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Say Cheese! It’s International Day Of Happiness 😄

Say Cheese! It’s International Day Of Happiness 😄

Who couldn’t do with a little more happiness? Even if you have a great life and plenty of amazing people to share it with, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what’s important in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of modern living.

And that’s where the International Day of Happiness comes in! The aim of the day, which falls on Monday the 20th of March this year, is to create a happier and kinder world together by adopting a simple daily practice to be mindful, grateful, and kind. 

The International Day of Happiness is a global celebration coordinated by Action for Happiness. This non-profit movement of people from 160 countries is dedicated to creating a happier, kinder world. And, thanks to the support of like-minded partners, Action for Happiness is able to spread the word while spreading happiness where it’s most needed.

The United Nations proclaimed the 20th of March to be the International Day of Happiness in July 2012, making this year’s celebration the 10th of its kind. The day came about in recognition of “the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals” and coincided with a shift in attitude throughout the world as people began to realise that “progress” should mean increasing human happiness and well-being rather than focusing solely on growing the economy. Since then, all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be more of a priority.

Happiness seems like such a simple concept. But for many people, true happiness is fleeting and fragile at best and ever-elusive at worst.

30% of the UK population suffers from at least one mental health condition, with depression and anxiety disorders the most common among these. And in any given week, around 8 in 100 people experience symptoms of depression and mixed anxiety.

Depression doesn’t always manifest with sadness, of course. It is possible to be depressed or anxious and feel happy, whether that’s in general or from time to time. But for many people, depression and its many symptoms can cause a disconnect from genuine happiness. 

This can mean moments that should be happy become tinged with foreboding. Or, as is the case with people who have what’s called smiling depression, feeling forced to look and act happy despite how they feel inside.

This recognition of never knowing what private, internal battles those around us are dealing with is at the heart of campaigns such as Time to Talk Day and the International Day of Happiness. Just as mental health issues can affect our outlook, anything from invisible physical health problems to a recent bereavement or a life-changing event can mean that happiness is hard to come by. When people around us show us kindness and compassion, though, it can make all the difference. 

This is why the International Day of Happiness promotes happiness as more of a group objective than an individual pursuit. And it’s also why the 20th of March is a great opportunity for you to spread some happiness in your workplace!

For those of you who’d like to celebrate the International Day of Happiness in your workplace, you can start by downloading these posters on Ten Keys to Happier Living to get everyone motivated before the main event. My personal favourite has to be this Great Dream poster though. It highlights some of the many actionable ways to live happier, more meaningful lives in a simple yet effective way.

Even if your employees are mainly remote, the free Action for Happiness app is a great tool for connecting, sharing, and inspiring you all to be happier and kinder together. Likewise, brands with an active social media following can use the hashtag, #InternationalDayOfHappiness to connect with and inspire their fans.

A quick and effective option for you and your employees to try is the three-step method on the homepage of the International Day of Happiness website. It encourages you to be mindful, be grateful, and be kind, as a way to give yourselves a boost and build your compassion for others.

Or if you’re looking for more in-depth resources, the Action for Happiness website has a huge range of videos for your team to watch at their own pace. Another option is to choose one or two videos to watch as a group and discuss. This video entitled, Work Happier could be a great place to start since it deals with ways to create happier workplaces for those around you.

I realise that dedicating a chunk of time to the International Day of Happiness isn’t going to be possible for all workplaces — especially since it falls on a Monday! But I do urge all of you to at least spread the word among your employees. The true value of any company lies in its people so it’s important to nurture their happiness as a way of creating a culture of unity, support, and kindness.

Happiness is a shared human goal that should be within reach for everyone. But it’s also a lot easier to achieve if we make an effort to be kinder to each other.

Whether you decide to take five minutes to be mindful or make a real effort to spread happiness in your life, there’s a lot to learn from the International Day of Happiness and its objectives.

Looking for tips on creating a supportive and nurturing working environment? Check out our blog for all kinds of inspiring ideas or get in touch with us here at The HR Hub to find out how we can help you make your workplace happier via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call us on 0203 6277048.

Show The Love For LGBT History Month

Show The Love For LGBT History Month

LGBT History month is held every February, an event which was created to help businesses & educational establishments to celebrate and Usualise LGBT+ lives in their full diversity.

This year’s focus cinematic history with the theme #behindthelens: aiming to highlight contribution of those in the LGBT community from directors, cinematographers, screen writers through to producers, animators, costume designers, special effects, make up artists, lighting directors, musicians, choreographers and beyond. 

By supporting LGBT History Month, you can show your commitment to equality and inclusiveness, which in turn helps build better relationships with your team members from the LGBT community. Research shows that those businesses with greater diversity and inclusivity have higher retention and performance than those who don’t and so it’s a great way of helping to create a more positive work environment overall.

As part of this year’s celebrations, a film festival is being held at the Cinema museum, with tickets still available to purchase and several screenings for this year. 

Not able to trek to London or have the time for one of those sessions? How about an office/ home screening of one of the following acclaimed films to celebrate the LGBT community:

  • “Moonlight” (2016) – A coming-of-age story about a young black man growing up in Miami and discovering his sexuality.
  • “Call Me By Your Name” (2017) – A romantic drama set in Italy about a summer love affair between a 17-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man.
  • “The Kids Are Alright” (2010) – A comedy-drama about two lesbian mothers raising their teenage children and navigating their relationship with the biological father.
  • “God’s Own Country” (2017) – A romantic drama set in rural England about a young farmer who falls in love with a Romanian migrant worker.
  • “Happy Together” (1997) – A romantic drama about a tumultuous relationship between two gay men living in Hong Kong.
  • “Bound” (1996) – A neo-noir crime thriller about a lesbian couple who plot to steal millions from the Mafia.
  • “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) – A romantic drama about two cowboys who fall in love and struggle to maintain their relationship over many years.
  • “Milk” (2008) – A biographical drama about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.

Of course it doesn’t need to be a film showing. Other ways you can share the love this LGBT History month:

  • Start a conversation: Talk to your coworkers and manager about the importance of celebrating LGBT history month. Encourage them to get involved and support the cause.

  • Display educational materials: Put up posters, flyers, and other materials around the workplace to educate people about the history of the LGBT community and the significance of the month.

  • Organise events: Plan events such as a film screening (see above), panel discussion, or informational fair to raise awareness and celebrate LGBT history and culture
  • Provide resources: Share books, articles, and other resources related to LGBT history and culture to encourage others to learn more about the subject.

For more ideas or help on creating an inclusive environment, drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call us on 0203 6277048.

Scrapbooks and Stats

Scrapbooks and Stats

Sorting out some boxes in our attic the other day, I came across a couple of scrapbooks I’d been encouraged to fill when on Summer holidays as a child. Amazed that these were still intact, I browsed through the first one and was transported back to ’84 immediately via fuzzy photos of the Epcot Centre, tickets to attractions that are faded beyond recognition, a Mickey Mouse sticker and many (many,…too many!) different-yet-all-slightly-out-of-focus shots of my family on a miscellaneous beach in Florida. It was clear this was my first Summer let loose with film….

I didn’t capture all that we did that Summer in the book of course, but the essence of what a fabulous time we’d had was unlocked as soon as I looked through it (together memories of some epic fights I’d also had with my siblings over Pacman scores too) and it reminded me how lovely it can be to have such a chaotic way to capture a period of time. Sadly, I didn’t keep it up for much more than a couple of Summers, however it certainly brought on a flurry of  hastily downloading and creating photobooks (so much more reliable than an old pritt stick!) from my phone to keep more recent memories alive.

“Some” might say that a post like this belongs in the ‘back to school’ category of early August (and it may be that I’ve broken some unspoken Marketing Calendar rulebook – whoops!) however in the HR Hub world ‘Summer’ breaks are never just confined to July and August and the rolling nature of them are an essential part of what energises us throughout the year. Cue my first attempt above to capture some of what we as a team have been up to!

This Summer our relay of HR Hub team breaks (so far – still a few to go) has taken us to Athens, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Athens again , the Canary Islands and then most recently, mainland Spain again. Oh, and let’s not forget Suffolk & the South Downs too: bathed in glorious sunshine, the likes of which England hasn’t seen in years.  In short, we do holidays as well as we do HR!

During these times, we’ve been swimming, cooking, done some epic walks, paddle-boarding, sailing, not to mention indulging in food, friendship and family along the way. And of course, let’s not forget the spot or two of reflection that comes with the territory of such downtime ….

I know that I’m not alone in the fact that a change of environment and a break from a ‘typical working’ day is always a trigger to start thinking about what I’ve done or not done in the last few months or year. And whilst I’d be lying if I said that there was no negative self talk at all (beating myself up about not doing everything on my ‘list’ is a ritual and activity which has always featured….) , over the years I’ve taught myself to minimise the ruminations and instead think about the steps forward we’ve taken, the impact we’ve had and what myriad of fun plans may take shape in the future. It’a a great way to recognise progress and spur yourself on.

This year I reached the positive stage pretty quickly however, because despite needing a new code for the team in our time tracking to show ‘getting your passport stamped’, during this same time period we’ve delivered some fabulous programmes for our clients, making it one of our busiest (and most enjoyable) Summers ever at HR Hub towers.

I often describe HR as a ‘bit like being a GP’, however the following categories describe just how varied some of the help we’ve provided to our clients:

  • Supported our client’s expand by hiring numerous roles end to end across functions as broad as Finance, Development, SEO, Account Management, Sales, Data and People functions
  • Upgrading the onboarding experience for new hires 
  • Increasing personal and management skills through, training and coaching to multiple clients reaching hundreds of teams across subjects as diverse as new manager ‘bootcamp’ training,  courageous conversations, setting direction, creating a culture of inclusion, financial wellbeing and general mental health to name a few 
  • Undertaking successful due diligence & compliance work for those clients acquiring funding (yep – there’s still a lot of it about despite what you might read this week!) 
  • Resolving multiple concerns team members and managers have had about their work environment, roles and relationships and setting them on a path which is much more constructive
  • And last but by no means least….building confidence in leaders to create their own version of magic in their teams through 1-2-1 support, advice and discussions.

Reflecting on all our delivery these last few months,  we’ve definitely managed to pack in a lot! And whether it’s training or trekking, the stats we’ve collected over the last few months are incredibly motivating in terms of recognising progress. I’m immensely proud of our team for supporting each other and our clients to find the right balance for them. 

If you want to create great memories with your team and could do with a little help and support as you grow and thrive, drop us a line  hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary time here.

Auto Draft

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.