As we venture into this new year, none of us can be sure what the future holds. However, with ‘unprecedented’ events becoming commonplace this decade, there are sure to be more than a few surprises in store for employers over the next 12-months.

But the truth about ‘surprises’ is that very often we will have had an idea they were coming our way. So, whether it’s based on the extrapolation of an established trend or simply ‘gut instinct’ based on years’ of experience, we asked the OrgShakers to predict what will be surprising us in 2023.

  • Stephanie Rodriguez believes that many organizations will be wrong-footed by the increase in employees putting boundaries around their working hours. A significant proportion of business leaders and front-line managers still cling to the belief that staff ‘prove’ themselves by how long they work and their ability to always be available. With the rising popularity of remote working, it has become even more difficult to adhere to normal working hours due to the ability to work whenever from wherever. And so 2023 is going to see the misnomer that is ‘quiet quitting’ actually becoming a necessary step for the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Learning to navigate this new attitude towards work is going to be a new challenge in the coming twelve months.
  • Therese Procter believes that businesses may falter due to organizational paralysis. Quite simply, the past 2-3 years have been so overwhelming that many leaders are struggling to identify a way forward. Therefore, she believes that we are going to see many more organizations reaching out to consultancies about people trends and how to navigate through difficult times. In addition, 2023 is the year of power skills for those in charge – she believes there is going to be a surge of leaders developing their emotional intelligence and empathetic skills, as this will help them to really understand the evolving needs of their team.
  • Amanda Holland believes that leaders may be surprised by the increasing importance their employees place on ‘making a difference’. The social agenda has been brought to the forefront in 2022, and now many people want to work somewhere that they believe reflects their values. Allowing employees to play their part in driving the social impact of the organization could enhance recruitment and retention result and accelerate collaboration and innovation in the workplace. She also believes there is going to be a rise in demand for remote work in the metaverse, as people seek a more realistic human connection in a virtual space.
  • Sayid Hussein agrees that there is a greater focus on the digital employee experience, adding that this may also accelerate the adoption of the four-day working week. 100 UK companies have already signed up for a permanent four-day week which he believes will act as a catalyst to propel this idea forward. Firms will, however, need guidance in navigating this new way of work.
  • Pamela Kingsland predicts that a surprise employers may encounter in the coming year is the rise of individualisation in corporate culture. The demand for flexible work schedules, tailored rewards and benefits, and personal development plans will continue to rise, as well as the emerging concept of individualised wellness. This would be data driven, and focus on people having customized gut biome treatments, individualised vitamins, and tailored exercises to a person’s specific metabolism, as well as neurological fingerprinting. Bodily health and brain health will play a big part in optimizing people to their full potential, not just as workers but as human beings.
  • And finally, one of the biggest surprises that Alisa Cardenas believes employers may see is the establishment of white-collar trade unions. There has been a significant rise in employee consciousness as we have emerged from lockdown. People have become more inclined to question the five-day, nine-to-five structure. Remote and hybrid work has introduced a new type of flexibility and being faced with a pandemic has caused a mass recalibration of what people value. We may see this begin to emerge through new unions being established in the corporate sectors.

What we do know for certain is that 2022 brought with it many unexpected surprises that had a great effect on the working world, and so as we venture into 2023, OrgShakers are ready to help employers optimize every opportunity that comes their way. To get in touch with us about your people strategy or organization dynamics, head over here.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

2022 was yet another memorable addition to the 21st century’s ‘roaring twenties’.  

With the working world still adapting to the changes that the pandemic brought, as well as the rise of the metaverse and the cost-of-living crisis, there are a lot of things that employers, upon reflection, may want to leave in the past so that they can focus on the new year – and new opportunities – that lay ahead.  

The OrgShakers team, therefore, have put together a list of thoughts that we think organizations should leave in 2022 in order to propel them upwards in the year to come:  

  • Amanda Holland believes that employers need to leave behind the idea of returning to how things used to be pre-COVID. Executives need to shift their mindset from treading water until things ‘return to normal’ to learning how to thrive in the ‘new normal’. The needs of the workforce have changed significantly, and this needs to be embraced in 2023.  
  • Building on this, Stephanie Rodriguez advises that organizations stop placing an emphasis on material in-office ‘benefits’. Free snacks, ping pong tables and nap pods are all great and fun additions to an office space, but they are also almost a given now. Instead, companies should start placing more emphasis on benefits that truly matter to most people, such as mental health assistance, flexible working, advancement opportunities and improved leave policies. This would more accurately reflect the benefits that people care about and seek out the most.  
  • Therese Procter believes that leaders need to be leaving behind the belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness. After the recently missed penalty in the England V France World Cup game, former international soccer professional Roy Keane made the point that ‘pressure will disturb even the most professional and most calm’, and this is a mindset that leaders should be adopting. The past year has brought with it countless pressures and surprises in the political, economic and social climate, and so looking ahead, executives need to focus on removing this stigma around seeking out a coach or an advisor to help them, as this will only result in making them stronger and more capable.  
  • According to Sayid Hussein, employers need to be leaving behind their apathy to cybersecurity. With 2022 seeing more cyber-attacks than ever, it is important that companies begin to improve their security measures in order to keep their data secure. Provident Bank recently conducted a survey for small businesses which found that only half of companies felt they were fully prepared for an attack. And with phishing being the most popular form of attack this year – 83% of companies said that this was how they were targeted – it is critical that organizations are leaving behind their flippancy to online security and focusing on strengthening it in the coming year.  
  • For Alisa Cardenas, it’s about organizations leaving behind the ambiguity of where their employees are investing their 401K contributions, and instead encouraging staff to invest in their values and the values of the company. Looking at companies like Invest Your Values, leaders can start to nourish their environmental, social and governance agenda by encouraging their teams to invest their money into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that have a more positive environmental and social impact.  
  • And, finally, Pamela Kingsland believes that the way we look at business and capitalism as a whole needs to be left behind, and instead urges business leaders to begin humanising capitalism. As discussed in Hubert Joly’s new book, companies need to find ways to link an individual’s search for meaning to the overall purpose of the business, as this will allow for a more sustainable and wellness-focused workplace.   

If you want to get in touch with us surrounding any of these points, you can do so here

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

For many around the world the festive season is upon us once again – a time of celebration, family gatherings and neighbourly sharing. These days, it is also underpinned by a flurry of purchases to achieve the idyllic picture of copious presents sitting under the Christmas tree. And as our TVs and social media feeds fill up with retail adverts encouraging us to part with our hard-earned cash, it will be no surprise to hear that online sales have increased by almost a trillion dollars worldwide between 2020 and 2021.

Whilst the COVID pandemic accelerated this trend, using the internet to buy goods has already become second nature to many of us. The rise of the online marketplace is something that employers are keenly involved in, and make most of their goods and services accessible from in order to apply to the largest group of consumers.

And yet, if companies were to take a step back, they would see that there are 10 million people lacking basic digital skills in the UK alone. This is a vast pool of potential clients who are unable to access those online services and interact with the world of e-commerce, which is a large potential profit being lost, especially during the holidays when commercialism is booming.

Signposting and providing alternative options and channels for customers to communicate with your organization will help to open your virtual business doors to those who were previously being excluded as they didn’t know how, do not have, or cannot use the digital technology of today. Upskilling those staff who are customer-facing will also help widen communication abilities – but this brings into question the digital competency of your staff, too.

If we look more closely, there is a large potential pool of talent that is being iced out due to a lack of digital proficiency. The recent FutureDotNow report, which examined how many people could complete Lloyds’ Essential Digital Skills for Work tasks, found that only 32% of the UK workforce were able to complete all 17. And yet, a report published by Oxford Economics has discovered that by 2030, 75% of jobs will require advanced digital skills.

What we are seeing is that workers and consumers alike are yet to fully develop their digital abilities, and so if a company is not finding alternative ways to access these groups of people, then they are at risk of missing out on a large opportunity to increase their market scope as well as their hiring potential.

Employers should also consider offering training to new staff in their digital comprehension, as this will ensure that everyone has the desired skills they need to be able to successfully achieve at their place of employment. This also means that all the experience that has been gained from those older workers who are less tech-savvy will not go to waste, helping to further enrich and diversify your talent.

To discuss any of these topics further, or for guidance on how to create an accessible business model, get in touch with me at gavin.jones@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

As the festive season settles, whispers of the staff holiday party will begin to circulate. A tradition amongst many companies, it is a chance for managers and team members alike to spend some sociable time together without the pressures of work. It can be a great night, but to ensure there are no incoming HR hazards, here are a few tips and tricks we have put together to keep things fun, festive, and appropriate:

  1. Keep cultural traditions front of mindDecember is home to many religious festivals, not just Christmas. So, when hosting your staff party, try to be mindful to the diversification of your staff – if you know that there are some who celebrate different festivities, such as Hanukkah or Bodhi Day, then try and incorporate these into the party in some way. This can be as simple as having a variety of decorations from each faith, or incorporating some fun activities from the different holidays (a menorah ring toss can really bring the competitive spirit!). This will ensure that everyone who is participating feels properly included.
  2. Speaking of participation…not all staff will want to attend a holiday party. Whether that be due to prior engagements, not wanting to be around alcohol or simply being introverted, it is important to emphasise to your team that attendance is not mandatory. That said, making the event as inclusive as possible will result in the best turnout!
  3. Exchanging gifts – many employers may want to do a fun gift exchange – whether that be a game of secret santa or white elephant – and this can be a great way of bringing the team together and bonding over some fun. However, it is important to make this a voluntary venture. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting us all this year, some people may not have the means of participating in extra gift giving, and so ensuring that it is known that this is voluntary will help stifle any shame someone might have about not wanting to play. And, if you are a remote company but still wanted to do a gift exchange, you can participate in White Elephant Online by sharing your screen to still get involved with the fun.
  4. Easy on the eggnog – if you are offering alcohol at your end of year party, be sure to have included a set amount in the budget for safe transportation home for all employees. Whether this be through giving everyone Uber credit or reimbursing for train tickets, leaders have a responsibility to ensure the safety of staff. Similarly, when drinking, be sure to make it clear that a certain level of conduct still needs to be maintained.
  5. Show appreciation – a great addition to any holiday party is for leaders to find a way to show how much they appreciate everything their staff has done for them and the company throughout the year. This can be as simple as giving everyone a card, or a small goody bag. Or, if money is tight, it could be in the form of a fun gimmick – if you are serving food at the party, all the managers could be the servers for the night to flip the hierarchy!
  6. It doesn’t have to be a ‘party’ – an end of year celebration can be expensive, and in financially straining times, it can sometimes be difficult to find the means of putting a party together. But this does not mean you can’t come together in different ways. A great counter option is volunteering as a group at a local food bank or charity – the gift of giving back is always a rewarding one, and can help unite you as a team.

However you end up celebrating with your employees, the best things to take away are to be inclusive to all and to make your team members aware of how much you value them. This is a great opportunity to strengthen interpersonal bonds and bring colleagues closer together, and to let your hair down! If you need advice and/or guidance on hosting your holiday party, you can get in touch with me at brittany@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

The holidays can be a trying time. At a time when you are expected to be jolly, you may find it shameful to feel anything but that.

And yet, the reality is that this time of year can be difficult for some of us, for varying reasons. For one thing, loneliness at the holidays is always a big concern. With all the festivities that are happening around us, especially Christmas, there is this connotation of inclusiveness and togetherness that can be a stark reminder for some of their own lack of company. The holidays have come to symbolise family, and so for those who may have fractured familial relationships or have lost loved ones, it can be difficult not to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment to have to admit to your own isolation. Research conducted by Mind confirms this, with over a third of people (36%) being too embarrassed to admit they are lonely at Christmas time.

There are also those who may be suffering with religious trauma. This time of year can be very triggering for those who have been brought up in strict religious households but have been on a journey of faith deconstruction into their adulthood. Being forced to take part in religious-based traditions in order to see their family can leave them feeling emotionally drained, and can lead to them feeling the need to pull away during this time.

And lastly, this year is particularly hard on us all financially. The commercialisation of Christmas is a consistent reminder that this is a time for giving and spending, but with the cost-of-living crisis touching the majority of us – Go.Compare Energy found that one in six UK households will not be putting up lights this year to save money – this can lead to increased feelings of stress and guilt at not feeling you are able to provide a ‘perfect’ Christmas. More than two in five people have reported feeling stressed during the holiday season, and just over a quarter of people (26%) say that the Christmas season actually makes their mental health worse, according to a YouGov survey.

Inevitably, all of these stresses and wellbeing concerns are going to leak into working life – so how can employers look to offer that little bit of extra help during the holiday season?

My biggest piece of advice would be to actively ask questions and actively listen to what your staff have to say. When in a managerial role, it can be very easy to fall into the habit of asking closed questions to staff, such as “Do you have any plans for Christmas?”. Nine times out of ten the answer will be ‘yes’ even if that is not the truth, so managers need to take it that next step further. Follow up with, “Oh, what are you up to?” – this immediately signals that you are genuinely interested and want to listen, and therefore you are now more likely to receive an honest answer.

Supporting the financial and emotional wellness of your staff can be difficult – you may already feel like time is escaping you – but placing that focus on your team members is a pillar of the managerial role. Even if you don’t have the answers, showing that you care enough to ask the right questions can make all the difference.

It comes down to taking accountability for your staff and making that effort to be self-aware during what is a potentially trying time for some members of your team. Making them feel comfortable, safe, and like they can confide in you will promote openness in your workplace culture and help ensure that performance can be maintained, as well as your staff being properly supported. Even if it is something as simple as sending out a group text or email on Christmas Day – it’s not a necessity, but one minute of your time could make someone feel that little bit less lonely amongst the festivities.

If you would like to discuss these topics further, you can get in contact with me at therese@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

Often times, the mention of December will most likely be identified with Christmas – lights go up, grottos come out, employers across all sectors begin preparing for the rush of commercialism that accompanies this time of year.

But in reality, Christmas is just one of many festivities that is celebrated in December. And yet many companies will adopt this tunnel vision towards the Christian holiday and fail to acknowledge any others, despite the fact that their workforce could be made up of a diverse mix of team members who may have varying beliefs and traditions.

To be an inclusive employer, this requires recognizing that the holidays are woven with many varying celebrations. By doing so, you will be able to strengthen the interpersonal connections and increase collaboration amongst colleagues, which will create connectedness with your team as a whole.

There are many ways to start doing this – the simplest of them being fostering an environment where cross-cultural differences and similarities are regularly discussed – especially during holidays. Encouraging team members to share their beliefs means that others will know how best to greet them during this festive time.  If team members know that their colleague is Jewish, they will make that effort to wish them a Happy Hanukkah, and if they know someone is Christian, they will say Merry Christmas. Or, if there are members of staff who celebrate nothing at this time, then a neutral ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’ will suffice.

Similarly, if leaders are taking the time to get to know their team members on a personal level, their team members are going to feel seen, valued and heard, and this leads to feeling a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is the gift that keeps on giving, and will in turn motivate team members to be talent scouts who invite those they care about to join their place of employment; the thought of quiet quitting will never even cross their mind.

Inclusivity in the holidays comes down to taking the time to know what is going on, know your team members, and making sure your team members know each other, too. December hosts Bodhi Day for those who are Buddhist, Winter Solstice for those who are Pagan, Hannukah for Jewish employees, Christmas for Christian employees and Kwanzaa for African American employees who celebrate this.

When decorating the office, there is no harm in pulling inspiration from all of these festivities – tinsel, menorah’s (although, for health and safety, not lit) and harvest baskets can make anyone celebrating feel that little bit more included, and this is a great way of keeping engagement and morale up during a particularly busy time of year for business.

It is about bridging that gap between tolerance and acceptance. Leaders do not want their team members feeling as if they are tolerant of their different beliefs, they want them to feel like they are accepted and respected in their workplace. Encouraging the team to get to know each other and ask how they would like to be greeted this holiday season will help solidify this acceptance mindset in your culture, and this will be a greatly positive force going forwards.

In the end, you will have a stronger team and an improved rapport with your people – and this can only have a positive knock-on effect for your business. If you need guidance on implementing inclusion strategies for the holidays or for the new year to come, get in touch with me at marty@orgshakers.com

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

In discussing the current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda with thought leaders from the US and the UK, we have gained valuable insights into the way global events are shaping DEI strategy and practice in organizations.

A challenge raised in both conversations is that the scope of DEI has undeniably widened, primarily due to the massive societal strides that have been taken over the past few decades. Now, for example, financial wellbeing, mental health, and organizational culture all fall to DEI, as well as the recruitment and onboarding of people from an ever-widening mix of diversity dimensions.

This was the main subject of the discussion with our two UK DEI specialists – Sue Johnson and Therese Procter. They pointed out that failing to provide additional resources to deliver against this expanding portfolio risks the impact of DEI initiatives becoming diluted. To mitigate against this, companies need to consider employing a DEI specialist at board-level.

This aligns with Marty Belle and Conrad Woody’s conversation – which looks at DEI from a US perspective – in which they highlighted that inclusion starts with senior leaders acting as authentic role models for the required workplace behaviors.

A senior leadership team and board of directors that understand what inclusive behavior looks like will make inclusive decisions. And the best way of ensuring that the DEI dividend these decisions can bring is achieved, is by having a dedicated, senior DEI leader who can ensure inclusion remains at the top of the organization’s agenda.

With a diverse workforce comes diverse thinking, and this broader spectrum of perspectives will help when examining problems, as well as bring new ideas to the table. This can give you an advantage as an employer, as it means that the products and services you offer will more likely be accessible to a wider breadth of different types of people.

Part 1 of our series offered a solution to the widening scope of DEI for employers, and Part 2 highlighted why focusing on DEI can be beneficial for a company – both ethically and financially.

What these conversations have highlighted to us is that despite having an ocean between them, UK and US employers both recognise the importance of having an effective DEI strategy – and the performance dividend it can deliver. And by understanding their shared perspectives, we can help all organizations in implementing these strategies more effectively. So, if you are a business who would like to harness the power of DEI in your workplace, get in contact with us here.  

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

To gain insight on the role Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) currently plays for US employers, we spoke with Conrad Woody, Managing Partner of Odgers Berndston’s Washington Office, and Marty Belle, Partner at OrgShakers.

I would say in the US, the topic has always been more performative than really heartfelt,” Marty reflected. “For the majority of employers, it’s all about the bottom line… and if you’re not totally convinced that having a diverse and inclusive workplace drives profitability for you, you won’t focus on it.”

Conrad built on this, highlighting the fact that some employers are simply hiring people who look and act like their best workers because they believe this will ensure that their recruiting standards are always being met. “There is a commitment to conventional wisdom, because it’s easy to do – staying within your comfort zone is always easy!

It is a tough mindset to crack, but it is one that Conrad and his team take every opportunity to challenge. “What we’ve been doing in our practice is using radical honesty and authenticity to help clients understand and open up the aperture to be more inclusive in the recruiting process. And we’re also advising them on how to ensure that the environment that people arrive in is consistent with the reality they are trying to create.”

Meanwhile, for those companies that are trying to be diverse, Marty pointed out that there is another mindset ‘trap’ to be avoided: “Organizations tend to choose where they feel more comfortable ‘being different’.” In other words, they become comfortable hiring individuals from one or two underrepresented groups yet fail to achieve a broader mix of diversity dimensions.

On the other hand, Conrad pointed out, “there is also this sort of ‘everybody’s diverse’ thing that’s happening.”

I would agree, everyone is now in that conversation, because we are all unique, so that makes us diverse,” Marty offered, “But if you want to peel it back and say, 'Well, where do I get my biggest innovation and creativity?', then I would tell you that there are aspects of diversity that make the biggest difference. And that would be ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, marital status, physical ability, socio-economic status, religion, mental ability…to really drive the whole spectrum, you have to have those, what we might tend to call underrepresented groups or protected groups, in there. Otherwise, you're not going to bring as much innovation to a complex problem as you could get with all of those broader elements.”

Diversity by itself doesn’t drive you to greater productivity,” Marty continued, “but diversity with inclusion does. And this means figuring out how to get that mix of people’s best thinking incorporated into solving a customer problem.”

And Conrad believed that figuring this out “really starts with our behavior as partners to our clients. If the Partners in our own firm don’t demonstrate inclusive behaviors, how can we authentically advise our clients on it?

To truly unlock the power that diversity and inclusion can offer your company”, Conrad continued, “you have to realize that it’s about how people with those identities see you and value you, and that you make the time to go and get to know these people, because then they’ll trust you to have their best interests at heart.”         

As well as this moral imperative, there is also the reality that millennial and Gen Z employees will no longer entertain non-inclusive companies, and so investors are quickly becoming more passionate about the social issues that organizations are pursuing. In this sense, there is a strong business case alongside the moral one to really make your culture a welcoming and inclusive one. So how do employers begin to close this gap and unlock the power of inclusion their business?

I might say just have the conversation,” Marty concluded, “and be okay that you don’t understand the topic. Be willing to see what you can learn and be vulnerable.”

Conrad agreed, “getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations is a huge step towards bridging into inclusive territory – knowing when to admit that you do not know everything simply opens up the opportunity for you to gain more knowledge and wisdom, and this is never wasted.”               

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

Recently, Sue Johnson, Managing Partner for Inclusion & Diversity Consulting at Odgers Berndston, and OrgShakers’ Partner Therese Procter met to discuss the vital role diversity and inclusion (D&I) plays in helping UK workers navigate through challenging times.

I think there’s a growing unrest at work that’s just bubbling under the surface,” Therese began, going on to highlight how workers are facing both a cost-of-living crisis and the need to adapt to changing ways of working after the pandemic. And while this has brought financial and mental wellness to the top of the overall leadership agenda, responsibility for addressing these complex needs is typically falling to the individual in an organisation that leads D&I strategies.

This continues a longstanding trend in D&I – scope creep – with a growing number of People issues being added to the discipline’s remit in many organisations, including workplace culture, human rights, supply chain governance, and community engagement.

On the one hand this is a positive development, as organisations become increasingly responsive to their environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. The challenge, however, is that the growing demands on D&I specialists are not being matched with the required resources.

What you’re seeing is the job being expanded…the agenda is getting broader and broader,” Sue points out. However, the person who is responsible for responding to these D&I issues “are mostly reporting at a lower level… and to really make a change you have got to be able to have a seat at the executive table”.

Also critical is that today’s D&I specialists have the right blend of D&I expertise and wider organisational experience i.e.: they understand how the business ‘ticks’. Sue reflected that all too often in the past the people appointed to D&I roles had either “limited subject matter expertise but huge business experience … or came from HR with the subject matter expertise but lacked the wider business expertise required”.

Therese added that this is why “we are at a point in time where businesses need to reflect on current issues – and reset”. A D&I ‘reset’ that requires the appointment of individuals who, as well as having subject matter expertise and organisational know how, can also make things happen at pace and scale.

You have to have such high emotional intelligence,” Sue agreed. “You need to be a good influencer, you need to be able to write strategy, and you need to be skilled in change management.

And the insights, the awareness, the training, the support, the helplines – the whole infrastructure has to be taken seriously,” Therese added. “That starts with the Board. If it’s not taken seriously and led from the top – and by the top – it will never get traction in the organisation.

If the scope of the job is broadening, Sue and Therese concluded, then its importance increases by tenfold. And this means having an in-depth and contemporary understanding of all the corners of D&I, knowing how to respond and support employees accordingly – and then being able to win the support of senior leaders and stakeholders.

And aside from an employer’s moral obligation, there is clear financial gain from appointing a D&I specialist with this rare blend of skills. A workplace that is diverse and inclusive garners a higher revenue growth, has a greater readiness to innovate, and gains access to a wider talent pool. Research conducted by Great Place to Work also found that those who believed they would be treated fairly and included were 5.4 times more likely to want to remain at their company.

Adapting to this new normal when it comes to post-pandemic work has seen many new opportunities and challenges emerge in the working world, which is why it is more important than ever to be applying a central focus to your approach to D&I.

To discuss the ways in which the expanding D&I landscape is impacting your organisation, you can get in touch with us here.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

I found myself smiling recently as my lovely mum, Nora – who is 84 – declared her absolute exasperation that her doctor had not prescribed her a medication she thought she absolutely should have.

So, why was I smiling?

Her request had been for hormone replacement therapy – HRT!

As I poured us both a cup of tea, I was really intrigued as to how the conversation had gone.

She shared with her doctor that I was on HRT and that I had been free of joint pain and other menopause-related symptoms. Although I had been sceptical to try it, I now advocated it and as a result she thought she would like it too. He asked why she felt the need to try it now and she said: “Because I want to feel at my best for as long as I can”.

His response to her really warmed me. “You are a beautiful woman. You are 84. And you are a perfect example of a post-menopausal woman in the springtime of her life. You need sun, and smiles, and daily doses of whatever it is you are already doing.”

My mum was of a generation that did not talk about the menopause through both stigma and shame and never complained when the obvious symptoms presented themselves.

They just ‘got on with it’.

Nora

I love that mum is full of energy and life and no longer ashamed to talk about the personal stuff.

So, as we mark World Menopause Day, it is a missed opportunity if we ‘just get on with it’. Today should be a celebration – an opportunity to recognise we are in the springtime of our lives!

Because there is more support than ever for us to open up about how the change in our bodies impact our physical, biological, and psychological state.

I have been an Ambassador, an Ally and – so I have been told – very loud in sharing the knowledge and insights I have on the topic across boardrooms and organizations in every sector. The menopause does not discriminate, 100% of females will face it and my hope is that they will embrace it.

As an organisation, OrgShakers have taken to the topic of midlife very seriously as there is a commercial benefit to every business for doing so.

For the first time in history, one third of the global workforce is over 50! That alone is staggering when you think of the paradigm shift in thinking for the policies, processes and programs that need to support and enhance everyone to be at their best.

If you need some help on starting to support those undergoing these midlife changes at work, here are five things you can do as a leader:

  1. Develop and/or review existing policies – remembering that there is no one-size-fits-all approach as every person’s journey with menopause is unique
  2. Train your line managers in understanding what menopause is and how to recognise and support it
  3. Raise awareness – this can be done through a variety of means, whether that be having informative flyers/posters, organising educational talks/seminars, or through the use of an internal intranet forum.
  4. Introduce a menopause/midlife Ambassador
  5. Foster an inclusion mindset – this can only flourish in a workplace culture that is open, honest and makes people feel comfortable to share and seek help

And please do get in contact with me at therese@orgshakers.com to keep the conversation alive.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

“People leave managers, not companies,” is the mantra of Marcus Buckingham’s book on leadership[1]. And if I were to simplify this message even further, it would be to this: people are more likely to remain working for leaders that are approachable and inclusive. 

In a time where workers are consistently changing jobs, retention strategies have become an integral part of many organizations. And even for those companies who have already placed a focus on retaining talent, they are now being faced with the struggle of combatting the rise of quiet quitting. The key to having an impact on both these issues lies in the hands of leaders – or, more specifically, in their ability to be approachable.

The idea of being an approachable leader has outdated connotations of being perceived as ‘weak’. Yet, Visiers study found that the second most commonly cited attribute of a bad manager was being unapproachable (47%).

The fact of the matter is that being welcoming and in a position of power will allow you to form real bonds with your team and be in tune with the culture being fostered within your company’s walls.

Achieving approachability is easier by breaking it down into three aspects:

  1. Breaking down hierarchies

A simple culturally appropriate greeting is one of the oldest and most effective ways to be perceived as a welcoming and approachable person. Leaders who recognize their team members have a 63% higher chance of retaining them, so by making that effort to authentically greet your employees every morning and speak to them, they will be much more likely to want to remain working with you.

  1. Knowing your team

Good leaders will take the time to know all the names of their team members. Great leaders will take it that one step further, and actively seek out ways to connect authentically by asking open-ended questions to learn about their interests beyond work.  You can encourage your team to open up more by being transparent yourself - discuss your interests and tell stories about your life. Research from a team at Harvard University found that asking questions about people increases the likelihood of them having a positive impression of you. By demonstrating that you are making time to know the team members who work for you, you are reinforcing that they are valued and seen as individuals.

  1. Having an open door

I remember giving an office tour to a new HR executive that I was trying to recruit, and when I walked past the CEO’s door, I noticed that it was wide open and he was in there at his desk. I gave an impromptu knock and poked my head in, and after a brief exchange I introduced him to the potential hire.  Immediately he invited the both of us in and dropped what he was doing, and the three of us sat down for a good half hour as he got to know this HR exec.

All these years later I still remember this because I was struck by how proud it made me feel that the CEO took time out of his busy schedule to greet the potential new hire authentically and to learn about his background, despite not being on his schedule. Making a point of having your door always open – literally and metaphorically – can make employees feel they are invited to speak to those higher up rather than waiting to receive permission to seek their attention.

Interacting with these three components will help inspire genuine trust in you as a manager. There is always a risk for those in higher positions to be ‘cut out of the loop’ when it comes to finding the root cause of issues in the workplace, and so by being someone who team members feel they can trust, this risk is significantly mitigated.

However, in this endeavour, striking a balance is key. If you are seen to know more about one member of the team over another, this can come across as favouritism.  Therefore, it is important to be aware of how much time you spend formally and informally with each member of your team.  Managing the extent of your relationships with each team member is crucial and needs to be consistent and inclusive, as you have a duty to coach, develop and lead team members of all backgrounds and styles.

When it comes down to it, being present and front-line-facing can go a long way. If a leader is seen to be the wizard behind the curtain, then team members will feel a lack of motivation working under them. Make a point of getting to know new team members as they are onboarded, as well as checking in periodically to show that your interest is authentic. This will help nurture an overall inclusive culture in the workplace, and boost the productivity and engagement of employees, which leads to higher client satisfaction and higher operational performance.

It all starts from the top – if you are interested in discussing approachable leadership, I can be reached at marty@orgshakers.com


[1] Buckingham, M., 2001. First, Break All The Rules. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

As they seek to broaden and mature their position on the diversity and inclusion agenda, most organizations agree that enhancing their accessibility is important. However, what many have not yet realised is the sheer scale of the opportunities that exists by proactively addressing this issue.

The UK government has recently produced an updated House of Commons research briefing on disability which highlights a 4% increase in those legally defined as disabled (now 22% of the population) with numbers having risen over the last decade from 12.7 million people to over 14.6 million. 

Similarly in the US, the Centre for Disease Control’s Disability and Health Data System has found that approximately 1 in 4 US citizens have accessibility needs, which equates to 61 million individuals.

These are big numbers, and organizations need to adopt an accessibility mindset if they are going to effectively engage with these potential customers and employees.  

From a customer perspective, a report from Click-Away Pound shows the commercial incentive for making the online shopping experience as accessible as possible. Their research found that almost 70% of individuals with access needs will ‘click away’ from an inaccessible site which, in the UK alone, equates to £17.1 billion in lost annual sales.

When it comes to hiring new employees, organizations will typically look at a candidate’s digital competency. Indeed, more than 82% of mid-level job advertisements demand that applicants have a proficiency in using digital tools. This, however, risks individuals with online accessibility issues being overlooked, despite being able to bring other valuable experience and skills to the table. A company that is flexible in its approaches to these needs will find that they gain access to a much larger pool of talent – as well as diverse mindsets that can help further develop a workplace’s culture.  And this does not account for the third of all potential job candidates who said they would not consider working for an organization where there was a lack of diversity amongst its staff.  

How to Improve your Accessibility 

The first step towards improving your organization’s accessibility is to start by understanding how it impacts your business. Every organization is as individual as the people who work within it and the customers that it serves – and this is where we can help. 

Step by step we can help assess where your organization is on its accessibility journey and then work with you to develop and shape your organizations capabilities to form a more inclusive business model. Get in touch with me at gavin.jones@orgshakers.com, or head over to our contact page

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

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