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Sweet Caroline (Ella, Chloe & Sarina too…)

Or as Franki Valli may put it … ” Oh what a night!”.

I certainly cannot pretend to be a lifelong football fan ( I am one of those ones who watches any big game from behind my fingers for fear that I might accidentally ‘jinx’ them!), however I too was swept up in a swell of pride for our women’s football team last night and am envious of those friends of mine who watched the game live from Wembley in what has become such a historic event. What a well deserved victory. 

Hearing the players interviewed ( and I use the term loosely as such was the excitement that one ran off with the microphone, another was hijacked by the goalkeeper seeking a ‘backie’ and then in what is normally a reasonably-happy-but-sedate affair the whole team interrupted the managers’ press interview to do a spontaneous rendition of ‘it’s coming home’) after their win was like a lesson in the ‘keeping it real’ category: no ‘Oscar’ speeches, no technical breakdown, no explanation of the strategy to us awestruck viewers. Just unbridled joy and delirious excitement from every single person. #nofilter

There is no doubt of the hard work and resources that has gone into this win and every single one of the team has a shining future. But none surely more so than their manager, Sarina Wiegman* who was the mastermind behind their strategy. Whilst football (or any?) managers are often viewed as the grey suited folks behind the sidelines, the whisperer of decisions which can make or break someone’s career, the ones not out there in the field getting ‘stuck in the action’. But Sarina has given a masterclass in what great managers are capable of.

Every move that she made with the team appeared as well calculated as any chess game: no panic, fear of change (the two substitutes she brought on were both the goal scorers), just well deployed use of all the skills her team had in their arsenal that created such magic. This seemingly humble individual has brought with her methods and interactions, such strong loyalty, kinship and motivation that inspired the team to glory.

And let’s not forget the fun they had! Even before the final whistle had blown the team were whipping up the crowd to shout louder for them and show their appreciation and backing against such a strong side. Whilst not in any way sure of victory at that point, once again it showed recognition of using everything at their disposal to achieve their goal. And in doing so, inspired millions of girls at home watching what can be achieved. #lightthespark

With post match parties looked set to continue into the night as the impact of the win was absorbed, who can blame them if there’s a hangover or two in sight tomorrow.

Well done England! (And no pressure chaps as we head to the World Cup later this year… )

Whilst your ‘field’ of expertise and goals may be markedly different to that of a football team, if you want help strengthening your own management skills & finding the MAGIC in your team, drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary time here.

** Definitely one for another day, but if you want an instant lesson in how people view women’s vs men’s football, simply type in ‘manager of the England football team’ and count how many times Gareth Southgate’s name appears vs Sarina Wiegmans. It’s like an instant representation of diversity in football

The Heat is On: How to Keep Things Moving This Summer

The Heat is On: How to Keep Things Moving This Summer

With barely a headline in sight these days that doesn’t mention the words ‘soaring’ or ‘crisis’ **, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Summer was going to collapse all around us**. Be it inflation, tempers, temperatures or the planes and trains of our fair isle, there always seems to be something catastrophic happening ( and that’s before we’ve even reached the finals of Love Island…).

And whilst I’d personally love to take a time machine back to the Summer of 2012 in all it’s positive glory  (in no particular order my highlights were the Olympics, Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France and Carly Rae Jepsom releasing ‘Call me Maybe’…) , keeping your team motivated through all this negativity may take a little more than popping up a Union Jack and crossing your fingers that the Lionnesses finally bring it ‘home’.

The good news is that being forewarned is forearmed, so knowing all that’s going around us, there’s plenty we can do to keep things on track and your team supported. So take a deep breath and a glass of (iced? G& ?) tea & let us guide you through the most likely ‘heat’ your team may be feeling this Summer and what you can to help:

  • ✈️✈️ Holidays (disruption) When people finally do get that overseas break they’ve been dreaming about for the last two years, there’s a strong chance at the moment that either flights might be cancelled (in the UK or abroad) or subject to severe delays. And whilst most delays/ cancellations don’t result in an epic stay in an airport, you might want to be a bit flexible on leave dates. In advance of holidays, chat to them and make sure all your team keep in contact & are aware that they can extend their leave in an emergency such as this. Leave for reasons relating to travel plans are not covered anywhere in our legals, so would be down to extending annual leave or  (if you’re out of annual leave) unpaid leave.

  • 🥵 Heatwave:  Feeling hot yet? Yep, then join the 17,000 people who went out and bought a fan last week ( delighting some retailer who saw a 1,300% increase in sales!). Most people can’t get enough sunshine, but temperatures in the 30’s are highly uncomfortable and an office without air con in those temperatures is downright miserable. So we recommend that when it strikes again, that you are as flexible as possible with working from home if you can. After all, we have had two years practice in doing so ?? 

  • 🤹🚸 Juggling Childcare: Summer for working parents requires project management skills that rival any needed for a 5 year IT programme. But even with the best planning in the world, there are still going to be occasions timings don’t quite work. Parental leave is an option ( and a right) but as this is unpaid, encouraging people to either book annual leave or allow short term flexibility will be a gesture they are thankful for.

  • 💷 Costs: utilities + food bills + summer childcare =  🤬 Pay rises are full of contention (and perhaps not an option) but salary sacrifice schemes such as the workplace nursery scheme can help save people hundreds of pounds and don’t cost your business any more than admin. 
    😢FOMO . Not a traditional one for an employer to be concerned of, it’s nevertheless a very real one. There may be many of your team who (due to all or some of the above) aren’t thinking of taking a long holiday this Summer and instead are just taking the odd day off. If the budget will stretch to it, why not organise your own event at the end of August to give people something to look forward to? Some of our clients have also experimented even with compressed ‘Summer’ hours to give people each Friday afternoon off across this period, giving people a chance to scoot off early for any plans they have. It’s not too late to try that for August if you want to give it a go?

  • 🌴🌞Holidays (making sure they’re taken). We’re over half way through the year and therefore it’s a good point to remind people to plan in their time off to spread across the year. Using (extremely) unscientific data from my memory, there is always a proportion of your team who won’t have booked any and may need that extra nudge to give themselves a break – even reminding them that everyone needs a rest. Plus this also ensures you don’t have a holiday buildup headache come the end of the year.

We can’t get the transport system working seamlessly or influence your tax bill, but we can help implement an engagement plan to support your team and get them firing on all cylinders. To do so, drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary time here.

**If, like me, you something get deflated by the relentless noise of the newspapers you see, take a break and have a look at The Happy Newspaper – it celebrates all that’s good in the world and really does lighten the soul when you read it!

Bootcamp Special: 5 Ways To Get Your Managers Into Shape 🏋

Bootcamp Special: 5 Ways To Get Your Managers Into Shape 🏋

If the phrase ‘Management Training’ conjures up images of a suited three day offsite to a faceless training centre on the Surrey borders, then you likely came into the workplace at the same time as me…. . Management Training as it was when I entered corporate life, was very regimented, solely classroom based and very predictable. There were of course some real nuggets of learning to be found in many, but being stuck in a room for several days discussing areas that perhaps had little relevance to my own role in order to get to those, meant that the most exciting thing I often found to come out of it was the acquisition of a shiny new binder, most often condemned to a shelf once you arrived home and never viewed again ( case in point, I found 2 such folders from the early 2000’s when I moved house recently – I still hesitated to throw them out despite not having opened them for many years such is the ‘power of the binder’!).

As time went on and organisations evolved, this kind of training lost the appeal as a default programme all had to attend prior to promotion, with even Google questioning whether these kinds of roles and skills were necessary in the modern workplace and should they instead be consigned to the cupboard alongside the fax machines?!

Happily Google had the resources and data to investigate thoroughly in this area with their workforce to find that the answer to this question is a resounding  ‘yes’, with the caveat of course that the right skills are being used (and at a sufficient level) by managers to support and motivate their team members. It turns out that great managers do indeed make a difference: to not just the welfare of their teams, but also the bottom line. 

Their application of these skills can often make or break another team member’s experience in your business, yet individuals aren’t born with them and most of the team don’t arrive through your door fully formed either. They are developed over time.  The challenge therefore comes as to how to support the development of them, make sure it is in line with your culture and what kind of investment is needed and can be found to do so.

Having been responsible for many an HR budget in my time, I know all too easily how the ‘training and development’ line can be a place to pad out figures, plunder for other priorities if the mood takes or simply just erase all together under times of pressure. But as we march towards a tightening of universal belts, having the right knowledge, skills and confidence to hire, manage and grow your team will be key to your success & remain a ‘must’. It will just be a question of cutting your cloth accordingly.

We know that growth and development is key to people’s retention – through good times and bad – but not everything needs to cost the earth, so here are a few focused learning options for you to consider which may help those who are new, aspiring or experienced to management to feel valued and develop:

1. Encourage Peer to peer learning and sharing: Encourage peers with similar management scope to share their knowledge with each other: what has worked with their team members, what challenges they’ve had.

2. Undertake blended or ‘classroom’ style flexible training that suits your culture: this still remains the go-to skills method development of choice with SME’s & our Management Essentials and Deeper Dive bite-size training sessions are designed to be flexible and support those keen on developing just the kind of skills the Google research found was key.

3. Utilise online training: sites such as Future Learn, Udemy and LinkedIn have online courses for a vast array of management skills in an accessible way. They may not allow so much interaction or always be so relevant for your particular needs, however they allow people to plug short gaps and there’s nothing more satisfying that ‘ticking off’ a new course!.

4. Share “best practice”: Bring in a recognised expert for your employees to spend some time with: use your network and contacts to find someone you admire and value and bring them into work with you. Get the more experienced members of your team to share some of their past notable successes.

5. Be a bookworm: most of those who want to develop are pretty hot on their reading, so encourage all to share the books that have given the most joy and/ or information when it comes to skills you can use with your team.

If you need a hand getting the team to get a boost for your Management Skills,  drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048. 

Pride (and Prejudice)

Pride (and Prejudice)

“’It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Oh Jane, we’ve come a long way….

June – the official month in the calendar to celebrate Pride and all things LGBT+ – came to an end yesterday. The global month long celebration, whose origins lie in honouring the 1969 Stonewall riots, aims to raise awareness of and campaigns to achieve, equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) communities, is having a an even bigger celebration in the UK this year to mark the first celebration of Pride march 50 years ago.

And they have much to celebrate: in the first Pride event in 1972, it is estimated that between 200 and 500 people took part, however fast forward to this coming Saturday 2 July, when this year’s Pride takes place in London, it’s estimated that there will be approximately 1.5 million people in attendance.

For many this means an opportunity to learn and show understanding and solidarity and promote education on issues which affect the LGBT community. For some, just a party. For others however, it’s an opportunity to celebrate their own life in a totally safe environment. 

So what’s it all about therefore. Let’s have some facts:

  • Just under 1.4 million people in the UK identify as LGBT+ (ONS) – 2.7% of the general population (although unofficial figures put it % anywhere between 2 and 5% of the population)

  • The number of those identifying as LGBT+ in the last few years have been on the increase

  • In 2019 the UK received the highest score in Europe for LGBT+ rights (seeing progress on same sex marriage, civil partnerships, adoptions rights etc)

But whilst progress has been seen and attitudes have shifted in the last 50 years in a more positive way for the LGBT+ community, lest you think that it’s just rainbows and unicorns and there’s nothing to campaign for/ be aware about in 2022, here comes the Prejudice part.…

  • 35% of LGBT staff have hidden their LGBT status for fear of discrimination at work (Stonewall)

  • Over 20% of LGBT+ workers experience discrimination during recruitment and promotion, and over a third worry about possible bias

  • Seven in ten LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed or assaulted at work (TUC) – that is nearly twice the number for those not identifying

Even if you’re thinking right now  “hang on a minute, that sort of stuff doesn’t go in my business”, take a moment to consider the first bullet point in the list as well and consider what else you could proactively do to make sure that everyone in your team feels supported and safe when they come to work.

Setting an intention to have an inclusive team (rather than just assuming you have one) which is psychologically safe will have more chance of creating one where people can bring their whole selves to work without fear (and certainly without hiding their own status). And being known for this kind of culture is not just good for your attraction rates, but leads to greater innovation, retention and ultimately success within teams. We’d always recommend discussing with your teams themselves and hearing their voices first and foremost on what you can do to promote safety in your teams & create a more inclusive culture, but to help  support your own inclusion of LGBT+ team members, try the following (recommended by Business In The Community): 

  • Explicitly recognise that you have LGBT+ staff in your workforce (and customer base)

  • Review your Policies to ensure that they are not just as generally inclusive as possible but that they are specifically so for the LGBT+ staff and that they are accessible

  • Don’t assume people’s gender, sexual orientation or pronouns

In short, Pride in your teams doesn’t stop in June. And nor does inclusivity. 

If you need a hand reviewing your own framework for diversity and inclusion in your business,  drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048.

HR Hub People Ops Training: Back By Popular Demand

HR Hub People Ops Training: Back By Popular Demand

If you’re keen to up your game on the HR-front and are serious about creating a workplace where people can do their best & be successful, then it’s no secret that just issuing the right contract or handbook isn’t going to quite cut it!

The right information, skills and insights can…

  • Give you all the tricks you need to create employee MAGIC ™
  • Keep you ahead of the game when it comes to HR
  • Stay compliant with new laws which affect you (& brush up on existing ones)
  • Inspire your team & support their well being
  • Help you build better relationships with your employees
  • Increase your confidence in managing HR without strangulation

The trouble is though, all of this is a lot easier said than done. We know, because we’ve been there!

So if you’re feeling like you’re:

  • Keen to ‘up’ your skills but don’t know where to start?
  • Sinking under the weight of having to do HR without having had anything but on-the-job training?
  • Going to miss something that you should have known?
  • Worried you’re not up to date with employment laws?

Relax, because we’ve got you covered & this could be the training you’re waiting for.

The HR Hub People Ops Training was created for PA’s, EA’s and Office/ Ops Managers just like you: those who are keen to understand the core foundations of HR and People management, learn the tips and tricks used by some of the fastest growing businesses in the UK and discuss the practical ‘Hows’ of creating employee MAGIC ™.

Here at The HR Hub, we are experienced and qualified HR Directors and Business Partners who have worked with hundreds of employers and thousands of employees during our careers helping to do just this.

From hiring to firing and all that goes on in between, we’ve helped SME’s manage their employee’s potential. We’ve seen the good, the bad (and the ugly!) when it comes to managing teams and have learnt the key things which help a business grow.

We’ve been featured in Fresh Business Thinking, City Am and Business Insiders and our clients and former employers feature in both Best Companies to Work for and too many a ‘Fast-track’ list to count. We’ve also worked within multiple Operations roles before.

And now, we’re pulling all of this knowledge together to package it up in a box of learning just for you.

Book my place now!

What you’ll receive during the training

  • Insights, tips and tricks used by some of the fastest growing businesses in the UK
  • Interactive training on what you Must, Could and Should do in relation to the different parts of the employee experience
  • A chance to work through case studies which increase confidence in managing the People function within your business
  • Practical content – including details of our MAGIC ™ framework – which you can use straight away to boost your People function including checklists, resources etc and plan your next three months

What’s included in the Ticket Price

  • Pre-course assessment of your current level of employee MAGIC ™ GAP analysis
  • MAGIC ™ Assessment output
  • Interactive Zoom training session
  • All supporting materials for you to use on an ongoing basis
  • Followup Individual Coaching call with one of our People experts

We’re inviting you to grab a place on our next HR for People Ops Training on Wednesday 13 July,  so you can learn all you need to know about HR to give you peace of mind, hassle saved and time back. #everyonesawinner

Click here to book your place now!

If you want to chat through or have any other queries you’d like to discuss about your team, get in touch today at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or by calling 0203 627 7048.

Three Ways to Rocket Your Team’s Performance in 2022

So when you take a look back at how your business performed in 2021, are you satisfied with what was achieved? A little reflection is always useful, but now’s the time to start thinking about the future. You no doubt have big plans for the next 12 months. You’ve got targets to meet and goals to smash, and if you want to ensure that your plans become a reality, then you’re going to have to give some serious consideration to how you’ll make sure that you get the most out of your staff.

Sometimes though, this can be much easier said than done. Every business owner knows that improving performance could be key to overall growth, but you’ll need some solid strategies to make this happen.

You’ll be pleased to hear then that we can help. Let’s take a look at three ways to rocket your team’s performance for the year ahead

1. Provide Challenges That Are Stretching But Achievable

No one ever achieved great things by just coasting along without a challenge. Your staff should be stretched, but there’s a fine balance to strike. Give them too much to handle, and you’re not going to get the desired outcome. It might be time to assess your staff’s performance objectives, and consider whether they’re really fit for purpose.

Your managers will play a big part in making this a success. They’ll know their team members best, and so you need to make sure that they’re capable of helping them to set goals, and just as importantly, ensuring that they believe that they can achieve them.

2. Outline The Value Of The Work Outside The Context Of The Business

If you’ve done any reading or research into best practice when it comes to managing a team, then you’ll know that it makes sense to encourage everyone to realise how their work helps the business to grow and meet its objectives. In other words, your staff should understand how what they’re doing fits into the bigger picture.

You can take things a step further than this though. Are your staff aware of how their work makes a worthwhile contribution, profits and growth aside? Most businesses have some kind of social impact, and this can often be a great motivator for staff. Does your organisation make a positive contribution to the community? Are you changing the lives of your customers and clients?

3. Recognise Achievements As Part Of Day-To-Day Business

Most of us can take huge amounts of personal satisfaction away from simply knowing that we’ve done a good job. Often, this alone can encourage us to strive to be even better. But let’s be completely honest here. Most of us also enjoy being suitably rewarded for our efforts.

It’s easy to think that this is all about financial incentives, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s about rewards that are proportionate to the achievement. It’s about applying the same principles across the board. It’s about considering your reward processes as a whole, rather than just worrying about budget restraints. And ultimately, it’s about getting to the stage where ‘end-of-year performance reviews’ aren’t a one-off activity, but part of an ongoing dialogue.

Performance is important, and this is your chance to make sure that you’ve laid the right foundations for the year ahead. Are you ready, or are you lagging behind?

If you just want to make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders, drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048.

Photo Credit: the gymnast from Team GB by julochka