At this time of year, I tend to withdraw from Facebook. I thought about never returning, but I have a couple of work-related groups on there, so probably will, despite getting little interaction from my ‘friends’. I withdraw because it makes me feel inadequate. It highlights exactly what I DON’T have in my life: No nights out with friends No work’s parties – in fact, no parties full stop! No exciting family evenings out (combination of unwilling teenagers and hubby’s punishing work schedule) No date nights (lack of baby-sitters and hubby’s punishing work schedule) No extended family get-togethers Not just at Christmas – at any time. And whilst I wish I DID have these things in my life, I also realise that these things are just the ‘extras’ in life: the icing on the cake. These aren’t the things that bring happiness (apart from very briefly). They enhance a happy life of course, but they aren’t enough on their own. What really matters is: Being healthy – thankfully I am. Party due to the fact that I Zumba regularly, almost always get my 10,000 steps a day, and cook balanced meals from scratch most days. Of course, this eats into…
I was at the CIPD conference yesterday, and many of the seminars and discussions touched in some way on mental well being or neuroscience. In particular, how making mental well being a priority, and understanding how our brains work can help us to create happier and more effective workplaces. I don’t profess to be anywhere near an expert on these things, but I do have some knowledge and (largely due to my active involvement on social media) have been aware of the key concepts and benefits for some time. I suspect that many HR and training professionals are in exactly the same position. Yet, as I sat in a seminar about the importance of neuroscience in HR yesterday, a worrying thought hit me: “It’s all very well the HR/Training team knowing about these things, but almost everyone else in the organisation is completely unaware of what this is, let alone how important it is and how to use it”. It’s like this is a big secret we are keeping to ourselves…and I can understand why. Many senior managers are still resistant to ‘soft stuff’ so unless you can link it directly to hard and fast results, they will dismiss it as…
This summer we decided to redecorate our lounge. We had a reasonable budget and thought it would be plenty to repaint, get a new carpet, new curtains, and replace the old-fashioned fireplace. Of course the first task was deciding exactly what we were going to do. This took longer than expected as although my husband and I agreed on the big things, we tended to disagree on the details. In the end we reached a compromise and set about pricing up and planning our new look living room. Of course things didn’t go to our initial plan. The first major change was to realise that we didn’t need a fire at all. Why spend hundreds of pounds on something that we never use? So instead of replacing our old fire with a new one we decided to have it removed. This saved us money but delayed the project as now we had to find someone who could remove a gas fire, brick up the hole and plaster over it.
Last week I indulged in a bit of internet clothes shopping (it’s just TOOOOO traumatic having the kids in tow, or trying to fit in around work). I only ordered a few items, but once ordered and informed of the expected delivery date, I went upstairs to my wardrobe determined to find the same number of items to throw out or give to charity. You see, I only have a standard ‘double’ wardrobe and frankly, it’s full. The only way I can get my new clothes in is to take some of my old ones out. It’s a habit I got into about 3 years ago, and it’s served me well. Not only do I NOT end up accumulating lots of similar items, but I have to think about what I actually NEED by taking stock of what I already have. It’s good practice for new managers too. When they get promoted, they often just take on lots of new tasks without throwing anything out, duplicating tasks or just taking stuff on ‘because they like it, feel they should etc…’. Of course, new managers who do this quickly get overwhelmed and the dream of promotion quickly turns into a nightmare…
Last week I helped to run a seminar on Employee Engagement. It was a really positive event with a good mix of delegates, all at different points on the road to Employee Engagement. Of course, everyone wanted to know how to engage employees, what the 10-steps to success were, or which metrics were best to use. Of course, we couldn’t nail that down in the 3 short hours we had! Employee engagement is one of those quite difficult to define concepts: you know it when you see it/experience it. It’s like having that wonderful natural looking yet carefully planned garden that you want to spend the whole of the summer in. It’s difficult to define what makes it so inviting. Yes, the plants and flowers are nice, the layout of the lawn, the position of the patio, but there’s so much MORE.
A recent report published in Forbes by McKinsey, found 4 startling facts about the gap between the education system and what businesses require of employees. OK, so the research was done in the US, so the figures may not the same in the UK, but I best the trends are no different. As someone who has ALWAYS worked in the private sector on non-funded, bespoke programmes, the results do not surprise me. Here is an overview of the findings and my thoughts about businesses can do about it.
Building on my last blog about making sure your induction is as good as it can be, I now want to focus on internal moves. It occurred to me that this is something that is not given very much by organisations or individuals for that matter, but still, the matters of induction and ‘settling in’ are important. Remember Tuckman’s model of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing…any change to team members effectively results in a new team and brings a fresh set of challenges.
Ahh, the summer’s here. Everyone tells us so. The supermarket magazines, the ‘seasonal’ TV programmes and of course, the high street. Clothes shops are full of shorts, vests, sandals, bikinis, strappy sundresses and t-shirts. Except, that’s not what we need right now is it?
All of the work I’ve been involved in recently, be it running training courses or researching and designing new ones, has been about helping managers to manage. Whether it is running performance management workshops for experienced team leaders, or researching and designing a program to prepare future managers, one core idea keeps coming through: Managing people is difficult.
I’m currently in the middle of redesigning an induction programme for Warburtons in conjunction with Instep UK. I’m delighted to be involved in this project and (for those of you who have taken a closer look at the website) you will notice that induction training is one of the things that I specialise in. Indeed last year we worked with Kellogg’s on their Foundations Programme, and in the past I have worked with retailers, manufacturers, and call centres on their inductions.