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Rebel with a cause

– By Andrew B Morris

Sometimes a business needs more than incremental change. In fact while we all recognise the importance of teamwork and the dangers of maverick ‘wunderkinds’, from time to time, every business can benefit from a rebel who comes along to shake things up, challenge behaviour and complacency and change its course.

This might be the leader or founder. But it is more likely to be someone lower down the hierarchy who is passionate and obstinate and prepared to break the rules to get things done. Continue reading →

Can work be fun?

– By Bruce King

Lots of companies have bought into the idea that making work more fun will improve performance. Some have ’fun’ or ‘happiness’ officers. One has a “Wow!” department that dispatches costume-clad teams to “surprise and delight” successful staff. Red Bull, the drinks firm, has even installed a playground slide in its London office.

But in many cases, these efforts backfire because they irritate as many people as they stimulate. As The Economist put it: “as soon as fun becomes part of a corporate strategy to make employees more creative and productive, it ceases to be fun and often becomes the opposite – at best an empty shell and at worst a tiresome imposition.” Continue reading →

It’s the recognition, stupid!

– By David Smith

The world of business is obsessed with remuneration, in all its many forms. We spend huge amounts of time and money devising stock schemes, bonus schemes and incentives of various kinds, not to mention relating our base pay to the market and the going rate for jobs. Larger businesses wouldn’t dream of operating without a Remuneration Committee chaired by a Non Exec Director.

It’s right that we put effort into ensuring we get the best ‘bang for buck’, since wage and salary costs are a huge proportion of business costs. But research at M.I.T. in Boston confirms that incentives only really work effectively with limited roles, but not for complex teamwork roles (i.e. most of modern work). If you haven’t read any of this research, take a look at this RCAnimate cartoon which illustrates that piece of work about what really motivates us at work.

Continue reading →

Success has many parents, failure’s an orphan

– By Dominic Irvine

In May, supported by a fantastic team, my riding partner Charlie Mitchell and I broke the 49 year old record for cycling non-stop from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a tandem, shaving over 5 hours off the record to complete the 842 miles in 45 hours 11 minutes and 2 seconds. As a businessman who took up cycling as a hobby in my spare time, the experience has liberated rich pickings for my day job.

With a career spent in learning and development helping others achieve higher levels of performance, attempting this record scratched an itch. I had to see whether in applying all the lessons we shared with others, I could achieve an extraordinary performance. Continue reading →

Case Study: sliding to success

Cosatto is a company that is on a mission to save the world from boring baby stuff, producing a distinctive range of prams, pushchairs and car seats with an instantly-recognisable style, bright colours and bold patterns.

Andrew Kluge, a member of Peter Hills’ Academy group 18, bought the Cosatto brand in 2003 and relocated the business from Basildon to Bolton. In its most recent financial year Cosatto had its best-ever sale figures. And, as Andrew explains the high level of motivation and engagement of everyone working for the business has been central to this success. Continue reading →

14 truths of motivation

– By Phil Jesson

Money motivates neither the best people nor the best in people.

Don’t be a karaoke leader. It’s better to be a first-rate version of yourself rather than a second-rate version of someone else.

People will deliver mediocre work if they are driven. But they’ll deliver exceptional work if they drive themselves!

Don’t ask people to do their best – ask them to do what they are best at (Lars Sjorgen).

The best management consultants in the business are the people already in the business – your people. All they need is to be “set free” and allowed to deliver.

Continue reading →

Why you need an employer brand

– By Andrew Openshaw

Attracting and retaining the right kind of talent is central to any company’s ability to grow and this applies just as much to SMEs as it does to larger organisations.

There are many definitions for employer branding but they all explain a company’s ability to differentiate itself from competitors through a unique Employee Value Proposition (EVP).  A strong EVP will communicate the company values in a way that highlights what makes that workplace unique and attractive to individuals sharing the same values. As employer brands are based on intangible factors such as image, identity, and perception, being able to discover what it is about a brand that creates an emotional inclination and a sense of identification with the company, can prove invaluable to employers. Continue reading →

180 Days

– By Andrew B Morris

Recruiting new talent is fundamental to growth and needs to be part of a well thought-through process that evaluates skills, experience, ambition, culture and values. This is (or should be) a highly objective process, because at this stage, there is no emotional attachment to the candidate or to any decision to appointment them (or not).

When we finally decide who gets the job, we can often feel that we then own the responsibility of being proved right – that we’ve made the right all on this hire. But this obsession with being proved right can sometimes blind our objectivity during that all-important probationary period. Continue reading →

How to get the best bang from your recruitment buck

– By Raj Tulsiani

Every well-managed organisation focuses on maximising value from every part of its supply chain, and recruitment is no exception. This isn’t just about reducing costs; it’s about fine-tuning supplier relationships to ensure that you get the best return on your investment.

But achieving a genuine return on investment from your recruitment supply chain won’t happen by accident: the best organisations understand how to apply and maintain the appropriate level of pressure on their recruitment agencies to ensure that they are underpinning the company’s strategy. And this is important because when you think about it, what’s more important than finding the right talent and retaining it once you’ve got it? Continue reading →

Terms of Reference

– By Jayne Morris

Checking the references of prospective employees is often left until late in the recruitment process, if it’s done at all. But omitting this crucial part of the recruitment process can be a grave error. Checking references is a great tool for deciding between equally qualified candidates, or for weeding out applicants who won’t be suited to your organisation’s culture. It can be very hard to tell what someone is like to work with on a day-to-day basis from a formal interview.

When is the best time to conduct checks?

You don’t want to get to the end of a lengthy recruitment process only to find out your chosen candidate’s references don’t stack up. However, obtaining references can be a time-consuming process and too difficult to do for every candidate in the running. Continue reading →