The Diana Award

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Diana award Here at Pro-Development we’re proud to be working with the Diana Award, mentoring a group of young people to help instil citizenship, improve workplace readiness and develop resilience and determination. The Diana Award was founded in 1999 as a legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world and inspire those around them. Through the Mentoring Campaign, young people are encouraged and empowered to take positive actions in their school, local and even global communities by undertaking a social action project and skills training.

The young people we work with are full of energy, enthusiasm, and a belief that they can make a difference. Although we became involved with the Diana Award to give something back, we come away after each session with a renewed sense of positivity and a belief that if young people are empowered and given the skills they need, they do have the power to make changes in the world and to be inspiring role models.

If this sounds like something you would be keen to get involved in, The Diana Award are currently signing up individuals and teams of mentors across York, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham to start in mid-November, or at the end of March 2018. As a Mentor you would work in a team with other volunteers, giving a group of students an insight into your role and world of work and supporting them to develop a social action project around a topic of their choice. If you are interested in finding out more please email: Danielle.gourlay@diana-award.org.uk.

How productive are you and your employees?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

engaged-workplace Have you seen the recent news about the productivity of UK workers, or rather lack of it? Output per hour is 16% lower than other G7 countries and a French, US or German worker produces more in 4 days than a UK worker can produce in 5

We had the pleasure of attending an event run by HSBC this week where the Bank of England Agent for Yorkshire and the Humber, Juliette Healey shared her concerns about lack of productivity and how this will make it difficult for UK businesses to compete globally. Part of the issue is reported to be lack of investment in buildings, machines, tools and computers. But there’s no doubt that we need our workers to be more productive as well.

At Pro-Development we’re passionate about helping businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber to increase their productivity through people engagement. To find out more about our approach to employee engagement, click here. Or, why not come along to our next workshop on the morning of the 22nd November, click here for more information and to book your place.

The CIPD identify management development as a solution, with Ben Willmott, CIPD Head of Public Policy advising, “If policy makers are serious about addressing the UK’s long-standing productivity deficit – particularly among the nearly 1.3 million small businesses that employ between 1 and 50 people – then they have to start seriously thinking about how to improve management quality, which the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane has identified as a key area for focus”.

Our experiential management development programme focuses on the importance of holding honest conversations and managing performance. We have one place left on our next programme commencing in January, click here for more information, or contact us.

13 Ideas to increase employee engagement

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

witch Inspired by the recent Friday 13th and with Halloween just around the corner, here are 13 ideas to increase employee engagement. Some say 13 is unlucky, others say lucky for some. All we know is that employee engagement isn’t down to luck, it comes from having a clear strategy that focuses on bringing out the best in your people. So don’t leave it to luck…what can you do more of to make a positive change?

1. Remind people your company’s mission and values – People need to be reminded of why they are doing what they’re doing.

2. Celebrate achievements – Big or small, they are the solid proof that the work people are putting in has meaning. Refill their energy tanks with some recognition and celebrate their hard work.

3. Celebrate people – Birthdays, promotions, retirements, newcomers welcoming, there are plenty of important moments where people can be put at the forfront of the company. Show them they matter!

4. Give and receive feedback – Keep it simple. Offer a framework or a system that employees can use with confidence and honesty. Let them know you value their opinion and most importantly, act on that feedback.

5. Show respect – This should be the cornerstone for every office interaction.

6. Empower your employees – Nothing creates a greater sense of responsibility and ownership like having the decision power. Don’t be afraid to let people be their own leader.

7. Assign a buddy/mentor for every newcomer – An important part of the onboarding process is having some really important questions answered. Questions that someone would be hesitant to simply ask a manager.

8. Recognise and encourage innovation – Reward your creative team members. Recognise them for going the extra mile.

9. Encourage learning – Challenge and support employees in learning and developing their skills.

10. Get social – Go out, have fun, have teambuilding sessions, join sports competitions and encourage team activities.

11. Make sure that people have all the resources they need – Equip your employees with the tools and systems that will make their job easier. This way, you’ll get them to invest their energy into doing great work, instead of wasting precious time.

12. Understand your level of engagement – Understand and analyse your employees, your teams and the overall workspace. You’ll get some essential pointers into what works and what you can improve.

13. Build long-term engagement – Don’t settle for a quick fix. Develop a long-term employee engagement strategy with clear objectives and action steps for more than a year, then re-evaluate and build on it.

This list has been extracted from Engage for Success 25 engagement ideas Click here to see the full list.

If you would like to know more about employee engagement click here or if you would like to know the level of engagement in your business or would like help building an engagement strategy then contact us.

Do you spend time working outdoors?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

autumn picDo you hold meetings outside? We told you about a recent study from the University of Warwick demonstrating that happy and engaged staff are 12 percent more productive. One aspect of the study we love is the reported importance of spending time outdoors when we’re working. This can improve self-esteem and mood, help concentration, and increase creative thinking. A lot of our development activities include an outdoor element so it’s great to have academic backing for what we’ve found with our delegates. We spent a day in the beautiful grounds of Hazelwood Castle with our lovely management development cohort. Using a range of fun and creative activities they were developing skills in managing performance, holding honest conversations, dealing with underperformance, and managing talent. Our programme provides our delegates with the opportunity to practice lead and learn through a range of experiential activities, many of them outdoors. Click here to read more about our management development programme. Try holding your next one to ones whilst walking outside. It’s amazing how this encourages creative thinking and honesty. Let us know how you get on…

Is Employee Engagement in your sights?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

ee pic blog sept 17 The link between employee engagement and productivity means that it’s a hot topic. As a result, it’s been in the news recently with an article in the Guardian discussing a recent study from the University of Warwick. This revealed that happy and engaged staff are 12 percent more productive and that low employee engagement is costing the UK £340 billion a year in lost productivity.

So how do we measure Employee Engagement? The CIPD believe that a single metric is too simplistic and rather than a single score, a range of relevant metrics are more enlightening and actionable. We agree which is why we measure against 10 themes and recommend employee interviews as well as an online questionnaire to ensure we have a balance of qualitative and quantitative research. This enables us to develop as full a picture as possible in order to identify specific areas for improvement. Increasing your employee engagement scores will help to increase productivity and ultimately profit. Come along to our employee engagement workshop on the 22nd November and you’ll leave with an action plan to start improving employee engagement in your workplace. Click here to book your place.

Look out for more from the study next week when we’ll tell you about the benefits of working outdoors.

I’ve got to be honest (or do I?)

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Honesty pic Time and time again the issues of having honest conversations comes up in our coaching sessions. Why is it that we find having honest conversations so hard? What are we afraid of? Is it the fact we may not be liked, or we might come across as argumentative or opinionated? Or is it the fact we find it difficult to find the inner strength and confidence to approach the individual and say the words we have said so often in our head?

No matter the reason for avoidance, honest conversations really are unavoidable.

So, what can you do to make things easier for yourself?

Think about your reason for having the conversation in the first place.

What is your intention? If you have a positive intention then having the honest conversation is probably for the best. If it is with a negative intention then, think again!

Checking out assumptions

Is there a conversation to be had? Is the evidence there or have you jumped to conclusions, made up your own version of the truth? Ask yourself… why would a perfectly reasonable person behave in this way?

Where are you having the conversation

Is the venue appropriate, it Is quiet and private? Is there a route out of the venue that doesn’t mean having to walk past the colleagues? Its these relatively simply things that can be missed or used as an excuse not to have the conversation.

We advocate going for a walk, somehow it feels easier, conversations can flow more as the boundaries of the office are removed.

Planning the conversation

Structure what you are going to say, think about the key messages you want to give. Practice saying it out loud, you don’t need to script it however there is nothing wrong with having a few bullet points to help you along. After all, this conversation is important to both parties so you need to get in right.

Be brave

Having the conversation may mean you need to let go of ‘being liked’ for a bit but if having the conversation is going to improve the situation/performance/relationship then it is highly likely that further down the line the individual with thank you for it.

Remember the good stuff

Remember honest conversations can be positive too. Catch people doing stuff right and have that honest conversation. Operate in this way and you will foster a culture of openness and honesty. So what conversations have you been putting off? Make a commitment to yourself to act, come on, you’ve got to be honest.

If you would like to know more about support in this area why not contact us or check out our coaching page

Happy 6th Birthday

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

happy birthday header Can you believe it’s our birthday this week. What a 6 years it has been too! It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey and on reflection, our success is due to 6 key elements.

Amazing team – Suzanne Courtney, Stephanie Edwards and Janette Poole – you are each fabulous and together, amazing, thank you.

Fantastic clients – too many to mention but you all know who you are. We love working with each and every one of you and being part of your journey. It’s a pleasure and a privilege!

Fabulous partners – those who help us deliver our inspiring leadership programme, support us and our clients with recruitment, HR, IT, business development, venues and many other services. You are always reliable and make us look good too ;-)

Our families and friends – they support us through the good times and the challenging ones, always there and encouraging us to keep going. We love you all.

Our vision and values – we’ve never lost sight of our vision and always stay true to our passion and enthusiasm for what we do, honesty and integrity, creative approach and a sprinkling of fun in all we do. It helps us to keep focussed, be authentic and make a difference to those we work with.

Drive and determination – many of you will know running a business is not always easy and sometimes, you’ve just got to dig in, ask for help when you need it and just keep going!

I’m sure there are many other elements too but thank you to each and every one of you who has helped and supported us. Here’s to many more years of helping businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber to thrive and grow through the engagement and development of your people. We look forward to working with you all.

“Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” – Henry Thoreau

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Did you hear recently that over 6.3 million adults aged 40-60 don’t manage to achieve 10 minutes of continuous, fast-paced walking over the course of a month, Public Health England (PHE) has revealed. My goodness are you one of them?

We are massive advocates that walking helps to stimulate thinking and this is why we use walking in our Management and Leadership programme’s, coaching sessions and team events. It creates a fabulous classroom with no boundaries? Every time we do walking with an individual or a team, we see some real breakthroughs happen; there is something about being outdoors that helps to free the mind and think differently often resulting in a great resolution or solution.

When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs-including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections of brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them?

Sounds to me that it’s time to get our walking boots on so if you would like to know more or would like to work with a company who will help to stimulate your thinking and health, have a look at our management development programme or team building page or coaching page.

What part can we all play to increase productivity?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

productivity

A recent report by the BBC noted that the productivity of UK workers has dropped back to pre-financial crisis levels. The Office for National Statistics stated that hourly output fell 0.5% in the first three months of the year, and Economists have warned that the UK’s productivity continues to lag behind its major trading partners such as the US, France and Germany.

Ian Brinkley, acting chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development stated that “Unless more is done to tackle the nation’s low productivity, people’s wages and living standards will continue to fall and the UK will be ill-equipped to compete once we do leave the EU.” Other economists, however, have said productivity – which is output divided by hours spent producing it – has partly fallen because there are record numbers of people in work.

Whatever the reason, we need to think about what part we can all play in increasing productivity and we strongly believe that having an engaged workforce is a crucial factor to business success. Just imagine if people in your business wanted to and could give their best each day. What difference would that make to the energy, the enthusiasm, the creativity, the effort they each put in? What difference would that make to you?

The good news is, you don’t just have to imagine as we have seen many of our clients take positive steps which have made a difference for their and people and their business. “With Pro-Development, our business has seen and experienced a totally different approach and a very positive level of results, both financially and in the progress of the business. Pro-Development have worked with our teams in their unique way with a programme of activity to support our employee engagement. Pro-Development’s programmes and continuing developments at all levels of the business, including directors, has given a new perspective to people’s approach to business life within our group of companies. Without doubt, any business wanting to grow and develop should have no reservation in working with Pro-Development, and I would strongly encourage you to at least have a look at how they can help you”. Roger Bodill | Chairman, RB Associates

We believe a good starting point is to give employees a voice, to listen to them, to understand what’s working for them and what’s getting in their way. However, this is only valuable if people are open and honest, and leaders are brave enough to listen (and we mean really listen) to what people have to say. This is where we can help, our employee engagement surveys provide a means for confidential and anonymous feedback, and our analysis of the results are presented back in an honest and balanced manner, providing real insight.

However, there is little point on gathering insight if you don’t take action on the results, and this is where, in our experience, many companies fall down. At Pro-Development, we work closely with businesses to identify actions and act as a conscience to ensure key actions are delivered to drive up employee engagement.

Ultimately, the research is out there, it’s a fact that an engaged workforce can drive up productivity on average by 5% and profit on average by 12%. And, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see an increase like that on their bottom line? We are here to help you and love making a difference so if you would like to increase your productivity and have a highly engaged workforce, why not come along to our next workshop.

If you would like to join us at our next workshop to find out what you can do to bring the best out in your teams, increase productivity and sales which links directly to your bottom line then choose a date below and book a place. We have had such great feedback about our workshops that we know that it will be a great few hours invested!

The next available workshop dates are 13th September and 11th October 2017 from 10am-12noon followed by a light lunch with the chance to network and it will be held at our offices at Forest Farm Business Park, Fulford, YORK, YO19 4RH. All just for £25 + VAT to cover room hire and lunch. See you there!

ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES ENGAGED?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

engaged faces pic We are currently undertaking many employee engagement surveys around Yorkshire identifying what’s working for companies and what might be getting in their way. It is by understanding this kind of information that you can truly make a difference as your efforts and actions are focused on doing the right thing, not doing what you ‘think’ is right.

Companies take the time to understand engagement levels as this is so important to continued success and can springboard companies to the next level. Research shows that organisation’s with high levels of employee engagement are more efficient and effective, and that highly engaged employees:

• are more productive, find they are more creative and innovative at work, and take less time off sick;

• are more customer focussed, care about the future of their organisation and put in greater effort to help it meet its objectives and keep customers satisfied;

• feel proud of the organisation they work for and are inspired to do their best and will be huge advocates of the business and it’s products and services.

• are more likely to stay and with the cost of losing a good person now being equated to 12-18 months of their salary, that in itself is a great reason to focus on employee engagement.

There’s plenty of evidence out there to support the facts above and we have certainly seen this ourselves through the work that we do around the region. As part of our role in the Engage for Success movement looking at how to raise engagement levels across Yorkshire, Pro-Development run interactive 2-hour workshops “How important is Employee Engagement to your business success?” They are aimed at business owners, HR professionals, leaders and managers to help understand what they can do to help increase morale, motivation, engagement, growth and productivity of their teams.

If you would like to join us at our next workshop to find out what you can do to bring the best out in your teams, increase productivity and sales which links directly to your bottom line then choose a date below and book a place. We have had such great feedback about our workshops that we know that it will be a great few hours invested!

The next available workshop dates are 13th September and 11th October 2017 from 10am-12 noon followed by a light lunch with the chance to network and it be held at our offices at Forest Farm Business Park, Fulford, YORK, YO19 4RH. All just for £25 + VAT to cover room hire and lunch. See you there!

Pro-Development are so thrilled to be working with The Diana Award. Its our chance to give something back… https://t.co/kFNpQDrXKZ