Top techniques to expand leadership skills…

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how senior your role is or how prestigious your career path has been, you should never rest on your laurels. The second you stop taking the time to develop your career and better yourself as a leader, you’ll witness a steep decline in your influence and, ultimately, your relevance in the corporate sphere.

And whilst you may well be considered a strong leader by your team, there’s never a better time to dust off the cobwebs and challenge yourself. Here are five key ways to build-up your leadership skills:

  1. Learn, consider, implement

There has never been a better time to be a leader in search of betterment than the modern day. The sheer wealth of studies, stats, and advice on websites is enough to keep any leader engaged in progressive people management indefinitely. Want to know how to grow and change? Read up on the latest techniques, consider how applicable they are to your business, and change based on the outcome. You’ll never regret getting more informed.

  1. Challenge yourself to improve the worker experience

Whilst many workers are hesitant to complain to the boss, sites such as Glassdoor offer anonymous insights into employer experience. It may be true that many comments are often left by disgruntled workers, however, this in no way discredits some of the points they raise. To better your leadership, take on board what your critics have to say and use that to better the experience of your employees.

  1. Get into their shoes

Do you feel disconnected from your workforce? There are many ways to reconnect with your team – one of which is to dedicate a day, or even a week, to shadow them. This way, you’ll see their everyday processes and truly understand what it means to manage their workload, whilst also getting to know them better as people. The insight you’ll receive is extremely valuable going forward.

  1. Set team goals

Want to promote collaboration? Then think outside of the box when setting team goals. Teambuilding events are a fashionable excursion for corporates these days and whilst many bosses refuse to get involved, working with your team to complete fun tasks builds a sense of community and comradeship. This could also be promoted in the workplace; why not set reward-based weekly targets? This pushes employees and gives them a reason to celebrate a win if they succeed.

  1. Identify an area of weakness

Don’t wait around for employees to bring it up; objectively asses your own strengths and weaknesses and set aside some time to address them and strengthen them. A boss that can be inwardly critical of their own practices encourages employees to do the same and ultimately improves your management.

What skills do you think are essential for leaders to possess?

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Are LinkedIn’s new tools useful for business leaders?

A new LinkedIn update now allows business professionals to upload PDFs and slide presentations onto the website. Now you can view your documents without leaving LinkedIn, does this mean no more faff or just another complex tool no one can get their heads around?

This new feature is available for computer viewing – although there is already discussion of rolling it out onto the mobile app.

LinkedIn users are free to upload their work onto a personal feed, group, or page in an attempt to create a more business-streamlined website that can cater to the needs of professionals.

The accessibility of the new tool is fairly straight-forward, with an icon appearing on your home page by the attachment icons for photos or videos. The update also lets you add a description that appears when you hover over the document. As well as this, the normal commentary and hashtags can be attached.

Itamar Orgad, Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, said the update is to allow users to see “richer and more engaging visual content flowing across your LinkedIn experience.”

There is a full-screen viewing option for presentation purposes, on which one can find a download button for PDFs and presentations. No longer do attachments need to be manually posted or screenshot and formatted as photos, creating a slicker process for business interactions and sharing.

Have you used this tool? How did you find it? Let us know!

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Half of executives action change with no strategy…

Despite greater onus on management to action structured ‘transformation initiatives’ to promote greater productivity and reduce costs, almost half of all C-suite executives embark on such initiatives with absolutely no strategy in place!

A recent report, which analysed the actions of over 1,000 executives within the C-suite functions, found that most businesses remain unclear on what they should focus on when developing a transformation strategy and highlighted a clear disconnect between leadership and those on the ‘front line’.

44% of senior leaders believe that their business transformation has been a ‘waste of time’, whilst a quarter admits to having spent over £500,000 on the process within the last 12 months.

Almost four in ten business analysts said that they are not regularly consulted to inform their organisation’s transformation strategy, whilst 58% of leaders stated that frontline workers are only involved in transformation initiatives because middle management or consultants tell them which changes to make.

“Transformation strategies will inevitably be part of every organisation’s operations because no business can avoid adapting to the latest industry and technological trends,” commented Alexander Rinke, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Celonis.

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10 important ways data and technology are transforming HR

In any sane world, Human Resources would be central to business strategy. For most organisations, people are both the biggest cost and the biggest influence on performance. Getting more from your people is a direct route to success.

But in practice, even forward-thinking HR leaders can find themselves held back from this strategic role, by three main factors:

  • HR colleagues are frequently dragged away from strategic activities into day-to-day transactional and ER work.
  • People data is too vast, or not granular enough, to gain meaningful insights; it’s useful only for benchmarking.
  • It’s difficult for HR to prove that it helps the business to achieve its strategic objectives, beyond basic cost-cutting.

These challenges are interconnected. If HR leaders can’t prove their strategic impact, it’s difficult to make the case for investment in new processes and systems that can give the insights to spot improvements, and the tools and bandwidth to deliver them. It’s a Catch-22.

Here are ten important ways that we see technology and data changing HR, right now.

Innovative technologies giving HR the bandwidth to work strategically…

  • AI can screen, rank and match CVs to a role, cutting cost per hire by 71%
  • Chatbots can ease the pressure of repetitive HR inquiries – saving hours per day
  • VR can cut travel time to interviews, meetings, and reviews
  • Automation is helping to strip out duplicated and repetitive work
  • Agile management systems could finally unlock the benefits of flexible work
  • Data science is enabling HR to get proactive on absenteeism
  • Mobile apps are closing time gaps in performance management
  • Employees’ experiences as tech consumers are increasing expectations at work
  • Data and technology skills are increasingly necessary for HR teams
  • Overlaying people data with function data is the key to finding value (and proving it)

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eSift partner with Trisha Barker to run a DISC profiling day for all employees….

eSift work in partnership with Trisha Barker Coaching and Consultancy for all psychometric needs.  Trisha has used psychometrics for over 20 years whilst leading HR teams in some of the largest FTSE 100 companies in the UK and she believes that all businesses should embed DISC as part of their standard recruitment process.

After working with Trisha for over 6 years, it was finally time for the eSift team to have their DISC profiles completed and Trisha kindly hosted an interactive session with both teams in our new offices!

The day started with Trisha explaining what DISC is and how it is correctly and incorrectly used within business. This included several interactive conversations and team activities that got everyone working together and communicating effectively! This was followed by a competition in which 4 teams competed to construct the tallest tower out of spaghetti to support a marshmallow!

Trisha finished by identifying everyone’s personality profiles and explaining what this meant to them as an individual. This was completed as a team event, so everyone knew each other’s personality type and it has proved so powerful within the eSift team.

It has made us all aware of the different personality types that you can work with on a day to day basis and without even realising it, how you can be perceived by a different personality type.

We would highly recommend an interactive DISC profiling day with Trisha Barker, it can do wonders for boosting team morale!

For further information on DISC, please contact Trisha on or 07969313585.

Are Women more stressed than Men at work?

New research has revealed that women feel more stressed than men at work – with 1 in 10 feeling like their stress levels are unmanageable.

According to Cigna, whose research was taken from the Cigna 360 Wellbeing Survey, heavy workloads, personal health, and financial concerns are the top stress triggers for women in the UK.

Almost 8 in 10 reported not getting enough sleep compared to 65% of men not getting enough rest. The survey reported that men are sleeping more, undertake more exercise, and, on the whole, are eating healthier.

Cigna’s findings also mirror 2016 figures published by the Health and Safety Executive which found that from the age of 25 onwards UK women feel much more stress than men – continuing throughout their working life.

But why are women more stressed at work?

Two years ago, Dr. Judith Mohring, Lead Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory’s Wellbeing Centre in the City of London told a Guardian report that women often had to balance work and family life.

Institutionalised inequality in the workplace, such as men being perceived as better choices for certain roles than women, and female employees not being paid as much or promoted as regularly, also played a part.

So, what can HR do?

  • Flexible working can help.
  • As can higher pay and better job security.
  • Having more equal dress codes could also do the trick.

Other improvements could be more structural. The gender pay gap and lack of women in senior roles could be down to the fact that women are recruited less at entry-level.

But is all of this true? Are Women more stressed then Men at work? What are your thoughts?

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How to tell if your employees respect you

When it comes to effective leadership, knowing that you have the respect of your employees is imperative to your success. Mutual respect between you and your team ultimately leads to more effective communication, greater employee satisfaction, and greater productivity across the organisation.

As a manager, there’s no way of monitoring your employees for the entire workday and attempting to do so will only deepen divides. So how can you ensure that your employees respect your leadership?


There are times when communicating with your team is a pleasure, but not all conversations can be positive, and when negative information has to be communicated, there may well be members of your team that are simply refusing to take what you have to say on board.


Are your orders being followed properly and actioned fully? Whilst other key signs for a lack of respect may be easier to see, checking that problematic employees are listening to your orders and carrying out your tasks to the desired level will take close monitoring.

Body language

Whilst body language analysis may sound like a skill that requires hours of learning, there are some clear ways to detect respect through body language. When speaking to employees, it is important to maintain eye contact; if your employee refuses to look you in the eye, face you head on or stop moving when you speak, these may all be signs of a lack of respect.

How to earn respect

Ensure that respect is mutual. Your employees are never going to respect you if you give them no respect. Employees that feel valued by their managers are far more likely to perform well based on this fact alone.

Adopt a consistent management style. Nothing is worse for an employee than constantly shifting management techniques. If you find that your employees respond to something, stick with it and ensure that they’re aware of what is expected of them.

Admit faults. No manager is infallible; you’re going to make mistakes, and this is unavoidable, but how you deal with those mistakes is essential. Your employees are always watching your actions and whether you see it or not, they’re judging how you deal with issues. If you’ve made a mistake, own up and you’ll find that your employees take your lead and respect you more for it.

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How to make flexible working fit with your business needs

The benefits of working remotely are increasingly apparent but is it the right move for every organisation?

The rise of flexible working is nothing short of a modern phenomenon. Technology – namely smartphones, laptops, and 4G connectivity – has transformed today’s average workplace by enabling greater mobility and flexibility than ever before. The days of shackling employees to a single desk between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm appear to be numbered, and for good reason.

Many experts agree that working flexibly holds huge potential for businesses looking to drive higher levels of performance and productivity – and employers are clearly acting on this knowledge. A recent global study of 2,000 employees and managers led by Future Workplace and Virgin Pulse found that one-third of people now work remotely on a regular basis. In fact, so many workers now work flexibly that the total number of remote workers has increased by 115% over the past decade.

However, for companies that have yet to establish their own flexible working policies, there are naturally a number of questions (and perhaps doubts) about doing so. As with any new initiative, the first step is to understand the impact that trying a new working pattern could have for both the business and the people who keep it running.

Establishing a clear policy

Clarity is key for businesses looking to embed working from home as part of their culture. In addition to natural discussion in a company or one-to-one meetings, written protocol removes any confusion among existing staff by laying out the terms in black and white. For new recruits, the option (or requirement) to work from home should be first clarified as part of the onboarding process.

It’s also essential to have a strong digital infrastructure in place. Online file storage systems like OneDrive and Google Drive allow employees to easily collaborate, share documents and synchronise their work in real time. And whilst lack of face-to-face contact can be an issue given the nature of some roles, modern technology certainly allows for ease of communication in multiple ways – whether that’s sending a quick message on cloud-based messengers such as Slack or arranging a formal Skype meeting.

Of course, the exact terms of the policy must vary from business to business; but only by formalising and promoting flexible working as a company benefit can employers begin to reap the associated gains in engagement, retention, and productivity. That much is true for all.

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Technology within Executive Search

For many in Executive Search, it may feel like the sector hasn’t changed much at all for years, but whilst the traditional aspects of sourcing top-level talent remain the same, the way in which Executive Search is performed in 2019 is massively changing.

It seems that each month, Executive Search firms are finding new and innovative ways of matching candidates to ideal positions and whilst technology has obviously played a major part in that development, areas such as coaching, board advisory, and succession planning help massively.

The disruption of the digital economy and the prevalence of advancing tech platforms has led to the creation of new and innovative leadership roles within various key sectors. However, as new and agile talent becomes the target of the executive search function, more recruiters are depending on their technology and historical data when fitting candidates with such intricate skillsets.

Many firms are bundling offerings as part of their recruitment process to ensure that they discover the best talent possible for senior leadership roles – with the aim of helping the client enhance its talent selection and aid in candidate development post-role acceptance.

Joe Chappell, Managing Director of Global Marketing and Communications at Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants recently told Forbes: “Technology has impacted every aspect of search especially in finding top talent and assessment. Current assessment techniques are more sophisticated with a suite of technology-based tools combined with in-depth interviewing, role-playing, case studies and situational responses evaluated by seasoned experts.”

He continues: “Clients are now looking to search firms as strategic advisors who provide counsel on a broader basis, including assessing leadership teams, advising boards on their effectiveness, succession planning, and culture shaping. The profession, just as the industries it serves, now requires much more agility. In a fast-paced, ever-shifting business climate accelerated by technology, we have to be at the forefront to best serve our clients with expert advice and insights.”

So, is technology the way forward? Should all executive search firms be adapting the new digital age?

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The benefits of encouraging our staff to walk or cycle to work

According to research by social enterprise organisation, Free2cycle, more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe that employers can make allowances to help encourage employees to have a more active commute.

The survey of 2,000 UK individuals highlighted initiatives such as introducing flexible start times, providing access to changing facilities and offering incentives for equipment, such as cycle to work schemes.

The research also found that of those surveyed:

22% do not walk or cycle on their commute to work, for reasons such as not having access to the appropriate facilities to get changed afterwards or feeling uncomfortable with their colleagues seeing them in their activewear or following exercise.

12% do not walk or cycle to work due to financial reasons, citing the expense of purchasing a bike to be too high for them.

26% who travel to work by car, motorbike or public transport feel stressed by their commute, compared to the 9% who walk or cycle.

Eric Craig, chief executive officer at Free2cycle, said: “Our research shows that those who choose a more active journey feel less stressed by their trip to work and, are more productive than other commuters. This is because employees are more productive when they are fitter. Employees are also better in themselves; which in turn reduces the likelihood of sick days. Making commuting part of a regular exercise routine can make staff happier, smarter and more energetic, while also being good for mental health.”

Based on this study, it is clear that having an active commute is a great way to improve employee’s health and wellbeing as well as benefiting the environment. However, in many circumstances, without the support of employers in regards to the provision of facilities and initiatives to switch to a more active commute, a large percentage of the nation is continuing to find their daily journey physically and mentally straining.

UK employers are responsible for leading a change in prioritising the health and wellbeing of their teams, and for this to be successful, they should include considering how they get to and from work.

With Spring upon us, what better time to encourage your staff to swap their stress-inducing commute for one that benefits both employee and employer …

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