People Management

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 what is the best way to handle them?

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

For some employees uncertainty is their worst nightmare: Routine goes out of the window, jobs can look insecure, familiar faces might be replaced, they might have to work remotely and as a result of countless similar factors, some employees are left feeling lost at sea without a captain.

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

Virtual Teams Part 2: A Workable Approach to Managing Remote Staff

Do you have a strategy for managing virtual teams?

The trends, motivations and statistics behind the rise in remote working in our previous blog highlighted why thinking about remote working is an important business consideration. In addition, we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic.

As a manager, you will therefore be faced with the challenges that come with managing telecommuting workers and teams. Finding a starting point to a workable management strategy in this context can be daunting.

Working from home – even some of the time – is not naturally suited to everyone. It requires discipline and organisation. Employees working remotely have to be happy in their own company, able to use their own initiative, prioritise and be fully aware of their abilities and limitations. Having the right personality is a prerogative to remaining motivated and being successful in those circumstances.

Do You Have a Strategy for Managing Virtual Teams? Part 1

Part 1: Why is thinking about remote working important?

This first section of this two-part blog highlights reasons why it is useful for your business to think about your approach to remote working now.  Next week’s blog will ponder some considerations that might serve as a starting point for your management strategy for remote working.

Are you a small company and feel that the scenario of employees working remotely doesn’t really apply? Do discussions on finding suitable technology or strategies for this context never quite get to the top of your agenda? Do you have a strategy in place, but it is not quite working? The following statistics, trends and motivations behind remote working might help to focus your mind…

An analysis of the survey issued by the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reveals that the number of people working from home increased to more than four million employees. This equates to 13.7% of the entire workforce of the UK. Put more simply, the number of people working from home has increased to almost one in seven over the past decade. The survey also estimates that, given the opportunity, a further 1.8 million people would prefer to work from home.

These figures and trends are increasing steadily. They signify huge changes in the composition and attitudes of any workforce and are bound to ask probing questions of traditional management strategies.

Your workforce is your biggest asset and also likely to be your biggest expense. So, is your business ready? Do you have a strategy for managing remote teams?

The Link Between Employee Wellbeing, Engagement and Absence

In 2015, CIPD statistics 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.

Gender or Talent Gap? The Example of the Working Mum

“Mums are formidable in the workplace, we need to hire more.”

As a working Mum, the title of Melissa Jun Rowley’s blog published in the Women in Leadership section of the Guardian caught my eye.

Even a cursory glance at the media confirms that gender related issues in the workplace continue to figure prominently and are highly charged. And with good cause, as these recent examples show:

The recent study on the gender pay gap in the UK by Robert Half, which found that women earn on average £300,000 less than men over their working life, caused a huge stir. The reasons given for this disparity are varied. They include the relative shortage of female professionals who progress into those senior roles that are linked with higher salaries.

Positive and Negative: The Power of Mindset in the Workplace

Have you ever considered the incredible effects of mind-sets 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 practising gratitude, we can rewire our brains for positivity.
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. …

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 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’ expertise and guidance.

Thinking about our own teams, aren’t the best managers those who ensure that they themselves have the necessary skills and knowledge to lead their team with confidence? We rely on their competency. Don’t we also expect our team managers to keep us safe, encourage our personal development and steer us expertly through difficult patches? As team manager you may feel understandably laden down by the responsibility of this task. This surely becomes much easier when you can confidently draw on up-to-date and effective leadership skills and display the necessary competencies. …

Disregard Notions of Millennials: It’s Time to Stop Generalising Generations in the Workforce

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am a Millennial. My views may or may not be representative of those of my peer group. Now we’ve got that out of the way, I would like to discuss the incredibly problematic generalisation of generations in the workplace.

People love to lump other people into easily definable groups; particularly in the working world. As humans are so utterly complex, it is perhaps comforting to think that we can manage large groups of them in the same way, rather than take on the seemingly mammoth task of tuning into individuals, each with their own characteristics and needs.

This is where the problems begin: Once we start to assume certain attributes according to factors such as age, we risk completely misjudging and ultimately alienating members of the workforce.

hire based on instinct

Do you hire based on instinct or impulse?

Hiring new employees is hard. Finding the most suitable employees for an organisation is even harder. The American Management Consultant Peter Drucker famously said that “33% of staffing decisions are bad, 33% are acceptable, and 33% are ok”.

So, why is hiring new employees so difficult?

You may be the type of manager who is simply too impatient to bide your time and wait for a game-changing candidate? Do you hire impulsively with a focus on simply retaining the headcount?