Ruth Lowe: 07/01/19
Here is your weekly quote from Ruth.
See you next Monday for the next quote from The Time Fairy!
Ruth Lowe: 07/01/19
Here is your weekly quote from Ruth.
See you next Monday for the next quote from The Time Fairy!
Every day I talk to people about social media and a few of them have asked me “what should I start doing?”. There are many things that I would recommend but the ones in this blog would have the most impact.
So, here are the top three things I would recommend people do straight away!
Stop selling and start talking!
Most people go onto social media and put posts out and not interact with people. This is forgetting the “Social” part of social media. You will gain more business and talk to more people by spending 80% of your time talking to people and the following 20% of your time selling.
The benefit of this is when they do see your selling posts, they will be more interested as they have spoken to you and like you.
Make sure you are posting consistently on the platforms that your customers are on.
If you haven’t posted in the last day on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or LinkedIn then write a post and send it out. Most people do not post enough and as social media moves so quickly, your new visitor might have missed your posts. Aim to post on Facebook and LinkedIn once a day, Instagram- twice a day and Twitter- five times a day.
Post a picture, video or a Facebook Live
Pictures, Videos, and Live Streaming are brilliant tools that some people love or hate. The truth is they have a few brilliant benefits for people who do them:
If you are not sure about what to post, give the viewers a top tip, talk about a Blog, your story or where you have been today. The best bit? You don’t have to post it if you don’t want to but at least you have practiced it!
I hope you enjoyed this blog and please do not be afraid to do any of the above. The worst thing to do is not post at all!
Speak to you soon!
Article by Jackie Richards 19.09.16
You’re a busy small business owner, running around trying to be everything to everyone to ensure your business thrives, but what about the staff you’ve left floundering back at the office? Do you think they will be motivated if they never get to see their boss, for help, reassurance and most importantly, a bit of praise now and then for all of the hours they’re putting in for you?!
I have worked in all sectors during my 20+ years in HR and have seen many disengaged employees for usually similar reasons, the main ones being as follows:-
And all of these factors result in reduced productivity and hence revenue – I’ve seen a lot of companies who are ‘surviving’ but could do so much better if they focused on the most important asset they have – their people.
Some of the above might not apply to you, but I’m sure you can relate to one or two there? And putting it right does not have to cost the Earth. Here are some suggestions on how to motivate your people, so that they look forward to coming into work and want to do their very best for you and your company:-
1. Communication – In any business it’s important to ensure two way communication. Employees need to feel that their voice and concerns are heard and if needed, action is taken. You should tell them your plans for the business and listen to their opinions, as the more involved they feel, the more committed they will be to the company.
If possible, have monthly team meetings to give your employees updates on the company’s progress and ask for ideas for new products or services, or improvements that can be made to existing ones – this will encourage innovation and creativity within your team. You should view your team as a family working together to achieve a common goal and let them know that too.
2. Trust your staff – give them some autonomy and/or responsibility for their work. If they are doing a good job, this will be an inexpensive reward – recognition for their efforts and some people are motivated by status. Find out what motivates each employee, as it will be different in each case and then work with that to get the best out of them.
3. Training and support – don’t assume that once you’ve recruited someone they will ‘hit the ground running’ – find out exactly what they are capable and then fill in the gaps with some training and support. This doesn’t have to be by you, it could be by one of your employees with as much or more experience than you in the area required and support them by asking them how they are getting on and if they need any further help.
4. Recognition – give praise where praise is due and if it’s something exceptional, thank them publicly for their efforts and give them a small reward – it does not have to be anything excessive, but a token of your appreciation will go a long way! We are all human and need praise from time to time, so encourage a culture of employees congratulating co-workers for their achievements, so working relationships remain healthy.
George Dickson at Office Vibe has recently posted The 12 Things You Need For Successful Employee Recognition which provides even more tips on doing this for free, the link is below:-
5. Offer incentives to high performers – they don’t have to be expensive rewards, just a bottle of wine for your top performer of the month or a gift voucher, anything to show appreciation will incentivize them to keep performing at that level, or indeed higher, to beat the competition.
6. Constructive feedback – if someone has done something wrong, take them into a private office and discuss it with them. Try to start the meeting with a positive – “You’ve been producing some good work recently, but …..” Don’t chastise them, ask them why they did made the error and what they think they can do to put it right. Work together to find a solution and they will feel more motivated to ensure they don’t make that mistake again.
7. Employee wellbeing – in a start-up everyone has to ‘muck in’ and do what’s required to win business, but at what cost? Is an employee really going to be productive and sound motivated on the phone to your potential customers when they are exhausted and feeling unappreciated? Make sure you ask employees regularly how they are feeling to ascertain whether the long hours are affecting them, make sure they have breaks and take time off wherever possible in your quieter periods. As in my October blog: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workplace-stress-things-ever-going-get-any-better-richards-mcipd?trk=mp-author-card workplace stress can lead to a number of ongoing mental health problems which will result in reduced productivity and absenteeism costs in the long run if you do not nip it in the bud!
8. Employee benefits – if as an employer you can’t afford to pay high salaries or reward high performers by increasing their salary, there are some very inexpensive benefits schemes out there now for small businesses. Paybooster UK offer flexible health and wellbeing packages to employers costing as little as £52 per year per employee. For more information visit http://www.PayBosterUK.org
9. Have fun! – we are in work a long part of our day, so the workplace should not be all doom and gloom – introduce humour at times (appropriately, of course!) to liven things up, encourage brief chats about home to help staff relax and get to know each other better, or go out and buy staff cakes or icecream on a hot summer’s day – all these little things make a difference to making people happy and happy = productive.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog
Jackie Richards MCIPD
T: 07807 166456
Thanks to Author and Thought Leader Vlatka Hlupic for the inspiration to write this blog
Thanks to DesignTec for the image
Article by Tarnya Brink 03.08.16
So now you are wondering what on earth mentoring and motorbikes have to do with one another.
Let me give you some context. When I take off my business suit, I put on my protective gear and get on my 650 Kawasaki Vulcan S and whenever possible together with my husband and/or sons, who all ride too, we go out for a couple of hours on the bikes. Whilst this could be a stressor for some people, this is my stress relief (or mid-life crisis perhaps J )
With my suit back on, one of the parts of being an HR consultant I love, is being able to develop and mentor people and run programmes that enable others to mentor people.
So, how are my two passions aligned? I am currently undertaking an Advanced Motorcycling course through Coventry Warwick Advanced Motorcyclists (CWAM), accredited by the Institute for Advanced Motorcyclists (IAM), and as I was writing a proposal for an advanced mentorship workshop for a client, my husband pointed out the similarities.
I develop and run business mentorship programmes, which can be used to support different types of development within companies:
– People new to their role or company, where a mentorship programme can support induction
– People aspiring to move from good to great in their current role, who may or may not aspire to management or further role progression
– Managers who are qualified and experienced, and want to become tomorrow’s leaders of their business
The IAM course follows the same principles of any good mentoring course:
1. A clear aspiration to achieve your goal
2. An assessment to ascertain what level you currently perform at, against clearly set out criteria, followed up with an effective one-page report
3. Being realistic about the time and pace that progress will happen. Am I going to finish in 3 weeks – No, 3 months – hopefully.
4. Working with a single mentor to make progress at a steady pace that you dictate, but having access to numerous other people for support (and in the business sense, sometimes skills or knowledge that the primary mentor doesn’t have)
5. Clear feedback in a positive manner – instant verbal feedback, followed up with a written sheet against the criteria from your initial assessment so that you can track your progress
6. Support – demonstrations (where appropriate), additional support material, clearly identified areas to practice/develop
7. Clarification where necessary
8. Ultimately, getting ready for the final assessment to see whether or not you have achieved your goals
One of the principles of this course is that you already hold a license, and have some riding experience. For my qualified and experienced group of mentees, this is no different. If I was working with a group of Directors/Partners in a Professional service firm and they wanted to mentor their managers, those managers will already be qualified and experienced. The aspiration is to develop the leaders of the future and to add to their current skills set, perhaps change a few of those comfort zones and bad habits they may have picked up along the way, and at their own pace develop them into reaching their full potential.
One comment on aspirations. Understand why people want to aspire to what they have set as their goal right at the start so that the programme can be bespoke to them. Help them to visualise what that will look like at the end of the programme, and allow them to set their own individual aspirations.
Some people are great in the jobs they do, don’t want to become managers, but are put into positions that they subsequently fail in – this is because it wasn’t their aspiration to be a manager in the first place.
So why am I doing the IAM course? I aspire to be the best and safest rider that I can be using the techniques that have been reinforced by my mentor which statistics show results in the significant reduction in serious accidents and injuries to those who have achieved Advanced status – why wouldn’t you want to do it.
If you are interested in discussing mentorship programmes in the workplace, please contact me at email@example.com
If you are a biker in the Coventry & Warwick area, please have a look at the website http://www.cwam.org.uk/, not only is there the course but some super social rides exploring the countryside with very experienced riders. With thanks to my mentor and all the other great people I have met at CWAM.
And this is the site for IAM (offering Advanced courses for motorists and motorcyclists) https://www.iamroadsmart.com/
Article by Jackie Richards 01.08.16
Not that old chestnut again, I hear you cry! But this problem is not going away, in fact it seems to be getting worse!
According to research from Russam GMS, 80% of senior executives say the workplace is a more stressful place than five years ago, with three quarters blaming mobile technology for creating a more stressful environment.
60% of those respondents stated that their employers expect them to answer emails outside of work hours and a fifth of respondents said that “switching off from work at home” is their biggest challenge in terms of looking after their health.
Other contributors of stress included more demanding financial targets, the pressure to be on call 24/7 and email which ‘makes things relentless.’
At the same time, more than 80% of senior executives said their company has no procedures in place for recognising stress in the workplace.
Fewer than 15% of organisations reported they openly discuss stress in the workplace and/or offer stress counselling or mentoring programmes.
Failing to look after the health and wellbeing of employees has been shown to contribute to stress. The Health and Safety Executive report that 11.3 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2013/14, an average of 23 days per case and the Centre for Economics and Business Research has suggested the cost of work related stress to the economy is £6.5 bn!
70% of the respondents said that a company would be a more attractive employer if they offered more health benefits, and almost a quarter said they would prefer more health and well-being benefits to a pay rise.
However, many of Britain’s workplaces are failing to offer even basic health benefits with a quarter of companies offering no benefits at all. Almost two thirds (65%) don’t encourage employees to take regular breaks from their desks.
According to the research, the top health benefits people would like are measures to encourage cycling, running or walking to work, mindfulness sessions, fitness classes at work, meditation and yoga sessions, plus more health advice available on the intranet. Of those that do, the top four benefits are private health insurance, cycle to work schemes, encouraging lunch breaks and subsidised gym membership.
Ian Joseph adds: “Putting benefits in place to help employees be healthier and less stressed is crucial. These don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Initiatives such as having fruit in meetings, encouraging people to take regular breaks from their desk and allowing them time to visit the gym can contribute to people’s good health and support their well-being.
“If organisations are going to be fit for the future, leaders need to recognise the issue of stress and do something about it. Setting expectations about the use of mobiles and unplugging from emails during holidays is something senior executives should be doing as matter of course and leading by example.”
People Management published an article in July this year entitled ‘Mental Health: it’s crunch time’, in which Tony Irwin, MD of Priority Wellbeing Centre claimed that “A French worker works four days a week to produce the same amount as a British worker produces in five, despite – or because of – France’s much shorter working hours”.
I have always viewed a culture of long working hours as being counter-productive. Business owners should be improving efficiencies and utilising their staff in different ways (for example, job share, flexible working, homeworking) to help maintain their health and wellbeing and hence increase productivity within their organisations.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Jackie Richards MCIPD
T: 07807 166456
Article by Ernie Boxall 15.07.16
Ernie Boxall wasn’t born to be a speaker, though he loved his parents deeply they didn’t exactly instill self confidence in him. But, he quickly realized that we all have a story.
In our daily lives and in our working lives that story shapes us, whether we keep it inside or tell the world. What holds people back in life and in business is the inability to tell the story with interest, with energy and with impact!
Our story will be about the life we have lived and the work we are doing, a story of love, tragedy or a 60 Second Presentation to business colleagues. For sixty years he has been a passionate communicator, whether it was as a player, coach, instructor or performer, he has found the voice to match the position. Working together Ernie’s clients can find their voice and make sure they communicate their story effectively.
Ernie now delivers keynote speeches and has been a guest on national and international podcasts with Gary Foster, Doug Foresta, Michael Egon, Kevin Appleby, Mark Sephton, and Radio Warwickshire’s own Leanne.
Ernie is adding a new road to entrepreneurial success now by speaking and mentoring speakers to complete the circle of physical and verbal communication. And for the moment can be contacted still at
Each week Ernie will be bringing you a separate video that will help you deliver your Audio Business Card.
Hope you enjoy!!
Article by Jackie Richards 06.07.16
Did you know………that 75% of employees indicate that an immediate supervisor’s management approach causes the most stress in their jobs (“Good Boss, Bad Boss” by Bob Sutton, Business Plus)
There is a lot of press these days on bullying in schools and the odd tribunal case concerning bullying and harassment, but I’m sure from my experience, there is a lot more bullying going on in the workplace than we are made aware of.
I am writing about this not with my HR head on (although it will have an influence, having been in the field for over 20 years!), but from a personal perspective. I have met 4 people during my career in senior HR positions who I would class as bullies and I am going to share with you the most painful experience I had with a direct boss, who was a HR Director.
At first we got on very well, she encouraged me to develop my skills and praised me on my achievements. She admitted she was not a good trainer and did not know what coaching was(?!), but I had sufficient experience and knowledge to perform without this and she gave me support when it was needed.
However, as time went on and I was gaining more confidence and credibility with the staff, things started to change. She began to patronise and undermine me when given the chance, taking credit for the work that the HR Assistant and I had produced with very little input from her. She became lazy, treating us like her PAs and the HR Assistant in particular found her aggressive nature very unsettling at times.
So I decided to challenge her about it and her response at first was ‘Oh, I didn’t realise I was doing that and didn’t realise how I’d made you both feel’. But then a few weeks later when she’d had time to further digest what we’d discussed, she read out to me a two page, patronising document, using the metaphor of me as the sous chef to her master chef, basically explaining that I should not be so sensitive and when she is stressed, she is entitled to behave in the way she does, as she is the boss!
After that our relationship began to deteriorate further, with us only speaking to each other when we needed to, which made me feel awful for our HR Assistant, as the atmosphere in such a small office was far from pleasant at times! So, I tried a different tack, to build bridges and occasionally pamper her ego when I needed something from her (when I could manage to swallow enough of my pride to do this!). This worked for a while until the next chance she had to undermine me and then we were back to square one! I then dug my heels in and thought ‘I’m not going to let her win, I am not leaving’. I began keeping a note of our ‘exchanges’ and I kept a copy of the essay she had written to me before, with a view to reporting her to our harassment advisor. However, after going through all the possible consequences of this action, I realised that the anit-harassment advisor group was something that she had set up and co-ordinated, so I didn’t think I would get very far with that one?!!
So, I had 2 or 3 more miserable months of surviving in this frosty atmosphere, using the psychology that this wasn’t about me, it was about my boss and her lack of ability and self-esteem. But then the work started to deplete through reduced headcount and my up-skilling of managers – I had worked myself out of a job! So at this stage I decided I should start looking for another job. Then, I received a complete bombshell – I was made redundant to reduce costs! This was a small company and so the part-time Director wasn’t earning much more than me, but I was told there was still a need for a Board level Director there, which shocked everyone, considering the organisation only had a headcount of 100?! Then during the redundancy process, I was treated even more appallingly, being made to do any menial tasks that my boss desired to keep me there during all of my notice, just in case some big issue arose, so that she didn’t have to deal with it! So I walked (I had less than 2 years’ service so wasn’t owed any redundancy pay) and sent her a lengthy e-mail explaining why I was doing something so out of character, copying in the Chair of the Board and CEO.
So, the moral of this story is, you can try to tackle your bullying boss, but if as in my case, you don’t succeed, then think of your health and sanity – they are far more important than working for someone who does not appreciate you and could potentially damage your career – life is too short!
However, on a positive note, this Director gave me more confidence in my abilities and strengthened my resolve to become a self-employed HR Consultant, so that I don’t have to be managed by someone like her ever again!
Thank you for reading my blog
Jackie Richards MCIPD
T: 07807 166456
Article by Sandra Ashford 22.06.16
I don’t need anyone to write my blogs/social media/web copy. Why would I when I can do it myself. But can you?
Do you see your business from your customers point of view or are you just seeing it from your point of view? Is it too technical so that no one will understand it? Well quite frankly yes, some of you are!
So what makes a good blog? It needs to be engaging and even conversationally styled, enough words to keep you hooked but not too many to put you to sleep. Blogs are not bedtime reading, or at least they shouldn’t be.
Think about who you are writing the blog for, what does it need to achieve, where are you going to showcase it?
Another question you have to ask yourself, and you need to be objective here, not easy I know, but are all your blogs sounding too similar? Quite often a new perspective and fresh eye can do wonders for your brand or business.
So next time someone asks you if they could write you a blog or give you some ideas for your social media keep an open mind and give it a go. Who knows what it could do for your business.
You know what they say, a change is as good as a rest!
So if you fancy a change then take a look at footprintsocialmedia.co.uk.
Footprint Social Media
Article by Simon Perkin 15.06.16
In my case, I was struck down with Blood Cancer and my whole world fell apart. I was fearful of the future.
Why did it happen ? Well. To be honest, we will never know but I believe it was all down to my lifestyle. When I look back, I was working long hours (60 hours plus a week) in a stressful job, drinking heavily (15 pints plus a week) and although I was exercising regularly, my diet was poor. I was no different to about 85 to 90% of the population, not eating my 5 a day in fruits and vegetables. Thankfully, the wonderful NHS, friends, family and the Anthony Nolan Trust and a very kind stranger, who donated their bone marrow, came to my rescue.
Fours years later, I am probably fitter now than I have ever been. As any leading scientist and doctors will tell you, good health is not just about good luck or good genes, there’s science behind it. My good health is no fluke or accident. I have worked hard at it and I am now on a mission to give something back.
Who do you know who is overworked and under paid ? Who do you know who is not paying attention to their health ? Is it time to get the balance back in your life ?
Napoleon Hill continues to write, ‘if the opportunity is not immediately apparent, keep on looking. If you still can’t find opportunity, get busy and make your own’.
Imagine if you could, but you never did do anything about your health.
Feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s meet up for a coffee or a beer / glass of wine.