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?

Do we have the will to examine and question our behaviours and their impact on others?

Thanks to Netflix, I watched this brilliant film over the weekend. I was struck by many things. Yes, it had all the emotions – happy, sad, courage, loyalty, generational parallel lives, hope, adversity, ignorance, acceptance, bullying and likely many more. Overall, it left a feeling of hope, that’s it’s ok to be your authentic self and life can be fun if we drop the judgements we give others – without even speaking with them.

I originally wrote this for my LinkedIn in page. Why? because the film is a place of work comprising actors, camera crew, runners etc as is the school central to the film’s theme. Without the Emotional Intelligence to accept all work colleagues – direct reports, peers, line management, clients, supply chain etc in all sectors, as well as recognise and understand how our emotions, thoughts and behaviours impact others, businesses and their people will never thrive.

As the credits to the film rolled, we see the ‘real’ Jamie Campbell and his mum Margaret from County Durham who the film was based on. A three part documentary in 2011 featuring Jamie and his mum’s fight for him to be allowed to wear a dress to his secondary school prom.

For me, the most poignant feeling I got from the film was how little has changed. Ten years since the documentary on Jamie’s fight to be authentic yet we don’t seem any further forward. In the film, Jamie’s guide to becoming a drag queen is Hugo played by the brilliant Richard E Grant. Snapshots of Hugo’s life as a drag queen during the explosion of AIDS, had parallels with Jamie’s fight and illuminated the lack of acceptance today.

With training in how our behaviours impact ourselves and those around us, change is possible – but only if we want it.

Final thoughts – the film ended with a real shift in change of attitudes by many. I wonder how much more businesses would grow if they looked at the behaviours and impact of all within…..

Loneliness – a crippling feeling that can ruin lives

We’ve all been lonely at some time in our lives and know the fear, isolation and hopeless feelings experienced by it.  It doesn’t matter whether we have people around us or not loneliness can creep in at any point.

 

For people who live alone or in difficult environments, loneliness can be amplified and feel very palpable.

 

I stumbled across Wavelength, a great charity in Hornchurch, Essex which has tackled loneliness for over 80 years.  Starting by giving radios to people isolated by the World War through the decades evolving to include tvs, iPads and computers to all those in need from refugees, those leaving prison, young people, adults and families anyone already experiencing difficulty in their lives without the added burden of loneliness.

 

Their research of how people felt before contact with Wavelength and how they felt afterwards shows the massive impact they make.  Working with ONS in the UK tracks the impact of loneliness and the cost in human and family lives as well as business, communities and the health service.

 

Wavelength reminded me of an interview with the inventor Trevor Bayliss who invented, amongst other things, a robust wind-up radio to be used in global, remote villages which not only tackled loneliness but also delivered information and healthcare.

 

The simplest ideas are often the most effective and enduring.

 

Long may WaveLength continue its excellent work.

 

If you know anyone who is lonely and would benefit from WaveLength’s support, don’t hesitate to signpost them Twitter @WaveLengthHelp or website: http://www.wavelength.org.uk

Lon

Ready, set …….almost go!

Checklist!  The following is ready to go for tomorrow’s 17th Employer Speed Dating Session at Southwark Cathedral!

 

  • Employer Table names
  • Register of wannabe Growing Talent Associates
  • Profile summary sheet from employers
  • Ice breaker questions

 

With 22 talented applicants expected, it should be an amazing day!

 

Thanks to Matthew Bowden for the inspiring feature photo from http://www.freeimages.com –  it aptly shows the bright new future awaiting the selected Growing Talent Associates……….

International Women’s Day – what does it mean to you?

To me it’s a time to respect those women who everyday work hard to deliver real change to benefit others.  If can be someone locally running a drop in club for new mothers – who are naturally terrified of the responsibility  – to people like Helen Taylor Thompson – 93yrs young who was a spy in WWII, set up the first AIDS hospice in Europe and now works in using technology in the treatment of AIDS patients.

 

No matter how small their impact is on our lives, for me, it’s about telling them!

 

I am honoured to work with some amazing people on Growing Talent (www.growing-talent.co.uk).  Today I received an email from one of them who was on the programme over 2 years ago to thank me for my support.  I’m still buzzing!

 

Happy international women’s day!! Thanks for encouraging me to seek counselling and stay strong, it’s what got me through a lot and still keeps me going. Had to thank you once again in light of today as it’s what inspires me to stay strong so I can encourage other women one day.’

 

Why not use this auspicious day to tell those women who inspire you, about the impact they have had on you.  You’ll make their day and give solid meaning to #IWD2018!

‘Sacrifice People to save numbers’

I came across this quote whilst reading work by Simon Sinek – the renowned motivational speaker – check him out on YouTube.

 

We’ve all seen companies downsize their staff in turbulent financial times with no thought about the impact on those individuals, their families nor the overall drop in moral on the staff they keep.

 

Even when there isn’t a financial downturn, companies will often shred staff to reduce their payroll bill and thus increase their profits – more palatable for the shareholders – or is it?

 

I worked for a company for over 12 years.  Just before the financial reporting, a round of redundancies would be announced to ensure the company retained it’s double digit growth.  In reality, they haven’t grown at all.  All they had done was culled their staff.

 

Simon’s point was what would happen if companies did the reverse? ‘Sacrificed the numbers to save the people’ – what a thought.  The example he gave was of Bob Chapman Chair of Barry-Wehmiller in USA.  This company was a £1bn plus turnover and made big machinery.  In the 2008 financial crash he decided to ‘sacrifice the numbers to save the people’.   With 30% written of the company’s value in one fail swoop – it was time to try something new.

 

He suggested everyone – from himself downwards, would take four weeks unpaid holiday.  They didn’t have to take it consecutively and they could take it when they wanted but everyone would keep their jobs.  The response was huge.  Those senior people who could afford to take more unpaid leave traded with those that couldn’t.  Everyone worked as a family, pulling together.  They were involved in the decision, given the support to do it and felt safe and happy.  The company prospered.  It enjoys 20% year on year growth compared with the average 6%.

 

When you believe in why you are doing something, everything else falls into place.  People support you because they believe in the same thing.

 

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if all companies ‘Sacrificed the numbers for the people’?

 

How much more would their profits grow?  What do you think?

Businesses – want to multiple your profits by 3?

The link below – which you’ll need to cut and paste into your browser – features some interesting research from Soma Analytics.

 

HRH Prince Harry asked in a radio broadcast what affect mental health had on business. The financial cost has been well known for years as has the human cost on individuals, colleagues, families, line management etc.

 

Soma Analytics research showed  two out of three UK large businesses do not publish their mental health strategy and support for their staff in their Annual Reports.  More startling was businesses that did publish this information saw their profits increase by three times!

 

It’s well known if you look after your staff, your staff will look after your customers and business with grow and profits increase.  So why is business so reluctant to publish what they do in their Annual Reports?

 

There is no health without good mental health…….

 

Check out the feature for yourself.  What do you think?

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42512723

 

 

Shocking staff treatment…….

It amazes me – a major name in business promotes it’s key charity – which runs through a supplier – helping homeless people whilst having a commercial yet loss making arm and immediately I thought – that’s great, making a difference to people and not worried about profits – refreshing.

 

Having spoke to someone who worked there until recently, I’m astounded at their treatment and the apparent blindness of the business in the working practices of their supplier.  There is a complete risk to brand reputation and clearly no due diligence nor operational monitoring.

 

This individual had raised several times to management the stress and pressure the team were experiencing due to the heavy workload.  The management ignored all concerns.  They raised further concerns on a lack of training again they were ignored.  They then raised the fact that despite working 1.5 hours extra every morning and 6 hours extra every Friday, the workload could not be completed.  The additional hours worked were unpaid and time off in lieu not allowed.

 

The individual was then told to leave the premises.  They would be given two weeks money and that will be it but they weren’t being sacked.  Nothing in writing.  No due process.

 

Exploitation, whistleblowing – just two unsavoury thoughts that sprang to my mind and will do every time I see the brands of the supplier and their business client.

 

It’s taught me to take everything at face value.  Great works in the community aren’t always as great as they may seem.

 

Shameful.

Life skills from the Navy Seals…..

Admiral William H McRaven gave an insightful life lessen in a graduation speech in 2014.  Key points came from his basic seal training back in 1977 and is highly relevant today……..  You can track down the film on You Tube…

If you want to change the world – or just your part in it:

Start with making your bed.  what was the point of daily bed inspections?  To set the bar.  If you can’t do the little stuff – you’ll never do the big stuff. It sets a positive note for the day – you’ve completed your first task!  If nothing else, you’ll come home to a well made bed!

Learn how to paddle! A boat will only travel efficiently if everyone works together.  Know when to ask for help. The ‘munchkins’ where the best paddle team.  From different backgrounds, different statues, all had heart, worked together and won the challenge.

Get over being a cookie – for failed uniform inspection, seals had to go in the water then roll in the sand – called ‘cookie’.  They then stayed in this all day.  Many couldn’t take this constant failure and dropped out.  They missed the lesson of failure.  You have to keep going.

 

Embrace the circus: for failing a physical challenge, a Seal had to do two extra hours.  Embrace it, it builds stamina.  The lesson is you will fail and sometime fail often but keep going, it builds stamina and resilience.

 

Go head first – sometimes you have to do things a different way and dive in.

 

Face down the bullies – Seals are trained to stand their ground when swimming in shark infested waters.  If a shark circles – punch it hard on the snout – it will swim away.

 

Be the best you can – especially in the darkest moment.

When you’re up to your neck in mud – start singing! – The power of hope.  It takes just one person and spreads quickly.  Think of Washington, Lincoln, King, Mahala

 

Don’t ever ring the bell!  In Seal training, there is a brass bell which people ring  to give up.  Never give-up.  Keep going you will succeed.

 

“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.”

“It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward—changing ourselves and the world around us—will apply equally to all.”

“Changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.”

Some great lessons for us all………..

The ‘Internal Supervisor’……

I heard this term for the first time on the ASIST 2 day workshop in Brighton.  A fellow delegate was a psychotherapist and used it to explain a technique used professionally.

 

When speaking with a client, she uses her ‘Internal Supervisor’ to highlight the occasions to dig deeper.  If she found herself getting bored, was her client getting monotone and repetitive.  Often people do this when they are trying to avoid the real issue.  As she explained this, I realised we all have an ‘Internal Supervisor’ or ‘gut instinct’.

 

I must admit, I had never questioned my moods when listening to someone else but I will from now on.  It’s a logical tool to use in supporting people to ensure we dig deep enough to get the entire story out.

 

Are you intone with your ‘Internal Supervisor’?