Wellbeing In the Spotlight

The impact of mental health and tackling it post Covid-19

Following the launch of the PRS Wellbeing practice, Andrew Pullman has recorded a podcast with the Master of the Guild of HR Professionals , Annette Andrews.

Topics discussed include the impact of the Corona Times on mental health, mental health first aid, and what the future holds beyond the current pandemic.

Listen as a stream below, or subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

https://lnkd.in/dhaU9rF

People Risk Solutions (PRS) launches Wellbeing Practice

Since our inception in October 2006, PRS has successfully built four business practices:

  • HR Outsourced Support
  • Management Effectiveness
  • Culture, Values & SMCR, and
  • Outplacement and Career Transition

All specially designed for the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors.

In response to unprecedented demand from our clients and the market in general, we have now launched our own dedicated Wellbeing Practice. Andrew Pullman, CEO of PRS, is acutely aware of the tsunami of mental health challenges likely to arise in response to the government’s announcement to lift lockdown and get the country back to the workplace. Not only has 100% of the workforce been affected in some way by the six months of lockdown, but the new paradigm of work throws up an unprecedented set of challenges to all organisations, large and small.

Our new Wellbeing Practice is set up to help organisations tackle this issue, and in particular we can:

1.  Conduct initial organisational Wellbeing checks.

2.  Help organisations set themselves up for success. implementing some immediate ‘quick wins’.

3.  Lead on assisting companies to establish and embed their own Wellbeing & Mental Health strategy.

4.  Put in place ‘review and refinement’ processes.

With the increasing return of employees into the workplace, our ‘quick wins’ rapidly put in place some best practice measures, including:

  • Training Mental Health First Aiders as the first line of support in your organisation and establishing a support network for these Mental Health First Aiders;
  • Manager Briefing sessions to recognise the warning signs of mental ill health and introduce the skills and confidence to safely approach and support someone;
  • Coaching PLUS … one to one coaching for senior leaders, incorporating a focus on their own and their team’s mental health;

And coming soon …

  • Providing a Virtual Mental Health First Aid support service; for those organisations which are either too small to form their own in-house Mental Health First Aiders, or those demanding an immediate, transitional support service.

Aligned with PRS’s existing brand, providing a quality service sits at the heart of our new Wellbeing Practice. Indeed, all of PRS’s MHFA trainers are national trainers for MHFA England, and our practice is led by a fully qualified Mental Health First Aider. Our programmes are also tailored for the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors.

If you would like to find out more please contact us at [email protected]

Building an Outstanding Workforce

Developing People to Drive Individual and Organizational Success

Wednesday 16th October saw the launch of Building an Outstanding Workforce, published by Kogan Page and jointly authored by Paul Aldrich and People Risk Solutions’ CEO Andrew Pullman. The official launch event took place in the luxurious surroundings of the Vintry & Mercer Hotel with guests from the fields of HR, psychology, neuroscience and many other sectors – all united in their work by their roles as leaders.

The book itself aims to assist leaders and aspiring leaders in empowering their people, unlocking their potential and building a culture that allows employees to perform to the best of their abilities. A range of strategies are covered to effectively attract, engage, develop and retain the staff needed for sustainable business success. These are explained and presented with practical guidance, expert advice and case studies from companies including Alibaba, Barclays Banking Group, Patagonia, Tata Group and Qantas.

Dr Paul Aldrich

Building an Outstanding Workforce is particularly relevant and useful for understanding the new reality of the workplace and, indeed, what this may look like in the future. Though AI may rise, people will still be central to any successful business. Key issues are covered including how to tailor people management to address the motivations of different generations, the impact of emergent technology on the workforce, the shift in the skills employees now need to learn and develop and how to handle the new challenges of remote and flexible working and the gig economy.

Andrew Pulman

Andrew Pullman brings to the book his 30 years’ experience in HR at various global firms, including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort and his own technology-based people compliance firm, PeopleClear plus his knowledge of people management advice developed and deployed here at People Risk Solutions.

Many excellent texts exist that focus on specific aspects of leadership, but this book draws the many strands together and presents a new people-focused framework for people management that redefines the structure, roles and responsibilities of human resource management and addresses the problems of role ambiguity and conflict associated with HR to deliver people management that everyone needs and deserves. In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, achieving this sustainable competitive advantage has never been more important.

Building an Outstanding Workforce

Developing People to Drive Individual and Organizational Success
Available to buy at Kogan Page and Amazon
If you are interested in using Building an Outstanding Workforce in a teaching or learning capacity, please contact Kogan Page
For enquiries about professional speaking or other engagements, please contact Andrew Pullman or Paul Aldrich

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, The Investment Association
Takes us on a comprehensive and engaging journey through what it takes to run a successful organization when the surrounding context is changing fast. The narrative combines deep insight from experienced business leaders, consultants and academics together with case studies from a range of employers. An essential guide for all current and aspiring leaders of people.

Outplacement – What steps can a company take to help people?


Last week’s news bulletins played footage of Deutsche Bank employees leaving their offices carrying cardboard boxes probably elicited a variety of feelings in viewers. Perhaps some are envisaging themselves in the departing employees’ shoes. Perhaps some have been there. Others will be thinking of employees they have had to let go and the responsibility they bear to their current employees.

We have already looked at why it is important and beneficial for employers to invest in their people at all stages during the employment cycle. But what does that look like in practice?

Investing in departing employees doesn’t mean cheaply discarding them.

When asking for our proposal for an outplacement assignment, one executive said: “We want to give the employees we let go a soft landing, but we don’t want to put too much into it.” When asked what he meant, he said, “Is there some online way to do this cheaply?”

There are many such ways, and in some cases they are entirely appropriate. There will be times when the job market is flourishing or when the employee in question is incredibly self-sufficient, has a battery of sought-after skills, and perhaps has youth on their side.

For senior executives with long service, or during times when the job market is a difficult or uncertain place to navigate, a deeper level of support may be required. In order to manage departures positively and ensure a successful ongoing relationship, a cheaper online option is not sufficient.

Think about what action you need to take and when.

PRS are available at every stage and our service doesn’t start when the severance agreement is drawn up. We will talk to you earlier on before any decisions have been taken and can work with you and support your in-house team during any initial consultation process. If you have a limited HR resource you may want to consider this option.

When you decide to meet us after a decision has been made we will help you decide exactly what level of support you want to give to each departing employee. We are flexible in our choice of programmes. One HR Manager who hired us for outplacement said: “I want a mix of online, on-the-phone and in-person connections. These people need real support and specific advice, not just webinars and tutorials.”

A bespoke and appropriate programme for each individual.

Overall we believe that regardless of the mode of delivery of services for exiting employees, companies should not make it about severing a relationship but rather view it as investing in an ongoing relationship. We don’t make it complicated and always tailor our level of programme to your budget and the needs of the departing employee.

For more information about our tailored Outplacement services, please contact PRS here.

Brexit uncertainty and the current job market

Festival over uncertain future
Photo credit: SWNS:South West News Service

‘All we know is that we don’t know’ sang Oasis back in the 1990s. An apt summation of our current times. Many aspects of 90’s culture are experiencing a revival in 2019, though it’s not clear if there is a Masterplan for Brexit. Uncertainty looms large.

As Liam Gallagher’s Glastonbury set ends and festival goers, whose average age is 39 (the second most highly represented age group is 41–50 year olds) travel home, many are returning to jobs which may well not feel as secure as they did three years ago. Manufacturing industries fill the headlines, but the shadow cast by the mysterious monolith of Brexit falls across all sectors.

Though employment in Britain reached a record high of 32.75 million in April, growth has slowed in the months since. What is significant though is the nature of the employment. Uncertainty about the future dissuades employers from making long term investments in people. Until the future starts to become clear, firms are looking to meet immediate demands with short-term hires.

This short-term approach means more people are changing jobs more frequently. This is coupled with a second important difference. Though slowed, the employment figures taken from the Office of National Statistics still seem to defy Brexit fears. However, what has changed significantly in 2019 is the number of vacancies. Though generally increasing since 2012, since January the number of available jobs fell from 861,000 to 837,000.

In short, Brexit has brought particular uncertainty to employers and those in the job market. In the current environment many of your departing employees may be highly skilled but facing a fiercely competitive job market without any knowledge of how or where to market themselves.

• Most will not know that up to 80% of jobs are unadvertised.
• Only 20% are likely to be proactive on Linkedin.
• Those with a strong business network may not be adept at working it.
• Some will be the victim of ageism and need to look at other options.
• Many will regard redundancy as an opportunity to explore new avenues including making a career change but not sure of their options.
• A few will want to start a new business or develop a portfolio career.

PRS has many years of knowledge of working with people during uncertain times and managing every one of the situations above.
Some organisations do not choose to invest in outplacement. Today there are many automated choices to land a job and to help with job search or outplacement. However, the process can be hard and time consuming for the employee and dealing with a layoff can often be emotionally draining, financially difficult and hard on anyone at any level.

The human approach provided by PRS is particularly valuable in difficult times. Automation can be a great route to a new job for those who already have their own masterplan. However, many people just don’t know what their next step should be. In an environment of ambiguity and anxiety, robots can offer little comfort or guidance.

Departing employees will be your brand ambassadors whether you want them to be or not, so quality providing outplacement should always be a priority. In these days of uncertainty, providing quality, human support is more important than ever.

‘And sail them home with acquiesce
On a ship of hope today
And as they land upon the shore
Tell them not to fear no more’

PRS to Develop Business in US

We are delighted to announce that Gerry Cappelli is joining the PRS team to lead the business in the US. Based in New York, Gerry has a wealth of experience across financial services firms. Together with her coaching and mediation expertise she will be a strong ambassador for PRS. Andrew Pullman, CEO, says “I am pleased that Gerry has joined the team. Having worked with her for over 9 years at Dresdner Kleinwort, I know that she will bring strong leadership to our activities in North America.”

Gerry is an experienced HR executive who is spearheading our initiative to grow our business in the US. She has worked for several leading global financial services firms in a senior leadership capacity. Her expertise includes employee relations, litigation risk management, talent acquisition, talent management, reductions in force, change management and company reorganisations. Gerry is certified as a Conversational Intelligence Coach, an Executive Coach and a Master Career Coach. She is also skilled in administering a number of assessment instruments as MBTI, TKI, ELI and SEIQ. In addition she is qualified as an Arbitrator, Community and Workplace Mediator.

Leadership Lessons from Lions

It’s not coming home. Not yet, anyway. There is a sense of disappointment, but with it, an overwhelming feeling of pride. Despite losing at the semi final, the England Team’s journey to and through the competition has lifted the nation and also shown us some useful lessons about forming and leading a team.

As a relatively young team (and the least experienced in the competition) they have learnt a lot. They have been much more successful than expected. Cynics will point to the opposition they faced and their route to the semi final but anyone who remembers the game against Iceland in 2016 will know that in the past England have been capable of losing to any opposition placed before them.

This time was different. Why were they successful? There are many reasons, but I have identified five key approaches which I believe can be adopted by professions beyond football.

Being well organised and led

The coach, Gareth Southgate, created an environment where the team worked well together. He arranged teambuilding activities with the Royal Marines that helped bond the team. Interestingly, these were conducted without access to mobile phones and social media!

Making good use of specialist coaches

Employing a sport psychologist is nothing new but, in this case, the team identified a key challenge and used the appropriate specialist resources to address it. England are a team who have been accused of not caring sufficiently about international football, especially in comparison with their well-paid club competitions. This was not evident in 2018 and the different ways of working as a team that were introduced delivered a pride and passion not seen for some time.

Creating a safe environment, without traditional rules

Unlike in previous tournaments, family time was encouraged and had the result of keeping the team relaxed and calm. There are many, many people for whom family is the ultimate motivation for work (whether making them proud, providing for them or both). Erecting barriers to work/life balance may seem like a way to encourage focus but can have adverse effects on a team’s performance.

Practicing basic skills

The team focused on set pieces such as free kicks in order to optimise their opportunities. This is invaluable advice for any profession – a successful start-up restaurant will have a small menu of winning dishes rather than pages and pages of choice. For an inexperienced team, focussing on the basics and a few areas where you can really deliver is far more important than variety.

The demise of the prima donnas

The focus of the team was the team rather than individual performance. It could be argued that Neymar’s theatrics cost the Brazilian team their place in the finals, causing annoyed referees to give the benefit of the doubt to the opposition. Off the pitch (and in the workplace) diva behaviour can be equally destructive and was weeded out of the England camp. As Peter Sullivan, the former captain of the Australian Rugby Team said “A champion team will always beat a team of champions”.

Could your team benefit from developing key skills rather than always learning something new? Are you (inadvertently or deliberately) creating a strained environment by limiting people’s family time? How do you deal with the company prima donna? There’s plenty of food for thought. If something here strikes a chord, please feel free to contact PRS and speak with one of our associate leadership coaches.

The England Team were much more successful than expected, but there is no doubt that they will keep working to improve, as all good teams do.

Time’s Up in 2018 – Making work place changes to deal with harassment and intimidation

The start of every New Year is an occasion to make changes – 2018 has some particular opportunities.

The wave of change for those who fear oppression or harassment in the work environment continues to gather pace. Hollywood made a major stand at the Golden Globe awards. As we wait to see whether fine words and matching black outfits can be translated into positive action and a genuine cultural shift, the world is hopeful that real change will follow – in the film industry and beyond.

Recognising there is a problem is a vital first step in solving that problem. It can be a very difficult step, but that doesn’t mean the steps that follow will feel easier. Having acknowledged that culture needs to change across all industries and sectors, we need to enable that change and ready ourselves for the new challenges this will bring.

It is expected that both women and men who experience harassment will be more emboldened to make complaints. So organisations need to be prepared to investigate these situations and deal with them head on. This passive approach of waiting for complaints alone will no longer suffice and organisations need to encourage their staff to step forward if they are treated badly.

Some of our political parties have shown us how not to do it. A lack of investigation and untested allegations have led to suicides by those accused. By mismanaging the situation, it is not just the victims who can suffer. With peoples’ lives and livelihoods at stake, it is not appropriate to wait until a situation arises and ‘learn as you go’ how to manage it.

We have seen the abuse of power in various guises revealed across society – not just in the headline grabbing spheres of showbusiness and politics. It is no longer realistic to think ‘it couldn’t happen where I am’ – all businesses need to be prepared.
2018 may present difficult challenges, we may have to deal with damaged trust and to help damaged people; but our response is the key to unlocking the positive. Each claim and case thoroughly investigated and satisfactorily resolved is a foundation stone for building a new, open and honest work environment. This New Year, real change is possible.

The Weinstein Scandal – protecting against the abuse of power

photo from hollywoodsign.org

The Harvey Weinstein story raises the issue of senior manager bullying and psychopathic type behaviour. The allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment made against him are terrible but, sadly, not shocking. Described as an ‘open secret’, it is behaviour widely assumed to occur in casting couch scenarios but which has been allowed to pass due to a cultural tendency to disbelieve the victim. Only now are the reports, allegations and accusations being treated seriously.

What is shocking is that some reporting on this story would lead you to believe that this behavioural problem is confined to Hollywood. It is very visible in all businesses as well as the film industry. It is all about abusing power. The abuse may take different forms, but it is always bullying. Bullying occurs all through life from school onwards. Bullies need to be rooted out, named and shamed.

It is well documented that there are many sociopaths and psychopaths in business. Key features of these conditions – a lack of empathy, no guilt, no conscience, lack of emotional intelligence, and the manipulation of people – have traditionally aided bullies’ rise to positions of power, from where they are able to hurt more individuals and enjoy a greater degree of protection.

A strong HR function should aim to protect organisations from these types of people. Although successful in the short term, they cause a great deal of direct and collateral damage in the long-term. Firms harbouring them will eventually suffer expensive legal cases, loss of talent, and loss of clients. The greatest damage is that done to the individuals who have suffered at the hands of the bully. Personal damage can be irreparable and irreversible.

Hollywood’s ‘open secret’ – a culture in which people are prepared to look the other way in exchange for continued success – is not confined to Hollywood. Individuals exhibiting the characteristics of a bully are often excused if they are temporarily useful. Euphemistic epithets can sometimes hide serious behavioural issues – he’s ‘a character’, she’s ‘larger than life’. In Hollywood films, the villains arrive onscreen to ominous music. In real life there’s no tell-tale music but there are signs and HR must be vigilant.

A Brexit of sorts? Leadership lessons from Dunkirk

brexit
The United Kingdom is embattled, standing alone against all of Europe and trying to facilitate the best possible exit for its people. Is the 21st century Brexit the equivalent of 1940’s Dunkirk? There may be some comparisons to be made but it is perhaps not the most appropriate or tactful of analogies. However, what we can see in the events of Dunkirk that is of relevance today is truly effective leadership under extreme pressure.

Christopher Nolan’s film is currently retelling what is, to some, a familiar story. A new, younger audience may be learning about the dramatic escape of over 300,000 soldiers for the first time. All stand to learn something. Whether you’re conducting negotiations in Brussels or running your own business here in the UK, there are leadership lessons to be learned from the example of Captain Bill Tennant. As the Naval officer tasked with organising the beach evacuations at Dunkirk, he demonstrated the importance of:

1. Seizing opportunities
2. Innovating
3. Acting with grace and humility

Did the British get lucky at Dunkirk? Yes, to an extent. Hitler’s decision to halt his ground advance and allow Goering to finish off the trapped Allied forces from the air provided a window of opportunity. However, this opportunity could have amounted to very little had it not been fully seized. Up until this point, under 8000 soldiers per day were being evacuated. The opportunity of extra time alone would have only resulted in 45,000 men rescued (Vice-Admiral Ramsay’s initial estimate). Tennant recognised that they had been given a chance to lift many, many more.

Good luck might come your way or you might be given a great opportunity but remember this is just the beginning – what can you do to make the most of this chance?

To fully seize the opportunity of an extra few days, Tennant set about rethinking the evacuation strategy and repurposing the resources at his disposal. The East Mole breakwater – a structure never designed to be a jetty – was converted into a dock. Boats could moor alongside twenty-four hours a day, regardless of tide. Captains who had been waiting in the channel for troops to be ferried out to them could now directly rescue soldiers themselves. Nearly 18,000 men were evacuated the first day it was used; Over 47,000 the day after.

What could you do differently? Do you possess resources you could put to a new, more effective use or are there ways you could involve members of your team more directly?

The world remembers ‘the little ships’. Quite rightly, the civilians who risked everything to do their part and take their small vessels into a warzone and onto the beaches are the most recognisable image of the operation. However, of the 300,000 eventually rescued from Dunkirk, over 70% owed their escape to Tennant’s idea of using the mole. He was a Royal Navy officer though – he was doing his duty. The civilians were a small part of the operation but they were doing something extraordinary.

Your part in a great success may not always be obvious. Hopefully this doesn’t bother you – personal ambition shouldn’t come before the team’s result. Your initiative and innovation may be at the heart of a big win but if members of your team have performed exceptionally it is right that they receive the recognition.

The British see the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 as a heroic success, in the face of potential disaster; the Germans viewed it as the final victory of its Continental European conquests; and today the Russian media has said that Dunkirk was in fact all about cowardice. It is all about perspective. I am in no doubt that those days were an incredible feat of human endeavour, and remind us in business today that, actually, anything is possible!