Is your business Psychosocially read?

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?

Risk Assessment – for work only?

In the UK, legislation has long been in place to ensure health and safety at work. Risk assessments are carried out for all roles to enable any revealed risks to be addressed and their potential impact avoided.

The Health and Safety Executive introduced six pillars of for a healthy workplace environment:

  1. Identify potential hazards
  2. Assess the risks
  3. Control the risks
  4. Who is responsible
  5. Record the findings
  6. Review controls in place

The idea being if all these pillars were observed in the workplace, there would be no issues. The workplaces and teams would thrive.

That sounds logical to me. It also got me thinking. Why don’t we risk assess our personal lives in the same way?

The benefits of this would be to raise awareness of how we feel when we start to experience stress which in turn identifies our triggers helping us take action to reduce/remove any negative impact. After all we know what goes on at home follows us to work and vice versa.

Time to assess the risk in all areas of our life to make us healthier, more resilient and thriving instead of just surviving?

My risk assessment is in four parts:

  1. The traditional workplace risk assessment following HSE’s six pillars. Most of us will be used to this framework.
  2. Examines potential stress risk areas outside work
  3. Identify stress indicators unique to you
  4. Action planning for the potential risk areas revealed

Regularly examining and analysing our stress and resilience levels through this kind of exercise, adopting self care routines, non-negotiables – literally making ‘self’ a priority is a ‘no brainer’ isn’t it?

Time to get disruptive?

For the last, almost 20 years, I’ve had the honour of working with people from all backgrounds, diverse businesses and charities to nurture people with barriers into work.

In addition to my employment work, I also deliver accredited mental health first aider courses and proactive wellbeing courses.

I’ve been commissioned to design a variety of workshops from self and team empowerment to finding your purpose, managing fears, building resilience, identifying and creating your future path, elevator pitch, your personal branding and many more.

Throughout, I’ve used the thread of inclusivity, respect and humour to give ownership to delegates on their learning journey.

This week, I’ve dropped into various workshops on the Playful Creative Summit. Some speakers have been more inspiring than others. I’ve learned something new everyday.

The summit runs until Friday this week. Many of the speakers videos are free. Take a look if you are interested –

I composed the image below to provoke employers to consider how vibrant their learning and development platforms are and how better they could be.

There is no reason why the same tool could not be used for our personal lives.

What do you think? Time for us all to become a little more disruptive in how we do things?

One of the speakers used the term ‘become more pirate’ explaining pirates were ordinary people who had to be resourceful to make a life for themselves and take on the might of the world’s navy’s. Of course some tales of pirates are unlawful but all are resourceful. So I might just think of myself as a ‘disruptive pirate’ in my training programmes now!

Hidden Depths…

Do we ever really know everything about someone? Do we take the time to get to know them – or just accept the surface we see as all there is to them?

I’ve long thought we allow our assumptions about someone’s behaviour, actions, words etc to form perceptions about them without questioning what evidence we have to back this up. That doesn’t sound too fair does it?

Prince Philip is a case in point. How many formed an opinion about this individual without ever speaking to him? Taking what was reported by the press as fact? How would we feel if we were judged the same way?

As humans, we tend to judge others on their actions but ourselves on our intentions.

We make assumptions about others actions without considering what their intentions were. Does this sound fair? To me, it doesn’t. I’d hope people would check their perceptions of my intentions on any action I do was factually correct by asking me. Of course, those in the public eye can’t be approached to ask BUT we can check our thoughts and make sure we have evidence to back these thoughts up. If we don’t, shouldn’t we keep a non-judgemental open mind?

What has surprised me is the lack of coverage during Prince Philip’s lifetime of his achievements away from his ‘job’. Across different media since his death, we have learned a little more.

Amongst the nuggets of information revealed about him, was he painted and wrote 14 books. Trying to find a list of these books, I came across the 1984 publication of ‘Men Machines & Sacred Cows’ – hardback copies on Amazon for over £69 – a leap I suspect to what a copy would have cost prior to the prince’s death. This book is a collection of works focussing on science, technology and design.

The following exert is from Huffington Post’s coverage – and, for me, captures an insight to the character of Prince Philip especially his dry humour – in his own words from Men Machines & Sacred Cows…..

“Some optimists tend to assume that once you have learned the lesson that horses bite at one end and kick at the other, there is nothing further to worry about. No such luck, I’m afraid. 

“The horse is a great leveller and anyone who is concerned about his dignity would be well advised to keep away from horses.

“Apart from many other embarrassments there is, for instance, no more ridiculous sight than a horse performing its natural functions with someone in full dress uniform mounted on its back.”

According to a piece in the Sunday broadsheets, Prince Philip started a truffle farm on the Sandringham Estate in 2006 and was reportedly the first person to successfully grow French Perigord black truffles from British soil! Apparently, this is a big deal especially to truffle aficionados. It’s impressive to me trying to grow some chillis and squash indoors!

Various charities and individuals have spoken about how Prince Philip kept in touch with them, showing an interest in their progression long after his retirement from public life from Dame Floella Benjamin to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre shows me an integrity and empathy not shown in any press reporting prior to his death.

Talk about hidden depths.

So what thoughts has the death of Prince Philip exposed for me?

  1. Our perceptions about someone/something should be based on factual evidence not gossip, social media etc.
  2. If we can’t find the evidence to determine if our perceptions are correct, we should keep a neutral, open mind.
  3. Above all, it should be remembered everyone has hidden depths

The Power of Hope!

We’ve all had to find different things to do during #Covid19 to keep our minds active and our spirits positive. With the better weather just around the corner – hopefully – I’m trying my hand at growing some unique veg.

I’ve long admired James Wong – also known as Botonay Geek on Twitter – for his approachable attitude to gardening.

From my early memory of James on tv talking herbs to his regular #lockdown posts on Twitter about how anyone can garden even if they have zero space. He has a great system of growing plants in terrariums too. His innovative outlook and encouragement that ‘anyone’ can have a go – tempted me to buy some unique seeds from his brand:

Not only did the unique shape of these squash appeal to me but so did their seedless feature – no waste when cooking….. mind you – no propagating the seeds for next year either! Hang on – if these are seedless, how did I get this packet of seeds? Mmm sounds a deep thought. Maybe one to send to James’s Twitter page!

Hopefully my little Squash Tromboncino seedling above will grow and grow to the point of harvesting and eating some of this Italian squash with an artichoke flavour at some point this year. But if it doesn’t, the learning process will be worthwhile.

The power of hope is essential in all lives. Even if things don’t go 100% as planned/desired, the learning will be invaluable and another path will present itself.

Check out James @Botanygeek on Twitter for some inspiration. James is also generous answering any questions.

Here’s to hopeful growing to us all.

LinkedIn is known as the ‘Facebook” of business where we can share interests, projects, make meaningful connections and join some great networking groups to learn and develop. That sounds a great resource.

Usually, if I’m hoping to do business with someone – I’ll check out what their social media profile is like and that of their company. After all, in business time is precious and a costly resource if wasted chasing the wrong potential contacts.

I must admit, I check out people on LinkedIn all the time. Pre-pandemic, before any event I went to – its a great resource to discover common goals and potential mutually beneficial business collaboration opportunities. Makes networking conversations much more interesting!

From the approaches I’ve had to connect in recent weeks, I’m starting to question am I alone in doing this research?

I understand the need for all businesses to secure new clients to grow their business once the pandemic restrictions are lifted but I almost feel LinkedIn is a sales platform not a collaboration platform for business.

I’ve been contacted by individuals from organisations wanting to sell their excellent products to me, clearly without doing any research first to see if I have staff, premises – which I don’t so why would I need cleaning, roofing or similar services?. 

There seems to be little thought in sending something like this that would definitely gain my interest – ‘I’ve seen your profile. I believe we have some common goals that could lead to mutually beneficial, collaborative business. Are you interested in a discussion?’

Instead I get approaches like ‘my cleaning company will deliver an excellent service to you at a competitive rate’

In other instances, I’ve had the creative approaches including “how meeting-up when restrictions are lifted to discuss what you are doing?” I’m all for being unique but this made me think what a @@@@@@

So in asking you if there is a better way to do business via LinkedIn, I have my own thoughts that I share with you now:

  1. Do your research for example with Companies House – find out if there could be an opportunity to do business – not just one way sales for you.
  2. Think of the words and tone you use – remember these can completely change the meaning of what you intended
  3. What’s in it for the individual/business you are reaching out to?

I’d be interested in your thoughts ……

National Essay Day

Did you know there was one? I didn’t, but what a great idea!

Scheduled for 28 February 2021, the idea came about to re-ignite a love of writing without the enforced subject matter or deadlines of education – which is likely the last time many of us wrote an essay!

Imagine the possibilities of writing about a subject you were passionate about in your own time, for your own enjoyment?

The positive impact of writing is well researched and published. From journals to record our moods, things we’re grateful for, progress journey etc. The medical profession has published papers showing the positive impact on immune systems. Where patients took to keeping a journal, their recovery times speeded up.

On this notable day, why not drop the automatic reach for the laptop/desktop instead reach for the pen and paper? Allow your mind to embrace something new which will energise us and possibly unlock a new hobby/career.

What would your essay be about?

Random Acts of Kindness Day – 17 February 2021

Who knew there was an international day for this? You may be thinking everyday should include a random act of kindness – and you’d be right.

But for some who run through life on automatic pilot they don’t always see the importance of kindness – to themselves or others.

Having an ‘International Day’ focuses a spotlight of awareness on this important area.

Being kind to someone not only makes them feel great, it makes us feel great too. Now, a random act of kindness can be even more impactful as it wasn’t expected!

What will your Random Act of Kindness today? Who will be recipient? How great will you feel?

Maybe a Random Act of Kindness can morph into an integral part of our thinking and behaviours every day? What a great world that could be where #KindnessRocks!

Fear the vaccine?

Covid 19 Vaccine Fears – understandable or illogical?

It’s perfectly natural to question whether to have the vaccine or not.  There is a lot of fake information circulating on Social Media, within our communities and by own family/friends.  Mainstream media news is full of doom. All of this can make it hard to think clearly and logically.  Whirling thoughts can keep us awake at night, physically and emotionally draining us preventing us from thinking clearly.

So what can we do ourselves?

1.      Ensure we listen only to qualified sources.

2.      Look at the national and global evidence.

3.      Discuss any fears with our GP.

4.      Make your decision based on what is right for us, not what those around us say.

Points to consider:

1.      Fear sells. In 1998 Dr Andrew Wakefield wrote a paper stating his research showed a connection between the then new MMR vaccine and the development of   Autism. This research was later discredited.  Dr Wakefield was struck off.  Today, 23 years later, some parents still fear his research -even though it’s been discredited and choose not to have their child vaccinated.  The consequences for some have been devastating. Dr Wakefield is now working in the USA, mixing with celebrities and supporting the anti-Covid vaccination groups there.

2.      Some believe the rumours of dubious ingredients in the vaccine. To find out what it’s really made of go to and use the search box to find the ingredient list for each vaccine being used in the UK for Covid19.

3.      Any adverse effects to the vaccines are reported by the public and can be viewed by everyone under MHRA’s Yellow Card site: click on the Covid19 tab, scroll down you will see a link to a published report of side effects.  Reported side effects are the usual symptoms people get following all vaccines.

4.      If the Covid vaccines are so harmful, why is the world using them and the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsing them to be used in the way the UK is? BMJ (British Medical Journal) has lots of reference information WHO website gives a global view

Above all, take a breath.  Think clearly. Make the right decision for you

Misinformation/Fake News

Is there a difference between fake news and misinformation?

The damage both do can be devastating as we see in the press coverage this morning BAME take-up of the #Covid19 vaccine has been so poor the hub in East London has reduced it’s opening hours.

Without giving clear, factual information, paths are left open to sow the seeds of doubt and confusion to such an extent people no longer believe the facts when they are finally presented.

Instead of listening to factual scientific research and evidence, people listen to voices in their communities saying the vaccine contains pork or foetal derivatives for example. Who questions these thoughts?

Professor Geoff Palmer from Life Sciences at Heriot-Wyatt University shared on Sky News this morning why he felt this situation arose. Of Jamaican descent himself, Professor Palmer explained as a child he had queued for hours for polio etc vaccines. With his professional background he knows the power the Covid-19 vaccine will have in unlocking freedoms.

He shared a couple of views on why the situation leading to the low uptake of BAME resulting in the East London hub reducing it’s opening hours might have occurred:

  1. Clear information was not given at the start by experts from all ethnic diversity groups
  2. Misinformation was allowed to drown out facts – initially it was felt BAME had a higher tendency to contract Coronavirus developing into Covid-19. Then it was proved this wasn’t the case but poverty and those working in low paid, front line roles.

So how do we rectify this and get more BAME people in East London and beyond to feel comfortable and accept the vaccine? Apart from engaging community leaders to share the facts, Professor Palmer had an interesting thought. The only reason he said he and his family and friends had accepted the vaccine as a group of people over 70 was not for themselves but to protect others becoming ill and possibly dying.

People fundamentally want to do the right thing. Maybe thinking of ways to protect our families and friends at the same time getting our freedoms back is to accept the vaccine.

Now is not the time to discredit the doomsayers or the fake news peddlars. Now is the time to look at the evidence and make an informed decisions to protect ourselves, our communities our lives.

Maybe start a conversation with those in your family who haven’t accepted the vaccine yet and make sure they have all the facts. Choosing whether to have the vaccine or not is personal choice of course. But what is the alternative if we all refuse the vaccine – continuing lockdowns, crumbling economy, etc.

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