Serious Play on Associate Day


How the pieces fit together

Team building or should it be team, building? The People Risk Solutions Associate Away Day took place on Friday at Eight Members club, Bank. As a virtual company, days like this are a vital opportunity for associates to meet in real life, welcome new faces and take a look at the business as a whole. This day was made more unusual by the large piles of LEGO bricks awaiting the associates.

We were taking part in a dynamic workshop method created by the LEGO Foundation and delivered by Shaun Jones of Prototipe. The workshop is designed to help teams collaborate, think creatively and manage change through building real-time solutions. Participants are empowered to think differently and create innovative solutions to the complex challenges their organisations face everyday.

PRS associates specialise in a wide variety of areas, across the timescale of careers – from graduate recruitment to career transition and outplacement, including HR support, management effectiveness, compliance issues, employee mental health support, and reward. Using LEGO bricks and models as metaphors was an ideal way for specialists from diverse, distinct yet connected disciplines to communicate a company wide vision for the future.

Aesthetics and functionality were not (necessarily) the order of the day. More important was the meaning of the models and the ideas behind them. Using bricks as a tool to express meaning, we were able to gain considerable insight into each others’ specialisms, better understand how the pieces fit together, and create a plan to move forward in a way that will best serve our clients.

Expect to hear more about our plans for the future shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you require support in any area connected with people risk.

Some of our creative efforts from the day:

A Leadership Tale

May Corbyn Nuttall
Once upon a time there were three leaders trying to gain control of their country. One was a confident leader who was so determined to be strong and stable that she told everyone. Unfortunately she did not display other authentic leadership qualities such as some humility, a willingness to engage with her people and believed everything that her advisers told her.

Another leader focused a lot of his energies towards the younger voters. He promised lots of things that would appeal to them like minimum pay, scrapping of university fees and making the environment much more youth friendly. He also came across as authentic and relaxed when talking to voters. He also made good use of social media and communicated effectively.

Finally there was the leader who inherited a political party that was in complete disarray. He also had to try and sell an old set of policies that had already been achieved and there did not seem to be anything new to offer. He definitely came across to voters as someone who had been given a “hospital pass”.

So what was the result. Bizarrely, the person who won the election actually felt that they had lost – mainly because they were expected to win by a massive landslide and did not. The person who came second felt that they had won because they had not been wiped out. Finally, the leader is disarray remained In disarray and not only did not get voted in, but also resigned as leader.

So what is the key leadership lesson? It is all about trust – If all the other factors had remained the same, different levels of trust could have altered the fortunes of all three.

If the first leader had established a strong trust with people beforehand, they may have supported her decision not to engage with the process, maybe even seen it as a sign of superiority. But not enough trust was there. The second leader’s ideas were considered by critics to be too fanciful and optimistic. But many people ignored the negativity because they trusted him. The third leader had to rely on trust. Having been dealt an empty hand, he had to create belief for his followers in a new relevance and purpose. But the trust wasn’t there.

The moral of the tale? If you can persuade your people to put their trust in you then success is much more likely.

When to Stay and When to Go

arsene-wenger-39876

Managing Departure

You are not always in control of your own departure – just ask the miserable crowds stranded at Heathrow and Gatwick following BA’s global IT failure. However, some people’s departure from work is very much within their own control. Some leaders have and will face the prospect of deciding when to step down…or deciding not to.

The question of whether or not Arsene Wenger would stay as manager of Arsenal or leave was raised yet again at the weekend and answered this Wednesday with the signing of a new two-year contract. His story, though, remains an interesting case study.

Another Roll of the Dice

Wenger has been a leader for over 20 years. He has undoubtedly been a successful leader, with more FA Cup wins than any other manager. This weekend’s record 13th Cup win could have been a suitable occasion to ‘go out on a high’, but perhaps it was not ‘high’ enough. Wenger has unfulfilled ambitions – he has never won the Champions League and far rather exit with Arsenal as domestic league champions than cup victors.

Arsenal fans have ambitions too. They want the same successes as he does but, as each year goes by without them, increasing numbers call for a new leader to achieve them. It is a situation familiar to many beyond the world of professional sport – just when do you call it a day? Do you gamble on a last chance at glory and, should you fail, risk denting your hard won reputation from the years before?

Controlling the Agenda

In politics, Tony Blair engineered his departure before the 2010 election. Clouds had gathered surrounding his decision to invade Iraq and his popularity was on the wane. He chose to leave as PM, on his own terms rather than face a likely election defeat. Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, clung on despite falling polls. The knives came out from within her own party and the end of her career was an ignominious one.

Parliaments are intended to last five years and a football season the best part of a year. The unexpected can and does happen, but there is often more time for strategic thought. In business the timescales are often much shorter and success can turn to failure very quickly. When should a successful leader step aside from their business?

Do you manage the agenda and pick your moment, or wait for the wolves to reach the door? Even if you’re not at that stage in your career it’s worth giving some thought as to how you would like to step away. The ‘stay or go’ moment may be thrust upon you by a sudden crisis or success and you may well be grateful that you took the time to think through the pros and cons beforehand.

French Lessons – Macron’s election from a leadership perspective

Macron
The election of Emmanuel Macron as the next French president comes as a relief to many, but presents France, Europe and the world with a series of unknowns. At this stage there is much speculation, in terms of policy at least. However, from a leadership perspective there are some interesting learning points.

Whilst our General Election may be framed as an individual leadership issue due to the Brexit negotiations, it is not designed to be so. The French presidential election, however, is all about the individual and therefore their leadership capability, as well as policies. When the French populace were asked to assess presidential capability, it appears that age and experience were no longer two of the essential leadership qualities required.

France seem to have broken the mould by not only voting in the youngest ever president, but also one who runs the newest political party. Created only a year ago, En Marche is not unlike a start-up company and has a staff with an average age of around 30. As people’s work and home lives are regularly transformed by similar, disruptive companies comprised of young individuals, it is not surprising that they place trust in youth, enthusiasm and drive.
french leadership lessons

The average age of CEOs is declining, and has been since the 1980s. As a leader, Macron seems to be displaying all the modern qualities needed in a social media age. More important than experience is authenticity. In his case, he presents himself as a man of the people, questioning the status quo but not wanting to destroy it. He has pledged to renewal and change; fresh faces and new blood.

Yet this change is likely to be tempered with continuity. Experience is still vital to meeting the demands of government. It will be interesting to see who he appoints as his key lieutenants in government. For all the benefits of youth and enthusiasm, many are expecting Macron’s cabinet to be balanced and anchored by some established political heavyweights. The fact that these individuals may be drawn from across the political spectrum makes the composition of this cabinet particularly intriguing.

Too many experienced old hands and his vision for change may be undermined, too few and his government may be underprepared for the task ahead. Getting the balance right will be crucial for him and reinforces an old lesson for us: That a capable leader is nothing without a capable team to lead.

The Senior Managers Regime – One Year On

smr

The introduction of new rules and responsibilities for banks and insurance companies is a process. Today, we find ourselves in the middle of this process. Now is therefore an apt time to look at the past, the present and the future – how has it worked so far for those affected, what does it mean for your people today and what changes are still to come that you need to prepare them for?

A New Culture

The measures introduced by the FCA in response to the 2013 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards began with the Senior Managers Regime which was implemented in March 2016, have continued with the Certification Regime this March and will be extended next year to include financial institutions beyond banks and insurance companies.

As this new era of personal culpability develops, People Risk Solutions has been providing help and support to organisations and their people as they get to grips with the regime. As the SMR is extended, we have been helping our clients to establish systems and run practical training workshops which will ensure their people can adapt as the changes filter through.

Conduct Rules

Certified Persons now need to be certified as fit, proper and competent by the firm, rather than by the FCA or the PRA, as in the past. It is the responsibility of the company to come up with a process to certify all those who were previously Approved Persons, and are now Certified Persons. Part of the regime means that senior managers and certified persons have to adhere to the five conduct rules as follows:

Rule 1: You must act with integrity
Rule 2: You must act with due skill, care and diligence
Rule 3: You must be open and cooperative with the FCA, the PRA and other regulators
Rule 4: You must pay due regard to the interests of customers and treat them fairly
Rule 5: You must observe proper standards of market conduct

These rules should be familiar, but now a much stronger emphasis is placed on adherence to them. Additionally, Senior Managers have four extra rules applicable to them as well:

SM1: You must take reasonable steps to ensure that the business of the firm for which you are responsible is controlled effectively
SM2: You must take reasonable steps to ensure that the business of the firm for which you are responsible complies with the relevant requirements and standards of the regulatory system
SM3: You must take reasonable steps to ensure that any delegation of your responsibilities is to an appropriate person and that you oversee this effectively
SM4: You must disclose appropriately any information of which the FCA or PRA would reasonably expect notice

With the broadening of the regime, we have been able to expand our workshops introducing these new rules and associated features beyond just Certified Persons to all staff within a firm. This has helped clients reduce the risk of junior staff getting caught out, breaching these rules and incurring disciplinary and regulatory sanctions.

Reception

Reception to the SMR has been broadly positive, which is important given that this process is ongoing and will continue to expand next year. In a Duff & Phelps survey 55% of those polled believed that the new measures had produced a positive effect. Only 15% believed there had been a negative impact.

The 30% of undecided persons have good reason to be withholding judgement. One year on, the FCA are yet announce their first investigation under the SMR and the potential issues are still only hypothetical.

Though the changes should make it easier to identify an individual to be held responsible in the event of an investigation, will a Senior Manager – with his or her reputation and livelihood at stake – fight and resist an investigation with more vigour than a firm, which might be more inclined to settle as quickly as possible in order to return to business?

There are still unknowns and much of the response to the SMR is largely hypothetical. However, with no immediate backlash against the changes or signs of a course change, it is crucial that banks and insurance companies continue to ensure their staff adhere to the rules. With the inclusion of all financial institutions into the regime next year our workshops will continue to run, helping businesses to inform their people and reduce risk.

To find out more about how the SMR could affect you or to arrange training for your staff contact PRS here

Celebrating 10 Years of Client Focussed Excellence of People

Always keep focussed on where you are going but, on occasion, take the time to appreciate where you’ve been.

At People Risk Solutions we marked our 10 year anniversary this September at the Vintners’ Hall.  A Human Resources event wouldn’t be complete without humans and so the hall was filled with our invited guests: Clients, associates and friends of the business.

Managing Director Andrew Pullman gave the gathered crowd a brief history of PRS – from the long term working relationships with the Vintners Livery Company and overseas work in the US, France and Geneva to how the name of People Risk Solutions first came about in a Spa Swimming Pool, ten years ago.

Over that time, Andrew has grown PRS into a team of over 35 highly qualified professional associates, helped numerous clients to implement pragmatic solutions and this decade of success has culminated in the business’ best financial performance to date.

Wine flowed, canapes were served and the band of the Honourable Artillery Company played; but now that the party is over our eyes are firmly on the future.  We’re building on that past success and looking forward.  We are embarking on fresh journeys with old and new clients and one of the latest steps has been the creation of our new website.

Take some time to look around.  Find out more about PRS and how we could support your business.  Explore the services we provide for large and small businesses and, if there is a people solution that you feel you need, please contact us.

All photos by Guy Bell

PRS: Celebrating 10 years of pragmatic Human Resource support

We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years in business in 2016. As this is quite an historic milestone for us, we thought that it would be good to reflect on the journey so far …

2006     

Andrew Pullman is floating in a Spa swimming pool pondering the creation of a brand new HR consultancy business and comes up with the name People Risk Solutions. In September 2006 he sets up the business.

2007     

In February 2007 the inaugural cheque arrives from the very first transaction – the placement of a Payroll Manager!

2008     

PRS starts working for the Vintners Livery Company – our first long term outsourced HR client.

2009     

Our first step into the manufacturing sector, spending 18 months supporting TT electronics plc, just as the financial crisis takes hold!

2010     

By now we are working with 21 clients in a variety of sectors and disciplines.

2011     

Our biggest project to date, setting up the Business Growth Fund plc on behalf of HSBC in 5 short months!

2012     

The Olympics come to town and PRS continues to diversify – Andrew spends the summer in Covent Garden with a firm of Patent Attorneys.

2013     

We are tasked with running a series of culture change workshops for a continental client, in French! Luckily the associate network quickly produces the solution!

2014     

We are now working with 32 different clients in a variety of sectors, many on an ongoing basis.

2015     

A fascinating project involves facilitating the transfer of 100 staff to an oil company in Milford Haven, Wales, managed from Geneva.

2016     

We reach the 10 year point, with the business in good shape and celebrating our best financial performance so far!

Onwards and upwards!

 

In the news: post-Brexit change in a job offer

Brexit has brought with it uncertainty in all sorts of areas, not least recruitment strategy throughout financial services.

If you’ve been looking to land a new job this year, you may have found yourself in a unique position: a post-Brexit change in your job offer.

Andrew wrote an article for Financial News on just this topic, and the full article can be found here.

In the news: promotions without a pay rise

Andrew recently contributed to EFinancial Careers’ piece on accepting promotions that don’t include a pay rise. It’s not always about a salary increase, but about other benefits and long-term career moves.

This question is fascinating for employers, too, and the article includes some food for thought on what employees might look for when taking on more responsibility without a pay rise.

Read the full post from EFinancial Careers here.