Archive: Jun 2013

  1. Is ‘Unlimited Leave’ the Solution?

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    In a recent article on The Guardian website, Stefan Stern debates the apparent ‘labour market paradox’ that we’re currently seeing in the UK. Despite the recent years of economic instability, we’re seeing relatively high levels of employment but only marginal economic growth.


    Whether there’s a link between the economic growth rate and the performance of workers across the UK is almost irrelevant. The main interest of the article was in Stern’s discussion of the merits of introducing unlimited leave.


    He argues that:


    “Part of the answer must lie in so-called “presenteeism”: the low productivity of people who are physically present at work but who, for a variety of reasons, are not contributing all that they could. For many people today, work really isn’t working.”


    Well, we won’t argue with that.


    Though it is true that a large percentage of workers in the UK are completely disengaged; is the introduction of ‘unlimited holidays’ really the answer?


    Stern points to Netflix and Evernote as working examples of how this can benefit both the company and workforce. They both operate an ‘unlimited holiday’ policy and have seen some great results. But does that mean it would work for all organisations?


    Clearly not!


    Evernote and Netflix are both innovative companies who’s staff already show clear signs of involvement. They probably didn’t ever suffer from ‘presenteeism’ in the first place.


    Though a company’s holiday policy is a crucial part of the way it encourages autonomy, responsibility and ownership amongst its workforce, it certainly shouldn’t be used as a magic solution for companies who are trying to build involvement. For those companies, the approach needs to be far more considered.


    ‘Presenteeism’ is the opposite of involvement. If you have team members who simply turn up to work to be there, you need to start taking action. However, rather than focusing on giving them more autonomy to choose when they are at work, your focus should be on what they do when they are at work.


    Unless your workforce share the company vision, take ownership of initiatives and feel valued, they will inevitably disengage. Your job as a manager is to find ways to empower them so that they want to come to work, want to get involved and want the company to succeed. If you can reach that point, your holiday policy won’t even matter.


    Are you struggling with ‘presenteeism’? Want to find out what your options are? Why not give us a call?





  2. Do You Encourage a Culture of Innovation?

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    As an employer it’s natural to want to minimise risk. Why go with a new, risky idea if you have a safe, predictable alternative?


    If survival is your primary concern, then yes, play it safe. However, if you want your organisation to progress, expand and lead the way, you need to innovate.


    So, what has risk taking got to do with involvement?


    Well, quite a lot actually.


    Let Your Team Take Risks


    Creating an involved workforce means encouraging each of your team members to come up with new ideas, take ownership of them and drive them forward. If you can create a company culture that results in a different member of your team coming to you each week with new and innovative ideas that will help move your company towards your wider goals, you are almost there!


    What’s frustrating is the number of companies who reach this enviable position and then fall at the final hurdle.


    In order to stay involved, your team needs to feel valued. If you turn down each new idea that’s brought to you, your team members will quickly stop bringing them. Involvement, engagement and motivation will all drop and you will be right back where you started.


    Failure is a Good Thing


    True involvement comes when failure is not only an option, but something that’s actively encouraged and rewarded. To keep your team involved, and help move your organisation forward, you need to be prepared to run with ideas that have a high chance of failure.


    If you punish failure you will very quickly kill of any innovation within your organisation. The key to managing these failures is to reward the lessons learned. By rewarding a team member for having an idea, learning from the failure and then coming up with a new, better idea, you will foster a sustainable, long-term culture of innovation.


    That’s how you lead the way!


    Would you describe your organisation as having a widespread culture of innovation? No? Why not give us a call to see how we can help?


  3. Summit-useful?

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    Why are the G8 bothering to meet face to face this week in N. Ireland for their Summit?

    Regardless of the relevance of the G8 itself to the world economy of 2013, there was discussion on Radio 5 this morning about the need for them to physically meet to get business done. Given the cost, why not use technology and everyone stay where they are?

    It’s because face to face events are still the most powerful way to get things done and are of increasing importance when they do happen in the right way. It was pointed out that having the meeting in the diary long in advance forces a cycle of work and debate leading up to the event and then decision making with a hard deadline at the end of it. The publicity and noise surrounding the event draws attention to the issues. Most importantly, such an occasion forces the participants to make things happen, be seen to act and rise to the occasion.

    We often get asked the same question with regard to business events – management conferences and the like: “Can’t we just do it over video-conference to save money?” or “how can we make them a better use of peoples time”. Our view is the same as with the G8. If it’s important business that needs to be dealt with, structured and run correctly then there is no more powerful tool for accelerating change.


  4. How to brew the perfect managers conference

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    It is often said that most conferences and events are about as useful as a chocolate teapot!

    The opportunity of bringing together your most valuable people comes around all too rarely, so if you’re making that investment, why not deliver a tangible business improving experience?

    View our top tips on how to brew the perfect manager’s conference in this short video.

  5. Creating Gamesmakers

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    Wondering how you can create games makers in your business?

    We were totally blown away by the impact that the volunteers had on The Games. Although the spotlight was on the athletes, Seb Coe was right to recognise that it was the volunteers that truly lit up The Olympics.

    Imagine if you could recreate that level of passion, excitement and customer focus with your people. Surely we can create that level of commitment from paid employees?

    We were intrigued to find out if there was some secret potion that had been slipped into their energy drinks, or was it simply the euphoria of being involved in the Olympics?

    We’ve spent the last few weeks talking to volunteers and their trainers to understand how they made it all happen, and to try and draw some lessons for businesses to use. Here’s a brief summary of their advice:

    Excite and Enthuse

    – Pull don’t push. Ask people in the business to step forward and volunteer for an ambassador role. Resist handpicking based on grade, scores, metrics or reputation

    – Go for diversity. Look for a variety of skills across the whole organisation that complements your programme, rather than focusing on one part of the business or type of person – everyone can contribute

    – Stick to your promise and no surprises. Be totally transparent about the level of commitment needed and don’t stop communicating

    Empower and Encourage

    – Sell them a very simple, clear and inspiring Vision of what success will look like. In this case “The best party the world would ever see!” and be clear about how they can help make a difference

    – Light on governance, high on empowerment. Be clear on expectations and individual objectives, but allow them to add their own personality

    – Make the training reflect the attitude you want to create. Only use presentations as an information tool, but use involvement to recreate real life, practical scenarios

    – Create simple, tangible, realistic targets during ‘shop floor’ style training exercises i.e. “you have 20 seconds to make a good impression on a stranger about yourself and London”

    – Provide them with something that represents their involvement and recognises their hard work e.g. pins, badges, DVD’s, certificates, a tree!!

    Celebrate and Congratulate

    – Create a positive team spirit and camaraderie within the group so that enthusiasm becomes infectious

    – Success breeds success. It’s OK to be proud and self-confident, even if you’re British! So sing your successes from the rooftops and watch it overwhelm everyone with enthusiasm

    Try applying this thinking when planning your next change programme or when you’re looking to create a team of Change Makers…

    Any comments?

    Have you ever considered using an ambassador / a change champions network to help drive a cultural change in your organisation. We’d love to get your thoughts on this.

    Get in touch by emailing Ash at or calling 020 7720 0105.

  6. New INVOLVE Site – LIVE!

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    Well, good things come to those who……. here it is, our new website!

    As we mentioned in our previous blog post, this new website reflects our aim to become more ‘content centric’ with our approach to the web. Though you will still find lots of information about INVOLVE and the work we do, the focus of this new site is going to be on creating a ‘one stop’ resource for anyone interested in increasing employee engagement within their business and using involvement to create change in mindset and behaviours.

    This new site has been completely rebuilt to create a seamless user experience across all mobile devices. As you can see from the homepage, the format of the site is completely responsive and fluid.

    As well as these changes in functionality, we’ve also improved the range of information that’s available through the site. You’ll now find a far more diverse range of project examples and case studies to demonstrate how we can help you.

    Finally, we’ve added a dedicated resource area where visitors will be able to download useful tips, tools and videos to help build a greater understanding of how engagement and involvement can impact your business and employees.

    So, what do you think?

    We’d love to get your feedback so why not let us know what you think via Twitter?

  7. Chocolate Teapot’s

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    It is often said that most conferences and events are about as useful as a chocolate teapot!

    The opportunity of bringing together your most valuable people comes around all too rarely, so if you’re making that investment, why not deliver a tangible business improving experience?

    Check out our top tips on how to brew the perfect manager’s conference

  8. Measuring Office Influence: Is it a Good Idea?

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    A few weeks ago we published an article that looked at Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) and their attempts to measure employee sentiment.


    In an increasingly digital world, algorithms, big data and online metrics are going to have an increasing influence on the ways companies are run.


    The most recent announcement – again from the ESN Yammer – is that they are soon going to begin measuring influence across their internal networks.


    Social Politics


    Measuring influence isn’t a new idea. Ever since we all began using social networks in our personal lives, influence has been a hot topic of debate. In its early stages, the only way to measure someone’s influence within a certain field was to look at the number of friends or followers they had.


    Very quickly, these metrics carried less weight as key influencers began gaming the system. The next step was for third party applications, like Klout, to begin measuring user’s influence across the web. These applications took into account both the size of your community, how active you were and the popularity of the content you posted. These apps would then put all this data together and give a simple indication of influence.


    The most recent development is Yammer’s recent partnership with Klout. This partnership can only mean one thing. Very soon, it’s likely that Yammer will offer the ability to map each of your employee’s interactions on your own ESN. It will then give each employee a numerical indicator of influence within that network.


    The Verdict?


    Is this a recipe for disaster? Will it encourage unhealthy competition and ugly popularity contests to start taking over? Or maybe it will act as a catalyst to help employees get more involved?


    I guess this will come down to individual company culture and the way the network is used by your organisation.


    We’re reserving judgement for now, but we’re really interested to see how it works out!


    Do you use Yammer at work? Do you think this will improve it?


    Let us know your thoughts…



  9. INVOLVE Needs You!

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    We are currently looking for a Project Director to join the INVOLVE team.

    A Project Director is responsible for the entire journey of each project from initial client meetings and setting SMART objectives to day-to-day client liaison, internal team management, project management and the ultimate delivery of the programme. They would follow Best Practice and champion our Values throughout every part of that process.

    We need someone who:

    • Has experience of directing and delivering interactive, face to face meetings, conferences and events
    • Can, through understanding the business content and the audience, design events (plenary and workshop sessions) which deliver the business objectives
    • Has experience of strategic thinking around culture, employee engagement initiatives and Vision & Values programmes
    • Has the experience & the ability to plan projects effectively and deliver them to budget
    • Has at least 3 years client service experience delivering the above with senior level clients
    • Is used to being accountable; takes ownership & responsibility
    • Is used to managing multiple senior stakeholders in large organizations
    • Can proactively support the development of our accounts through the quality of their work
    • Has gravitas, with exceptional communication & presentation skills
    • Has experience of digital / social media as part of their work


    If this is you, then we need you, so please contact for a full job description.