Control what you can!

Unusually the office was pretty oppressive. The blinds and curtains had been drawn to reduce the pressure on the air con system in the current heatwave.

Mindful of the fact we can only control ourselves, we decided to hold our finance workshop outside in the shade!

Of course we followed this up with a wellbeing window of sketching a piece of the London skyline!

After a week of full-on learning and qualification in Managing Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing, Luiz, Manny and Haajarah have a free day today to relax and reflect before going to their respective employer sites for the in-role training section of Growing Talent.

Haarajah joins Pedro and the team at Pertemps in Holborn

Luiz joins Aiste and the team at Portico across their London sites

Manny joins Michael and his team at ISS Facilities Services in London

We wish them all a fabulous time of growth and connection ahead.

Knowledge is Power!

Yesterday saw the final delivery of @I-act Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing of the year!

Now the team of managers have tools and knowledge to enable them to increase their own self-care and those around them in the workplace – ‘I can and I will’ is the new mantra!

Designed specifically for the workplace, I-act Managing & Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing is proactive and accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It teaches over 50 tools for self-care that can be used in supporting those around them as well. Proactive – early intervention leads to a quicker recovering. Learning when to start a conversation, how to prepare for it, techniques to ensure the individual feels validated and supported to identify their own solution, setting personal boundaries, assessing levels of interventions including suicide builds confidence in the workplace leading to a much more positive workplace.

What’s not to like?

Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away


Yesterday I had the honour of playing a small part in new trainee instructors for @i-acttraining on their journey to become accredited.

Delivering the Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing course to them and some insightful managers joining to upskill themselves in this critical area is always insightful. This session more so than others.

Learning how different workplaces still have a deficit in understanding, analysing and recognising the emotional culture of their environment, the emotional intelligence of their teams – tops to bottom – and the wellbeing of all staff has been an eye opener over the many years I’ve worked in the strategic area of personal growth.  

We all recognise Covid has added additional pressures.  These pressures are more amplified and dangerous where there has been no examination of emotional intelligence and workplace culture nor effective well-being tools taught.

Over recent months I’ve heard heartfelt concerns about the toxic workplace cultures, lack of empathy and focus on staff’s wellbeing some delegates have expressed.  

These concerns are even more stark when the delegates are from charities, often working through their lunch, exhausted and running on empty to satisfy their leaders working well away from the ‘front-line’. Wait for it, many are volunteers – not paid but exhausting themselves because they care so much about the end user.

What jolted me yesterday was a delegate from a regional control centre for the ambulance service sharing the results of a survey carried out in their area.  77% of respondents from the service said they were experiencing mental ill health issues, feeling demotivated and running on empty. What’s more telling is a further 10% refused to answer those particular questions around their health. So it’s reasonable to believe 87% of the ambulance crews in this region feel like this. Just reflect on that for a moment.

We are told often the NHS is facing it’s biggest pressure ever due to Covid, winter etc.  We can talk about mis-management, underfunding and so on – issues that have likely been present for decades. We hear so much about this that we become numb to it ‘the NHS has been like that for years’.  That may be true – but reflect on those frontline staff we all depend on in our own emergency situations experiencing similar to what the delegate shared below.  

But here’s the thing, this delegate shared that none of their colleagues have time to practice their own self-care.  They eat fast food continuously because it’s a case of what can they grab quickly in the few minutes they might be able to snatch in between ‘shouts’.  There is no time for ‘fun’ in the workplace.  Every work place should have fun in it.  @i-acttraining is great at teaching well-being windows we can all do that nurture our wellbeing and build our resilience levels, clear our minds to enable rational thought and deliver the energy needed to get through the shifts. These can be done alone or as part of a team and cost NO MONEY but deliver so many benefits.

The delegate was fired-up at the end of the session to take back the critical learning to their managers. 

All workplace cultures have to change.  Energy and investment should be aimed at staff – they are the ones looking after your end clients.  If they are feeling exhausted, demotivated and devalued – newsflash – you clients will feel it and go elsewhere.  Your business and profits will suffer.

I personally don’t want an ambulance crew turning up when I’m in the most awful situation of my life knowing they are running on empty and suffering themselves.  Do you?

Nor do I want to interact with anyone I am buying products or services from who are also exhausted.  Do you?

Richard Branson on being interviewed many years ago on how he made Virgin such a success said something like “I don’t focus on my clients.  I focus on my staff.  If they are in a great place, they will deliver a great service to my clients” Fabulous insight.

Focussing on budgets, deadlines is what the NHS, and may businesses have done for years.  

Where would they be now if they had focussed on the emotional culture of their workplace, the behavioural impact of their management on teams, the wellbeing and self-care of all their staff?

Keep doing the same thing will only deliver the same results.

Is now the time for workplaces – ALL workplaces – to do better and differently?

So where to start?

You can’t change what you can’t see.  So stop ignoring, take the blinkers off and investigate, assess and deliver. It’s the only way to be sure your business and teams are thriving, not just surviving.

Investigate – carry out an Emotional Culture Index of your workplace. It’s quick, easy and gives an overview of exactly how your staff feel, compared to how they expected to feel in their role and their ideal level.

Assess – carryout Genos Emotional Intelligence Assessments – the only tool that focuses on development through coaching sessions to achieve closure of gaps revealed in behaviours,

Deliver – Rollout the @i-iacttraining Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing training to all staff managing people.  There is an equivalent role for non-managers Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing.  Both courses deliver over 50 self-care tools which can also be used in supporting others, as well as training in how to implement self-care windows through each day. Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and delivers CPD points.  This is a global product which can be run anytime, anywhere by the same instructor giving uniform delivery of this bespoke, proactive product.

The Ambulance Service is not the only workplace experiencing issues of mental ill health, exhaustion and demotivation.  How long before those issues bubbling away under the surface, being ignored erupt?

Here’s a thought to finish with – what will happen to your business if you put your people first instead of deadlines and profits?

Why keep doing the same old same old?

Of course ‘Mental Health’ isn’t such the taboo subject it was but there is still a huge social and self stigma fog to break down.

Back in 2017, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, commissioned Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer (CEO of Mind) to investigate and report on mental health at work. This resulted in “Thriving at Work” published in October 2017.

Some of the key findings of this report were disturbing:

  • 300,000 lose their jobs each year due to mental ill health – far higher than the incidence of physical health
  • Around 15% of people at work have symptoms

Key recommendations from this report:

  • Produce, implement and communicate positive mental health in the workplace
  • Develop mental health awareness among staff
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health
  • Provide employees with work/life balance options
  • Routinely monitor employee wellbeing

More ambitious ‘enhanced’ standards from this report include:

  • Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
  • Demonstrate accountability
  • Improve the disclosure process
  • Ensure provision of tailored inhouse mental health support and signposting to clinical help

At the time of this report only 11% of employees discussed a recent mental health problem with their line manager – meaning 89% did not feel able to disclose. In addition at the time of this report in 2017 only 11% of the Top 100 companies disclose their initiatives in their annual reports.

Only 24% of managers in 2017 received some form of training in mental health at work.

4 years later – has anything changed?

That’s what I keep asking myself. On the surface, businesses seem to feel they’ve done all that they can. They’ve usually rolled out MHFA training, assigned some people who’ve done MHFA training as ‘First Aiders’ to their peers who might be struggling. Is that effective? Is it enough?

I don’t think so. Businesses need to think about what their business and staff need to really thrive not just do a tick in the box training exercise with a proven reactive programme like MHFA just because it’s the most well known.

MHFA is an excellent programme for those interested in the subject area. It teaches in-depth information on mental health conditions, legislation and how to support, listen and signpost someone once they have experienced an issue. Devised by Betty Kitchener, a mental health nurse in Australia, and her partner Professor Anthony Jorm. With a global reach, it has become the go to product for businesses to deliver mental health training – but it was not designed for the workplace!

Selecting a unique, accredited programme like I-act, specifically written for the workplace and accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with over 50 self care tools, guidance on how to build a mentally positive and healthy workplace as well as evaluation and development tools for those doing the training to support others – makes more sense. Cost effective and efficient.

Maybe if more employers choose to build a select menu of options for resilience, wellbeing, and positive mental health for their business and staff – the stats will be much better in another four years.

Or will we continue to kick the can down the road? Businesses are not the same. Why select the same training as your competitors when your business is different? Isn’t it better to lead than follow?

At Jane James’s Consultancy Ltd, we deliver the I-act training for managers and non-managers along with devising bespoke bolt ons to meet staff and business needs. Financial awareness, self-employment, team empowerment, financial awareness, know your purpose, what’s your journey – and many more. Financial awareness for staff is a key point in the new international guidelines ISO45003.

If you want to ensure your business and staff are thriving, why not get in touch to discuss options?

Ever had that sinking feeling because you’re missing something?

Something I’m trying to get better at is gardening. Like many others, growing up I never listened nor showed interest in grandparents trying to teach me about growing fruit, vegetables, herbs etc. For them, they learnt out of necessity – food was still scare for them growing up.

Looking back, I don’t doubt they also got a lot of calmness, wellbeing and resilience from their planting and of course harvesting even if these weren’t the primary reasons they gardened!!!!

For the last 20 plus years, the voices for environmental wellbeing, impact on the world of wrong types of food productions, water consumption etc has been a catalyst for many to embrace gardening. For some, it’s the mindfulness nurturing plants, tending soil etc. Others want to save on their food bill and /or teach their children where food comes from.

The arrival of lockdown saw many start tending their gardens, balconies and/or window sills as their previous routines had evaporated virtually overnight.

Whatever the reason, the joy of growing something, especially from seed, seems to lighten the spirit no matter the age or background. Like laughter, gardening seems to be a universal medicine.

Personally, I’ve never been that successful growing vegetables from seeds. Either I get a frail, shrivelled seedling that doesn’t mature or nothing at all.

The universal ‘go to’ now is the internet. YouTube is perfect for step by step guidance in many things from plumbing to gardening. Here I learned about a method to increase germination of seeds to help growth. Using a mixture of 1:10 hydrogen peroxide to water mix, dampen some kitchen towel and wrap the seeds in this before placing them into a plastic bag for two days. The film showed not all seeds would germinate but most would. It seemed worth a try. The only thing was no hydrogen peroxide. I had that sinking feeling. So I went with just water and it worked!

The reason for sharing this is to show just because you haven’t got all the ingredients for something, you can improvise and still get great results.

Don’t let any ‘sinking feeling’ deter you from trying.

“Thousands of jobs & no one to fill them” – can that really be true?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57349802  This features a report by KPMG on the situation UK PLC finds itself in: “thousands of job vacancies but no people to fill them” How can that be so?

In other reports from @BBC we know there are 1.7m unemployed and over 4m on furlough who may not have jobs to return to when furlough finally ends.

There seems a huge disconnect.

From the people I’ve spoken to over the past fourteen months I think there’s an elephant in the room we are not addressing.  Fear.  

Fear of stepping outside their door.

Fear of leaving their family.

Fear of stepping onto public transport.

Fear of walking into a new environment.

Fear of getting to learn a new role.

Fear of a new routine

Fear of not being respected by colleagues

Fear of not ‘gelling’ with the team/management

Fear of losing this new job

Fear of failing

There is an expectation employers will address this fear. Those integrating the new ISO45003 guidelines will go a long way to achieving this. Using Growing Talent to gain new talent will see them go even further in achieving the goal of sustainable new talent who have grown into the available role through the methods taught on Growing Talent to flourishing adding real value to everyone.

If you have a real job to fill, why not consider www.growing-talent.co.uk?  It’s completely free and not a Government funded programme. 

The global pandemic has seen businesses change the way they operate to get the results they want. 

Isn’t now the time to change the way you recruit to reveal those hidden gems of talent you’ve potentially been missing?

#psychosocial #risks #business #leadership #talent #socialmobility #inclusion #diversity

What has fairy tales got to do with business?

Everything if we want workplaces, people, profits, brand reputation to flourish.

After reading the Stevenson Farmer 2017 report ‘Thriving at Work”, the ISO45003 new international standard guidelines “Psychological Health & Safety at Work – Guidelines for Managing Psychosocial Risks” and CIPD’s April 2021 member’s survey report it’s clear business has to slay a few dragons to truly thrive.

Let’s look at those three core pieces of work a little more closely. What are the core results of each?

Thriving At Work – 2017

  • 300,000 staff lose their jobs each year through longer term mental health – far higher than those who have lost their role through physical issues.
  • Around 15% of staff have symptoms of mental ill health
  • Over half the cost to employers estimated £33bn-£42bn is due to presenteeism
  • Deloitte’s estimated for every £1 invested in management training for workplace mental health and wellbeing the return is £9.98
  • Only 11% of staff discussed a recent mental ill health issue with their line manager
  • Staff fear disclosing will lead to discrimination. Line managers fear getting involved will make matters worse.
  • Only 11% of the Top 100 companies disclose their initiatives for wellbeing and mental health in their annual reports.

ISO45003 – guidance notes available now. Certification available later in 2021

  • Understand and identify what is a psychosocial risk/hazard, then mitigate it – ISO 3.1
  • Understand legal requirements – ISO 4.1.1
  • Ensure appointed staff to be first aiders and listening ears for mental health and wellbeing are not only trained but competent too – ISO 8.2(B)
  • Address staff working location – isolation, IT issues – home working responsibility – ISO 4.1.3
  • Management of change – ISO 8.1.3
  • Return to work – psychosocial risk assessment – ISO8.3
  • Emergency response -(examples – terror acts, dismissal, suicide) ISO 8.2
  • Ensure staff can identify signs in themselves of psychosocial risks – ISO 8.1.25

CIPD April 2021 Report – member survey

  • Financial wellbeing is still lacking. Only 19% of companies have financial wellbeing information in place
  • Employers’ are the key financial provider to their employees and should have a menu of information/training to reflect the make-up of their staff to reflect key requirements.
  • Just over 77% of respondents believe their company is actively promoting positive mental health and wellbeing BUT less than half of these felt it was effective.
  • Many employees don’t feel their managers are comfortable supporting someone experiencing a mental health issue.
  • Stress remains the biggest issue for staff. 71% of staff said they had taken sick days due to workplace stress. This percentage rose to 91% for companies over 250 staff.
  • COVID has been the. biggest cause of workplace stress
  • In November 2020 Mind said more people had experienced a mental health crisis than ever previously recorded pre-Covid.
  • Overwhelming majority of respondents have observed presenteeism – 75% in the workplace and 77% whilst working at home over the past 12 months.
  • Seven in 10 people have observed leaveism – working outside contracted hours, during annual leave.

Conclusion

Clearly there are many adults from all backgrounds experiencing their own ‘dragons’. The snapshots of the above three documents show employers’ role in slaying those dragons are clear.

Having worked in the field of training in positive mental health, wellbeing, resilience building, finance building blocks for a great many years, I’ve seen a shift from some employers keen to address some of this and roll out training. 

But is it the right training? For well over the 10 years I was involved in MHFAEngland whose mission is to ‘train 1:10 of the population’ in their reactive first aider programme. 

But what if the wrong people are being trained? 

If staff do not feel their line manager is comfortable speaking about mental ill health issues, they won’t disclose even when they know that manager has been trained. First Aider programmes inform on what to do when something has happened. They don’t inform how to build resilience, improve wellbeing, mitigate psychosocial risks. I-act does. Check out what is covered in i-act’s courses and make sure you are buying something as robust when looking at mental health and wellbeing training in your workplace:

1.     Bespoke courses for both those managing teams and those not 

2.     Accredited by Royal College of Psychiatrists and carries CPD points

3.     Proactive – teaches resilience building not just reactive when there is an issue

4.     Those receiving the training improve the quality of their own lives, those around them and makes the workplace inclusive and resilient

5.     Evidence based, systematically reviewed every three years

6.     Both courses have an accompanying 168 page evidenced-based training manual, toolkit and resource pack 

7.     Participants gain access to i-act’s website to download resources

8.     Virtual delivery – saves time, money and anxiety for staff who find travelling difficult

9.     Has over 50 practical step-by-step tools and over 95 organisations to refer to

10.  Can be delivered nationally and internationally – ideal for global organisations wanting uniform training

11.  Whilst it teaches how to support someone in distress, it uniquely focuses on improving wellbeing and building resilience to reduce the risk of becoming unwell – hence the name i-act rather than re-act.

12.  Has unique evaluation and development tools for those team members supporting other team members so collectively the pillars give the acronym of i-acted:

I – Improve wellbeing

A – Advocate help and signpost

C – Connect with people

T – Take tools and advice

E – Evaluate and monitor

D – Develop further

If you are interested in learning more to grow the resilience of your business and teams, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Is your business Psychosocially ready?

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?

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

Learning together….virtually!

It’s strange how Coronavirus has managed to change my mind completely on virtual training. I know some remote locations globally have used virtual methods to deliver skills, training and education in all areas for many years.

Up until March this year when the Coronavirus curve ball hit us all, I didn’t feel I personally could deliver valuable training online. How wrong was I?

Having done nothing but virtual training over the last six months I see how much more inclusive and nurturing it is. It gives a much wider reach enabling people based throughout the UK and beyond to join from the comfort of their home sharing their knowledge and experiences.

I know see 90% of my business going forward will be on a virtual platform rather than classroom environment. So many more advantages to the virtual stage. All being there is good internet access of course!

At the start of the pandemic I made the decision to find an exact product to replace MHFAEngland’s three courses I’m licensed to deliver. Their half day awareness course, one day champion course and two day adult First Aider course. None of which are accredited.

I discovered http://www.nucotraining.com which recently added three accredited courses which match what I was looking for. Nuco has a solid reputation in the first aid, H&S and associated environments.

However, there was a few steps first! I had to apply and be screened against Nuco’s criteria. I also had to do a L3 formal Education and Training course with CTC before I could be accepted for Instructor training. I was a little deflated as I’m pretty impatient when it comes to me getting things done! CTC’s website showed the L3 qualification took unto a year. I really didn’t want to wait that long!!!

Thankfully with the curve ball of Coronavirus and home working, I managed to complete the L3 in under three months! Once I had this qualification I was able to get accepted by Nuco on their last virtual training session for Mental Health First Aid planned for 2020.

Everything fell into place beautifully!

Level 1 is a four hour workshop to raise awareness which a written paper at the end to prove knowledge and attain the Level 3 qualification.

Level 2 is six hours with a written paper and practical session to gain the

Level 3 qualifies someone to be the First Aider and is 12 hours long with 2 papers to complete and a practical session.

The beauty of virtual training is illustrated by people on the Instructor’s course with me. Based throughout the UK as well as Guernsey and in Afghanistan!

Martin, the Nuco Instructor, shared techniques and resources. Engaging, challenging and robust.

An exhausting but strangely energising experience.

Now I have a 5 accredited courses on mental health and wellbeing to add to my portfolio of workshops available for clients wishing to ensure the wellbeing of their staff.

Opportunity presents itself in the most unexpected ways.