April 8, 2024

Fair Work for Better Business

What is Fair Work? In terms of the big picture, Fair Work is a vision that by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where Fair Work drives success, well-being and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society.

At a practical level, it is about good work practices that you can carry out, have in place, and lead with, to ensure people, the core of your organisation, can thrive.

Fair Work is focused on giving all individuals these aspects of fair work to balance the rights and needs of individuals and employers. The framework includes 5 dimensions:

  • Effective voice
  • Fulfilment
  • Security
  • Opportunity
  • Respect

The great thing is that no matter how large or small your team, or organisation, we can all implement the Fair Work framework in our everyday practice. We know that Fair Work implementation can be simple in how we operate and behave each day and has clear benefits for individuals and organisations.

Where to Start

To begin it is important to think about the ‘Why’.  Why are you interested in fair work? Because the Government tells us we should do this, or we have to? Or because we know that thriving organisations are built around people-centred cultures and fair work is a simple way for us to implement this.

Some of the ways we recommend building your organisational culture around Fair Work include considering the things you can offer, and not only financial benefits.

According to McKinsey, nonfinancial rewards to motivate employees can lead to a 55% increase in engagement which has huge rewards for the person and business. Things you can consider include:

  • Time off for birthdays/special events/volunteering/passion projects
  • Recognition of effort and contribution, not only performance or results;
  • Flexible working;
  • Personal development;
  • Mentoring;
  • As well as experiential rewards like team events or activities.

Flexible Working

Flexible working does not mean only working from home at hours that suit the person and their family life. There are lots of ways to integrate flexibility, especially in roles where the person needs to be present every day. Additionally, it is important to consider how flexibility opens your organisation up to demographics that cannot do the traditional Monday to Friday 9am-5pm working day, such as people with care responsibilities, older workers, single parents, or people with disabilities or health issues, both physical or mental.

Flexible working encourages diversity in your organisation and allows you to tap into the skills, talents and ambitions of these groups. Having employees who reflect society is a huge benefit and forward-facing employers take this seriously and are proactive in their approach to achieving this.

Where remote working is possible it can encourage diversity of thought and creativity. Those with caring commitments, for example, may need to vary their working hours; however, it can really boost your organisation's innovation.

Other flexible working options include part-time, term time, working from home, hybrid working, flexible hours, job share, annualised hours, compressed working weeks, shift swaps, and additional flexible hours used over the year for special events.

Diversity & Recruitment

Consider your recruitment process, does this encourage diverse applicants?

Diversity is not only about groups but also about contribution. One of the tools we use is Nigel Rizner’s, It’s a Zoo Around Here which is a book, and a free Self-Assessment to understand individuals' styles and preferences for communication. This helps to understand commonalities and differences and how to understand people better, whilst learning to appreciate and adapt to different styles.

This can be both useful and beneficial particularly when the working world, post Covid, tells us that Connection is what they seek most at work. And even for remote working, we can effectively connect with our teams and colleagues, with the use of technology, using check-ins, collaborative online meetings, feedback forums, progress reports, and frequent, effective communication, that is tailored to the style of the people.

Providing Feedback Effectively

One of the most effective ways to give your people a voice and build a fair work culture is through feedback. Not positive, negative or constructive, just feedback that is shared, asked for, consistent, often and useful. There are many models and tools to give a structure for feedback and it is a fantastic, practical way to do Fair Work in your everyday. Radical Candor, the GROW Model, or the BOFF Model are all excellent tools to build your skills and confidence in doing feedback well.

The concept of Psychological Safety is not a new one, though it has gained popularity in recent years and can still often be misunderstood. It is a great way, again, to build and integrate Fair Work principles into your teams and organisations, in 121s, meetings, team sessions, appraisals, reviews and general communications. It focuses on support and learning, and the opposite of a blame culture.

It also represents your organisation's approach to risk and failure as well as how you support and include your people.

Providing Autonomy & Freedom

Fulfilling work benefits employees and employers with key benefits of increased engagement, motivation, productivity and retention. It is worth considering how you can provide work that is engaging, has autonomy, some freedom, that helps others and plays to your strengths, and allows you to have balance with the other things in life that matter to your people. The PERMA model for well-being and happiness is a great tool and structure to consider for this aspect of fair work.

It is crucial to see Fair Work beyond contracts, legal and HR policies, wages and hours at work and vital to think about how you integrate this into your everyday people and practices.

If you would like more information on implementing the Fair Work framework in your organisation, contact us today.


March 18, 2024

How do you Celebrate Neurodiversity in your Workplace?

Every March we mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week in our business, but this year we’ve been talking with members of our team and clients who are neurodivergent about what they’d like to see in how we recognise and celebrate this week.  Is celebration even the right term, is recognition not more important?  And how do we carry this throughout the year, ensuring our commitments extend longer than an annual event?

“I have always thought that calendar dates such as Black History Month and Neurodiversity Celebration Week were a time that people could build awareness, learn, and recognise differences as a great thing. A recent conversation changed this, however, when someone told me that it’s during months like these that they are at their most vulnerable and can receive the most hate. As much as I was saddened by this, it unfortunately makes sense. This was a stark reminder to be the best Ally during these ‘celebrations’ and check in on your team if they hold these identities.”

Katy Morrison, EDI Lead at Connect Three

Understanding Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity encompasses the natural variation in neurological functioning present in human beings. It acknowledges that individuals may think, learn, and communicate in diverse ways due to differences in brain development and processing. Neurodiversity is an umbrella term covering a spectrum of differing skill profiles including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome, dyspraxia and more. Rather than viewing these differences as deficits, neurodiversity recognises them as unique expressions of human cognition and behaviour.

“We all carry a bias that other people think the same way we do, but this can be harmful to ourselves and others. In the workplace, in particular, this bias can prevent companies from supporting neurodiverse employees and recognizing their unique challenges.”
Cara Pelletier, Senior Director of Diversity Equity & Belonging at UKG.

The Importance of Recognition

Experts estimate that, on average, 15 per cent of any workforce will be neurodiverse.  Recognising Neurodiversity Celebration Week serves several critical purposes. Firstly, it raises awareness about neurodiversity and challenges stereotypes and stigmas associated with neurological differences. It fosters a culture of inclusion where individuals feel valued and respected regardless of their cognitive differences. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for organisations to reflect on their policies, practices, and accommodations to better support neurodiverse employees.

Not all neurodiverse employees will display the same skills profile, but there are common themes. For instance, a neurodiverse person will often have distinct peaks and dips in their skillset, while a non-neurodiverse person’s skills profile will be less varied. Employers that make adjustments to balance the impact that these dips can have on a person will see greater benefits at the peaks of their skills.  But where do you begin?

Create an Inclusive Environment

It is incredibly important that we recognise that:

  1. Not everyone who is neurodivergent has been diagnosed.
  2. Not everyone who is diagnosed as neurodivergent wants people to know about their diagnosis.


The difficult truth is that as a leader you cannot wait to be handed a list of problems from an employee that you can then set out to solve.  It also means that the very idea of celebrating Neurodiversity by highlighting those who are neurodiverse within your organisation can be a terrible idea!  Being in the spotlight is not comfortable for many people, and we need to respect that in organisations.

Instead, by creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace, you can amplify the voices of people who need to be heard.  By providing platforms for people who wish to share, and encouraging open dialogue and active listening, you can help to foster empathy, understanding, and collaboration throughout your teams.

Positive Impacts and Reasonable Adjustments

“We need to think about the questions we are asking and do these help to give us the information to make the right adjustments for people. The Business Disability Forum suggests, rather that asking what conditions people have, lead with the adjustment 1st. For example: ‘may find indoor lighting difficult’ or ‘may use assistive technology’. Woking to find out the solutions people need, will allow you to make a more positive impact.” Katy

As we said at the start, there are often common themes across people who have a neurodiverse skills profile and while it can seem impossible to cater for everyone’s individual requirements in a large workforce, by making reasonable adjustments, you can often improve every employee’s experience.

Katy’s favourite example of this is that lowered kerbs at pedestrian crossings were originally put in place to aid wheelchair users, but everyone from cyclists to people pushing buggies now benefits from what was originally a reasonable adjustment for a single subset of society.

In the workplace we can think of similar adjustments which can aid everyone.  For example, people who struggle with organisation or long-term planning can be helped with reminders of important deadlines, and clear messages about what is currently a priority for the team.  Reminders and clarity can foster better communication for everyone, so this reasonable adjustment can have a wider positive impact.  Similarly, many neurodiverse skillsets include issues with concentration and focus, whether it be hyperfocus, or a tendency to be easily distracted.  These dips and peaks in skills can both see a positive impact from time blocking and regular short breaks, which again can be beneficial to all people in a work environment.

So our key take away?  Don’t wait for people to come out as Neurodivergent, and instead, use this Neurodiversity Celebration Week as a spark to start conversations in your teams about adjustments that everyone can benefit from and start to build them into your policies and practices.

Further Support

If you’d like more in depth support on celebrating neurodiversity in your business, why not join our webinar with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Neurodiversity in the Workplace on Friday 19th April at 10am?  Sign up here.

December 22, 2023

What’s Coming in 2024?

As we hurtle towards a new year, we asked our team to give us the lowdown on the upcoming trends that our customers can anticipate in 2024. From the transformative shifts in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) practices to the burgeoning significance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, these insights offer a glimpse into the trends that will shape the business landscape in the coming year.

Leadership

Chief Explorer, Colin Lamb, spoke of what he expects leaders to face in the coming year, and how successful organisations will respond:

“2024 is going to be another tough year for business. Just when we thought we were out of the woods with COVID, businesses are being continually challenged on an economic scale and having to rethink what, how and why they do what they do. 

The biggest challenges we will face in 2024 will be the ongoing disruption due to inflation and economic downturn driven by political, economic, environmental, and global events. The ever-evolving change of customer expectations (personalisation and choice) and behavioural change (how people are choosing to buy) and how digital and AI in particular are taking us down roads we never thought possible at an instantaneous rate.  

These three external factors will drive businesses to change, adapt and evolve quicker than we realise. Disruption is afoot and the successful leaders will be at the forefront, while others who do not prioritise this will be left behind. “

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In 2024, our EDI Lead Katy Morrison expects the discourse on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to take a progressive turn:

“Talent shortages and the need for new skill sets mean that organisations will be stepping beyond traditional talent pools, and focusing on reskilling current employees, and even reintegrating retirees and caregivers back into pivotal roles.  I also believe that we’ll see a push to integrate diverse perspectives into strategy and organisational culture.

Companies will focus on inclusion rather than just compliance, and try to foster better working relationships by identifying commonalities. This approach will involve comprehensive training programs and events, going beyond sporadic or one-off training sessions to create a lasting impact. Companies are gearing up to collect EDI data, set goals, and implement measurements. Aligning with public bodies' practices, top-performing companies are integrating EDI policies and goals, demonstrating a commitment to creating and showcasing impact.”

Business

Next, we asked our Business Director, Jordan Kay, to outline the pivotal business trends he expects our customers to face in 2024.

“Rather than replacing jobs, I believe 2024 will bring a collaborative approach to AI. Businesses are exploring ways to integrate AI into daily operations, enhancing tasks from writing to boosting efficiency. This shift signifies a move towards embracing AI as a tool for augmenting human capabilities and it will, in turn, lead to a focus on shoring up the Skills Gap.

Companies in 2024 will begin reinvesting in people's soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and leadership. As technology continues to advance and be implemented more widely, businesses need to prioritise the development of their employees' abilities to effectively use these technologies and collaborate with others in the workplace.”0

Environment, Social Impact, & Governance

Our Chief Sustainability Officer, Mehalah Beckett, offers her opinion on how the ESG landscape will evolve in 2024.

“What I hope to see is 2024 being the start of a shift in the UK business model. B Corp-friendly practices are gaining popularity, with businesses advocating for legal responsibility to benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment. As The Better Business Act gains traction in parliament, this signals a commitment to aligning profit with broader societal and environmental concerns.

With this in mind, I believe that purpose-driven start-ups, having gained momentum since the pandemic, are set to explode in 2024. Aligning brand loyalty with a meaningful purpose, these businesses are reshaping markets, surpassing competitors focused solely on financial returns.

In terms of environmental impact, businesses will start to transition from their net-zero plans to tangible actions. 2024 demands substantial changes in internal processes and supply chains. Companies are expected to enforce rigorous standards throughout their supply partnerships, ensuring a genuine commitment to addressing climate change.”

December 12, 2023

Why We Published Our Impact Report

This December we published our first Impact Report and we are pretty excited to share it with the world! As a UK Certified B Corp we are required to publish an Impact Report every year, but even for businesses that have not achieved B Corp status, it is a great way to communicate important information about your business and the impact it has on people and the planet. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your successes, outline your goals, and plan for the next year to come.


Purpose of an Impact Report

An Impact Report should provide quantifiable changes that your organisation’s activities have been responsible for in the last 12 months; reassuring your clients, suppliers, followers and supporters that your business is ultimately a force for good. It provides transparency, accountability and helps to identify areas for improvement.


There are lots of frameworks that you can use to create an Impact Report, but because Connect Three is a B Corp, we have used their 5-point framework to explore the meaningful changes we have made, and are planning to make.
So that’s the big reason we are doing it, but there are four other important reasons why we created an Impact Report:

  1. To Give Thanks
    We regularly make a point of showing gratitude to our people, clients, partners and supporters, and an Impact Report gives us a focused opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who supported us as we worked to make a difference to people and the planet.
  2. To Provide Accountability and Transparency
    Each year our Impact Report will let us honestly tell our stakeholders about the good, the bad, and the ugly that we’ve faced as we have tried to implement actions in the year. We do our best to tell the story about what we have done in a compelling way, and give an honest account of the difference that Connect Three is making in the world. It also explains what we are learning from our outcomes, and what we are going to do to address our shortcomings.
  3. To Help Clarify Our Future Focus
    As part of our Report, we have identified areas where we can grow our impact, and where we are currently at on our journey to our biggest goals. Each Impact Report we produce will be an annual check-in on our journey and help to ensure we are on the right path.
  4. To Motivate Our People
    As much as the Impact Report is for our wider followers, the report also gives our whole team insight into how their work has contributed to our overall success, and what lies ahead for us as a team. The team has been involved in measuring our impact throughout the year, and this is the opportunity for them to see the big picture view of what we have achieved.

So that’s the why, and here’s where you can view the full report. If you have feedback, input, or ideas of things we can get involved in over the next 12 months, email curious@connectthree.co.uk and let us know.

November 7, 2023

You Don’t Need a Sustainability Strategy, You Need a Sustainable Strategy

Strategy: A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

Have you got ‘Sustainability Strategy’ somewhere on your to do list? 

Whether from external pressure, or internal drive, most businesses have “Create Sustainability Strategy” on their never-ending list of things they would like to do.  It’s a relevant and important action, and one we highly recommend you take – so let me suggest a way that you can achieve your goal easily and efficiently.


If you have plans to create a sustainability strategy, you’ve probably already got a strategy in place that sets out how your business will grow and thrive into the future.  If you do, then you already have something to build on; you don’t need a separate strategy (thank goodness!).

A confused mind trying to follow multiple strategies doesn’t act.

Instead, let’s ensure your current business strategy is focused on sustainable growth – which to us at Connect Three – is growth that's good for your people, your wider stakeholders, and the planet. 

What does that mean in practice? 

What is your overall aim for your business?  

If it’s purely economic, to maximise profits for your owners or shareholders, then you may be good as you are, for now; but a business that does not want to be agile may not be a going concern for that much longer.  In other words, if you are not seeking to identify and act on potential changes in legislation, customer expectations, social crises, environmental threats and degradation – your business aims won’t get you where you want to go.  

If you are considering your people, wider stakeholders and the planet in your future strategy for economic resilience and sustainability, why not double up and establish what value you could create for people and the planet, while on your business growth journey? 

How would you like to create value in the world?  

Economically

  • Profit:
    As your profit grows, where will you invest it for wider returns?
    In your employees’ well-being? Improving your products/services? in the environment? or a global issue you align with?  
  • Job Creation:
    How many good jobs will you create and how inclusively will you recruit?
  • Procurement:
    Where will you spend your procurement budget?
    With suppliers that are local, ethical suppliers or minority-owned?

Better still, how can you be part of solving the big economic problems of today, be it poverty, inequality, cost of living crisis, access to markets...how can you use your business for good economically?  

Socially

  • People:
    Do you want your business to be an amazing place to work?  Do you want to attract, retain and develop top talent within your workforce?  How will you achieve this?
  • Community:
    Do you want to be a great business within your community?  Can you donate staff time and/or funds to local projects? Or maybe there are global causes or advocacy campaigns you and your team can lend your voice to? 
  • Customers:
    Do you want to get 5 star reviews from your customers?  Do you want to be rewarded for innovation and, even better, how can you be part of the solution to the big social issues of today – be it homelessness, mental health, obesity, loneliness, migration...or something even closer to your heart? 

Remember, your people are your most important asset – treat them like this and the business will flourish.  

 Environmentally

  • How will you mitigate climate risk, adhere to incoming regulation, transition to net zero and take advantage of the flourishing green economy?  
  • How can you do your bit to understand the strain your business puts on resources – be it land, water, waste or carbon – and after setting a baseline publish a strategy to reduce your footprint? 
  • How can you be part of the solution to the big environmental issues of today?  Can your product or service solve problems for your clients by reducing resource use, tapping into the circular economy or providing environmental education and services? What new efficiencies and revenue streams could this create? 

You don’t need a separate sustainability strategy, as you can see.  The three pillars I’ve highlighted above can be integral to your existing business strategy. Look after your people and the planet, and you will have a resilient, thriving business way into the future.  

To take the next step – Connect Three’s ESG team have created a free ESG Diagnostic tool. It is a 16 question, 7 minute survey that helps businesses to establish where they are and offers advice for the next steps they should take on their sustainable growth journey. 

If you complete the Diagnostic and realise that there are some gaps and unexplored opportunities in your strategy then get in touch with Connect Three.  We can help you to establish your sustainable strategy and take action to accelerate your impact and value in the world.  

October 25, 2023

How Do You Set Your ESG Baseline if You Don’t Track Anything?

Baseline: A starting point – a position that serves as a point of comparison for measuring progress.

The pressure on businesses to improve their sustainability is mounting from all sides, with the UK Government considering regulatory measures; consumers aligning their spending with their values; and sustainability-conscious companies outpacing their counterparts.  It’s no longer a suggestion that businesses should be reporting on their sustainability actions and progress, but a resounding demand that organisations can no longer afford to ignore.

In this era of heightened awareness and action, the message is clear: don't be left behind.  The risks of inaction are real, but so are the boundless opportunities awaiting those who embark on the journey towards sustainable growth. 

It’s no longer about simply surviving, it's about thriving in a world where sustainability is paramount. From winning tenders to attracting top-tier talent and securing vital investments, the benefits of embracing sustainable practices are abundant. But how can you report on sustainability progress when you don’t even have a plan?  How to know what you’re aiming for, if you don’t even have a baseline?

And how can you know your baseline if you don’t track anything?

This is a common response from the companies we engage with on their ESG journey.  By measuring your baseline - your current status - you can establish how far you have to go and make a plan to get you there. 

And we’ve never met a company that didn’t track anything

You may not know what your carbon output is, but at Connect Three, we believe that holistic sustainability includes all three pillars of ESG – Environmental Management, Social Impact and Good Governance.  All compliant companies are already reporting on some key governance metrics like revenue and profitability, so you are measuring some things! But what else could your ESG baseline include?

Measuring Your Baseline in 7 minutes

If you would like to get an idea of your baseline as you embark on your ESG journey – or even if you have started to implement changes and you want to see how far you have to go – Connect Three’s ESG team have created a free ESG Diagnostic tool.  It is a 16 question, 7 minute survey that helps businesses to establish where they are, and offers advice for the next steps they should take on their sustainable growth journey.

If you complete the Diagnostic and realise that you are not as far along in your ESG journey as you would like to be, then get in touch with Connect Three.  We’re on a mission to make the planet a better place to work and live, by supporting companies to grow sustainably.  It’s good for their people, their wider stakeholders, and the planet.  We can help you to establish your baseline, or lead you on your next steps, from strategy, through to action, and to making the impact you ultimately want to achieve.

We work with businesses at every stage of their ESG journey, so even if you got a good score or better than you expected on your baseline audit - get in touch today and get some positive momentum on your sustainable growth journey.

October 19, 2023

How to Deal with High Absence Rates in the Workplace

Sickness absence rates in the UK have risen to a 10-year high, with employees now averaging 7.8 days off in the past year, compared to the pre-pandemic rate of 5.8 days. These figures are revealed in a comprehensive survey conducted by the CIPD and Simplyhealth which sheds light on the growing issue of absenteeism in the UK workplace.

Stress As A Leading Cause

The study identifies stress as a significant factor contributing to absences, with a staggering 76% of respondents reporting stress-related absences in their organisations over the past year.  The survey showed that mental health issues played a role in both short-term absences (39%) and long-term absences (63%).

We spoke to the HR & People Experts on the Connect Three team to dig deeper into why this might be happening and what businesses could do to support their teams.

1. Long Hours in Unhappy Workplaces

Colin Lamb, our Founder and Chief Explorer, believes the new ways that we are working is a cause of employee burnout and absenteeism:

“We are now operating in a more complex working environment where we are working physically, virtually, and hybrid. This increased complexity is more demanding on people.” He says.

Susan McRoberts echoes his concerns: “One of the biggest challenges in our new way of working is that there is no 'downtime'.  Previously, if you worked longer hours your manager would encourage you to take the time back, that's more difficult to do now.”

So how do we help to combat this predilection to overwork that people are facing?  Colin is passionate that it is the business’s responsibility to reduce overwork, wither by changing how we operate, or taking advantage of digital technologies. He continues; “Organisations need to do more to support their teams with a strong wellbeing strategy including financial, social, physical focus areas.”


2. Understaffed and Overworked

The report cited Heavy workloads as the primary cause of stress-related absences at 67%, but what is causing the increase in pressure on employees? Yvonne Anderson works closely with a number of our high-growth clients, and she believes the workload could be down to the imbalance she is seeing between many companies’ growth aspirations and the workforce available to meet these demands.

She says: “I’m seeing companies that are focused on growth, but do not have the people to deliver the extra work that we are demanding.  We are seeing people leaving and others having to pick up their work, while recruitment strategies fail.”

The solution is not to shy away from growth, however.  Yvonne believes that through better resource planning and changing approaches to recruiting, businesses can tackle heavy workloads.  “Rather than waiting for the ideal candidate, businesses should focus on training and development, attraction and retention; on improving working environments for the people they have, and attracting the people they need.”

3. Poor Management

As the report highlighted, Poor Management Styles accounted for 37% of stress-related absences, which is certainly something that our explorer Teresa Robertson agrees with.  “Poor Management style is always a major contributor to employee stress,” she says, “whether it is caused by company culture, or a lack of training for their managers, it is always a factor.”  Like Yvonne, Teresa highlights the importance of investing in learning and development to support and upskill managers in their roles, and how better management is absolutely vital in reducing stress in the workplace.

4. Poor Management of Absence

As well as solving the causes, Susan Crawford believes that more focus is needed on how companies are managing absences, something she is passionate about solving. 

She says, “Many managers are not equipped to manage absence, especially absence linked to mental wellbeing.  Poor management of absence in the first place almost endorses people being off, and puts more pressure on others in the teams.  This can lead to others burning out, getting frustrated, and even having to take time off too.  More has to be done to equip our managers with how to manage absence more effectively.” 

Is Stress Really on The Increase?

The rate of absences may be increasing, but we could question whether stress as the leading cause has increased as dramatically as the report suggests.  Is it that more that people are more willing to acknowledge mental health as a reason for their absences rather than masking it behind other explanations?

Vicky O’Connor believes this could be the case.  She has seen a positive shift in attitudes towards mental health in the workplace. “There has been a big change in how mental health is viewed at work.  It's become more acceptable to talk about it since the pandemic, and acknowledge it as the reason for health and performance issues.”

There is No Quick Fix

Vicky also points out that since there's often no quick fix for the issues people face at work, they can have a prolonged impact on overall wellness and contribute to stress-related illnesses.

She says; “Mental health is a huge area with so many moving parts, which is one reason that many managers and workplaces are still not well educated around and don't know how to deal with it appropriately.  We need to see a focus on supporting people as individuals, and being flexible within the boundaries of policy and practice to support people back to work.”

If you are concerned about absences in your workplace, get in touch with our HR team.  We can offer coaching and support to help you to prioritise the health and happiness of your teams, without compromising on your organisation’s growth and sustainable future.

October 16, 2023

Menopause in the Workplace: How You Can Make the Difference

With over 30 potential symptoms, perimenopause and menopause can be a debilitating time for those going through it, and it is heartening to see the recent focus ‘Menopause in the Workplace’ has been receiving.  Many employers have taken the first steps to introduce supportive mechanisms, however sadly, the Fawcett Report (2022) reported that 7 in 10 menopausal women still say their workplace still has no basic support – support networks, related absence policies, awareness raising amongst staff - in place.

Many are now more aware of the physical symptoms of menopause, but there is a worrying lack of awareness of the emotional and cognitive symptoms experienced– high levels of anxiety are reported by 51% of those going through menopause, along with 20% diagnosed with depression, particularly in the 3 to 4 years after periods stop.  Other symptoms include poor concentration, loss of confidence, memory problems, panic attacks, anger and irritability - all of which can take a toll on a woman’s working life.

The Business Case for Change

People over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing segment of the UK workforce, yet one in five of those experiencing menopause symptoms end up leaving work before retirement age.  Around half of those experiencing symptoms state that their symptoms had a negative impact on their work, including finding it hard to meet deadlines, concentrate in meetings, make decisions and work effectively with other colleagues.

With it costing upwards of £30,000 to replace an experienced staff member, having a supportive culture, policy and framework will save employers thousands.  Couple that with the additional benefits of reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, improved performance and motivation, increased employee satisfaction, and an overall impact on the reputation and brand of an organisation, it makes sense for employers to introduce impactful yet cost-effective supportive measures for those affected. 

A lack of understanding of the legal implications of not having support in place can also be costly -  ACAS reported a 44% rise in menopause-related tribunals recently,  with some cases paying out around £65,000.  It can be difficult to navigate the different legislation that protects those going through menopause - although there is no specific law covering menopause, the Equality Act (2010) includes protected characteristics such as age, sex, etc.  Also, under Health and Safety legislation, employers must ensure a physically and emotionally safe working environment for all employees. 

Breaking Through the Stigma

Unfortunately, even with its recent spotlight, many going through menopause still find it difficult to speak up in the workplace when struggling - 47% of sufferers say they wouldn’t state if the reason they had a sick day was down to menopausal symptoms.  There are several reasons for this, including being perceived negatively in the workplace (46%), feeling their ability would be questioned (41%), and seeing menopause being treated as a joke by others at work (41%).  

Coping with hormonal and physical changes can leave many women feeling embarrassed, confused and isolated, all making it difficult to be open about their experience. This can result in many women not putting themselves forward for promotional opportunities, not taking on extra responsibilities, and not having the confidence to put their thoughts and feelings forward when required.  Cultural change is the first step in ensuring this group feel safe and protected enough to speak up about their support needs. 

How can Employers support their affected staff?

Putting into place effective support mechanisms is a journey that involves the entire organisation, not just those adversely affected, and there are several points to consider:

  • Listen
    Before introducing any new processes or making any changes, listen to those affected and gain insight into how they feel, how they have been affected and what would help. 
  • Engage
    Changing culture and mindsets will involve the whole organisation, and consulting with as much of the workforce as possible will help prepare employees for any new changes and help embed any new policies and processes. 
  • Equity and Diversity (EDI)
    Any support and policy change must consider transgender women and non-binary individuals – the language used must be inclusive.  Also, bear in mind that menopause is still a taboo subject in some cultures, and some may prefer to access support anonymously rather than face an uncomfortable discussion. 
  • Raise Awareness
    Raising awareness of menopause, menopause myths, and menopause symptoms is the foundation of change, and helping teams understand and support colleagues who are impacted. This can take the form of awareness sessions, workshops, videos, guides, and campaigns. 
  • Manager Support
    Managers must be trained by specialists to support their teams in order to recognise the signs that a team member could be struggling with menopause symptoms, develop support plans, and have difficult conversations. 
  • Policies
    Developing and promoting a relevant and accessible menopause policy that clearly outlines what support the organisation offers and how to access this support, shows that the employer recognises the need for support, values the employee’s continued contribution, and will not be judged for coming forward.  

    Any policy must include tangible support mechanisms, such as flexible working, quiet spaces, sickness and absence support, and being understanding of medication time out. These actions should tie in with other organisational health and well-being policies which can benefit all members of the organisation, such as creating a well-being passport which can promote open discussions between peers.
  • Environmental changes
    Ensuring the environment is set up to support those with symptoms includes having a well-ventilated office, and ensuring there are private areas for those needing to have open conversations, quiet spaces for those needing a noise break, and that any uniforms are made from breathable material – and any other changes highlighted through previous consultation and engagement methods.
  • Allow time
    Time must be spent to build up the correct policy and workplace practices so that people can access the right support. Time must also be given to allow for the cultural change to take place, for the tone and language around menopause to change for the better, so that those affected feel comfortable enough to access support.  Menopause treatment itself takes time to take effect, and it may take some time for women to see some real changes.  Workplaces must allow for this uncertain time, and ensure support is in place throughout this treatment journey.
  • Continual Monitoring
    What milestones can be put in place to ensure the business is progressing in the right direction? Menopause support is an ever-changing field, and regular ongoing monitoring and feedback must be in place to ensure effective support is being offered.

Providing the right support for those going through menopause can feel like a huge task for employers, with several factors to consider such as EDI, stigma, and cultural change.  The focus on menopause does mean that guidance and support are now more readily available – take the first step this World Menopause Day and contact our team here at Connect Three to support you to begin this important journey. 

Sources:

August 14, 2023

Building Inclusive Workspaces from the Ground-up

Many workplaces have undergone radical changes over the last 3 years – from hybrid working influencing where we work, to the range of technological tools and apps that enable the way we work – the delineation between ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ has become increasingly more blurred. This has had a profound impact on the attitudes and behaviours of people.

A recent workplace report from Gartner (2023) suggests that employees now take more of a values-based approach towards the workplace. According to their research, 82% of employees say that it is important that their company sees them “as a person, not just an employee”. People are actively seeking positive company cultures and inclusive workplaces where they feel respected, valued and trusted by their leaders and colleagues. This can often serve as a determining factor in attracting future candidates and an ongoing motivator for existing employees.

Define Why Inclusion Matters to You

There is a significant body of research which illustrates the economic and social benefits associated with more inclusive workplaces; which includes greater levels of employee engagement, improved wellbeing, staff turnover, and the ability to attract higher quality talent. While these reasons are valid incentives, the decision to move towards an inclusive culture is best served by aligning with the organisation's authentic intentions.

Ask;

  • Why is it important for this organisation to develop a more inclusive culture?
  • What could a more ‘inclusive culture’ look like in this organisation?

Culturally mature organisations seek to build inclusivity in their values, objectives and annual plan to ensure that inclusive practices sit at the heart of their work. This very often starts with a clear purpose.

Make Space for Employee Voices

Psychological safety in the workplace refers to an environment whereby employees feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgement. Empowering employees to speak up and exercise their voice leads to a number of benefits including improved self-perception, higher levels of employee engagement leading, increases in innovative and creative thinking and greater feelings of belonging.

In the context of inclusion, speaking up may result in uncomfortable conversations. Minority groups and marginalised communities often report a feeling of personal psychological fatigue whilst others struggle to broach topics related to inclusion fearing their potential lack of knowledge, or a fear of causing offence. The result is a refusal to address some topics altogether. Creating a deliberate space for employees to express their views and share their vulnerabilities and fears related to sensitive topics requires an inclusive environment which facilitates courage and greater self-awareness.

Start with a Common Foundation

According to the CIPD, workplaces are becoming increasingly age diverse. In some instances, this introduces a layer of complexity as attitudes towards inclusion may vary considerably. Organisations can often turn to training packages to up-skill their staff, however, research shows that training alone is not an effective intervention to drive authentic cultural change. One of the key principles of inclusion assumes that everyone will be approaching learning from different perspectives. Inclusive interventions should help employees arrive at a common foundational understanding of inclusion whilst encouraging them to introspect and reflect on their personal thoughts, behaviours and attitudes towards inclusion.

Commit to the Long-Term

Embedding inclusive practices requires a long-term committed effort at all levels of an organisation. In 2020, many organisations eagerly presented action plans for inclusion. 3-years on, a lesser number have succeeded in taking the intended actions or targets. These behaviours serve to undermine employee confidence, which impacts performance and leads to greater risks of staff attrition. Inclusion action plans, strategies and internal or external statements require clear actions and clear lines of accountability. Consideration needs to be applied to ensure momentum, communication and progress are sustained, measured and reviewed regularly. This cycle of activity encourages the opportunity for refinement and continuous improvement of inclusive practices over time.

Next Steps

If you are ready to take the next steps towards building an inclusive workplace, get in touch to find out more about our EDI Foundations Programme. Or if you would like help with a specific aspect of your EDI strategy, we offer bespoke help and coaching. Contact us to find out more.

August 13, 2023

Why Inclusive Leadership Matters

In today's ever-evolving business landscape, the concept of leadership has transcended beyond mere authority and directives. The advent of inclusive leadership has emerged as a powerful approach that not only drives success but also nurtures a culture of empowerment, collaboration, and authenticity. Inclusive leadership, characterised by empathy, diversity, and open-mindedness, which combined act as a transformative force that can lead organisations to new heights of innovation.

Why Inclusive Leadership Matters

Inclusive leadership is more than just a ‘feel-good’ concept; it is grounded in concrete evidence-based research. Numerous studies from leading sources, such as the Harvard Business Review and Deloitte, have highlighted the positive impact of inclusive leadership on organisations. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse leadership teams are 33% more likely to outperform their industry peers in terms of profitability. These statistics demonstrate that embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment is not just a moral imperative; it is a smart business decision.

Embracing Empathy & Open-mindedness

At the core of inclusive leadership lies the ability to empathise and understand the unique perspectives and experiences of employees. Inclusive leaders actively listen to their teams, valuing their contributions and feedback. By creating a safe space for employees to voice their opinions, inclusive leaders harness the full potential of their workforce, leading to heightened engagement and productivity.

A key aspect of inclusive leadership is open-mindedness. Leaders who embrace diverse viewpoints and challenge their own biases pave the way for innovative thinking and creative problem-solving. By encouraging a culture of open dialogue and intellectual curiosity, inclusive leaders foster an environment where every team member feels valued and respected, regardless of their background or identity.

Promoting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusive leadership goes hand in hand with promoting equity, diversity and inclusion at all levels of an organisation. Leaders who actively seek to increase representation of underrepresented groups not only demonstrate their commitment to equity but also unlock a wealth of diverse perspectives that drive innovation. A study by BCG revealed that companies with diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation.

By promoting diversity and inclusion, organisations can attract a broader pool of talent, enriching their workforce with a wide range of skills and expertise. Inclusive leadership also plays a pivotal role in reducing turnover and fostering a sense of belonging among employees, as they feel valued for their unique contributions.

Facing Challenges and Opportunities

While the benefits of inclusive leadership are compelling, implementing it effectively may present challenges. Some leaders may feel uncertain about how to navigate conversations about diversity and inclusion, fearing potential missteps or discomfort. However, these challenges provide opportunities for growth and learning.

Inclusive leadership development programmes can equip leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to create an inclusive environment. By encouraging a growth mindset and providing resources for continuous education, organisations can support their leaders in becoming more empathetic and inclusive.
Find out more about the Connect Three EDI Inclusive Leaders Programme.

Ask the Important Questions

Inclusive leadership is not just a passing trend; it is a transformative approach that can revolutionize organisations. By embracing empathy, diversity, and open-mindedness, leaders can tap into the vast potential of their teams and drive innovation and success. The data and research overwhelmingly support the value of inclusive leadership in fostering growth and thriving organisations.

As we move forward, let us challenge ourselves to be more inclusive leaders. Let us ask ourselves the question: How can we create an environment where every voice is heard, every perspective is valued, and every individual can thrive? The answer lies in embracing the power of inclusive leadership and charting a course towards a brighter and more inclusive future for our organisations and the world they impact.

August 12, 2023

Biases and Microaggressions

The discussion about unconscious or implicit bias is not new. Most workplaces have been offering training on this matter and hoping that this would help make them more inclusive and diverse. However, most of these training sessions and the discussion so far have focused a lot on what biases are and how one can identify their biases. Little has been discussed on what to do with your biases and why it matters. No longer is it enough to be aware of your biases, but we need to take action to break through these. We refer to this as becoming Anti-Bias.

What are Biases?

Biases are the associations that a person makes between different qualities, characteristics, and social groups and they are judgements activated involuntarily without conscious awareness. Throughout human evolution, these associations and judgements have been important for recognising danger quickly and being able to survive. Now, biases can be formed by stereotypes and social expectations and can have a negative impact on our decision-making and our behaviour towards people with certain characteristics or belonging to specific groups.

On a good day our biases can limit our interactions and experiences with others, on a bad day they can present as discriminatory and go against the Equalities Act 2010. This can ultimately leave us open for grievances to be raised against us.

We all have biases, but we do not all have the same biases. Just this information can prove how biases can be learned and unlearned and how they are influenced by each individual’s personal experiences and beliefs, values and perceptions, by the people they are surrounded by, the media they follow, and more.

Taking the First Step

The first step to challenge your biases is to accept that you (and everyone) have them. Then you should start your journey by identifying your biases, understanding where they come from, the impact they have on you and other people, and then you need to take action.

This is a process of self-reflecting, challenging and understanding yourself. It is like putting a mirror in front of you and questioning who you really are, and committing to who you want to be.  You need to be open to the battle between the things you know and accept (“this is how things are”) versus what you can do to make things better for everyone (“this is how things should be”).

There are various tools and methods you can use for this process but none of this can work if you do not put in the effort and make challenging your biases a habit.  It is important that during this process you should not feel guilty as you go along and discover your biases; although these feelings should encourage you to continue your anti-bias journey.

What are Microagressions?

Of course, you are not alone in this. Everyone should be on the same journey for the purpose of achieving an inclusive workplace environment, but there are people who do not want to accept that they have biases, or do not want to challenge them which can lead to exclusionary, offensive, and discriminatory behaviours, that quite often manifest in the form of microaggressions.

Dr Derald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership” (Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, 2010).

Becoming an Ally

In the workplace, microaggressions can have a negative impact on people’s daily work life and performance, as well as on team dynamics. In such cases, everyone has the opportunity to challenge others’ biases and microaggressions when they occur, to prevent the perpetuation and tolerance of such behaviours. This can be a challenging task but if you take the right approach, it can hopefully lead to a change of others’ mindsets and behaviours, and to a more inclusive environment for all.

Our masterclass on Allyship helps you to learn the skills to map out your approach in helping to minimise the damaging effect biases can have on people’s feelings about inclusion at work.  Get in touch to find out more.

August 11, 2023

Beyond Protected Characteristics

In the UK people are lucky to be protected from being discriminated against based on nine protected characteristics by the Equality Act 2010. These characteristics are:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion or belief
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation

We all have one or more of these characteristics, so this law applies to everyone. However, if a workplace limits its EDI strategy and policy to only these nine characteristics, people with other characteristics that can also face challenges, exclusion and discrimination, could feel left out and unprotected.

Going Beyond Labels

The Equality Act is the legal minimum that a workplace should take into consideration when they put their policies and procedures in place. But for a workplace to be entirely inclusive and safe for its people, they need to think beyond the protected characteristics and try to understand their people’s uniqueness and listen to their people’s needs and ideas. A person is not just made up of protected characteristics, labels, and identities; one is not just a woman, Christian, or black. There is much more that each individual brings with them in the workplace, which can be beneficial but can also carry challenges and needs.

For example, if a person that did not go to the university works at a place where everyone else has a university degree, how would that person feel and how the other people might behave towards them? If a person has caring responsibilities for an elderly member of their family, does this person receive the same treatment as those who care for their children, such as flexible hours?

If a person comes from another country, does this person understand and adapt to the workplace’s culture and do the colleagues understand and respect the person’s culture? There are a lot of characteristics that are significant parts of a person’s life and identity and that can play a huge role in their inclusion and well-being, including religion, nationality, socioeconomic background/status, learning and thinking styles, political views, hobbies and interests, talents and skills.

It is also worth noting that The Equalities Act 2010 is based on UK Employment Law, and so if you are part of a business that has people based outwith the UK, you need to consider how you create knowledge sharing that helps to guide and sustain fair treatment of all across teams in different locations.

Protection for Everyone

Equality Act has been evolving and more characteristics were and will be added to the protected list, but in the meantime, workplaces should keep reminding themselves that everyone should be protected and feel safe while they are doing their job.  No one particular group or characteristic is more entitled to EDI than another, and organisations need to act accordingly.

August 10, 2023

Collecting EDI Data

Up until recently when people and workplaces were talking about EDI, they were usually focusing on the D of the acronym which stands for Diversity, and not as much on Equity and Inclusion. That is probably because it is the easiest first step that someone can take at their workplace to begin the journey on EDI. Additionally, Diversity is often misperceived as just numbers; so when workplaces collect EDI data, they tend to generate a report with percentages of various groups of people based on their protected characteristics and highlight how the representation of some of them is higher or lower in their workplace. And even though this kind of data can be particularly useful for understanding and improving the culture of a workplace, it is not enough.

The Numbers

So, let’s start by clarifying what EDI data should be. EDI data should be quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data is what I mentioned earlier – “the numbers”. These show the representation: who works in your organisation; but they can also inform you on what you need to do for people to be included and safe. For example, if you have a high number of people whose religion requires a space for prayer during the day, this is something to consider merely based on their representation. Or if you see a small number of women, this should make you reflect and explore the potential reasons and the impact this might have on your workplace and what you can do to change it.

The way to collect this representation data is by asking the common demographic questions on protected (and other) characteristics through anonymous surveys or questionnaires. This usually includes sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, disabilities, marital status, and religion. Many people are sceptical when they are asked to provide this personal information, which is why it is of high importance to ensure you have communicated clearly why you collect this data, and how you are planning to use it. Raising EDI awareness and having an EDI strategy in place can help to make this process easier.

The Qualitative Data

Qualitative data should include information generated by asking additional questions on inclusion, fairness, trust, treatment, values, respect, and other aspects of EDI that you would like to consider for your workplace. Examples of questions include: “I am treated with respect at work”, “I feel comfortable being myself at work”, and “I feel that my voice (ideas/opinions) are heard”. This data in combination with the quantitative data will give you a more holistic picture of your people and the EDI status of your workplace.

The Next Steps

Once you have collected the data, you should use it to inform and prioritise your EDI plans, that way you are more likely to implement things that will really make a difference. You can use the information to act by putting policies in place, making required adjustments, improving your recruitment process, organising initiatives and events for raising awareness, and continuing your EDI journey. When you launch any EDI activities, you can refer back to the data collected to help create buy-in. 

Finally, we will always recommend that you thank your people for giving their data, and ensure that you communicate your findings back to them. This will encourage people to continue to share their data in future as they will understand the benefits.

June 15, 2023

Leadership consultancy Connect Three hits £1 million turnover for first time as firm unveils bold plans for further growth

ONE of the UK’s fastest-growing leadership consultancies has laid out its plans for further expansion following a bumper year in which it passed £1 million turnover for the first time.

Revenues at UK-based global consultancy Connect Three have surged by more than 70% since 2021 as businesses and organisations in the public, private, and third sectors adopt new business cultures permanently in the post-pandemic world of work.


Major factors driving the consultancy’s success include growth in sectors including renewable energy, digital and tech, and life sciences; contract wins with Scottish Enterprise, NHS 24, Glasgow City Council, and Capability Scotland; as well as work in more than 20 countries worldwide with clients including global tech firm Calnex, Q2 Solutions, and major Scottish deals and events platform Itison.


The Glasgow-based consultancy – the first business of its kind in Scotland to achieve coveted B-Corp status – has also established itself as a go-to provider of services including equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI); growth and change management; and environmental and sustainable governance (ESG), with enquiries from start-ups to blue chip companies and major public sector organisations.


Key public sector work in the last 12 months includes design and delivery of the Scottish Government’s Anti-Racism Workplace Training Framework and Accessibility for All project; and Scottish Enterprise’s Essential Leadership programme.

Connect Three’s rapid expansion has also led to several key appointments including Business Director Jordan Kay, former Operations Director at social media agency Sunshine, and founder of brand experience and events agency Blushbooth – which was acquired in 2020.


Significant internal promotions at Connect Three include Barbara Clark’s appointment as lead consultant, with Katy Morrison and David Garrick also stepping up to lead the 32-employee consultancy’s EDI and ESG divisions respectively.
Further investment in the team will be made this year with the recruitment of a Chief Inclusion Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer, as well as new roles in product development, operations, and the growth of Connect Three’s ESG and EDI teams as the consultancy sets its sights on becoming Scotland’s #1 EDI Consultancy, and the best place to work in Scotland. Connect Three has also been working with growth and innovation expert Les Bayne to strengthen its board and governance.

Colin Lamb, founder and CEO at Connect Three, said: “The world of work has changed immeasurably in the past two years, and organisations and leaders at all levels are treating new aspects of working culture – including EDI; skills
development, sustainability, and workplace wellbeing – not only as legal requirements but as essential pillars of their business strategy.

“Many are not yet fully equipped with the expertise and experience to implement these policies and practices effectively, and that’s why many are turning to us to help them deliver them.

“We set out our growth ambitions in 2021 in the knowledge EDI, ESG, and Growth and Change should and would be priorities for organisations of all sizes around the world, and in the time since we have firmly established ourselves as a go-to consultancy in the public, private, and third sectors.

“We have continued to grow and develop our own team, promoting internally while bringing in additional expertise and experience to enable us to deliver our services on a broader and bigger scale this year and beyond.

“Workplace culture is a thriving sector in its own right, and now impossible to ignore for leaders at all levels of business. Businesses that do not prioritise it are putting their profits, and more importantly people, at risk.

“We want to be Scotland’s leader in EDI, ESG and Growth and Change, while continuing our growth across the UK, and have structured the business and our people to help achieve it. Our ambitions extend beyond this year and into
international markets, and this year’s performance provides the perfect springboard.”

Connect Three, which became the first UK leadership consultancy to become a certified B-Corp in 2021, has also been shortlisted for a string of awards including two Glasgow Business Awards; two HR Network Awards “Best SME” and “Best Employer/Workplace of the Year”; and two Herald Top Employer Awards “Small Employer of the Year” and “Inspiring Employee Culture Award”.

May 17, 2023

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

The 18th of May marks the 12th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).  The purpose of this awareness day is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and how it impacts the more than One Billion people with disabilities or impairments worldwide.

What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital Accessibility ensures that people with disabilities are able to experience websites, web-based services, content and other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities.  Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience, and every organisation has the responsibility to help deliver that with their digital services.

Accessibility Removes Barriers and Unlocks the Possible

In September 2022, Connect Three and Passion4Social began a project as part of the Workplace Equality Fund called Accessibility for All.  Since then we have delivered free training webinars, accessibility audits, and face-to-face Accessibility presentations in order to help Scottish businesses to create accessible and inclusive online experiences.

This project aimed to:

  1. Improve employment opportunities and progression policies for people with disabilities, particularly within the technology sector,
  2. Improve knowledge, skills, and practices within Scottish businesses,
  3. Create a more accessible web in Scotland.

Through the webinars, we educated over 300 attendees on creating inclusive working environments and we have seen more than 50 organisations commit to the free accessibility audits.  Accessibility for All has also enabled us to create employment for four people with disabilities and train an additional six people with disabilities to become Accessibility Testers.

We Have a Long Way to Go
While we may be championing this work with our partners Passion4Social, the Connect Three team is well aware that we are not completely digitally accessible ourselves!  We’ve had the accessibility testers carry out an audit on our digital footprint and we are working to improve on the areas that have been flagged by the tests. 

As with any aspect of EDI work, digital accessibility is a journey, not a destination, and we will be continually working to make all aspects of our brand and business as inclusive as possible for everyone in our community.

Which Common Disabilities and Impairments Can Accessible Websites Cater For?

  1. Visual
    People who are blind or visually impaired need alternative text descriptions for meaningful images and buttons, and they will use the keyboard rather than a mouse to interact with interactive elements.
  2. Hearing
    People who are deaf or hearing impaired need captions for video presentations, and require visual indicators in place of audio cues.
  3. Motor
    People with motor impairments may need alternative keyboards, eye control or some other adaptive hardware to help them type and navigate on their devices.
  4. Cognitive
    An uncluttered screen, consistent navigation, and the use of plain language is useful for people with different learning disabilities or impairments.

The Challenge
The main challenge, and the thing we’d like to highlight on this Global Accessibility Awareness Day, is still shifting mindsets and budgets from considering Accessibility as just an aesthetic option, to becoming part of the organisation’s strategy.  There is still a widespread lack of understanding of the service and its relevance for society, which is why we will continue to push Digital Accessibility forward as an important part of any organisation’s EDI strategy.

May 5, 2023

How Leaders Can Support their People with the Cost of Living Crisis

Research by PwC found that 86% of UK adults are concerned about day-to-day living costs and 33% believe that businesses should be responsible for tackling these issues, but how can small businesses help their people? 

We cannot expect your average UK business to match the salary increases and cost of living payments that large employers like HSBC, John Lewis, and Tesco are offering their people – but is this even the correct way to support your employees?

In Connect Three, our Employee Experience Consultant, Samantha Gaughan suggests that employers should turn their focus to supporting their people across the longer term rather than providing one-off pay bumps.  Instead, she suggests providing people with the tools and support that they need to navigate the current economic conditions and beyond.

Here are Samantha’s 4 steps to lead your people through the cost-of-living crisis:

1. Teach Financial Wellness

By offering training around potential solutions to current problems, such as transport and energy costs, you are supporting their long-term financial well-being much more than a one-off, taxed bonus will.

You don’t have to provide this training yourself.  Organisations including Money and Pensions Service offer expert-led free training on topics including budgeting, pension planning, and investments.

2. Provide a Supportive Culture

Your people should feel comfortable discussing financial matters, and understand that when they are struggling, that there is support within the organisation to reach out for help. 

3. Offer Targeted Support

Remember, a truly equitable organisation provides people with what they need rather than offering blanket support.  Offer those with long commutes the chance to work from home, or provide financial support for their travel costs when you need them in the office.  By considering targeted financial support, you will make a bigger impact, and employees will feel more valued.

4. Consider other benefits

How can you provide security and stability without increasing salaries?  Look at other benefits you could offer, such as health insurance, mental health support, or discount packages with other firms.  Money may not help your people as much as other support can.

If you need further help or support navigating cost-of-living support for your teams, get in touch with Connect Three for consulting, coaching and training.

April 26, 2023

Connect with…Yi!

The Connect Three team has grown again, and we have welcomed a lot of new members to the team over the last few months, so we wanted to take a break from our usual articles and introduce you to them. First in the hot seat is Yi Han, our new Step-up to Net Zero Coordinator.

Hi Yi, that's a pretty fancy title you have! What's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

 I work as a project coordinator for a sustainability program called 'Step Up to Net Zero', which is funded by the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. In my role, I am responsible for overseeing Connect Three's sustainability practices and identifying opportunities to promote positive changes in areas such as NetZero, Circular Economy, and Waste Management. 

Amazing! It's something we are all so passionate about in Connect Three so we're so glad you are here. What was it about Connect Three that made you interested in joining the team?  

I first learned about Connect Three at a B Corp meetup event that they were hosting. During the event, I had the opportunity to visit the offices and speak with some of the core team members. I was impressed by the creative and inspiring work environment, as well as the friendly people I met. Overall, it left a strong impression on me. 

I'm glad we made a good impression! Right, let's change the subject - what have you been reading recently?

 I have recently been reading "The Gift Of Therapy". Although my background is in Industrial Design and Design Innovation, I find inspiration from various fields including psychology. I highly recommend this book not only because it provides therapeutic insights that are comforting, but also because it showcases the author's passion and deep reflection about their work, and that is very inspiring. 

Oh, good recommendation! I'm off to take a look at that now. While I do, tell me who would be your dream person to be coached by?

 Summer is coming so now I spend a lot of time in parks, and I have noticed many children running around and playing, and I find myself curious about how they create their own world of fun. I believe that getting coached by them would be an interesting experience.

Yi, I love the way your mind works! That's brilliant. OK, last question, what is the boldest thing you have ever done?

Decided to move to a completely new country and started learning everything from scratch! 

Well that certainly counts as bold! Thanks for speaking to me today Yi, we're so glad you joined the team.

April 19, 2023

Celebrating Earth Day with Ecologi

The climate crisis will not be solved overnight, and there is no simple solution for the problems that our world is facing, but as a committed B Corp, we work daily to do our part as a business to combat our own pollution.  One way that we are doing this is by planting trees to offset our carbon production.  Trees are an effective tool in combatting carbon pollution, and by partnering with Ecologi, we have a guarantee that we are giving back to our planet in return for the resources we use.

Why Do We Do This?

It’s in our nature.  As a company, and as individuals, our team is passionate about leaving the world better than we found it, and we are continuously looking into ways that we can further reduce our environmental impact.  From the office to our personal lives, we’re all making changes to help us live better and work better. We know that it’s a long road ahead, but it is a journey that we are happy to take together.

Calculating What We Need to Offset

It’s not easy to calculate carbon emissions. We are working to calculate our own output with Yi, our NetZero Coordinator.  It’s part one of the three sustainability efforts that she is driving including:

  1. Striving to improve the accuracy of our carbon-emission measurements to ensure that we have high-quality data.
  2. Conducting sustainability sessions to raise awareness among our team members.
  3. Creating a roadmap with three focal points: NetZero, waste management, and circular economy.

If you are not lucky enough to have a Yi of your own, then there are still ways that you can work out your carbon footprint through the online calculators available, your own company surveys, and even educated guesswork.  If in doubt, over-estimate!

 Why Did We Choose Ecologi?

We know that carbon offsetting isn’t a complete solution, but it’s one tool in our work towards Net Zero, and one that Ecologi helps us to achieve.  Like us, Ecologi is a B Corp, and a like-minded team coming up with inventive and responsible ways to make the world a better place for future generations.

Each month we commit a percentage of our profit towards planting trees and supporting projects with Ecologi.  We also ask our clients to match our commitment on larger projects to double the impact that we can have.

One of the reasons we chose Ecologi as our partner is that they’re fully transparent about where the trees are being planted. For trees planted in the UK, you can even get an image of your tree and its location on what3words! Ecologi will only partner with organisations that work to secure the longevity and safety of their trees. They do this by working with local governments, paying fair wages to all workers and hiring local villagers to help alleviate extreme poverty and establish economic incentives to ensure the well-being of the restoration projects.

Their Public Impact and Operations Ledger lists all receipts and certificates and they publicly publish quarterly financial reports.  Finally, decisions on which projects to fund are guided by a dedicated climate committee made up of experts from a range of climate organisations and projects.

 More Than Tree Planting

Working with Ecologi allows us to see the positive impact we have had every month and means we are part of larger projects that look after the planet and communities. Some of the projects we have helped to fund so far include:

April 14, 2023

Stress Awareness Month – Focusing on the Workplace

April is Stress Awareness Month in the UK, a time of the year when individuals and businesses work together to raise awareness of the causes and cures of one of the biggest public health challenges of our time – poor mental health.

Despite what the Stress Management Society calls our “modern-day stress epidemic”, few employers take the impact of mental health problems seriously enough.

“We continue to separate mental health from physical health and vice
versa. The reality is they cannot be separate – they are two sides of the
same coin. There is no health without mental health and stress can
lead to numerous health problems. From physical problems, like heart
disease, insomnia, digestive issues, immune system challenges, etc to
more serious mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.”
The Stress Management Society (emphasis added)

April is the time when we have an opportunity for an open conversation on the impact of stress in the workplace.  We can help to remove the guilt, shame, and stigma around mental health by creating opportunities to talk about stress, and its effects, and to open up about our mental and emotional state.

#ChooseHope

This year’s theme for Stress Awareness Month is #choosehope. Having hope is imperative to find a way beyond the challenges of mental health, and to take action to improve our lives.

This year we are encouraged to go beyond talking, and start taking action and personal responsibility for creating a positive change.

How Leaders can get involved

1 - Encourage your team to take the 30 Day Challenge

Stress Management Society has created a 30 Day Challenge for April where everyone is encouraged to choose one action each day to support their Physical, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing.

2 - Create space to talk

We can work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with colleagues, and by creating safe spaces for our people to share.

3 - Share your coping mechanisms

If something has worked for you, why not share it?  It may benefit someone else in your team, or in their families.

4 - Be considerate to those who are stressed

Treat others going through stress, or suffering from anxiety with compassion and empathy and encourage your team to do the same.

5 - Look after yourself

We all need to think more about self–care, even leaders.  Make sure that you take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy.

March 16, 2023

B Corp Month 2023

Have we mentioned that we're a B Corp? Once or twice? OK, so we are very proud of the fact that in November 2021 Connect Three became part of the global community of B Corps. We are very open about the fact that we started Connect Three with a vision to do business differently, and now we encourage other people and organisations in our network to follow in the same footsteps.

Since certifying as a B Corp, we’ve been on a continuous journey to educate ourselves, understand our footprint and find ways to make new positive impacts around us.  We’re now on a mission to leave a positive impact in every continent, existing to make our planet a better place to live and work. 

Every year during March the global B Corp community join to celebrate everything it means to be a B Corp.  As part of that global community, throughout the month we build awareness and educate different audiences on the ways in which the movement is transforming the economic system for the better. 

B Corp Certification isn’t just a mark; it’s a global movement of people going beyond business as usual to make their mark on the world - recently we celebrated the 1,000 B Corp milestone in the UK and we’re delighted to see Scotland’s number increase too! 

Similar to how we work with our clients - supporting growth, change and developing people and business - it’s an evolving certification that is constantly growing and continually challenging the status quo without being afraid to handle feedback and embed change. 

It’s a network too.  The B Corp community demonstrates what’s possible when businesses think beyond profit. When they go beyond the expected.  When they come together to prove beyond doubt that there’s a better way to do business.   

WE GO BEYOND EXPECTATIONS 

Since becoming a B Corp:

  • We launched our internal ENERGYse campaign to educate and support our employees during the Cost-of-Living crisis with useful tools, products and gifts provided to everyone monthly. 
  • We cover public transport expenses for our employees to support greener commuting and cover rising costs. 
  • We’ve embedded giving back into every project we do. Through this we’ve planted nearly 20,000 trees and donated to community projects around the world to offset our carbon and give back.  
  • We’ve partnered with the local charity Project Ability through commissioning their artwork for our office, creating space for their skills to be showcased at our Strive to Thrive event and committing a percentage of our profits to them. 

And we have big plans to continue… 

  • Our Step Up to Net Zero Coordinator, Yi, has just started this month to help us achieve our Net Zero goals and challenge our current practices. 
  • We’re reviewing all our company policies including those on Parental Leave and Menopause. 
  • We’re investing heavily in Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – both in educating and supporting businesses around us and through our own internal work. 
  • We’re currently working on our first ever Impact Report and we can’t wait to share even more Connect Three updates with you. 

Behind the scenes 

March 8, 2023

International Women’s Day: #EmbraceEquity

The theme of International Women’s Day 2023 is #EmbraceEquity.  We are supporting their goal to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.

Our expertise is in Workplace and Organisational development, so we wanted to take this opportunity to look at how if we #EmbraceEquity we can improve work for everyone.

Equity is How Different Perspectives Thrive

Equity in a workplace ensures that every employee has access to the same opportunities – how does that fit into an organisation that practices Diversity, Inclusion and Equity?

  1. Diversity
    Creating workforce of people from different genders, ethnicities, ages, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  2. Inclusion
    Everyone in the diverse workforce is included, heard, valued, and respected.
  3. Equity
    When all members of the diverse, inclusive workforce have equal opportunities to succeed and grow.

When you value equity, you realise that not everyone is standing on the starting line together.  The world we live in is imbalanced and some of your people have access to different opportunities than others. 

Equity is not Equality

Before we start defining the differences, we understand that not all companies can go straight to Equity. When you are starting at zero, aiming for Equality is a great goal to have and not one that we are in any way diminishing. We're just looking at the best possible outcomes for people in an ideal situation. Step one might be Equality, and step two can be Equity.

To get you started, let's look at a simple example to demonstrate the difference. You can provide lunch for everyone in the company.  Equality is handing everyone exactly the same portion of the same meal – in this scenario, some people go hungry. 

Equity is ensuring that the vegans have their own choice of meal, and that diabetics are offered a meal that suits their needs, at a time that they need it. When a company focuses on equality, with one level of employee experience for all, without a view of what everyone actually needs, you can actually end up creating an unfair work environment.

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

The Practice of Inclusion

Equity is like the practical side of inclusion, it’s providing everyone the tools and support that they need to achieve the same goals.  Unlike diversity and inclusion which are open to quantifiable metrics, equity is less a focus on the outcomes, and more on the process to get there.

From making accommodations for a staff member with a disability, to offering flexible working hours to a single parent who is juggling work and childcare commitments – inclusion is about giving everyone a voice to ask for what they need, and equity is providing them with just what they need to work to the best of their ability.

It could be learning and development opportunities; opportunities for growth, success and promotions; fair distribution and assignment of projects and tasks.  It’s about ensuring that no one is discriminated against, consciously or unconsciously, because of their circumstances.

Inequity and Skills Gaps

In previous articles we’ve looked at the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive management team, but to achieve this team, you need to give every employee the opportunity to progress to management level – that happens through equity.

Inequity may be particularly obvious in a larger workforce where people are likely to have come from a wider range of educational and socioeconomic backgrounds to get to the same level in the business.  By introducing a strong focus on equity within learning and development, you stop using ‘catch all’ or ‘blanket’ training courses, and instead offer tailored support so that all talented individuals reach their full potential, no matter where they started.

Let’s consider that you are in HR, and have recently employed a woman in her 50s to a director-level position (diversity).  She has a Ph.D. and two decades of experience in your field and is perfect for the role.  You include her in decisions, and ensure her voice is heard, communicating with her frequently on a one-to-one basis so that she can voice any concerns she has about her role or her team (inclusion).  She has just come from a five-year career break to care for a relative, and so has not used Microsoft since Windows 8.  But your induction training doesn’t include digital literacy, so she is unable to perform her job at her best.

You must identify skill requirements, and equip your people with the skills that they require as individuals to be amazing at their job.

Equity is the Hardest to Get Right

Out of the diversity-inclusion-equity trio, equity is perhaps the hardest, and the most resource-intensive to implement – but the cost of staff turnover is higher than the cost of equity.

Here are some little steps you can take towards creating equity in your workforce:

  • Language
    Everyone in your office, or remote workforce, may speak the same language – but is it everyone’s first language?  When it comes to company documentation and contracts where it is important that the meaning is completely understood, with no room for interpretation, consider having them professionally translated into people’s first languages.
  • Communications
    Not everyone communicates in the same way – this isn’t just about ‘language’, some people are better at getting their thoughts on paper, and some people are happier with the spontaneity of a phone conversation.  Think of sending your important messages to staff in the way that’s best for them.
  • Space
    We need to think beyond wheelchair accessibility and consider making spaces inclusive for all.  What about gender-neutral restrooms, dedicated meditation or prayer spaces, lactation rooms for new mothers, and quiet zones for people with conditions such as autism or ADHD to work without overstimulation?

    These considerations don’t end at physical space.  Fully remote companies should encourage employees to block out time for prayer and other personal needs as required, and make sure that introverts and those who find video meetings stressful are given breaks during long sessions.
  • Skills
    You must identify skill requirements on an individual basis, and equip your people with the skills that they require to be optimal at their job.

There is no one route to equity – as with inclusion…that’s kind of the point!  It’s about tailoring to your people’s needs.

Each one of us can actively support and embrace equity within our own sphere of influence. We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. Collective activism is what drives change.

Forging gender equity isn't limited to women solely fighting the good fight. Allies are incredibly important for the social, economic, cultural, and political advancement of women.  Everyone everywhere can play a part.

Next steps

  1. Check out these free courses from the UN on Gender Equality
  2. Take a look at our articles on Inclusion, Diversity, and Belonging to find out more.
  3. Download our free DEIB in the Workplace guide.
  4. Get in touch with Connect Three today to find out more about our EDI products and services.
  5. See Barbara's article on Why Imposter Syndrome Plagues Women.

February 1, 2023

How to Mark LGBT+ History Month in Your Workplace

LGBT+ History month falls in February each year and is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary (LGBTQ+) history, as well as a time of reflection on the history of LGBTQ+ rights.

Like other National events marking the rights of minorities within the UK community, it is important for businesses to acknowledge this month in a respectful and appropriate way.  As leaders and managers, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone in your workplace feels supported and has a safe space to work in every day, and this month is the perfect opportunity to educate your team and start conversations around allyship.

By using this month to educate employees, management, and yourself about the LGBTQ+ community, its history, and current struggles, you are helping your business to become an accepting and inclusive, workplace where people feel like they belong. 

How can your business mark LGBT+ History Month?

  • Take action to make workplaces a safe space by reviewing (or creating) your policies and protections for LGBTQ+ colleagues.
  • Use this month as an opportunity to assess your culture and ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is not accepted.
  • Include your team in the decisions, ideas or campaigns you’re running. It’s important to accurately represent the group you’re campaigning for (especially if you don’t personally identify with it).
  • Think about ways that you can make any activism meaningful rather than “performative” – in other words, changing your logo to a rainbow flag is a lovely gesture, but a better one would be implementing policies to protect your people against discrimination in the workplace.
  • Provide education or point your people towards free resources in order to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ topics and issues.
  • Promote the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people within the organisation by inviting these colleagues to share their experiences at meetings, events or webinars.
  • Share resources internally and externally to help expand awareness of what it means to be LGBTQ+ and how this may impact their working lives.
  • This year the theme is “Behind the Lens” – celebrating LGBTQ+ people’s contributions to the production of film and cinema from ‘behind the lens’.  With that in mind, consider a film night with a discussion afterwards where your team can learn more about the topic in a relaxed environment.

And remember - not everyone will want to share their own lived experiences so don't put pressure on anyone to contribute. Search for books and films to educate yourself as well.

We offer a range of free and subsidised support and resources to teams who are seeking to improve their Diversity and Inclusion Policies in the workplace.  Please get in touch to find out more.

November 18, 2022

Connect with…Sam!

It's that time again! Another new addition to the Connect Three team, so another episode in our 'Connection Series'. Each post in the series shines the spotlight on the work of a member of the Connect Three team, and hopefully gives you a little insight into what we do, and how we can help you. Next in the interview hotseat is Samantha Gaughan

Hi Sam, welcome to the team! Let's start with an easy one, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do? 

 My role as Employee Experience / Learning Consultant is a very exciting dual role.

 As our Employee Experience specialist, I will be implementing and adopting best practices across the core and wider team to ensure we remain a people first employer. This includes measuring and improving employee engagement, wellbeing, sustainability, and satisfaction regularly. In a nutshell Employee experience is about creating a great work environment for people and helping them to be their best.

As a learning consultant I also support our delivery team in designing and delivering management development training courses and conduct skills development analysis, programme evaluation and creating reports for our clients.

Wow! Sounds like we'll be keeping you busy! With all of that going on, what has been your or favourite moment in Connect Three so far? 

My favourite moment would be our Halloween themed quarterly team update. We got the whole team together for an afternoon to celebrate successes and talk about future projects in the pipeline. It was a fun filled action packed event where we got to have some fun with Halloween quizzes, fancy dress competition and apple bobbing.

It was so much fun - even if I was robbed in the costume competition...anyway, tell us, what are you reading right now? 

I’m not much of a reader (unless on holiday and child free) so If I’m not busy with the kids, I like to sit down and watch a good psychological thriller. I’ve just finished The Deceived’ on Netflix ‘a 4-part psychological thriller lots of twists and turns that kept me gripped and guessing throughout the series.

Oh, love a recommendation - final question, what is the boldest thing you’ve ever done?  

It’s an interesting one. If anyone ever remembers the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, they will remember what some would describe as the cringeworthy, nostalgic introduction that included John Barrowman and Karen Dunbar, I was in there too. I was a backing singer for Karen, played a part in capturing ‘Nessie’ and held a very heavy placard showcasing some of the finest things about Glasgow. All that in front of 40,000 people and a TV audience of around 9 million viewers, it was such a fun experience.

What?! That's crazy! Well, that is definitely bold! Thanks Sam, I'm sure we'll be hearing from you on the blog again soon!

October 7, 2022

Connect Three Awards 2022

We are very proud to be finalists for 5 business awards in 2022.

Glasgow Business Awards

  • Best Performing Small-Medium Business 
  • Fair and Healthy Workplace 

The Herald Top Employer Awards

  • Small Employer of the Year
  • Inspiring Employee Culture Award

HR Network Scotland Awards

  • Best Employer/Workplace of the Year

June 10, 2022

Men’s Health Week – Mental Health at Work


Men’s Health Week – Mental Health at Work

Every year the Men’s Health Forum takes one week to encourage men to turn attention inward and make the time to prioritise their health.  This is so important in 2022 as, during the pandemic, early-stage cancer diagnoses fell by one third in the first lockdown, and mental health problems increased exponentially.  It’s time to right these wrongs, and encourage everyone to get checked out – but why the particular focus on men? For one reason, male visits to the GP fell more than any other gender’s, and statistically, men are less likely to seek help for a mental health problem. 

This year the Men’s Health Forum has created some specific collateral that focuses on mental health, and they are encouraging all men to take a ‘Mental Health MOT’.  They have created a short manual that uses a simple formula as a gateway to helping men take the first steps in looking after their mental health.

The ‘Men’s Health MOT for the Mind’ uses a tool called the CAN DO approach:

  • Connect – Boost your connections with others
  • Active – Easy ways to get active
  • Notice – Enjoy greater awareness of your environment
  • Discover – Keep Learning
  • Offer – Give to Others

At Connect Three we teach the importance of prioritising people’s mental health in the workplace, and how by offering support at work, you can help to improve people’s quality of life in general.  So with that in mind, we asked two of our male team members to take a look at the Mental Health MOT manual, and review the CAN DO approach for our clients and people.

First, before we look at the manual, do you think men really need a separate campaign to encourage them to look after their health?

David: “Yes I really do. Men are less likely to pay attention to their health – mental or physical – or to have a natural outlet to talk about these things. And when a man has poor mental health it’s more likely that this will be ruining someone else’s life too, for example, by them taking it out on others at home, or work.”

Gregor: “I agree.  A targeted campaign will help men relate and be able to focus on mental health challenges that are more prevalent in men. The best way to shift how men view their mental health is for them to see other men lead by example. Separate campaigns can help showcase these examples and create change.”

Is an ‘MOT’ and ‘CAN DO’ approach the answer?

Gregor: “Well – actually I was quite put off by the title!  ‘Man MOT’ is stereotyped towards a ‘manly-man who likes cars’…I don’t think I’m the only person that would feel alienated by it.

“The CAN DO approach is a great, factually correct system, but I think it falls down in its execution.  If you’re mentally struggling, facing burnout, and you feel like there is too much going on, CAN DO implies you should push through rather than pause and reflect.  The whole guide assumes you are going to have the time and energy to be proactive, and have the headspace and motivation to try the challenges.  This might be really useful for some people, but for others, it’s too far in the future.

Looking after yourself starts with self-reflection; understanding where you are at, not jumping into adding more things.”

OK, so the idea of making connections, speaking up, and gaining more awareness is correct – but wording it to sound like ‘just push through’ might give the wrong message! 

So what should workplaces be doing to help support their male employee’s mental health, especially with burnout becoming a real problem for all sizes of businesses?

David: “The first step, like Gregor says, is reflection and education.  We need to find ways to make it as normal to talk about mental health in the workplace as it is to talk about physical illness.  Leaders need to help people to get past ‘I’m fine’, and raise awareness of the outward signs of burnout and other common mental health problems.”

Gregor: “I agree, education is key.  Leaders should offer resources that people can access without having to raise flags or contact HR.  Step one in getting help, especially for men, should not be ‘admit your problem to someone’.  A huge barrier to men seeking help is fear of embarrassment or ridicule. Let’s remove that by giving out resources before they’re asked for.

“Male senior leaders need to be role models and be open about their own challenges with mental health.  This will help others in the business be open, start to listen, and maybe start to chat.”

Gregor, you are part of the Wellbeing team in Connect Three, what can you share that we do that might help others get started?

Gregor: “At Connect Three we have wellbeing sessions where we all come together to discuss how we’re getting on and what support would be helpful.  These are incredibly useful and, personally, I gain comfort from knowing others are going through or have been through similar situations; and I gain knowledge on what might help me get through them.  Having mixed-gender sessions lets men see how other genders share and speak about things – both positive and negative.  A separate campaign for men is great, but collaboration can be really helpful too.”

Amazing – thanks!  Any final thoughts David?

David: “It’s great that men’s mental health is being talked about more and more but we still have a long way to go. Let’s use this momentum to have conversations and be open to how we’re doing from there we can look at ways to help each other and ourselves.”

March 14, 2022

Surviving the Great Reshuffle

In September 2021, the number of job vacancies in the UK surpassed one million, creating a new record for the market, and around 69% of UK workers have said that they are “feeling confident about moving to a new role in the next few months” according to a recent survey by Randstad UK.  This combination of events has lead to two major challenges for UK businesses:

  1. How do you retain and engage the talent you currently have in your organisation?
  2. How do you attract and recruit candidates when everyone else is trying to do the same?

What is happening?

While the Great Resignation implies people are leaving the workforce, a large group of workers are simply reconfiguring what their careers look like.  Some are leveraging the current hiring crisis to get into better positions; others have decided to work for themselves; many more are shifting into new industries and careers that offer higher wages or align more with their values. Rather than merely being a ‘Great Resignation’ in which people simply quit and walk away, the current disruption is seeing a huge proportion of employees move around the job market – more like a ‘Great Reshuffle’ as some have dubbed it.

Why is it happening?

Professional workers have agency like they have never had before, allowing them to fine-tune their life to allow for a better work-life balance.  Plenty of time at home has given people time to reflect on where their careers are heading and to make deliberate choices for their future.

Additionally, opportunities opened up by remote work mean millions of workers can now access thousands of new roles which were previously ‘off-limits’ due to geography.  As a means of attracting talent, many employers are either adapting their working models to hybrid or fully remote, or offering higher wages in response, attracting applicants from a much wider pool of talent.

Yes, the pandemic was a catalyst for this move to hybrid working, but we must be careful not to blame the pandemic for ‘how things are now’.  It isn’t the only reason people are leaving jobs.  Great places to work who focus on their people are still great places that focus on their people.  Businesses with existing bad management practices will have had their weak points exposed.  The pandemic isn’t the cause, it has just raised a mirror to the organisations to help them see where the weaknesses are.

Some weaknesses were only seen because of the quick step into hybrid working.  When line managers were forced into being people managers during the pandemic they were inadequately prepared to act without the in-office back up of HR.  They were more likely to deal with things ad hoc, or without asking for help, and the results have, unsurprisingly, not always been positive!

What can we do?

It is a scary time for businesses, and the temptation can be to act in a way that conflicts with your future goals or current values; for instance, not managing people for underperformance for fear of them leaving, or not investing time or resources in training for retention and growth as all of HR’s focus is on recruitment.

We cannot keep plugging gaps in the hull, we have to keep an eye on where we are headed.  Businesses must split their focus between developing and nurturing existing talent to ensure they are choosing to stay, and attracting new talent.  Luckily, these things are interdependent.  The reasons why people stay with a business can be a powerful message to use when trying to attract potential candidates.

Seizing the Opportunity

Instead of blaming the pandemic, why not embrace the opportunity to bring to the fore the things that conscientious HR personnel have been talking about for years? Like flexible working, employee empowerment, people well-being, tailored support?

It may take years for the current reshuffling to finally settle down, but organisations that delay making changes to their hiring and people policies could be left in the dust.  The Great Reshuffle is affecting all industries, and staff at all levels of business, and it is clear that the incentives of days pre-pandemic (high salaries, company cars, opportunities to travel…) just won’t cut it anymore. 

Companies need to offer support for their people’s mental health first, and wealth second.  Alison Omens, chief strategy officer of JUST Capital, which carried out the recent Stanford Study said:  “We asked people would they take a pay cut to work for a company that aligns with their values,” she adds, “and across the board, people say yes.”

If you’d like to find out more about creating a culture that cares, get in touch with the Connect Three team.  Our HR experts are here to help you.

March 7, 2022

International Women’s Day 2022

This International Women’s Day, I spoke with two of our Explorers, Katy and Barbs about our Scottish Enterprise Principally Women’s programme and to find out what they’ve learned from the programme, and what IWD and #BreakTheBias means to them.

  1. Can you tell me what the Principally Women programme is all about?

Barbs: “It’s a programme designed specifically for female senior business leaders to develop their leadership with a focus on the real challenges that are specific to women.”

Katy: “Absolutely – we’ve worked to make a space where women are able to truly be themselves, feel supported and safely challenged to develop personally and develop their businesses. It’s a place to feel confident and empowered.”

  1. Be honest, before we started running the Principally Women programme, did you think that there was a need for ‘women only’ or gender specific leadership training?

Barbs: “Unfortunately, yes. Women face situations, challenges and barriers that do not exist out-with their gender. The programme works to identify some of those challenges, and offer practical support on how they can address them.”

Katy: “If I’m honest, unlike Barbs I rebelled against the idea that women should have their own programmes/network, as I felt that we shouldn’t need our own spaces and should be able to be successful within a mixed gender environment.”

  1. We've run the programme twice now - having been part of it, is that still what you think?

Katy: “No! As soon as we had our first introductory calls with women on the programme, I very quickly saw how wrong I’d been. A women’s only programme, wasn’t a sign of weakness but of amazing strength.

Women do face differently challenges and barriers in the workplace to men, and men still hold the majority of leadership positions, that is just fact. Being in the minority can at times feel can feel wearing and lonely, but in a women’s only programme you don’t have to deal with the perceptions and stereotypes that may hold you back in a mixed group.”

Barbs: “I agree with Katy - the reality is that from birth that women are viewed in a different way, across continents and cultures, and we want to make sure that there are opportunities for women, and everyone, to thrive, no matter what they face. One of our key messages in the programme is about sitting with fear and courage. Acknowledge it, but don’t let it stop you.”

  1. What has been your favourite part of your involvement so far?

Katy: “All of it! These programmes have enriched me and I always look forward to the sessions as I know there are going to be some brilliant conversations. A huge privilege for me was sharing feedback that family members had given. Seeing the impact that this had on the women will forever make me smile.”

Barbs: “I love when the women share really personal experiences and we can support them, through great conversations, to find a solution, or even options. The women speak about the difference in their confidence that they have experienced after taking part in the programme, and this is the stuff that has the greatest impact for them, and me.”

  1. What struggles do you think that women in the UK still face in the professional world?

Katy: “There is still a perception that women are inferior to men and less able to be successful in roles of ‘power’. Unfortunately, I can give numerous examples to back that up with what I have experienced, and what the women we work with have told me. Things such as, women being left out of meetings, being described as “over-emotional” or “all women are weak” … I could go on. Gender pay gaps and representation also evidence this. It’s my opinion that every single challenge that women face, comes down to systemic gender bias.”

Barbs: “I was doing research last week to design more content for the programme, and I came across some interesting (and terrifying) stats on gender bias when it comes to influence and negotiation. There remains a lot of negative stereotypes about what a woman should or shouldn’t be, how she should behave, and the role men play in supporting women.”

  1. The theme of International Women’s Day this year is Break the Bias – what does this mean to you?

Barbs: “To me it means everyone taking a proactive approach (all genders) to what is not appropriate and what is not helpful and to know how to call that out not if they should. This can be behaviours, workplace cultures or practices. This is a responsibility of all. It’s about challenging those things we hear and observe every day in our workplaces and in all aspects of life, to give women their rightful place of equity in the world without fear or bias.”

Katy: “For me it’s about people being honest and taking in the fact that gender bias still exists. Open your eyes and don’t hide to this. From here you will be able to call out biases and call in those who have them to learn and do the right thing. There are amazing women out there that we haven’t even met yet, who haven’t had the opportunity to show how amazing they are. What a shame it would be if bias continues to dictate that.”

Thank you both so much for your time – if you would like to find out more about Principally Women, or International Women’s Day, follow the links or get in touch with Connect Three today.

January 6, 2022

Connect with… Nicola

Happy New Year everyone! Just before the festive break we welcomed a new member of the team – Nicola, our new Client & Marketing Executive.  So what better way to start the year than with one of our get-to-know-you interviews?

Hi Nicola! Let’s start with an easy one, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I am a Client & Marketing Executive. In a nutshell I’m here to help grow Connect Three through client relations, marketing and internal comms. My role will be very varied, and I expect I’ll be doing something different every week!

I have no doubt that will be true!  What was it about Connect Three that made you interested in joining the team?

I have always placed huge importance on authenticity and not bending my values. As a marketer, it’s my job to tell a story, educate and win people over. How would I sell something I don’t fully believe in?

The first time I met Colin and the team, I knew that my values were completely aligned with Connect Three and I was so excited to get involved. Connect Three’s B Corp status, business values and the team are all examples of how they’re putting their values into action.

That is so good to hear.  We’re so glad you joined!  Can I ask, what are you reading right now?

I am a HUGE Jodi Picoult fan, so I am actually between two of her books right now - The book of two ways & Wish you were here. I love the way she deals with really intense topics and always gives a few viewpoints.

Amazing, we love a book recommendation.  Next question - which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

I would love to sit down with Whitney Wolfe Herd, the youngest self-made woman in history to become a billionaire! After founding dating app Tinder at 23, she was forced to leave the company after being a victim of sexual harassment. At 25, she founded Bumble – a company now worth over 14 billion dollars.

Good choice! Final question, if you could only give one piece of advice to people starting out on their career reading this, what would it be?

After being made redundant during the pandemic I really struggled to get back into the job market. I felt like I had been knocked back to the start and endless job applications with no-replies is really tough! Throughout my career I’ve learnt that knowing your own identity, values and purpose are the most important thing you can do. For me, this also meant I didn’t want to join a company that didn’t or wouldn’t meet them. After a long time of searching and waiting, I finally met Connect Three and it wasn’t just by chance.

I did a great mini exercise (thanks to Hannah Miller, the founder of Sidekick) when I was stuck and I would advise anybody just starting out, or confused about where to go next, to do it too by answering the following questions: Who am I? What are your passions? What do other people love in me? What frustrates me? What are my values? What do you want to be remembered for?

Love it – thanks Nicola, we’re so happy you joined the team!

December 2, 2021

Connect with…Gregor!

It’s that time again, another new face for me to introduce you to – everyone, say hello to Gregor!

Hi Gregor, welcome to the team. Tell us what your role is at Connect Three and what you do.

I’m the Learning Coordinator, my role is split between coordinating the learning projects, research and delivery of those projects and supporting business development.

Amazing! We’re so glad you’re here. I know you haven’t been with us long, but what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

Does finding out that our Chief Explorer was gluten-free like me count? It means there’s always snacks in the office, and beers at the parties that I can have!

Haha! I’ll let you have that one. I know like a lot of the team you are a big reader, so what are you reading right now?

Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ by Susan Cain. As a very extroverted person it’s interesting to hear more from an introverted perspective.

Lovely, I like a good book recommendation. Next up - which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

Yvon Chouinard – founder of Patagonia: I think all businesses should be led with his mindset.

Oh, great choice! OK, finally, if you could only give one piece of advice to people starting out on their career reading this, what would it be?

Take time to decide who you want to be and where you want to go. If you’re willing to spend 2 hours planning a week-long holiday then, by the same ratio, you should spend 6 months of working hours planning your career. I got this from 80,000hours.org and it completely makes sense to me!

Thank you so much for your time today Gregor – I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you on the blog again soon!

November 26, 2021

We are a B Corp! Connect Three achieves B Corp Certification

It's been a really exciting week for the team at Connect Three as we found out that we officially achieved our B Corp Status!  The accreditation rewards our work to become one of the UK's most ethical companies and achieving it has been our goal for a long time.  Giving Back is at the heart of our business, and we are passionate about living out our values and showing that business can, and should, put people over profit, and to be rewarded for our efforts has been a fantastic end-of-year boost for the team.

To become an accredited B Corp, every aspect of our business was graded against the association's rigorous testing system, 'The B Impact Assessment'.  We were judged on how our day-to-day operations create positive impact for our people, our community, and the environment, and what our business is doing to make a positive social impact in the wider world.

The accreditation shows that we’re using our business as a force for good, and that we are focused on driving positive change through how work every day.  We may be the first consulting firm of our kind to achieve this prestigious recognition, but we won't be resting on our laurels!  We have big plans for how we can continue to improve and expand our positive impact every day.

What is a B Corp? 

There are just 4,000 certified B Corps including international brands like Innocent, Patagonia, and The Body Shop.

"Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and non-profits alone. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose." B Corporation

What being a B Corp means to us

Colin started Connect Three with the goal of helping business managers to become inspirational leaders who build healthy businesses that are great places to work.  Now we work to help leaders become someone who makes a positive impact on everyone that they interact with.

"Connect Three is about educating others to have a positive impact in the world. To know that we have been held accountable for the ethics which we promote, and rewarded with this certification is a fantastic affirmation for myself and the team.  It's a real testament to what we've been working on for the last 7 years, and I could not be more proud of what we've accomplished."

November 3, 2021

How to Reboard your People

Your people are not going back to the same workplace they left in March 2020 when the first UK lockdown started.  In the last 18 months the world has changed, and these differences will be around for the foreseeable future.  Now we need to help our people to transition from the ‘temporary’ ways of working we’ve had in place since then, to a new, safe, and inclusive workplace.  This is the principle behind reboarding.

Reboarding is the idea of welcoming your people back in a similar way as you would ‘onboard’ new employees; creating training and resources to help them make the move back to the office, or whatever new ways of working you have envisaged for your business’s future.

Creating this plan and process can be daunting, but think of it as the chance to design a new, improved employee experience that you can be proud of.

  1. Agree on the Vision & Make a Plan
    Before you start, you need to be clear on what your new workplace will look like.  As with all things, we would encourage you to consult with as many of your people as possible rather than rolling out your ideal solution and discovering that it will not work for your teams.  Surveys are telling us that single people want back to the office and couples want to work at home; that Millennials want back to their desks while Gen X want to work from home forever – without trying too hard I’m sure you can think of a dozen examples from your people, friends, and family where these generalisations do not apply, so please don’t assume that you know what people will want to do.  Just ask them instead.
  2. Support your Leaders so they can support your People
    Once you have your vision and plan in place, get your leaders ready.  You need to support them so that they are in a place to support their teams.  Many of us have relied on our managers to take on new responsibilities around the wellbeing of their teams when we were thrust into lockdown the first time.  Now as we seek to change their ways of working again, your people may feel anxious and out-of-place, and you need to equip your leaders to help support your teams through this.
  3. Prepare, Train, and take Feedback
    Ensure leaders know where they can access resources to help them to reboard their teams successfully; offer them updated training so they are confident about answering their people’s questions and addressing any concerns; and provide them a way to pass feedback upwards on what the teams are asking for, and let them know that this feedback is being acted on.
  4. Respect Individual Needs
    If there was one simple lesson that we could impart on the businesses working through their reboarding plans right now, it is ‘treat your people as individuals’.  No two people had the same experience of the pandemic, and it could be that no two people in your organisation require the same support as they return to the workplace.  Recognise their unique experiences, discover their needs, and your people will thrive.

For support developing your reboarding plan, get in touch with Connect Three today.

October 19, 2021

Connect with…Ajeya

Our team is growing so time for another round of interviews! First on the (virtual) hot seat is Ajeya...

Hello Ajeya, and welcome to the team! Let's start with a nice easy one to warm us up - what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I work as the Finance Assistant. My job includes invoicing, preparation of financial accounts, cash and liquidity management, planning, forecasting, and managing financials

What was it about Connect Three that made you interested in joining the team?

The environment that is performance oriented and at the same time welcoming and accommodating.

That's great to hear, let's get a little more personal - what are you reading right now?

I am currently reading 2 books simultaneously. The first one is called Barbarians At The Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, and the second one is called The Woman in the Window.

And the question I ask everyone - which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

I would like to have a cup of tea with Mr. Peter Lynch who is considered one of the greatest money managers of all time. This is because one of my key areas of interest is investment management.

Love it - and finally, if you could only give one piece of advice to people starting out on their career reading this, what would it be?

The advice that I’d give is to be proactively involved in networking with people belonging to the industry of your interest since the early career stage.

Thanks for your time Ajeya, it's great to have you on the team!

October 1, 2021

October is Menopause Awareness Month | Making a Menopause Friendly Workplace


According to Rachel Weiss, founder of The Menopause Café, too many companies still believe that it is acceptable to use the term ‘menopausal’ as a slur or insult in a workplace, and cites plenty of examples[1].  In 2018, the Deputy Head of the Bank of England[2] reported that the UK economy was ‘entering a menopausal phase’, meaning it was past its best in terms of productivity. What other situation is there left in the UK that it is acceptable to mock or discriminate against someone for in the workplace?  Or is being menopausal the last taboo in the UK office?

According to the NHS website[3], there are more than 30 symptoms associated with menopause, from psychological and physical challenges affecting sleep, concentration, mood, and anxiety levels, along with more visible symptoms including hot flushes.  It is tough to go through menopause in silence and even tougher to be working in an environment with no support.

You cannot let the senior leaders of your organisation leave with their considerable talent, knowledge, and experience just because their needs are not supported.

So how up to date is your support policy for menopausal women?  Wait…you don’t have one?  Well, you aren’t alone, but we are here to help.

Becoming a Menopause Friendly Workplace

Let’s start now. World Menopause Day is this month on 18th October and is a great opportunity to open discussions in your company.  From here, there are two clear steps for you to walk through in your mission to becoming  Menopause Friendly Workplace:

Step 1: EDUCATION and AWARENESS

Education of your people is key, as is training leaders to know how to make provisions for menopausal employees when required.  Your goal should be creating an open culture where mentioning menopause is as natural as raising any other health, mental health, and general well-being topics.  Women need to be able to have an open and honest conversation about what they need to help manage their symptoms, and reduce any negative impact on their mental health or the business.

Step 2: MAKE A POLICY

You need to create and implement a specific menopause policy so initial enthusiasm makes way for long-term changes.  By offering similar wellbeing policies and procedures as those in place for mental health support, stress management, new parents, and bereavement, you can support your female leaders at a time when they are vulnerable.

You should consider in your policy:

  • Options for flexible working models.
  • Training and development for team leaders.
  • Work environment comfort.
  • Access to specific healthcare information for affected women.

For more help with getting your policies in place, get in touch with Connect Three today.

RESOURCES:

Get started on your own education by reading some of the guidance on these sites:

 

SOURCES:

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/17/my-bosses-were-happy-to-destroy-me-the-women-forced-out-of-work-by-menopause

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44138229#:~:text=The%20Bank%20of%20England%27s%20deputy,and%20no%20longer%20so%20potent%22.

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/

August 30, 2021

Key lessons in returning to the workplace – The Scotsman

Repost of Colin's article in The Scotsman

Over the past 16-months the pandemic has forced employers to adapt to extremes never considered before, and it has taken strong leadership to steer things in the right direction.

However, as restrictions ease and we all prepare to return to the workplace, we must adapt again to changes that will last beyond the pandemic – and it falls again on leaders to navigate their people on the road to recovery.

Over the past 16 months, organisations have changed immeasurably, and so have the demands placed those in the driving seat. What has become clear is that ina crisis, the leadership approach must change too.

Let’s break this down into three phases: emergency – the pandemic; return – getting people back into the swing of ‘normal’ working; and recovery – what happens next.

In the emergency phase, leaders had to move to the frontline and fight the fires. However, in the return phase, leaders must step back and spend more time supporting their teams.

In recovery, leaders need to strike a balance between guiding a smooth return while maintaining the pressure to renew and rethink the future.

So what does this mean for leaders in the ‘new normal’ and what should they be thinking about as we emerge from the pandemic?

1. Recalibrate what you do and why you do it.

This is a crucial step – often overlooked – but an easy win. Re-tell the story about your organisation and why it exists, what it does and what is important. Many people have now re-evaluated their personal priorities and whether they are still aligned with those of their organisation. Spending time here helps everyone to get ‘back on the bus’, know the destination, how they will get there, understand what seat they are in and how they can contribute to success. Don’t overlook the obvious just because you know the way ahead, and if you don’t know the way, keep listening, talking and asking for contribution.

 2. Rethink how work gets done.

Clearly, the pandemic changed the way we work forever. For some this may be minor, but for others this could mean a change of role entirely. This is an opportunity. Don’t slip back into your old organisational structure – you need to better understand how your business needs to operate and then think about what that means for the roles required and the people you have. Capitalise by resetting the organisation and reviewing if you have the right structure for now – not the past. Include your team in this. It helps people shape the right structure and roles, and they often have a better understanding of how things work day-to-day. This helps identify where gaps and development areas are in knowledge, skills and behaviours that are necessary going forward.

3. Elevate your authentic self (NB this is key).

It can’t all be about the business strategy and structure. Leaders must be explicitly authentic. What does this mean? Well, leaders need to role model vulnerability for a start. Why? Because everyone is probably feeling a little vulnerable and nervous about the future of work, and the truth is no one really knows what the coming months and years have in store. Leaders need to be honest, transparent and show vulnerability. They need to connect with their human-side and be able to express their feelings and display emotions for others to understand that ‘it is okay, not to be okay’.

We have had to immerse ourselves in being more resilient and focus on our wellbeing over the last 16 months – this cannot and should not stop. We need to ensure we are putting our own lifejackets on before helping others. Leaders need to look after themselves, to be able to look after others. To do this, we can ensure we are booking in regular maintenance and re-fuel time so we don’t burn out. There is a fine line, and leaders need to know themselves better to manage their impulse control and emotions to create a safe psychological environment for people to feel they can come forward with concerns or questions.

4. Navigate your people back to work

Going back into the workplace should not be overlooked. This is a BIG deal for most people – especially if the set-up has changed. We all know the importance of how people see their physical place of work and why some have battled with the introduction of hot-desking in recent years. You should create a staged campaign here to get people excited about going back into the workplace (once it is safe to do so). Pilot different ideas and bring people in to help test and ask for their feedback. Re-think why you are asking people to return to the office and consider how you can still offer flexibility for teams and individuals who have improved productivity from working from home.

For most, the move to digital and working from home (or anywhere) has really elevated industries – creating an opportunity to rescope how the office is used and how to work in a hybrid way.

We would also recommend ‘re-orientating’ workforces on their return. I don’t know how many people we have spoken to that have forgotten how the printer works or how to set the alarm. Going back over the basics and bringing teams in to go through a re-introduction to the workplace shouldn’t be missed. It will help create a buzz and start reforming relationships again. Top tip – take the small stuff seriously.

5. Promote ‘out with the old and in with the new’

Leaders need to encourage and role model change. Recovery isn’t about going back and slipping into old habits. This is an incredible opportunity to assess pre-pandemic routines and behaviours, then determine which ones serve the organisation, and which ones are best left in the past. “Renewal not return” is the term used by leaders such as Siemens Chairman Jim Hagemann. Leaders who have created a psychologically safe culture with their teams will be able to progress, promoting and rewarding others to help do things differently, faster and better. This is when you can get creative and innovative with teams – form huddles and create the environment for creative problem solving and looking at ways to improve processes and workflows. This is pivotal to your people feeling part of and contributing to the change your organisation needs to be a success. It is not about the leader having all the ideas or solutions – it is about creating the right culture and environment for your people to take ownership and accountability here and bring their own ideas of how they can improve productivity.

Colin Lamb is founder of Connect Three, a Scottish consultancy which helps businesses improve through their people

July 15, 2021

World Youth Skills Day

It might not get as much press as other international days, but 15th July is World Youth Skills Day, and since it celebrates something that is very close to our hearts at Connect Three, we wanted to do our part to spread the news about the great work that happens internationally because of it.

What is World Youth Skills Day?

The UN created the day back in 2014, with a goal of "celebrating the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship".  Now, annual events in countries across the world are held to create a dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organisations, policy makers and development partners.

Why is it important?

Did you know:

  • UNESCO estimates that schools were either fully or partially closed for more than 30 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021 in half the countries of the world.
  • In June, 19 countries still had full school closures, affecting nearly 157 million learners and 768 million more learners were affected by partial school closures.
  • Young people aged 15-24 have been even more severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis than adults. Globally, youth employment fell by 8.7% in 2020, compared with 3.7% for adults.

The consequences of all of this disruption to the early labour market experiences of youth could last for years to come.  So what can be done?

What can I do?

If you want to attend the live event, you can register here.  Otherwise, why not use today and this week as an opportunity to start dialogues with the youth in your employment about what skills they need to develop in order to progress this year and beyond.  If there are no people in your employment under the age of 24, now is the time to discuss with your team how you can help address that, and prepare for the next wave of graduates and the additional skills help they might need after the events of the last 2 years.

June 30, 2021

Reflecting on Pride Month 2021

On Monday some of the team took the morning off from virtual meetings and went for a walk up Ben A’an as part of our Wellbeing initiative, headed by Katy.  We also took the opportunity to make it a learning day around the theme of Pride, since it’s pride month and our walk coincided with the 51st anniversary of the first ever Pride march.
We asked each other questions from a quiz, which sparked amazing conversations and stories, and learning, about Pride and what it means to us as individuals and as a team.

June 21, 2021

What do Insights’ colours really mean?

Barbara Clark

As an Insights Practitioner, I see the world and people as colours – Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. I don’t view the world like this to label or define, but to recognise and understand the person. I love this! It thrills me to work with people and really help them understand themselves and others. Why they think the way they do; why they react the way they do; why they communicate (or not!) the way they do and how this can build brilliant working relationships.

Over the past 12 months, I have had the chance to really put myself to the test with my own work and team. I have been working a lot with my brilliant colleague David. We have been doing lots of work for Connect Three behind the scenes as a team, and also working closely on projects and delivery with our partner Scottish Enterprise, creating bespoke support for the Seafood Industry in Scotland as well as a large project for NHS Lanarkshire doing Management Development.

What did I know? David and I, according to Insights, are opposite types. He is Blue / Green, and I am Red / Yellow. David is methodical and detailed and works really well collaboratively. He also cares a lot about what he does and the people he works with. He is fun and witty, can be serious when needed. I am not all those things, particularly the methodical and detailed part. I am energetic, flexible (David fed this back to me), I am honest, direct (sometimes harsh) and say it like it is. I also get bored easily and distracted far too easily.

What did we do? To work well together we knew we had to communicate. Often and clearly. Pre COVID we did not know what was coming and agreed to meet for lunch. We talked, set expectations, and shared our excitement at the opportunity to work together on these brilliant projects.

Then… we all know what happened next. David and I were still working together – remotely. We were designing and delivering programmes, having client meetings, project meetings, team meetings, all online.

What did I learn? Whilst using cool blue energy does not come easily to me, I know and understand why David asks questions. It is not to drain my very excitable sunshine yellow energy. It is because, to do the best job he wants to understand. He wants to understand to get it right and be prepared. Fiery red energy comes easily to me. This can be great when decisions need to me made and things just need to happen. But sometimes it is best to get someone else’s opinion and input. Put my earth green hat on and say, let us work together on this. Sometimes we have not had that luxury, and that is ok. Though the difference is we can say this, and both understand why. I have also learned to embrace the structured approach. I can see where this helps and why it works, with flexibility built in.

What have I learned most? That it is not only about labels and opposites. Its about intention and understanding and sharing a purpose to do not just a great job, but the best job. That by really being empathetic and self-aware, we can have great working relationships even with those who have opposite styles and approaches to ourselves. I have an appreciation of others’ styles more than ever. Whilst I will never really love a spreadsheet, I will always love working collaboratively with those that can create one for me.

Find out more about Insights

 

 

June 14, 2021

Skills potential of Scotland’s Workforce can Propel Nation from Recovery into Growth

Industry expert says skills potential of Scotland’s workforce can propel nation from recovery into growth in the aftermath of COVID-19

Connect Three enters major four-year partnership with Skills Development Scotland to help upskill Scotland’s workers 

Connect Three’s ‘joined up, people-first’ approach to skills development has helped more than 800 businesses thrive 

Skills Development Scotland programme will help Scottish SMEs flourish in wake of pandemic 

DEVELOPING skills at small firms across Scotland will be key to the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, according to Colin Lamb of Connect Three – a consultancy that specialises in improving businesses through people.

Colin was speaking after the ‘changemaking’ consultancy entered a major four-year partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to help upskill the nation’s workers as part of a new four-year initiative designed to propel small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country from recovery into growth.

Covid-19 - alongside longer-term challenges such as demographic and technological changes - has brought the skills needs of Scotland’s businesses into sharper focus.

Connect Three is one of four partners selected to deliver the Skills for Growth programme, which offers free support to SMEs helping them adapt to a new economic environment brought about by the pandemic. With a focus on innovation and productivity, Skills for Growth helps identify and address skills gaps in the workforce to drive businesses forward.

Since it was founded in 2014, Connect Three has supported more than 800 businesses from across Scotland and farther afield in North America, Europe, and Asia, helping 10,000+ managers become leaders able to drive their business and people forward.

Big name clients at the Good Business Chartered firm, which has offices in Glasgow and London, include Sky, Scotrail, Border Biscuits, Cala Homes and Scottish Enterprise.

The SDS partnership is a major coup for Connect Three, which made its name tearing up the rule book on ‘management consultancy’ – a label the firm distances itself from.

Connect Three offers a holistic approach to skills development, focused on developing people and establishing positive business cultures.

Colin, founder and owner of Connect Three, said: “Few sectors of society have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic more in Scotland than SMEs.

“It has been a period of instability nobody thought possible, and recovery is absolutely attainable, but it takes leaders, teams and individuals equipped with the right skills, mindset and belief to achieve it.

“Upskilling, reskilling and skills development will be central to how businesses thrive again, and we are delighted SDS has recognised Connect Three’s ability to deliver that change and help Scotland on its route to recovery.”

He added: “We are not a traditional consultancy, in fact, we have been known to take offence when described as a 'management consultancy'. What we do is more than training. We believe in business cultures without hierarchy that actively encourage contribution and independent thinking.

“We practice what we preach, and by helping Scottish businesses move towards this model, we can provide the key to unlocking business potential and driving firms from recovery and into growth.

“The potential to achieve it exists within the people working in Scotland right now, they simply need the tools to realise their potential, embracing mistakes and using them as stepping stones towards their goals.”

The move follows a major Scottish Council For Development and Industry (SCDI) report ‘Upskilling Scotland: The Future of Skills’, which identified the three key pillars of a high performing Scottish economy – high performing individuals, high performing workplaces and in-work development – and proposes 34 ideas to support them.

Delivered in partnership with specialist consultants including Connect Three, Skills for Growth helps identify any learning needs, create a positive culture and provide a fresh perspective on what skills your organisation needs for the future.

Gary Gray, Skills for Growth manager at SDS, said: “Scotland’s employers are adapting to a new economic environment – including a greater focus on innovation and productivity – where having the right blend of skills in place is essential.

“By working with partners Connect Three and others, we are committed to helping employers face these challenges - equipping people and businesses with the skills to seize opportunities and realise their potential.”

More information on the SDS Skills for Growth programme can be found here.

February 12, 2021

Connect Three accredited by the Good Business Charter

Breaking News... Connect Three has achieved our Good Business Charter accreditation! The GBC is an initiative that promotes the importance of responsible business practices, measuring businesses against ten components including real living wage, fairer hours and contracts, employee well-being and environmental responsibility. By recognising businesses that meet their high standards, the Good Business Charter aims to inspire other organisations to follow suit.

The GBC consists of 10 components:

  1. We are a Living Wage Employer who pays directly employed staff and regular contracted staff the regular living wage.
  2. We commit to a fair approach to zero or minimal hours contract including giving at least two weeks’ notice for scheduling shifts and still paying shifts cancelled at less than two weeks’ notice. We commit to give proper consideration to providing contracts with guaranteed hours. Both of the above necessary unless requested otherwise by the employee of their own free will.
  3. We will have clear, fair and transparent policies that support and encourage employee well-being and ban unreasonable penalties for legitimate sickness.
  4. We will engage with worker representatives and ensure there is a voice that represents employees around the boardroom table.
  5. We will commit time and money to creating an inclusive workplace. We will monitor the diversity of our workforce, commit to close the gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps and narrow the CEO/worker pay gap.
  6. We care about the environment and have an environmental policy which demonstrates the ways in which we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance.
  7. We commit to pay our taxes, not engage in tax avoidance and be transparent in our relationship with HMRC.
  8. We recognise our commitment to our customers. We publish this commitment on our website and gather and monitor customer feedback, reporting to the board and addressing concerns.
  9. We commit to the standards set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code where relevant to our organisation.
  10. We are signatories of the government’s Prompt Payment Code.

For more details for each of these components and to find out more about the GBC visit: www.goodbusinesscharter.com

January 20, 2021

Connect with Fiona…

New year, time for a new interview. Next on the (virtual) hot seat is Fiona...

Hi Fiona, so let's start with a nice easy one to warm us up - what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I’m really pleased to be one of our Consultant team at Connect Three. I love the variety within my role where I work with our clients to help them to be at their best. This could mean for me designing, developing and delivering leadership development workshops or coaching individuals in one-to-one programmes. In my coaching, I have most recently worked with executives and also with leaders who are at a cross-road in their career.

Whether I’m delivering face-to-face or more recently virtual programmes, my focus is on increasing insight, growth and performance and helping bosses to be even better bosses!

Excellent - so you've been with us a while and I'm sure you have lots of stories to tell, so what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

I love the relationships that I build with my clients and seeing and experiencing their growth while working together. It is a real privilege to be able to work with such a wide range of people in this way.

When I think of our Connect Three team, I am blown away by the energy, insight and talent of my amazing colleagues! And I really appreciate their creativity, optimism and kindness too.

One of my favourite moments as part of the Connect Three team was when we supported Social Bite by raising money and taking part in the world’s biggest simultaneous sleepout to support homelessness. It was so inspiring to hear Josh Littlejohn (co-founder of Social Bite) speak about how Social Bite came to be and how, almost by accident, it stumbled across its purpose of supporting homelessness in such a hugely practical and impactful way.

Love it! Thank you for that, so what are you reading right now?

I find reading at the moment a great way of focusing attention and opening doors to enter another world, especially at this time.

I’m reading two very different books at the moment….one is ‘The Graveyard Book’ by Neil Gaiman, a classical coming-of-age children’s fantasy novel which focuses on the perennial themes of love and friendship. This is the first time I have read one of Neil Gaiman’s books and it’s a very welcome Christmas present.

The other book I’m also reading at the moment is ‘The Promise that changes everything: I won’t interrupt you’ by Nancy Kline. I’ve read a couple of Nancy Kline’s other books and was intrigued when I heard of her most recent book that explores how interrupting reduces us, and reduces our thinking, our decisions and our relationships. I am curious about the impact of agreeing these three simple things that Nancy suggests: begin to give attention, remain interested in where each other’s thinking will move to next, and take turns at sharing the ‘stage’ equally.

These ideas are potentially world changing, and apply to professional, personal and political relationships.

I am a huge fan of both of these authors, so I am loving these choices.  Back to business now, which leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

It would have to be Marcus Rashford! Marcus is an extremely talented, elite footballer who is at the top of his game with Manchester United and who has improved the lives of millions of people with his campaigning on food poverty, child poverty and free school meals in the UK.

As someone who benefited from free school meals, his earlier struggles have clearly impacted on his purpose and drive to give back to the community that had helped him to get to where he is today. The gratitude to and admiration for his mother as his role model is so humbling. Marcus started reading at the age of 17, and has also launched a literacy campaign for children whose families can’t afford to buy books. He has a passion to protect our most vulnerable children.

Marcus has wisdom and maturity beyond his years. He is a role model to us all, and the tone with which he engages is with eloquence, respect and integrity. Marcus values diplomacy, collaboration and teamwork.

I would love to have a chat with him about his motivation and passion behind his campaigning. We are so fortunate to have a leader like him in our midst.

What a great choice. Finally, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

There are many paths and everyone’s path is different. Compete against yourself. Yes, there will be setbacks as well as great achievements. Always focus on the bigger picture and long-term view.

Believe in yourself!

 

Amazing Fiona, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.  There's one last spot until we complete our 'Connect with...' series - so keep your eyes peeled for the final chapter!

January 8, 2021

Career Ready Scotland 2021

2021 marks the third year Connect Three will be involved in Career Ready Scotland mentoring scheme.  This year's programme launches on Monday and it aims to help progress young people (S5/S6 students) to positive post school destinations by equipping them with the skills necessary and giving them access to a support network.

Throughout the programme we work on developing skills that the students have identified as improvement areas, as well as abilities that we can give them experience in to help add to their repertoire. After a series of coaching, masterclasses and potentially workplace visits, the programme is finished with a four week paid internship where the students can experience first-hand what it is like to work at Connect Three.

This is a hugely rewarding programme for both the students and for myself, I believe that it is extremely important that opportunities such as these are offered to young people to help provide them with the skills and experience they otherwise may not have access to. Find out more information on the Career Ready website.

~ Craig

January 6, 2021

Top 5 Workplace Trends for 2021

Let us not say much more about 2020. It was not a great year for most; however, it did offer a plethora of learning opportunities for us on both a personal and business level.  COVID-19 has certainly been a catalyst for change, and we should not expect this to slow down even when we return (sooner rather than later we all hope) to a feeling of suspended ‘stability’.

For the most part, we are all craving positive news and being able to return to meet in person again but not as we knew it before. Here are 5 Workplace trends that I anticipate seeing in 2021: 

  1. The Hybrid Workplace
    A term used more frequently over the last 3 months. Do not expect employees to return to the office 5 days a week and back to some sort of 9-5pm working hours.  We anticipate that this could be a 50/50 split with employees commuting for only essential meetings where it requires more collaboration, strategic or creative input. We have already seen workplace spaces been redefined and streamlined and we expect to see less office desk space and more collaborative working spaces. It goes without saying that there will be an uplift in flexible working and remote working, given that we have been forced into it for most of 2020.

  2. Role of HR
    I have read many articles about HR now having a seat in the board room and the CHRO title being popularised more. However
    , in reality, HR (or ‘People’ as it more often referred to now) is still not considered a strategic contributor to many executive teams in both large and smaller businesses. With HR being more integral in 2020, through workforce planning, there will be a huge need for talent and skills mapping, upskilling, increasing focus on mental health and well-being as well as a increasing diversity and creating an inclusive workforce. If there is a year to invest in your people, then 2021 should be it.

  3. Diverse & larger talent pools
    The door has opened to casting a larger net for talent with the adoption of flexible and remote working. We expect to see much more of this in 2021, even with Brexit. In addition, businesses need to innovate and increasing the diversity of their talent (age, background, education, experience etc) is going to be essential to help drive this for many, especially those businesses who have a long-serving workforce.  We expect to see new jobs created and companies hiring out with their previous boundaries and broadening their views on who could be considered for the job.

  4. Antifragility (beyond resilience)
    We really like this term, not just because we are trailblazers, but resilience refers to coping with, whereas antifragility is about getting better. We expect to see a shift in focus around ‘resilience’ where it is no longer about creating coping mechanisms, but it is about making marked change for the better especially if we are not returning to our previous known way of working and living. We will see a change in many company cultures through revised value systems and desired behaviours resulting in more expectations around bravery and boldness.

  5.  ‘Skills First’
    With more of a focus on innovation in 2021 
    and a real acceleration through digital transformation, employees need to be upskilled to do jobs differently, more efficiently and add more value than before. The tide will turn, and it will no longer be acceptable to coast along in roles, the bar has been lifted and this will require a monumental focus on skills and training forin some cases, entire teams within the workforce. The skills agenda will be on the table at all Executive meetings as without this relentless focus you cannot innovate further and compete in a new and changing marketplace.   All said, this relies on businesses having a clear vision of what their future looks like and this being understood in relation to current and future capability. 

If you found these trends helpful, please share with others.  

At Connect Three we help businesses and people change. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss these trends further or if you are looking to see how we could help support you with any of these trends in 2021. 

Thanks for reading, 

Colin 

December 10, 2020

Connect with Jill

Next up in our Connect with' interview series is...me!  Jill, the person who does all the interviews.  Time for a taste of my own medicine...

What's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?
I run all things Marketing at Connect Three and offer marketing and digital training for clients through the Digital Boost, Business Gateway and LESL programmes.  No two days look the same and the guys keep me on my toes with new things to promote or teach pretty regularly!

What has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?
There have been a lot of understated lovely moments which spring to mind - kind messages from other people in the team when I help them out, or people checking in when I'm having a rough week, or 'send to all' compliments when I do things they like.  I've worked in marketing agencies for nearly 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of companies I've seen where the people support each other 'out loud' the way that these guys do.  Everyone gets involved - they all genuinely care about the company, how it's promoted, and I never have to chase for content.  If I ask them all to do something strange (like pass a pen across a screen and film it...) they all volunteer and get on with it!

What are you reading right now?
I am a self-confessed bibliophile, in fact before I got an Audible account I used to read actual paperbacks while walking…it led to plenty of comedic falls.  I have a stack of books on the go at any one time, and you can usually find them scattered round my house (much to my husband’s “delight”).  Right now I’m reading Carrie Fisher’s Princess Diarist, Peter May’s The Noble Path and Seth Godin’s The Practice.

Which business leader would you like to have a cuppa with?
I don’t know if he counts as a business leader, but it has to be Jon Favreau.  He has written, directed, and produced some of the best movies and series of the last 2 decades and I would love to find out how his brain works – how he sells the original ideas he has, and how he balances all the roles he works in.  It would be difficult to ask him the hard hitting questions though, as I would more likely act like a complete fan girl than a journalist…

If you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?
Plan, plan and then plan some more.  If you know what you want to achieve and why, it’s a lot easier to get there, and to get others on board to help you.

November 19, 2020

What is OK Positive?

We’ve introduced a brand new tool into the Connect Three team’s daily lives that we are really excited to tell you about. Katy has been the driving force behind it, so we’ll let her explain in her own words:

“I am delighted that we will be using OK Positive in Connect Three as part of the benefits that we offer our team members.

It is a tool that is for personal use designed to help people be more aware of their own happiness levels. The thing that I love the most is that it gives you lots of tools and resources for you to explore what strategies work to help you build emotional strength and wellbeing of your mind.

There is yoga, mindfulness colouring, meditation, breathing, as well as budgeting tools.

We will use these to host team events to encourage more team activities and open up communication on mental health at work.

I am so proud that we are taking this on and we hope to encourage more businesses to invest in their team’s mental well-being by us using this app.”

If you’d like to find out more about this or any of the other tools that we use to keep our team happy and motivated, get in touch with any member of the team today.

November 19, 2020

Connect with Laura

With so much uncertainty, distance and disconnection in the world right now, what better time for another chapter in our 'Connection Series'? Each post in the series shines the spotlight on the work of a member of the Connect Three team, and hopefully gives you a little insight into what we do, and how we can help you.

This week in the hot seat is the regal Laura Royal!

Morning Laura! As always, lovely to speak to you. Let's kick off with an easy one: what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I am an Associate Organisational Development Consultant, it's one of those titles that sounds very fancy pants and often people say, 'well that sounds great…but what is it you actually do?!' I'm a person who helps businesses bring out the best in their people through training, coaching and development programmes. I genuinely get to do a lot of really fun things with people at the heart of it all.

That is a great description! So what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

Oooh, that’s a toughie as there are a lot of moments to choose from. I’d have to say though that it was the opportunity to design and lead the Scottish Enterprise backed Managing People for Growth and Essential Leadership programmes. They are both fabulous programmes and I loved every minute of designing them and even more the delivery of them to the many people that have successfully completed these industry leading programmes so far.

It's a brilliant achievement, and an amazing thing to be part of. Right, on a less serious note - what three things would you take with you to a desert island?

The three things I would need on a desert island would be my gorgeous Cockapoo Tillie, she’s so adorable, I’d need my favourite Spotify playlist as I couldn’t live without music – I’m always singing. And lastly, I’d need a large supply of tea bags and a kettle as I drink at least 12 cups of tea a day, sometimes more. I’m like a chain smoker but with tea drinking.

That is a fair ol' habit you have! So, which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

I’d love to have a cuppa with Jacinda Ardern…what a power house she is…compassionate, collaborative, savvy, inclusive, human, empathetic, strong…I have so much admiration for her and I’d love to have a good old blether with her.

She's definitely a favourite in the Connect Three team. I know you are a big reader, what are you reading right now?

I've just finished reading, for the second time, Atomic Habits by James Clear. I often find that I'm soooo good at the discipline of my bad habits that I like to map across the strategy and replace the bad habits with good ones instead. I thoroughly recommend the book. I'm just about to begin reading A Mindfulness Guide for the Frzzled by Ruby Wax – I absolutely adore her work bringing Neuroscience (which I am a student of) and life experience together in her uniquely witty and humour filled style. I'm even more so looking forward to this one as it's all about finding stillness in the middle of chaos and I think we can all agree that we're slap bang in the middle of that at the minute.

Absolutely! OK, final question, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?
Look after your people, even more than you do already…it's so important. Put your people at the heart of everything you do. And lastly take breaks and get outdoors…I think we've forgotten how to do that at the minute as we are consistently at our machines in our home offices. Oh and this time, last one…tell people you care, a simple heartfelt and genuine thanks goes a very long way.

Love it - thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule for us Laura, and I'll see you at virtual happy hour on Friday!

Look out for our next Connect with interview coming soon...

November 18, 2020

We are Employee Ownership Advocates

Connect Three is proud to be an SfEO Advocate for employee ownership in Scotland!  Yey! No idea why we’re so excited? That’s ok, let us explain:

What is Employee Ownership?

Employee Ownership (EO) means that all employees have a ‘significant and meaningful’ stake in a business.  That means that employees must have both a financial stake in the business (e.g. shares), and a genuine say in how it is run.  Right now, there are around 120 employee-owned companies operating in Scotland, with approximately 7,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £950million. (Source: CDS Database)

As well as having obvious benefits for employees, EO allows business owners to manage their exit and achieve fair value while safeguarding the long-term future of the company.

Who are the SfEO?

Scotland for Employee Ownership (or SfEO) is an industry leadership group launched by Scotland’s First Minister in 2018.  The group wants to make Scotland the best country in the world for establishing and growing employee-owned businesses.

The group has created an industry strategy that supports the advancement of thriving, self-sustaining employee-owned businesses in Scotland to the benefit of all present and future employees, and the economy where these businesses operate.

The group is made up of senior figures in the Scottish business world (including representatives from Scotland’s top employee-owned businesses), as well as key organisations including the Scottish Government, Co-operative Development Scotland and the Employee Ownership Association.

Their vision is that Scotland will be the global EO centre of excellence and success, and to see 500 employee-owned businesses operating in Scotland by 2030, as well creating the best environment for EO businesses to thrive.

So what’s an SfEO Advocate?

All these great ideas will only be implemented if there are people across Scotland who are willing and able to help.  As part of the Advocate Programme, the Connect Three team is here to share the success stories, raise awareness and help to equip businesses with the key information, data and tools that they need.

If you would like to find out more about Employee Ownership, please get in touch with Connect Three today by emailing hello@connectthree.co.uk.

 

 

 

October 29, 2020

Connect with Vicky!

Next up in our "Connect with" interview series is the woman with the most contagious enthusiasm in the world - Vicky! We had a little interview during a Zoom call and decided to share the transcript of that.  So here we are - taking ourselves as seriously as we could manage!

What do you do?

I am an organisational development consultant with Connect Three which always sounds right fancy, but basically means that I help businesses get the best out of their people.

What does your day-to-day look like for Connect Three?

Day-to-day can look like anything!  A lot of it is delivery of management and leadership development training, either online or in a classroom (which I love) but also, for instance, this morning I was doing a feedback session with a team about their short, medium and long-term strategies – so all sorts of things which keeps my days interesting.

How long have you been working with Connect Three?

Since the very beginning!  So I’ve been here almost since day one.

And what has been your favourite moment in all that time working with Connect Three?

I think the nicest thing about being here since (almost!) day one, has been seeing the company grow and that we’ve needed to bring in people so that we can meet the demand for our services.

So I know that you are a big reader, so what are you reading at the moment?

I am currently reading three books!  I’m just finishing The Power of Wow which is all about Zappos and their culture which is super interesting, I’m also reading Their Little Secret which is a Billingham book (I love a crime drama) and for something totally different I am reading The Idiot Brain which is all about how your brain works, and neuroscience and it’s quite entertaining as it’s a bit of a funny take on the subject which makes it more accessible.  I do love to read…

Fab, you know I love your recommendations!  OK, if you could have a cup of tea with any leader who would it be and why?

I’m rubbish at answering these questions because I think it sounds cheesy, but I’d love to sit down and have a blether with Barack Obama!  I think that would be amazing, he has such a story to tell and I have so much respect for him, the way he behaved and conducted himself as a leader – especially when you compare him to others in similar positions…I’ll say no more.

If you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders that are reading this, what would you tell them?

My basic rule for life, is to be a good human being…and I know again that it sounds super cheesy, but just be nice – there is no need to be anything else!  Focus on doing right by other people and you won’t go far wrong.

October 7, 2020

Working from Home – Not One Size Fits All

The UK government is fluctuating between telling people to work from home, and encouraging companies to send their staff back to the office but do they really want to return?  Netflix Chairman, Reed Hastings, is quoted as calling working from home “a pure negative”[1]; do other big brands share his beliefs?  What about the small businesses out there; has the pandemic been a blessing or a curse?

To prepare for this article I have spent hours poring over the research to get some answers on how successful working from home has been for people and businesses in the UK so far.  If I’m honest, the articles on the benefits of working from home are starting to get my hackles up, and it’s for one simple reason – the generalisations.  It is wild to assume that if a cross-section of the population is interviewed they will give the same answers on:

  1. Have you enjoyed working from home?
  2. Would you like to continue working from home?
  3. How productive have you been?

Let’s take our own company as an example.  We are a team of 13, made up of remote workers and core office staff; some of us are working parents, some of us live with our parents, and some of us live alone.  We have blended families, single parents, and nuclear families in our group.  Our ages range from early twenties to…well, let’s say 40+.  Our job roles are split amongst creative, operational, strategic and coaches/trainers so our day-to-day working lives looked very different even before lockdown.

Just as no two employees have the same experience, no two companies will have approached the ‘working from home’ process in the same way.  Many companies had been taking a proactive approach to flexible working long before the pandemic hit, while others were forced into it with no preparation for their teams on emotional or practical levels.  At Connect Three we were lucky that none of us were new to working from home.  Like many other fair work focused companies, we have had a long term strategy implementing flexible working.  That means most of our team entered into this with previous experience of working at home, and established spaces at to work from.  However, there are many teams and businesses who may have dipped their toe in the flexible-working-water before, or may have never considered it.

All  things considered, how could people possibly write overarching statements on whether working from home has been a positive or negative experience for any team or agency?  Before we run after naysayers like Reed Hastings with pitchforks, let’s look at what he said.  Firstly, he was clear that his staff would not be returning to regular office hours until after a COVID-19 vaccination was available.  Second, he said that: "Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”  While it’s a strong statement, it’s not necessarily wrong, is it?  Being unable to get together in person could not be classed as a positive thing.  The impact on company growth and individual well-being is obvious.  Other big brand bosses, however, are more than happy to embrace the changing models of working and the benefits they bring.

With mounting financial pressures, the idea that companies do not need a city centre skyscraper office to attract the best staff is incredibly appealing.  The pandemic has proven for many companies that a dispersed workforce is an effective method for finding and retaining diverse talent.  Imagine a future where companies can still pay you ‘big city’ wages but move their headquarters to cities where their rent, and yours, will be much lower.

Other brands have plans for hybrid models of working.  Facebook, for instance, has announced its intention to open small satellite offices where staff can ‘check in’ and meet face-to-face regularly while still working from home when they like.  Coinbase CEO Brain Armstrong says; “… the vision is to have one floor of office space in 10 cities, rather than 10 floors of office space in one city.”[2]

There is no doubt that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to remote working, and that the likelihood of everyone who worked 5 days a week in an office returning to that style of work any time soon is not high; but questions are rightly being raised about whether company culture and innovation is being impacted; about how ‘presenteeism’ will affect career progression for parents and junior staff; about how staff mental health is impacted by isolation from colleagues and face-to-face networking.  As Mark Lund, President of McCann Worldgroup says: “We are missing the charge of physical meetings and collaboration with each other and clients greatly. The serendipity at the heart of the creative process is much harder to achieve via a screen.”[3]

So where do we go from here?  How do we create a model that works for all of our people, enabling them to be productive, while protecting their emotional well-being and securing our company’s future?  Oh wait, were you are expecting an answer?  Like I said, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for the ‘working from home’ question.  I do know how you can find your company’s answer though – communication.  Speak to your staff as individuals, make your decisions about the future based on evidence, not assumptions.  Just because surveys and research say that most older people want to keep working from home, while most younger people want back to the comradery of an office; that does not mean it’s true for your staff.  Check in with them and find out what they need.  One thing is for sure, the working from home model must evolve from where it is now.

Those businesses who have yet to plan how a more flexible working arrangement could benefit their organisations for the better need to start now, and those businesses with established flexible working solutions need to review what has worked and what hasn’t during the recent system stress test.

“Even the most ambitious champions of remote working acknowledge that in-person interaction with colleagues is healthy for morale and company culture, and that it enables a greater degree of collaborative innovation not possible with Zoom or Teams, which tech leaders agree is an essential catalyst to growth.” Says Ernest Andrade, Founder of the Charleston Digital Corridor[4].

Nikki Slowey, Founder and Co-Director of Flexibility Works, says: “The demand for flexible working was already outstripping supply here in Scotland and in particular the demand for home working had certainly not been met by employers. Business leaders are now looking at how people in their organisation will work going forward and realising that home working needs to be part of the picture. This doesn’t mean everyone working from home all of the time. There is still a huge role for a physical space, which allows us to connect with colleagues, but we will see a more blended approach to where and when people work.

“And remember, what we’ve been experiencing is not even ‘normal’ home working, as it happened so suddenly for so many people, not to mention the fact many of us have children at home. Just think what can be achieved if we embed flexible working properly as businesses re-set post COVID19. There are, of course, many challenges for organisations and workers because of the pandemic.  But there is an opportunity to make some things better.”

Get in touch to find out how Connect Three can support businesses like yours in engaging with your teams, or the behavioural support required during the challenges working from home gives employees and how we can support managers and leaders.


[1] https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/netflixs-reed-hastings-right-call-working-home-a-pure-negative/1694607

[2] https://blog.coinbase.com/post-covid-19-coinbase-will-be-a-remote-first-company-cdac6e621df7

[3] https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/netflixs-reed-hastings-right-call-working-home-a-pure-negative/1694607

[4] https://venturebeat.com/2020/09/13/after-covid-a-hub-and-spoke-office-style-could-become-the-norm/

September 28, 2020

Connect with Susan

Next up in our Connection series, is our resident 'people' person - HR specialist, Susan Earle.

  • Hi Susan! Let's start with the basics, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I am the resident HR specialist at Connect Three and I also support some of the L&D activity. My role is diverse which I love and can be challenging at times which also makes it super rewarding. I tend to do most of the transactional HR support work with our clients and I also get involved with developing and creating best fit people practices for their businesses.

  • What moment in your time at Connect Three makes you the most proud to think about?

This may sound a bit soppy but every time I get together with the Team at Connect Three, I feel extremely proud to be part of it. Unfortunately we have not had the chance to get together face to face over the past 6 months but even on our monthly catch ups and updates in between, I always feel inspired and really proud and privileged to work with such a fantastic group of like-minded but at the same time, diverse group of professional people.

  • Awww, that's so nice! Can I ask, what are you reading right now?

Engage! by Karin and Sergio Volo. This is a book that I picked up pre-lockdown but then put down due to the demands of working from home with 2 small children but I really wish I had kept it going as the ethos is even more important now than ever before. I have always been a champion of the power of employee engagement – no matter how big or small your business is and this book lays out a simplified road map to help create a business that not only your customers but your staff love.

  • Brilliant, thanks for the recommendation! Back to business, which leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

She isn’t exactly a business leader but is certainly a leadership figure – Michelle Obama. I watched ‘Becoming’ again recently and I just love how she can capture such a diverse audience due to what I believe to be her sincerity, empathy and ability to build trust amongst people. She is a very charismatic figure who has worked hard and kept focussed but grounded over the years, even as First Lady. She also has a great sense of humour and tons of humility which I think are particularly important traits to have in a leadership role as it helps to balance yourself and cope with the daily challenges faced in business.

  • That's a great choice. OK, finally, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

Look after your people and the rest will look after itself.

Love it - thank you Susan! It's been a pleasure getting to know you a little better. Look out for our next 'Connect with' interview in a few weeks time.

September 7, 2020

Incredible ways that Career Transition support changes lives

Fiona McMahon
Connect Three Consultant

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our jobs and careers in more ways than we may have imagined. It has created uncertainty to our world of work. One option to help us to navigate particularly through these times is career transition support.

Career transition support changes lives – because it’s person-centred, practical and taps into your potential. And when done well, its impact is amazing…

It’s all about you – addressing the loss

Finding out that your job is being made redundant is traumatic. There will be feelings of shock, denial, anger amid plenty of uncertainty. Working on these emotional responses that we all experience is the starting point of career transition support that is done well. By working with you on this loss and uncertainty in a-focused, practical way, your coach helps you to deal with these stresses and strains and to make the psychological and emotional transition through this initial phase.

In my experience, this key aspect of career transition support is crucial in providing a safe foundation before working with you on the nitty gritty of exploring what could be round the corner. I love how this seamlessly uses the research-led practical ideas from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler on the five stages of loss to make sense of emotional responses to change that we experience in life. This can start to make a real practical difference. Career transition support gives hope.

Building on your unique DNA

Then you are able to start to focus with your coach on your journey to explore what might be next. Once we’ve explored this starting point and worked on this, we can begin to look at where your ‘sweet spots’ lie – the things that you absolutely love to do and get a real buzz from. We also explore what your values are, what motivates you and what makes you tick. Career transition support taps into your unique DNA and by working collaboratively with you to help to create your plan and identify possible job areas worth exploring further. All at your pace.

And there’s more. Your coach is on your team. By working with you and supporting you, you may reconnect with a passion from when you were little. Or you may take the chance to create something else, something different, something that resonates with you more strongly than what you’ve been doing more recently.

Promoting yourself

Then there’s working with your coach on the practical steps of creating an achievement focused CV, finding where the (often unpublished) opportunities are, identifying who in your network can give you leads, creating leads, promoting yourself in person, using LinkedIn as your window to the world, preparing for interviews and making the transition to your newly secured role. All while working with you to help maintain your motivation, momentum and resilience during the process. Career transition support secures futures.

For organisations who do this well – it’s fundamentally based on human respect

By providing career transition support to your people, you help to build their confidence and develop them so that they can respond to this unexpected and traumatic change, especially during these challenging times. You demonstrate respect for your people, and show that you value and empathise with them.

In my experience, the organisations that do this best work collaboratively alongside their coaches providing the career transition support to form a seamless team, in a way that suits the culture of the organisation.

Helping their people to transition to whatever’s round the corner is an active, not a passive process. By appreciating the challenges that those whose jobs are being made redundant are going through and by identifying very straight forward and simple ways to support them, you enhance their wellbeing and build their confidence.

Those who are staying within your organisation may experience ‘survivor syndrome’, a guilt associated with having kept their roles whereas their colleagues and friends have lost theirs. Done well, career transition support for colleagues and friends that are leaving can make a positive difference to those remaining in terms of trust, motivation and performance.

Apart from it being the absolute right thing to do from a human respect perspective, you are also enhancing your employer brand and safeguarding your reputation.

Explore more…

If this has sparked your curiosity and you would like to find out more about how we can help your business and your people get the most from our career transition knowledge and expertise then drop me (Fiona) or Shona, our Client Development Director, an email we’ll happily have a conversation with you.

August 24, 2020

Why should we be surprised by ourselves?

For a long time in my professional career, I have been interested in creating a blog, providing my insights into a subject that I feel connected too. And so, when I was asked to do one, I was delighted. I entered into exciting conversations with my peers thrashing out topic ideas and spent lots of my time thinking about & researching my subjects of choice.

Despite my enthusiasm, putting pen to paper was a struggle for me and I seemed to find every way to put it off. It was always glaring at me at the top of my to-do list, people were asking about how I was getting on with it (constantly I may add), but still, I was nowhere near starting it. Why was I putting off something that I so wanted to do and saw the value in? I crafted time in my diary to dedicate for my writing, I reminded myself of Eat that Frog’, I applied the Pomodoro method but still nothing.

I realised that I was struggling to be vulnerable and lacking in some confidence in putting myself out there.

This, however, was not a surprise to me. I am self-aware and this has happened before. I have been fortunate enough to have had access to many psychometrics and they all say the same thing about me and my tendencies across various situations.

Belbin Team Roles describes:

“Resource Investigators thrive on the excitement of novelty, and whilst this allows them to respond quickly to new developments, their enthusiasm can fade as quickly as it arose”

Disc describes:

“she can easily become distracted, and does not deal well with projects that fail to hold her interest over the long term”

That said I am a highly engaged, motivated, and quality-driven individual with evidence throughout my career to back this up. What my lack of surprise told me was that I perhaps had become passively self-aware and in that fleeting moment of procrastination where I was struggling to write, my passive self-awareness meant that I was using excuses rather than flourishing. It was easier to tell myself “well you do this all the time”  rather than find something to create action. I needed a new strategy.

And so I was curious.

I completed my Be Talent Resilience Accreditation course in July this year and as part of my accreditation, my extremely supportive colleague Shona provided me with the feedback of my personal resilience profile.

Resilience as you will know has become an area of relevance right now and I am hugely passionate about this subject so it made sense to delve deeper and upskill in this area.

I truly believe it is vital for people to understand how they cope in times of challenge, what emotions they experience on their best and worst days to pick the best course of actions to get back on the right path.

And this is what this Be Talent tool does.

There are 9 resilience risks in total, these are described as your go-to responses in times of challenge. It came as no surprise to me again that mine are Impatient, Worried, and Impulsive. I can, if I am honest, experience these all in one moment and gave practical examples of when I had displayed these behaviours, but I wanted to change this.

There are also 9 resilience strengths, now these were what I was interested in, my way to put a positive spin on my times of challenge, to overcome these and grow taller. As I worked my way through each of the 9 strengths I struggled to clearly see what mine would be.

And then a surprise came.

In behaviours such as Calm, Composed, and Fearless, I found that my passive self-awareness was starting to unravel, and I was learning something new about myself.

My top Resilience strength as Confidence.

“Certain in their actions. Confident and convinced, they do not look to other people for feedback or assurance, trusting in their ability to make good decisions. On a good day, they will hold their ground and be unwavering when challenged. They feel confident about their abilities and present themselves and their ideas with impact. They deliver messages with authority and credibility”

This did not sound like me and I was struggling to see how this person which is  described above was going to my strategy to help me overcome a challenge. And not just in the challenge I found with creating my first article, but in all and any challenges that I will be sure to face.

And then my lightbulb came. I did have this in me, it’s been there all along but it is my responsibility to harness this confidence and rather than revert to my aforementioned resilience risks, pull on this strength to guide me. Thank you to Shona and Be Talent for teaching me this.

And so, therefore I have finally written this piece. I used my resilience strength of confidence to act, to put pen to paper to share my lessons.

  1. Always be open to surprises, in yourself and others. Do not let passive self-awareness stand in your way.
  2. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and keep you on your toes.
  3. Find your own Resilience Strengths, they are invaluable.

Right, off to research my next topic now!  If you’d like to find out more about Be Talent, drop me or Shona an email and we’ll send you some more information.

August 17, 2020

Connect with David

You can't miss his happy smiling face on Connect Three social media, and with such a huge range of leaders and future leaders trained and coached by him, a lot of you will already have spoken with David - but how well do you know him? Next up in our Connection series, is David Garrick

  • Good morning David - let's start with an easy one, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I'm an independent consultant and mostly get involved with Leadership and Management Development, Organisation Development and 1:1 coaching.

  • Great, thanks! So what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

There have honestly been loads, but I've been involved in developing a lot of fairly new Managers from diverse backgrounds and some of their stories of how they've applied what they've learned, may have caused my chest to puff up on occasion!

  • And so it should, I've read those testimonials! A little off track now, but what three things would you take with you on a desert island?

I feel like we’ve all had a taste of that recently and I STILL haven’t picked up a guitar (as I would have hoped), so 1) Some way of listening to music 2) A digital camera with loads of memory and solar battery thing 3) A telescope.

  • Oh, I like your thinking! Back to business, which leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

It would need to be someone from the Hospitality industry I think – there's few places to hide as a leader if you're running a restaurant. Let's go for Thomasina Miers who founded the Wahaca chain (I love Mexican food!)

  • That's a great choice. OK, finally, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

Seek to actively understand both your strengths and your weaknesses, then work with people who are different and will challenge your thinking.

Love it love it love it - thank you David! Always a pleasure getting to know you a little better. Look out for our next 'Connect with' interview in a few weeks time.

August 6, 2020

Connect with Shona

Next up in our 'Connection Series' is our Client Development Director Shona:

  • Let's start with an introduction, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I've been an associate for nearly 2 years and last year this evolved into being our Client Development Director. In plain Scottish this means that I have responsibility to create and develop our key client relationships, explore and develop our commercial partnerships and work in partnership with our Head of Development to create relevant products and solutions for our evolving clients’ needs. I still love getting stuck into coaching, delivery and facilitation with clients especially when there is the opportunity to use psychometrics, the most recent one being the Insights Discovery Profile which I became accredited in while we were in lockdown.

  • Wow, that's a lot of different responsibilities! Out of everything, what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

So far, I would choose designing and delivering a session on our Principally Women programme to help delegates create their personal vision board. Why this? It was an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone, try something different and experiment with a story telling approach. I enjoyed demonstrating our values of be bold, be curious and be you…and the positive delegate feedback proved it paid off!

  • Amazing, so what are you reading right now?

Apart from when I’m on holiday I’m not the best at losing myself in books. When it comes to work related reading I tend to dip in and out of them and have a few on the go at any one time……currently there is The Science of Organisational Change, The Squiggly Career and Ikigai. I’m a bit of a magpie for articles and blogs that pop up through my LinkedIn network which spark my curiosity and only recently started to listen to podcasts… with so much out there I find recommendations from others a great starting point.

  • Well those are some great recommendations from you right there! So, who would be your dream person to coach?

My dream person to coach is anyone who has clarity about what they want to achieve from our coaching conversations, has the courage to show some vulnerability and is prepared to indulge my curiosity to create those lightbulb moments which cause them to take action. If I could choose my dream executive coach it would be Dawn Flockhart who introduced me to NLP and made sure every conversation helped me to discover a little bit more of the inner me. Sadly, Dawn is no longer with us and I often find myself reflecting on what she would ask me to change, do or learn.

  • And one last question for you Shona, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

Follow your dreams, work hard and trust in yourself. Once I realised that true success comes from doing something that matters, playing to your strengths and surrounding yourself by equally amazing people then my leadership journey enabled me to achieve more than I had ever imagined possible…and continues to do so.

Brilliant, thank you! Look out for our next connection in a week or two 🙂

July 2, 2020

Working Lives in Scotland

CIPD Scotland has created an insightful report on job quality in Scotland as part of their commitment to championing better work and working lives for all Scottish people.  What’s really interesting about this report is that it offers pre-COVID-19 analysis and insights on workforce health and wellbeing as well as skills and careers development.

This report adapts the CIPD Good Work Index to the Scottish Fair Work Framework.  If you have worked with Connect Three before you’ll know that we are passionate about helping businesses meet the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework.  We are proud to have been awarded the Glasgow Business Award for Fair Work last year, and in the last 12 months we have worked to help others create the same engaged, innovative workplace that we have been recognised for building with our own team.

So what are the key findings from the report?

One finding that we feel has extra relevance in our society right now is the positive correlation between flexible work and job satisfaction.  Now that more businesses have been pushed into creating flexible working environments for their staff, how will they move forward when we all return to office environments?

Connect Three’s Founder, Colin Lamb, says: “We have long been champions of flexible working and are happy to see this report’s finding that there is a positive correlation between being flexible and having a happier workforce. Flexible working practices allow everyone in your organisation the chance to shine, regardless of what’s going on outside of work.”

A finding that we were disappointed to read was that both personal and career development opportunities differ, often significantly, by gender, age, sector and occupational class.  The statistic in this which stood out to us was that there is a significant gap in the perceived skills development opportunities for the 45-54 age bracket.  It has started some interesting conversations amongst our team as to the skills development opportunities appropriate and available for this age group.

“One of the five pillars of the Fair Work Framework is opportunity.” says Gordon White, Connect Three’s Operations Manager. “Seeing this perceived gap in skills development opportunities for the 45-54 age bracket drives home how important Opportunity is when creating a happier and more productive workplace.”

Other key findings:

You can view all of the results from the report and download the unabridged version here.

For more information on Fair Work and creating Opportunity within your organisation, get in touch with Connect Three today on hello@connectthree.co.uk.

July 2, 2020

Connect with Craig

Next up in our 'Connection Series' is our finance wizard Craig MacMorran so let's find out who is the man behind the spreadsheets...

  • Let's start with an introduction, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

Hi! I am the Finance Manager here at Connect Three, so my job is to make sure everything is finely tuned. Being an incredibly dynamic, fast growing organisation, it is important that we track and predict the internal and external environment for us to be able to make the most impactful investments and to be able to adapt and maintain efficient processes...I am also in charge of the music.

    1. Haha! Love it! Next up, what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

My favourite moment so far was our end of year meeting. During the year it can be really difficult to take the time to reflect on what we have achieved as we are all extremely busy and looking into what can we do next. It’s amazing to see what has changed since joining part time from university when my interview took place in what I can only describe as a construction site (What is now our lovely training room) up to this amazing team we have now.

      • Good choice it was a great day! Next question - what three things would you take with you on a desert island?

A good once a day Suntan lotion, a case of beer and a magic lamp for three more wishes.

      1. Always with the future planning Craig! So which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

Sir Alex Ferguson (and not just because Barbs picked Klopp!). Being a long-suffering Manchester United fan, and after meeting the man himself twice, I decided to pick up his book ‘Leading’ a couple of years ago. After reading this book, I was amazed at the intricacy of his management style. It was clear that Sir Alex took great care and thought about anything he implemented and that he constantly took advice from others with his coaching style. One piece of advice that stuck came early in his career where his assistant manager at the time had told him that instead of running his training, he should sit back so that he can listen and observe.

‘It was the best thing I ever did. It didn't take away my control. My presence and ability to supervise were always there and what you can pick up by watching is incredibly valuable.’ Sir Alex Ferguson

After all, if the most decorated football manager in history says it’s the best thing he ever did, its maybe something we all should do from time to time.

        • Awesome. OK, last one - if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, it would be to challenge. Nothing is more disappointing when leaders accept the way things are done because that’s how they have always been done. The only way you grow and learn is to change the way you do things even if they do not lead you where you planned to be.

Fabulous Craig, thank you so much. Look out for our next 'Connect with' interview in a few weeks time.

July 1, 2020

Build Back Better with Workplace Innovation

As COVID-19 lockdown measures slowly begin to ease, is your business ready to restart, grow and strive to be better than ever?

The Build Back Better Workplace Innovation Progamme is designed to help businesses identify steps they can take now to not only transition from survival to growth, but to emerge stronger following the crisis. This includes taking a fresh look at business strategy through new ideas and thinking, leading teams through change in an unprecedented time, whilst placing a strong emphasis on the importance of employee engagement and connection.

This is a free programme of 3 half-day workshops delivered by Connect Three in partnership with Scottish Enterprise.

Workshop 1 - Refocusing your business

  • Changing business landscape - take a fresh look at the business strategy
  • Move from Chaos to Opportunity - reposition the business to emerge stronger from the crisis
  • Turning new ideas and thinking into action

Workshop 2 - Leading through Change

  • Supporting leaders to reflect on their own role in leading the business out of lockdown
  • Examine what leadership behaviours & style are required to support people coming back to work
  • Delve deeper into the priority’s leaders need to set for the business, following Workshop 1

Workshop 3 – Engagement & Connection

  • Identifying ways to engage in a virtual world and build a culture of trust and psychological safety
  • Create purpose and align this with contribution in the new workplace
  • Being courageous to make right and fair decisions for the business and its people in the long term

**UPDATE**
The first Build Back Better Workplace Innovation series is now fully booked. The second series starts on 15th July. Register your free place today!

May 15, 2020

Why is Remote Working so Exhausting?

Are you finding working from home is more exhausting and you are more drained than when you had to commute to and from a busy office?

I’m sure you are starting to read more about ‘Zoom Fatigue’ or Teams Tired’.  As with any new experience, by using these platforms which we may not be used to we are training new neural pathways in our brain.  This is one of the reasons why learning is tiring, even more so when we start down what was a familiar pathway (the work looks the same) but then have to divert to do the work in a different way (virtual meetings, mastering new platforms, presenting or receiving information in a different way).

Added to that, we are having to respond to multitudinous ways of being contacted; if my WhatsApp is stupid busy with work, personal and family calls at all times of the day, then it’s hardly surprising my ‘on’ button feels like it got jammed.

I recently saw this model from Nir Eyal on a former colleague’s LinkedIn post and all of a sudden it all made sense. His view is that technology can perpetuate a vicious and seemingly constant cycle of responsiveness. The alerts that go off at all hours seem endless.

When we look at the science behind our almost addictive reaction to such pings, it’s not surprising that our brains are exhausted. Somehow, that need to find out who needs us, wants something from us, needs to speak with us grows more and more irresistible – especially when many of us are missing out on our usual social interaction over a coffee, lunch or just someone wandering past your desk.

Experiments on response to stimuli with mice found that providing the same treats every time a mouse pressed a lever was less motivating than varying the rewards.  So, when we don’t know who could be needing us or what they could want it gets harder and harder to resist the ping. We tell ourselves it’s just a quick look and Bam! we get our attention fix – again; and by taking that quick peek (it never is) those neural pathways to fire up all over again.

Devices and platforms use triggers such as notifications to encourage us to take actions—opening the app, looking at Slack, checking LinkedIn etc. Variable rewards - messages coming in more frequently and from a wider social sphere -encourage us to take action every time: checking our inboxes, refreshing social feeds, and the like.

I for one have a hard time resisting the alerts, and an even harder time not ‘just quickly checking’. In fact - there goes my phone now!

CJ

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If you are a leader struggling to set ground rules to protect the well-being of your remote teams, you may find value in our free one-to-one coaching sessions.  Find out more by emailing hello@connectthree.co.uk.

May 12, 2020

Connect with Barbs

Next up in our 'Connection Series' is the inimitable Barbara Clark, aka Barbs. So without further ado, let's ask her some questions.

  1. Good morning Barbs - let's start with an introduction, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

Hello. My role is an Organisational Development Consultant. What I do is a great mix of Leadership Development, 121 Coaching, Project Managing and Delivering our Essential Leadership and Workplace Innovation programmes, as well as bespoke support to our clients. I support people to help them, and their business, to grow.

  1. Awesome, thanks!  So what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

Celebrating my 2-year anniversary in the company, which actually was almost a year ago! I am the longest serving employee at Connect Three, and our team and business has grown a lot since I started. This is testament to our culture and the team I work with.

  1. That is a LOT of changes in 3 years! OK, let's get to know you a bit better, what three things would you take with you on a desert island?

Bath, book and wine (should I say my kids???)

  1. Nah, I fully support those choices!  How about...which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

I have two (sorry). Jacinda Ardern (PM of New Zealand) and Jurgen Klopp (Manager of Liverpool FC). Not technically business leaders and it’s not about politics or football but I use both as case studies of leaders who put their people first and are living examples of this.

People are at the core of their Values Based leadership; how they talk to and listen to people, how they make decisions, how they do the right thing and particularly how they lead team and country during the times it matters most.

  1. And to finish, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

Relationships with people are everything…. Get to know them all, no matter their role; what motivates them, who/what are they doing it for…. Know your weaknesses and their strengths!
Thanks for answering my questions Barbs, it was lovely getting to know you a little better.  Look out for our next 'Connect with' interview in a few weeks time.

 

May 5, 2020

Connect with Gordon

The Connect Three family has grown a lot in the last 6 months and with so much disconnection in the world right now, we thought it would be a good time to revisit our 'Connection Series' and introduce you to some new, and not so new, faces in the team.  Each post in the series shines the spotlight on the work of a member of the Connect Three team, and hopefully gives you a little insight into what we do, and how we can help you.

First one in the newly refurbished hot seat...is Gordon White.

  1. Good morning Gordon - let's start with an easy one, what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I’m the Operations Manager – a new role created in 2020 to help the business get better at managing itself. Like all growing businesses, we spend so much time making sure our clients get what they need and have the tools to grow, that we often forget to ‘turn the lens inwards’, for want of a better phrase.  My role is to work ‘on’ instead of ‘in’ the business – ensuring our people have what they need to succeed, and the business has processes in place to allow us to continue our growth for the future.

  1. Wow, that's no small task!  OK, so what has been your favourite moment in Connect Three so far?

My favourite moment so far has to be the first all-team meeting I attended in January, followed by dinner and drinks. It was great to see everyone in action together in the office (we’re so often out on the road), and even better to get to know people. It clicked with me that night that our team has very much been curated to make sure they are not only the right fit skills wise, but personality-wise as well. So often managers and leaders overlook team dynamics and focus too much on who can do what well.

  1. That was a brilliant day.  Time to get personal - what are you reading right now?

Elton John’s autobiography ‘Me’. There are parts of his life I’d love to experience, in particular this quote “To pre-empt your question: no, I have absolutely no idea how Stevie Wonder successfully piloted a snowmobile through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado without killing himself, or indeed anyone else, in the process, but he did.”

  1. Love it.  How about...which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

Steve Jobs – he was such a visionary, and despite all the negative posthumous comments we may hear, he genuinely did change the way humanity communicates. I’d also love to ask him about the (awkward) period when the company he founded unceremoniously sacked him; what was his immediate reaction? How did he pick himself back up? We often say that failures and rejections are just speed bumps, but how many of us truly behave like they are?

I’d also love to know just how dignified in victory he was when they picked up the phone a few years later begging him to come back when they were on the brink of bankruptcy.

  1. And to finish, if you could only give one piece of advice to the leaders and future leaders reading this, what would it be?

One word: people, people, people! I cannot stress enough just how important the people in your company are. It sounds cliched, but it is genuinely true. It’s one of the (many) reasons I joined Connect Three – we put people at the heart of everything we do, and help our clients and partners do the same. The old adage is certainly true; look after your people, and they will look after your clients.

 

Thanks for answering my questions Gordon, I'll let you get back to keeping us all in line!  Look out for our next 'Connect with' interview in a few weeks time.

 

April 29, 2020

How Taking Our Business Digital Has Taught Us To Be Human

We’re in week six of working from home and now this really does feel like normal. We’ve all embraced video conferencing with gusto, we’ve found new and innovative ways to service and support our clients, and we’ve just got on with things as best we can, under the circumstances.

While some aspects of working from home have certainly proven challenging, there has been one huge and surprising advantage; we’ve got to know each other and our clients a whole lot better. We check in regularly with each other to see how we’re all doing. We’ve seen each other’s kitchens and living rooms and noted each other’s taste in art and interiors. We’ve said hello to children and partners. We now know who’s messy and who’s tidy, who the good gardeners are, the best bakers and cooks. From a business perspective, we’ve developed a strong understanding of our clients’ unique, immediate and longer-term challenges and how we can best support them.

Most of all, we’ve really understood how this crisis is impacting every single one of us at both a personal and professional level. I think it’s fair to say, we’ve all become more human as a result.

This has also manifested itself in some of the changes we’ve made to our internal communications. At Connect Three, we now have a weekly session with a focus on providing regular updates on how the business is performing and how that’s changing week-to-week. Added to that we have a Friday Happy Hour where we commit to hanging out with each other, taking part in trivia quizzes (we know who the music nerds are now) and having a virtual look round each other’s houses. We also send out a weekly survey to gather how everyone is feeling about the week ahead (we have all gone through ups and downs) and what each person is focussed on achieving, not just at work but for themselves.

We all agree that we know each other a lot better than we thought we did before and want this to continue into the future. It has made a real difference to how we communicate and ask for help.

Looking After Our Health

Of course, looking after our mental health has taken on renewed importance in recent weeks. Some of our team have recently taken on the challenge of running 5k every day to get out in the fresh air, have a bit of mental downtime, and support and encourage each other in getting through lockdown.

For the Most Part, it's Still Business as Usual...

Although it is impossible to run in-person programmes at the moment, there are a number of clients who remain incredibly dedicated to continuing to develop their staff, especially those in the food, telecom and finance sectors. Almost all clients, however, are looking for support and advice in helping to scenario plan the best approach to strategy review, and the best way to pick up their business again as we move towards the relaxing of lockdown and coming out of furlough in the coming months.

As a result, we’ve put more focus than normal on understanding our resource capacity. We’re regularly assessing who’s over stretched and who might have more availability to assist. This has allowed us to maximise resources right across our team and, importantly, help each other out as needed, spreading the workload to meet changing client demand.

It also has an added benefit in allowing our people to experience working with each other in a different way on client accounts that they may not have experienced before, and to learn some new skills or ways of working.

In many respects, business continues to move on and be done, albeit differently to how it might have been done just a few short weeks ago.

What Comes Next?

In some sense, we’re very much in a holding pattern at present, waiting for the economy to reopen and get started again. The real work will begin when we return to the office, and while it’s almost impossible to say how the books will look at the end of 2020, we’ve already made some estimates as to where we hope to end up and adjusted costs accordingly.

For now, however, we’re mostly looking forward to a return to our offices in Glasgow, meeting up with colleagues, partners and clients again, all hopefully in the not too distant future.

We can help with many aspects of your business, both during and post-lockdown, so please get in touch to find out more.

CJ

April 29, 2020

Creativity and Innovation in Problem-Solving

There is no one way to define creativity; from artistic expression, to invention and problem solving.  The 21st April has been designated as ‘World Creativity and Innovation Day’ (WCID) by the United Nations to raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.

On WCID, the United Nations encourage us all to remember that innovation is essential for harnessing the potential of our nations.

“Innovation, creativity and mass entrepreneurship can provide new momentum for economic growth and job creation. It can expand opportunities for everyone, including women and youth. It can provide solutions to some of the most pressing problems such as poverty eradication and the elimination of hunger.”

By fostering innovation and creativity among our teams, we can improve the culture in our organisations and contribute more to our economy and the world at large.  We urge you to mark the day in your own organisation by looking at the processes you have in place for inspiring creativity and innovation among your teams.  If someone has a great idea, how do they pass it on?  If someone does something innovative, how are they recognised?

In our Workplace Innovation workshop series, we introduce the different practices behind the concept of workplace innovation, and we demonstrate how they can help you to achieve positive benefits for your company.

For more help with workplace innovation and Fair Work practices, get in touch with Connect Three today.

 

April 17, 2020

Shona: Three Ps from Me to You…

So, with nearly four weeks of lockdown under our belts and it being another three weeks until we find out what decisions are going to be made next, I felt the time was right to share some of my reflections.    As I’ve connected with friends, colleagues and clients over the last month it has become clear that while we’re all experiencing the same thing, the way we’re experiencing it is unique to each of us.

Everywhere we look there is a plethora of insights, thoughts, tips and techniques about how to make the most of the world we’ve found ourselves in.  Personally, I’m glad to be through the binging stage and while I found some of it helpful, some of it positively unhelpful.

These three Ps are definitely not new concepts, nor are they anything that many of us weren’t already doing, but the context for each of us has shifted as we’ve all found ourselves in uncharted territory.  My intent behind sharing them is that they might go some way to helping you make sense of your thoughts with either yourself or with the support of a trusted friend or external coach.

Prioritise ~ I find that I’m now making more conscious choices about how I’m spending my time and who I’m spending it with.  I’m dropping ‘should do’, focusing on the ‘want to do’ and as a result I’m connecting more with my purpose (the Start with Why concept from Simon Sinek) and identifying were I can be most proactive (the Circle of Control concept from Stephen Covey) as well making the most of my days both personally and professionally.

Practice ~ I like to think of this as experimentation with purpose.  If you don’t dip your toe in the water and practice you’ll never know.  No one said it would be easy and progress is better than perfection (admittedly I’m still struggling with this concept!). I’ve recently discovered the work of Susan David which has taken my own thinking on resilience and emotional agility to a deeper level.   Seeing it as a set of skills to learn, grow and thrive as a person is helping me overcome the blips in my practice and reframing stumbling blocks as stepping stones is helping sustain and build my self-confidence.

Positivity ~ I’m a practical optimist and by encouraging my inner critic to speak to myself like I would speak to my best friend I’m starting to judge myself a bit less and show myself a bit more compassion.  Without doubt, understanding when Imposter Syndrome is hampering me and being able to deploy ways to manage that has been a game changer and is equipping me to develop stronger connections with my tribe and seize the right opportunities when they arise.

I’m starting to see how these three Ps are helping reframe my approach to each and every day… definitely starting to feel less discombobulated and connecting more with my ‘buildbackability’, while accepting some days will be better than others and there is no right way to feel right now.

I’d love to engage and explore the above in more depth so if what I’ve shared has resonated with you and you’re curious to explore more, please reach out to me.

Thanks, Shona

 

April 2, 2020

Can you do training courses during lockdown?

If you are an employee on furlough or self-employed and unable to work because of lockdown, it may seem like the perfect time to keep up to date on your skills, or take part in personal development, but will that affect your government support?

If you are seeking help through the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme there is nothing in the potential support that will be affected by you undertaking self-development.

If you have been notified you are an employee on furlough, while you are not able to work for your employer, you can undertake training (subject to following the current public health rules) as long as you are not making money for your employer, or providing services for your employer.  Ultimately, whether or not you are required to do the training needs to be agreed between you and your employer, but it is a discussion you should be able to have comfortably with them.

Should you do training now?

Learning new skills, taking part in group events (even if they are online), and keeping your brain active can all be really important steps in combating the negative effects of self-isolation.  It can be all too easy to become lonely, complacent, bored and even depressed during this uncertain and turbulent time.  By taking steps towards self-development, and focusing on the future, you can bring a positive light to the situation.

Can I receive Coaching now?

Similar to group training, one-on-one coaching can be hugely beneficial to both your personal and professional development at this time.  Find out more about Connect Three’s pro bono coaching offering this month.

Disclaimer: all information correct at time of publication. If in doubt, we recommend you seek advice from HMRC or your employer.

March 31, 2020

COVID-19 Scottish Business Support Summary

Our friends at Glasgow City Council were kind enough to share this guide which Business Gateway has prepared.  It offers an at a glance summary of the help and support available to businesses and individuals from HMRC, the Scottish Government and other sources.

Download your guide here

March 31, 2020

Helping your People through Tough Times

At Connect Three we believe in the importance of employee engagement and its power to drive the success of our business and the businesses that we work with.

Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, and the uncertain times ahead, it is even more important that we focus on driving the engagement of our people. Even if we are not sure what lies ahead, our people need to feel confident that we are leading them in the right direction.

The Connect Three team has already been approached by clients, partners and friends to help them to understand what key points they need to consider in the short term for their people, and how to apply strategic thought to decisions made in the coming weeks when it is so hard to tell what the long term impact will be on your employees and business.

In the absence of a crystal ball, it is essential that we remain as positive as we can and assume that a new normal service will resume so make decisions now based on what you want the future to look like for your employees and ultimately your business.

There is plenty of government information on how to keep your employees healthy, so this short guide is designed to help kick start your thinking on what you need to be doing for your people, and what help is available for your business.

Download your copy of the guide.

March 25, 2020

Pro Bono Coaching

The Connect Three team is offering pro bono, remote, 1-2-1 coaching sessions for up to 30 business owners/leaders until the end of May to help support people during this tough time. Maybe you are concerned about the future, or want to build personal resilience. Perhaps you are just looking for ways to be your best self, or navigate complexity and change.
 
Whatever your reason might be, we are offering a safe space to talk to someone who is trained to coach you through this crazy time. We will listen, coach, and help you to identify your best options for the way forward.
 
We want to help as many people as we can so please share this far and wide. If you could use some help, email hello@connectthree.co.uk and we'll be in touch.

March 20, 2020

Creating Psychological Safety for Remote Workers

Being an effective team leader in a digital environment is not an easy task.  When there is physical distance and even time zones separating team members, there can be a real challenge to maintain culture and a sense of collaborative working.  How do you develop an office environment where staff feel safe to speak their minds, make mistakes and ask questions when they are not in the same room?  Essentially, how do you create ‘psychological safety’ in a digital workplace?  The term, coined by Prof. Amy Edmundson, can seem like an alien one when put in the context of a remote team interacting digitally; but it can be done.

Now that Scottish schools are closing, and non-essential travel is banned, teams used to sharing a workspace may be forced into a remote working situation and culture can instantly suffer.  Here are some quick tips for helping your team maintain a psychological safe environment while working digitally:

  1. Choose your technology carefully

Email, Slack, HipChat, WhatsApp and other text based systems are likely to be used frequently with remote teams, but users need to be aware that it is hard to convey tone by text.  Comments and jokes can easily be misconstrued, and emojis are not the answer!  By making use of video calls body language, facial expressions and tone of voice are all much more apparent and easier to interpret.

  1. Consider a buddy system

A buddy system ensures that everyone has someone whom they are comfortable to go to for support and advice.  You know that two minute chat over a coffee in the office where you sense check an email before you send it?  When your team works remotely it can make a big difference having someone to depend on for simple questions like these.  It can also help to make everyone feel valued when they know that someone is equally reliant on them for help and advice.

  1. Keep social

Do not forget to allow for ‘water cooler’ chat.  With social distancing being promoted as a solution to the COVID-19 epidemic, creating a space for people to socialise is more important than ever.  Set it apart from daily work updates by creating a different chat group, or slack thread specifically for the ‘fun stuff’.  As a leader, set challenges like getting people to answer questions about themselves, or take photos of their desk or videos of their home town – ensure everyone has an equal chance to talk about what they consider to be important.

  1. Ensure that failures, lessons and successes are shared

Even when times are tough, and you think that people need ‘a win’, do not shy away from sharing the bad news with the good.  Missed tenders are as important as won contracts when building comradery between staff.  It is important to ‘walk the walk’ when aiming for a psychologically safe workplace – sharing your own mistakes can help others feel comfortable asking for help when they are struggling.

  1. Maintain 1:1 conversations

Check in regularly with your team on one-to-one chats, by phone or video call as well as email and text chat.  Not everyone communicates in the same way and some may feel too intimidated to speak up in group chats and email chains.  Use these private conversations to discuss projects, progress and longer-term goals.  Remote teams can easily drift apart and having a shared long-term vision is important.

If you are a leader and you are feeling daunted by the prospect of suddenly managing people remotely, get in touch with Connect Three and let us know where you are struggling and how we can help.

April 17, 2019

Connect with Katy

Consultant

How time flies when you're training amazing organisations and delivering programmes for Scottish Enterprise that help teams and businesses to grow. Over the past month we've delivered workshops, hosted an International Women's Day series of events and attending the amazing Social Bite celebration ceremony for the 'Big Sleep Out'. Thanks for everyone that helped us raise over £3,000 last winter.

Roll on a few months and it's been an amazing start to spring at Connect Three HQ. As National Tea Day rolls up we're delighted to be sitting down with another member of our next Connect Three family to talk all things work and play. Grab a cuppa and get comfy as we sit down to talk with Katy Morrison.

Happy start of spring Katy. Could you tell us a little bit about your role at Connect Three? 

Sure. As a consultant at Connect Three I love to explore workplaces to discover the potential from their people and to then use these discovered to help make workplaces happier and more productive. This remains my biggest passion, and a lot of my day to day work centres around delivering management and leadership programmes across frameworks with Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow Welcomes and with our fantastic private clients. Another part of my job is to support workplaces by identifying needs and providing sound solutions to help them achieve their goals.

Phew, what a busy but exciting role. With so many exciting things happening what’s been one of your proudest moments this month?

I booked a place on Kids Yoga Teacher Training this month. It’s been something I have wanted to do for a while but I kept putting it off as I was using time as an excuse. My little boy was copying me doing yoga in the house and I knew it was the time to book onto it, so I could guide him and my daughter safely.

They say the best way to learn is to copy and do. Great to see your little boy is a keen learner already. Next up, what three things would you take with you on a desert island?

A few good books as I don’t often get the chance to read as much as I’d like with having  two young kids, an endless supply of crunchy cheese Cheetos and an invisible cloak so no one could ever find me!

Sounds like a true desert adventure. Next up, which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

Arianna Huffington! I really respect her honest and bold views that have always struck a chord with me. She was one of the first people that taught me to look at myself first in situations, in work and at home, to get the best outcome. I find her words are those that give me confidence to do this. I’d love to curl up and put the world to rights.

How can events like this National Tea Day help businesses to empower their staff and help encourage more conversation? 

Events such as these are a great way to take some time out and connect with yourself and others around you. Some of the best ideas, solutions and conversations have come from people putting their tools down and just engaging in unfiltered conversations. I know that I am at my most productive, focused and feel able to soar when I feel great about myself. If we can provide people with more opportunities to be more focused on their well-being and building personal resilience, this can only contribute to happier work places and increased results.

Thanks for an amazing April Connect Katy and with people at the heart of a business, it's a real honour for us to have someone so passionate about workplace empowerment be part of the Connect Three family. This Friday 19th April Katy will be hosting a work and wellness event in celebration of National Tea Day & Mind's fantastic campaign to get more people talking over a good ol' fashioned cuppa. Join Katy and the Connect Three team as we open our studio doors in partnership with Tempo Tea Bar and The Kali Yoga Collective.

 


 

Find out how Katy can help your business achieve more workplace happiness through staff development programmes and business or personal coaching.

March 1, 2019

Connect with Colin

Introducing our Connections Series: Chief Explorer

Connect Three Founder

Chief Explorer

 

Our Connect Three family has grown over the years and at the heart of our business is connecting people with the right skills, empowerment and knowledge to make the changes they need in their professional, and often personal lives.

What better way to start our connection series that with our very own Colin Lamb. Each file in our 'Connection Series' will spotlight the work of a member of the Connect Three team and provide you with top tips to help grow your business and professional learning through what they have learnt.

And without further ado, it's time to connect with Colin.

First up what's your role at Connect Three and what do you do?

I am the Chief Explorer.

This means it is my job to explore new opportunities and possibilities, new ways of doing things, new talent, new trends and to constantly innovate what we do. My role is about fostering a culture and workplace to empower our team to #be curious #bold and importantly #themselves.

Nice! Must be a busy but engaging role. Next up. what was one of your proudest moments in February?

Definitely Connect Three being recognised as a finalist for FSB Awards this month. We didn’t win this time but it’s not always about winning – we are really proud to be recognised and shortlisted.

Aye, it's definitely the taking part that counts. So here's a little curveball, what three things would you take with you on a desert island?

I never go anywhere without a notepad. so of course that would need a pen too and finally I’d have to take my Nespresso machine too I think as I am an absolute coffeeholic.

And now to pick your brain How can businesses help upskill their leaders through coaching?

Coaching for me is underused and under appreciated as a way to develop leaders. Leaders need time and space to work through challenges they are facing whether these are to do with people, practices or productivity.

Leaders may know what they need to do and another training course may not cut the mustard. This is when coaching can become helpful to unlock a leaders potential.

Last but not last; who would be your dream person to coach?

I don’t think I could name a single person – not even a celebrity. This is because ‘you’ need to want to be coached to achieve something – a goal or target e.g. a new job, to overcome conflict, to think differently at work etc. My dream person would have a very clear goal in mind and want to work with a coach to get there faster.

And that's it for this month's connect. Make sure you're following us on social media to catch Colin's social media takeover on Instagram and if you're feeling inspiring to have some career coaching why not get in touch today to see how Connect Three can help.

 


 

See how our personalised coaching can help you and your business grow in March.

 

 

 

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