The Menopause and Me – Trainers Hangout Networking Group – 29th October 2019

Thank you to the Trainers Hangout Networking Group, organised by Jonathan Pittam, for giving Hazel Wright and I the opportunity to share our project; Menopause and Me. We are really excited to get the chance to talk about what we have designed to support businesses and employees with managing menopause in the workplace. We are hoping that we stimulate enough interest in the topic for members of the Trainers Hangout to give us advice and support on getting the project up and running.

Hope to see you at The Trainers Hangout – Dragon’s Den, 29th October 2019, at Delapre Community Rooms, Far Cotton.

Annual Reviews are a thing of the past!

New research has shown that for the new generation of employees annual reviews are neither rewarding or motivational. Today with the increased pace of work there is more of an expectation for instant feedback and the idea that you wait until an annual review seems ludicrous.

It has been purported that managers and organisations need to consider new strategies to replace this outdated method of managing performance.

5 New strategies to replace the annual  review

  1. Make sure that you always give explicit instructions.
  2. Provide frequent opportunities for one to one check-in meetings
  3. Encourage participation in conversations about an employee’s future aspirations
  4. Use new technologies – applications – that provide a constant feedback loop
  5. Utilise the old idea of managing by walking about. MBWA is a great way to understand what is going on for employees, builds relationships and increases morale

How well do your annual reviews meet the needs of your organisation, you and your employees?

Building Personal Resilience

Within a world of high workloads, declining resources, frequent change and a hectic pace of life, the workplace resilience of employees has become a critical factor in organisational success.

How individuals are able to react when faced with daily pressures, unexpected setbacks and challenges, depends very much on their level of resilience. With the blurring of boundaries through greater use of technology, increased expectations of the 24/7 service economy, never before have individuals experienced greater workplace stresses. The world of work is becoming more volatile, more uncertain, much more complex and certainly more ambiguous. Never before has it been so important to support employees to build and maintain their resilience.

But what is #resilience?

It is no longer seen as a stiff upper lip. People are not born with it. It is a state not a trait. In other words it is a moving feast not a static feature of someones personality. Resilience is about how well an individuals manages the everyday stress of work and remains healthy, rebounds and learns from unexpected setbacks and uses them to prepare proactively for future challenges.

How can you help your employees to build and maintain their resilience and be the best that they can be?

The Resilience @ Work Sustain 7 Model can help.

It provides a framework to discuss and explore personal resilience. It explains the factors that lead to greater resilience and a pathway for continuing to maintain and build them – so that personally individuals can be the best that they can be.


How Engaged are your Workforce?

All organisations today understand the importance of employee engagement. Most measure how satisfied their people feel. But, few have a real strategy for improving and maintaining it.

Creating employee engagement is a two-way process. On one side, it needs an organisation that creates an environment where engagement can flourish and on the other, employees that willingly choose to be engaged.

What does engagement mean? Well, true engagement is about employees who feel passionate about the work that they do. They want to give their hearts, bodies and minds to doing it the best they possibly can. It leads to employees that care more and contribute more and are driven by:

  • understanding the importance of the work they do
  • feeling self-sufficient and in control
  • the knowledge that they will progress within their role
  • feeling they have influence over what they do and how they do it, and
  • a strong sense of belonging and mutual association with the organisation in which they work.

Find out more about how to create the right environment through our Creative Employee Engagement Initiative.

What Drives Your Most Engaged People?

The people within your organisation that are most engaged are those that feel ownership for what they do and what they produce. They give meaning to their work through relating it to their own values and beliefs. In fact, when truly engaged, people begin to feel that their work is an expression of who they are and will always perform to the best they possibly can. They take the initiative and stretching themselves, are prepared to change and seek to cooperate with others to achieve the best results. Your job is to nurture their engagement by creating the most conducive environment you can to increase the chances of it happening. The Creative Employee Engagement Initiative will help you do this. Look for its launch early in 2017.

Leading Teams: Setting the stage for Great Performance!

teamworkWhile researching some new ideas about leading teams I came across the work of Richard Hackman. He has some interesting thoughts around what makes a team successful and what makes them fail! I suspect there is really nothing new in his finding s, more it is the approach he took to get there.

Firstly, he looks at leadership from the perspective of the team member and identified what impact good leadership has on them. His research found that members of successful teams demonstrated three attributes that were not present in less successful teams.

These attributes are that team members:

  • are driven to satisfy internal and external stakeholders
  • are willing to develop their capabilities so the team is successful in the future
  • find meaning and satisfaction from belonging to this team

Hackman then turned his attention to what team leaders can do to increase the chance of their team wanting to demonstrate these qualities. He identified five specific conditions that when present, made a significant difference to how the team operated. Hackman called these the ‘Five Factor Model.’

The Five Factors:hackmans-5-factors

  1. Being a ‘Real’ Team
  2. Creating a Compelling Direction
  3. Having Enabling Structure
  4. Working within a Supportive Context
  5. Providing Competent Coaching

The challenge for all leaders is making this work practically for them. If you have some ideas about how you could make this work for you, then please get in touch.


Taken from Richard Hackman’s book: Leading Teams: Setting the stage for Great Performance (2002)

The impact of Brexit on staff investment

The impact of Brexit on staff investment

It’s now been almost 3 months since Britain voted to leave the EU and things don’t seem to have changed that much. It looks like it is going to be quite some time before anything significant is going to happen. So I was saddened to read that a recent CIPD/Adecco UK and Ireland Labour Market Outlook Survey found 21% of organisations are considering reducing their investment in training and development for their staff. This does seem short sighted as those brave enough to invest in training and development during periods of uncertainty are always more likely to succeed than those who don’t.

Even with the threat of recession, organisations need to be building their resilience now so that they are able to compete in a potentially more difficult economic climate. That means staff need to have a broader skills set, managers and leaders need to be able to engage their staff more effectively and enable them to be the best they can be.

If you are in the 79% who are still considering investing in staff development in the future, then consider ways of doing this more creatively. Traditional training approaches may seem an extravagance but a more blended approach such as Crystal Learning’s Creative Employee Engagement Initiative will offer another alternative.

What are your views?

Where Are Tomorrow’s Leaders Coming From?

Leadership begins with managers who hone their personal and interpersonal skills.

To become leaders, managers must learn how to influence people, give feedback, drive change and produce results. It’s about learning what’s important to each member of the team, eliminating faulty assumptions and working through misunderstandings that arise as a result of different communication styles.

This requires self-awareness and the ability to connect with people from different backgrounds, generations and values. We develop such skills through intentional effort, comprehensive tools and, most importantly, insightful experiences that allow for practice.

The most effective leaders are those who use effective behaviours (strengths) to build strong relationships within their team and broader networks. These leaders are positioned to take on greater responsibilities in the future and to, ultimately, succeed.

Talk Lean: Shorter Meetings, quicker results, better relationships

Talk LeanDo you want to shorten meetings, make communication more efficient and increase the effectiveness of sales opportunities? Well Talk Lean may well enable you to do this.

We have recently been introduced to the discipline of Talk Lean from the book of the same name by Alan H Palmer. It is based on the Interactifs business training programme and provides a very practical guide to:

  • open conversations succinctly and with empathy
  • listen effectively so that you can respond productively
  • and increase the quality of the results you achieve and develop better relationships

It is a simple concept that you can apply in all communication situations. There are no set scripts just a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and gaining it through being precise and explicit, and not alienating anyone along the way. So if you would like to know more contact us. We would love to talk to you more about Talk Lean and how it might work for you.

Thanks to our friend at Mahle for introducing us to Talk Lean earlier this year.

TotalSDI® strengthening your team relationships

We now offer an on-line strength based assessment tool that can increase your team’s effectiveness in a number of ways.

One of the tools that we use regular within Crystal Learning is the Strength Deployment Inventory® or TotalSDI® which is for strength based assessment. When used within a programme it can help increase awareness of individuals to their own behaviour and the impact they have on those around them. This in turn increases the effectiveness of interactions, team work and ultimately productivity and service delivery.

We now offer an online version of this tool, which will increase its accessibility and usefulness. If you are interested in knowing more about this, then please contact our assessment team.