The HR Directors Business Summit 2016

I was lucky enough to Chair the HR Directors Business Summit in Birmingham this year, and privileged to meet many inspiring speakers and delegates from all parts of the people profession. It you want to take a vicarious look at the event – you can find it on Twitter using the [...]

Church vs Supermarket

The Church in the UK has a bit of a challenge on it’s hands. In the rural parishes, attendance has dropped – and the clergy now have broader areas to cover. Our local parish priest has seven Churches to look after, and naturally cannot be present at every service. I’m sad to [...]

Do Gender & Age Influence Engagement?

I’ve had some follow up from my last blog on employee engagement, which raised some interesting questions around gender and age, so this one aims to dispel some of the common myths on the subject using 13,000 sparkling data points (otherwise known as people). Those of a ‘non [...]

Does Your Recruitment Process Suck?

It’s nice to see the UK job market improving – many of my friends who have been ‘on sabbatical’ for a year or so are now finding their way back into permanent employment, but some of the stories they tell about recruitment processes make me want to cry. Most popular [...]

Bypassing Parental Controls With BT

Every so often I feel the need to share some ‘internet control’ experiences, this is my third ‘off topic’ blog – the first of which concerned turning on parental controls, the second about the prevalence of porn on Twitter.  Recently I’ve seen plenty of [...]

Accepting Poor Behaviour

I’ve resisted the temptation of posting any kind of ‘workplace’ blog involving the Top Gear crew or the BBC in general. Not only does it seem to be marginally exploitative, but having seen a progression of death threats aimed at people who dare criticise I wasn’t sure [...]

Tech Free Sunday

We’ve been experimenting at home with the idea of taking a day off from technology for one day a week – how hard can it be?   Very hard.   Some context – I have four children aged fifteen, twelve, ten & four (boy, boy, girl, boy). My eldest and I take it in turns to […]

HR vs IT – The Battle Of The Sexes?

I’ve noticed that HR and IT teams don’t get along too well (to say the least), which is odd, because experience shows me that they have a lot more in common than most seem to recognise. For example: They are both overheads to the company They are both blamed for nearly every bad [...]

Sugar, Screw-Ups and Accountability

I am fed up with rules, nannying and pointless evasion of responsibility in the UK. It’s starting to remind me of some of the more dysfunctional companies I work with. Recent news stories have drawn attention to plans for removing sweet treats from check out areas and considerations of a [...]

It’s Not Sexism – It’s Good Manners

I spend more time in London than any other city, with friends, clients or fellow Engage For Success team members, which for me involves a train journey, usually followed by a hop through the tube system.    Often there are not enough seats to go round – so I spend some of my journey [...]

Look Up – Smart Phones, Dumb People

Like 35 million other people, the YouTube video “Look Up” struck a chord with me last week (you can find the video at the bottom of this blog). Having also watched the BCC documentary “Blurred Lines” investigate whether women are being subjected to more sexism in our [...]

10 Great Culture Quotes – Superhero Edition

My family all love the super hero movies, and together we picked out ten quotes that everyone can use at work to improve their culture……… 1  Working together is critical, no matter how small or large the team is. If everyone in the company is not pulling in the same direction, [...]

Nanny State Culture and Halal Meat

Culture is my thing, I love working with people on their engagement strategies, I love making companies better places to be. I try and avoid strong opinion and controversy, but embrace crucial conversations – which is why I’m a little worried about publishing this blog.   Last week [...]

Employee Engagement and Innovation

Here in the UK, the government is pushing hard to spend vast amounts of money on a new high speed rail link (known as HS2) to reduce the time in which people can travel from London to Birmingham, and then eventually to Leeds and Manchester. Successive obstacles are learning to increased costs [...]

Seven Ways To Improve Minion Engagement

One great thing about having lots of children is the guilt free pleasure of watching all the kids movies – which are usually much better than ‘grown up’ films. As stated in several previous articles, it’s hard for me to watch a movie without analysing management style [...]

Do We Really Value Others?

A week after the CIPD Question Time event on the future of work, one of the things discussed is still playing on my mind. There was complete agreement from the panel that the focus on University education was screwing up the country, and that past and present decisions by various governments [...]

Never Make Acronyms From Core Values

Acronyms, don’t you just love them?    No.   Whilst some have slipped into common use (TV, PC, DNA) – and even more have become part of a new mobile language (LOL, LMAO, IMHO), they should never, ever be used for your core values.   Here are some reasons why it’s a terrible [...]

Lego Movie Culture Lessons

I love Lego, so the fact that we enjoyed the movie so much was hardly a shock. Although one of the occupational hazards of working with organisational culture is looking at how things could be improved or replicated (even in fictional worlds)…… In the opening scene of the film we [...]

Changing A Culture Of Avoidance

I’ve been noticing an increasing trend of issue avoidance at some of the companies I work with. Not just an inability to discuss the elephant in the room – but a genuine fear of confrontation that we are having to spend way too much time fixing.   Although more prevalent at lower [...]

Keep Your Children Away From Twitter

This blog is a little off topic for me – but back in May last year I wrote an article on parental controls that is still getting plenty of attention, and I wanted to share a recent experience.   I consider myself to be well versed in tech and social media, I’ve been working with [...]

HR Hunger Games

I was lucky enough to participate in the HR Directors Business Summit in Birmingham earlier this week, and I had a great time learning from the many speakers and interacting with the delegates – if you didn’t make it this year, here are a few of my takeaways from the event….. [...]

Five Really Great Culture Articles

“Could you recommend some good articles on culture?” is a question I get asked a lot…….here are my five current favourites.   1. “Lessons We Can All Learn From Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh”  Arguably Tony Hsieh started it all,  he is legendary in this field [...]

Employee Opinion Surveys and Trust

Fact: Lack of trust causes employee opinion surveys to fail. Employees do not trust that the process is anonymous, or trust that actions will be taken based on their responses. This leads to low participation and insipid results. Listening to employee voice is a critical part of any culture [...]

Disempowerment Culture

Disempowerment: The reduction of the power, authority, importance or influence that individuals (or groups of organised persons) have to make their own choices and decisions to shape their own lives. A news story in the UK caught my attention last week – promoted by the shadow Education [...]

Core Values – The Cowboy Way

My family were all sitting down watching a Charley Boorman ‘travel the world’ documentary last week, when a very young aspiring bull rider was asked about what it was like to be a cowboy. The answer he gave was…. “Stand up for yourself and others, respect your God, your [...]

Employee Engagement Through Gamification

Last week my Wife told me off again for using my iPhone after our 7pm household tech curfew  We do this so we can interact together as a family……TV and radio are OK after this time, but the use of gadgetry is forbidden except in extreme cases of homework. “What ARE you doing [...]

Bring Your Jelly Babies To Work

I’m a big fan of ‘bringing yourself to work’, and I always have been. I suspect it’s because I’m too simple minded to try and have multiple personalities – but I’ve always figured that if people don’t like or respect me for who I am then [...]

The Gender Pay Gap

For some time now I’ve been accumulating anonymous salary data from various companies I’ve worked with. It’s one of the ‘hidden’ factors in culture and engagement – and although conventional wisdom dictates that employees do not compare salaries, the reality [...]

Culture Gobbledegook

A friend asked me recently to help out his son – he’s in the first year of his Computer Science degree at Cardiff University and was handed the following assignment, “Describe some of the key ways in which managers can try to control the culture of their organisations to [...]

Assume Positive Intent

It sounds simple, but is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. It’s also one of the most powerful and influential actions you’ll ever take. Three examples of personal frustration from the last few days: Stuck in traffic, travelling along next to the cones and finding that [...]

Rules Are The Enemy Of Trust

I remember looking at an employee response to a “What could we do better” question, and finding a suggestion that those with a spouse in the military should be given a couple of extra days off when their partner had to move posts. I raised this with the head of HR as an example of [...]

Fluffy Bunnies & Corporate Culture

I’m sorry about this, I really am. But I feel the need to point out a few basics about corporate culture.   Corporate culture does not mean happy, friendly, fuzzy bunny teamwork.   It does not involve sympathy, peace, understanding or doing the right thing for others.   Nor does in mean [...]

Women Deserve Lower Pay?

On my way to London on the train, I was surprised to hear a group of young women talking about executive pay – and in particular this BBC story about women being paid half the bonuses of men. Trains to London are fairly crowded – so leaning across the aisle, I asked them if [...]

Why Is Everyone A Screw Up (Except Me)?

How hard is it to assume positive intent? Do you believe that people come to work to do a bad job, to screw up, get in your way or otherwise obstruct you? If that happens, do you think that they did it deliberately? What a horrible world it would be if that were the case. […]

How Many Women Do We Need In The Workplace?

I’ve had an interestingly female oriented few days. Firstly my nine year old daughter wanting a dress up outfit for an upcoming school event, then I had to brave the tube to get to a Friday morning event (Women In Technology) in the centre of London. On Thursday I started to [...]

Integrity Lessons From John McEnroe

I had the privilege of meeting John McEnroe at the US Open a few years back – funny, charming, passionate about life and one of the most enthusiastic, energetic people I’ve ever met. One thing that puzzled me was that while John gives commentary for the BBC during the Wimbledon [...]

Turn On Parental Controls – Do It Now

Do you have pornographic videos next to the TV in your house? How about magazines on the coffee table?  If this is acceptable in your house, then this blog is not for you. If your children have access to any device with internet access they are likely to discover pornography quicker than [...]

Why Do People Always Have To Leave?

I’ve been sat in my local Starbucks getting on with my work for the last hour or so, in truth because I find that a change in scenery often gives me a change in perspective. Recently I’ve been pondering what makes certain places so outstanding that they epitomise all the positive [...]

Why Do We Focus On The Negative?

I recently attended a fantastic all day seminar with Penny Ferguson. She drew the attention of all present to our proclivity for focussing on the negative, rather than the positive aspects of our skills and characters.  I consider myself a highly positive and optimistic person, but she was [...]

Common Sense Leadership

Being on vacation gives a lot of time for personal reflection – it’s rare to be alone with your thoughts for any great time, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to relax and reflect. I say alone – for me that includes my amazing Wife and our four children, who never fail to [...]

Diversity Programs

I read a great article this week from Ngaire Moyes – What Do Women Want @ Work.  I paticularly loved the accompanying infographic, and the more I looked at it – the more I wondered about what the ‘Men’ version would look like. I’d love to see [...]

Learning From McDonalds

I have a habit of observing teams wherever I go. Drives my family nuts – but having a passion for what I do means I’m always looking to learn, and sometimes this comes from unexpected places.There’s a particular McDonalds I stop at with the family (Bassett’s [...]

Dead Horse Culture

I enjoyed this one arriving in my inbox a few days back, and found myself thinking of examples where I’d seen each of these behaviours over the years. Not necessarily productive, but a lot of fun 🙂 Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best [...]