The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) plays a pivotal role for their organization – they are typically seen as the second most important person in a company, and oftentimes find themselves having to juggle enterprise transformational dynamics, lead functional business partner teams, as well as pursue their own personal goals.

The problem that many companies end up facing, however, is that when they hire or internally promote a leader to CFO, there is an expectation that this person will already know how to do everything that is required of them. However, in reality, while their technical knowledge is no doubt there, having the skills to actually be a strategic transformational executive do not just appear overnight.

My consulting research has found that the average tenure of a CFO is only 4.4 years, which is alarmingly low. And a reason for this is because over 60% of CFOs are first-timers, with nearly two-thirds of those being internally promoted. What this suggests is that a lot of those entering into a strategic CFO role are doing so for the first time, and with limited day-to-day thought partnering. In order to ensure their success and foster the organization’s strategic objectives, companies need to be investing in them from the offset and continuously.

Organizations need to create formal support strategies that are aimed at professionally developing their CFOs. By having structured support for those first-timers, the overwhelm and eventual plight of becoming a strategic CFO will be mitigated significantly. This will make the executive better at their job in a faster manner, and increase the likelihood of retention in the future.

The fact is, gaining an in-depth understanding of the company’s priorities, its investors, external stakeholders, fellow senior leaders, and their team – as well as proactively building relationships with all these parties – can be a lot for someone who hasn’t before navigated the complexities of the CFO experience. Employers need to let go of this predisposition that being promoted to an executive automatically means someone knows how to be a successful strategic CFO– there is a gap between the two, and the way of bridging this gap is specialized advisory support.

And this doesn’t just mean generalized support on leadership skills, but rather specified advisory being provided by someone who understands the intricacies of a CFO role. Someone who has a grasp of the dynamics and challenges that will be faced on a day-to-day basis.

Finding the perfect CFO for your company is an important decision, so when you do find that person, be sure to take the time to invest in them to ensure the success of them and of your business. This will lead to a stronger leadership team with a confident and successful CFO who will go on to do great things – companies just need to be creating that foundation for them to build on.

If you would like to discuss the CFO Success advisory support services we can offer for your CFO, please get in contact with me at

There are over 16 million Veterans in the US, as well as almost 2 million in the UK, and while many of them are of working age, the transition from special forces to the world of work can be a gaping and daunting one.

For those who are coming out of service, finding, applying, securing and doing a ‘regular’ nine-to-five job can be an arduous process – but with the right support, this group of people have an abundance of technical skills and power skills to offer to the corporate world that are productive, innovative, and profitable.

There is existing stigma around the recruitment of ex-military personnel – one survey found that almost a third (31%) of recruiters said they felt reluctant to employ someone who had previously served as they were more likely to struggle with mental health problems. However, if Veterans are properly supported in this transition, then the skills and experience they have to offer can be utilized and optimized by employers.

So, what can HR professionals be doing to offer support?

Firstly, helping with decision making. A noticeable leap from military to corporate is the fluidity and choice that one suddenly has. Veterans are used to having very rigid job descriptions and are offered set roles which remain consistent. Because of these set roles and guidelines, Veterans often struggle to connect and translate their service experience to other jobs on the civilian side (outside of contracting or law enforcement, for example). And upon leaving the forces, suddenly they are faced with having to actively seek out work, and this requires knowing where to look, how to look, and what to be looking for. In enabling Veterans to understand their skills from their past careers and translate them into a marketable corporate structure, we can help prepare them for their next mission. So in this sense, we would coach Veterans on how to approach this challenge, how to look at their experience in a different light, and aid in finding the right career for them.

This then brings us onto CVs. CVs can sometimes be a tricky thing for ex-military to grapple, as a military CV is vastly different from a corporate one, yet are the first thing an employer will base their opinion on. Veterans will be conditioned to having to write out in great detail all of their experience in the forces, and so resumes end up being pages and pages long. But in the working world, a CV has to be concise, distilled and to-the-point to even be considered. So, having support crafting a CV can be so beneficial, especially for those who have served for most of their lives and may not have a traditional education. Helping to identify and translate their leadership skills, their strengths, and polishing success stories from their time in the service in a “proper” civilian CV will concisely highlight what they can be offering to an employer.

Lastly, helping Veterans understand and follow ‘business etiquette’. For those of us who have worked everyday jobs, it is common knowledge that there are norms and values of most workplaces that most of us just come to know as we progress in our careers. But for those who have just emerged from the military, their norms are going to be wildly different. For example, in the forces there is less room for error, but more error is likely to occur, and so it is much more normalized and less reprimanded. Whereas in the world of work, repercussions for mistakes are instantaneous, and if they are recurring then you are more likely to lose your job.

But this is a great example of a mindset that employers can learn from, as making conscious room for error also creates space for learning and innovation. Those ex-military will already be wired into this mindset, they just need to be coached to have their skills translated to be applicable to a business setting. Each Veteran’s transition journey varies and can be both exciting and a little scary at first from not knowing what to expect. We hope by coaching through those unknowns, Veterans will be able to confidently enter the civilian working world in their next chapter.

It is no secret that the military are skilled organizers and project managers, and these are all transferrable into the workplace (not to mention greatly sought after by most employers). With the right support, those leaving the forces can make a fantastic impact on the world of work, and prove to be some of our best innovators and most productive workers. That’s why OrgShakers are very proud to soon be partnering with a specialized charity to help support and coach Veterans into the world of work. If you would like to discuss the details of this further, please reach out to me at

Sitting in the middle of cost-of-living crisis, enduring its seemingly never-ending impact, business leaders know as well as anybody the reality and real-time impact it is having on both financial and human capital. 

Whilst it’s a natural reflex reaction to protect the business bottom line by curtailing “non-essential” spending, there is a very good case to resist the propensity to reach for the laptop and delete the budget line for this year’s learning and development (L&D) provision. 

Keeping a tight grip on today’s escalating operational costs, as well as one eye on investing in future growth, is always a balancing act in any business. So it’s no surprise to read in the recent 2023 Q1 Labour Market Outlook report that the number of employees that received off-the-job-training has fallen to a two-decade low at 6.9% in late 2022. 

But in a labour market that’s tighter than ever, organisations still need to seek opportunities to build, invest, and capitalise on their talent. Yet research by IMC found that 92% of job candidates use L&D opportunities as a deciding factor when considering job offers, and 52 percent of employees had left a role due to lack of personal or professional development opportunities. This strongly indicates that talent development is an essential ingredient to attracting and retaining staff. 

No matter the size of your organisation, Learning and Development is key, so this begs the question: what should employers be focusing their L&D efforts on?

For one thing, keeping pace with technological change. This is an ever-present challenge for any and every organisation, currently emphasised by AI and its exponential shift into everyday life and the promise of the ‘future of work’.  

Whilst for many businesses AI may seem a little like “jam tomorrow”, with technology continuing to accelerate and AI's potential expanding, akin to the emergence of smart phones in 2005, the limitations of today will give way to ground-breaking advancements. Focusing on and enabling your organisations talents and applying their strengths to keep pace and capitalise on the tech advancements is a major factor in business development. 

By shifting the focus of learning away from rigid competencies to a “business context focus”, employers are ensuring that the skills being developed within an organisation are in-step with business and environmental developments.

When considering the delivery of learning and development solutions, agility and flexibility are key enablers needed for any organisation to maximise its learning opportunities. Embracing a blend of “learning channels” whilst taking advantage of the wide availability of (internet-based) learning resources means learning can become more self-directed and more easily meet needs across the whole organisation. 

Whilst there is a natural predilection to focus on academia as a development solution, one of the most effective development tools sits within an organisation itself. Experience-based learning provides ideal career development opportunities through gaining experiences needed to excel in a specific role or function. 

By default, the outcomes needed to prove competence are already defined within a role or a project, it just requires a constructive approach and managerial support to capitalise on learning by exposure. 

In a similar vein, another proven form of L&D is the provision of opportunities for in-person mentoring and shadowing. Today, learning by proxy is often overlooked in favour of visual and auditory learning. However, with the rise of hybrid and remote working models, employees are spending less physical time with each other and the natural learning “osmosis” apparent in a physical work environment has waned.  

Restructuring the hybrid working environment can enable organisations to easily capitalise on the depth of experience held within it. One such way of doing so is by promoting a ‘learning in the flow of work (LITFOW)’ mindset. 

This learning habit comes from the idea that employees can find solutions and answers to things by using the resources they have e.g., asking colleagues or using search engines (and now AI technology).  

In an age of having information at our fingertips and working outside of the office, employees are given the space and opportunity to LITFOW. The key to doing this is actively coaching a LITFOW mindset, guiding and highlighting the correct resources available to employees. 

For development needs that require a more structured academic basis to enable progression, another often overlooked opportunity for enabling career progression is, dare I say it, an apprenticeship! 

Now before you scroll on, consider that today’s apprenticeships cover pretty much every business sector and education levels up to level 6 (degree level). Accordingly, they are available for any age 16+ (whether you’re 16 or 62, you can still start an apprenticeship), and in case you’re still not convinced, of the 195,600 apprenticeships started in 2023, 41% (82,130) of those who started were over the age of 25. 

Aside from the vastly improved quality, one of the main reasons for many small to medium sized organisations to start apprenticeships is that you should only have to pay (up to) 5% of the total training cost, with the rest funded by government grants. This makes apprenticeships a great value form of development for the staff you need to upskill.  

Even in these cash-strapped times, investing in L&D is an incredibly effective way of protecting and growing your organisation and its talent. Not only does it build learning mindsets into the fabric of your workplace culture, it also enables you to attract, develop and retain the talent you need. 

To discuss L&D strategies in more detail, please get in touch with me at 

I’m sure that it would be no surprise to hear that many of us do not grow up to be working in the career we had dreamed of as a child. In fact, only one in ten Americans say they are working their ‘dream job’.

And so, naturally, employees may indulge in a ‘what if…’ moment. What if I’d stuck with that hobby? What if I’d studied that degree? What if I chose that path instead of this one? The list goes on. Employers may not think that this happens often, but a recent study actually found that only 6% of participants reported never or almost never thinking about other paths they could have taken – that leaves a whopping 94% of employees wondering about those ‘what ifs’.

That same study also discovered that 21% of workers reported thinking about these questions often or almost always. Those who were somewhat ‘stuck in the past’ were more likely to be distracted or daydream, took more breaks and days off, were less engaged, and were more likely to search for other jobs.

It is easy to fall victim to this spiral of thoughts, as nowadays most of us are constantly being confronted with choices. A recent survey found that there had been a significant rise in the ‘apply anyway’ trend, with three quarters (73%) of recruiters citing a lack of qualified applicants for roles as the biggest challenge in the hiring process. This highlights that employees have such ease and accessibility to new job choices – LinkedIn’s Easy Apply option is a great example of this – that it’s no wonder they find themselves wondering about paths untaken.

This can all have an effect on engagement levels, and so it is important for employers to know what they can be doing to challenge these feelings of ‘what if’ and help employees turn them into creative and innovative output:

  • Recognition – recognizing employee contributions goes a long way when trying to boost engagement. Quantum Workplace conducted research which discovered that when employees believe management will recognize their efforts, they are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged. Reminding employees of their value to the company, and making it clear how what they do for the business directly lends to the prosperity of it, is a great way of reaffirming that the job they do matters, and the choices that lead them there were for a reason.
  • Role Flexibility – employers creating the opportunity for ‘job crafting’ where they can is a great way of lessening feelings of ‘what if’. This allows workers to be more innovative with their role and bring some of their personal passions into their job in order to help promote feelings of fulfilment. Managers should try to learn about these talents and passions and look to find creative ways to help employees embrace these parts of themselves at work. This can be a fantastic way of helping an employee feel that their identity aligns with their work and re-spark that fire of engagement.
  • Internal Locus of Control – in psychology, having a high internal locus of control means that someone perceives themselves as having a lot of control over their behavior, and see’s things that happen to them as being a result of their own actions rather than outside of their control. Coaching staff to have this locus leads them to being more likely to respond productively to feelings of doubt associated with ‘what if’ thinking.

It‘s natural to wonder from time to time about what could have been. And while harmless reflection is always a nice thing, those who find themselves getting stuck in the past may need a helping hand getting unstuck. If you would like to discuss how we can help improve your employee engagement levels by optimizing the wonderment of ‘what if’, please get in touch with us.

A trial of the 4-day working week commenced last year in the UK, and 90% of participating businesses have opted to stick with it.

This has naturally created interest around the prospect of a 4-day working week and what this might look like, with one statistic standing out: a recent poll led by Hays discovered that almost two-thirds of workers would prefer to shift from a 5-day week to an office-based 4-day week – and a third of employers would be more likely to make the switch if all four days were spent in the workplace.

So, could this be the ‘Great Resolution’ that employers have been searching for?

It is no secret that since emerging from the pandemic, many employers have been resistant to embedding hybrid and remote working models into their business practices. But after many attempts to rope employees back into the office, the dust seems to finally be settling, with hybrid work looking like it’s here to stay. And yet now, with the possibility of a 4-day week being adopted, is this going to be used as an opportunity for employers to strike a deal with their workers?

Well, some evidence suggests it still may not be enough. For one thing, over a third of workers have said they would resign if they were told to return to the office full-time. And the reason for this can be found in IWG’s ground-breaking study, which discovered that hybrid workers are the healthiest workers – they are exercising more, sleeping better, and eating more healthily than ever. It’s not surprising, therefore, that employees are reluctant to return to in-office full time.

But it seems, at the root of this tussle, that there is a bigger issue. Employers are seemingly suffering from what has been dubbed ‘productivity paranoia’, in which they are convinced that their employees are not being as productive working from home as they would be onsite.

A study by Microsoft confirmed this, with 87% of hybrid employees claiming they were more productive, whereas only 12% of leaders said they had full confidence that their teams were actually being productive.

However, by consistently demonstrating this lack of trust in their people, leaders risk having a negative impact on productivity and engagement. According to a study in Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 76% more engagement and 40% less burnout.

Trust is the foundation of any relationship – especially those formed in the workplace. It is clear that most employees have the means of being just as productive from home as they do in the office, so their willingness to have a 4-day work week solely in-office may be driven by a desire to rekindle a trusting relationship with their boss than a concern for their ability to do the job.

The bottom line, however, is that as the prospect of a 4-day working week – remote, hybrid, or in the office – inches closer to reality, it is important for employers to consider how they can optimize this to attract, retain and motivate the talent their organization needs.

If you would like support with managing hybrid working policies, as well as solidifying trust into your organization’s culture, please get in touch with us here.

If you haven’t come across the term ‘quiet promotion’, it references the practice of employees assuming the responsibilities of a former colleague without formal recognition or compensation.

Sadly, this is not as uncommon as people might think. One recent study found that 67% of workers had taken on the responsibilities of a more senior colleague after that colleague left the company, while 78% had taken on additional workload without any additional compensation.

Quiet promotions can pose unintended consequences for the employee assuming these additional responsibilities, the leadership team, and the organization as a whole:

The Employee:

  • It is likely the employee will not have the bandwidth to assume greater responsibilities, and if the employee receives little-to-no communication around this need, it is unlikely that they will be able to remain productive in an environment of increased responsibility.
  • There could be training concerns over the employee – have they received the proper training to execute the new work/responsibilities?
  • Giving someone new responsibilities without effective coaching will lead to engagement concerns. Even if an employee understands how to facilitate the additional responsibilities, without overall vision and the opportunity to demonstrate new skills that could lead to future potential with the organization, the employee’s commitment to and trust in the organization are likely to falter.
  • All of this can lead to the employee potentially looking for other positions, which will result in a turnover cost that would be greater than the additional compensation saved through a quiet promotion. Turnover can cost up to 75% of a salary, and for more executive roles this number can rise to over 200% - which ultimately leads to a larger economic loss.

The Leadership Team:

  • Choosing to quietly promote can fracture the relationships that management have with their employees. There is a surreptitious element to a quiet promotion, and this can cause employees to question the trust they have in their leaders, leading to a range of miscommunication issues later down the line.
  • If leaders are choosing to quietly promote, they are likely missing the opportunity to analyze the role of the employee who departed the company. There is unrecognized opportunity to study the role of that person and assess whether there were any obsolete or inefficient processes in their responsibilities. This can be used as a starting point to decide whether the organization needs someone to replace this role or whether the actual usefulness of it can be fulfilled and absorbed by others. This then needs to be communicated with the prospective employee(s) taking on these new responsibilities, with considerations for future compensation and advancement, tied to successful performance of the new skills and responsibilities.  

The Organization:

  • Mismanaging a separating employee’s transition can have ripple effects on the productivity of a department, as outlined above. Additionally, these effects are not likely sequestered at the department-level; there are impacts and potential output concerns for the organization as a whole.
  • Pay philosophy and performance motivation become weakened if employees are quietly being given more work to do without formal measurements of success, which is linked to the organization’s total rewards. Even if the employee is taking on a larger workload for a short amount of time while the company seeks a replacement, then ensure that gratitude is expressed to this employee through recognition programs, a one-off bonus, or additional benefits.

When it comes down to it, quiet promotions are unlikely to create cost savings for an organization. While initially it may seem like a smart move to save some money, especially in economically trying times, ultimately the costs associated with the loss of productivity, engagement, and potential increased turnover do not compare to the cost of effectively leading an organization through transition and providing rewarding career opportunities for committed and loyal employees.

If you would like to discuss strategies for supporting your business with its turnover rate, or how to manage an employee separation in a cost-effective manner, please do get in touch with me at

We are all aware that each generation has been attributed macro characteristics – the Greatest Generation are ‘responsible and hard-working’, Baby Boomers are ‘selfish’, Gen X are ‘cynical’, Millennials are ‘entitled and lazy’, and Gen Z are ‘civic-minded snowflakes’.

When these stereotypical beliefs spill over into the world of work, however, they can lead to biases in the hiring process, problems with the culture of a company, and can be considered offensive. After all, if employers (or, frankly, anyone) were to ascribe similar characteristics to gender, race, sexuality and/or class, this would be completely unacceptable. Rather, employers need to focus on seizing the opportunities for innovation that generational cohesion can bring – a Generational Dividend.

Firstly, if a company finds that it doesn’t have a diversified workforce from a generational perspective, it should consider ways in which it could attract different types of people so to create the opportunity for innovation and diversified perspectives. One way of doing this is by tailoring benefit packages towards the needs of different generations in order to make your job look more attractive to a specific group.

This then leads onto how to optimize a generationally-diverse workforce – and this is where SurePeople come in. Specializing in people science, they offer their WorkforceX software, which uses AI-powered technology to leverage data to provide leaders and their teams with actionable workforce insights in order to drive continuous alignment, development, and high-performance.

Their interface gathers psychometric data on every employee in an organization and uses this to create an individualised ‘Prism Portrait’ which groups staff into four main categories: ‘powerful’, ‘versatile’, ‘adaptable’, and ‘precise’. It then breaks this down into detail surrounding personality type and how an individual works best, as well as allowing leaders to compare two profiles to provide them with the most efficient ways of working with specific individuals.

This is a fantastic tool when putting together a team entirely based on their individual strengths – it ensures that staff are diverse and offers a guide of how to optimize the productivity of the team so to gain the strongest and most innovative output.

We work closely with SurePeople and can help bring their results to life – helping to integrate their people data into the fabric of a company so that they have the best possible combination of people working together to gain the best results. Using a psychometric program such as this strips away any preconceived notions surrounding generational stereotypes – or any stereotypes – and instead allows employers to focus on the individual’s needs and abilities.

Optimizing your people and their differences will allow you to unlock all of their potential. If you would like to discuss working with us and SurePeople in how we can help you do this, please get in touch with us here.

Equal Pay Day comes around every year to shed light on the fact that pay disparities are still very much present – women working full-time in the US are still only paid 83% of what men earn for the same job.

But for employers to successfully address pay disparity, they first must understand the differences between pay equality and pay equity, and how to utilize them successfully.

Pay equality is the practice that all employees are paid the same amount for doing the same job, regardless of their gender, race, or other protected characteristics. This essentially means that if two employees have the same job role, same responsibilities, and same qualifications, then they should both receive the same pay.

Pay equity, more broadly, is the practice of ensuring that employees are paid fairly for the actual work they do, taking into account factors such as job responsibilities, required skills and experience, and market demand. This means that two people who have the same job title may not be paid the same wage, if one of them has more responsibilities and/or experience than the other and market demand is different based on the location of their work.

When organizations are looking to solve pay disparities, they need to bear in mind that pay alone should not be the sole focus for assessing fairness. Typically, pay disparity issues will be a symptom of wider systemic problems – there may be practices or cultural issues which inadvertently cause (or worsen) these inconsistencies.

That is why the best way of approaching this issue is by using both pay equity and pay equality mindsets. Ensuring that your pay is equitable is vital when attracting and retaining talent, as it means that people are considered based on their value and talent rather than their gender, race or anything else.

But for equitable pay to even truly be achievable, you must first look at the wider context of pay equality on an organizational level. If your processes are not established in a way which allows for employees to be considered on an equal basis from the outset, then you cannot attempt to pay people equitably.

Therefore, to achieve pay equity and pay equality, a company must establish a pay philosophy, which acts as a clear strategy for how the business approaches compensation.

In addition to this, implementing transparent and objective pay practices, regularly reviewing and adjusting pay structures, and eliminating any biases in hiring processes and the company culture, will allow for an employer to successfully be able to pay employees equally and equitably. And this is undoubtedly a smart business move – McKinsey discovered that the least diverse organizations were found to be 27% more likely to underperform on profitability, whereas those companies that were most diverse outperformed their peers by 36%.

However, a company will fail to attract a diverse talent pool if it cannot demonstrate equality and equity in their wages. So, if you need guidance in creating or solidifying your pay philosophy, get in contact with me at

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

The skills shortage is becoming an increasing concern amongst many organizations. Recent data from McKinsey has found that 87% of companies either have or expect to have a skill gap in the next few years.

One way of tackling (or preventing) this issue is by looking at onboarding those younger workers who are active in college or university – and a great way of doing this is through offering internships.  

As Gen Z enter into the workforce during one of its most unstable periods in history, recent data is showing that this is already starting to have an effect on them: Gen Z workers are the most stressed group in the workplace as they are concerned they lack the skills (78%) and education (71%) required to advance their careers.  

In the same way apprenticeships develop talent and engender employer loyalty, internships and work experience are also an innovative way of attracting a generation who, in the current employment market, have so much more choice. So, offering them the opportunity to learn and develop business skills/experience in the professional field they are targeting is a great way of attracting a hands-on generation. 

As they graduate from an education system obsessed with performance league tables, many students are leaving with an inconsistent variety of qualifications as their subject choices would have been orientated around driving higher grade attainment. In the same vein, Generation Z is also exhibiting signs of a more divergent “multitasking” approach to their career paths(s), and so employers who embody this mindset place themselves in a much stronger position in the labour market by offering a regular “turnover” of “learning opportunities”. 

Using internships as a talent development vehicle is now more important than ever. The Early Careers Survey 2022 found that the main blocker to students finding an internship was the lack of opportunity (35%), as many had been cancelled due to the long-lasting effects of the pandemic. This resulted in only 12% of work experience being conducted through internships, which leaves a huge gap for employers to fill. 

As we navigate the post pandemic and Brexit skill shortages, it's more important than ever that employers open their doors and create internship opportunities, as they offer a golden opportunity for talent attraction:

  • Internships provide a boost to your labour force, releasing core team members to focus on key priorities, and whilst only short term, the day-to-day tasks an intern discharges are those essential to building their own business acumen and skills.  
  • Internships are a great tool for attracting new talent and retaining it. For years Blue Chip organisations such as Google, Meta, PwC and Deloitte have used internships, with their workforces being made up of around 80% of those who took part in one. 
  • They allow for a company to get a real feel for potential new hires, as well as to build and sustain a constructive working relationship, fostering a sense of loyalty through investment. 
  • From an environmental, social and governance perspective, offering an internship program is a great way of furthering your social agenda, as internships are a solid form of outreach in the local community to offer young people alternative options to further education. 
  • Purposefully onboarding young people through internships is a great way to get diversified perspectives on your company’s strategy, plans and policies. It will also allow you to get a sense of what young people actually want and this can be used to expand your market accordingly.  
  • They offer young people a means to successfully build skills in sectors that can often feel inaccessible, especially to those from lower-income and underprivileged backgrounds. 
  • Internships are a cost-effective option for an employer vs. hiring full-time staff, and whilst based around academic holidays, a successful internship can see a candidate working repeatedly throughout the annual cycle of study period. This permits employers to measure the success of candidates based on their attitude whilst they work towards gaining their qualifications.  

However, I offer a word of advice: historically many organisations have opted to offer unpaid internships, and whilst tempting in these frugal times, this approach tends not to foster a performance-orientated mindset or encourage longevity between the two parties. In fact, the aforementioned Early Careers Survey found that career prospects were significantly improved for those who undertook a paid internship (42%) compared to those who were unpaid (30%). 

If you would like to discuss more on early careers talent attraction and retention or even setting up an internship programme, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at  

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

At the beginning of January, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a new law that would ban the use of non-compete clauses, as well as rescind any previously signed agreements. 

This may seem like a drastic change – especially with nearly a third (31.8%) of employers making all their employees sign a non-compete – but the banning of these clauses will very likely have a positive effect overall.

For one thing, non-compete agreements are notoriously US-centric. If you look at companies in Europe – as well as states such as California, who have not enforced these since 1872 – it is clear that the absence of these binding agreements has not hindered profitability. 

And this is because there are many ways that are more effective than non-compete agreements to protect yourself as a business. The reality of a non-compete is that they are like threatening someone with a blunt hammer; they’re very difficult and very costly to argue in court, so usually won’t have much effect. But they hold weighty connotations that are enough to deter people from attempting to break them. 

Instead, employers can hold employees to their duty of loyalty, which means that while they are working with them, they will not do anything that is inconsistent with the organization’s interests. 

As well as this, the FTC’s new rules still allow for the recovery of reasonable costs of training, as well as the implementation of a non-solicitation clause so that a reasonable degree of confidentiality is still intact after an employee terminates their contract. So from a legal standpoint, you are still covered in the areas that you need to be, while also making room for an acceleration of innovation to take place in the market. 

It will also set into motion the recalibration of retention strategies. For lack of a better word, a non-compete agreement is a lazy tool, and so with its revoking, this paves the way for businesses to focus on using more positive, people-centric strategies to promote retention. These will emphasize how a company values its team members, and with leaders demonstrating the trust they have in their staff, they will foster a healthy sense of loyalty without the need for it in writing. 

What employers need to take from this proposition is that job mobility does not mean the free flow of confidential information. It simply means that the labor market becomes more flexible and competitive, and is an opportunity for businesses to gain access to top talent. But the companies that are examining their attraction and retention strategies and taking into account the changing needs of the workforce will be the ones who get ahead in this raging war for talent. 

OrgShakers can help with this. With a vast amount of experience and knowledge on these subjects, we can ensure that the rescinding of non-competes is smooth and successful, all the while aiding in strengthening your retention strategies and boosting employee loyalty. If you would like to discuss how we can do this, get in touch with me at:

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

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

Creating the conditions which enable employees to be engaged and motivated should be a top priority for employers. Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce report, which found that only 21% of employees were actively engaged at work, sadly shed light on the fact that employee engagement is not being done effectively, or even prioritised, and the result is unhappy employees. This unhappiness will affect performance and will lead inevitably to unhappy customers and less successful business outcomes.

Employee engagement should be an important year-round focus, but we can do some things to help create a ‘reset’ at the beginning of the New Year and support our teams to reengage with their work. 16th January 2023 will be ‘Blue Monday’ in the UK, so called (and coined by a psychologist Cliff Arnall) because of people returning to work post-holiday to bad weather, debt and low levels of motivation. This does not apply to everyone of course, but how can employers help counteract this?

The end of year holiday period creates a ‘pause’ which people are often desperately looking forward to. With our ‘always on’ working lives, and what seems to have been an epidemic of overwork this year, many people are limping towards the finishing line of what has felt like the Marathon of 2022.  The joy of having some rest time with family and friends also creates time and space for people to think about their lives, the good and the ‘not so good’, and in particular their work lives, and how this aligns with their personal aspirations.

Rather than just hoping that people will come back from their holidays refreshed and suddenly regain engagement, we are suggesting that employers need to be proactive this new year and enable a January ‘reset’.

A key part of a leader’s role is to tap into what motivates their people, to carry the torch for the organisational purpose and create excitement about what they are to achieve in 2023 through their ability to create an engaging story of what might be.

We would like to suggest a few things businesses can do to enable a reset:

  • Make a point of welcoming everyone back. This may sound obvious but do we do it? The best way to start the year from a leadership perspective is to have a proper welcome back catch up with all your team members. Dedicate some time early in the year to get together, share holiday stories and discuss aspirations for the upcoming year. Not just going straight in talking about detailed task objectives but discussing what they would aspire to see happen in 2023. Human beings like to feel valuable, and feel that they belong, so these conversations are vitally important in maintaining the ‘social glue’ that ties teams together and in ensuring we value our colleagues and humanise our workplaces.
  • Restating and realigning purpose. Rather than just carrying on where we left off in December, the New Year gives you as leader the ideal opportunity to restate the organisational purpose; to reconnect your people with the ‘why’ we do what we do. You can reconnect your team members with their role in achieving the overall purpose of the organisation and remind them of their purpose and their value to you and the organisation. We often have a ‘look back’ at the end of a year but are less inclined to have a ‘look forward’ at the beginning of the New one as we throw ourselves straight into the work. Whatever happened last year, we are now looking forward and need to focus on what we can do in the future. This ‘look forward’ reminder also ensures that everyone is venturing into this new year with a clear sense of what the company is aiming to achieve, and this restatement of purpose can help strengthen team bonds as well as create alignment and improve the speed at which these goals are met.

My suggested reading for points 1. and 2. is ‘The Heart of Business’ by Hubert Joly – his personal playbook for achieving extraordinary outcomes by putting people and purpose at the heart of business.

  •  Speaking of goals…we all know it’s a common tradition to set new year’s resolutions for our personal goals, but there’s no reason why companies shouldn’t support this ethos. Asking each team member to set a motivational goal at the beginning of the year, that you and they can check in on every month or so, is a great way to engage people and have them work towards something other than their day-to-day organisational tasks. It may be to learn something new, go to a particular conference, or to shadow someone. It does not have to be part of their development plan but must be something that means something to them personally, like getting involved in the organisation’s corporate social responsibility events or supporting a particular charity or cause.
  • Prioritise wellbeing. 2022 was an arduous year for a lot of us – cost-of-living worries are following us into the new year, as well as increased stress levels and increasing levels of burnout. We at OrgShakers prioritise supporting wellbeing in the workplace, not just as a moral issue but as a key business driver. We understand that it makes sense to actively and consciously enhance employee wellbeing rather than having to keep fixing issues arising from overwork and stress. Adopting the January ‘reset’ mindset means making wellbeing a priority from the get-go. Consider as an organisation what you can do to create a culture of wellbeing, how you might change last year’s working practices to create the conditions for employee wellness in 2023 and see the business benefits that will follow this. Einstein said that the definition of insanity was ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. What can you change as a leader, and as an organisation, to create a more engaged and healthier workforce?

A strong start to your business year can make all the difference and engaging in a January reset will have big business benefits. If you would like to discuss these and other ways to create this reset, you can get in touch with me at

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

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