What if Brexit is Brilliant!

Whilst on a call getting to know my new industry friend Kate Temple-Brown, who does wonderful work supporting businesses optimise their Apprenticeship Levy, we talked about the workplace ecosystems that Apprentices ultimately land in when they start work, and how simple interventions to reduce stress by improving environments, conditions, behaviours and treatments, can demonstrably increase initial and ongoing engagement, employer brand affinity, productivity and retention!

Unfortunately some organisations don’t get this quite right, something Kate and I will be working on together with clients, and we continued our conversation surrounding the cost and impact of losing an employee soon after joining, including the wasted up-front investment and effort to attract people in the first place, and the legacy costs.

The discussion got a little deeper as we started comparing the impact of getting it wrong in a more buoyant market where talent becomes scarce! Enter Brexit into the conversation! Everywhere you read there are already concerns about the impact of reduced immigration on attracting talent, and it dawned on me what if there was a double whammy and Brexit actually turns out to be brilliant for UK business creating a spike in the economy?

According to some this could actually become a reality and therefore constitute a major risk to the continuity of business. Reduced immigration combined with a much larger draw on the existing and emerging talent pool could be catastrophic for businesses that cannot attract, satisfy and retain the people they need! A Double Brexit Bombshell in the War for Talent!

I wanted Kate to share her insight on this potential phenomenon; “Many organisations that we speak to have been relying heavily on buying rather than growing talent, particularly in the fast moving digital space. Many companies have specific consultant budgets and the market costs of hiring short term experts in new digital technologies is running out of control. We recommend spending a short amount of time strategically thinking what you will need in the next 18-36 months, then leverage the flexibility and modular nature of the apprenticeship standards to create a relevant, rigorous and transparent career and development pathway.  This will not only prepare your company for the future but also be an employer of choice for the ever decreasing talent pool”.

If HR hasn’t got this on its risk register, and therefore isn’t investing in diverse, emerging and established talent attraction and retention excellence, it might need to add it PDQ. Even if this doesn’t become a reality, it would still be best practice to prioritise this.

If you would like to discuss the potential impact on your business, or any other resourcing, HR technology, employee engagement, retention and wellbeing challenge, I would love to hear from you.

All the very best.

Colin.

Diversity – It’s not a Gender Agenda!

She hopefully won’t mind me saying this but I took my initial learning and inspiration for focusing on diversity and inclusivity throughout my resourcing career from the most amazing Group Head of Diversity, Theresa White of G4S.

Diversity was an automatic element of everything that G4S did whilst I was there, and I remember clearly a leadership diversity focused meeting at Group where Theresa made us all feel comfortable to say whatever came into our heads, as there was some apprehension from us newbies to the subject surrounding inadvertently saying the wrong thing during conversation.

To open our minds to the full diversity experience Theresa instilled in us the notion that ‘Diversity is not a gender agenda’ and that all difference was good and should be celebrated and incorporated at all times.

I was reminded of this during a Facebook conversation this week with some industry chums as I played back an experience I had when I was on an external panel discussion and afterwards someone quipped that the panel wasn’t very diverse.

Yes on the face of things there were three white blokes, who even with the best makeup artist couldn’t look young again, so we fitted the stereotypical pale, stale, male group, however, one was in his seventies, another was gay and I have a mental illness, OCD.

So in reality it was a very diverse panel, but aesthetically, you could understand why we were called out as being the opposite.

A question bounced around my head whilst mowing the lawns this morning and I just had to write it down. So just how diverse are our workforces?

Do we really know what diverse groups our employees enjoy belonging to? Some are quite naturally easy to recognise, but the more private and sensitive, e.g. mental ill health, where many don’t want to disclose, could account for so many more belonging to a diverse group and therefore enriching the real percentage scoring of diversity across the organisation.

And back to the pale, stale, male stereotype. Has anyone else thought that as more and more are comfortable discussing their diverse group membership, especially people with mental ill health (yes I do think this is a diverse group), are people that fall into this category and absolutely no other, ultimately going to fall into a future minority and diverse group that will need to be surrounded by a support and campaign environment, where members are championed for the difference they can still bring to our ultra-diverse world?

Happy Bank Holiday (UK) everyone, and do get in touch if I can support with any of your diverse hiring, or mental health initiatives.

Colin.

When recruiting becomes a complete waste of time, effort and cost!

You’ve got the full support and stakeholdership of the CHRO, AND BEST resourcing leader, strategic workforce planning outcomes, resourcing target operating model, recruitment business partners, researchers, representation at conferences and seminars to share and acquire best practice, employer brand, employee value proposition, talent pools, job descriptions, career site, attraction strategy, digital / social recruiting channel ecosystem, mobile strategy, recruiting CRM, applicant tracking system, recruitment process, hiring manager maturity model, interview strategy, assessment process, offer and screening process, candidate experience, onboarding process, integration with your amazing core HR technology solutions, and everything else your optimum resourcing strategy includes to hire the very best people, which collectively costs you £millions per annum!

But some great people still don’t apply, and some of the people you recruit leave almost immediately, or stay and don’t achieve 100% productivity before leaving! Why?

I gave 100+ talent leaders at Talent Leaders Connect the answer yesterday, when I highlighted that sub-optimal working conditions, environments, relationships and behaviours, created by the existence of unhealthy levels of workplace and workforce stress, can undo all the sensational work they, and their supply chains, are all doing to bring the very best emerging talent to their organisations!


I use the example with Mo Farah and Usain Bolt!

With the right contacts, reasons, message, approach and offer, you could get one, or both, of them to run a race for you.

Ask them to run it on an Olympic grade track, at the optimum altitude, with the latest sports and footwear, in perfect running weather conditions, and they will deliver for you.

Ask them to run through a field, two feet deep in squishy mud, in the pouring rain, in loose welly boots, with a heavy and uncomfortable rucksack on, and they will of course be sub-optimal, or may even decline to attempt it.

Oh, and they will tell their network about the situation, so you’ll never be able to attract an elite athlete into conversation again.

So if your organisation suffers from unhealthy levels of workplace and workforce stress, most of which is employer demand, process and people driven, expect the very best people not to want to join you, not to perform if they do join you, and especially with regard to emerging talent, leave you quite quickly because they can!

I’ve specialised in attracting best people to organisations for 20+ years, and have strengthened and expanded my interest and capability in the last two years to incorporate how best to attract, optimise and retain them, by treating and evolving the business, not the people you have just hired.

It’s now possible to accurately diagnose, remedy and prevent problematic stress in the business, so if you are worried that some of your time, effort and/or budget is being wasted because you are landing people into a sub-optimal workplace, plus you are experiencing productivity, risk and culture challenges, please feel free to contact me.

I can optimise your resourcing investment, ensure the best people stick and demonstrably increase people and business performance.

Colin.

Never ask what the best Resourcing or HR Technology is

If someone tries to answer this or a similar question immediately after being asked it, run to the hills.

Because it’s the equivalent of asking a doctor to diagnose a patients’ illness from a picture of them in a grainy holiday snap from distance!

There are so many things that affect the answer, for various reasons. Here are just a few of them and if you want the reasons, let’s chat.

  • What type of business are you?
  • Is the business buoyant or in distress?
  • How is the business structured?
  • How is the business perceived by the outside world?
  • What are the business, resourcing and people objectives?
  • What is the DNA of your existing people?
  • What are your ongoing Talent needs?
  • Where does the business truly sit on diversity?
  • What is your current Resourcing and HR Technology stack?
  • What is your current approach to business, IT, data privacy and reputational risk?
  • Who is going to embrace change and who is going to resist?
  • What is the current level of internal capability to change?
  • ……. my list goes on……

As the ex-Group Head of Resourcing and HR Systems for the worlds second largest private employer, “What is the best Resourcing or HR Technology” is the question I get asked most, and you can now imagine the construct of my polite response. You may have already had one from me!

Businesses get the technology they ask for. If questions are not asked and adequately explored it’s no surprise the downstream conversations amongst the user base are negative and critical. Yes that could mean a failed project.

If you want to get the best and right answer for your business I’m currently available to support.

If you want to ask me “what the best Resourcing or HR Technology is”, expect a polite response from the hills somewhere as I will be running at pace!

All the very best.

Colin.

How I would have approached GDPR

I’m fascinated by the GDPR debate, where some are suggesting recruitment and HR functions need to assume full responsibility and become experts, and others are suggesting there’s too much hype surrounding the subject.

So I wanted to share how I would have approached it if I was still the Group Head of Resourcing and HR Systems for the world’s second largest private employer, just in case it supports the conversation.

As soon as I had learned about GDPR legislation I would have walked out of my office, turned right, walked approximately 30 paces into Group Legal, knocked on the door of the Group Legal Counsel responsible for global data protection legislation for the entire organisation, and I would have asked her for her timescales for being able to brief me on what I needed to know and learn about it, and evolve and change across my areas of responsibility.

She would probably then tell me that she was still in the process of assessing the impact and specific risk to the organisation as a whole, which when finished would trigger the production of a bespoke set of aligned guidelines and critical activities for the organisation, backed up by one to one support from Group Legal to help manage any implications and changes across all functions.

I would have then gone back to my team, briefed them, then carried on delivering the things I was ultimately responsible for. Over the following months I would have continued to take my lead from her, the guardian and expert of best practice data protection legislation from within my organisation.

Granted, yes, I would have needed a healthy level of understanding of GDPR, which would have grown over time, driven by Group Legal, but I wouldn’t have needed to be educated and trained to the level of a person with ultimate responsibility, unless of course I had ultimate responsibility.

It’s everyone responsibility to know about GPPR and support the implementation of the correct systems and procedures, but it’s probably just one person’s responsibility to own it, and if that’s not you, then I would leave it to them to guide and educate you!

All the very best.

Colin.

I just wish I had done it earlier!

Old news now, but you know I ‘opened up’ about my life with OCD in August, and that I eventually took the fight to it and seized a healthy control over it (most of the time).

I wanted to share what ‘opening up’ has done to, and for me, because doing so was something I feared so much, for all the usual stigma associated reasons, but quite honestly shouldn’t have with the benefit of hindsight.

I hope the following might help others in their thinking as to whether or not to ‘open up’ themselves.

First of all I can categorically confirm that I am not alone! Since ‘opening up’ so many known and unknown people have spoken to me privately about their experience of mental difference and challenge.

As a consequence a tremendous amount of two-way good feeling, intention and compassion has been shared, which in itself has made us all feel good, supported and a little bit free’er (if the word exists)!

It has also motivated me to speak more and more about my personal experience, which seems to be encouraging more to do the same. What a brilliant outcome and a great step towards increased acceptance, understanding, support and most importantly, people and businesses recognising that mental difference can be harnessed to support doing even better business!

Secondly, I have been asked by some to help them tackle their personal challenges by intimately sharing how I took the fight to my illness, what my coping and containment strategies are and how I have developed a pragmatism about my OCD.

I cannot begin to describe how rewarding it is to help others combat the symptoms of their illnesses and support them to feel better about life. This again is a joint learning exercise because combating OCD is different to combating, for example, depression, however, there are some demonstrable similarities and cross overs. By sharing how we approach our own situations and challenges it enables us to grow and tweak our weaponry, which is tremendously powerful for all.

Finally speaking about my USP, AKA my mental difference, which has given me a different and sometimes enhanced skill set and capability, has surprisingly opened a new world of professional opportunities for me.

I happily and freely speak to customers and potential customers about why I am a good problem solver. It’s because I have been solving irrational catastrophic situations in my head for 30+ years, which has subsequently trained and continually exercised my brain to solve rational problems, such as creating optimum resourcing strategies and methodologies, and automating global HR functions, including; innovating new HR technologies.

I have had new event speaking opportunities on a completely different subject; mental difference in business, which include; Roffey Park Institute’s 70th anniversary wellbeing seminar, DRIVE at the House of Lords with the amazing and inspirational Raj Tulsiani and chairing regular Corporate Wellness Innovation Forum meetings.

I have also developed the HERO Mental Health Readiness Model, which supports employers to increase their entire workforce’s productivity, and have a rapidly growing list of companies that are engaging with me to present to, and consult with, them!

So here was something I thought would potentially label me, hold me back and inhibit my career. On the contrary, it has taken my career to a whole new level and forged stronger relationships with most I know, new relationships with people I didn’t and given me the opportunity to help others individually or en masse via supporting their employers.

So I’m not going to beat myself up about why I took so long to ‘open up’ (that’s me being pragmatic again), I’m going to continue to embrace and celebrate my difference, use it to support others and hopefully encourage them to ‘open up’ as well, and maybe, just maybe, we will remove the stigma associated with mental difference, and all diverse differences to that matter, together.

Let’s make 2017 the year when difference becomes the driving force for better living, relationships and business outcomes.

All the best.

Colin.

CareerCore Launches in 24 Hours – World’s Most Powerful Career Centre and Employee Experience Engine

In just 24 hours Big Idea Talent launches the world’s most powerful career centre and employee experience solution, where digital marketing meets HR, and those that want to lead the field in best people attraction and engagement will finally be able to do so!

Some of the world’s most innovative corporate employers are joining Mark, Chris and me to debate attraction in the digital world and witness the big reveal.

It’s going to be a great event and will change the way employers think about jobs, candidates, resourcing and engagement strategies.

The event is ready to go and all seats are full, but I’m sure we could squeeze one or two more in that want their organisation to be one of the first to energise its attraction and engagement strategies, and the communications it has with its employees throughout the employee lifecycle.

Email me on colin.minto@bigideatalent.com as soon as possible if you want to know more.

Colin.

Just realised again that I’ve come a very, very long way!

Just had a realisation moment (again) that I’ve come a very, very long way!

I was given an emergency aisle seat for my flight today, 15A, by the window. When we were up it crossed my mind that if I pulled the emergency exit handle I could create a catastrophic event.

I’ve panicked about this many times before, especially as a kid! Psychiatrists would confirm that most people would have the same thought but it wouldn’t even register! I however got a pang of anxiety as my brain tried to convince me it was a very real and probable situation; an obsession.

Then the compulsion tried to set in! The need to prove to myself I didn’t actually want to do this and to demonstrate I am not a bad person. The urge to play over scenarios in my head to give me some comfort and proof. A symptom of my mental difference and something historically I have spent hours, if not days, ruminating about.

This all happened in a matter of micro seconds and Guess what? I just laughed it off, I recognised it was just my human difference kicking in and it wasn’t something I needed to engage in. I kicked it into touch and just carried on with what I was doing, which was proof reading a business plan. I didn’t need to move from my seat as a ‘just in case’, which I would have wanted to do many years ago.

I thought to myself (again); blimey I’ve come along way! So here it is, real-time proof that you can control mental challenges and play the cause at its own game. In my case targeting my rational brain to combat my irrational brain and win.

I personally believe this is a very powerful skill I have developed, which is why I am great in a business related crisis situation. A technology hack or contract going south is a walk in the park compared to the things an OCD brain gets one thinking about and trying to solve.

My mental difference is my USP! Thank you OCD!

Pah, ‘normal’ is so last week!

The definition of ‘normal’ in the Oxford English Dictionary is – Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected:

In the Cambridge English Dictionary it’s – Ordinary or usual; the same as would be expected:

So what are we really saying here; ‘samey’ perhaps!

And come on, there really is no such thing as normal! We are all have human, and everyone has human issues and challenges…..

And I don’t know if you agree (perhaps you will comment later) but don’t we get taught the importance of being different at various stages in our lives? In fact aren’t we encouraged to be different from a young age?

For example, when I started my career in sales I was exposed to the phrase ‘unique selling proposition’ (USP). The Wikipedia definition of USP is – A factor that a business has that makes it different and or better than others out there:

Another example would be the advice we give to people writing or updating their CV! You know nougats of insight like; what makes you stand out from the rest, what difference do you bring to the party, how do you do things differently to achieve better outcomes?

For all the X Factor fans out there, the judges, and money makers behind the scenes, are looking for the next big thing or things, different or better than what’s already out there.

Finally, in sports, there is a continued drive to improve performance and outcomes by doing things differently! Different fitness and eating regimes, different innovations in equipment, different mental approaches!

I’m sorry, but surely this shows that being different is critical, and difference, is the difference between achieving improved outcomes, or the same old same old, the usual, the ‘to be expected’!

I was on the panel session at the brilliant @RoffeyPark Institute’s 70th anniversary forum on wellbeing event last week, chaired by the exceptional @SimonFanshawe OBE, and I spoke openly about achieving as a consequence of my mental difference. As the discussion progressed I talked about businesses needing to focus on skills and capability alone, and that there is no need for labelling based on difference if viewed through the right lens!

Companies have business plans designed to achieve their purpose and satisfy their stakeholders. HR then has the people plan to achieve the people element of the business plan. Finally, resourcing has the resourcing plan, to support the achievement of the people plan.

This resourcing plan and the people plan invariably hold the blueprint of the skills and capabilities needed throughout the end to end workforce to achieve the business plan. It will not and should not go into any granularity about what that workforce should look and sound like, nor include anything personal.

So breaking it down to this level of simplicity, businesses should easily be able to articulate what skills and capabilities are needed and then do the harder bit which is to go out and get these. Race, gender, sexuality, age, health etc. just don’t come into it.

Right, we need a skill and/or capability! Do you possess it to the level we need? Yes, then you make the shortlist. Simple simple stuff.

And going back to my opening, surely the people you ideally want to acquire these skills and capabilities from are predominantly those that can provide it differently and better than others, e.g. leveraging their difference!

I think I might be part of the problem in due course by championing a diversity label, namely mental health, or hidden disability. I don’t think it will be too long, at least I hope it won’t be too long, until I simply talk about having a human difference, instead of a mental one.

My mental; oops sorry, human difference has helped me bring innovation and value to all of my previous employers, and more recently clients, who have all been delighted. I’m therefore happy that I’m not normal because it’s so last week and my difference is my competitive advantage, my USP.

What’s yours?

Resilience – That’s twice now!!!

My wonderful recent meeting with Charles Walker OBE MP at Parliament, has just converged with my speaking and chairing engagement at Roffey Park Institute’s 70th anniversary event tomorrow, where I will give the HERO Mental Health Readiness Model a great airing.

Charles said he loved the model and that it should evolve further and incorporate resilience as a follow up! Roffey Park Institute, one of the world’s renowned leadership institutes, has produced the Resilience Capability Index (RCI) – http://www.roffeypark.com/resilience-capability-index. That’s twice now!

The world is changing faster than ever and I personally think we have crossed the rubicon where change in general happens faster than our ability to adapt. Think about the political changes in the world lately. Relatively overnight, we have seen demonstrable change in the UK and USA political landscape, with what looks like more examples to follow (eek).

Then look at our reaction to it. It’s one of 50% resistance and a lack of desire to accept it and adapt. It’s also one of 50% anger and demonstration. You still see examples of this every day across traditional and social media. The debate rages on!

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or wrong, but I predict before mainstream acceptance has happened to these seismic events (whatever that looks like) something massive and related would have changed again. The pace of change in life is just too fast. Look at tech as well! No sooner have you bought something, version (OMG my version is now old) 2 comes along! We just gotta accept more and more change because you blink and you miss the next one.

The continued and seemingly elevating outcry following change, and compulsion to get involved in the debate (quietly points the finger at social media here) by many is a huge source of distraction and potentially stress. That’s not good for personal or professional lives or human and business productivity!

So my point is this. If events like ‘Brump’, that’s Brexit and Trump combined, were accepted quicker by those/us that voted against them, would they/we be less distracted, less compelled to argue against it and less stressed.

In my own world I say yes. My immediate reaction to my initial reaction to these things, to keep my stress levels in check, is to try to accept things as quickly as possible and move on. Not easy but it’s something I am now conditioned to do because the alternative feeds my illness. Does that then make me more resilient than others? If so another positive for having OCD!

Finally, resilience must therefore be a state of mind; well for me it is. I consciously practice resilience as one of my remedies, along with exercise, distraction, CBT, not drinking alcohol (that’s a lie sorry) and by living as healthily as possible. You can apply a reaction to a reaction, and if its a positive to counter a negative, e.g. being resilient, eventually it becomes habitual. Arguably a good habit to acquire! I have a few.

All the best.

Colin – +44 (0)7887 480142 – colin.minto@bigideatalent.com – Join the Mental Health in Business Group