‘Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly, good golly Miss Molly and boats’ – reasons to be cheerful indeed according to the sage and rather missed, Ian Dury.

If such delights were keeping the nation’s pecker up in 1977, what might be fulfilling a similar role in mid 2013? All of a sudden, it would appear, there are answers abundant. The UK services sector index hit 54.9, up a healthy two points on April’s figures – this followed equally cheering news from the usually maligned manufacturing sector. YouGov, again this week, suggested that sentiment around the UK economy had improved for the third successive month across national households. The same findings also suggested that people are feeling more secure in their jobs than at any point since the survey began in 2009. (It will be interesting to see if and how this might influence what have been, since 2008, fairly one-sided wage bargaining positions over the course of the next year).

Job opportunities on the rise

Perhaps even more telling are the findings from the most recent research from Reed, whose monthly Job Index suggested that the UK created 8% more job opportunities in May than in April. On an annual basis, the growth in new jobs stands at over 17% with the Reed Job Index achieving 165 points in May, the highest yet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Successful organisations grow, and as they grow they become more complex; they operate internationally, they add more products or service lines and business units, they recruit more and more diverse people in different locations, cultures and time zones.

At the same time, they often try to become more integrated. They use virtual teams, common business processes and sometimes even a formal matrix organisation structure to share resources and co-operate across the traditional vertical structures of function and geography.

But, beyond a certain level of complexity the rules of leadership and collaboration change. Some of our “management myths” can get in the way, or even make things worse. Here are some examples:

Management myth: “One team”

Many organisations have elevated teamwork to a corporate value and a selection, development and promotion criterion. Companies run ‘one team’ programs to convince thousands of employees that they’re in a common team, but this can lead to poor quality co-operation. Read the rest of this entry »

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How can you support your employees effectively to maximise business results? Lynda Holt, director at Appraisal360 Practitioners, explains to Sarah Clark how feedback tools can help you measure performance, benchmark employee behaviours and pinpoint areas for improvement. She offers her tips to help you collate feedback effectively and use this to develop your people so they drive organisational success.

 

Click the ‘play’ button to listen to the podcast:

 

Visit Appraisal360′s website & follow their latest news on twitter: @Appraisal360

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Keep your promises

24 Jun

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      I recently had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of a poor customer experience with a national tyre and brake services firm. For the purposes of this post, the detail of what wasn’t delivered doesn’t matter but the salient point was that there was a failure to keep a promise (namely to deliver the service in a timely fashion and provide updates or keep in contact by telephone as promised).

      Having been present in the branch in question previously and witnessed first-hand how other customers had experienced the same sort of ‘service’, this may have come as a disappointment, but not a surprise.

      The family business

      Coincidentally, I had just returned from attending the Institute for Family Business annual conference in Edinburgh, where Professor Nick Bacon, on behalf of the IFB Research Foundation and Cass Business School, presented his findings on ‘Family Business People Capital’. Read the rest of this entry »

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      How do you inspire, respect and reward your employees? Studies reveal that up to 20% of an organisation’s performance is based directly on the quality of the leadership at the top. In this podcast interview with Sarah Clark, Dr Jack Wiley, president of the High Performance Institute, Kenexa, reveals his top tips for guiding your organisation to success.

       

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      A fascinating report from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce points to a tipping point in global commerce. The last decade has seen China, in particular, emerge as the workshop of the world. This report suggests that this may not always be the case. New production technologies, minimising human involvement, and rising labour costs in China and India mean that the cost benefits of manufacture in such jurisdictions is reducing. Increasing energy costs and rising regulation point in the same direction. And at the same time, consumers are more and more interested in provenance – the horrendous events in a Dhaka clothing factory only serves to emphasise this momentum – and, for many industries, local production enhances speed and consumer responsiveness. The main challenge faced by the potential beneficiaries of such a shift – UK based SMEs – is their ability or otherwise to hire talent to cope with this rising demand. In particular, the authors of the report suggest that the main stumbling block for such ambitious organisations plays very much to the respective strength of their employer brand – ‘Their lower profile mean that they are not on the radar of the sort of jobhunters they want and need to attract.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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      Make your mark on the world

      17 Jun

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          Brand is one of those subjects that people outside of the marketing teams tend to dismiss or shy away from. Too many senior managers think it has nothing to do with them, and this is even more-so in non-consumer facing companies where the belief is that a brand is just not important or even relevant.

          What a mistake these businesses are making – developing your brand is one of the most fundamental areas to get right in any business. You can have a carefully-crafted business plan, but without a strong brand, there is very little separating your business from your competitors. Your brand is where it all starts and it’s the responsibility of the whole company to connect with it. Who you are, your identity, what you stand for and your personality are what defines you as a business.

          Brand is a key driver of employee engagement

          It’s your ‘X Factor’ and the prevailing thought that guides your team in everything they do, whatever your business. It’s much more than just logo to appeal to customers; a great brand helps you gain advocates inside and out who will tell others about your company and share the love. Importantly, if you get your brand right, it can inspire your people everyday and they can in turn help inspire your consumers. Read the rest of this entry »

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          The matrix in the middle

          14 Jun

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              As organisations become complex and integrated, middle managers come under increasing pressure to think across the organisation. In addition to focusing on their own functional areas, they also lead or work in virtual and cross functional teams. If they’re in a matrix organisation structure, they may have more than one boss with different goals and priorities.

              Most organisations respond to this by increasing the demand for teamwork and collaboration. The number of meetings, e-mails and other communication events tends to increase, but the quality of them reduces.

              This can mean a big step up in workload for middle managers. In a matrix structure, they may have two or more bosses, each of whom only has part of the picture in understanding the individual’s goals, workload and priorities. As a result they may be less understanding of challenges, trade-offs and decisions that individuals make on what to do first, if at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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              How can social media help you showcase your employer brand effectively and reach new pools of untapped candidates? Mike Sandiford, head of UK sales at Joberate, talks to Sarah Clark about the current challenges faced by heads of resourcing and reveals new initiatives to help you attract the best talent for hard-to-fill roles.

              Click the ‘play’ button to listen to the podcast:

               

               

              Follow Joberate’s news and latest innovations on their blog and twitter @Joberate

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              What makes a great facilitator

              09 Jun

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                  Earlier today, I spoke with a colleague about facilitation – specifically in the context of supporting group learning – and I was surprised to hear her suggest that it amounts to little more than asking questions designed to get other people talking.

                  She suggested that facilitation is an easy role to play and even called it a ‘doddle’. But my view is the direct opposite. After all, it might look easy sometimes, but the facilitator often resembles a swan; calm and serene to those watching above the water, but paddling hard beneath the surface. Good facilitation enables a group to delve beneath the surface of what they’re discussing so that what’s said is retained and sustained, when back in the workplace.

                  How can facilitators help?

                  Reflecting on our disagreement, though, I wondered what a good learning facilitator actually does. What is the ‘something extra’ that they bring to group discussions? Are there particular skills which, if they were more widely understood, can ensure that group discussions deliver tangible results? Read the rest of this entry »

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