Posts Tagged ‘Employee Engagement’

Why its important to have engaged employees!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

We’ve been doing lots of Employee Engagement work recently with a varied range of clients in and around Yorkshire who have been getting some great insights to help them build their business. Alongside this, Michelle is speaking at a few events and conferences in the coming months.

happy smily head So, why is it important to consider how engaged your employees actually are?

For a start, if your employees are engaged they’ll be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. But equally great, you could also see a 12% increase in profit alone not to mention the increase in staff retention and 5% increase in productivity. We could go on!

Did you know? It can cost 12-18 months’ salary to replace an employee (Source: HayGroup, How to stop your talent taking flight, September 2013).

This might seem like an excessively high figure, but take time to consider the following, often hidden costs:

  • Recruitment, on boarding and training costs
  • Time spent on the exit process
  • Juggling workload and temp costs
  • Loss of expertise and productivity
  • Managing turnover
  • Quality problems and customer dissatisfaction

Here are some of our top tips from working with lots of different clients to help get you started….
  • Start with engaged people, recruit well
  • Create and share a vision for the future, one that is understood and resonates with all
  • Set clear expectations, and provide regular honest feedback
  • Are you developing your managers to bring out the best in their teams?
  • Rewards and Recognition, make the time to recognise what your staff are doing and say thanks!
  • Be Trustworthy, honour your commitments and trust others
  • Work/Life Balance, understand different needs of your people and try to be flexible
engaged-workplace Click this link to read more about our approach to measuring Employee Engagement in your business

If you’d like to know more, Michelle will be speaking at the following events:-

South York Networking Meet Up, York – 28th April 2016 4pm

Meet new contacts and understand more about Employee Engagement

Book your place here

The Business Network, York – 15th June 2016 Workshop 11.00- 12 noon

Engaging your people will increase your profits

Conference in London – end of June/early July

Details to follow, watch this space!

Are your Employees Engaged and Motivated?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

We do a lot of work with businesses who contacted us because they were worried about losing some of their most talented people.

Recruiting the right people with the right attitude, values and skills is extremely difficult and the costs associated with replacing people has been said to cost between 12-18 months’ salary!


So, here’s some questions for you:-
  • Do you know if one of your best people is considering leaving?
  • Are you doing everything you can to ensure that people want to stay in your business?
  • Do you know what is motivating and engaging your teams to ensure they are giving their best?
  • Do you know what is getting in the way of people doing their best work?

These are difficult questions to answer, and the holy grail of employee engagement and staff morale can feel a mystery at times! Employee engagement is not about specific skills or individual talents. It is more than mere job satisfaction, and greater than simple motivation. Engagement is not something you can demand; it is something both you and your employee must contribute to.  Managers have a key role to play here and yet worryingly, 62% of employee’s leave their job as a result of their manager. Real, tangible economic benefits to engaging your employees are very clear:-
  • Increased retention
  • Reduced sickness
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Higher levels of creativity and innovation
  • Improved productivity
  • Optimum business performance
So what are the reasons why people decide to leave? Could these be some of the reasons?
  1. Lack of recognition for their achievements How many of us forget to give recognition to someone who has done a great job? Usually because we’re too busy and forget that it’s the right thing to do!  In a recent survey for a client, feeling valued and recognised was identified as the most significant area that needed to improve.
  2. Insufficient compensation and benefits This may or may not be in your control but it is worth reviewing regularly and ensuring that you are offering people competitive packages to help retain them.  Lots of our clients are finding it isn’t about salary either, it can be about flexible working or perhaps holidays.
  3. Infrequent growth and development opportunities You may not be aware, unless you ask, that your people want to progress and develop in their current role or into another role in your organisation.  Many of our surveys highlight that people do not have access to appropriate training and development.
Pro-Development can help with all these things, we can work with you and offer solutions to help you retain a great motivated team of people who are engaged in your business.  We are always happy to come in and have a chat about any of your concerns or challenges and share some of our ideas and experience of helping to raise employee engagement in your business.

Here’s what one of our clients said:-

Having been a sceptic of using external business advisers and personal developers, even though throughout my career I have been exposed to such individuals with many levels, and degrees of both interest and success, I have had to re-think my views. 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 including events and training across a variety of job specs. They have the ability to work with both people who have sometimes to be cajoled to take part as well as those who are willing, with an enormous amount of success. 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, even if I say the business had a solid work ethic and ethos before life with Pro-Development. Dare I say, even I have been exposed to Michelle’s and Sue’s ideas and methods which I feel have helped to build a solid workforce. 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, DriveSpeed Group

Christmas Advent Calendar!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

DEC 2014 Newletter tree

Happy Christmas from Pro-Development! Its that time of year again!

This year, for a bit of fun, we have created an advent calendar with relevant hints, tips, quotes and information for each day of December!

Click on the date below for todays suprise! If its a video it will open in YouTube on our Pro-Development Channel. Click the back button on your browser to return to this page.

1st December 2nd December 3 advent 4 5 6 advent 7 advent 8 advent 9 advent 4 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 19 20 21 21 21 21

First Line Manager Programme

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Through our employee engagement reviews we often uncover that line managers are a contributing factor for people feeling less engaged in their work. Research supports this, reporting that 62% of people leave their job as a result of their manager!


But save a thought for the manager!

hmmm thinking

Many of the managers we meet have never had the new expectation of the role made clear to them; in fact, sometimes the leaders themselves don’t truly know what they expect from their managers. Often the manager has been promoted because of their technical ability within the role, and not on their ability to manage and motivate a team to be their best. On top of this, there is then the delicate nature of managing changing relationships with team members. Those who were once peers are now reporting into the new manager, finding the right balance and managing this with skill and grace is not easy.

In response to the issues we are finding, we have developed a First Line Manager Programme which explores essential elements of management and leadership to help managers become effective in their role. The programme covers a range of topics including:

sunflower dev you
  • Understanding you and your role
  • Understanding teams
  • Honest and effective communication
  • Performance Management
  • Bringing out the best in your team
  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Delivering through others
  • Developing you and your team

There are numerous outcomes too:

  • Describe their own management style and the impact on others
  • Explain the factors which contribute to a high performing team
  • Evaluate team behaviour, taking appropriate action
  • Develop tools and techniques to communicate more effectively
  • Describe the manager’s role in performance management
  • Construct smart objectives and monitor performance effectively
  • Conduct appraisals that add value to both individuals and the business
  • Identify ways to motivate and empower individuals
  • Apply techniques for praising and rewarding people in the appropriate way
  • Explain how to manage under performers
  • Empower the team and delegate tasks effectively
  • Explore the difference between conduct and capability
  • Explain the processes in place to manage absence
  • Recognise the importance of knowing strengths and aspirations of individuals
  • Identify development opportunities and provide opportunities for growth
  • Build personal self – belief

In addition, to help embed learning we offer support including 1:1 sessions, coaching or action learning groups where managers can focus on specific challenges and issues.

Here’s what previous delegates on an in-house programme had to say:

“Overall I have enjoyed the whole experience; it has certainly been an eye opener! I did not realise there was so much to it” (Lauren – DriveSpeed)

“At times a challenging experience but unbelievably beneficial for management teams to work together” (Sabrina – DriveSpeed)

“An amazing programme. Sue and Michelle are thorough and tough when they need to be, but it’s only because they want to help you to be the best leader you can be!” (Kirsty – DriveSpeed)


This programme has a flexible approach and can be adapted to suit business need, so if you think this programme might be part of your solution to having inspiring managers why not get in touch and we can tailor a solution that’s right for you. Don’t forget – you may qualify for match funding for this programme. Click here to find out more

Can you afford to lose your good people?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Can you afford to lose your good people?

We’ve been working with some amazing companies recently who have all engaged with us because they are worried about losing some of their best people – and with recruiting the right people with the right attitude, values and skills becoming increasingly difficult, they can see that now is the time to understand how they can retain their most talented people. What’s really concerning businesses though is the costs associated with replacing people. HayGroup estimated it can cost between 12-18 months’ salary to replace an employee!

cost of losing staff
  • Do you know if one of your best people is considering leaving?
  • Are you doing everything to ensure that people want to stay in your business?
  • Do you know what is motivating and engaging your teams to ensure they are giving their best?

These are difficult questions to answer, and the holy grail of employee engagement and morale can feel a mystery at times! Employee engagement is not about specific skills or individual talents. It is more than mere job satisfaction, and greater than simple motivation. Engagement is not something you can demand; it is rather something both you and your employee must contribute to. Managers have a key role to play here and yet worryingly, 62% of employee’s leave their job as a result of their manager.

Yet the real, tangible economic benefits are all too clear: increased retention being a key one. And there are others including reduced sickness, greater customer satisfaction, improved productivity, optimum business performance; the list goes on. So, clearly, in a recovering economic climate and an increasingly buoyant job market, the need to have an engaged workforce has never been greater.

So if you can’t afford to lose good people why not come along to our workshop on 4th November from 10.00-12noon (only £10) where we will share tools, techniques and ideas for helping to engage and connect with your teams. Click here to book a place

DriveSpeed Group Case Study

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Uncategorized

The client

DSG logo_horz_15

DriveSpeed Group provide tailored vehicle solutions to clients across a range of industries from a base in North Yorkshire. The business has grown significantly since its incorporation in 2011, and has doubled in size in the last three years, with over 20 staff at their office on Fishergate in York.

Chairman Roger Bodill and Finance Director Michelle Wallis knew that their growth plans would bring some challenges and, in 2013, brought in Pro-Development to help make sure their plans supported their staff in every possible way.

DriveSpeed’s aims

The senior team wanted to understand what was working for their people and how they could build on it; identify any barriers preventing people giving their best; share a vision that inspired their teams; develop core values that made it clear what it meant to work at DriveSpeed; put excellent customer service at the heart of everything they do; upskill their teams to bring out their very best; find ways to encourage more cross-team working and create a culture of accountability and responsibility within the business.

How we worked with DriveSpeed

We implemented an employee engagement project in June 2013, using a mixture of our staff survey tool to measure engagement alongside staff interviews to really understand what was at the heart of the business. What became clear very quickly was just how engaged people were.

Engagement levels in the UK are quite low in general, with an average business sitting at around just 57%. DriveSpeed were very pleased to see a result of 75% engagement across their teams, but acknowledged that there was still room for improvement to ensure continued success. This included staff growth and development – among line managers in particular, who had been promoted into their roles and were lacking confidence – as well as and improving communication across the teams to support improved team working.

We helped to shape and implement a plan to build on those strengths and support focus areas for development. The plan included a range of activities to help improve communication across the business including:

• More regular team meetings, huddles and quarterly company events

• Development of core values to provide clarity of what was expected of people working at DriveSpeed

• Customer service and honest conversations workshops

• Reviewing structures and job descriptions

• Introducing a specialist recruitment consultant, One to One Recruitment, to improve recruitment and selection

• Putting two key managers through the Pro-Development six-month Management Development Programme

The results

“Prior to this work, we were not as focussed as we could have been on customer service; teamwork; employee retention; customer, supplier and employee satisfaction. Since working with Pro-Development we have seen an increase in productivity, improved customer retention and overall customer satisfaction. This is due to our employees being engaged and working to the same core values. The impact this has had on the business has been immense, so much so that we believe profits have increased as a result.” Michelle Wallis, Finance Director, DriveSpeed Group, April 2014

Delivering lasting, long-term benefits

In July 2014, DriveSpeed revisited their employee engagement survey to measure the difference that the changes they implemented had made, and discovered that engagement levels had risen to 87% engagement, a 12% increase from the previous year.

The business has also seen improved customer retention and satisfaction scores; individual behaviour that is more aligned to business and values; the management team working together to support their leadership team; and people taking more accountability and responsibility, which in turn is enabling the leadership team to be more effective.

Michelle Wallis says: “Pro-Development have been a fantastic asset to our company. Without their help, we may have lost key staff members. With their advice and continuous improvement planning, we feel we will have the most engaged and proactive staff in the industry. We are so grateful to Pro-Development for all their help and continued support.”

Chairman Roger Bodill adds: “Having been a sceptic of using external business advisers, I have had to re-think my views. 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. Without doubt, any business wanting to grow and develop should have no reservation in working with Pro-Development, and I would strongly encourage them to at least have a look at how they can help.”

Meet the boss – Article printed in the York Evening Press 27th May 2015

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

It was 2011 when Michelle Mook set up Pro-Development, an employee engagement and development specialists now working with SMEs in and around Yorkshire and the Humber.

The venture was established to deliver bespoke people, learning and development solutions that drive value and achieve the right outcomes for businesses.

With more than 20 years’ experience in employee engagement and development, and a passion for delivering solutions, Mrs Mook feels Pro-Development makes a tangible difference by developing people and helping businesses to grow.

Ms Mook left school at 16, very unclear of her career path. After attending Beverley College for a year, her first job was working for a small business in Market Weighton before joining Humberside County Council in 1990.

It was while working here that she was offered an opportunity to deliver a training programme for Social Services, which is where she discovered her passion for helping others to learn and develop.

Around the same time, she started studying part time at the University of Humberside, and achieved a degree in Business Management in 1995.

Ms Mook went on to work as a training consultant for a Microsoft Certified Training Centre before joining York Hospitals Trust as a training manager, where she spent a number of years developing other trainers. In 2006, her creative and innovative approach to learning and development was recognised by the Learning & Performance Institute, and she was awarded a Gold Award for Trainer of the Year in 2006.

Her passion for helping business to grow through employee engagement has also led her to volunteer with the national Engage for Success movement, which is committed to helping businesses release more of the capabilities and potential of people at work by enabling personal growth, organisational growth and – ultimately – growth for Britain.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

“I’ve always loved film and television, and had aspirations to be an actress when I was younger. I settled with supporting local amateur dramatics, where I have performed a number of starring roles: a cat called snuggles, a hockey-playing bumble bee and a nun (when I was six months pregnant!).”

Greatest achievement?

“Personally it would have to be my two wonderful sons, who I am so proud of. Professionally, it’s the recognition I have received for my innovative and creative approach to learning and development which, last year, led to being selected as a finalist for Learning Professional of the Year against massive corporates such as Tesco and Barclays Bank.”

What makes you most angry?

“My core values are honesty and kindness, so I struggle with those who aren’t and also people who are disrespectful.”

Biggest mistake?

“Gosh, where to start! Leaning on a table when I was training a group, only to discover it had wheels (it broke the ice and nothing else, fortunately!). On a more serious note, leaving it so long to set up Pro-Development. As a result of this, I have learnt to take more risks and be brave, though.”

What do you need to make life complete?

“I feel very lucky to be doing what we do, with such a great team, working with some amazing people and businesses in such a beautiful part of the world. I’ve got two fabulous boys, the best family and friends and I always find the fun in whatever I do. What more could a girl want? I guess the only thing would be to meet that special someone to share it all with.”

Why do you make a difference?

“Because we’re passionate about what we do, we’re creative and innovative and not afraid to be different. We always make sure that we have clear outcomes, which we always aim to exceed.”


“She believed she could and she did.”

Engage for Success Event – July 2014

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

engage for success

From the future of engagement, to engagement in the future

7th July, Aston University, Birmingham

As many of you know, Michelle Mook is part of the Engage for Success Group, a movement committed to the idea that there is a better way to work; a better way to enable personal growth, organisational growth and ultimately growth for the UK by releasing more of the capability and potential of people at work.

Over the last few years the Engage for Success Movement has brought together the experience of leading practitioners, the ideas and research of leading academics, and the findings of think tanks, to share learning and practical guidance on “the what, the why and the how” of employee engagement.

Michelle participated in their July event which took a look at how employee engagement has developed. Having been around for ten years now, it has developed beyond a fad to become embedded in many organisations. The day looked at where we have got to with employee engagement and more importantly, where we will take it in the future, both as a concept and area of practice.

This special event focussed on the recently published thought leadership pieces written by a selection of leading academics and business leaders, all experts in their field, which offer different perspectives based on their area of activity: practice, consultancy and research. Their varied contributions reflect a number of current discussions that take place in relation to employee engagement, including some of the more challenging perspectives that can easily be overlooked, and give strong pointers on what needs to happen next for the area to maintain relevance.

One of the speakers that really struck a chord for Pro-Development, was Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of CIPD who talked to us about how employee engagement is changing and what drives it. He highlighted that one of the critical enables of engagement is the ability to build trust and factors that help to drive trust are integrity, benevolence and competence. As we’ve highlighted to you before, trust is a real issue in many organisations with research suggesting that only 36% of employees trust senior leaders.

Peter pointed out that we have known for a long time what really motivates or demotivates people and that the main drivers are:-

Purpose – providing employees with direction and focus

Autonomy – giving employees the space to act (letting go and empowering your teams)

Mastery – everyone wants to improve and our job as managers or organisations is to help our employees improve.

He shared the work of Engage for Success in identifying the Four Enablers for engagement and how it can be useful to assess effectiveness through these lenses:-

1. Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.

2. Engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people.

3. There is employee voice throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.

4. There is organisational integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap.

He also reminded us that what gets measured, gets done! It is important to ensure you are measuring the right things at the right time and tracking your success.

In summary, his key points were:- • Engagement is a strategic issue • Start from the top • You need measures • Develop and train managers • Provide channels for employee voice and feedback.

Thank you again to Engage for Success and Aston University for another successful event and an opportunity for us to share what the challenges are for SMEs in our area in helping raise employee engagement. For more information relating to this story and Engage for Success, click here

Yet again, we came away from the event with a spring in our step ready to help get our SMEs in Yorkshire thinking about what they are doing to “get engaged” – and if you don’t know where to start or how to measure it, just give us a call and we will work with you to design an approach that will work for you and your business.

FREE Employee Engagement Workshop

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries, Uncategorized

In February 2012, the findings of a report “Unlocking Britain’s Potential” were published. Commissioned by the Government to understand what actions UK business might take to unlock the potential of its workforce, the report highlighted that the engagement and development of employees will be a key factor in supporting UK economic growth. The research identified that:
  • 1 in 4 employers see engaging/motivating staff as a key business challenge
  • Just 10% of employers rated themselves as “excellent” at bringing out the best in their people
Do you need some help to understand a bit more about employee engagement and what it is? We can help. sunflower_field_in distance

Come along to our FREE workshop and find out more

We are part of the Engage for Success movement, and to help raise awareness of this important issue, Pro-Development run a FREE WORKSHOP to support you and your business. We will share tools and techniques to help you bring your people with you, grow your business and impact your bottom line. It will also give you the opportunity to talk to other business owners, leaders and managers and share your successes, challenges and ideas. The next workshop is being held on:-

Wednesday 24th September 2014

10.00am – 12 noon

followed by a buffet lunch and the opportunity to network

at the Innovation Centre, York Science Park

To find out more or book a place, email or call us on 07772 921460.

“I recently attended the Pro-Development employee engagement workshop which gave me food for thought, as well as plenty of opportunities to get involved and bounce ideas around with the rest of the group. Michelle has a warm and engaging style, and clearly knows her stuff. Time well spent”

Karen Nixon, Director, The Partners Group, September 2012

Top Tips for Offering Feedback

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro Development York

Be timely – The longer you leave it, the less useful it becomes.

Be specific – Highlight the specific piece of behaviour and the actual words the person used.

Be clear – Particularly in cases of giving negative feedback, where there may be a tendency to waffle.

Be factual – Base your comments on directly observable behaviour, not on your perception of them as an individual.

Be sincere – If you’re not it strips the value from the feedback.

Own it – Use “I” to reinforce that the perceptions are yours.

Check it – Always make sure you know that the other person has actually understood what you have said – not what they think you’ve said.

Leave it with them – Feedback is a gift, it’s up to them to accept it!