Broaden your horizons during LSNW

Broaden your horizons during LSNW

by Magenta

27 September, 2017

Learn Something New Week takes place this week (25th – 29th September 2017), an annual awareness campaign that exists to stimulate a thirst for knowledge.

Aimed at working professionals who need an invigorative burst of inspiration, the goal of the week is to encourage people to broaden their horizons; both in the workplace and at home.

Research conducted by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School ¹ reveals that 65% of millennials consider personal development as the most influential factor in a job, with 1 in 4 deeming ‘training and development’ as the biggest benefit provided by an employer.

In light of this research, and to mark Learn Something New Week, ten experts have offered their thoughts on why it’s so important to encourage learning at work:

CJ Green
Group chief people officer, Servest

“If you wish to not only attract but retain talent, you need to give your employees something to get excited about. By focusing on internal learning and development, you’re equipping your employees with the tools that will help them fulfil and harness their potential, which will help the business flourish.”

Andrew Mawson
Co-author of the Workplace Management Framework report

“For people to be emotionally engaged with the work they do, managers need to create meaning and purpose for each and every member of staff, as a company is only as good as the people it employs… and ongoing learning and development is a key part of this!”

Sara Bean
Editor, FMJ magazine

“When formal education stops, you shouldn’t stop learning, which is why I love my job. In the last week I’ve learnt about the latest tricks used by cyber hackers, the definition of a social enterprise and the impact new data legislation could have on business. Talking to experts in these areas helps stimulate my own ideas and thinking and I often find I quote them back to others in everyday life. Life long learning such as this, is what helps keep me engaged and in touch.”

Angela Love
Director, Active FM

“Encouraging learning in the workplace presents a variety of benefits to a business. Not only can it improve employee performance within their job role, but investing in additional training for your staff helps to make them feel valued within the business, leading to improved employee satisfaction and boosting morale within a team.”

Dave Kentish
Director, Kentish & Co

“For any company to grow and increase its bottom line profits, it needs to grow its staff. And by that, I mean in the skillsets necessary for them to become engaged, valued and loyal members of the team. Make sure that your people get encouragement and access to the right training, technical and leadership and management skills, so that they can develop fully and have an influential long-term positive impact on your business growth.”

Natasha Maddock
Director, Aim for the Sky

“By nurturing talent within your organisation, you can create a highly motivated and engaged workforce with the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to do their jobs well. Staff retention rates and job satisfaction are directly affected by the relationships between staff and managers. Leadership and management training is therefore an ideal way to create a high performance culture where employees feel valued and encouraged to achieve their potential.”

Claire Huish
Colleague service manager, Bennett Hay

“Learning something new gives us a sense of fulfilment that sparks joy and positive energy, drawing the best of us. At Bennett Hay, in addition to our formal training programmes, we encourage our colleagues to live out our company values including ‘being adventurous’ and having the confidence to do things differently. This keeps our teams engaged.”

Cathy Hayward
MD, Magenta

“Regardless of your role or level, you never stop learning – as a PR agency, we find this is the best way to keep the creative juices flowing. We actively encourage all team members to go to workshops, events and conferences to hear and learn about new developments that can impact our clients and help us deliver new and better ways of communicating.”

Karen Plum
Director of development and research, AWA

“Our latest research looks at the factors that most impact our cognitive performance, so individuals and organisations can understand and adopt best practices to get everyone’s brain in peak condition. Cognitive stimulation is one of these factors. Jobs that are cognitively demanding and varied, providing the opportunity to learn new things over time, can increase mental functioning and possibly reduce the effect of age-related decline.”

Marcus Franck
Founder, Franck Energy

“Truly ambitious people never stop learning, and never get tired of improving their knowledge and performance. The nature of people’s skills may change, and so too may their emphasis on areas of learning, but great employees always seek to advance themselves.”

For inspirational content to kick-start your learning, the Learn Something New Week website is packed full of resources to encourage you to take on a new challenge and learn something new this September.

Whether you’re looking to broaden your business skills, such as social media, public speaking or copywriting, or you’re interested in learning how to write a film review or match British beer with food – perhaps even make an origami swan! – there’s something for you on the website! There are also downloadable activity sheets to help organisations spread the love of learning and fuel better ideas, collaboration and engagement.

Got a skill to shout about? Get involved and teach us all something new with the #LSNweek hashtag!

Your first 100 days in a new job

Your first 100 days in a new job

by Guest Contributor

12 September, 2017

By David Kentish

7 steps to making the best first impression and most useful connections.

Anyone who’s ever been the new boy or girl at school will remember that feeling of fear and dread as you walk into a class of upturned curious faces and the teacher introduces you as the ‘new pupil’ urging everyone to be nice.

So while starting a new job usually comes with less dread and more excitement – increased money, responsibility and new challenges – there is still a feeling of nervousness about meeting your new colleagues for the first time. And the pressure is on because you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Most people will judge you within the first minute of meeting you and their opinion is unlikely to change.

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to create a good first impression before you even arrive in the office on your first day, which will set you up to hit the ground running and encourage people to think of you favourably before they’ve even met you in person.

1 Once you’ve accepted a new role, start to look at who works in your new organisation, at all levels, and create connections with them through LinkedIn. Explain that you are joining the organisation on x date, doing x role, and look forward to meeting them.

2 If possible, and it feels natural, arrange to meet informally with people within the organisation in advance of officially joining the business. Creating good connections with people before you join will make the first day much smoother and mean you will already have established relationships. It also allows you to find out more about the culture and any office politics, along with some of its idiosyncrasies – things that won’t have been apparent at the interview.

3 Research as much as you can about the organisation before you join. Ask your new line manager if they can send you any background information which may not have been available to ‘outsiders’. Your boss may also be happy to send you information about specific projects being planned or undertaken so you can do the necessary research in advance.

4 In order to create the right impression in a role, it’s important to know what’s expected of you – and which matches other people’s expectations. Ensure you have a detailed job description, which has been signed off by the necessary people, an organisational chart so you can see where you fit in with the rest of the organisation, and the job descriptions of anyone who reports into you.

5 Listen and learn should be the mantra of all newbies in organisations. Pay attention to the different dynamics, ask people what they consider to be the key challenges, issues and the appropriate solutions, and listen carefully to their answers. Not only will people appreciate you taking the time to consult and listen to them, but, you will learn a great deal of useful information, and probably gain some great ideas.

6 It’s important to treat others how you would like to be treated. If you’re coming in as a boss, don’t start ordering people around and acting like ‘the big I am’. You’re far more likely to gain respect and support by offering to make someone a cup of tea, or helping them out in some way.

7 It’s important to assimilate yourself into the team quickly. Most workplaces are team environments where lone wolves stand out for all the wrong reasons. Run with the pack for a while until you understand the different dynamics, pack leaders and the pressures and challenges. Only then can you start steering it in your direction – if that’s your aim, and you are a leader within your particular team or department. How you change things will be dependent on the nature and culture of the business. You will instinctively know when you have the measure of the place, and people, and can then start to introduce change. You should by then, have won the respect and support of your team, and created a support network throughout the organisation which will ensure any changes you wish to make, happen more smoothly.

By following this advice, you can make the most of your first 100 days in your new job, ensuring that people forget you were ever a newbie.