Is your business summer-ready?

Forget the beach body, did you get your business summer-ready?

Never mind being beach body ready (because let’s face it, mine never will be), I’ve been focusing on toning my business abs into a six pack for Summer. Have you?

Traditionally, summer can be a quiet time for businesses. But if you think like I do, then you certainly won’t see that as an opportunity for taking afternoons off with a ‘99 and a flake! In fact, I am sure you’re probably busy planning ahead, as you know how much that can boost your business – whether you work by yourself or have employees.

Keep doing what you’re doing – but sign up to my 8 step ‘business abs’ challenge to get your business in shape!

 

  1. Give your customers some TLC

Now is a splendid time to nurture your best clients. Let them know when you’ll be open for business during holiday times. Phone them, drop them an email or use social media to keep them up to date with any developments. And, if you can, spend quality time with your most valuable clients.

 

  1. Bag some new clients

Not all your prospective clients will be away over the summer. Your competitors might be out of action over the holiday period, so why not take advantage of that? Now is a good time to get your marketing in shape. Take a look at your website. Could it do with updating? And the lead up to the summer period is the perfect time to plan your social media calendar and revamp all your other marketing material.

 

  1. Plan, plan and plan again

Speak to your staff and get the holiday calendar for the rest of the year planned and co-ordinated so that there are no nasty surprises. Ask your staff to draft handovers to help their colleagues when they are away. Make sure their holidays fit in with the contract you have with them. Plan and write training material for times when key members of staff are away and, if you have to, replace them with interim staff.

 

  1. Get the holiday team in place

If you work for yourself and want to take a break, plan ahead and think about taking on temporary staff or hiring that first employee. Make sure you get everything right for this: sort out contracts and make sure you train staff to do their job.

 

  1. Keep the money coming in

Managing cash flow is vital. Contact your clients and find out who’s responsible for payments during the summer to make sure you’re still going to get paid. And always invoice as soon as you can.

 

  1. Don’t feel guilty about taking a holiday

As Thomas Edison so eloquently put it, ‘genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration’ – and I don’t remember him ever saying that the latter couldn’t take place on a sun-soaked beach, far from the office!  So, take heed. Here’s a depressing thought for you: according to a study by Aldermore last year, more than 50% of bosses took less than 5 days off a year, and staggeringly 21% took none of at all!

 

Seriously, I get it. Work is your baby, but don’t be a slave to it. A holiday will give those batteries a much-needed recharge, meaning you’ll come back to business with a bang. Whether it’s a break abroad or just time to chill at home with the family, you’ll return stronger, motivated, and ready to smash some fresh goals (because we know the wheels never truly stop turning).

 

  1. Have a digital holiday

You’re so used to being busy, there’s a danger you’ll be checking emails, tweeting and texting throughout your holiday. If you want to come back re-energised, you need to take a break from your phone and all technology.  If you really can’t drop the technology or the contact with your business in full, set aside a time each day to check your emails rather than doing it all day long! Early morning or evenings are a good time, so you’re not thinking about work all day. Let your staff know what time you’ll be online if they need you. And tell them that you only want to be contacted in a genuine emergency.

 

Or why not, take the ultimate challenge and leave your phone at home? Gazillionaire Simon Cowell has ditched his mobile phone entirely, as has superstar Radio DJ Chris Evans, so surely we can shelve ours for a mere couple of weeks……Indeed, Apple even rolled out specific features which are aimed at improving our digital well-being, including helping users control how often they use their phones. So take the hint people and turn it off!

 

  1. Learn

Stop and have a think about how you could strategically utilise some quiet summer-time for your own personal professional development. What leadership and development needs might you personally have that you could upskill? Now would be a good time to book yourself onto my High Performing Business Workshop on either 13 Sept in London or 4 October in Bicester as the free early bird booking offer will soon expire

 

  1. Take care of you

Most importantly – relax and enjoy a well-deserved break from all your hard work. When you return, you’ll be primed to keep on prospering.

 

You are your business, so why not invest in yourself and take some time out to come along to my new High Performing Business Programme which is designed to help business owners and leaders like you succeed through their people.

 

Drop me a line, give me a call and we can have  an initial discussion about how I could help you get the most out of your people in your business.

 

 

 

 

 

Raise your leadership game

Six ways to raise your leadership game this year

 

Think that becoming a better leader involves attending intensive courses, gaining years and years of experience, or getting your head stuck into a textbook? Well, not necessarily. These things can all have their place, but it’s very possible to raise your game this Summer, by making just a few manageable changes.

 

If you’re ready to step up to the challenge, then read on. We’re going to look at six practical game-changers that you can get to work with right away.

 

Leave some unplanned time in your diary  

 

If you take a look back over your schedule from the past few weeks, you’ll probably notice a trend. Most of your time is earmarked for certain events, such as meetings, networking, and so on. It’s wise to be organised, but don’t forget the value of having some regular unplanned time in your diary, so you can focus on handling issues in the moment.

 

Say no  

 

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of chasing every opportunity that comes your way. But it’s impossible to do everything and sustain a successful business. It’s all about carefully constructing what your role will involve. If in doubt, ask yourself what your priorities need to be right now to get you to where you want to be.

 

Delegate one task from your agenda  

 

Being a business owner involves knowing when you need to hand things over. You just can’t manage everything on your own. Many people struggle with this though and hesitate when it comes to handing over to someone else. Do yourself a favour this week and pass a task on to your team. It’s vital that you aren’t the only person within your company that can do any one thing.

 

Forget about work for one evening  

 

Taking work home is often a necessity. You can talk about work-life balance all day long, but there’s no denying that sacrifices have to be made on the road to success. If you have absolutely zero distinction between your business and personal life though, you’re going to reach serious burnout sooner rather than later. Take the evening off. Read a book. Watch a box set. Do absolutely nothing. You might be surprised by what this teaches you.

 

Do that thing that you’ve been putting off  

 

It’s human nature to avoid the tasks that you dread. In certain situations, though this can seriously hold you back as a leader. Perhaps you know that you need to have a difficult conversation with a team member, but you haven’t quite managed to make yourself just do it. This week get it out the way.

 

Turn your routine on its head  

 

Routine can be a wonderful thing, but it’s worth considering whether you’ve fallen into the trap of just doing certain things because they’re what you’ve always done. Shake things up to avoid getting stuck in a rut. If you can get into the habit of experimenting with this, you’re likely to make big discoveries in terms of your motivation and productivity.

 

Being a leader can be massively rewarding, but it can be a tough job all the same. You probably started your business because you wanted to bring your solution to market, so maybe the people management side is something that you never willingly signed up for.

 

If this all sounds like you, then we can help. We can support you through your goals, and ensure that you reach your full potential via my new High Performing Business Programme, which is designed to help business owners and leaders lie you, to succeed through their people

 

I’ve found a way to bottle my 30+ years of HR and People Management experiences and insights and distil them into one neatly wrapped package that will guide you right through from getting the right people on board, to implementing the right people practices and processes.  So, if any of the following sounds familiar to you, I would highly recommend you swing along to one of my exclusive workshops in September and October:

 

  • Are you about to embark on your growth plan and recognise the need to get some expert help and advice?
  • Are you a business owner or MD of a business that’s struggling to achieve its goals?
  • Do you question yourself day after day about why your people aren’t delivering the results you need?
  • Are you worried that you just don’t have the right people in your leadership and management team to deliver the results you want?
  • Are you a successful business that’s growing and things are just beginning to go wrong, and you don’t know why?

 

No textbooks or extensive course obligations are required – just a couple of hours of your time and an open and enquiring mind!!

 

Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book it.

 

Alternatively, if you can’t make it to my workshop, then drop me a line, give me a call or book an appointment at one of my Summer HR Clinics and HR Director strategy sessions and we can have  an initial discussion about how I could bring your management team the skills they need to take your business to the next level.

 

 

 

Are you attracting and retaining the key talent you need for your business to flourish?

Be more savvy

A 9-5 working week, 4 weeks holiday a year, and a corner desk were once considered perks to a job, creating satisfaction and loyalty.

Not anymore.

Today’s businesses need to be much more savvy if they want to attract and retain key talent.

The so called ‘millenials’ have a different set of expectations; these days potential employees are searching for more of a work/life balance, and a greater sense of fulfilment from their jobs. They are more discerning. The structure of work has broken down and shifted, and small business owners must take note of this new, progressive environment, or risk missing great talent.

So here’s my challenge to you – dare to be different! Be more ‘millenial’ in your business thinking. Treat your potential employees like potential customers; ask yourself, ‘what is my Unique Selling Point as an employer?  What can I bring to the table that will attract the best candidates – who will in turn, bring success to my business?’  Create a sense of excitement and buzz about working in your business. You can inject some leading edge, and highly valued innovation into your HR policies and practices that will breed success, both with recruitment and employee engagement.

Here are ten of my current favourite examples of high performance thinking; innovative HR practices and policies currently being used by employers who are competing against you for the best quality staff and getting them……………………

 

  1. Workplace and corporate wellbeing schemes

Progressive-thinking companies understand that people are their most important and valuable asset. What better way to demonstrate you value for your staff than investing in their health and wellbeing. Investing in your employees’ mental and physical health can be of enormous benefit to company productivity. Consider the benefits of providing workplace access to services such as nutritional advice, yoga, massage and mindfulness. As well as delivering a powerful recruitment message to potential top-class candidates, consider the practical day-to-day benefits of these schemes such as reduction in your employee stress levels, improved attrition, reduced sickness absence and a generally refreshed and re-engaged workforce. Who are performing at their best?

 

  1. “Owning” unused holiday entitlement

Annual leave days are technically an employee’s to use as he or she sees fit. (as long as they take the statutory minimum of 20 days that is!) If they don’t use them, for whatever reason, a fresh idea is to let them donate them to another employee. Perhaps the beneficiary employee is taking a trip around the world or preparing for a life-changing event or has a sick child to care for? The point is that the business acknowledges the employee earned their holiday and can dole them out without company involvement. Google practices this policy, with great success. In France, there is a fabulously pioneering scheme, enabling workers to donate holiday days of their own to a colleague with a sick child. Just wow!

 

 

  1. Giving time off for volunteering

Businesses are stepping up and becoming good corporate citizens, and some are encouraging their staff to do the same. Experian, for example, offers up to three paid days for employees to volunteer. Days off to work in a soup kitchen, or volunteer at a hospital are worth their weight in gold at building a well-rounded, happy employee who works hard for the privilege of being part of the greater good. In Experian, staff are stating it as a key reason for working there, so it’s no surprise that offering time off for volunteering is increasingly high on the HR agenda of many a pioneering company today.

 

  1. Customising the position for the talent

Progressive business owners are ditching job descriptions, opting for building the position based on an employee’s strengths and interests. While challenging, this new practice is highly successful if modelled correctly. It takes a mix of knowing the employees, and accurately measuring their skill sets.

  1. Getting rid of job titles

Looked upon as old and stodgy, renegade companies are refusing to pigeonhole employees with one title. The opinion here is that titles stifle creativity and produces an unproductive hierarchy. Removing them fosters a more united, cohesive team of employees.

 

Blinkist, the 15-minute book app people, have eliminated job titles completely.  What’s in a name? Nothing but trouble according to them! They abolished job titles and launched their most-requested feature in record time. They are now positively evangelical about why job titles are detrimental to success and how getting rid of them can revolutionise an organisation.

6. Two-way mentoring

You most certainly CAN teach an old dog new tricks. While newer employees learn invaluable product knowledge and process requirements from company veterans, seasoned employees can get their imaginations sparked, absorb new technology, and discover new “hacks” from the newbies. Smart companies tap into the mentoring relationship as a back-and-forth, not up-to-down.

 

  1. Setting up workplace flexibility as the new normal

Focusing less on work/life balance, and more on the integration of life and work, is a paradigm that is emerging in the workplace. It’s all about how a company values the contribution of an employee, not just the physical hours worked. Time off for appointments and leaving early for school plays brings about loyalty and satisfaction in employees. I can testify here. I’ve adopted this approach with my own business and as a result I’ve been able to attract and retain the best people available and keep them!

 

  1. Providing free food

Many tech and Internet companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Dropbox and Etsy provide in-house food programs to their employees which are used as a recruitment and retention tool. For these businesses, it is a way to draw people to their company and keep them there. According to Gabriel Cole of Fare Resources, “it helps employees to be productive and engaged.”  Now – everybody older than 40 knows full well that that there’s no innovation here!! Subsidised work canteens were once the norm. However, with seismic shifts in social demographics and lifestyles, onsite catering could be an incredibly alluring prospect for potential millennial candidates – let’s face it, it is no longer uncommon for new town and city apartments to be built without kitchens. Time is in short supply these days and people are increasingly attracted to quick fix meal solutions.

  1. Offering referral bonuses

According to research, referrals are statistically higher for hiring better employees with higher retention rates. Recruitment by referrals works well because employees at your company are familiar with the work culture and values. High performing employees will be more likely to refer candidates with similar qualities.

Savvy employers operating in a tight labour market realise the value of enlisting staff as head-hunters. Not only does it cut out advertising and recruitment agencies, it slashes recruitment costs, and the chances are, a skilled reliable worker will bring on board a like-minded cohort.

Now I admit, staff referral schemes are nothing new, but they are still only used in about a third of UK companies, and less so in smaller businesses.  The benefits of this method of recruitment are obvious. The only fee goes to the employee referring the newcomer, and the cost is at the employer’s discretion.

Now you won’t see these ten practices in every office. However, the businesses that embrace one or more of these progressive practices will enjoy higher employee engagement, greater morale, and a more competitive approach to finding the right talent for their business.

So, I challenge you. Give me a call and ask me how we can inject some leading edge, and highly valued innovation, into your HR policies and practices that will in turn breed success, both with attracting and retaining the best talent, and having highly engaged employees!

To make it even easier on yourself, why not swing along to one of my exclusive High Performing Business workshops in September and October:

 

No textbooks or extensive course obligations are required – just a couple of hours of your time and an open and enquiring mind!!

 

Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book it.

 

 

 

Improving performance is as easy as 123

Improving Performance is as easy as 123

Ok, maybe not! But it doesn’t take a business guru to tell you that if you want your company to thrive, you need to make sure that your staff are firing on all cylinders. Of course, though, as is often the case when it comes to the tricky business of managing people, this can be much easier said than done.

If you want to achieve big things, you need clear and effective processes in place to help you to get there. Your line managers play a huge role in creating a productive and high-performing culture, and you need to ensure that you’re driving them in the right direction.

Here, I share some of my top tips for encouraging your line managers to step into their roles and play an active part in improving their team’s performance.

  1. Create procedures that underpin your objectives

 Your line managers can often only operate within the constraints that you provide them with. If you want them to excel in particular areas, you need to create a framework that allows them to do so. For this reason, it’s important that you consider what you already have in place that helps staff to reach their full potential.

Do you have a policy that outlines how often and in what format performance discussion should happen? Is there something in place that ensures the work is being carried out? Who ultimately chases things up to ensure that procedures are being followed? It’s not necessarily about ticking boxes, but you do need to create systems that encourage the day-to-day tasks to be carried out.

  1. Give your managers the confidence and skills they need to have meaningful discussions

Unfortunately, making sure that performance discussions are taking place is only the first hurdle. It’s not so much about frequency, as it is about the quality of the conversations that are happening.

At the end of the day, talking about performance and addressing areas of concern can be daunting, even for the most experienced line managers. It’s important that you give them the opportunity to hone their skills, and to keep developing them on a regular basis. Consider how you can do this within your business. It may be the case that you need to roll out some training sessions, or perhaps you need to have your own one-to-one discussions with your management team so you can better understand how you can support them.

  1. Encourage your managers to facilitate career development in their teams

Performance management isn’t just about fixing problems and making sure that the work gets done within a specified frame of time. It’s about looking ahead towards the future and ensuring that your business has the right kind of talent to drive operations forward and achieve growth.

The key takeaway here is that if your employees aren’t being given a chance to flourish, they’re likely to start looking elsewhere. Do you really want to lose your talented members of staff to your competitors? Be sure that your line managers are having open and honest conversations with their direct reports about where they see themselves in the next five years, and that information is taken seriously and considered when it comes to planning the direction of the business as a whole.

If line management capability is something that you want to improve, I can help. I believe that a successful business is created when leadership teams are given the tools they need to excel.

With just this in mind I’ve just launched my new High Performing Business Programme, which is designed to help business owners and leaders succeed through their people.

I’ve found a way ‘to bottle’ my 30+ years (I think that bottle would be finest Scotch whiskey by the way) of HR and People Management experiences and insights and distil them into one neatly wrapped package that will guide you right through from getting the right people on board, to implementing the right people practices and processes.  So, if any of the following sounds familiar to you, I would highly recommend you swing along to one of my exclusive workshops in September and October:

  • Are you about to embark on your growth plan and recognise the need to get some expert help and advice?
  • Are you a business owner or MD of a business that’s struggling to achieve its goals?
  • Do you question yourself day after day about why your people aren’t delivering the results you need?
  • Are you worried that you just don’t have the right people in your leadership and management team to deliver the results you want?
  • Are you a successful business that’s growing and things are just beginning to go wrong, and you don’t know why?

Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book it.

Alternatively, if you can’t make it to my workshop, then drop me a line, give me a call or book an appointment at one of my Summer HR Clinics and HR Director strategy sessions and we can have  an initial discussion about how I could bring your management team the skills they need to take your business to the next level.

 

 

Are you in the culture club?

Five steps to creating a healthy workplace culture

Positive workplace culture is what attracts talent, drives engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects productivity and performance – all of which directly feed your profit pipeline. A happier workforce makes for a more productive workforce. Fact.

It is widely acknowledged by business leaders that corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, business value, and growth rates.  In a Columbia Business School research study, 78% of executives said culture is among the top five things that add value to their company.

The culture of your business is what makes your business unique and gives it its character and personality – it is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours, and attitudes.

So, how exactly do you go about achieving that workplace nirvana? Well seeing as you asked, here is my starter for 10 (ahem, 5).

  1. Increase employee engagement

Having employees who are “emotionally” attached to their work and workplace is crucial to creating positive employee relationships. highly engaged employees are less likely to be absent.

  1. Increase employee retention

Job tenure has been steadily declining over the years and in order to arrest this you need ensure that you pay fairly, provide growth opportunity and above all, ensure that your staff feel workplace stability and security

  1. Give the gift of trust and flexibility

Today’s employees want more than a set five-day workweek or eight-hour workday. The job benefits that employees currently care most about are those that provide them with greater flexibility including telecommuting, four-day workweeks, and/or flexible hours where they can come in at any time as long as they stay and work for the appropriate number of hours

  1. Improve communication with employees

While once-yearly performance reviews used to be the standard, a more progressive form of employee communication is now required. What today’s workers want is ongoing feedback, clearly communicated goals, and a collaborative work environment which they feel is fair, relevant, and encouraging.

  1. Build a strong employer brand

Companies today need their employer brand—their reputation as an employer—to be as strong as their customer brand.  A strong employer brand attracts and retains workers. It turns them into advocates for your company and it differentiates you from the competition.

Now you have your easy five step plan, next on your agenda is HOW to implement that plan into your business.

Don’t worry though, I’ve made it easy for you – all you need to do is carve out some time to come along to my ‘Improving Culture’ masterclass on 6 September in Oxford. I’m offering to lend a hand, so why not take it?

Ticket prices for the workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers from TODAY.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book it.

 

Staycation or vacation?

Well the summer holidays are nearly here, and the weather is predictably, er, unpredictable! Are you risking a staycation after last year’s bumper summer, or are you a little more risk averse, like me? Full disclosure – I’ve taken some advice from the experts at the MET office and have booked a cheeky week of guaranteed sun, nearer the equator.  Just in case!

Seriously though, that couple of weeks R&R is a really important time for me to unwind from the grind, so I’m not taking any chances and I’ve consulted the experts for some guidance (my own weather experience is limited to licking my finger and sticking it in the air from time to time).  The same goes for my business decisions.

As a business owner I always make sure to use all the information and advice available to me in order to make informed decisions. I know my limitations. Which is why I’ve got a crack team of specialists and consultant accountants, lawyers, marketers and the like on hand, to help me out when needed.

Of course, it’s ok to be a Jack (or Jane) of all trades and master of none – because let’s face it, those ‘Jacks and ‘Janes’ are the cornerstone of the SME industry; our business leaders, go-getters and entrepreneurs – the guys and gals that make things happen. And without them/us/you there would be no need for specialists and consultants!!

With my specialist hat on, I’ve just launched my new High Performing Business Programme – which is designed to help business owners and leaders succeed through their people.

I’ve found a way ‘to bottle’ my 30+ years (I think that bottle would be finest Scotch whiskey by the way) of HR and People Management experiences and insights and distil them into one neatly wrapped package that will guide you right through from getting the right people on board, to implementing the right people practices and processes.  So, if any of the following sounds familiar to you, I would highly recommend you swing along to one of my exclusive workshops in September and October: ( please insert specific Sept and October HPB workshop dates here)

  • Are you about to embark on your growth plan and recognise the need to get some expert help and advice?
  • Are you a business owner or MD of a business that’s struggling to achieve its goals?
  • Do you question yourself day after day about why your people aren’t delivering the results you need?
  • Are you worried that you just don’t have the right people in your leadership and management team to deliver the results you want?
  • Are you a successful business that’s growing and things are just beginning to go wrong, and you don’t know why?

Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers from TODAY.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book it.

Alternatively, if you can’t make it to my workshop, then drop me a line, give me a call or book an appointment at one of my Summer HR Clinics and HR Director strategy sessions and we can have  an initial discussion about how I could bring your management team the skills they need to take your business to the next level.

 

 

Is Your Workplace Ready for The Summer?

The days might be getting shorter now (gasp), but the temperature is still on the rise, hopefully! Chat in the office is mostly about beach diets and discount airlines. The pavements are packed full of joggers and cyclists. There’s no denying that summer is in full swing. But is your business ready for the school summer holidays?

As always, a little preparation can go a long way. Here, we’re going to talk you through the considerations that you need to make to ensure that your business is fighting fit to contend with its upcoming challenges.

Are you keeping spirits high?

The summer can be a bit of an unsettling time for employees, and there are often many factors at play that can present unique issues. Team members are taking time off, sunny beer gardens seem much more appealing than the office, sporting events are scheduled for right in the middle of the working day. The list goes on and on.

So, it’s easy to see why motivation and engagement can sometimes be sorely lacking over the warmer months. Instead of trying to firefight problems once they arise, be proactive and consider what you can do to raise spirits. Organise an outdoor picnic during the lunch hour, treat your staff to an ice cream, or organise to have the biggest sporting events streamed into the workplace. Small gestures can often go a long way.

How will you handle a heat wave?

Okay, so this might be wishful thinking. But every now and again, the weather throws a pleasant surprise our way. Do you know what’s expected of you when it comes to managing the working environment when the temperatures soar? At the other end of the scale, workplace temperatures shouldn’t drop below 16 degrees Celsius. Interesting, there’s no upper guideline, which is partly because some industries require warmer conditions just to get the job done.

When there’s no legislation to refer to, use a bit of simple common sense. Is the office getting hot and stuffy? Is it uncomfortable for your staff? If so, think about making some adjustments. Fans can make a good quick fix, and you should always ensure that fresh cold water is available for drinking. And who knows, ‘flip-flop Friday’ could be your new thing!

 Have you mapped out staffing requirements?

More often than not, the six-year (sorry, just feels like it) six-week, school summer holidays pose challenges in terms of making sure that you effectively manage the annual leave rota so work still gets done. The starting point here must involve working out what you need. How will you ensure the phones are answered, and queries are dealt with in a timely manner? How many team members need to be present at any given time? Go back to basics.

Don’t forget to think about how you can use this period to create opportunities. Members of staff who are eager to progress may be keen to step up and contribute to ongoing projects whilst their colleagues are away or take on a more diverse range of responsibilities to assist with their professional development.

Perhaps you’ve got your plan of action mapped out, and you’re confident that you’re ready for the summer. Or maybe you’re feeling disorganised and worried about the issues you know you’ll have to handle in the very near future. Need some help? That’s exactly why we’re here.

You can book an appointment at one of my summer HR Clinics or if you prefer, one of my limited availability 121 HR Director strategy sessions – but once these sessions are gone, they are gone! Make sure to visit our appointments diary pages today and bagsie your VIP time with me, before somebody else beats you to the punch.

Alternatively, give us a call today and tell us about your circumstances and we will see what we can do to help!

 

 

 

Hands up anybody who would like to see a 12% increase in productivity in their business this month?

I bet I can see your hand in the air right now – who wouldn’t want a 12% increase in business productivity? Consider for a moment, the findings of research conducted by employee services provider Personal Group, which revealed that almost half of UK workers are unhappy in their job. The same survey showed that happy employees are a massive 12 per cent more productive than those unhappy with their work situation.

So, if your employees feel unhappy or unappreciated, you can be sure as eggs is eggs that they won’t be giving their all to the business that employs them.

When you take the time to show your people you care – in a variety of ways – they are going to be happier, more engaged in their jobs, and more productive. The bonus is that when your staff are happy, this typically leads to a better job done and better customer service, too. And who doesn’t want that? Here are a few of my low-cost ideas to boost your employee engagement and productivity this Summer:

  • Give more than is expected. Think outside the standard wage and benefits box you provide to your employees. Observe them at work and see what you can do to improve their work environment and make it a more welcoming and pleasant place to be. Ask your employees what their career goals are and help them achieve them. If your company has the budget, reward outstanding performance with extra perks such as gift cards, dinner at a local restaurant, or a surprise paid day off. It needn’t be expensive, and the small gestures are often the most impactful. If cost really is an inhibitor here, why not consider ad hoc, personally handwritten thank you notes? They can be highly valued by your staff and something that is kept on pinned on a wall in the office –  a lovely touch.
  • Get the welcome mat out. Make sure that new employees feel welcomed. Have an existing staff member mentor the newbies, until they get on their feet, and ensure they get a full and thorough induction process.
  • Work in the Cloud. A work-from-home day is always useful for employees waiting on deliveries or with childcare issues. By putting as much of your company’s shared content in the cloud as possible, it frees up your staff by offering more flexibility. This will also show your staff you trust them to work well, even when you’re not looking over their shoulder. From a productivity point of view this is a win-win (as the recent Summer storms have shown), because making your systems available remotely means work does not have to grind to a halt should adverse weather conditions make commuting impossible.
  • Safety and Wellness. Don’t forget the little things that make life liveable. Onsite minor vehicle maintenance and other machinery/equipment repairs can go a long way towards keeping your employees happy. Likewise, access to health-based time off and company sponsored flu jabs can be helpful, particularly for those companies that don’t offer healthcare to their employees. Incentives keep employees productive. Productive employees help a company succeed. And the double win here is that some health and safety incentives even lower the costs of keeping your employees employed – think of the sheer number of employee sick days that get taken by the dreaded flu virus…..a company sponsored flu vaccination might seem like great business sense in this context.
  • Be on your employees’ side. It is always important to have your employees’ backs, even if an issue has something to do with a customer. The customer is not always right. Show the members of your team that you respect and care about them by defending and supporting them when needed. And yes, sometimes that may mean losing a customer.

So, we know that healthy, happy workers lead to healthy, happy and successful organisations.  If you want to increase productivity and boost your profits this year your people need to be at the top of your agenda.

I’ve just launched my new High Performing Business Programme – a 7 step programme which is designed to help business owners and leaders like you to succeed through their people – helping you harness HR opportunities like employee engagement to really drive productivity and profits.

I would highly recommend you book your spot on one of my exclusive workshops in September and October:

Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE until 30th July 2019 to my newsletter subscribers from TODAY.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book your FREE place now!

Alternatively, if you can’t make it to my workshop, then drop me a line, give me a call or book an appointment at one of my Summer HR Clinics and HR Director strategy sessions and we can have an initial discussion about how we could make sure you are doing all the right things in your business to take it to the next level.

 

 

Size doesn’t matter, but performance most definitely does

I’m lucky and have already been away for my main holiday this year and am now back and full of energy to start the next half of the year! Seriously though, that couple of weeks R&R is a really important time for me to unwind from the grind, so when I book my holiday, I don’t take any chances and I consulted with the travel experts for some guidance on where to go to ensure I have a great break with plenty of sunshine thrown in (my own weather experience is limited to licking my finger and sticking it in the air from time to time.) The same goes for my business decisions.

As a business owner I always make sure to use all the best information and advice available to me from experts in order to make informed decisions. I know my limitations. Which is why I’ve got a crack team of people that help with my financial and legal obligations and on how to market my business successfully.

Of course, when you are running your own businesses you wear lots of different hats and it’s what makes SME’s so great, you are the go-getters and entrepreneurs – the guys and gals that make things happen in this country. And without SME’s there would be no need for specialists and consultants!!

With my specialist hat on, I’ve just launched my new High Performing Business Programme – which is a seven step program designed to help business owners and leaders succeed through their people.  This program “bottles’ my 30+ years of HR and People Management experiences and insights and distils them into one neatly wrapped package that will guide you right through from getting the right people on board, to implementing the right people practices and processes to ensure your business achieves its goals. I would highly recommend you book your spot on one of my exclusive workshops in September and October:

Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE until 30th July 2019 to my newsletter subscribers from TODAY.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book your FREE place now!

Alternatively, if you can’t make it to my workshop, then drop me a line, give me a call or book an appointment at one of my Summer HR Clinics and HR Director strategy sessions and we can have an initial discussion about how we could make sure you are doing all the right things in your business to take it to the next level.

Three quickfire tips to improve health and wellbeing amongst your employees

At this time of year, many of us are madly last-minute dieting and boot-camping, in a quest to be beach ready for our Summer hols. The selection boxes have been ditched in favour of kale smoothies, the wine bottles have been drained, and avocado and chia seeds are right back at the top of the shopping list!

You’ve probably already considered your own health and fitness, but have you thought about the health and wellbeing of your employees? If you want your team to be firing on all cylinders, then it makes sense to consider how you’re enabling them to live a healthier and more balanced life. When it comes down to it, encouraging your staff to take care of themselves can have many business benefits. If you want a productive and present workforce, there are several things that you can do.

Here are three quickfire ideas to supercharge your teams:

Rethink workplace traditions

Everyone deserves a little bit of cake on their birthday. Annual treats are unlikely to do anyone any harm. But when your workplace traditions include fried breakfasts on Monday mornings, pizza during Wednesday meetings, and beers on Friday evenings, the impact can quickly mount up.

Rather than taking away existing provisions, think about how you could put a more positive spin on them. Could you encourage staff to bring in their own healthy bakes? Could you reward completed projects with fresh fruit platters? Could you liaise with local juice providers to supply energy-boosting pick-me-ups during busier periods? Creating new traditions could be just what your employees need.

Get people moving

It could be argued that sitting behind a desk all day is a pretty unnatural state for a human being. Of course though, operational constraints often mean that to a certain extent, you’re stuck with more sedentary ways of working. Small changes can make a huge difference, so don’t overlook them.

Encourage staff to walk to their colleagues’ workstations instead of sending emails. Rather than conducting sit-down reviews, go for a stroll outside. Too often, it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting stuck with existing routines, when alternatives are simple, low cost, and highly effective. When’s the last time you considered doing things a little differently?

Create a friendly sense of competition

People often love a challenge at this time of the year. You can use this to your advantage and encourage good behaviours whilst also encouraging individuals to collaborate towards a goal. You could divide your workforce into teams, and set a milestone, with a reward for whichever group gets there first. It could be miles walked, pounds lost, or something entirely different. Think about the common goals of your staff, and how you can incorporate that.

It should go without saying, but you do need to exercise a degree of common sense here, and do all you can to ensure that you aren’t discriminating against any of your staff. Think about how disabled people may be able to get involved, and don’t make participation obligatory.

You may think that the health and wellbeing of your employees isn’t really your responsibility. This isn’t the case though. With workers spending more and more time in the office, many would consider it a moral responsibility for businesses to ensure that some kind of balance is achieved, and the bonus for you is the £££ business benefits can be plentiful when you get it right!

Want some ideas and inspiration? Why not come along to our Employee Wellbeing workshop on 5th July and lets share our ideas!

Lucy Whitehall, Meraki’s employee wellbeing expert and positive psychologist, will be there to explain much more about what we mean by employee wellbeing and be offering her top tips about introducing an employee wellbeing strategy into your business. This is no doubt going to be a popular workshop, so book your place now to save your seat!    It might be the best 2 hours you spend this year 😊