How to keep motivated when distance learning #ICSRealStories

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I’m into month two of my distance learning CIPD journey with ICS learn and when I speak about my progress to colleagues and friends, they often say that they wouldn’t have to discipline to undertake a distance learning course; it is a lot of additional responsibility but if you are aiming to reach those career goals, then further study is essential.

Whilst distance learning is convenient and adaptable to our lifestyles, it teaches you a lot, except how to stay motivated! This is completely an individual quality that needs to be developed in order to stay focused and achieve the qualification.

I have adopted a positive approach to my CIPD studies level 7 studies by ensuring that I have everything I need to hand, I find that there is nothing worse of getting into the throws of your assignments and having to stop as your have forgotten something! I thought it may be useful to share my top tips for keeping focused while distance learning.

Have everything you need to hand

Make sure you have all of your equipment to hand, I have my iPad for my virtual bookshelf and use my laptop to keep track of how far I need to read, this stops me from getting ahead of myself and allows me to capture all the information I need.

Take regular breaks

Taking a 5 minute break each hour helps your eyes rest and to give your body a well earned stretch, this helps keep the mind fresh and doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed with information. I often use this time to reflect upon what I have learnt and how it translates into my working life.

Map your progress

I have a large wall calendar above my desk which helps me to keep on top of things and so I can see how far I have come in my studies. This helps me to keep the end goal in sight and understand how flexible I can be on weeks where I have commitments.

Get a different perspective

I utilise my network a lot when it comes to my studies, so I attend HR Hour every week on Twitter which gives so many different points of view which helps me to understand arguments for and against certain processes. It also helps if you need further information on a particular subject; reading certain HR blogs and asking questions on the CIPD forum on LinkedIn is also a great place to get inspiration and support for the learning journey.

Reward yourself

When an assignment is graded, take time to reward yourself for a job well done, it’s not easy being motivated but a little treat can go a long way to encourage the next step on the learning journey.

Take time out

Just because I’m studying doesn’t mean there isn’t any time for fun! I make time to see friends and family, it helps clear the mind and helps to relieve any stress. I recently spent the day with friends by having a walk around Burghley House and it was great to be in the fresh air with and having a good catch up.

 

Whatever stage you are at with your learning journey, keep focused, stay organised and always keep the end goal in sight, you will get there and it’ll be worth it!

Appraisals, the dinosaur framework of performance reviews

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For too long HR and Management have relied on the good old framework known as the annual appraisal; a tool that was designed for good by our HR ancestors but is being  likened to household chores, unfulfilling, stressful and not fit for purpose.

I got rid of them completely in a previous role, I found them too rigid, impersonal and artificial. I simply used check in meetings with my team to create an open and ongoing dialogue. There’s absolutely no point waiting all year for my team to tell me that they needed support, the moment has gone by then and demotivation sets in quickly!

This week’s HR Hour widely debated if there is a place in the current world of work; most participants said absolutely not.

In some cases it seems that it is a framework which is highly misunderstood and is used as a tick box exercise, form is completed, sent back to HR and nothing of value is done with it. I maintain that a tool like this can only be beneficial if it is clearly defined and that managers have a thorough understanding on how it should be used, without this, you might as well forget it. It can also be used as an opportunity not to have regular communication with employees, using it as something to hide behind “save it for your appraisal” is a phrase we’ve all overheard in our HR careers.

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A new year brings new opportunities #ICSRealStories

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Forget resolutions, make 2018 the year to achieve your goals!

The mince pies have been eaten and the parties have wound down. This is the time of year that many people sit down and write a list of resolutions to achieve by this time next year, only to be left disheartened a few weeks later; but not this year.

This year, I have decided to tear up those resolutions and break that negative cycle by doing something meaningful. As a HR professional, continuous development is really important and a priority, so I have set myself a goal to complete my level 7 Diploma in HR Management including the two exams which are set for May and September.

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2018… Bring it on!

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Happy new year to you all!

As the Prosecco starts to wear off and the parties end; the New Year is the perfect time to realign our focus onto what is important.

Reflecting on 2017, we saw plenty of employment changes in the workplace. A responsive Human Resources department should be able to fulfil the needs of their organisations. In the past year alone, we have seen the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the removal of Employment Tribunal fees, experienced the impact of impending Brexit, and we are now preparing our clients for the challenges that come with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.

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The HR Elf on the Shelf – Day 6!

I hope you all enjoyed some tech down time yesterday, sometimes it is worth switching off once in a while to appreciate what we work so hard for.

Task six – Do something helpful for someone