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Creating a Learning Culture, Where Individuals Can Perform Their Best
January 14, 2020
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Why is it important we keep learning?  Whether we like it or not, we are learning every day:  it might be a new way of buying a product or using a phone that has updated technology. All this change and innovation means we need to embrace learning. BY Kirstin Furber

The world we are living in is complex, competitive, fast and busy. In such an environment, it’s critical organisations focus on learning and constantly develop their capability. Many organisations have adapted their learning model from one of traditional classroom teaching to a blended learning approach including face to face presentations, coaching and learning whilst doing. 

These methods embed learning quickly and fit better in busy workdays. There are also some skills we can’t go on a course to learn, especially in digital space, as the work has not been done before and therefore the learning is very much on the job, through trial and error.

With the ability to learn its critical for organisations to remain competitive, adapt and stay ahead of the competition, how do we create a learning environment that supports individuals being their best? With the five characters of human culture as a foundation, I believe companies need to focus on the following five areas:

1. Purpose: Purpose provides organisations with a direction, a mission to get behind, and the opportunity to communicate how each employee’s role contributes to that purpose.  A clear purpose also provides ‘guard rails’ and focus.  When everyone is learning, creating new ideas, and developing as individuals and as a group, it’s easy to get off track. Having a clear purpose that everyone understands and buys into means that ideas can flourish ‘on strategy’ and be translated into action

2. Authentic Leaders: We know leaders are important role models, in everything they do and I have blogged before about the importance of authentic leadership.  Leaders have an opportunity to create an environment of learning through ‘bringing the external in’ and by ensuring the organisation does not get too internalised. Reading and sharing, participating at conferences, bringing speakers in to contribute new ideas and perspective, and by creating an environment of curiosity where it is safe to ask questions, is the perfect environment for learning to take place.  Remembering that they should always be open to learning also enables leaders to learn from their teams. After all, one of the best ways to learn is to have your thinking challenged. It’s important to be open to doing things differently and to update your perspective as the world changes. Authentic and vulnerable leaders who admit they don’t know everything, keep learning. 

3. Telling your story: Learning is about sharing and translating lessons learned into every day operational best practice.  Organisations that provide ways for individuals to share their learning with others both informally, e.g. at team meetings, and formally (through films, podcasts, or via company intranets) allow this translation of learning into the organisation to happen in the most organic way possible. This helps learning embed in the organisation.

4. Diversity: We all learn differently, and its critical organisations taken this into account. Some of us like to read about a subject in-depth, form views and then debate, others like a planned learning approach with many different forms of content: video, discussions, face to face sessions. The reflectors among us can get annoyed with a discussion group full of extroverts’ whist the extroverts are feeling very much in their comfort zone. Companies should enable time for reflection and processing as part of learning as well.  Cultures, physical and mental health, and learnings styles all need to be considered alongside how best to use technology to customise learning so it lands well-enabling people to engage with it for maximum impact.

5. Workplace: Finally, where do you learn best?  Traditional learning used to always be offsite, but with budget cuts and because of people’s productivity suffering if they’re out of the office for long periods of time, this has changed. Training has moved to ‘bite-sized’ learning with different views on timing, ideally no more than 90-minute learning sessions, for individuals to learn best, as outlined in this article.  Some of us like to learn at home, in the cafe, with others, in the office.  With learning being produced, delivered and customised through a variety of learning platforms, opportunities for where and when employees can learn are expanding. Some of us are better at learning in the morning, others in the evening, we should factor that into our learning approach. What is the best period of time to learn? To brainstorm? To make a decision?  To create an environment where employees can learn, all of these factors need to be considered when developing a curriculum.

A learning environment does a number of things: it builds capability to drive performance and helps attract the best because of an attractive development offering. It also helps retain the best because they grow and develop by utilising new found skills in a number of ways, especially when promotions or pay rises aren’t an option.

Creating an environment where it is easy to learn goes a long way to creating an environment where people can be their best selves at work because an environment where everyone can learn is one where everyone can flourish.

Kirstin Furber – Chief People Director of ClearScore

UK Workers Most Likely to Feel Discriminated Against in Europe
June 18, 2019
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New research from ADP ‘The Workforce View in Europe 2019’, reveals that reports of discrimination are highest in the UK where more than a third (38%) of respondents say they have been targeted, compared to a European average of 30%.

It seems young people are also particularly affected, with 49% of UK workers aged 25-34 reporting feeling discriminated against.

The ADP Workforce View in Europe 2019 surveyed over 10,000 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain, delving into how employees feel about issues in the workplace.

Despite numerous high-profile scandals, such as the #MeToo movement, bringing discrimination and workplace harassment into the public eye, the findings indicate it is still an issue in the UK. Read more

AI Careers Unappealing to UK Workers
June 11, 2019
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Government data finds that many are uninterested in a career in AI as BEIS announces plans to boost technology skill.

Only 39% of people are interested in a career in AI with 59% of those aged under 45, according to research by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Kantar Public.

The report, which was released for London Tech Week this week, also found a gender divide over interest in AI jobs. Just 31% of women said they’d be interested compared to 47% of men.

More than 60% of people were excited to see what AI can do, however, and awareness levels of AI in everyday life were found to be more than 60%. Read more

Career Breaks Are the New Norm – So Why Are They Still Stigmatised?

When we think of career breaks, motherhood tends to spring to mind. But there are many other reasons why people take timeImage result for career breaks off work, and getting back in isn’t always easy.

Geoff was 44 when he found himself faced with a difficult decision: to leave his 30-year coal mining career behind him and retrain, or to continue doing what he knew best. He was at this crossroads because his 11-year-old daughter was concerned that he was putting himself in danger each day; she was scared of losing her dad. She didn’t know it, but her fear was very much grounded in reality. Mining has the third highest fatality rate of any industry. It now claims the lives of nine workers on average each year, and that number was even higher when Geoff was working in the industry.

With his daughter’s concerns front of mind, he decided to take a leap of faith and retrain as a teacher. Following two years of accelerated study, he found himself in a position where he was entering a new industry for the first time in over three decades. Read more

100 Years Strong
February 19, 2019
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It’s been 100 years since Superintendent Sofia Stanley led the first all-female Met Women Patrols on the streets of London

Read more

The World’s Most Successful Women Share Their Best Career Advice
December 4, 2017
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In the following article, published by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Fortune the world’s most successful women share their best career advice.

Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women know a thing or two about career success. The 50 businesswomen on the 2017 list have climbed up the ranks of corporates in a wide range of industries—including tech, energy, defence, and consumer goods—to C-level roles. Here’s the advice they have for women who want to follow in their footsteps:

1. Be your authentic self
“When I was being considered for a senior role, I was told on an evaluation to avoid wearing pink because it made me look too ‘girlish’… Indirectly, I was told my femininity was a barrier. Because of my outward appearance, they couldn’t see my internal strength. Regardless, I fought back and got the job. Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to wear pink.”
“No matter where you go, don’t lose who you are.”
“Be clear on who are and what you’re serving with your life. Then, get ready for the world to relentlessly test you on how much you really mean it.”
2. Confidence is key
“Just go for it. Too often, women have a confidence gap that makes them pause and slow down while men dive in and learn as they go. Just go for it!”
Disabled People Face Barriers When Job Hunting
October 11, 2017
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The survey of 4,000 people found that three-quarters (75%) of disabled people have found that their condition has an impact when job hunting, according to research from the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI).

The survey of 4,000 people found that barriers started early; with 53% of respondents stating they had first encountered problems during the application stage. A similar number (54%) reported encountering barriers at multiple stages of the recruitment process.

When asked for examples, a candidate with a hearing impairment specified telephone interviews as being a particular challenge. “I just can’t do them,” they said. “Recruiters constantly wanting to talk to me on the phone is annoying.” A respondent with a visual impairment said that being unable to drive meant that they could not even get an interview in a number of cases.

However, the statistics show an improvement since the RIDI survey in 2015, when 85% of jobseekers polled said that their disability had a negative impact when looking for work. In 2017 14% of those surveyed said their disability did not affect their job hunt at all, but in 2015 this figure stood at just 3%.

Read more

Washington Post Celebrates UK’s Winning Baking Blind
June 30, 2017
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The Washington Post interviewed Penny Melville-Brown, who lost her sight when she was a British Navy commander.

Penny is one of three winners of the first Holman Prize, given by the San Francisco nonprofit Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. There were 202 applicants from 27 countries. The prize is named for James Holman, a 19th-century British navy lieutenant who lost his sight at age 25.

Her project, Baking Blind, will take her around the world to cook with blind and sighted chefs — including stops in China, Australia, Malawi and Virginia Beach, where she hopes to “link up with some navy veterans, especially blind ones, to share stories.” Along the way, she will videotape her encounters and blog about her journey. Her goal, she said, is “to show that blind people and other disabled people have got lots of get-up-and-go and ability, and they are a great resource for the rest of the community, the rest of society, and particularly employers, to use better.”

To Read the Washington Post Article Click Here

Click Here to Keep in Touch with Penny’s Journey

View Penny’s Video Here

Age is Biggest Barrier to Career Progression!
March 15, 2017
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Age is the biggest factor preventing employees from progressing in their career, according to research by ADP.

One in five (20%) British workers cited their age as their biggest career obstacle

The survey of nearly 10,000 European working adults found that one in five (20%) British workers cited their age as their biggest career obstacle. This was followed by favouritism (7%), lack of opportunities with their current employer (7%), qualifications (5%), and family needs (5%).

The issue was found to get worse as workers get older, with 46% of over-55s and 27% of those aged 45 to 54 feeling this way.

Older employees were also less likely to believe their employer cares about their future within the organisation. While 79% of 16- to 24-year-olds think their employer is very interested in their development, just over 60% of those older than 45 feel this way.

Annabel Jones, HR director at ADP UK, said employers should be doing more to support older workers. “If employees feel there are barriers between them and their career goals that are outside of their control it can be disheartening,” she said.

“To have a properly engaged and committed workforce employers must ensure all employees are treated fairly and receive the support and recognition they deserve. Similarly, organisations need to address any generational concerns felt by employees to benefit from the value that diverse age and experience levels bring to the workplace.”