Gimme Some Respect

It’s a word we have been hearing a lot about lately but is it in short supply?. CNN journalist Jim Acosta was accused of disrespecting the office of the president at president elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the election race.

Although at same press conference many commentators said Trump had brought the office of president into disrepute because of his barracking style. Trump supporters and detractors, Brexit leavers and remainders, student unions and MP’s to name a few have all been accused of being disrespectful.

Lets examine what the dictionary meaning of the word respect is it’s :

“An admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities”. Also:

“I have respect for his ideas, although I do not agree with them although many others do”.

There’s not much respect going on on either side of the debate in my previous examples

Many who accuse others of disrespect are being disrespectful themselves but refuse to accept this fact. It’s a mad world but of course it always has been and their will always be those who think that their opinion is right and everyone else is wrong. So it’s OK for them to be disrespectful in their minds.

In business relationships we need people to be respectful but questioning and on occasion challenging both are very important life skills. If we can’t debate and sometimes agree to disagree but still work together on other projects and issues then we will fail to learn and grow.

What has dismayed me over the past year is that people on either side of many debates I thought were level headed, reflective thinkers who used reason, logic and debate. Have shown a side of themselves I have never seen and its not a nice side. They have become argumentative, sulky, bullying, disrespectful and worse. Maybe it’s time we all looked in the mirror and found our self respect and respect for others. Hopefully then we can have useful discussion and argument that engages and is productive.

I do hope that 2017 ends up creative, energetic and productive and not more divisive and disrespectful. I live in hope. Well that’s a rap and I’ll leave it to the kids to teach the adults.

The Respect Rap

Trump Berates CNN Reporter

Meaning of the word respect

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How will Cyber Monday Fair And Were You Ethical??

Maybe they should rename Black Friday to Cyber Friday as it was a success for online retailers with Amazon selling six million items on the day. That’s up 500,000 on last year, but the high street and superstores didn’t fair as well. Many opened early and drafted in extra staff and security for the expected hordes which didn’t materialise.

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Adsa which championed Black Friday in the UK didn’t participate but did reduce the price of petrol.

So why did it turn into a damp squib for stores? Certainly scenes of carnage and fighting over items in 2014 put many people off, they stayed in the comfort and warmth of their homes and shopped online. Many people have been taking the advice of money saving expert Martin Lewis and only buying things if they need them and not because they are cheap. Finally people are wise to the marketing hype.

Sitting in the comfort of your home you can compare prices across retailers to get the best deal. You can also do this historically and find out if the item on offer is really a bargain or just a ploy to get you to part with your hard earned cash.

I get regular newsletters from several retailers and items that have caught my attention throughout the year were on my mind on Black Friday. Guess what of the items I had looked at only one was cheaper and only by 10%. The others were either the same price or dearer, yet all were advertised as bargains. That’s because for the 14 days running up to Black Friday the price had been hiked up then brought down for the sale. For most of the year the items had been the same as the Black Friday price. Yes there were bargains to be had at all those retailers, but there’s also sleight of hand happening here.

That is probably the single biggest reason people stayed away and shopped on line. Your less likely to make an impulse purchase if you can take your time and compare current and historical prices. You also realise that not everything a retailer tells you is true and this should be a cause for concern for businesses. Many of these practises may be standard industry practises, but they are slightly deceitful and underhand. For businesses trying to build customer loyalty and trust tricking them into thinking they are getting a bargain is not the way to go. It’s not ethical and no matter what the marketing department tell you it’s not clever.

If you say your an ethical business and that’s part of your pitch to potential employees what’s the impact on them and current employees. Why should your employees be loyal, ethical and trustworthy if your perceived as not being?

Maybe Asda realised the negative affect Black Friday could have on a business as well as the short term financial gain. Then decided that short term financial gain was not worth the loss of customer and employee loyalty and trust. Cause and Effect. It will be interesting to see companies approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2106.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday – The Telegraph

Cyber Monday Shopping – The Guardian

Trust Within Organisations and Social Trust

 

Hott Fuzz – The Psychological Contract

Those of you who work in HR will be familiar with the psychological contract for everyone else here’s a condensed version of it when applied to employer, employee relations.

It is defined as ‘…the perceptions of the two parties, employee and employer, of what their mutual obligations are towards each other’. These obligations will often be informal and imprecise: they may be inferred from actions or from what has happened in the past, as well as from statements made by the employer. Some obligations may be seen as ‘promises’ and others as ‘expectations’. The important thing is that they are believed by the employee to be part of the relationship with the employer.

So what’s that got to do with our boys & girls in blue? A similar contract applies between the police and the public. Something which seems to have escaped the attention of Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs Council this week.

The Chief Constable said that we shouldn’t expect a police officer to turn up to a domestic burglary. Because of budget cuts police needed to focus on real threat and harm such as terrorism, cyber crime and sexual offences which are on the rise.

If her intention was to spark debate then she has hit the mark. But in reality is it a feasible stance to take? Whilst acts of terror and national sex abuse scandals are a sad reality. None of these will happen to the majority of people in their lifetime. But most people know someone who has been burgled or subjected to constant anti-social behaviour. These things are also more likely to happen to people in their lifetime.

The fear of terrorism as such may be high but for most what’s going on in their own neighbourhood and town can be a cause of much more fear. This is what chief constable Thornton has forgotten, we pay for the police and we give them considerable powers. In return we expect support and protection. That is the psychological contract between police and public.

At the inception of the police force Sir Robert Peel set out Principles by which the police would operate. The first two sate that: “The basic mission for which police exist is to prevent crime and disorder as an alternative to the repression of crime and disorder by military force and severity of legal punishment”. Secondly that “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, actions, behaviour and the ability of the police to secure and maintain public respect.

The police are under pressure from cuts and serious crimes but when planning where to deploy limited resources chief constables need to have Peel’s principles and the psychological contract with the public firmly in mind.

Luckily some common sense prevails in the head of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor. Who had made it clear that “It is unsustainable for any police force to decline to attend and properly investigate crimes of a serious nature, such as burglary or domestic violence.”

Let’s hope that view prevails and support our police forces in retaining it.

References

Sir Robert Peel’s Principles of Law

The Psychological Contract

Telegraph Article- What’s the Point of Them

Daily Mail Article – Public Expectation Needs to Change

Chief Constable Sara Thornton on crime

What are the Worst Paid Jobs in the UK?

HR Grapevine recently had a feature article “The 10 worst paid jobs in the UK” the statistics came from the ONS and reproduced by the TUC. The list featured jobs that that you would probably expect and revealed that one in five UK workers earned less than the living wage.

The top 10 worst paid jobs in the UK (average wage p.a.) were as follows:

  • Waiters and Waitresses – £12,507
  • Bar staff – £12,948
  • Hairdressers and Barbers – £13,373
  • Kitchen and catering assistants – £13,396
  • Launderers,dry cleaners and pressers – £13,767
  • Retail cashiers and check-out operators – £13,911
  • Playworkers – £14,023
  • Cleaners and Domestics – £14,164
  • Nursery nurses and assistants – £14,305
  • Other elementary services occupations – £14,575

But that’s not the whole story as their are a lot more people not covered by this survey who are in the same position or even worse earn less than the minimum wage. This survey only covers those in employment and low paid self employment is on the increase as is the number of carers.

I am not just talking about those who have had full employment, taken redundancy and used this to become self employed. Many replies to this article bore out what had become apparent to me through many conversations with budding musicians, poet’s, artists and author’s. That is that this group often earn less than those in the TUC survey. Anyone who has decided to be a carer will know how little you get to survive on.

Not included in the survey:

  • Musician, Artist, Poet, Writer – £11.875
  • Newly Self Employed – £14.350
  • Carer – £10.400

This survey is a useful indicator but like many surveys what it leaves out gives a whole other story and picture. How many other groups are their to add to this list? And those working part time who can’t find full time work are a whole other question.

If you add them all together it’s hard to see where the promised good life by politicians of all persuasions will come from for people in these groups should you vote for them at the general election.

One thing I will add is that the majority of people in these groups I have met seem to be happier than people I meet in relatively well paid jobs. Go figure, maybe it’s because they are doing what they want to?

Links

The Ten Worst paid jobs in the UK

Rising Inequalities not Inevitable

Coast to Coast Black Sabbath

You may think that’s an odd title for a blog but what do the Restaurant chain Coast to Coast and the fathers of everything metal Black Sabbath have in Common?

Let’s start with an instantly recognisable unique brand and product and carry on with great customer service and communication. Let me expand I attended the final night of Sabbath’s current leg of their world tour at a hometown gig in Birmingham on Dec 22nd 2013.

I had booked the tickets several months earlier through Sabbath’s website where I was asked if I wanted to leave my Facebook, Twitter and email details and I did.

From then on I had regular communications via all three channels giving me information; photographs, fan reviews and band interviews. Each of these reminded me that it would not be long before I would be with the band. Although I knew the same was happening with tens of thousands of other individuals on other continents I still felt special.

I felt part of a club a family even and as my anticipation and excitement grew the nearer the concert day came I took to social media along with thousands of others. This ensured Sabbath were constantly in the news as fans created a frenzy. Even on the day a couple of hours before the concert I got updates telling me the band were looking forward to the concert and they hoped I enjoyed it. This also continued after the concert. The attention to detail in communication was a masterclass in how to run a news/social media campaign for an event.

We arrived in Birmingham mid afternoon and after settling into the hotel went to look for eateries. We settled on Coast to Coast as it looked warm and inviting from the outside its signage caught your eye more than other restaurants on Broad Street.

So we stepped inside The Restaurant Group’sBirmingham restaurant and were met by a greeter with an engaging smile who was friendly, helpful and engaging in conversation. She introduced us to our server who took us to our table; she introduced herself and again engaged us in conversation.

Throughout the meal she returned to the table and rather than just ask how the food was or did we want another drink she engaged us in conversation each time. She also remembered bits from previous conversations and brought those into the current conversation. She was doing this for several other tables at the same time as were other servers.

The ambiance was very good and a lot of thought had gone into furnishings, uniforms and staff training and the food was pretty good as well. When we finished and paid the bill we had a five minute conversation with our server Josie and then the same with the greeter on the way out.

All this communication is meant to make you feel at home and want to return again, which it does. The face to face communication starts as you walk in the door up until you walk out again. But whilst you’re there, there are subtle hints about connecting with the Coast family via all types of social media. Of course when your friendly server asks you to fill in a feedback form at the end of the meal you can’t wait to do it.

That feedback form includes your social media details and the day after I received a thank you email for dining with them and special offer vouchers. As I am now a customer and part of the family I get regular updates about special offers, openings and information regarding Coast restaurants near venues where I may be going to a gig.

Now you may say others do this so what’s special about Coast and Sabbath. What’s special is that all that communication, branding, marketing and social media interaction is done seamlessly, effortlessly and unobtrusively.

By the time you sample the product you are fully engaged with it and can’t wait to taste or hear it. At that point the engaging human interaction seals the deal and you really want to come back to Coast to Coast just as you want Ozzy Osborne to be your best mate and go for a pint at his favourite Birmingham pub and tell you about his days in the factory.

As an experience both make it one you will never forget. Many companies get the marketing and branding right and even have a great product. But when you engage with them on a human level they don’t quite match the expectations they have built up.

If you want to make your business no matter what the size or sector more successful in 2014 checking out how Sabbath and Coast to Coast run their business would be time well worth spending. I believe Andrew page CEO of The Restaurant Group when he says they are thriving because of their customer focus. But the last word has to go to Ozzy “To each their own to question why, learn from each other so they say”

Have a happy and successful 2014

Free Presentation Webinar 22 April 2013 – 1.00 – 2.00 PM

 

Join this FREE lunchtime webinar with Caroline Hopkins ‘How To Make Your Business Presentations Rock!’  1.00 –  2.00 pm today Monday 22nd April. You can join at http://www.lovepresenting.com/

Caroline is a master at presentations and has many years’ experience helping people to present with confidence and engage their audience and gain the results you want.

Also check out her E-Book “Help I’ve Got A Presentation Coming Up” which is a great resource for anyone who has to give presentations.

I also have an interview with Caroline for Everybody’s Business on Salford City Radio this Friday 26th April 12 noon to 1.00 pm UK time. Caroline will be taking us through her journey and giving us some tips to help create a memorable presentation.

 

 

Real Performance Management how do you perform?

In a recent interview with Personnel Today the Pensions Minister Steve Webb told employers that Age should not be an excuse for “inevitable or excusable” under performance.

You can read the full interview and make your own mind up on this issue.  I am more interested in performance by all which means able bodied, disabled and everyone else in the workforce. More specifically how that performance is managed and how those “hard” conversations are approached and carried out by managers.

It seems that no matter how much training is given a significant majority of managers do not like having those “hard” conversations.  This is bourne out by many studies and reports from the Chartered Management Institute the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Instinctively many people do not like conflict and will avoid it like the plague and this includes managers. Many other issues also come into play here including lack of knowledge or skill, fear of getting it wrong, familiarity and favoritism to name a few.

Is it the fault of HR or the learning and development section in an organisation; was the wrong training procured or the delivery poor? In most cases it was the right training delivered well but here’s the rub. It’s OK going through role play based scenarios in a training room but it is totally different carrying out a performance review in practice. Especially if that review has lots of negatives in it.

The first question is why are there so many negatives if performance is supposedly managed well and regular 1-2-1’s are carried out along with timely return to work interviews? Surely everything’s been discussed along the way and relevant training and development opportunities put into place or help and support?

There are more management books on the subject than ever and an expanding number of management training organisations. Yet survey after survey shows a lack of confidence by employees in managers. Part of a manager’s job is to have “hard” conversations but many struggle with them for various reasons. Some reasons I have mentioned previously but the real skills needed to carry out those conversations need spelling out. They are listening and hearing what the person is telling you, empathizing and understanding their situation and supporting them in whatever way you can.  This shows you care about them as a person and not just as someone you have to move through the corporate process.

Of course at some point that “hard” conversation may mean you have exhausted every option and the options that remain may mean a reduction in salary as the person needs to reduce their hours it may mean termination of their employment because even with extensive training and support they cannot perform to the required level.  It is at this point that guilt kicks in for managers and indeed some employees will blame you personally.  Because they are now going to lose their house or cannot pay for a child’s wedding or support them though university.

Those circumstances are tragic and if you fail to be moved by them then in my personal opinion you should not be managing people. But you have a responsibility to the rest of the team, the organization, customers and shareholders in the private sector or taxpayers in the public sector. Performance management needs to be effective no matter what the person’s physical or mental ability or their age.  It should be relevant and individualistic to them.

So what do you do?