Susan Popoola

Leveraging The Value of People

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May 10th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

A Few Election Reflections

“Gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can”

John Wesley

I’m very engaged politically – I believe that politics affects almost every aspect of our lives. At the same time I’m somewhat agnostic when it comes to political parties as I see the pros and cons of most of them and none really lead me to a sense of allegiance. This has been especially true with this election period. At the same as I listened to the political shows and debates and reflected on the past few years I recognised that difficult as is was to choose – I had to vote.

 

Reflecting on the two main parties, I very much agreed with a lot of the ideologies of the conservatives (Tories) such as the objectives of getting people into work and reducing reliance on benefits. I believe most people do actually want to work. I do, however, believe that there is often harshness in approach and implementation with the Conservatives, which is often unsupportive and does not take account of the humanity of the people that they are dealing with. I think policies such as the ‘bedroom tax’ would have been all right if the people being ‘taxed’ had alternatively accommodation to move to. I could also see that whilst there was talk of economic recovery, it did not appear to have filtered down to the lives of everyday people and I constantly spoke to people and learnt about the direct affect that cuts and the financial squeeze was having on their lives. I also heard of what I would describe as social engineering with people being priced out of areas such as London due to the increasing rental costs, child poverty and reliance on Food banks. I’ll stop and say, yes, the Conservatives have done well to bring about an economic recovery, but not only did it seem that not everyone was benefiting, it actually appears that a lot of people were suffering. I saw no indication that things were going to get better for them either.

 

As for Labour… they clearly demonstrated a concern and interest in addressing the social problems and supporting everyday people. I heard little that convince me of their ability or even interest in supporting professionals (not so negatively impacted), small businesses or anyone else. Whilst I believe things are too complex to say that they were responsible for the recession, full stop, I didn’t hear much that said that they had taken responsibility for possible errors of the past. They didn’t come across to me as very progressive either. Ultimately, I don’t believe that they presented the most credible of messages.

 

Taking account of the polls, if it was practical to do so, I would have voted for a party such as the Liberal Democrats with the hope that they would have moderated the approach of the Conservatives if they were elected or sharpened the approach of Labour if it turned out that they were elected. At a practical level it would have been a waste of my vote, for me to vote anything but the Conservatives or Labour in my Constituency as no one else had the remotest chance of winning. As far as ‘m concerned, LibDem hardly even campaigned. I therefore went for Labour. In my book, “Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective” I talk about minding the gap (between people doing well in different areas and everyone else). I therefore concluded that I’d prefer a slower recovery that carries everyone along, than a rapid recovery that crushes people in the process.

 

Regardless of the decision that I’d come to, I very much enjoyed the diverse pre-election commentary of my various contacts both via social media and face-to-face conversations. I was, however, disappointed – very disappointed in the ultimate election results. I was disappointed in how a fair amount of the online discourse became almost warlike. I was disappointed that so many people had voted for an option that I believe is and has been destructive to the lives of so many other people. I look forward to discussions over time with such people that I knew, as I would very much like to understand their thinking.

For now though, here are a few of my more immediate thoughts:

 

Polls:

I’m concerned about the pre-election polls. They continually and consistency presented a force picture of the likely election results that were so far from the truth. This increasingly fed into the pre-election discourse and debate with a strong focus on coalition options for the two major parties – especially Labour. I find this concerning as I can’t help but wonder how many people would have voted differently if the pre-election polls had presented a different picture.

 

SNP & the Conservations

I’ve heard it said that with an overall majority, the Conservatives could do whatever they want and that regardless of the fact that the SNP have 56 seats, they have very little if any authority. I see things a bit different. To believe that the Conservatives can do whatever they want with their narrow majority assumes that they are a homogenous group who think exactly the same, will always agree with each and follow the party line. I think this means that that there may occasions in which the Conservatives have to rely on votes from other parties – even possibly the Conservatives regardless of their differences in ideology. I also believe that the Scots have made their position of being anti-austerity measures very clear by overwhelming supporting for the SNP. In fact whilst the Conservatives gained 36.9% of the overall UK vote and the SNP only gained 4.7% of the UK vote, they did gain 50% of the votes in Scotland (where they fielded candidates). I think it would be unwise for David Cameron to ignore this or take it lightly. I will eat my hat if there are not historical consequences if he does so!

 

Labour

Well what can I say! Not too much actually. Shortly after the results were announced, a Labour candidate stated “Labour needs to reconnect with voters” I don’t believe this is the real issue. I think the key is for Labour to establish its credibility before the electorate. I’ve also heard some Labour supports blame their demise on the SNP. The truth though, is that even with all the seats won by the SNP, Labour still wouldn’t have gained a majority. More importantly, if the Scottish people were convinced by Labour they would not have turned to the SNP.

 

UKIP

So UKIP retained one of it’s two seats and Nigel Farage did not gain a seat in South Thanet. As such, some have rushed to celebrate and declare this to be the end of UKIP. You only need to look beyond the top-level figures of her won or not to recognise that there is no real reason to rejoice in relation to UKIP. UKIP won 14.1% of the UK vote. Nigel Farage won a close 32.4% of the vote for South Thanet, compared to the Conservative candidate’s winning 38.1%. If we were to change to proportionate representation that many people are clambering for.

 

There are a UKIP Supporters everywhere. For my local constituency of Milton Keynes South, the UKIP Candidate won 7803 votes. That’s close to 8,000 people that agree with their ideologies or at least saw them as the best possible option. For the local elections in Milton Keynes even fielded a black candidate of Nigerian origin.

 

All in all, I don’t believe that UKIP is done by a long shot. Even if UKIP was to disappear, the sentiments, the feelings, the beliefs that they represent would still exist and another political force would surface and such people would behind it – even if it’s even more radical than UKIP. I say in “Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain” we must really start to understand and address the concerns of such people in an honest, realistic and open manner.

 

So What Next

I find the post election surges in membership for losing parties such as Labour and the LibDems fascinating. I do hope that the new members actually voted for the parties in question. Most important, I hope that they help to shape a future for the parties that help to present them as viable options. That will really make British politics exciting. Imagining a scenario whereby we have a series of great options and we have to work out the best of them, rather than what is currently perceived as the best of a number of poor options.

 

I hope against hope that in a second term and with an overall majority; having hopefully heard the concerns of the people through the campaigning period, that the Conservatives will temper their actions and approach with sensitivity and mercy.

 

Facing the reality of what is, I hope that I personal as other likeminded people will be able to gain all that we can for personal benefit and to most critically to enable us to be in the position to best support others in need.

Selah

 

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, an HR firm focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations..  She is also the published author of  Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

 

February 25th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

Unwarranted Segregation?

When I speak in Schools and Colleges on issues of diversity, inclusion and engagement, I have on occasion shown a BNP video in which a member of the BNP questions why black people have so many groups, organisations and representation such as the Black Police Association, Music of Black Origin, Black Nurses Association if they want to be part of British Society.

I typically ask the group whether the woman in the video has a point. At times this leads to a discussion at times people are hesitant to respond and I go on speak about some of the historical issues of exclusion of black people in British society around areas such as housing, work and even religion. Exclusions that often led black people to set up their own groups, churches and various organisations and societies.

It still leaves the questions as to whether these set ups are still needed today. After all, that was then this is now. In fact a few weeks ago I ended up in an extended discussion with someone about this at the Royal Society of Arts. Sometimes I also begin to question the relevance of such ‘structures’ today.

Then we get to the awards season for the entertainment industry – focused on America, but with Global implications. Throughout the season to date frustrations have been expressed about the limited representation of black artistes in various award categories regardless of their achievements.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/20/oscars-diversity-problem_n_6709334.html

At this point I believe it becomes difficult to challenge the structures that represent black achievement, advancement and goals. (Unless you can convince me that this is just an American issue)

Selah

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

February 10th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

Do You Give Due Credit?

I’m looking forward to watching the film, Selma. Everything that I’ve heard about it indicates that it is a film that is well worth watching.

With it being award season, the frustration has been expressed about the limited diversity and representation of black artistes amongst the various categories for different awards ceremonies, especially when you have a film, which is as highly proclaimed as Selma released within the season.

Against this backdrop, it was nice to learn that a few songs from the film SELMA would be featured in this years Grammy. This has, however, led to some controversy of it’s own. The song, “Take My Hand Precious Lord” was sung by Beyonce at the Grammys. However, in the film itself the role of Mahalia Jackson is performed by a lovely Jazzy, earthy soul singer named Ledisi who I’m sure very ably sings the song in the film.

When John Legend was asked was asked why Beyonce was chosen to sing the song (instead of Ledisi) he is said to have responded, “Beyonce requested to sing the song and the offer was to good to pass up”. He is said to have said, “You don’t really say no to Beyonce if she asks to perform with you” he is said to have told a magazine.

When asked about the situation, Ledisi who would have been sitting in the audience provided a very gracious response, saying that she had, had the privilege to sing the song following on from legends such as Mahilia Jackson and Aretha Franklin and that now Beyonce was singing it and taking it to a different generation/audience.

I must say that I question John Legend’s defence that he could not turn Beyonce down. Maybe that’s the type of argument that comes to play when it comes to nominations for the various awards ceremonies, which do not represent the diversity of society.

Critically, I found myself reflecting on this in relation in relation to the workplace. You’ll probably say you don’t do things like this or if you do, it’s totally justified.

However, if you have capable staff with a fair amount of experience who work around the clock for your organisation, providing input to key projects, who are never thanked or publically acknowledged them maybe you are.

If you see the role of such staff to be to sit quietly in meetings without expressing an input; if you expect them to adhere to changes without ever having any say in what the changes may be, then you probably are.   I could go on, but I won’t. Hopefully you can see my point.

There are obviously limits, but if you want them to continually give their best; to be fully engaged and stay with you for the long term. Do ensure that you f recognise what they have to offer, fully acknowledge them; involve them and make the most of them. If the people that we don’t fully appreciate have half of the talent of Ledisi, then we are doing not only them, but also ourselves a major disservice.

#Selah

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

December 24th, 2014 by SusanPopoola

Do They Know It’s Christmas?

A couple of months back I was at a friend’s place. We were just having a general conversation when an appeal message for children in need in Africa was shown on television. As is often the case with such adverts, malnourished children with very little clothing were shown. Mid-sentence, my friend paused in our conversation and glared at the television. “Why are they always portraying Africa like this?” she exclaimed. I tried to point out that there are people in need and such adverts are aimed at getting the necessary support to help them. She wasn’t having it though, “ how many people in Africa actually live like that?” she retorted. She went on to explain that her seven-year daughter had recently asked her why they were always showing children like that on television. My friend happens to be from Senegal and though her two children were born in France they have, visited Senegal on a couple of occasions. They do not come from a rich background; in fact to be honest, her family at home are from a poor, rural community. However, her daughter’s experience of Africa was in no way aligned to what she was seeing on television.

I had this at the back of my mind, when Bob Geldof assembled a number of British artists to record a new version of “Do they know it’s Christmas” in order to help raise funds to help combat Ebola in Africa. It may be for this reason that I felt a sense of disquiet about the recording. I therefore thought that after a few days the feeling would go away – it didn’t. In fact as I observed the artistes; listened to the lyrics; and watched Sir Bob Geldof say that you don’t have to like the lyrics to buy the song and go on to say that people who did not like what he was doing should get lost (polite version). My disquiet grew. This feeling was further heightened by the ‘chants’ of people who said that anything negative about the campaign was eclipsed by the objective, which was to help. I further found myself squirming and struggling to hold my tongue when I heard a young man pronounce that he was sure that the people in Africa would be grateful for ANY help offered to them.

Less you may be thinking, isn’t it true? Let me say no, it’s not, most especially not in this day and age. More pertinently if you really want to help anyone who you perceive to be in need, be it a friend, a family member or someone in some distant land, if you want to be effective, you do need to take the time to truly understand their position, their needs and what they are actually doing to help themselves.

So here are my problems with the “Do they know it’s Christmas” campaign:

At the most superficial level, even with the changes, to the lyrics are not representative of Africa. It’s only certain parts of West Africa that have been affected by Ebola and without question the people of Africa know that it’s Christmas. There are churches all over the place and if you just listen to any African at home or abroad talk about their Christmas festivities you will know that they know when Christmas is, even if their perspective is a bit different from yours.

More important though, Geldof could have included some African artists in the track or better still promoted one of the songs that had ALREADY been recorded by African artists to raise awareness and help combat the disease. One that particular stands out to me is a song, “Trust the Doctors”, sang by renowned African artists who sing of Ebola as an invisible enemy. The song is actually very educational.

Yes, the typical person in Britain doesn’t know the artistes and probably wouldn’t understand the song since it’s in French with verses in a number of different African languages. However, Geldof did say, you don’t have to like the “Do they know it’s Christmas, but people should just buy it to suit the cause. The same principal can therefore apply to the African songs aimed at combating Ebola. Otherwise, what we are saying: African efforts are irrelevant and therefore we are going to do our own thing to help you. That you as Africans are not capable? Mind you, proceeds from the song that I have highlighted go to medicine san frontier.

If Geldof had got behind the promotion of such as song, aside from the funds that it would have generated, it would have demonstrated to people that are tired of the constant appeals to support Africa such as the one that frustrated my friend, that Africans are also doing things to help themselves. It would have also created an awareness of African cultural and some very good African artistes.

You see there, is a need for a change in perception and attitude towards Africa. When we had black Friday and everyday people in England were shown pushing and shoving in a bid to get items which they may or may not need, someone showed this in comparison to hungry, malnourished children in Africa stretching their hands out begging for food.

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Yes, there are some children like this in Africa, but if it didn’t happen this year, within the next few years there will be black Friday in Africa with people fighting for goods which they may or may not need just as we have in England. More pertinently, there are a number of Africans that I know, that have no interests in such sales because they can readily afford to buy such items at more than double the recommended retail price.

So as we celebrate Christmas here in the West, rest assured that in Africa they not only know that it’s Christmas, but they will most definitely be celebrating as well. I believe the best Christmas present to Africa this year and for all the years going forward will be provide them with help and support from a position of greater understanding of the where they are and to support their own efforts and self identified needs.

Merry Christmas everyone

#Selah

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2014. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

October 26th, 2014 by SusanPopoola

First impressions count, but so do Second Impressions

First impressions count, but so do second impressions. I was reminded of this recently when I recently met someone at an event who I’d previously met, but not really taken to the first time that we met. Basically, if I’m to be honest, I found him a bit too pushy in his sales pitch.

However, on the recent occasion when I met him, he saw me from a distance and gave to me with a big smile on his face. “Hello Susan”, he said. “How are you and how’s business?” I was surprised, not only did he remember my face, he remembered my name when I had thought that he’s sole focus had been to push his agenda. He proceeded to have a good conversation, updating each on what we were both doing.

On my way home I found myself reflecting on this situation. He is really quite a nice guy – knowledgeable and intelligent with a willingness to help. If had not met him for a second time or had snobbed him when I’d seen him because of my first impression. He may have lost out from a potential relationship which could end up being beneficial to him, but also to me.

So yes, judge people on your first impression of them, but keep an open mind as for good or for bad, they may turn out to be different from what you original thought.

Selah

Copyright 2014. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

October 5th, 2014 by SusanPopoola

Don’t Mind My Tattoos

I find tattoos fascinating. I don’t know that I’d ever get one though; I don’t ‘do’ needles unless I absolutely have to. To me they represent unnecessary pain. Besides, I can’t think of anything that I would like permanently marked on my body. However, as I said, on other people they are quite fascinating. I’ve had many a conversation with people about their tattoos – why they got them and what they represent. A couple of people have even let me take photographs of their tattoos such as the young man that had a tattoo with the words, “We Are Punished For Our Virtues” He’d been through a lot of challenges in life and wanted to start over. To him the tattoo represented his new start.

Virtues Tattoo

 

Recently, I was watching Undercover Boss. The boss happened to meet a young worker with seven different tattoos on her body. In discussion with her, he found out that she had lost seven different people that were close to her including her parents. She had got a different tattoo for each one of them. She pointed out that having the tattoos, she felt that they were there with her wherever she went. I’ve actually found that tattoos in memory of people are quite common.

RIP Tattoo

 

Within the business environment we are generally not too particular about tattoos – especially when they are visible. We believe they are not a good representation of a business. Although, it’s not something that I have really spend a lot of time thinking about, it is often a subject of debate within Human Resources with some organisations having a clear policy of not employing people with visible tattoos.

As I said, I don’t have a clear, view, but if we do turn people down because of their tattoos, it may mean that we turn down someone trying to make a new start whose tattoo serves as a reminder or the young lady who used her tattoos as a way of coping with her loses. Yes, I’m sure they could have used other strategies, but this is the option that they went for, which actually works for them… unless we refuse to give them a chance based on the strategy that they have chosen.

I guess the key is if we are going to adopt anti-tattoo policies, let’s make sure that we are really clear about our reasoning for them.

Selah

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social PerspectiveandConsequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2014. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

 

August 21st, 2014 by SusanPopoola

The ALS Challenges

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but the real title for this should probably be “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge & The Real ALS Challenge”
I initially ignored it as a silly gimmick when I saw people pouring cold water and ice blocks over themselves for what I later learnt was called the #IceBucketChallenge. Though it’s not my idea of fun, I accepted that people were gaining some form of satisfaction from it, so I thought, ‘live and let live’. I later learnt that it was aimed at raising awareness about ALS and raising funds for a charity.
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It seemed a bit though, that people were choosing to pour ice cold water over themselves instead of actually giving to Charity. I have, however, learnt through NBC news that  over $30,000 has been raised, so though it may be gimmicky it must be taken seriously.

I hope that whilst people like George Bush may have taken the challenge and had ice cold water poured all over him that he still went ahead and wrote a couple of cheques. One for Laura, but most critically  one for the ALS Foundation.

Similarly, I hope that all the celebrities and all the other people that have opted to have ice cold water poured over themselves still go ahead and make a donation to the ALS Foundation or other Charities that support people with the disease if they can afford to do so.

If not to some extent, what’s the point? I may just be ignorant, but I must say I didn’t know what ALS prior to the campaign. I didn’t learn anything about it from all the different people that I’ve seen having buckets of water poured over their heads. Most of them don’t even mention it.

I had to go online and look up ALS to find out what it means. I’ve also seen an alternative video from a young man who has been diagnosed with the disease; as was his mother and his grandmother. I think the video is a must watch. Ref: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – Uncensored & Sexy?

Ultimately, I hope that beyond a bit of viral fun, a lot more money is raised in aid of ALS which leads to research, better treatment and a potential cure; that there is a greater awareness of the disease and a better/improved response to people that suffer from it.

So have fun (as you hopefully make a real difference)

#Selah

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social PerspectiveandConsequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2014. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

 

 

 

 

July 20th, 2014 by SusanPopoola

Caddying

Watching the Golf Opens I found myself contemplating the role of a Caddy and what there role would be in a business environment. i.e. People talk about the importance of Coaches & Mentors, but how would a caddy fit into the business environment.

In golf, a caddy carries a player’s bag & clubs, & gives insightful advice & moral support. A good caddy is also aware of the challenges & obstacles of the golf course being played, along with the best strategy in playing it. (Source: Wikipedia)

In essence a Golf Caddy used effectively acts as added backbone to a player. In business I coach, I mentor, & enabled I do great caddying too!

Selah

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social PerspectiveandConsequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2014. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

 

July 11th, 2014 by SusanPopoola

True Brand Ambassadors

A magazine recently interviewed me about one of my books: Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes. On the face of it, they could have been any glossy publication. However, talking to the chief Executive, I discovered that whilst they were very much a profit-making outfit, they also had a strategy of employing and training the long-term unemployed.

“I didn’t know that” I exclaimed, “I’m going to pay special attention to the publication from now on” I added. We both then went on to discuss how organisations can make people aware of such strategies without appearing to brag.

It reminded me of a story I had heard about how Coco-Cola has on the occasion put supplies for NGOs on the back of its lorries and delivered them to remote areas without making any charges, because they were going to those areas anyway, and it would be difficult for the NGOs to get to such areas by themselves. People don’t often here about things like this that they do, yet I love to hear about such initiatives. However, again, if they made announcements through their corporate PR teams, questions could be raised about their sincerity and motives.

I believe customers and wider society should know about the values, ethos and approach of organisations. It’s nice for them to be made aware of the things that they do naturally that make a difference beyond “bolt on” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives which I believe also have a place as done properly they do make a difference.

So how do organisations make us aware of what they do naturally at a high level and more generally with their more routine services, their ethics, approach etc.?

I believe that customers know a fair amount about the services that they receive, the products they buy and how they are treated. They can begin to tell the story of a brand. However the people that really know the brand are the employees – in many ways they are the brand and how they behaviour determines what a brand is way more than marketing materials and PR.

The question then is how can we make sure that they effectively represent the brand message that we would like and become true Brand Ambassadors for us?

  • I would say that in the first place, an organisation should have clear values, vision and purpose, that employees are a part of because not only have they helped to design them, but because employees are recruited because they share the same values and believe in the vision and purpose helping to demonstrate consistency and authenticity throughout the organisation.
  • Employees should be a true part of an organisation’s journey. Being kept abreast of what’s going on and why – even being part of the process of developing ideas.
  • Organisations should create an atmosphere that celebrates and shares successes – at an individual, local/departmental level and at an organisation wide level.
  • As much as possible organisations should trust their employees and provide a degree of awareness when things go wrong or aren’t; working properly – providing them with a context of what is happening/has happened; why and what is being done about. After all, employees are probably going to hear rumours anyway, so it’s best that they hear things from the management. They in turn may talk publically about what’s going on and are more likely to do so positively if they’ve heard the story from the true source
  • Generally, employees will talk about the place where they work to friends, family and others too. If they enjoy the environment in which they work, feel engaged; well treated and supported they are likely to tell a positive story – so treat them well.
  • Encourage the positive use of social media by employees, but with clear guidelines on what is acceptable.

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social PerspectiveandConsequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2014. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

 

March 18th, 2014 by SusanPopoola

Skills, Systems and Attitude

I met Ben at a networking event as he spoke of about his products, I thought they would be perfect for a business event that I was going to be attending in a few weeks time so I asked for his contact details.  I followed up with an email asking for pricing information. He passed my details on to a colleague. He contacted me and asked for more details. I must be honest and say that I was a bit unclear about what I wanted.  This did not stop me from being disappointed when I was just sent a quote for the lowest priced option without alternative options.  I was disappointed and put off.

Another organisation was recommended to me.  They guy was very friendly when I spoke to him on the phone.  The quote he provided was, however a two line email again without any real information on options.  He included an image of the item, which was of a very poor quality.  Again I was not impressed.

I spoke to a friend who suggested a look online.  I found an organisation with a professional website and contacted them.  The lady I spoke to asked for my name, company name, contact number and email address.  Within half an hour I received a quote with different options and an online catalogue showing the different items.  Within that half an hour she had looked my company up as not only did she provide a link to references of previous customers, she also provided information on a couple of Human Resources organisations that they had previously done work for.  I was impressed.  I was even more impressed when she offered to send samples of the product, contacting me to check whether I was happy, providing me with information on how long an order would take.  She managed to do all of this without making me feel as if I was being hassled. It was obvious to me that the organisation had some great systems and processes in place.

By the time I was ready to place my order she wasn’t around but had provided contact details for a colleague who was covering for her in her absence.  This time tings were different though.  I found myself leaving messages and having to chase up to ensure that my messages were received due to a lack of response.  I was less impressed and found myself reflecting.

Ultimately, I was reminded it’s great to have good systems and processes in place; they provide employees with guidance and a framework to work to.  They can also serve to help employees develop and leverage their skills and capabilities. Systems and processes in of themselves are not enough, if employees using them do not have the right attitude they are wasted and can become obsolete.

It leads me to the conclusion that whilst there is a need to recruit people with skills, there is a fundamental need to make sure that they have good positive attitudes.  There is a further need for good systems and processes that provide frameworks without forgetting the need for human guidance and support.

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