Hip Hip Hurray – My Blog Turns Two Today!

Birthday Cake

Wow, where did those two years go?

This post is short and sweet but filled with nothing but gratitude.

I could never have imagined the opportunities I’ve been offered, connections I have made and support that I have received as a result of creating this little blog.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, there has been a fair share of clouds, but there has always been that silver lining and for that I am truly grateful.

On reflection, the highlights for me have been my appearance in People Management magazine, being part of the Blog Squad at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in 2016, a feature in the CIPD’s “The Power of One” campaign and my ultimate achievement to date; HR Acts of Kindness. It would not have been possible without this blog.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my followers, colleagues, friends and family who have supported me over the past couple of years; I wouldn’t be at this stage of my journey without you.

Here’s to the next two years, now let’s cut the cake!

 

World Mental Health Day 2017

“Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

At least one in six workers experiences common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Research conducted by leading charity Mind, shows that 55% of employees surveyed said that work is the biggest cause of stress in their lives, more so than debt or financial problems.

Mental ill-health costs the UK economy £26 billion each year, this is through 91 million lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. With such staggering figures, it is within every organisations interest to establish ways to tackle the problem. What is really concerning is not just the prevalence of stress and mental health problems at work, but that employees don’t feel supported to be able to deal with these pressures.

The main causes of mental ill health at work are excessive workload, frustration with poor management, lack of support and unrealistic targets. Stress at work is also effecting people’s personal lives. One in five employees said that it puts a strain on their relationships, while 11% have missed important events such as birthdays due to work related stress.

Prince Harry has spoken publicly about the importance of mental health awareness amongst the armed forces; not just post career but has actively campaigned for mental health to become an active part throughout their career. This has lead to a review and implementation of new training methods and support mechanisms will also be rolled out to reservists, veterans and civil servants.

The starting point can be seen as difficult, but it does not need to be. Simply taking the time to speak to a colleague or manager to tell them how you are feeling and what your concerns are can help take that first step to improving mental health. It’s the little things that make the big difference, so if you are an employee reading this, your manager needs to know that you are struggling, if it is pressures with workload, they may be able to offer a solution. Likewise, if you are a manager yourself reading this, then you need to do the same, just because you have a more senior title it does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to address your concerns.

We must always keep in mind that mental ill health does not discriminate and affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, this is why it is so important that we start these conversations to try and remove the stigma that is associated with mental ill health.

Mental health may be a hot topic but it is a very fluid subject, one critical point is to ensure that individual cases are treated as exactly that, as an individual. Just because one person has a condition, it does not mean that the remedies and supporting tools are the same. There is no one size fits all approach and therefore businesses cannot just roll out a wellbeing initiative hoping that it will work, the subject of mental health is ongoing and will be evolving at a fast pace for many years to come.

Mind has a fantastic guide to help support employers who want to promote positive mental health within their organisations; to access the guide, please click here.

 

Developing capability for shifting times #cipdmap17

With only 28 days left until the annual CIPD Midlands Area Partnership conference, which is being held at Chesford Grange in Warwickshire and I thought it is perfect timing to start talking about what we can expect from the event.

CIPD MAP 16 was an incredible event, very well organised and everyone seemed to enjoy the day. So what can we expect from this years event?

First and foremost, there are still a limited amount of tickets left so if you would like to attend then do grab your tickets via the CIPD MAP page on their website.

Secondly, if you cannot make the event, do not dispare! I will be blogging and tweeting the event as we go.

The title for this year’s event is developing capability for shifting times and with this year’s keynote speakers being Olympic Athlete Derek Redmond and Influential Professor Rob Briner, this event looks set to be one of the most successful yet.

To start the day, there will be a breakfast session held at 8:30am with Russell Deathridge from LHH Penna to discuss delivering high performance with an agile workforce in uncertain times. This is on my must see list of the day and look forward to hearing Russell’s thoughts on this incredibly relevant topic.

From 9:15am you’ll find me and a host of other branch committee members signing you all in at the registration desks, please ensure you do this in plenty of time so you can get on with some networking prior to the welcome and introduction, plus, it’s a Saturday so grabbing a good coffee is incredibly important!

The welcome and introduction to this event will begin at 10:00am before handing over to our keynote speaker Derek Redmond. Derek, as well as being an olympic gold medallist, has been a motivational speaker for 17 years and is Group Performance Director at Thomas International, so be prepared for an incredibly inspiring start to the conference.

One part of the day I am really looking forward to is hearing from Rob Robson from Tata Technologies, his session is being held at 11:55am and he is speaking about creating the employee experience, this topic is not only relevant now but will be for years to come.

Then we have the breakout sessions starting at 12:40pm;

  • A. New ways of working – myth or reality? which will be led by Professor Donald Hislop and Dr Sarah Barnard
  • B. Back from the future – is L&D ready? Led by Teresa Rose, Digital Learning Expect at E.ON
  • C. Building and developing the skills needed for organisations across the Midlands to succeed in the UK, Europe and the World. Led by Angela Joyce, CEO at Warwickshire College
  • D. The future workforce: an educational perspective, led by Matthew Crawford

I’m planning to attend sessions A and D as my work recently has been influenced by what the future holds within the education system and how that will influence the workforce.

The last but no means least, the closing keynote will take place at 15:15pm with Rob Briner; Shaking the foundations: time to challenge some common assumptions about HR;  be prepared for some fantastic quotes from Rob, he never disappoints!

Don’t forget, there is a brilliant exhibition area too, so make sure you visit the stands as well as taking the time to network with HR and L&D colleagues from across the Midlands.

I hope to see lots of you there!

 

 

It’s A Level results day! Your career journey starts here…

When we were little, we knew what we wanted to do for a career as we’d proudly stand in front of our classmates at a tender age of 5 and exclaim “I want to be a Policeman” “a vet” “I want to be a nurse” one beamed with pride.

I remember sitting there, I politely passed my turn to another child and went last. The teacher then asked me again “Natalie what do you want to do when you grow up?” I stood at the front and told her that I’d really thought about this question because when you have a job, you’re doing it for a long time. I then said to her that I knew wanted to work at Heathrow Airport for British Airways, just like my dad. She asked, “why British Airways?” I simply said “their people are always smart, they wear buttons on their uniforms when they’re good at work, they’re friendly and they always smile but most of all, I want my mum and dad to be proud of me”.

I sadly never made it in to British Airways in my dream role as cabin crew, but ironically my sister did and whilst my mum and dad are proud of me. I’m equally proud and grateful to them, my passion to perform well in my role is a driver I inherited from my dad.

To cut a long story short, my  point is that not everything in life goes to plan so prepare for the curveballs that now fire your way! whether that is choosing the university for you, getting into the world of work or simply figuring out your next steps, they may not be as you planned or first thought!

You’ve read the books, completed your coursework and faced the exams head on; today is the results day you have been waiting for and I wish you all the very best of luck and no matter what, you’re already a success story waiting to happen.

If your results are not what you hoped for there are a number of things you can do and you may need to adapt your plans slightly but you never know, you might prefer the new plan better!

Regardless of your result, now is an incredible time of opportunity, with an increase in demand for apprenticeships, universities opening their doors to welcome new students and a buoyant employment market, now is the time to get that first foot onto the career ladder.

Good luck and all the very best wishes from me.

 

 

 

Keep calm and put the kettle on …

Well now that the referendum is over and the results are in and as the nation awaits the next steps in this very complex process; at the forefront of my mind the words keep calm and carry on couldn’t be more fitting.

Regardless of how you have cast your vote, one thing that has really struck me is the way that people have begun treating their friends and families after the results were announced. Some of the things that I have witnessed on social media have genuinely shocked me just because the result was not as expected.

It is understandable that there is uncertainty and that people have genuine concerns for the future but by demonstrating intolerance or a complete lack of respect of other people’s opinions is something that just does not sit right with me. All of our beliefs and views are different and by resorting to personal insults against those closest to you are not the answer when we are needed to work this through together. After all, this is what makes us human and why we have a democracy.

Please remember that these words and insults cannot be taken back and can cause unnecessary divides in households and friendships at a time where we should be united. We are better than this and our future generations deserve better. We should be handling this in a mature manner and with graciousness, not pointing the finger and embarrassing ourselves in the history books; after all, it’s just not British is it?!

It is important for us all to take a deep breath and realise that the changes will not be immediate and will take at least two years to allow time for our Government and UK businesses to adjust to the new developments. From a HR perspective, there may be changes that become apparent quite quickly, employees may have questions and it is important to have an open door relationship to allow them to voice their concerns. Other changes such as the right to work in the UK, employee regulations and rights may take some time to define, so at the moment it is business as usual until the CIPD and Government advise us otherwise.

For now all we can do is wait for the government to unveil their plans. In the meantime, keep calm and carry on… I’m off for a cuppa!