Human Capital

Employee Experience – why you should embrace it

Have you ever considered the employee experience at your company? Most companies are well versed in the world of customer experience, because everyone knows that an enjoyable experience for customers means that customers come back for more!

Bearing this in mind, perhaps it’s easy to see why similar principles are being applied to all functions within organisations around the world. The tide has also started to turn in terms of companies putting the customer first and the employee last.

It is now broadly accepted that if you look after your employees, they will look after your customers for you. A positive employee experience is also likely to make your people feel more valued, motivated, and engaged, and they are therefore less likely to leave – another plus point for the overall productivity of your company! …

What does Manager as Coach actually mean?

Maybe your organisation already encourages you as a manager to incorporate coaching your team members into your daily routine? Do you find it difficult to buy into this?

One of the most frequent objections from managers comes from being unsure what coaching really means and what is expected.

Although the story has been told many times before, the origin of the word coach is a good starting point to try and clarify things a little.

Coach in the sense of a closed horse-drawn carriage began to be widely used across Europe in the 16th century.

It originated in a small Hungarian village called Kocs where an unknown carriage maker had designed and built the most comfortable carriage known at that time. This was called koczi szeter (approx. wagon of Kocs) which was shortened to koczi.

As the invention of this new vehicle spread throughout Europe, the name was adapted to Kutsche in German, coche in French, and coach in English.

“That is all very interesting”, I hear you say, “but how does this relate to the term coach used in the business sense today?” …

Manager as Coach Launch

Why do we need ‘Manager as Coach?

An opinion poll conducted by Gallup has found that 87% of employees worldwide are unmotivated, disengaged and under-performing.

In contrast, a highly engaged workforce is said to outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. The economic repercussions of having employees who do not feel committed to supporting a company’s goals are staggering.

Employee engagement – or rather the lack of – remains a key issue for employers. Nurturing your employees is a professional obligation, and not just for financial reasons. …

3 Ways to Keep your Workforce Motivated in Times of Change and Uncertainty

3 ways to keep your workforce motivated in times of change and uncertainty

All business have to be flexible to survive the constant flux going on in and around them. We all know that change and uncertainty are inevitable on some level, but do we all know how to handle it?

Some people enjoy a constantly evolving work environment, however not all employees or even leaders share the same levels of enthusiasm.

Uncertainty for some can be a nightmare: Routine goes out of the window, jobs can look insecure, familiar faces might be replaced, and as a result of countless similar factors, some employees are left feeling lost at sea with no captain.

So, as a business owner, leader or manager, what do you need to do to help your crew get through turbulent times? …

The Link Between Employee Wellbeing, Engagement and Absence

n 2015, statistics from CIPD told us that employee absence had risen to 6.9 days per employee per year on average in the UK, and only 25% of organisations achieved their absence target for 2014.

Unsurprisingly, the working world is now desperately trying to find out how to address this because of the huge impact that absenteeism has on productivity.

The Labour Force Survey results show that approximately 10 million days were lost to stress, anxiety or depression in 2014/2015,
and statistics show that these figures are worsening year on year. Stress at work, leading to long-term absence, has more than doubled since the 1990s, yet only a third of employees receive any support to manage workplace stress.

This is bad news for business. Many organisations are now turning to wellbeing programs in an attempt to combat the ever worsening stress levels, but it has been suggested that for some companies, this is simply a move to tick a box as opposed to a reaction to genuine concern or understanding. The CIPD suggests that the majority of employers are more reactive than proactive in their approach to wellbeing (61 per cent), responding to
persistent problems rather than predicting what health and wellbeing factors might impact the workforce in future.

It would appear that employers now grasp the concept of engagement, but for some reason don’t fully comprehend the intrinsic link that exists between engagement and wellbeing.  Simply put, the healthier and happier an employee is, the more engaged they are: Paul Devoy, head of IiP, said: “Organisations need to see staff health and well-being as crucial to their business and staff retention.” He added: “Happier staff are less likely to take time off sick.”

It is saddening that in most cases, employee wellbeing only becomes an issue because it affects business. Let’s go back to the Labour Force Survey results, which show approximately 10 million days lost to stress, anxiety or depression in 2014/2015.

Over this period, there were 440, 000 cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety. What on earth are we doing to our employees?
Here’s a one-word glimpse into the reality of the current state of our workforce: Leaveism. The term has only recently been coined, but the phenomenon has existed for quite a while: ‘Leaveism is when employees use allocated time off – such as annual leave entitlements, banked
flexi-hours and re-rostered rest days – when they are in fact unwell.’

Research has found that 76 per cent of employees who have practised leaveism have done so to avoid being labelled as ‘poor performers’, or because they don’t want to be viewed as being unable to cope with their workload. This ultimately means that a large amount of sickness absence is going underreported, and is distorting both the incidence of sickness in the workplace and worryingly, the ability to fully get to grips with employee wellbeing.

You might be asking yourself ‘Why would anyone do that?’…If you’re asking that question, you have probably not worked in an organisation that has a ‘quota of sickness’ which if exceeded supposedly reflects poor performance. Speaking from experience (happily a good few companies ago), taking annual leave rather than sickness leave makes a lot of sense when you are worried about being hauled into an office and grilled about your performance and commitment.

It seems that some companies fail to realise that by creating extra stress around health issues in the workplace, they are only going to create a vicious cycle of illness and absenteeism. “Organisations which fail to implement health and wellbeing policies – despite being aware of their importance – are putting employee and business health at risk” the CIPD has warned.

This is a clear message. While the business impact should of course be taken into account, we need to recognise that this is about a deep-rooted wellbeing problem. As with most issues, one way to address the situation surrounding employee wellbeing is to start with communication. Go to the root of the problem.

We need to find out what individuals in the workforce really need from their roles and employers in order to stay
healthy and motivated, rather than throwing systems at them and asking them why they aren’t happy yet. Unfortunately, there is probably no one-size-fits-all resolution at this point, but understanding individual needs and issues is surely a starting point. Let’s not
forget that our workforces are built from complex human beings.

Positive and Negative: The Power of Mindset in the Workplace

Have you ever considered the incredible effects of mindsets on the ways in which our brains operate? Recent research is quite fascinating; in short, we can apparently change the way our brains work on a physical level, simply by altering the things that we think and talk about! On one level, this is amazing, because simply by practicing gratitude, we can rewire our brains for positivity.

On another, it is quite alarming: We all know how easy it is to slip into a cycle of negative thinking, and according to some researchers complaining could actually be killing you through the stress you generate. Worrying, right?

Even if you think that this sounds a little far-fetched, there are some important things that we can take away from the research. One particular aspect that struck me, and one that psychologists agree on, is that negativity breeds negativity, both in yourself and others. If this is the case, how does it translate to the workplace?

Morale and Engagement

Whilst a whingeing session with colleagues may feel cathartic, it

Diversity and personality in the workplace

Diversity + Personality: The Formula for High Performing Teams?

We live in a global and multifaceted society. A fact that is not only mirrored, but often actively encouraged in a business environment. Undoubtedly, your teams will be made up of people from different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Managers generally strive to gain a team with individual thinking, innovative spirit, high productivity and more open-mindedness from this approach. This is based on the recognition that every person is unique. Our points of reference are shaped by external factors such as our demographics, experienced parenting styles and educational opportunities. These in turn influence the way we think and feel; they present the variables in our make-up.

Researchers generally agree that a team pooling a broad scope of perspectives, experiences and attitudes is better equipped to tackle complex problems and successfully meet challenges. In his book The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, the social scientist Scott E. Page argues that

People Management Lessons From The Ski Slope

Whilst recovering from my own first nerve-wrecking ski lesson, I was watching a ski instructor expertly guide his nervous new charges to the bottom of the short gentle slope. This scene made me ponder the question whether there are any similarities with leading – and being part of – a team in a business environment. Are there any people management lessons that we can take away from the ski slope?

Competency and Responsibility

Ski instructors have to be assessed on their own ability and undergo extensive training before they are allowed to start teaching. Huge responsibility rests on their shoulders. Once in charge of a group of skiers, their role is one of patient nurture and control. They must keep their group safe at all times. This can be a daunting task. Skiers who are out of control can be a danger to themselves and others. Sheer drops, rocks and other skiers are never far away and the trusting group has to rely on their instructors