearby and raised the issue – neither said thank you for the ‘heads-up’ even when the customer who had knocked it over came back after failing to find someone to tell and apologised, the two were uninterested.

 

I wonder if their day might have gone better had they exercised good customer service with a smile?  After all ‘It’s not things in themselves that upsets us, but how we look at those things’ Epictetus – Greek Slave circa 55AD – still true today, don’t you agree?

 

 

Growing Talent 18 – how has the first week been?

The first week training in their potential end jobs is always tough.  It’s about managing instant expectations and keeping the end goal in site – easier said than done for many!

 

After being unemployed – even for a short time – leaving the routine of your comfort zone takes courage, determination, tenacity and grit. Qualities that not everyone has.

 

So where are the Growing Talent 18 Associates ? & how have they got on?

 

Kam is working with the Portico team on their PwC accounts cross training in all areas at two sites in London – Charing Cross and London Bridge.  Based there with Kam is Alex…

 

Alex summed the first week as ‘so much to learn, but it’s really good – I made the right choice.’ Alex was in the lucky position of having a number of employers offer him provisional roles on Growing Talent.

 

Helen below is very happy working with the reception team at Regent Group in Wimbledon…..

 

‘The team are really friendly.  It’s different work to the world of corporate switchboard which I’ve been used to but I really like it and the travelling isn’t bad! Just an hour max door to door including all the walking to stations/interchanges etc.

‘The days are really long but I’m really enjoying it’ shared Tom above who is working with the Social Media team on video content.  ‘The days are really long as I’m in 7.45 to 8am each day but I’ve found a local part to go to each lunchtime’.

 

Leo had a tough week not least because he, by his own admission, is very impatient and want everything now!  Working with Scotscape – a living wall specialist, Leo is hands-on in his role

.

Mohammed, above, is learning the ropes with Acuity Services’ Elite Team.  The Elite Team are trained in all accounts to enable them to seamlessly cover holidays and sickness.  Mohammed is keen to get his teeth into something demanding responsibility.

 

Lastly AJ is learning to support Amrik – Talent Acquisition at Regent Group to deliver an exemplary service in securing and training the right talent to ensure Regent Group grow efficiently.

 

AJ’s a little camera shy so no photo!

 

The biggest transition for anyone one on Growing Talent to complete the programme and secure the provisional job offer is managing their ‘instant expectations’.  By this I mean, we are so used to getting everything we want ‘now’ without having to wait for it. Eg, order a takeaway on line and it’s delivered to your door, same with a weekly shop, clothes, maintenance equipment, furniture in fact just a bout anything.

 

However, two things you won’t ever secure instantly are meaningful relationships and a career! Both have to be worked at, nurtured and sustained.

 

Check back to see how the guys get on over the coming weeks……………

 

 

Stairway to opportunity?

Yesterday I finally got to see the impressive restoration at The Principal Hotel, London.  As a listed building with multiple original vintage features the launch date was put back a number of times.

 

I’d met Charlie & Amy from the HR team almost a year ago.  They came along to the Growing Talent Graduation 2017 and Amy attended one of our employer speed dating events to see if they could recruit through Growing Talent. Yesterday, Charlie confirmed they were indeed ready to join us on Growing Talent 18 which commences at the end of July.

 

Some of the stunning interiors any selected Growing Talent Associates will have the opportunity to work in….

 

The opulent lighting really fits the atmosphere at the hotel…..

 

Take a look at the ‘Hollywood’ showers…

 

 

How intricate is this mosaic outside the Palm Court afternoon tea area?

 

 

Who doesn’t love a four poster???

 

 

Great area for a nice soak after a long day….

 

 

Overlooking Russell Square itself, despite being in the heart of London with all the bustle, you literally feel a world away inside the hotel.  A great opportunity for the right Growing Talent Associates…..

GYO – Good idea?

PWC-Growing Talent-SET (2)I run a platform – Growing Talent – devised by business for the free use of business to identify and grow their potential new talent before hiring them cost free.

 

This is a mutual ‘test drive’ for both the employer and potential new employee to ensure a confident, sustainable match.

 

This is the 2nd week of a two week run on overground trains on – Southern, South East and South Western – over 1,500 carriages in all.

 

Over the last four years, more than 125 unemployed people from all backgrounds have secured permanent roles, grown in confidence and – in their own words – changed their lives.

 

But do employers really want to try something different?  Something innovative that delivers results or just keep doing what they are doing using time, money and other valuable resources but not always identifying the right person.

 

What are you thoughts?  Is Growing Talent a good or bad thing….. please let me know your thoughts……

 

http://www.growing-talent.co.uk focussing on the holistic journey into permanent employment.

Is there a block with employers recognising the value of ideas from those working for them?

Most definitely! Is my conclusion….

 

On Growing Talent, everyone is technically unemployed and training in a vacant role which is their provisional job offer if they complete.  Very quickly, most who are enthused and see the value of this opportunity, will quickly see fresh ways of ‘upselling’ their ’employer’s’ goods/services.

 

From what I’ve seen, these ‘fresh eyes’ and therefore ideas are usually dismissed without investigation.  It seems to me employers see ‘unemployed’ rather than ‘human with ideas that could work’!  Why is that?

 

Like him or loathe him Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares include a segment of a new menu which me makes everyone taste and get to know.  This way, everyone can sell those dishes, give information to customers which in return will positively hit the bottom line.  It also ensures the individual is involved and enthused about the restaurant.

 

What an idea!  Ensure all staff know your values, products/services, reason for being……..

 

Maybe it’s time for some employers to think a different way?

 

I was reminded of this by Simon Sinek talking on YouTube about the Puerperal Fever deaths of the 1800s – known as childbed fever in which both mother and child died.  It was discovered the fever was caused by infection delivered by doctors.  At this point in time, medicine had graduated to investigation and understanding so autopsies were carried out.  Unfortunately, hand washing and tool sanitisation wasn’t!  Doctors would carry out autopsies in the morning then deliver babies in the afternoon without washing their hands.  However, pride that they were the cause meant no change happened for decades!  What a difference if looking at the idea of washing hands and giving it a try would have made.

 

For me there are similarities with employers who won’t listen to new ideas.  Keep doing the same thing.  Keep getting the same result.

 

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