Are you a natural leader, one your team happily follow to success, or is your position maintained by constant reminders that you’re in charge? A bossy boss – one who demands they are treated with authority – is never in a position of strength. The sole focus of a bossy boss is ‘I’ – the [...]
Each year the number of people who go to university and obtain degrees grows – but studies show that those increasing numbers of graduates are struggling to find work. Is there a gap between education and necessary experience? A recent government report showed that – once again – graduates are struggling to find skilled employment [...]
However much we tell ourselves that we are unbiased and progressive, we all have unconscious bias – and it’s up to us how much we let that influence our leadership. The very definition of unconscious bias is that it’s a bias we aren’t even aware we have. Our upbringing, background, cultural environment, the social circles [...]
Some leaders are so keen to prove that they are on top that they forget the shoulders they stand on to be where they are… Think back through your working history. Think of every leader you’ve had, since the first job you took in your youth, to the leadership team that supports you where you [...]
An engaged workforce can make your business fly, and we can help you achieve it Being engaged is something that we all delight in – a celebration of commitment and connection, and of a relationship being cemented. These are fundamental human instincts, and fundamental sources of something else that we crave: a sense of purpose and meaning. But we aren’t talking about a happy couple planning marriage, or even about life-long friendships: we mean employee engagement, something just as worthy of celebration, but also something more often longed for than experienced! Workplace engagement is one of the business topics of our time, and endless articles voice a range of worries – frequently about the generation gaps, the needs of millennials, and the different approach that younger people take to their careers. A specific concern is with retention, and there is a common perception that are more likely to move from role to role, and company to company, to climb the career ladder quickly, meaning that recruitment is a constant process in many organisations. Perhaps related to another popular view that millennials are uniquely different, there is a noticeable panic about how organisations and managers must strive to engage them. (Or better yet, engage with them: engagement is, after all, a two-way street.) Challenging Perception “Perception is reality” is a familiar aphorism. Unfortunately, it’s a misquote: what Christopher Ray actually said was “Perception is merely reality filtered through the prism of your soul.” Although when it comes to ‘the millennial issue’, we might substitute ‘media’ for ‘soul’. The empirical research is less clear about the difference inherent in the millennial generation, beyond simply being a different generation – not in itself a new phenomenon. As Bruce Pfau, KPMG’s Vice Chair of Human Resources and Communications, wrote recently for Harvard Business Review: “On the contrary, a growing body of evidence suggests that employees of all ages are much more alike than different in their attitudes and values at work. To the extent that any gaps do exist, they amount to small differences that have always existed between younger and older workers throughout history and have little to do with the Millennial generation per se.” […]
When organisations say they have a learning or training problem, it is likely that what they really have is a learning transfer problem. When people learn, they do so by relating new information to something they already know. This explains why teachers and trainers use examples and case studies, and why they so often say ‘For instance…” Metaphors – which also equate one thing with another – are useful ways to explain too. Which might be why we might the following point in our White Paper: The Problem with Learning Transfer : “[…] any approach that suggests that learning ceases at the end of the last session of formal learning is akin to suggesting that a marriage ends once the rings have been exchanged.” Learning Transfer: A Broken Engagement? Formal learning – whether it takes place in a lecture theatre, a seminar room or on the screen of a smartphone – can achieve only so much. While it delivers new attitudes, skills and knowledge, there are two things it cannot do: Ensure that they are personalised to ensure the understanding of each individual learner Put them into practise. What Comes After Learning Transfer is relatively easy to define. In a widely quoted 1988 research article that included an initial ‘model’ that showed the factors that influence it, Timothy Baldwin and Kevin Ford offered the following: “The generalization of the skills acquired during the training phase to the work environment and the maintenance of those acquired skills over time.” But decades of research that show that only 5 – 20% of formal learning is ever subsequently transferred demonstrates that achieving it is rather harder, despite not just the huge amounts spent on training but also available evidence that shows how less of this might be wasted. […]
It’s not every day that a high-profile professional dismisses their own abilities, makes the news by resigning, acknowledges that privilege is a complex issue, and makes an important point about our relationship with work – but that’s just what Lucy Kellaway, the FT’s award-winning management columnist and journalist, has just done with the announcement that she’s resigning from her job to retrain as a maths teacher. Furthermore, she’s taking the opportunity to encourage others in the later stages of their careers to consider joining her. As someone who has written – usually wittily and often acerbically – about careers, she is not the easiest writer to dismiss when she chooses to be candid about her reason for doing so. While she acknowledges the excitement of the new, especially after 31 years of journalism, she has explained in her own column that: […] the biggest thing, which readers may find hard to swallow given my entire career has been based on ridiculing others, is that, for my next act, I want to be useful. Yes, I know sticking pins in pompous chief executives is useful in a meta kind of way but that’s not the kind of useful I have in mind. Without actually using the phrase, although it’s one she must have typed a great many times, Lucy has hit the nail on the head when it comes to one of the business industry’s Holy Grails: employee engagement. This state of being – so much discussed in some circles that it has almost acquired an aura of myth – is driven by many things: good working relationships, an environment where employees feel confident that they are learning and developing both personally and professionally, and an organisation whose work and purpose they admire are just three of them. But when it comes to summing up such HR-speak sentiments as ‘having a sense of making a personal contribution that is aligned with the organisation’s values and mission’, it is hard to be more succinct than “I want to be useful.” […]
Inspire your staff and let their skills shine! John Lewis spend millions every year creating their highly anticipated Christmas adverts. But this year, before the official advert was released, A-Level student Nick Jablonka posted a video he created for his coursework, fooling many into believing it was the real thing. With limited time and formal education but masses of natural talent, Nick demonstrated an innate understanding of how to connect with an audience. A huge number of people have responded to his short animation, which tells the story of a snowman who is trapped in a festive snow globe and wishes he could touch real snow. (If you’re not one of the 1.4 million people who’ve watched it so far, we’ve included the video at the bottom of this post.) Among those who responded was award winning agency, W Communications, who quickly saw the importance of what Nick had accomplished and contacted him to offer a full-time position with their brand. This job offer shows that talent matters more than the certificates and grades of formal education – and that big brands will go out of their way to secure a star. From map to dialogue While many companies still focus on a traditional recruitment approach, requiring qualifications and higher education, talent – while it can be subsequently enhanced and developed – can come in many initial forms. Recognising raw talent, and supporting employees as they develop and enhance it, doesn’t only benefit their career paths. Employers also benefit from the outputs of those developing skills and experiences, and by developing supportive relationships with rising talents that can inspire their commitment and engagement. […]
One of the long-standing conundrums of life in the workplace is the gap that exists between managers’ perceptions and those of their employees. Some middle-managers also find themselves having to act as buffers between a 'bad boss' and the staff who report to them. Middle-managers may not be natural born tailwaggers, but they do share something with puppies: treat them badly for long enough and they’ll stop loving or respecting you.
Those of us who will spend Monday morning as CEOs, data analysts or HR advisors might want to spend Sunday evening reflecting that the exact nature of this collision between other’s people’s aspirations and realities lies within their power to influence. We’re not in favour of upsetting work-life balance, but we hope that everyone spends their Sunday evenings wisely.