Published date: September 29, 2017
Last modified: September 29, 2017

Engage employees to see productivity rise

Employee engagement and wellbeing go hand in hand. Focus only on one and any engagement achieved will lack sustainability and success

The importance of employee engagement cannot be stressed enough.

Of the world’s most-admired companies, 94% believe engaged employees create a competitive advantage, illustrating the

relationship between engagement and productivity. Not to mention its positive impact on revenue growth, innovation and profitability, in addition to job satisfaction and mental and physical wellbeing at an individual level, too.

Despite its significance, engaging employees is one of the most difficult tasks organisations face. We are all accustomed to the dramatic changes organisations have faced across the world in the past few years. Harsh economic conditions and increased global competition have led to organisational restructures, downsizing and an overall feeling of fragility. This means many organisations are focusing on the wrong areas – or neglecting the issue altogether.

But a focus on engagement alone is not enough. Research for CIPD from Rachel Lewis and Emma Donaldson-Feilder has looked at evidence from other academics that suggests employee engagement and psychological wellbeing go together.

Employees who are highly engaged and have high levels of wellbeing are the most productive and happy, whereas those who are disengaged with lower levels of wellbeing are likely to contribute least.

So who is the first port of call for improving engagement and wellbeing?

Managers, of course, and line managers specifically. According to Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working age population, ‘Good line management can lead to good health, wellbeing and improved performance.’ To achieve sustainable engagement, organisations must improve line manager skills and relationships. And, to do so, Lewis and Donaldson- Feilder have come up with a framework made up of five behavioural themes or competencies.


Line managers should:

  1. Be open, fair and consistent. Manage with integrity and consistency, and take a positive approach in interpersonal interactions.
  2. Deal with employee conflicts and use appropriate organisational resources.
  3. Deliver clear communication, advice and guidance.
  4. Build and sustain relationships, Adopt empathy and consideration with employees.
  5. Support employee development and career progression.


It may be difficult for a manager to decipher how successfully they are already employing these behaviours, but it’s important to identify which are currently being used. The most useful tool in this exercise is feedback. Whether this is from employees, colleagues or your own managers, ask for insight into your own behaviour against this list. From there, you can make appropriate changes to your management. This may be easier said than done, but through coaching, development programmes and your own efforts, a transformation will soon ensue. And you’ll reap the benefits of increased employee engagement and wellbeing.

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Published date: September 22, 2017
Last modified: September 22, 2017

Creative thinking for organisational results


In the current market – every organisation needs to be better, faster and more economical: That is the challenge facing every organisation that produces products or sells services.  If you have any hope of successfully competing in this environment, you must make use of every strategic tool at your disposal.  One of the most powerful strategic tools you could use personally and with your teams is creative thinking.

Creative thinking techniques can be applied to any organisation regardless of the sector or the type of organisation.

The real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” Marcel Proust

Organisations often get stuck thinking and operating in a certain way. When that happens, other options and approaches are dismissed because they don’t conform to ‘way things are done around here.’

A powerful question to challenge this is ‘what if?’

This encourages people to think of the bigger picture which breaks down established mindsets and positively changes thinking patterns. Thinking through a task, rather than doing it the way you always have, provides results and outcomes that are more effective, quickly defined action steps, and tangible business results.

Here are some ideas that may help your organisation think and behave more creatively

Change convention- Be open to new ideas. Make a conscious decision to shed established rules about the way things are done. For example, if your company has always had the Christmas party in a certain place – change it!

Clearly define goals- In ten words or less, narrow down your objective. Be as specific as possible without limiting your options.

Gather information-  Look at what is happening in the press, the news and on the internet. This may trigger some very good ideas. Don’t be surprised if some of your best ideas come from unrelated or unexpected sources.

Generate ideas- Work with your team on fun and inspiring ways to collect and generate ideas. Brainstorming is a popular way of doing this but think of other innovative ways you could find new ways of thinking.

Shortlist your ideas- Once you have a list of ideas, select the best single idea. Discuss the various ways to apply this idea in solving your organisations’ issue.

Test your ideas-  Tell people what you are potentially going to do. Ask for feedback. Listen to the questions and objections they raise, and work together to arrive at solutions.

Build support-  If you promote the idea internally before implementing, you stand a greater chance for success.

Just do it!-  Many organisations don’t get past this! Many very good ideas never get beyond the meeting room or off the drawing board. You have allocated time and money to finding an innovative solution, now you need to commit to follow-through and make it happen.

Make sure that your organisation encourages a culture where employees are comfortable presenting new ideas.  You can begin by showing your own willingness to share new thoughts and options by asking your team for input on decisions and involving them fully in problem solving.  Doing so as a team encourages an atmosphere of openness and respect throughout the organisation.

The results for the organisation can be new answers to old problems and staff who are positively involved in the evolution of the growth and success of the organisation.


Published date: September 11, 2017
Last modified: September 11, 2017

Seven signs of employee disengagement


  1. Absenteeism

Direct reports arriving later, leaving earlier, and/or taking longer lunches than usual, and higher levels of absenteeism and/or sick days is a sure sign of disengagement. They are less interested in their role at work than the simple pleasures of having time off. There is no real sense of purpose to their role that they can see advancing them towards any personal or work related goals they might have.

  1. Lower quantity and or quality                                                                                                                                                                              

Direct reports take longer to complete routine tasks and/or produce lower quality work than they have in the past. The pride in their work is missing, which may stem from elements including, but not limited to:

  • A lack of purpose in their role;
  • A lack of appreciation for their role and or;
  • A lack of differentiation between good and poor performers.
  1. Customer Complaints

Customer complaints about lower-than-expected levels of customer service have noticeably increased. This may arise from one or more of:

  • A lack of understanding of role changes with customer interfacing staff
  • A perceived lack of incentives to engage customers well, including simple actions such as verbal appreciation
  • A perceived incongruence between an organisation’s words and its actions with regard to customers
  • Lack of authority to deal with customer issues
  1. Poor Prioritisation

Direct reports have trouble prioritising assignments and strongly resist efforts to re-prioritise their workloads. This is a clear indication of a lack of will or lack of ability to understand the purpose of their role and therefore the criteria by which they should prioritise assignments.

  1. Accidents and Incidents

Mistakes or accidents in the workplace have increased. This is a dangerous sign for any organisation. Increases in incidents and accidents not only show a high level of disengagement, they are indicators of high risk situations at play in the organisation and a major incident or accident are only a short step away. People experience more mistakes and accidents when they take shortcuts and ignore policy and proven procedure. This may indicate:

  • An overall drop in culture of working to a standard or;
  • That the management team are showing less leadership in this area or;
  • That people have been punished for reporting unsafe act and or unsafe conditions.
  1. Low career interest                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Direct reports lack interest in new development opportunities or direct reports are resistant to any sort of change in the workplace, operating procedures and daily work. This is an indication that people:

  • Do not agree with the goals of the organisation;
  • Do not believe in the goals of the organisation;
  • Do not think management are serious about achieving worthwhile goals.
  1. Feeling of being overwhelmed

Direct reports frequently ask questions and voice concerns about how to get all of their work done. This is can be traced back to one of four characteristics that cause employees to feel they have a lot on their plate:

  1. The employee’s plate is reduced because of factors unrelated to their capability, but related to their personal issues at home or at work. Their emotional energy is drained and they cannot cope with a lot of work;
  2. The employee’s capability is diminished because the work is new to them and they have not been trained adequately It takes them a long time to get things done through lack of experience or knowledge and their plate is quite small;
  3. The employee’s workload has not been prioritised and they do not tackle jobs in order of priority, rather they try to tackle all across a broad front. The resultant in ability to finish and assignment results in a lack of confidence diminishing the capacity of the employee;
  4. The employee does not have the access required to data or the authority to make decisions about assignments on their plate.
Published date: September 7, 2017
Last modified: September 7, 2017

Five tips to develop your Emotional Intelligence (EI)


In today’s business world, people need to be Emotionally Intelligent – deal with problems, cope with change, lead by example, take the initiative, handle difficult situations and develop good relationships with clients. EI is a powerful means of communicating effectively, building relationships and creating a positive working environment.

Developing Emotional Intelligence is all about being self-aware and aware of others. This involves lifting your head from the task in-hand and looking to see what is going on around you.

In the past, emotions were often associated with weakness and instability and were encouraged to be controlled and kept hidden. However, research is emerging that emotions are essential for motivating actions which are critical for adapting to challenges of survival or well-being, both personally and professionally.

We experience many types of emotions in our daily lives such as fear, anger, enjoyment, disgust, interest, surprise, contempt, shame, sadness and guilt. These emotions become much stronger during times when our values and beliefs are compromised by ourselves or others. However, in order to function professionally, we often have to temporarily manage these emotions to encourage smooth communication or avoid conflict in the moment. But managing these emotions does not equate to ignoring them, as this can, over time, take its toll and lead to stress, with true personal feelings leaking through the mask.

Here are some ideas to help you develop your own emotional intelligence:


Listen to your own emotions – they are offering you some very important information about your instinctive feelings about people and situations and will give you some real clues as to whether the person or situation is making you feel a certain way. This information will allow you to assess whether this person or situation is possibly in conflict with your values or beliefs. This process of naming the feeling may reduce an impulse reaction against them or the situation.


Pay attention to how others are feeling – sometimes when handling a task we are focused on how we are feeling, but we may be causing some uncomfortable emotions and feelings within the person we are communicating with. Stop and ask some open questions as to what they think or how they feel about what you have just said. This will give you some time to assess if you are on the right track and whether you are still engaging them or not.


Notice moods – notice how some people make you feel more energised than others. Think about why that is happens. Do you share similar values or beliefs? If so, you can leverage this good mood and bring it to your next meeting or encounter, which will allow you to further create a positive mood in others around you. Good moods are contagious most of the time, as are bad moods! Don’t underestimate the power of your mood in your work, as it is contagious and can be the deciding factor as to whether people actively want to work with you or not.


What is behind the emotion – when you meet an emotional response, such as someone being angry or sad, before you react, think about what may be behind such a response. This can be difficult if it is aimed at you, but most of the time, it is not about you at all. Be mindful of your own emotions and how you respond to different emotional situations. Be honest with yourself to determine your strengths and weaknesses, and how they might affect others. Work to take responsibility for all of your actions. Be open-minded, and stay positive in different business scenarios.


Managing our emotions – If you feel angry or upset in a situation where it would be inappropriate to display negative emotions, work out some coping strategies that will allow you to channel that emotion to a more appropriate place. This may involve removing yourself from the situation when the time is right or talking to someone you can trust about your frustrations.