Category: Change Management

July 10th, 2017 by Michael Millward

PATH Yorkshire have invited me to speak at a workshop on 19th July at Shine in Leeds, about the change management processes that will help an organisation introduce a more proactive approach to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.

The invitation arrives in the wake of a visit to Leeds by HRH Prince Harry during which he spoke about the need for everyone to be more open about mental health issues and accepting that everyone is has an equal potential of having a mental health challenge.

At the same time, I have spoken to employers who whilst keen to talk positively in support of the Prince’s message are reluctant to acknowledge that their employees are at risk or that their way of working may put people at risk. I get an overwhelming feeling that a lot of employers are in denial. So, being asked to continue the conversation about mental health is quite a privilege.

I will be looking at how an individual within an organisation, regardless of whether they are a HR professional or not can build a case for introducing a proactive approach to employee physical and mental health and wellbeing.

We will look at the processes of building the business case and identifying how to position that proposition so that it is readily accepted by a senior management team and implemented.

This event comes at a time when the reluctance of employers to be involved in the management of employee health is having an impact on productivity and the number of employees with health issues is increasing. A recent survey of 2,000 UK workers conducted by PwC found that just over a third (34%) were struggling with a mental health issue, most commonly anxiety, depression and stress. Mental Health charity, Mind, says that a quarter (26 per cent) of staff with mental health issues thought work was the main cause.

Part of the problem is as the Heads Together campaign launched by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge says people are not talking about mental health. There is a way to go before people can feel comfortable about it.

Research published by insurer Legal & General shows that fewer than one in 10 employees would feel comfortable discussing mental health problems with their manager. They just do not have the confidence in their managers, but 78 per cent of those managers think their staff would be happy to have a conversation with them about their mental health. So, it is easy for managers to believe that if the employee is not starting that conversation, perhaps there isn’t a problem?

If the conversation isn’t happening, and there is no published policy about health and wellbeing, and no health-related benefits, more than half (54 per cent) of the employees surveyed by PwC said that their employer did not offer any health perks, such as subsidised gym membership, health screenings or counselling, then neither the manager or the employee knows what the other is thinking. You end up with a situation in which research published by insurer Aviva found that as many as 43% of employees feel that they employers value productivity more highly than the health of their employees.

It all starts to feel somewhat dark satanic mills.

But, if productivity is what concerns you, the PwC research identified that 39% of employees take time off or cut back on the work that they were doing as a result of their health, and 83% described their levels of productivity being strongly linked to their well-being. This results in an absence figure of 27 days per year per employee according to the Financial Times. Add that to an employee’s holiday entitlement and you could be looking at an average employee only being at work for just over 9 months of the year.

Add this to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics which show that overall UK productivity is falling, as measured by output per hour, is estimated to have fallen by 0.5% from Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2016 to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2017; over a longer time-period, labour productivity growth has been lower on average than prior to the economic downturn.

All the evidence over a long period of time identifies that healthier, happier employees are better performers, they stay, they have a long-term impact on cost reduction and have fewer accidents.

So why aren’t businesses more interested in maintaining employee health?

In part, the perception of employees that productivity is more important has an element of truth.

As employers, we do not understand enough about what makes one employee more productive than another or what make one employee more susceptible to illness than their colleagues. What we do know is that successful businesses take a proactive approach to managing both productivity and employee health and absence.

The first step is to make sure that your senior managers are on-board with the approach and that is what we will explore at the event on 19th July.

Posted in Change Management, Conferences, Employee Communications, Employee Engagement Tagged with: , , ,

October 23rd, 2015 by Michael Millward

Yesterday evening Michael Millward, Volunteer branch chair CIPD North Yorkshire branch spoke at the first conference in an evening event that the branch has held.

The event, which was held at the Marriott Hotel in York provided an opportunity for attendees to select three seminars from nine on the agenda. There really was something for everyone regardless of their area of interest.

Michael spoke in seminar which focused on the needs of international workers, and described his experiences and the lessons he had learnt from being both the HR professional responsible for international workers and being an international worker himself.

During his presentation Michael covered

  • Understanding the factors that make a successful UK focused employee a success as an expatriate or cross border worker.
  • Management techniques that support expatriate and cross border workers
  • Dealing with non-work factors that impact the success of an expatriate assignment or cross border working.

Michael explained that he has been a

  • UK based worker who was responsible for other workers who worked internationally
  • UK based worker who worked for short periods internationally
  • permanently internationally based expatriate worker

With a bit of a smile Michael also explained how part of his career had been similar to the plot of the film Up In The Air, which starred Gerorge Clooney as a someone who conveyed the news of redundancy to unsuspecting employees and then provided career transistion support.

Whilst one member of the audience described the film as depressing Michael explained that that job was far from it.

While it may be a shock to be told that your job no longer exists once that person has got over the initial shock it is the responsibility of the career transition coach to provide them with the help that enables them to see the possibilities that the bad news creates for them.

 

 

Posted in Change Management, CIPD

May 1st, 2015 by Michael Millward

Michael Millward today delivered two lectures at Leeds University Business School to students studying Internal Communications and Change Management.

In the first lecture Mr Millward drew on over 30 years of HR experience to discuss with students from around the world how organisational change projects can fail because managers fail to understand the needs of their employees, their perception of the change and how it will impact them and then how to incorporate these needs into how they communicate the change to those employees.

In the second lecture Mr Millward again drew on his own experience to demonstrate how meeting the challenges of situations over which managers have no control is easier if employees are involved in finding and developing those coping strategies.

He stressed that internal communications are not just about the messages that a company distributes. It is also important to listen to the messages that employees and their friends and families communicate about the real and percieved messages that the company is providing.

It is important concluded Michael to listen to employees during a change process and to help them to find the positive outcome for them as individuals from the programme of change that the company wants to achieve.

Posted in Change Management, Leeds University Business School

March 7th, 2012 by Michael Millward

Michael Millward today delivered two lectures at Leeds University Business School to students studying Internal Communications and Change Management.

In the first lecture Mr Millward drew on 30 years of HR experience to discuss with students from around the world how organisational change projects can fail because managers fail to understand the needs of their employees, their perception of the change and how it will impact them and then how to incorporate these needs into how they communicate the change to those employees.

In the second lecture Mr Millward again drew on his own experience to demonstrate how meeting the challenges of situations over which managers have no control is easier if employees are involved in finding and developing those coping strategies.

Posted in Change Management, Internal Communications, Leeds University Business School