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Burhill creating a Workplace Buzz

Seeing a boost in performance at Burhill Golf, GMe’s Neil Gray wanted to know the reasons and wanted to write about them. We want to share his article with you….

Employers who engage with and look after their workforce, are, more likely than not, going to reap the long-term benefits, Neil Gray reports from Burhill Golf & Leisure.

In a difficult market, golf course operators are having to become ever more creative in finding ways to re-energise their venues, and keep staff and customers engaged so as to attract new blood to an old game. It’s sink or swim  for a lot of courses in these uncertain financial times, but Burhill Golf and Leisure (BGL), one of the biggest golf course operators in the UK, have chosen to swim by partnering with WorkplaceBuzz to help unlock what really makes their staff tick in delivering growing customer expectations.

Workplace surveys have been an annual feature at BGL venues for several years, however the company decided to bring in WorkplaceBuzz in 2014. Both organisations share a driving philosophy of if you look after your employees, they will look after your business, and BGL were keen to re-energise and gain a new perspective on staff surveying process.

BGL operate 22 golf courses across ten venues, and the results of the 2016 BGL staff survey show that on average, workplace engagement has risen across all of their venues, causing a positive knock-on effect on the company’s nett promoter score and placing BGL higher than other organisations in the UK benchmark.

“We care deeply about every single one of our employees at all of our venues, and our priority is to invest in their development to ensure a switched on and engaged workforce,” commented Guy Riggott, operations director at Burhill Golf and Leisure.

“By partnering with WorkplaceBuzz, we’re able to give voice to our teams of employees and listen to what they think we could be doing to help them to become more engaged with their working environment,” continued Riggott.

The company-wide staff survey run by BGL’s partner is optional – with an impressive 80 per cent of the workforce completing it over the summer months – an increase of five per cent on the participation rate from the previous year.

Teams were able to voice their opinions on topics such as engagement, level of satisfaction and communication in the workplace, and availability of day-to-day resources in an easy, online, confidential manner; the anonymous results of which were then collated and presented to BGL’s directors.

“The survey measures both the psychological and practical aspects of BGL’s venues as a workplace and the culture from the point of view of its employees,” commented Dr Mark Slaski, senior psychologist and founder of WorkplaceBuzz. “BGL partnered with us so that they could better understand how their employees think and feel about the jobs that they do, the people that they work with, and the company that they work for.

“The results we’ve given to BGL in order to encourage provocative thoughts and critical conversations within the company, providing a roadmap from which   Guy and his team can direct positive changes in company culture,” continued Dr Slaski.

On the back of the 2015 results, WorkplaceBuzz delivered a Business Development workshop for general managers within BGL to assess the survey results and lay the foundations for a culture change programme throughout the company.

Two strategic projects were developed to address areas needing improvement across the company; team clarity, and engagement. In the following 12 months, the general managers have managed to improve clarity and engagement scores at almost all venues and departments, with only a minority remaining static in comparison with the 2016 results.

“The aim wasn’t to implement any immediate overhauls, but to focus on marginal gain,” explained Riggott. “Lots of little changes make a big difference, and this is a long term project that we’re only just beginning. We want to invest in our people now to ensure the future success of the company and all who work within it,” he continued.

A prime example of how BGL have absorbed these results and established a successful framework and language of engagement to implement at each of the venues can be seen at Abbey Hill Golf Centre, a BGL venue in Milton Keynes.

Andrew Scholey, the general manger at Abbey Hill, has spent the last 12 months spending time with all of his employees and implementing a simple framework of positive engagement techniques to motivate his staff and make them feel more connected with the business and the venue.

Scholey’s team at Abbey Hill were middle of the table in the 2015 results, but after attending the Business Development workshop, 12 months later Abbey Hill is now top of the table with overall engagement, and leadership and management effectiveness rates having soared since 2015.

“The market is now very much pulled by the consumer therefore success rests upon consumer experience and customer loyalty,” explained Dr Slaski. “Abbey Hill is a perfect example of how a centre can increase the customer experience by ensuring that their workforce is engaged, agile, and innovative,” he continued.

BGL has no plans to rest on their laurels after such a positive result from this latest survey, with the company now driving forward with exploring different ways to engage staff at the venues that showed static results, and continuing management and staff training across all venues.

“Golf is a difficult market, and some believe that there should be a reduction in supply to increase demand,” commented Riggott. “Here at BGL, we believe that you don’t need to decrease supply, you just need to become much better.

“High levels of engagement among the staff push a passive customer to a positive customer, and those are the customers who come back time and time again, and recommend our venues to their friends and family.”

BGL is ensuring that they are at the forefront of the market, actively finding solutions to problems before they present an issue, and repeating and building upon the process to become innovative and agile in the field.

Their collaboration with WorkplaceBuzz will continue into the foreseeable future, and with established staff training programmes being implemented throughout all levels of the business, focus continues o be held upon the workforce and maintaining a reputation as an advanced employer and an employer of choice

For Dr Slaski, the key is in behaviour, as it is the bottom line of WorkplaceBuzz’s surveys and their work with BGL. “Behaviour can’t and shouldn’t be changed overnight, and by actively encouraging the general managers to feed the frameworks down through the chain at their own venues, we’re implementing small, progressive changes over a longer period that will become second nature to those benefitting from them” he said. “BGL want their employees to talk to them, they want to listen to their opinions and use them to make the company an even better employer, and therefore further increase customer satisfaction.” Riggott admits that this is a step into the unknown for BGL, and the company are still not sure where the journey with WorkplaceBuzz will take them, but they’re excited to find out.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see that our employees are feeling more engaged with their work and the company, and that this is having a positive effect upon our customers and therefore driving the business forward. “There are a lot of exciting plans in the pipeline for BGL, and we want to be doing all that we c can to encourage our talented and dedicated employees to grow with us,” concluded Riggott.

If you would like to find out more about how WorkplaceBuzz can improvement performance both as an organisation and as individuals then email us at info@workplacebuzz.co.uk.

Do emotionally intelligent leaders have more engaged staff?

This article can be found on the Thomas International website here and was written by Paul Rein and Sonya Bendriem

Employee engagement is a critical driver of business success. Companies with high levels of engagement exhibit lower employee turnover (40% lower), higher productivity (18% higher) and twice the annual net profit [Engage for Success]. With leaders responsible for driving and maintaining engagement within an organisation, levels of engagement represent a key indicator of leadership success.

“Staff are highly engaged when they think and feel positively about the jobs they do, the people they work with and the organisation they work for. Positive thoughts and feelings lead to positive work behaviours and positive business outcomes.” (Dr. Mark Slaski, Psychologist and Co-Founder of WorkplaceBuzz)

Leaders have a significant impact on employee engagement, which can be measured through the relationships employees have, the role they do, and the reward they receive. It’s important to consider a leader’s personality traits and how these impact the drivers of engagement.

So, do emotionally intelligent leaders really have more engaged staff?

A research study, conducted by Dr. Mark Slaski, looked at the emotional intelligence of 10 General Managers from a successful Golf and Leisure company and the workplace engagement of 534 of their staff to explore this relationship. An important point to note is that each of these General Managers were responsible for autonomous business units, and as such they oversee a number of other managers, departments and staff. In this way, the behaviours associated with emotional intelligence (EI) of the General Managers set the tone and define the culture for the whole business unit. So the impact of their EI extends beyond their relationship with their immediate employees, but permeates throughout the unit as a whole.

Results show that leaders with higher emotion perception (the capacity to perceive and understand their own and others’ emotions) lead teams with a greater sense of voice and togetherness at work. This suggests that if leaders are able to recognise subtle emotional reactions and adjust their style accordingly in order to motivate their team, they are able to facilitate a greater sense of trust and cooperation, resulting in employees being more likely to express their ideas and opinions and feel appreciated.

When leaders are able to regulate their emotional responses (emotion regulation) employees report a greater clarity around their objectives and purpose at work. This implies that leaders who are able to remain calm and composed, are likely to communicate more clearly when delegating goals and tasks, and trust their staff with more autonomy.

Leaders who see the positive, even in negative situations and who view the future positively (higher optimism) had staff with a higher sense of growthchallenge and enjoyment in their work. If leaders are more adept at seeing opportunities in most situations, including during times of stress, this may allow them to better understand how their team can best contribute to successful outcomes based on identifying their individual strengths and then allocate appropriately challenging work and development opportunities.

Leaders who can better understand and manage their emotions and those of others have more engaged staff. Leaders should consider the potential to develop their awareness of their emotional intelligence which would help to:

  • Enhance their interactions with their employees
  • Build trust and minimize conflict
  • Identify the needs and talents of their people
  • Delegate challenging work that plays to individual’s strengths
  • Inspire their people to grow and develop in their role

When taken into consideration, what becomes apparent is that organisations need emotionally intelligent leaders who can recognise the impact that they have on their employees and use this in a positive way to boost levels of engagement which in turn will lead to improved organisational outcomes.

While changing your personality traits can be very difficult to do, it is possible to modify the behaviours associated with achieving desired outcomes. Through developing self-awareness leaders are able to identify areas for behavioural change, resulting in enhanced levels of employee engagement.

The power of employee engagement – Leeds workshop review

Ciaran Morton from Thomas International reviews a workshop on Workplace Engagement delivered by Dr. Mark Slaski. If you would like to know more about running such an event in your company get in touch at info@workplacebuzz.co.uk

On 13th July 2016, Thomas International’s Northern team descended upon Leeds for a day with the renowned psychologist and test author Dr Mark Slaski a workshop for anyone interested in increasing workplace engagement.

An audience of business owners, HR, and L&D professionals from a diverse pool of industries joined us to discuss the importance and power of workplace engagement. The influential Dr Mark Slaski, Psychologist and Co-Founder of WorkplaceBuzz, hosted the evening and delivered an entertaining and powerful session on employee engagement.

For the past two decades, Mark has worked with organisations across the globe designing and delivering leadership development, coaching and team transformation. His greatest asset is his depth of knowledge and insight into human psychology and performance, and his greatest skill is his ability to communicate his expertise to help people and organisations achieve greater success. Mark believes that to fully unlock the talent of any business requires leaders at every level to create engaging workplaces for their people. This was a fantastic opportunity for our clients to delve into his knowledge.

Mark began the session with an interactive discussion about defining engagement, putting to bed some of the common misconceptions people have. He discussed the seven drivers of engagement; challenge, freedom, recognition, growth, voice, togetherness and clarity, making the bold statement that these are not the ‘nice to haves’, but essential to engagement. He encouraged the attendees to “not go another day without thinking about these factors”, claiming they have the power to really change your business.

Mark then shared a series of hard hitting case studies that clearly demonstrated the correlation between improved levels of engagement and improved financial performance. He also touched upon the topic of emotional intelligence, sharing a research study which showed that managers with a higher emotional intelligence score, have more highly engaged staff. He then talked the delegates through the Thomas Engage tool and report, highlighting the key things that sets it apart from other engagement tools available. The delegates had the opportunity to ask questions and a discussion took place throughout the room sharing ideas on how to maximise the use of an engagement survey, and how to actually get your people engaged in the survey so that the results truly reflect the situation in your workplace.

The workshop concluded with an interactive exercise using our new Engage action cards, which give you clear advice and tips on how to work on each of the seven drivers of the workplace engagement model. A networking session followed with a buffet and refreshments with conversations that went on well into the evening! One delegate commented:

I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop and am going back to work tomorrow with strategies and resources that I can begin to implement straight away.

As written by Ciaran Morton of Thomas International and the original article can be found here