An unconference experience

What happens when we connect and discuss our challenges and opportunities in a place where there’s safety, freedom and no judgement.

A bit of a different post for me today. Sharing my summary from co-hosting an Unconference in Leicester just over a week ago for LnDConnect.

The Curve Theatre, Leicester with clear blue sky background
Image by Mark Gilroy

It was a beautiful sunny day at the Unconference last week and the Curve was a brilliant venue for us! Thank you to Mark Gilroy for his amazing photography beginning with this gorgeous one of the venue. read more

Mapping the Employee Experience : #EX at #LearnConnectDo

I’m delighted to host this post from Lara Plaxton who’s co-facilitating the next Learn > Connect > Do on 14th June with Garry Turner.

Employee Experience is a new concept in the world of work so if you want to be ahead of the game and learn more: read on and book on!

Over to Lara…

In preparation for this month’s Learn > Connect > Do session, it came to light that whilst there’s lots of information out there on Employee Experience, it’s often quite theoretical and not practical. In our session, we will run an interactive workshop where we’ll consider the employee experience, map out journeys, create personas and run a design-thinking exercise to find solutions to some of the pain points in your workplaces. So ahead of this, we thought we’d share some thoughts on how to understand employee experience better through mapping journeys.

Firstly, before we approach employee experience its important to point out that this should not be viewed in isolation. Systems thinking is an approach to ‘seeing’ things in a holistic way to understand how everything is connected and interdependent on each other within a system. If we view an organisation as a system, then we start to become interested in the various components that make up that system – the stakeholders, processes, technology etc. It makes us think differently. A useful model in this respect is the Service Profit Chain Model:


https://hbr.org/2008/07/putting-the-service-profit-chain-to-work

This annotated version of the chain highlights both employee and customer satisfaction as the focus areas of both Employee and Customer Experience because these are the points where an emotional response is experienced and so these are critical components in the chain.  Their connection and interdependency with each other means they mustn’t be designed in isolation or without consideration of how they impact each other.

If you fundamentally believe in this chain as a route to success then you’re off to a strong start when it comes to Employee Experience.

Employee Experience is often confused with employee engagement or as an extension of the employee lifecycle but Employee Experience has User Experience at its core and, with the influence of Customer Experience which established itself first, we can define Employee Experience as the emotional connection between employees and the organisation from the first touchpoint with an organisation – before even thinking of applying for a role – through to the post-employment relationship. Employee Engagement on the other hand is a symptom of what your Employee Experience is like.

So, how do you go about understanding the Employee Experience in your organisation? There are various methods ranging from mapping journeys to developing personas through to analysing the emotional connection at every interaction. This includes human, digital, environmental, cultural and structural interactions where ‘moments of truth’ may occur or ‘pain points’ are highlighted that allow for deeper understanding of how someone feels at that point given their critical nature.

Here is an example of a Customer Experience journey which represents a useful way of documenting the various touchpoints, how the user thinks and feels at that point through to ideas for improvement.


https://www.visual-paradigm.com/guide/customer-experience/what-is-customer-journey-mapping/

This example is useful because it doesn’t just map out the touchpoints, it also includes how people think and feel which can be understood  through feedback surveys but also through behavioural analytics.  This insight then then forms the basis for idea generation – best done through collaboration from various departments and stakeholders to create potential solutions.

It can be helpful to map out the full employee journey at a high-level and it is also important to break this down into specific activities / transactions such as recruitment, onboarding, training etc so you can analyse the emotional responses of users as they go through these experiences. That specific activity must then be viewed within the context of the whole experience – and then within the wider system so you can consider how it might impact the Customer Experience. Constantly diving down into the detail and coming back up to the macro view to test the interdependencies and connections.

Developing personas (creating a fictional character of a ‘type’ of user) is a valuable tool in appreciating the various perspectives of an experience and to differentiate or personalise the experience for different users.

With the theory and context from this post as a backdrop, we’re looking forward to getting into the practical realities of the Employee Experiences of the Learn > Connect > Do delegates’ workplaces, using these mapping exercises and running a mini-hack to create innovative solutions.  we can’t wait!

If you’ve not already, book here!  And we look forward to seeing you there!!.

 

Self Care for People Professionals @ Learn > Connect > Do

Today’s post is brought to you by Janice Keyes.  Janice is a wonderful, dedicated HR professional and coach who’s bringing her self care expertise (learned through her own challenges with bringing balance to life!) to Learn > Connect > Do next Thursday (15th March).  All profits from these events go to Twenty:Twenty and when you join us you

LEARN new things,

CONNECT with like minded people,

and then go DO something different to make work better!

We’re excited that PKF Cooper Parry are hosting the event at their amazing East Mids offices (check out the image at the end!) and we’d love to see you there.  Click here if you already know you want to book.  And read on if you’d like to know more…..

P.S. Please make sure you check out the great boat metaphor for self care at the end!

Now, over to Janice…..

I have a little self-care graphic that I keep visible by my desk. It’s a simple hand-drawn graphic that serves as a reminder on those busy days of the things that keep me healthy. It prompts a bit of structure around my self-care and reminds me to keep it high on my agenda. And as you’d expect, the more I engage with activities that nourish my soul, the more rewards I reap. Not only in that short-term joyous time of connection with whatever it is I’m doing but for the long-term too as I continually reinforce those behaviours. Reminding my brain and body what it feels like to be nourished with those feel-good vibes on a regular basis.

And why am I telling you this?

Because hands up! I haven’t always been great at self-care. I know that self-care can be difficult. And so if, by any chance, I can enable your journey to greater self-care to be a little less time-consuming than my own then I’m happy to share my ideas.

So what makes self-care so difficult in the first place?

We live in a forever changing world, where we’re moving at a pace we, perhaps as humans, have never moved at before, constantly driving forward to keep up, take new stuff in and change. Our minds are constantly stimulated. Our mental health continually pushed to its limit whilst we strive to live our lives to their fullest. And with that we are continually challenged to keep everything in check (work and life) AND to deal with whatever has cropped up.

So its no wonder when we live in the world we do that life or work can sometimes ‘get in the way’ and can knock your self-care routine off-balance.

But here’s the thing…

There is ALWAYS going to be something that will get in the way. The experience of life is not one that is always in balance as much as we’d like it to be.

And these days we perhaps find that it’s unusual to get a ‘steady’ moment in work or in life… That is, unless we create one ourselves!

And so to create one we will….

On Thursday 16th March, I’ll be facilitating a session on self-care at the quarterly LearnConnectDo gathering. Learn > Connect > Do was founded by Helen Amery who is passionate about making work better. So if you care about making work better too by being better connected to your own self-care and if you have ‘people’ as the core focus of your work : HR, L&D, OD, coaching, leadership and management, then we’d love to have you along.

I appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which meeting, activity or event is the most important for you to attend in any day. It seems we’re forever prioritising. But let’s not forget that “Learning self-care is like building your own lifeboat, plank by plank. Once you’ve got your boat, you’ll still be rocked by the waves of life, but you’ll have a feeling of safety, and a stability that means you can pick other people up on your way.” (Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Philllips)

So if you are ready to build the next plank in your own lifeboat to get to that feeling of safety and stability, book on here

We look forward to seeing you!

PKF Cooper Parry Offices, East Mids – this is where we’ll be on the 15th!

 

 

Diversity and Inclusion comes to Learn > Connect > Do

It’s going to be big!! On 30th November Learn > Connect > Do is back with something a bit different. It’s our Christmas event – nice and early to avoid bumping into the partying and quality time with friends and family – and we’re bringing you four – yes four!! – experts to join our learning conversation about Diversity and Inclusion.  If you already know you need this learning jump straight to the booking page on Eventbrite!

(Thanks to Gabriella Driver for sharing this great image from the recent CRF Conference.)

On the back of National Inclusion Week (#NIW2017) last week, and research conducted by PM Insight, this is an essential topic for organisations to engage with. Whether you believe we live in a VUCA world or not, creativity and innovation are essential in work and those qualities will only come through bringing and genuinely including different perspectives and approaches into the workplace’s thinking.

LEARN

So in November we’re inviting four experts to come and share their knowledge and experience on some of the hot topics in the world of Diversity:

> Disadvantaged young people

> LGBT

> Menopause

> Mental Health

Make sure you read about Joanna, Sean, Deborah and Karen at the end of the post.

At Learn > Connect > Do we believe in an adult approach to learning and we like to do things informally so, for this event, the experts will be available around the room much like a conference exhibition hall – but without any hard sell! So you’ll get to choose which experts you spend your time with – whether that’s 1, 2, 3 or all 4 of them. It’ll be about relaxed conversations – learning, asking and exchanging ideas.

CONNECT

But this event isn’t just about gaining knowledge. We’re also going to explore the barriers to diversity – what stops us when it comes to Inclusion. As a species, we’ve been scared of difference in others for many years – just check out this video if you need evidence for that (thanks to Janice Keyes for the vid). And recent events prove this fear is still prevalent all around us. So we’ll be talking about this barrier and any others you encounter, understanding them and sharing ideas together for how to overcome them.

DO

If we keep doing the same things we’ll keep getting the same results. This is a chance for you to choose to do things differently, to make work better.

It’s going to be a bumper event with mince pies and, of course, chocoloate included! And as usual, all profits will be going to TwentyTwenty so they can continue to do their great work. All this for less than £27!

We’d love to see you there!

 

Book here now!

Email me to go on the mailing list for this and future events.

For now, here’s an introduction to our experts…..

Disadvantaged Young People – Joanna Burrows from TwentyTwenty

To represent the perspective of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, Joanna Burrows from TwentyTwenty (Learn > Connect > Do’s charity partner) will be joining us. TwentyTwenty is an award-winning employment support charity specialising in supporting and empowering disadvantaged 11-24 year olds who are disengaged from education or not in education, employment or training (NEET). We break cycles of hopelessness, worklessness and dependency in the most deprived areas of the East Midlands, operating through Lifeskills Centres in Loughborough, Leicester and Derby.

We aim to consistently put the right people, places and opportunities around each young person, to counterbalance some of their persistently difficult home, educational and social experiences. We support young people to develop self-belief and motivation, achieve in education, learn work-ready skills and attitudes and find and keep a good job.

 

LGBT – Sean Russell from Get Out Stay Out

Sean Russell is passionate about LGBT and enabling employment. He’s the founder of the website:

www.getoutstayout.org.uk read more

Why don’t they take responsibility??

A couple of weeks ago it was CIPD NAP – an amazing event on the CIPD calendar! All organised from start to finish by volunteers, all of whom have a huge passion for making work better, and created for a community of generous, friendly, positive and helpfully curious delegates. But no event is perfect. Nothing in life is. And something which wasn’t so perfect on the Friday night prompted a connection for me back into work and a challenge I often hear from leaders…….

Why don’t they take responsibility??

At the gala dinner on Friday night there was some serious squealy feedback from one of the mics. And it went on for quite some time. It was really unpleasant!

In response to that, the majority of the room sat with hands over ears, screwing up their faces, giggling at the ongoing discomfort.

One person (thank you David D’Souza) got up and helped to solve the problem and make it stop (i.e. turn off the mic!).

So why didn’t anybody else do this? Why did we all just sit there in discomfort?

One part of it might have been connected to this fable…..

A man walking down the street encountered folks sitting on their porch and a dog lying on the porch whining and groaning.

He asked the folks why the dog was acting that way . . .

“Because he’s lying on a nail” they replied.

“Why doesn’t he get up?” the man asked.

“Because it’s not hurting bad enough” they replied. . . . . read more

Creating Coaching Cultures : #LearnConnectDo June 17

After a slight delay because of the fabulous #CIPDNAP17 last Friday and Saturday, here’s a peak at what we did at Learn > Connect > Do on Thursday 8th June.

We had a small and perfectly formed group on the day – a great mix of in-house and freelance people, and it was fantastic to have Olivia from Twenty:Twenty there – her first event since we began our partnership this year, and which resulted in some opportunities for Twenty:Twenty to get involved with delegates’ businesses, supporting disadvantaged young people into work 🙂 – hooray!

 

So our topic for June was creating coaching cultures and, after everything that’s been going on recently, our food theme was hearts.

There are two learning parts to the LEARN of Learn > Connect > Do : the topic and the facilitation approach. For facilitation this time we worked as a group round some flipcharts – each flipchart had its own question, a different colour pen and a different location in the room to help with recall of the content afterwards. We had a focused and rich conversation, keeping ourselves to 10 minutes per question so that we could cover all the priority aspects, and which allowed time in pairs at the end for more personalised coaching / mentoring / planning.

Which meetings where you work could benefit from this kind of approach?   Sometimes discussion around a meeting table isn’t what we need.

And so to the topic : creating coaching cultures.

Why would we want a coaching culture? : We created a sense of the kind of organisation that can be created through coaching cultures. A few of the aspects that seemed critical to this discussion were that

  • The organisation can be agile because everyone knows what they’re responsible for and feels confident and empowered to act.
  • Everyone does the job they’re hired to do – there’s clarity of responsibilities, managers and leaders stay in the space they’re intended to occupy by not taking on responsibility for doing the work that really belongs to their team.
  • Being able to listen and ask solution-focused questions is a skill that’s at the foundation of nearly every management conversation – absence, career, performance, disciplinary…. It’s also a skill for talking to customers whether in sales or customer service, and it’s a skill that colleagues can use with each other – and take out of work to their personal lives.
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    #cipdnap17 : It’s all about community

    The CIPD Northern Area Partnership Event is back on 9th and 10th June with a focus this year on Enhancing the Employee Experience.  The thing I love most about NAP is the sense of community it creates, and so the purpose of this post is, yes, to tell you about what I’m up to at NAP this year, and it’s also to tell you about all the many, many ways you can connect with the fantastic HR and L&D community both online and in real life to extend your learning.

    So first, what I’m doing at NAP this year……I’m running a reflection session during the lunchtime fringe on both days – this is to provide time for delegates to pause, process and reflect together on what’s been heard.

    Conferences are a great way to learn because you get so much content in such a short space of time.  And conferences are a dreadful way to learn, because you get so much content in such a short space of time!

    And so the point of these sessions is to prevent you leaving with a head full of stuff and no idea what to do with any of it.  Which can often result in nothing being done at all.

    The sessions will be informal and interactive with delegates listening, asking and sharing in small groups for as long as is useful to them.  Pressure well and truly off!

    If you’re joining on either or both days I really look forward to seeing you there!

    Now to the wider community which, if you’re not tapping into, please please do!  There are so many great, and many free, chances to connect with others in the HR and L&D space to take time to reflect more often.  If we don’t stop to get perspective and think then we’ll keep doing the same stuff and expecting different results.

    So, places you can go for more….. (and please tell me what I’ve missed and I’ll get it added on).

    On Twitter

    #LDNights – Tuesdays at 8pm (from @LnDConnect)

    #HRHour – Thursdays at 8pm (from @HR_Hour)

    #LDInsight – Fridays at 8am (from @LnDConnect)

    Regular-ish Meet-ups

    Connecting HR (@ConnectingHR on Twitter) – usually drinks and chats in nice bars with fellow professionals – now established in Manchester, York, Leeds, Bradford and the North East

    LnD CoWork (#LnDcowork) – for anyone around the L&D space that feels they’d benefit from working in a different environment, with different people – either just to work knowing people are on hand if you want advice, or to get input and ideas, or generally catch up – now established in Manchester and London, Leeds recently launched and Birmingham is on it’s way!  Website here.

    Regular Learning Events

    Learn > Connect > Do – my event! For people pros who care about making work better to share and learn in a fun & informal way with profits going to charity.  It runs quarterly near Leicester.  Next one is 8th June about coaching cultures. Follow me @wildfigsolns or #LearnConnectDo or go to the website here.

    Facilitation Shindig – “A gathering space for change practitioners who facilitate team and group conversations to share ideas, experiences and learning.”  Next one is 6th July with the theme of “Outside”. @Shindiggery1 #facilitationShindig and website here.

    CIPD Annual Conference – check out the fab free fringe sessions Doug Shaw and Meg Peppin run (similar to what I’m doing for NAP)

    Less Regular Learning Events

    LnD Connect Unconferences – where the delegates decide the agenda – no speakers on stage, no sales pitches, just professionals learning together to explore shared challenges.  These mostly run in Manchester and London but sometimes in the Midlands and the York/Leeds area. Follow @LnDConnect for latest news.

    Street Wisdom – using the streets as a source of inspiration – check out @Street_Wisdom or sign up on their website for when the next ones are running.

    Art of Innovation – run by Doug Shaw with more info here

    Meg Peppin is also cooking up something else!  She says to follow her to be the first to hear more…..!

    Calendar of L&D Events

    Check out this great resource from Fiona McBride: an L&D Calendar of events for conferences and things.

     

    And there are lots of general chats and questions asked on Twitter from the broad and varied community on there.

    So much to choose from – why not experiment and give something a try!

     

     

     

    Shifting ideas of leadership

    Last week at the CIPD L&D Show I – not surprisingly – was drawn to a number of sessions that were talking about coaching cultures and developing leaders as coaches.  After day 1 Simon Heath posted his reflections from what he’d heard – and then drawn – and which I shared with this thought…..

     
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    Carnival Time!! How do we make every day a learning day?

    In a couple of months, on 10th and 11th May, the Olympia in London will become home to the CIPD Learning & Development Show.

    It’s a fantastic learning event – whether you go to the Conference sessions, spend your time on the Exhibition floor and in the taster sessions, or talking to fellow delegates – there’s something for everyone!

    This year, there’s a theme about embedding learning into everyday activities: Make every day a learning day! And this post is an invitation to you.

    As part of the blog squad I’m running a blog carnival – an opportunity for anybody to blog around the theme of how we make every day a learning day which I’ll curate at the beginning of May. The point of this is to get everyone’s thinking juices flowing, to get people thinking and working out loud, and help you shape your purpose for going to the event or following #cipdldshow.

    When you go to a conference or exhibition, it’s easy to go, fill your head with a bunch of stuff, fill your bag with a bunch of swag, and leave wondering what you went there for in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, there is much to be gained from the world of serendipity, where you allow things to appear and where you follow your nose in the direction your energy takes you. However there is also much to be gained from having a purpose. Having a reason for going. The ideal is to get a balance between both of these two. Be clear on your purpose and let yourself be led by your energy.

    So, this blog carnival is to help you shape what that purpose is for you. Whether you go to the exhibition, the conference or just follow the backchannel (#cipdldshow) having a purpose will help guide your attention to the areas of greatest benefit to you.

     

    So, what do you need to do?

    🙂 Write a blog post by the end of April:

    Either – Publish it on your own blog site and tell me it’s there – tag me into a tweet or LinkedIn post

    Or – put your post in a word doc and email it to me, then I’ll host you on my blog page

    🙂 Get sharing:

    Share what you’re reading from others so more people can access all the thinking that’s going on

  • Use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or share it internally in your organisation
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