Emma KeelingEmma KeelingApril 17, 2019
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6min339

We hear a lot of talk nowadays about a company’s culture and values. Why are these so important? What do they add to a company? How can we make sure we live by these values?

The core values of a company are the essence of its identity. They are the principles and beliefs which should underlie every decision. In family-owned and owner-managed businesses, the values often reflect the values of the founder. However, many business owners and directors fail to articulate their values. It can be time-consuming to work out what is truly important to you in a business, so why is it worth the effort?

Company values will guide decisions at every level, big and small; it is just as important for the directors to evaluate their strategy against company values as it is for a receptionist to express these company values when answering the phone. A strong value system will enable directors to delegate more – a company’s values will guide many of the decisions its staff have to make.

A strong value system also simplifies decisions. For example, if a company value is “always to put the client first”, and one afternoon you are pressed and find yourself having to decide between doing something urgent for a client, or working on a big pitch taking place the next day for a large new contract, which should you do?

You refer to your values. Decision made! Looking after your current clients’ needs must come first.

A company culture based on clearly articulated values will inspire your workforce. Employees motivated by the company’s values are likely to work to the best of their ability and speed. The number of sick days taken will fall as a culture of teamwork and support for one another builds. Increased loyalty to an inspiring business will improve employee retention and reduce staff turnover.

Strong company values will similarly attract new recruits, who will want to work for a company with meaning and purpose, where they feel they can add real value.

Strong values don’t just make life easier and more enjoyable for those working at the company – they also become a differentiator for the business in the market place. Customers will be attracted to the culture and know what they are getting. The most popular company values are: 

  • Dependability
  • Reliability
  • Loyalty
  • Commitment
  • Open-mindedness
  • Consistency
  • Honesty
  • Efficiency

Wouldn’t we all be likely to buy from a company delivering on even just three of these values?

A strong culture adds tangibly to the value of a business; when shareholders seek to raise capital or sell their business, they will experience first-hand the importance of a committed and loyal workforce. Investors unfailingly place value on a company’s ability to recruit and retain competent, motivated staff, recognising that this is an indicator of a well-run and successful business.

It is vital to remember that values are caught, not just taught. They have to reflect who we really are – it’s no good the CEO endlessly espousing on values if no one actually lives them out.

It is also a mistake to have too many values, as no-one will be able to remember them all. Three to five is a realistic number, ideally grouped into a memorable acronym. Each value needs to be unpacked and explained regularly so that everyone understands how the values should impact behaviour and decision-making. How about putting them on all your meeting agendas and on the wall in the staff kitchen?

Employees, customers, suppliers, and investors all cry out for a strong company culture; values create enormous value!


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 15, 2019
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2min273

British workers are putting in the longest hours in the European Union, according to a new study. 

Analysis by the TUC reveals that full-time UK employees worked an average of 42 hours a week in 2018. This was almost two hours more than the EU average – equivalent to an extra two-and-a-half weeks a year.

Britain’s “long-hours culture” is not having a positive impact on productivity, the TUC has claimed, highlighting that in similar economies to the UK, employees are much more productive for each hour they work.

For example, full-time employees in Germany work 1.8 hours a week less than those in the UK, but are 14.6 percent more productive. In Denmark – the EU country with the shortest hours – workers put in over four hours less than UK staff, but productivity in Denmark is 23.5 percent higher.

The average full-time week in Britain has shortened by just 18 minutes over the past decade, which nowhere near fast enough to close the gap with other countries. Even if the EU average stayed the same, at current rates of progress it would take 63 years for UK workers to get the same amount of free time as their European counterparts.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Britain’s long hours culture is nothing to be proud of. It’s robbing workers of a decent home life and time with their loved ones. Overwork, stress and exhaustion have become the new normal.

“It’s time for a change. Other countries have shown that reducing working hours isn’t only good for workers, it can boost productivity. As new technology changes our economy, the benefits should be shared by working people. That means shorter hours, more time with family and friends, and decent pay for everyone.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 9, 2019
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4min416

New research among British businesses examining employees’ attitudes toward digital transformation, innovation, and cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, reveals confusion about the true meaning of ‘digital transformation’ and a high degree of scepticism about their employers’ appetite for digital innovation.

The research, conducted by YouGov amongst employees at 500 businesses with 50 or more employees, on behalf of Cherwell Software, reveals that 57 percent of employees don’t know the correct meaning of ‘digital transformation’: 20 percent of respondents could not hazard a guess at its meaning, and 12 percent thought it meant moving to a paperless office.

This research focuses on the view from the workforce itself and its findings go a long way to explain why the 2018  Dell Digital Transformation Index placed the UK in 17th place in its adoption of digital transformation, lagging way behind emerging countries like India, Brazil, and Thailand.

In a further blow to the image of UK businesses, the survey highlights a reluctance to adopt cutting edge technology.  According to the survey, just nine percent of businesses are viewed by their workforce as being digital innovators, whilst 64 percent of employers only take on new technology after it has become widely available.

“It’s obvious that not enough time is being devoted to communicating with employees to develop their understanding and involvement in the process of digital transformation,” said Oliver Krebs, Vice President of EMEA sales for Cherwell.

“Unless business leaders bring their teams along with them on this journey British organisations are likely to fail and our ability to compete in the global market place will be severely compromised.”

Mixed reaction to Artificial Intelligence

Meanwhile, reactions to adoption of AI in the workplace were mixed: 34 percent of employees were confused (five percent), threatened (21 percent), or saddened ( eight percent); 20 percent were optimistic (16 percent) or excited (four percent); and 30 percent were intrigued – suggesting once again that leadership teams have not effectively communicated and engaged their team in the adoption of new technology.

Cross-departmental integration

Central to the success of most digital transformation projects is ensuring a consistent and integrated approach to the use of processes and data across all departments. Yet the survey reveals that just six percent of businesses’ data and processes are very well integrated across all departments, and 42 percent have not integrated inter-departmental data and processes well.

Andre Cuenin, Chief Revenue Officer at Cherwell said: “The research demonstrates that UK businesses still have a lot to learn in terms of planning and implementing digital transformation and their adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence if they want to shed their image of digital innovation followers. The deep level of confusion and miscommunication amongst employees must be addressed by industry leaders.

“This may be due to the fact that digital transformation is frequently pigeon-holed as an IT issue, whereas in reality it should be seen as an initiative that involves everyone across the business, from the board, down to the most junior employee.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 5, 2019
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4min261

Organisations must stop shying away from the inevitable, and instead take active steps towards creating a sustainable, Inclusive Culture, a new book on Employee Experience insists.

For modern businesses, diversity and inclusion are much more than just ‘tick box’ exercises. Organisations without adequate inclusivity and diversity policies can no longer hide, and must face the uncomfortable truth that their policies lack effectiveness.

In her new book Closing the Gap, diversity and inclusion expert Teresa Boughey outlines why society is no longer accepting rhetoric and promises in the place of solid action to build an environment that is both motivating and inspiring not only for employees, but customers too, who all want to feel proud to be associated with the organisation.

Furthermore, every single individual in the workforce should be treated with equal amounts of respect, feel genuinely supported by their managers and should never need to hide who they really are.

Closing the Gap provides business leaders, directors, and HR professionals with clear, practical guidance both for those taking their first steps and those already on their journey; presenting an opportunity to ‘evaluate progress’ and embed inclusive practices into all future strategies. Teresa utilises her “tribe5 Diversity & Inclusion” methodology to provide practical advice to any organisation seeking to transform their office culture.

This methodology guides the reader through taking stock of their current situation and raising awareness of what needs to change, to inspiring and involving all stakeholders, building for the future and embedding positive practices in all strategies.

Within these five steps, Teresa clearly illustrates the importance of many different aspects that impact the diversity and inclusivity of an organisation, including talent management, unconscious biases and male advocacy.

Embracing inclusivity and diversity not only ensures employees are supported and engaged, but also enables any business to stand out from their competitors, whilst crafting a positive brand identity as a welcoming organisation.

Teresa explains that Closing the Gap is the perfect read for any business professional seeking guidance at any point in their inclusivity journey.

“It is never too late for a business to stop and consider the impact of their policies on all members of the workforce and make meaningful changes to ensure all employees, both present and future, feel like an integral part of a positive force for good,” she said.


Ashley CarrAshley CarrApril 3, 2019
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7min302

We’re all aware this Brexit business has caused quite a mess, leaving much uncertainty for all and tough economic times for many.

What’s typical in these situations, particularly for those feeling a financial pinch, is to batten down the hatches, grit teeth, and wait for it to pass, hoping a way forward will be easier when there is more certainty on the horizon.

The challenge with this strategy, however, is that when the dust settles, people will move and if organisations haven’t invested in making their company sticky for current employees, they will lose them when it picks up. If that doesn’t cause concern, remember that unlike in any other time of economic uncertainty in the past 20 years, there is no latent potential workforce on the market ready to replace the people you lose. There is no one on the bench.

In the coming months, there are going to be a lot of surprised and failing employers that can’t scale and will have to downsize as a result of losing people. While everyone is busy focussing on ROI, it will be those that focus on COI, the cost of inaction, that will come out on top after this dull trading period.

Consider your COI

In difficult periods, considering COI, rather than ROI, will help businesses to gain a deeper understanding of what is at stake when standing still. Doing nothing will cost a business dearly. People will leave, and unless quick actions are made, organisations may not be able to recover anyone to replace them. What would that cost be to your business? Could you survive?

The cost of inaction may not be felt today, but at the point in which the economy rotates, it will be felt then. There will come a perfect storm of suddenly having new orders, tenders, and requests for services coming through the door just as employees start walking out.

Given the background of the economy at the moment and the unsettling times that we are in, regardless of what the conclusion is over Brexit, businesses are going to fail if they don’t get this right. If they don’t act fast enough, it will be too late, there will already be an entrenched atmosphere where employees feel that they have had enough and they want to go elsewhere. So what can organisations do to stay afloat and come out of the other side?

Get sticky

Many companies think about marketing and PR as external and as activities reserved for gaining awareness in new markets or launching a product to prospects. While there is currently a trend toward marketing to new employees, it seems like no-one thinks about targeting those they currently have. However, using this powerful messaging machine to market externally, while forgetting to leverage it internally, robs the employees of the message you’re sharing to the world.

To create a sticky organisation, businesses need to make sure their employees, workforce, and colleagues understand just how good the business is. Sharing the external message internally generates excitement, making current employees inspired to be part of the dream and growth of the company. When done correctly, employees will feel this success and develop a desire to share that success with potential prospects.

What is required to achieve maximum stickiness will vary widely from business to business – but it starts with an identity. If an organisation truly knows what it stands for and what makes it unique, who they have on board, and who they want to get on board, then the initiatives should come quite naturally. Companies that wish to keep their current talent need to think about how they can keep them engaged, excited, and bought into the dream of the business – ensuring it’s a place that employees will stick with when other organisations come out, in full kit, on the hunt for talent.

Developing culture inside and out

There is too often a disparity between what companies put on their website and what is actually happening inside; this works both for those that have a poor external image and great internal culture, and those with the inverse imbalance.

The culture that an organisation projects on its website, social media, and any other channel should be the culture that a prospective client or prospective candidate meets when they come into the building. This happens naturally when the message that is dispersed externally is the same as what is spread internally.

If an organisation’s culture is real and embodied throughout the organisation, then employees will be living and breathing it anyway. This should be seen through all of the marketing activities, all the way through to any interaction with the employees of that organisation.

PR is not just an outbound strategy for prospects. It is about attracting talent and keeping talent in your organisation. Those who understand this, as well as their COI, may just have a chance of coming of this mess on top.

If it is not you, it will be your competitors. What’s your next move?


Lloyd ColdrickLloyd ColdrickApril 2, 2019
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10min282

The modern office is evolving faster than ever as new design trends continually find themselves splashed across workplaces up and down the country.

In recent years, offices have transformed from stuffy, dim, boxed-off cubicle-style layouts to thriving hubs where collaboration is buzzing against a backdrop of the most trendy and functional interior designs.

Biophilic designs are ever-present and a revert back to industrial ‘bare bone’ materials continue to prove popular designs, while a rise in spaces that promote the wellbeing of the office user shows no signs of slowing.

2019 is no different, and if anything, has taken those design trends and moved into second gear.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular interior designs trends for 2019:

‘Living walls’

The trend for leafy living walls continues to rise. They are particularly loved by green-fingered urbanites and are a clever way of bringing the outdoors into the office environment.

Continued push for spaces that promote mental and physical well-being

Modern office designs are adapting to reflect the importance of employees’ health and happiness, and research shows that people with higher levels of well-being are more resistant to ill health, both physically and mentally.

Ergonomic office furniture is designed to stimulate a greater focus in perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response.

Ergonomic chairs reduce stress on the spine, neck, and hips by keeping the user upright, while ergonomic keyboards increase typing speeds by reducing repetitive reaching and stretching and pivotal monitors allow employees to focus on their screens for longer periods of time, by reducing eye strains and headaches.

Relaxation/recreational breakout areas

With Millennials predicted to make up half of the workforce by next year, new office design trends are emerging.

Office relaxation spaces where employees can unwind away from their working schedules is steadily gaining traction, as the lines between work/life balance become more blurred.

A versatile office environment

Nowadays, dynamic and agile spaces should be highly interactive and not be hampered by any physical or ergonomic constraints.

Re-arranged furniture can have a substantial positive impact on the output of employees. For instance, if furniture is comfortable and organic, employees will be able to work with minimal restrictions, and therefore be more productive.

Big rise in flexible working and co-working spaces

Although co-working spaces have been around for many years, it is only recently that they have come into the spotlight, mainly due to more providers entering the market to meet the needs of an increasingly fluid workforce.

The shift away from more traditional office spaces has aided the rising popularity of collaborative working environments.

More so than ever, co-working providers are seeking to create ‘a destination workplace’ – a space where people want to work.

Private workstations

Despite 2019 seeing a continued rise in flexible workplace layouts, there’s still a compelling reason not to drop private workstations in offices altogether.

While most businesses dislike the traditional dividers and booths of yesteryear, semi-enclosed settings are still proving popular as they let employees work with as little distraction as possible without being completely closed off from the rest of the office.

Increase in privacy storage

The recent enforcement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has altered the way in which employers store and secure sensitive data.

We can’t keep sensitive information visible on desks and computers in fear it could fall into the wrong hands. Safely securing data in appropriate storage such as folders and filing cabinets/drawers is crucial for all businesses in 2019.

Defurbishment

Defurbishment or ‘defurb’ is the process whereby buildings have been altered to expose the bare bones of their structure, including beams and brick or stone walls.

Incorporating natural materials like wood, slate and even water features encourage a natural, eco-friendlier feel. This style can be particularly effective in helping to attract a younger demographic in both new staff and clients.

Nowadays, people also want to know what goes into the products they use, and office furniture is no different. Using durable, honest materials that have been reclaimed or upcycled is a great way to demonstrate a business’s sustainable and environmental values, while creating an attractive brand identity that staff and customers/clients can buy into.

Human-centric designs

Human-centric design gives designers a deeper understanding of creating living spaces that are more humanistic, holistic, and solve problems for people. In a way, the challenge of the human centric design is even greater than a purely aesthetic approach, because designers must consider the user’s needs, aesthetic appeal and user friendliness into their vision.

Mixing aesthetics into a human centric design to create a unified whole with minimal artistic and ergonomic sacrifices is the ultimate challenge. The human centric design sends a message that the employees are of the utmost importance. Businesses have realised that a one-size-fits-all approach can’t be used. To design better, the human aspect of each individual company must be considered – it’s why a human-centric approach is so important.

Offices are increasingly getting bolder and more striking by adopting multifunctional designs that provide benefits to both the business and user.

Ultimately, we’re getting smarter in how we can merge varying designs to create a space that is aesthetically pleasing, health promoting, planet saving, and profit boosting, all while having a degree of flexibility to ensure an inclusive space for all.

There’s no doubt the office of 2020 will bring new and pioneering design trends, but for now, the office of 2019 is leading the way in creating a working environment that allows the business, the environment and the staff to win.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 29, 2019
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6min284

Bosses should allow their staff to take a nap in the office this coming Monday to make up for the time lost over the weekend, a sleep expert has suggested.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, who specialises in sleep therapy, says that although the clocks going forward signals the start of a long-awaited summer, it can wreak havoc on the sleep patterns of people who are already struggling to get a good night’s kip.

More than a quarter of the British population is already suffering from dangerously low levels of sleep, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart problems and depression. Research from mattress maker Silentnight and the University of Leeds has revealed that 25 percent of Brits are sleeping for only five or fewer hours per night.

The lost hour in the British Summer Time clock change may make for longer, lighter evenings, but Dr Nerina has warned that those already suffering from lack of sleep may be at risk of long-term health problems, so bosses should be mindful and give staff the option to sneak a short nap into their working day.

“The loss of an hour in bed is particularly detrimental to individuals that already struggle with their sleep,” Dr Nerina said. “If you are one of the 25 percent of the nation that gets less than five hours sleep a night, this time change could see you drop down to as little as four hours, which is a dangerously low amount.

“Many employees may be feeling worse for wear on Monday after losing an hour of sleep over the weekend, so bosses should consider allowing their staff to take a short nap in the office to make up for lost time.”

Dr Nerina argues that designated napping time may make for a stronger workforce as sleep is scientifically proven to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.

She said: “Just a twenty minute power nap can make a huge difference. Naps have been scientifically proven to boost creativity and problem solving ability, and they can even rebalance the immune system, meaning staff are less likely to take sick days. Company nap time would definitely work in the boss’ favour in the long run.

“There are three different types of naps that could benefit sleepy employees after the clocks go forward. The most popular choice might be a twenty minute power nap, which is a much healthier alternative to a cigarette or coffee break and can easily be squeezed into the working day. Ideally a power nap should be done at some point between 2pm and 4pm, but no later otherwise it might affect sleep later at night.

“Allowing staff to indulge in a nap during the working day might sound unusual, but considering the country will be losing an hour of sleep over the weekend it’s a fair request.A national napping day would allow the UK workforce to return to their jobs feeling refreshed and ready.”

 

 


Tayyab AkhlaqTayyab AkhlaqMarch 27, 2019
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19min335

When it comes to barriers to success that women face in the workplace, low confidence can be a major factor.

All too often, women can find a lack of self-belief gets in the way of them thriving in the workplace.

The employee needs to be their own cheerleader, but it helps for management to encourage their workforce to come out of their shells and drive their careers forward. Plus, people working harder or better helps your bottom line.

So, how do you do that? We at retailer Public Desire looked at social media data to help answer the question, creating a map of Instagram Capitals of Confidence. This included finding out which UK cities saw women feeling most positive and confident in the workplace, and speaking to female entrepreneurs to find out how they’ve been able to thrive. 

Where businesswomen are finding confidence

Social media hashtags like #success and #career are a good indicator of how people feel about their work. We looked at which cities see the highest use of these hashtags compared to the number of people living there, pinpointing where people are feeling the most positive about their careers.

When it comes to #success, London saw the highest use of this hashtag, followed by Bournemouth, and then Brighton.

Ranking

City

Number of posts

Number of posts as % of population

1

London

253963

0.03360677

2

Bournemouth

3300

0.020171149

3

Brighton

2188

0.015740894

4

Manchester

5104

0.012904694

5

Birmingham

4452

0.00452286

6

Leeds

1788

0.003928608

7

Bristol

1409

0.00327132

8

City of London

18997

0.002513862

9

Liverpool

655

0.001396752

Posts with #career suggest that people are so happy at work they’re willing to shout about it on their personal channels. Peterborough racked up the highest uses of this hashtag, followed by Liverpool and then Leeds.

Ranking

City

Number of posts

Number of posts as % of population

1

Peterborough

45782

0.326685267

2

Liverpool

16035

0.034193775

3

Leeds

14756

0.032422005

4

Manchester

8996

0.022745029

5

Cardiff

6201

0.020523666

6

Southampton

4027

0.016356554

7

Birmingham

4676

0.004750425

8

Glasgow

2136

0.003500102

9

London

15001

0.001985073

10

City of London

1976

0.000261483

The question is, what is it that drives this positive thinking and how can this be applied to the workforce? We spoke to several female entrepreneurs to find out.

Collaboration is key

Collaboration among women is key to female success. Erin Thomas, founder of online community Making Mumpreneurs, explains how women working together can boost confidence.

She said: “The challenges we face are often down to mindset – low confidence, being too self-critical, and a fear of failure. I think these can be overcome the more you surround yourself with like-minded female entrepreneurs.”

Similarly, Louise Deverell-Smith, founder of online platform Daisy Chain, which connects parents with childcare-friendly employers, explained how women can be good at lifting each other up. She said: “I do find that women love to help other women… there is a real sisterhood vibe in business with women.”

Meanwhile, Stud & Tassel founder Emily Straw spoke about how working alone can be a downside.

“Working independently definitely brings its own challenges and I sometimes wish I had someone to bounce ideas off and share in the success,” she said.

For business owners and managers, this means that encouraging collaboration between your female employees and creating a culture of positive reinforcement could boost confidence among your workers and bring a positive attitude to the company.

Send your workers to female-focussed events

To encourage collaboration among your female employees, consider sending them to events and groups for women, where they can meet like-minded professionals, learn from their peers, and give each other encouragement.

Certainly, the amount of events like this could be part of the reason why London ranked highly for hashtags that showed confidence among businesspeople. Emily Straw said: “There are always female-focused events to attend and I have personally found value in learning from the success of other women while making new friends.”

Similarly, Erin Thomas praises the community in Bournemouth too. “There are lots of women in business networking opportunities, which makes me feel right at home,” noted Erin.

“I find the small business community here incredibly supportive, positive and collaborative.”

Yet there is more that can be done than simply encouraging women to help each other. Changes within the way your business works can help too.

Allow flexible working

With many businesswomen juggling family commitments with full-time work, flexible working can be a huge support. Again, this is another thing that could explain the social media trend towards success in London. Louise Deverell-Smith agrees, adding: “I think having Sadiq Khan as our mayor of London is fantastic as he is often talking about flexible working and helping working parents – which is our focus at Daisy Chain.”

What this shows is that giving working mums room to manoeuvre will encourage them to stay in your company, which also nurtures a drive to thrive and a positive outlook on your business.

Create a social media buzz

The businesswomen we spoke to cited social media for the positive impact it has had on their careers, both for offering a platform for them to talk about their successes and to strike up a conversation with your customers.

Managing Director at Brighton Gin, Kathy Caton said: “Instagram has let us show the outside world the genuinely small-batch, craft nature of what we do, and with personality too. One of the things I love about social media is we can have direct conversations with our end customers and them with us without going through gatekeepers.”

Similarly, Managing Director at BC Beauty, Maria Lloyd, added: “We have our own Facebook group where women can interact, ask each other questions and so on. From looking at that, I see nothing but women supporting each other and celebrating each other’s successes. It makes me very proud to see!”

Empowering female employees is vital for utilising all the expertise and abilities available in your workforce. Making moves to inspire the women in your workplace to collaborate, getting them to network with their peers and helping them juggle their home life with their working life will give them a much more positive outlook about themselves and your company.


Chris DyerChris DyerMarch 20, 2019
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6min779

Happy employees who are engaged with their work try harder, so, how can we make work their happy place?

Think of it like gardening. Plants want water, fertiliser, and light, and it doesn’t hurt to play the equivalent of a little classical music. Positive, healthy surroundings and the sunshine of encouragement will help your company culture blossom.

1. Start with positive values

One way to avoid the drag of a negative mindset is to actively promote a positive one. Review your company values and operating policies looking for ways to make positive thoughts and acts the norm. If, for example, your mission is to provide great customer service, build on your strengths instead of making up for your shortcomings.

Suppose there’s an issue with a regular client getting the wrong merchandise one month. Instead of starting a team meeting by naming a culprit, begin by determining what is going well. Maybe that client has been with you for five years and recently upgraded their account. Ask the team how you can capitalise on that while solving the problem.

Someone might approach the client to thank them for their loyalty and let them know a revised order is on the way, promising a discount on the next one. The client can be reminded that the upgraded merchandise will better serve their purpose and drive their business, and they can be assured that the cause has been addressed so they won’t be inconvenienced again. 

2. Open communication avenues

When the cause and those responsible for screwing up the order are detected, you’ll have a valuable training moment for everyone on the team to observe. Make it a celebration, not an intervention.

A closed-door meeting with the culprits will affect only those people. A team meeting that debriefs all of the stakeholders opens up that audience, and a company-wide memo on what went on gives everyone the chance to learn from the episode. Maybe the order problem came from a simple misrouting of the request because someone didn’t know who was supposed to get it. Now, everyone will know.

Informing everyone, from executives to employees, about who does what in the company makes it easy to get information to and from the right people. This helps employees do their jobs well and serve the customer well. How else can you get important data to your staff when or before they need it? Tweak your file sharing and database access protocols to be as inclusive as possible.

Knowing who to ask for help or who to include in the information loop makes people proficient and brings them together. Knowing how to move on from mistakes does, too.

3. Cultivate team spirit

We’re all human, so why not acknowledge both the highs and lows of the job? Go ahead and welcome your order culprits into the Honest Mistake Club. A free latte will take some of the sting out of that error and make them want to try harder.

Or, maybe the supply chain glitch was a needed reminder to provide some group training. Learning together is a bonding experience. Train a direct report, and let them guide the rest of the group, managers included.

4. Satisfy emotional needs

Just as plants need water and sunlight to grow, employees need to be physically and mentally ready to do their jobs. Besides being fed and well rested, employees want a say in how they work, the chance to become really good at it, and a sense of belonging to something larger than the task at hand. According to researchers like author Daniel Pink, these things make them happy and more engaged.

This is the real fertiliser for a bountiful company culture. Offer a choice in scheduling or let teams design workflows. Increase responsibility when someone shows they have a knack for some job aspect or provide training for those who don’t. Reinforce that team spirit whenever you get the chance.

Happy is healthy! We can design a happy place enriched with the things that make our ‘flowers’ grow.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 20, 2019
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3min310

UK Employers are being aided in supporting blind and partially sighted staff through a new suite of resources from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

The initiative is part of the Department for Work and Pension’s Disability Confident scheme, a nationally-recognised Government accreditation that supports businesses to attract, recruit, and retain disabled employees.

Now available on RNIB’s website, the suite was launched this month at an event hosted by insurance giant and recent UK Complaint Handling Awards winner Zurich in London. During the launch, employers such as Royal Mail, O2 and John Lewis & Partners were brought together to recognise the contribution that blind and partially sighted employees make to businesses. They also got an exclusive first-look at the new resources, which have now been shared with more than 10,000 Disability Confident members.

Among those at the launch event was Caroline Casey (pictured above), a blind disability activist and management consultant, who gave a keynote speech on what the new resources would offer.

They include a menu of webinars, good practice toolkits, guides for making changes, and blogs. Employers are also invited to take an RNIB Workplace Accessibility Health Check, which assesses employers’ knowledge of the reasonable adjustments a blind or partially sighted person might need to do their job.

David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, said: “Although employment rates are at a record high, just one-in-four blind or partially sighted people are in work, which is a waste of valuable talent and skills in the UK workforce. As well as helpful advice and best practice, our new suite of resources includes examples of people who are registered blind in a range of different roles – proving that people with sight loss can be graphic designers, film-makers and accountants.

“With the right support, visually impaired people can thrive in the workplace and make a significant contribution to businesses in almost all employment sectors. We just need employers to realise the unique commercial value that blind and partially sighted employees can undoubtedly bring to their businesses.”




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