Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 12, 2018
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3min287

Recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that almost 600,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018, with 15.4 million working days lost due to work-related stress this year.

With the year coming to an end, Reboot Digital Marketing Agency has investigated the most common reasons why Brits felt stress at work in 2018 and the ways in which they’ve decided to deal with it.

A survey asking 1,274 employees about the most common work stressors revealed interesting figures.

The top work stressor Brits had in 2018 was an excessive workload, with 84 percent saying this was the biggest cause of worry for them this year. Unrealistic expectations came second at 79 percent, as employees feel overwhelmed by the need to constantly impress their superiors.

Seventy-six percent of employees taking part in the survey have been bothered by a co-worker’s lack of competence, while 72 percent struggle to find a work-life balance.

Other stressors that made the list were: lack of progression opportunities (63 percent), lack of job security (59 percent) and a negative company culture (42 percent).

When it comes to the ways in which employees dealt with stress at work this year, the results show the following: 76 percent of people taking part in the survey have confessed that they destress by complaining to another person, whether it’s a friend, family or even a co-worker, while 70 percent admit to taking frequent toilet breaks to get away from their work space. Some have resorted to actively searching for a new job (66 percent) while others have asked to work from home (44 percent).

Other ways employees dealt with work-related stress in 2018 include simply stopping caring (37 percent) and taking regular baths to destress (12 percent).


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 11, 2018
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2min290

With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU mired in uncertainty thanks to Theresa May delaying Parliament’s vote on her Brexit deal, the British Safety Council has reiterated its demand that progress made over the last four decades on workplace health, safety, and welfare standards, together with the protection of worker’s rights and product safety, must not be compromised.

The adoption of EU directives into the UK legislative framework has been instrumental in the continual improvement in these areas, resulting in dramatic reductions in workplace fatalities and injuries, as well as enhanced recognition of occupational health issues.

However, concerns have been raised about the safeguarding of employment protections in the backstop – the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement’s arrangements that will be triggered and hold sway until all parties agree to a comprehensive trade policy.

Lawrence Waterman, Chairman of the British Safety Council, said: “In Parliament, in answer to some probing questions, the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox admitted that these clauses are ‘not enforceable’.

“The politicians, who brought us the assertion that ‘health and safety is a burden on business’ and a commitment to destroy health and safety culture, are now going back on their previous declaration that employment rights and environmental protections are safeguarded under their deal due to the presence of non-regression clauses. It has now been admitted that these clauses are not enforceable internationally by the EU institutions or by the arbitration mechanisms under the Withdrawal Agreement, claiming that this gave the UK ‘regulatory flexibility’ during the backstop.

“This reinforces the British Safety Council’s view that we shall need to watch developments closely to protect hard-won worker protections. We call on other champions of health and safety, such as RoSPA and IOSH, to join with us and others to ensure that our high standards in workplace health and safety are defended whatever the outcome of the shambolic Brexit process.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 10, 2018
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2min267

December bonuses are the key to preventing New Year resignations, a survey of 1,096 UK employees has found.

The study was carried out by One4allRewards.co.uk, and found that almost one-in-two workers (46 percent) said having received a bonus or gift from their boss recently would prevent them from looking for a new job.

Almost the same number (45 percent) would be less likely to accept a new job if offered one, if the same had happened.

With workers being more likely to look for a new job in January than any other month of the year, December bonuses couldn’t be timed better for staff retention purposes.

Alan Smith, UK Managing Director at One4all Rewards, said: “It’s interesting to see just how far a token bonus can impact on workers’ loyalty to their employer. Even if you just consider the amount of money that can be lost through recruitment costs when a member of staff resigns – never mind the softer negative impacts and knock-on effects that employees leaving can have, in terms of morale in the workplace – it is clearly something that is worth investing in.

“And thanks to HM Revenue and Customs’ recent introduction of tax exemptions on trivial benefits of £50 per employee or less, it has never been more affordable for businesses to gift staff a little something to make sure they feel valued, ahead of the busiest time of the year for staff departures.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 7, 2018
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3min288

The annual office Christmas party is falling out of favour with employees, with more than one-in-four admitting they don’t enjoy the festivities.

According to a poll of 1,000 workers by employee benefits platform Perkbox, 29 percent of staff dislike the tradition. The top three reasons given relate to socialising at the event, with 34 percent saying they don’t enjoy mingling with colleagues.

Thirty percent said they found Christmas bashes too “cliquey”, while 27 percent said they don’t enjoy the occasion because they feel “forced” to have fun by management.

Interestingly for bosses, when workers were asked what they would prefer to do instead of a Christmas party if they had the choice, activities within closer-knit groups proved popular – more than one-in-five (23 percent) said they would like a meal with their immediate team. This was followed by seven percent who would like to do a daytime activity with their team.

The same number said they would prefer a night out with their direct colleagues rather than attending a Christmas party with the whole company. In fact, all age groups said they would prefer a meal out with their direct team as an alternative to the Christmas party.

Chieu Cao, CMO of Perkbox, said: “The Christmas party is something that many employers rely on to commemorate the festive season and use to reward staff for their hard work. However, the data shows that actually this Christmas perk is creeping out of favour amongst some sections of the workforce. It is telling that this mostly seems to be due to the social aspect – either because they don’t want to be forced to socialise with colleagues, or because they find this kind of situation where often people will break into groups too cliquey.”

He added: “Whatever businesses choose to do to mark Christmas this year, it is best organised as part of a year-long reward strategy that will help maintain good morale, staff retention and a sense of team.”


Denis ZekićDenis ZekićDecember 3, 2018
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6min408

There’s no such thing as a born salesperson; neither is there a born customer services manager.

It is a well-known fact that unhappy employees produce unhappy customers. Before delivering any customer-centric strategy, companies must first become employee-centric.

According to IBM, when a lead is generated through employee social engagement, that lead is seven times more likely to close compared to any other lead generating tactics.

If you haven’t already, consider connecting your whole team on social channels with all those who genuinely need your help, products, or services.  It’s a privilege to create meaningful relationships – a journey when your customer wants to go where you’re going. When you show them empathy, they are more likely to trust you.

What’s more – there are no better brand ambassadors than your employees and happy customers.

Here are my top 10 ways how can every company leverage the power of their employees on social media:

1. Make sure your business is not blocking the use of social media to employees

Seventy-one percent of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. Encourage your staff to be active, rather than block their access.

2. Provide adequate onsite social media training for your staff

The best way to ensure your staff is in-line with your business objectives and brand message is to train them. Only well-trained and motivated employees are likely to take you forward.

3. Stay industry informed/provide access to relevant online courses

It has never been easier to find the right course online. Encourage your staff to keep informed about the latest sales, marketing, or customer support trends and developments. Social media channels become truly valuable only when you know how to use them.

4. Proactively encourage engagement with existing customers

According to LinkedIn reports, 80 percent of their members want to connect with companies to enhance their decision making. Make sure you provide your customers with the information and support they need. This way, your brand message will spread faster and be seen farther.

5. Encourage professional conversation with your target market industries

Be the voice of your industry. Once you develop thought leadership, professionals will be drawn to you as their most valued and trusted voice.

6. Follow and connect with influencers in your sector

Staying connected with the right people in your industry can make all the difference. Not only for their insights but for new business opportunities too.

7. Provide valuable content/posts

Be consistent and keep engaging. Be relevant – not boring. Influence comes from the vision and value you provide, not the product.

8. Share and like your company updates/posts/articles

The power of reach gets multiplied with every proactive individual in your organisation. In average, three percent of active employees deliver 40 percent of social traffic to corporate websites.

9. Adopt Social Media as a customer touch-point

Encourage your customers to become your followers. There is no better marketing than customer recommendation.

10. Make LinkedIn your company’s strategic lead generation channel

Ninety-three percent of Marketers consider LinkedIn to be the most effective lead generation site. Ensure that you are amongst them too.


Pamela GhosalPamela GhosalNovember 30, 2018
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7min320

Avid TV watchers may remember Mad Men’s Don Draper thumbing through a copy of real-life poet Frank O’Hara’s book Meditations in an Emergency between regular crises at his often chaotic ad agency.

While your business may be free of the chaos experienced in Draper’s corporate misadventures, the reality is that a crisis can hit any time. A calming book of meditative poetry simply isn’t going to guide you through it.

Potential crises can be planned for or even avoided by highlighting areas of concern through a vulnerability audit lead by the CEO and other senior figures within a business. However, when confronted with a crisis, it’s vital to maintain a sense of calm. All eyes will be on your leadership team. Keeping the team calm in the event of a crisis will help ensure the response from your business professionals are not only measured but also quick to instil confidence in their response.

Preparation, preparation, preparation – key to calmness

Maintaining a sense of calm will be easier with effective processes put into place. This process should be built around a Crisis Management Team (CMT) that is always ready to act. The CMT should represent a cross section of the business, with a reliable senior representative from each department.

It’s essential that this includes someone who can cover your social media channels and, most importantly, a nominated spokesperson. This responsibility should be given to the most suitable person within the business, either from the Communications team or the Senior Leadership team who can think with a clear head and demonstrate strong communications skills.

The team that handles everyday corporate communications and public relations, whether this be an internal team or appointed agency, must play a leading role in the CMT’s activities, contributing their skills and experiences in best practice communications. Their guidance and expertise should instil calm throughout the CMT and the business as a whole and serve to free up the time of the leadership team who can focus their energies on righting the wrongs that have caused the crisis.

Your crisis strategy should include pre-prepared communication materials that the CMT rely on for guidance. These should also be shared around the wider businesses, ensuring any communication regarding the crisis follows protocol.

Clear, concise, and accurate communications

Any piece of communication during a crisis must clearly convey that the business is aware of the crisis, that it is being taken seriously and is applying all its efforts to resolving the situation. It is vital to post a holding statement while the crisis is being resolved and this should outline an intended timeline of steps towards the resolution. 

The holding statement must be shared to all stakeholders and once this is shared externally, the business will have more time to develop the best possible path towards a resolution with as much information as it can gather while removing the opportunity for those efforts to be further exasperated by sharing of inaccurate information. This will only require more of a clean-up operation and should be avoided.

Your crisis preparations should also highlight all resources and facilities that will be of use as the situation unfolds. Essential resources should include contact lists, check lists and any other information that is deemed vital. Then comes scenario planning, for a multitude of different issues can arise and every last one should be considered in advance.

Location is another important element that must be defined in advance. The CMT must be provided with a location such as a board room that can serve as the round-the-clock nerve centre throughout the crisis. It is vital to provide a separate room for press calls where listeners on the line cannot overhear information that is not intended for external use.

Turning a negative situation into a positive for the brand

While a crisis can be unavoidable, handling it in the right way can often benefit a business. By handling a crisis in a professional, measured and transparent manner, businesses can emerge relatively unscathed as opposed to having to recover from the impact of a tarnished reputation. A well-executed and thoroughly thought through response from the business leader can even strengthen the reputation of the business in the wake of a crisis.

Strong leadership, a CMT that draws from all departments across the business and a strong pre-prepared strategy will help your business through even the most unanticipated crisis. With all of this in place, you might even find time for a spot of meditation or an episode of Mad Men as the crisis is calmly resolved.


Andrew JenkinsAndrew JenkinsNovember 29, 2018
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8min357

Is talking to yourself healthy or not?

A newspaper article once caught my eye. The piece, headlined ‘Why talking to yourself is NOT a sign of a mental illness’, reflected on a psychologist Paloma Mari-Beffa’s view that both inner self-talk and talking out loud can have very positive effects.

The article highlights that inner self-talk (and yes we all talk to ourselves in our heads) is a key part of how our minds work to manage the way we function. Talking out loud can amplify the self-instruction element of our internal conversation to increase control over a task and improve performance.

I can vouch for the positive and negative impacts of self-talk too, based on my experience of coaching leaders and working with teams.

Interestingly the starting point is often not so much about improving performance by simply being more positive – I term that being ‘happy stupid’. It’s a bit more subtle than that. I’ve found it’s more about taking control of the nature of inner self-talk and use of negative verbal language especially, self-depreciating inner mind chatter. My view is that this is an important learning point for all leaders.

Some people use negative language to motivate themselves, but as a contrast, negative self-talk can be a significant factor in compounding feelings of low confidence, self-doubt, insecurity, or poor motivation as well. I have worked with many, otherwise highly intelligent, competent, and capable people who have quite literally talked themselves out solving personal or business problems. I’ve done it myself too.

How about you? Do you find that you talk to yourself using negative and limiting language too?

Fortunately, if you do, then you are certainly not alone. However, there are a variety of ways in which we can take control of what’s happening.

Oi, you! Yes, you! Mind your language

One very useful tool is to reframe your negative emotions by introducing language that promotes a positive or growth mindset instead. At the very least it is helpful to soften your emotive and negative language.

For example, instead of telling yourself, ‘the last project was a complete failure,’ instead say ‘we learned a lot of valuable lessons from the last project’.

This language is far more purposeful. Simply put, using negative language leads us to use the ‘downstairs’ part of our brains. That part of our brains is hard-wired up to access our fears and survival and protection instincts.

In contrast, purposeful language leads us to access more of the ‘upstairs’ part of our brains. This part of the brain enables to process more choices, options, possibilities, and potentialities.

Becoming self-aware of your self-talk and verbal language is a major step towards gaining strong emotional intelligence skills. In this way, you quickly become aware of how easy it is to replace highly emotive words that have a negative impact on you and others, with softer and more purposeful words.

For example, ‘concerned’ to ‘aware’, ‘insecure’ to ‘unsure’, or ‘furious’ to ‘passionate’.

What if?

Another reframing tool is to pose ‘What if?’ questions to yourself. For instance:

‘What if the Board likes our marketing strategy?’ or ‘What if my experience is just right for the new job?’. These sorts of questions stimulate your brain into thinking and presupposing positively instead about your situations and activities that you are considering. It’s an excellent way to conjure up some attractive scenarios that will naturally introduce you to more intelligent ways to talk to yourself and to others too.

That leads me to a third idea (and of course there are lots more), which is the use of affirmations.

That quite simply uses the language you have uncovered in your reframing to make positive statements to yourself. Back to the newspaper article – you can even follow Paloma Mari-Beffa’s advice and say them out loud for added performance.

Stand in front of the mirror and practise, tell yourself that ‘I am an effective leader’ or ‘the presentation will be a success’. Remember to match your language with open and empowered body postures too.

But, best to do this alone, otherwise you’ll look a right turkey!

You’ll be amazed how quickly your mind will work to make those statements come true.

Don’t hit the ball in the water

Every golf player quickly learns not to say or think: ‘Don’t hit the ball in the water’, or ‘Don’t muff this shot up’. The intention here is good, but these phrases will predispose them to do exactly that. Therefore, the ball ends up in the water, and so the shot gets muffed up.

We often hear ‘Don’t worry about…’ this or that, or ‘don’t get this wrong’. But this type of language results in you focussing on this or that worry and getting things wrong – back to the downstairs part of our brains again.

Therefore, the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ certainly holds true.

But remember, thinking about what you don’t want sets up your attention to think about the very thing you don’t want. Ultimately this often leads to low performance.  So instead, a more successful strategy is to think about what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.

Personal anecdote

I used to have quite a negative attitude to life and I always worried about things not turning out how I want them to. However, a few years ago I consciously decided to work on myself and start to use purposeful language more of the time.

Since then, I’ve benefited hugely from the results. In particular, it has helped me to see the world more positively rather than negatively and I have also found that I my conversations with others is far more rewarding. Therefore, I know it works.

Since then as an educator I am privileged to guide leaders and teams to use purposeful language too. It does take practise though. However, it’s often one of the first steps for many people towards unblocking the obstacles that are preventing their potential to be realised.

This article originally appeared on www.pdx-consulting.com.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 27, 2018
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5min395

Christmas may be the perfect time for gift giving, however when it comes to the workplace many bosses aren’t rewarding or recognising their employees with a token gift, according to new research.

A study of 1,000 UK workers published in the Most Generous Time of the Year Study by employee benefits platform Perkbox, revealed that 30 percent of employees have not received any gift from their boss or manager at Christmas.

Of those who do get a token gift from their boss at Christmas, more than one-in-three (35 percent) said they received a team meal out. This was followed by more traditional gifts, with 29 percent receiving a drink related gift such as a bottle of wine or alcohol, and a further 23 percent who said they receive a food related present like chocolate or a food hamper from their management at Christmas.

Interestingly for bosses, when workers were asked what they would like to get from their boss at Christmas, monetary gifts were favoured – 25 percent revealed they would like a money-based bonus such as cash, a bonus payment in their salary, or a gift card/voucher.

Meanwhile, a similar number (23 percent) said they would like to receive a festive pay rise from their boss as a present.

In fact, all age groups favoured a money-based bonus or a pay rise as a gift from their boss.

Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder of Perkbox, said: “It is perhaps unsurprising to see that there is a disconnect between what employers give and what employees actually want to receive from their boss at Christmas. However, what is also interesting is the number of employees who don’t receive anything from management at all. Employers are clearly missing an opportunity to engage their staff – when they fail to reward and recognise them at Christmas.

“It’s a pity, as there are so many easy ways for employers to show their appreciation, and at a relatively small cost to the business. The positive impact of rewarding and recognising at Christmas would be increased productivity, and improved employee motivation and satisfaction, all year round.”

Top 10 gifts employees want from their boss at Christmas

  1. Money based bonus – e.g. cash, a bonus payment in your salary or a gift card/voucher
  2. A pay rise
  3. A team meal out
  4. An additional day off on Christmas Eve
  5. A drink related gift – e.g. a bottle of wine
  6. An early finish on a Friday/several Fridays in December
  7. A food related gift – e.g. a food hamper
  8. A piece of technology which is not given to you for work e.g. a tablet
  9. Working from home on Christmas Eve
  10. Flowers

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 27, 2018
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3min356

Generation Z is prioritising job satisfaction and working for the good of society ahead of income, according to new research.

A report from smartphone manufacturer Huawei, in partnership with Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, is based on responses from 2,000 18-25-year olds across the UK.

It reveals that a new tribe of working professionals among Gen Z is emerging, dubbed the ‘New Working Order’.

The research reveals that 40 percent of Generation Z are now a member of this new tribe – described as “a breed of self-starters who are using technology to empower and create their futures, turning passions into pounds by combining education with experience to pursue careers that truly matter to them”.

The report revealed that members of the NWO have a strong self-starter mentality, with over half (52 percent) admitting that they already have a passion project on the side, with a further 59 percent saying they are hoping to turn this into their main income stream in the next year. Among the NWO, blogging and freelance writing lead the way when it comes to side hustles (33 percent), followed by running themed social media accounts (23 percent) and vlogging (23 percent). The fourth and fifth most popular passion projects respectively were food and drink “side hustles” such as running a coffee stall, and selling arts and crafts items.

The research also revealed that the majority of the NWO (85 percent) prefer to combine education with experience to help advance their careers, using digital tools such as YouTube and TED Talks to lead their own creative revolutions alongside their university degree. When it comes to working habits, 85 percent of the New Working Order say the ability to work flexibly is extremely important to them, with the same number (85 percent) believing in learning from failure and valuing collaboration and sharing new ideas (84 percent).

Chris Brauer said: “The New Working Order draws on a multi-faceted skillset to initiate action, using both technology and human networks in an agile way that helps them to create. They are innovators, producing ideas at speed and executing them seamlessly, are resilient and responsive to what doesn’t work, and iterative so that they can continue to create.”


Dave WilliamsDave WilliamsNovember 26, 2018
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8min389

Let’s be realistic – all businesses need customers to survive and thrive; that has been the requirement since bartering first began.

So, ask yourself this question: are you focussing on the right customers?

This may seem like a surreal question, but is it really? You see, all businesses – including self-employment (because of course, you are the business), have two types of customers: internal and external.

Yes, you’ve heard that before I’m sure. However, most businesses focus on the wrong type first – the external ones.

Why? Because naturally they supply the income for the business. Obviously they are an integral part of your business, but who serves those customers?

Answer: either yourself, your team, or a combination of the two.

Richard Branson once said: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers.  It’s that simple.”

Let’s be realistic here, Richard Branson has been very successful with most things he has done, so he knows a thing or two about this subject.

So why focus on your staff? Well, they are the trusted individuals who represent you and your business to your customers.

Why is that important? These dealings will either make or break you as a business.

Will Rodgers once said: “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.” This, of course, is very true, and why is your reputation so important?

Let’s look at some stats:

  • 74 percent of customers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.

(Source:  Ogilvy/Google/TNS)

  • 92 percent of customers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

(Source:  Nielson)

  • Millennials ranked word of mouth as the #1 influencer in their purchasing decisions.

(Source:  Radius Global)

  • 68 percent trust online opinions from other customers.

(Source:  Nielson)

  • 72 percent say reading a positive review increases their trust in a business. 

(Source:  BrightLocal)

Therefore, it is vital to look after your customers and do it with a highly trained and motivated, happy team.

 

  • 89 percent of companies see Customer Experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.
  • Existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products and spend 31 percent more when compared to new customers.
  • Increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits between 25 percent to 95 percent.
  • It costs a minimum five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.

(Source: Invesp)

  • Happy customers might tell nine friends, unhappy customers, on average, tell 16.

(Source:  Groove)

After reviewing those stats, doesn’t it make sense to make sure that your team are well looked after? After all, they are the ones providing the service to look after your customers, which ultimately, will look after you.

Symptoms of problems include:

  • Low morale within your team
  • Bad reviews being received about your company
  • Lack of retained business (depending on the type of business you have)
  • High staff turnover

If you are experiencing these types of issues, then maybe now is the time to address them.

The individuals doing the roles are the best people around to let you know how things are going and what can be improved. So, are you listening to the experts?

If the answer is no, how do you know if you have your finger on the pulse of the business? If yes….fabulous, and no doubt you are reaping the rewards.

This is not to say that the team will dictate company policy or anything. However, they may be able to give you some clarity on potential issues that can easily be resolved and make your business more profitable.

A total of 81 percent of employees state appreciation as their biggest motivator.

  • (Source:  Glassdoor)

On a final note, let’s have one last quote from Richard Branson:

A company is people – employees want to know, am I being listened to or am I just a cog in a wheel?  People really need to feel wanted.”




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