Welcome to the unique
Business Village Networking experience

  • Opportunities to meet like-minded professionals
  • Give & receive referrals and business advice
  • No costly membership or subscription fees
  • Relaxed informal atmosphere
  • For established businesses and start-ups
  • Informative presentations
  • Breakfast - choice of cooked or continental
  • ...all for only £10 per week
This is what makes Business Village
. . . a meeting of minds - not just businesses
Business Village Meets
Every Thursday from 7.30 until 9 @ Campanile Hotel, Delta Business Park, Swindon
Register here for the next Business Village event

Members' Blog Feed

These blog posts are written by our members and syndicated from their own websites. Clicking a link will take you to their website.

Holiday humour on the origins of FM

Dateline August 31st 2415 Data-archaeologists today unveiled new evidence into the origins of Facilities Management (FM). Whilst for nearly three centuries the discipline of FM has been the core of governance and commerce throughout the civilised world little has been known of its origins, but evidence gleaned from the period between 400 and 450 years […]

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It’s Time To Rethink The Annual Appraisal

Does your business run annual appraisals?  

If not, you might be feeling a bit guilty about it – after all, it’s a long-held wisdom that this is the best practice way to manage….

But things are changing, starting with the larger companies. 

Professional services giant Accenture announced recently that it’s scrapping annual appraisals, joining the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Gap and Expedia. Start-ups such as Google, Facebook and Netflix have bypassed them entirely.

Why?  Too often, within larger companies the annual appraisal had become a ritualised and bureaucratic process distracting managers from the regular feedback conversations they should be having with their people.  It was hard to justify that the time and effort involved really did improve performance management, it was just one of a number of processes encumbering the organisation without adding enough value.

Appraisals aren’t all bad. In a recent PwC survey, two-thirds of employees said they helped them understand how their performance shaped up and 48 per cent said they enabled them to think about their wider career. Where appraisals focus on coaching and not judging, people found them a useful way of knowing where they stand and letting them know periodically whether they’re on track.

Of course, those companies ditching annual appraisals aren’t abandoning performance management. Instead they intend to concentrate on developing practices that create a continuous feedback culture, with regular catch-ups concentrating on development.  By pointing out problems as they arise, employees have the opportunity to change their behaviour in a way that makes an immediate difference.  And because it happens in the here-and-now, continuous feedback is more likely to be honest and fair.

If you’re a smaller company, what should you do? 

Keep your eye on the bigger picturein the context of your particular business, where do you need to be developing people and where would improving individual performance make the biggest difference? And how: what’s the best fit in terms of practices and processes
Start with broad principles that are sensitive to your people.  If you want your staff to achieve great things, you’ll have to ensure that you’re giving them the right kind of support.   So, what will enable them to do the best job that they can and give them the opportunity to develop?  
Do your managers have the skills and encouragement for regular connection, engagement and feedback conversations with their people?

Are you able to have deeper periodic discussions with your managers about their development and growth opportunities? – so that they’re supported in sharpening their skills and progressing with you.

Is yours a company where people can have honest conversations and feel comfortable speaking their minds? Or do your managers think their job is telling people what to do? 
“The future has to be a lot less about control, and a lot more about enablement.”  Peter Cheese, Chief Executive, CIPD

 It may be time to update your approach, and consider how you can make performance management really work in your business.  Need a little help with getting off to a great start? Get in touch. Email enquiries@thehr.co.uk, tel 07884 475303.  We’d be happy to support you in improving performance within your organization – and we’re experts on creating traditional appraisal schemes tailored to your business! 
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How do you keep your people with you as the business grows?

Once your business starts to evolve and grow, you’ll need to adapt your successful early approach.  As it transitions from a small, informal start up, what has worked to date is no longer really effective for the business’s long term performance. 

So far the company will have rested on your personality, your vision and values to guide where it’s going.  But as it becomes larger you won’t see people in person every day anymore. Keeping that personal connection alive is really difficult and it’s at that tipping point that you’ll need look to other people in the organisation to carry that mantle.  That’s when the role of line managers becomes especially important.  

Looking ahead to anticipate what needs to be put in place now, how you can lead successfully through the transition, is going to make the growth more sustainable for the long term.
How do your managers engage, inspire, motivate, people in the same way that you did in the early days?

How do you maintain people’s connection and engagement with the original founding vision and values of the organisation?

What could you put in place now to address some of those issues that are going to make your growth sustainable over time?

Here are the tips and techniques that really work:

Communicate clear goals and expectations to your employees.  Most of them want to be a part of a compelling future, to know what is most important at work and what excellence looks like.  Give everyone an understanding of the business strategy and how their jobs contribute to the big picture.

Share information and numbers.  When you keep you employees informed they tend to feel a greater sense of ownership. Let them in on what is going on within the company, keeping communication hopeful and truthful. Don’t be afraid to share bad news, instead be more strategic about how you and your managers deliver it. 

Encourage upward communication.  You and your managers can have an insight into what things are important to employees by being visible and asking people direct, using team meetings and even surveys. Be open-minded and encourage people to express their ideas and perspectives without criticism. Take every opportunity to demonstrate to staff how their feedback is being used.

Communicate important news in time.  Hearing about an important update from media, colleagues or family and friends can have a negative impact on employee morale. Ensure your people hear these messages from you and your managers as soon as possible.

Actively promote organizational effectiveness, reputation, values and ethics.  Employees want to feel good about their leaders, where they work, the products they sell and the reputation of their company. Be conscious that employees are constantly watching leadership to see how their decisions affect the strategic direction of the organization and if their behaviours reflect what they say.

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presentational skills, or a lack thereof

I do a fair bit of training in this area, often built into course on other topics, but when a client recently asked me about running a course I suggested that, as someone that regularly attends presentations, all that she needed to do was to learn from all of the mistakes that you commonly see […]

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life lessons from a blind cat

A few months ago we noticed that our cat Tilly was a bit odd, or odder than usual, and then one evening she went out for her nine o’clock patrol and wasn’t back after the usual twenty minutes or so. Two hours later and after a couple of sessions checking the neighbourhood I started to […]

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Inner Flame Newsletter

We’ve just published an update on what’s been happening at Inner Flame. Highlights include: Dates for the upcoming “Fire Me Up” course (24-27 August – who do you know who is 16-25 and would benefit from more confidence, focus, motivation…?). Please share on Facebook. Update on courses Mock interview days with Lloyds Bank and Nationwide […]

The post Inner Flame Newsletter appeared first on Inner Flame.

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Customer service at its worst

One of my businesses buys and sells collectable items and is well established now after almost thirty years of international trading. Part of that trading has been to use a well know internet book shop through which we sell, appropriately enough, collectable books. A year or so ago we were advised that, due to EU […]

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objecting to objectives

We achieve our strategic goals by setting objectives and using them to motivate our teams to succeed; who would argue with that? Well me for a start. I’m not arguing against objective setting per se, but rather about the stupidities that I see in larger organisations where there is so little cohesion in setting objectives […]

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Lift Etiquette

I wrote recently in my diary column about lift etiquette in other countries and one or two people have asked me what I meant. In the UK and in pretty much every lift (elevator) that I have ridden in the US people may acknowledge another’s presence in the car, but words are rarely exchanged beyond an enquiry […]

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