Change happens….

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Throughout my career (thus far) I have worked in teams and organisations where change is not only cyclical, you can almost set your watch by it.  In my younger days this gave me great cause for concern and on more than one occasion I held my breath while the redundancy wheel of misfortune spun, missed me once (phew) but caught me the second time round!  The media and PLN groups that I follow are full of great helpful advice on planning, executing and managing change and the benefits this can bring to an organisation and the people within it but we are still, deep down really scared of change, even in HR (sometimes especially in HR).

It appears to me that not only is change healthy but absolutely vital to eradicate silos of thinking and to enable us HR professionals to support the development of an agile but strong and positive culture, and build a confident approach to embracing change.  This said, on an individual level it is easy to overlook (and I am guilty of this myself) the perceived impact of change and the aftershock of change as we are so focused on physically managing its manifestation and immediately trying to embed it.

I do love a model and the fact that the Kubler Ross change curve was originally designed to monitor the grief cycle speaks volumes to me.  We invest so much of our time in our workplace, we sign up emotionally to the values of our organisation and we strive to be part of a coherent team with common goals, why wouldn’t we grieve when something happens to alter the equilibrium?  And importantly why wouldn’t an organisation plan for this and support the people that it has invested so heavily in?  I am aware that this is not a new subject my any means but one that as an HR professional I have encountered most of my career.  With this in mind I am making myself back to the curve and want to ensure that in the excitement and the execution of the physical change that I am not ignoring the aftermath.   Cementing the new order is so important to build trust in the leadership of the organisation and to strengthen the organisation’s culture and resilience for the future.  I’m not sure that anyone has all the answers but an approach of learning, growth and development for you as an individual, for the team and the organisation as a whole can only be a positive way to approach this.

Best wishes to you all for the Christmas and New Year and I look forward to connecting with you in 2019!

Fluffy Bunnies and Cocktails…

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If you could make one change……

It was with a large smile on my face that I read the recent article in People Management magazine ‘Fantasy Workplaces – Free cocktails every Friday’ ( People Management – Feb 2016) Among some of the suggestions for how to improve employee experience were;

  1. A cocktail trolley every Friday.
  2. A large bunny rabbit to cuddle.
  3. Nap rooms.
  4. A boxing ring to solve disputes.

Also within the madness and excitement I saw a variety of actually quite sensible suggestions;

  1. Holding meetings outside to stimulate creativity and fresh ideas.
  2. Limiting meetings to 30 minutes in length
  3. Creating a learning environment for all with art tuition, guitar lessons and a large library and exercise space.

With this in mind I thought I’d reach out to my network of PAYE friends and see what their reactions to this question would be and to be brutally honest I was expecting limited sensible suggestions with an onus on a pay rise and greater flexible working patterns, even with a ‘sack the boss’ thrown in for good measure!

My first friend to reply told me of a company she worked for who provided 10 minute chair massages, once a month for all employees and all expenses paid trips to Barbados for all those who exceeded their targets. Now, we all know that the pre-credit crunch days of hedonism in business are long gone for the majority of us mere mortals. However, I was pleasantly surprised that many more employees buy in to the improvement of their company on a much deeper level – even those who aren’t in HR! We had suggestions of wellbeing options for compulsory training hours (I’ve trialled this and we had great uptake). A meditation and calming room, with pets to cuddle was a fab suggestion beating the problem of leaving your fluffy ones at home all day alone.

This article is a bit of fun but highlights 2 very important things to me:

  1. The carrot approach to increasing productivity really gets people excited.
  2. Employees when aroused by an idea are really creative, forward thinking people who do want to improve not only their work lives but the business that they work in also.

Although we won’t be seeing widespread petting zoos in corporate offices maybe we will see an increase in how leaders see the importance of improving employee experience especially as the spread of technology makes us all contactable 24-7-365.

Please do let me know how your organisation improves employee experience. Are there wellbeing zones and quiet rooms out there? I look forward to hearing some fun suggestions also. Namaste!

Thank you for reading – Natalie