Monthly Archives: May 2022


onboarding new staff

A couple of weeks’ ago I was a guest panellist on Corecruitment’s recruitment webinar. One common theme is the challenge of recruiting and retaining good staff.

When it comes to retention, having gone to the effort and expense of finding a good fit, don’t waste this by poor onboarding, only to have the employee leave again after a couple of months, leaving you back to square one.

In addition to permanent roles, many hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses will be taking on seasonal staff now.

Maybe you are too?

The first few days and weeks in any job will determine how that person feels about your business and whether or not this is the place they want to stay. It might just be for a season initially, but who knows… maybe even to pursue their career here. Is this an environment where they’ll be happy, fit in and feel their contribution is valued?

Getting this right is as important for temporary or seasonal staff as it is for permanent. They too can act as ambassadors for your business, and make all the difference the next time you need to recruit. Quite apart from the impact they can have on other team members and your customers depending on how well they’re equipped for the job.

People like (and need) to know what’s expected of them. So when people start with you a thorough onboarding is absolutely key to ensuring you’re not wasting all the time, cost and effort you’ve put into recruiting the right person.

A thorough onboarding process firstly ensures they’ll be up to speed and able to carry out their job effectively, resulting in less pressure on other team members, and a better customer experience.

But just as importantly, it creates the right first impression, that shows that their role is valued.

Imagine your new team member getting home from work after their first day and their nearest and dearest asking them “how was your first day?” If you were a fly on the wall, what would you like to hear them say?

“It was ok, I suppose”

“Hmm, I’m not so sure; I didn’t really know what I was doing and they just left me to muddle through. I’ll give it a couple more days…”

“It was brilliant. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful, and they’ve mapped out a great training programme for me so I know what I’m going to be learning and doing over the next couple of weeks. I’m really excited to have got this job, and can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Start the onboarding process as soon as possible; the more you can do before their first day the quicker they’ll get them up to speed.

In your job offer let them know how much you’re looking forward to them coming to work for you and then start with information that lets them know that they’re going to get a warm welcome.

If you need to re-vamp your on-boarding process or want to learn more about how to engage new team members I’ve just made that chore a whole lot easier for you!

Take action

If you only do one thing, take a fresh look at your on-boarding programmes and how you engage new team members, and ask yourself do they really give the best possible start for anyone new to your team to be a productive, happy and engaged team player in your business.

p.s Start your on-boarding process as soon as possible; the more you can do before their first day the quicker they’ll get them up to speed.

Discover more here…







Respect your team

Respect your team

Last week I was invited by a local charity to give a talk. The charity is Oakleaf, who supports people with mental ill health, giving them the skills, confidence and training needed to return to the workplace.

My talk was for their Health Leaders sharing my own thoughts on practical ways employers can help their people feel valued and proud of the work they do – just one small step towards hopefully improving people’s well being at work.

Not forgetting of course the business benefits of how it contribute to productivity, staff retention and customer service.

I covered 5 core leadership actions and one of these was respect.

It’s often little actions (or lack of action) that can unwittingly leave a team feeling they’re not respected. And of course when this happens it can have a negative impact on their perception of the business, the importance of their role, or their relationship with colleagues.

Here are the 5 principles we discussed in relation to respecting your team:

Common Courtesies

This is something most people do without thinking.

That is until we’re having a bad day!

Failing to say a cheery good morning, checking in on how that big event went yesterday, asking about someone’s weekend or holiday, saying please and thank you – all get noticed when they’re missing, even if subconsciously, leaving people feeling unappreciated.

A sunny smile and a cheerful good morning sets everyone up for the day.

Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show your customers.


How you behave or talk about others when they are not present says a lot about your personal integrity.

Lack of integrity can undermine almost any other effort to create trust with your team. It goes beyond honesty.  Integrity is conforming to the reality of our words – keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.  One way of demonstrating integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. Confidentiality about others in your team is paramount.


Show you care as much about your team as you do about the business and results.

Listen and observe so you can spot any staff concerns quickly. Left to fester these can snowball into bigger problems.

Help your team stay healthy. Simply ensuring people aren’t expected to work excessively long shifts back to back. Keep an eye out for anyone working excessively long hours or not taking their due days off or full holiday entitlement. It could be an early warning sign.

Provide support when needed and be receptive to when this is required; not everyone will be confident enough to ask for help. If you recognise they need help in areas you feel you don’t have the skills to deal with, support them in seeking help from someone who can.


Apologise when you let someone down.

Keep commitments. Do what you say you’ll do. Making a promise that’s important to someone and then not delivering on it suggests lack of respect.

It’s one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it. Sincere words – “I was wrong”, “I showed you no respect”, “I’m sorry”.  It takes a great deal of character strength to apologise.


If lockdown taught us anything it’s the value of personal time.

Respect people’s personal lives and commitments. Don’t be so hell-bent on people’s contracted hours that you can’t allow somebody that flexibility to alter their hours or do something out of the norm.

Picking up the kids from nursery on time, attending their grandchild’s graduation, tending to a sick relative, attending a one off event that would mean so much to them, allowing time to get ready for a long awaited holiday or special occasion, celebrating personal or family milestones.

If you know these things mean a lot to them, give them that flexibility.

If you only do one thing:

Showing respect for your team is the first step to them respecting you and your business, so always think about what message your actions send to your team about how much you respect them.

Related article: Puffed up with Pride

Creating a Learning Culture

Creating a learning culture

Can we really learn from mistakes?

Creating a learning culture starts with accepting people will make mistakes.

Providing we’re able to spot the mistake, make the effort to understand the mistake and be open to learning from it.

And the same applies with your team.

Let me explain…

I was at a conference recently where one of the talks was on creating a learning culture. To my mind there was one aspect of this which was completely overlooked. And that was to create a learning culture you have to be prepared for people to make mistakes and to help them learn from these. Unless you do, people will not be prepared to try new things or take a chance on taking action for fear of messing up and being blamed – even when they think it’s the right thing to do.

Here are 10 ideas to help in creating a learning culture, one where it’s ok to take a chance and make the odd mistake, so long as you learn from it.

  1. Set the example. Admit when you’ve made a mistake – when you’re open about making mistakes your team will be recognise that everyone makes mistakes. But, make sure you also focus on what’s been learnt as a result of that mistake (see The Emotional Bank Account)
  2. Demonstrate your trust in team members by giving them responsibility and authority to do what they believe is right. E.g. to respond to customers’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit. If they truly understand your values and what’s of most importance generally they’ll work out the best route to get there.
  3. Define what levels of authority your team members have in any given situation, and give them examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision. But when you do have to get involved use this as an opportunity for others to learn from the situation, by explaining your approach and why you approached it in the way you did.
  4. Build confidence; often people know what they should be doing, but just lack that certainty and confidence to do this really well, so give time and an opportunity for them to practise in a safe environment.
  5. Listen out for hesitation. When you hear a team member saying  “I can’t…” that might be an indication they are fearful of making a mistake. Talk this through with them to identify any obstacles. Do they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support?  Let them know you are still there to support them.
  6. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to find their own way of doing things, and they shouldn’t feel afraid to make the odd mistake when they initially put principles into practice. Recognise and reward as they improve, even if things are not yet perfect.
  7. Foster a supportive culture. It should be okay to ask questions and admit they don’t know all the answers, where they’re encouraged to seek out new activities and it’s accepted that people won’t always get things right. Recognise even marginal gains in performance are a step forward.
  8. Give supportive feedback, and help people see their own mistakes, as well as encouraging them by pointing out what’s gone well.
  9. Reframing. Get people into the habit of looking for solutions rather than trying to blame others. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, or seeing it as a failure.
  10. Think about your emotional states. When you, your team – any of us – are in an unresourceful state (such as anger, exhaustion, boredom) if faced with challenges the tiniest problem can lead us to frustration or aggression; the slightest failure can lead to disappointment, blame or self-doubt; a hint of rejection can lead to defensiveness.

Take action

If you only do one thing towards creating a learning culture…

The next time you or any of your team make a mistake use it as an opportunity to learn from it and move on.

Book recommendation:

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

An inspiring book about how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, by understanding and overcoming failures and demonstrates how even marginal gains all contribute to success.

Building Confidence Video