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63: What Global Leaders Know About 2024: Secrets Unveiled

In this episode, we’re peeling back the curtain on what the global leaders know about 2024 that you might not.

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In this episode, we’re peeling back the curtain on what the global leaders know about 2024 that you might not. These lessons aren’t just insightful; they’re game-changers for your organisation.

We’re thrilled to welcome our expert panel:

  • Justin Boxall, Transformation Change Lead at Mars
  • Kimberley Ward, Financial Inclusion & Vulnerability Manager at First Direct
  • Prabha Vijayakumar, Head of Vaccination Workforce & Equalities at NHS England
  • Malcolm Staves, Global Vice President Health & Safety at L’Oréal
  • Francoise Woolley, Head of Mental Health & Wellbeing at ACAS
  • Amy McKeown, Award-winning Workplace Health & Wellbeing Strategist 

Join the conversation as we explore what global leaders know (that you don’t!)

Focus on Mental Health:

The importance of mental health at the workplace has skyrocketed, and leading organisations are prioritising it like never before. We’ll explore why this shift is happening and how it’s transforming the way we work.

Create Inclusive Workplaces:

Inclusivity is more than just a buzzword; it’s a business imperative. We’ll uncover why global leaders are doubling down on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and how this benefits both employees and the bottom line.

Develop a Shared Purpose:

Successful organisations are rallying their teams around a common mission, and it’s driving extraordinary results. We’ll delve into why having a shared purpose is crucial and how it can energize your workforce.

Have Great Managers:

The global leaders understand that managers can make or break a company. We’ll explore the qualities that make a manager truly exceptional and how they can elevate your organisation.


Connect with Justin Boxall from Mars

Connect with Kimberley Ward from First Direct

Connect with Prabha Vijayakumar from NHS England

Connect with Malcolm Staves from L’Oreal

Connect with Francoise Woolley from ACAS

Connect with Amy McKeown

More from Make a Difference Media

More from Kimberley on Not Being Defined by Disability

More from Malcolm on Well-being and ESG

More from Francoise on Reasonable Adjustments

Listen back to Truth & Lies for more on:

Advanced EDI for Leaders

Building Resilient Workplaces

The 4-Day Work Week – THE Trend of 2024?



All the links mentioned in the show.

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Leanne Elliott 0:00
simply creating workplaces where people feel they belong. Get that right and you’ll attract the very best talent in your industry.

Leanne Elliott 0:16
Hello, and welcome to the truth lives and workplace culture podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a Business psychologist.

Al Elliott 0:26
My name is Al I’m a business owner,

Leanne Elliott 0:29
we are still here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace coaches.

Al Elliott 0:34
Yes, if you’re joining us in on YouTube, you’ll see that Leanne looks like she’s coming to you from outer space. I’m floating, we’re halfway through creating a background. And so just put a black background up for now. So if you are interested to see what Leann looks like in space, then go to YouTube boom, you’ll you’ll find our channel searching for truth lives and work. Anyway, I’m excited for today’s episode. And I’ll tell you for why Leann, I do care about the trends that affect the workplace. Of course I do. And that’s pretty much all we talk about. Because obviously, if you don’t know, husband and wife live together, obviously. And so when we chat to sit down for dinner at six o’clock, we tend to talk about work, and it’s around the workplace culture. But I really like well, like real life examples. So for example, my favorite books is something called Small Giants by our where everything is Bo Burlingham. And it just tells stories of how people built companies. Do you want to get started?

Leanne Elliott 1:24
I do. But what are we actually talking about today? Well, I

Al Elliott 1:27
have not introduced already shipped Java listed overnight. So basically, today we are talking about the four priorities that large organizations have for 2024. And you probably should have to by the time you’re listening to this, you will see that I probably come up with a slightly snappier headline than that. But that’s essentially what we are talking about.

Leanne Elliott 1:46
And this is the third and final episode for now that we will be bringing you in partnership with mad world and make a difference media which is the all year round media platform that supports mad world and the water cooler event. As you know we’re at Mad World a couple of weeks ago where water cooler back in April water cooler 2020 For registrations now open and get your tickets we’ll leave the links all of these incredible people we met at a mad world and we can’t wait to introduce introduce them to you. There’s some really cool names in hero.

Al Elliott 2:19
Yeah, we got first direct a large bank from the UK subsidiary of HSBC. We’ve got Mars Yes, the people who make the miles a day keep the doctor away. Knock on about how was it? A Mars ma

Leanne Elliott 2:29
today helps you work rest

Al Elliott 2:34
was so old. Last hour? Do you remember Mars

Leanne Elliott 2:37
Bars used to be massive, worthy,

Al Elliott 2:39
massive? Or were we physically smaller as children?

Leanne Elliott 2:41
Well, both but shrink inflation is real. filiation? I don’t think shrink inflation.

Al Elliott 2:47
Oh, I see. Sorry. I misheard what you said there. Moving on. Yeah, moving on, very swiftly. So Lee, your take on these four priorities that we’ve put together? What you’re thinking? Yeah,

Leanne Elliott 3:00
what what I think is really nice about these, these trends that as you said, the big boys and girls are talking about in implementing in in the perhaps more corporate world at the moment is it does give us those examples, those case studies, those best practice guidelines. And, you know, as small businesses, you can, I guess we always kind of sit in this place where it’s like, I might not have the financial or people resources to do exactly how L’Oreal are doing it. But I can take the core lessons from that, and how to apply that in my smaller organization. And I think entrepreneurs are very, very used to that process. So I’d imagine there’s a lot of business owners and leaders out here that are that are fully understand that this is how we look at case studies, in terms of people, practitioners, in terms of business leaders. I love the research and psychology side of it. Of course I do. But ultimately, psychology is about people. It’s about the behavior of people. I’m not an academic, I’m a practitioner. That’s why I will never have doctor in front of my name. I’ll have chartered psychologist after my name, you don’t know what that means. And that’s fine. But basically, it means I’m not an academic. I’m a practitioner. And I work in the real world. I have managed both in office and remote teams. I’ve worked close with people who I’ve never met in person. I’ve consulted with growing companies who’ve had to share you know, their their significant challenges with me. So I do have a real sense of what it’s like to lead people in the real world and to drive change in the real world.

Al Elliott 4:32
Yeah, and I think as we run down to Christmas, which is coming frighteningly fast as of November by the end, but Yeah, happy first pinches and punch into the month and all that about

Leanne Elliott 4:42
a rabbit’s foot.

Al Elliott 4:43
I don’t really know. But anyway, happy happy the first November. So as we are running down to Christmas, I think most of us are kind of excited about what 2024 has got. But there’s a small part of us that probably quite pleased that 2023 is over because it’s been such an odd year. I mean, we’ve had we’ve got wars on owing which obviously very sad, but having impact as well on our businesses, inflation is ridiculous. Interest rates are ridiculous. We’ve still got this hangover from the pandemic, neither none of us are quite sure exactly what we should be doing. Should we be hybrid, she’ll be remote offices discussion for another day. Tech companies have made huge layoffs over the last 12 months has been a tough time for a lot of people. And also, nobody really knows what the right thing to do is, but we’ve got you. So today we are bringing you these four priorities that the big boys and girls have got on their agenda for 2024. And you should too. Now the good news is large organizations have definitely have the headcount, the resources to be able to experiment with this kind of thing. So obviously, they’re a bit more of the forefront in terms of research, like people like Mars got 1000s, probably 10s of 1000s of people to work with work for them across the world, so they can come up with these ideas. But you as a smaller business 2200 400 You’re agile, you can come up, you can listen to this today. You can talk to someone tomorrow, and you can implement it on Monday. Yes,

Leanne Elliott 6:01
but before you make any drastic decisions, don’t just listen to this and go guys, this is what we’re doing. doesn’t quite work like that. Just yet, take ticket take a pause. But yes, at the end of this episode, you will know what you should be focusing on why you should be focusing on it that what and why have to be connected, and how to implement it in your organization.

Al Elliott 6:24
Yes, so Well, let’s go and meet our guests. Now. You may have heard some of these names on the pod before last week, we did do a kind of a, a roundup. I think we had about eight or nine guests on last week. But rest assured that we’re going to hear today as you’ve never heard before on the podcast. So first of all, you can introduce Justin boxhill from Mars, UK. In case you don’t know Mars is the largest privately owned company, I think in the world, but certainly in America. And they are more brands than you think. So

Speaker 1 6:52
yeah. My name is Justin Vauxhall. I’m the associate health and wellbeing manager at Mars UK, which basically means I’m responsible for the Occupational Health and the well being initiatives that we run at Mars. We are a very large pet nutrition companies. So brands that you’ll have heard of like whiskers Sheba pedigree, James wellbeloved, Royal Cannan. On the pet food side, we also deal in sort of horse care, fish care, etc. We’ve also got some fantastic food brands around Ben’s original Dolmio seeds of change, as well as the snacking brands that you’ll probably be familiar with. Whether it’s Maltesers, Galaxy, m&ms, Skittles and all of the Wrigley’s gum brands.

Leanne Elliott 7:34
We are also delighted to introduce Kimberly Ward from first direct. We heard a snippet from her interview a couple of weeks ago on our mad world episode, but this week she’s spilling the tea on how first I whacked do things. So

Speaker 2 7:46
my kind of back history is changed development. And so I’ve got a very broad background in change delivery from process improvement Lean Sigma. I’m qualified scrum master for agile delivery and I’m also qualified project manager

Al Elliott 8:00
I sat down with product via cuma from the NHS England and she explained how the NHS is creating a great workplace regardless of ethnicity.

Speaker 3 8:09
So I’m proud of Ajay Kumar and I currently work as a head of vaccination workforce and equalities in NHS England. Obviously it is for the COVID vaccination program. We also

Leanne Elliott 8:19
asked Malcolm stay was from L’Oreal, yes, that L’Oreal you have worth it, what they’re doing to reduce risk and improve their workforce

Speaker 4 8:27
monthly Malcolm staves. I look at the health safety and well being at L’Oreal. I’m a Brit based in France. I’ve been in France now for 25 years, worked for about 10 Different companies. And I am a major Chelsea fan just to let you know, okay.

Al Elliott 8:42
We also spoke to Francois Willie, who was on the Mad World episode a couple of weeks ago, you probably remember and we asked her what she’s seeing from the sharp end of workplace wellbeing.

Speaker 5 8:52
So my name is Francois wooley, I’m head of mental health and wellbeing at a Cass so I specialized in forensic psychology. I worked in prisons for a number of years and other criminal justice settings, working with all manner of offenders, some very high risk offenders. So I got passionate about mental health from an early age really, just really seeing individuals and how they were not supported and no

Leanne Elliott 9:20
workplace wellbeing conversation would be complete without the incredible Amy McCowan, we’ll be hearing her take on things too.

Al Elliott 9:27
But the four things you should be prioritizing and 2024 is number one, a focus on mental health. I know you’ve heard it before. And it but it is everywhere. You get on to tick tock Instagram, anything where the kids are hanging out the younger generations, you’ll find the mental health is probably one in four one in five of the things that they post about in terms of the workplace will be around about what workplace sorry, it will be around about mental health. So you need to know and get across this.

Leanne Elliott 9:50
The second priority is to create inclusive workplaces. Again, regular listeners. This will not be a surprise. Inclusion is no longer buzzword diversity is no longer a buzzword, the fight for talent, I mean, the younger workers will just leave if they’re not in environments that embrace and nurture it inclusion and diversity in this way. Plus, you’ll get so much more out of your teams

Al Elliott 10:15
fabulous. The third priority you should be looking at in 2024 is to develop a shared purpose. Now it does some little bit surprisingly. So this has come quite so high in those priorities. But teams with a purpose have been proven to outperform those who don’t, you don’t have to be a huge company to have that to have a purpose. You can the some of the small, best smaller companies in the world have just got a very clear purpose.

Leanne Elliott 10:37
And the fourth priority and if this doesn’t gain traction, 2024 I’m just gonna I’m just going to give up I’m going to throw in my psychology gloves and going live on a desert island somewhere where people and culture don’t exist priority for have great managers, people, train your managers, if you only invest in one thing, if you only invest in one thing in 2024, it should be a quality and competence of your line

Al Elliott 11:04
managers. Well, sadly, and let’s go and see what I guess I’ve got to say about this. So

Leanne Elliott 11:07
the first priority for 2024 focus on mental health. If you’re thinking I’ve heard all of this before, then stop Francois from a Cass explains that mental health is the number one reason for absence, and it’s costing you money.

Speaker 5 11:23
Yeah, I mean, absence is a huge problem. And actually, mental ill health is the one of the major causes of sickness absence at the moment. And of course, that has a massive cost to employers in terms of kind of lost productivity, having to retrain new staff recruit new staff. So yeah, it is a huge problem

Leanne Elliott 11:41
at the moment, but it’s not just a disengaged or an absent employee that’s going to cost you money. If you fail to acknowledge the problem, you could run the risk of a tribunal, and that is hugely costly. Francoise should know her organization, a cast deals with this day in day out, I’m

Speaker 5 11:59
very passionate about providing support for mental health and, and giving guidance and obviously working with a cast now more focus within the workplace. And, and we do see, we see the sort of hard end of things if you like, where people come to employment tribunals. And they bring cases of discrimination because their employer has not supported them with their mental health difficulty. And it is frustrating, because there are so many things that people can do that an employee can do to support staff. So I’m really kind of passionate about that, you know, giving guidance and giving awareness around how you can do that, really.

Al Elliott 12:35
But the ultimate problem with not addressing mental health in the workplace, and general wellbeing is that your team aren’t performing at their best. This is a problem if you’re an accountant, say because you might make an accounting mistake, or if you’re a creative, you might not be at your very best. But if you are operating machinery like they do in L’Oreal, this is a huge problem. Malcolm staves is the health and safety guy for L’Oreal in France, and this is what keeps me up at night. And being

Speaker 4 13:00
a health and safety professional today is not the same as your image or your experience, you do have people like that that still need to do the checklists, right. But you also need to be more of a psychologist as well forms of an expression form. Unfortunately, for those that don’t get it very often, something has to happen in their lives, that’s quite negative. Maybe they lose the loved one. They have a major injury or whatever. And then they get it and then they get on this road of I’m going to say individual cultural development, culture, transformation of an individual towards being interdependent and maybe start following a few more rules. Like yo, imagine you follow the rules for speeding, you know, you’re always exactly below the speed limit like everybody else. But there’s a reason why people do because because the human, but once you get fined, you may lose your license one day, it puts you on a different trajectory, with respect to your own personal health and safety or wellbeing. And it’s the same, it’s the same if a person comes to work, and they’re not at work in their head. They’ve been up all night. Kids have been ill, they’ve had an argument with the partner, something’s going wrong in their life, then they’re going to be distracted at work. So should you give them a five ton forklift truck to drive? Should you send them up ladders for working at height where you need them to be? The present and you know so that’s where the you know, the wellbeing aspect comes in as well. It’s not just a well being as in I mean, it’s sometimes annoys me I’ll be honest with you. I’m an hour sleep that you want and healthy eating the gimmick things like fruit on a Friday or and whatever. I mean, what we should really be doing is helping people see what is good for them, so that they can make the wrong decisions.

Leanne Elliott 14:52
The pandemic has had some upsides although it did significantly impact I have mental health adversely for many of us the pandemic, we are at least now much more aware of our own mental health. And organizations have I think, over time come to realize that it’s not just a hate job problem. It’s a problem that every level of the organization needs to address at Moz, Justin came to this exact conclusion.

Speaker 1 15:21
It’s all intrinsically linked, whether it’s health and well being, whether it’s inclusion and diversity, whether it’s people business partnering, whether it’s talent acquisition, it’s all really linked, and it all, we all have to work together on that intersectionality to make sure that associate associates have the best possible experience from before they join us until after they’ve left us. And hopefully, a very long time in between, we learned a lot from the pandemic, and we learned a lot about how people work, the sort of social importance of work and what it means to people to connect to get together to collaborate. And as a result of that, we’ve developed a new sort of expression of what we mean by health and well being at work it’s called be well together and it has the together right at the center of it because it does talk about that social benefit of health and well being so my health and well being will impact the people around me that I work directly with their health and well being will impact me. And you know, there’s there is that whole social element of let’s let’s be healthy, together, let’s thrive together at work.

Al Elliott 16:23
The bottom line is, this is your bottom line of your p&l. Like, even if you deep down think mental health is a little bit snowflake, eat sorry, Leanna know, she’s gonna slap me afterwards for using that word. Still,

Leanne Elliott 16:34
we banned that word for the podcast, but

Al Elliott 16:36
carry on. But if you don’t address it, it’s gonna cost us and it cost you dearly. And it’s going to cost you in ways you may not even have thought of, as Francois make us explains, though, if

Speaker 5 16:47
you support your staff, if you value your staff, you care about them. And you acknowledge that actually, there are individuals that have lives outside of work that might come into work with, you know, variety of experience or issues, then, you know, you are going to get a workforce that feel valued, and you’re going to be more productive. And you know, actually from a from a business sense, you’re going to make more money or you’re going to you know, achieve better outcomes as a business. So I think a big issue at the moment isn’t is kind of retention of staff, isn’t it? retention of talent. And, you know, I think people are getting more picky now about where they want to work. And you know, they’re not going to choose an organization that has a reputation of, of not supporting their staff, why would they?

Al Elliott 17:27
Okay, so the first priority for 2024 for you is to focus on mental health, Lea was number two.

Leanne Elliott 17:33
So our second priority if you were if you were, if you were a snowflake hater that was triggered by mental health, then strap in Fran because priority number two is to create inclusive workplaces, inclusive organizations, big organizations have been on this for a while. But in 2024, the emphasis will also be on inclusion not just about diversity and inclusive workplace is quite simply somewhere where everyone feels included. I’m not sure maybe you needed that definition. But I want to be crystal clear about something creating an inclusive workplace is not just ensuring you’re diverse. In fact, diversity is the result of an inclusive workplace, it’s not the definition of one. inclusive workplaces are where people feel comfortable, they feel welcomed, they feel accepted, regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or any other differentiator. inclusive workplaces make people feel like they belong. And you remember us talking about the significant importance of belonging a couple of weeks ago, in our mad world episode, now, maybe 20 years ago, employees would concentrate on just the ethnicity part of diversity, they’d be keen to show that they have a good mix of ethnicities. But more often than not, that was just for shower. It was a tick box exercise. It’s the same way that these big organizations had leadership programs for women, as opposed to just inclusive leadership programs. If you’re trying to tick some imaginary box to to prevent bad press or prevent being a racist organization, employees again, honesty through that proper tells us a story of when she came to the UK and how she encountered what she calls micro racial aggression. Initially,

Speaker 3 19:15
when I came to the country about 20 years ago. First of all, I didn’t understand I couldn’t read what microaggression is because I don’t know, sometimes I can say ignorance is bliss. But as I kind of, you know, spent a long time in UK and worked in different settings, I could understand Oh, you know, that’s not right. You’re not supposed to say that or you shouldn’t have said that kind of thing. And take it a very defensive manner and I’m very itching to respond to that. The way how I perceive it something around, you know, people say things in a as a fun are slightly slipping the comments under the big context. You know, things like oh, Oh, your English is very good. Where are you from? You know? And it’s like, well, you know, I’m from India and our medium of instruction is English. Yes, ma’am. There may be some accent issues in terms of how I pronounce certain words would might be different than you know, you know, my white colleagues or, you know, people who have been brought and brought up here, but now I’m in a different place. It’s more around, you know, how do you how do you react to those comments? It’s different as well. Because if you do not react in a very defensive way, and actually, again, kind of like, almost like make it a joke and said, Oh, yes, that’s right. You know, you know, in India, we are just, you know, x billion of people and all that x billion people have made him if it’s recognized English, but you know, something like that. Thankfully,

Al Elliott 20:54
this kind of racism is taken quite seriously these days by most organizations. Because of the answers. being inclusive isn’t just about avoiding racism is about creating place where everyone feels like they belong. Kimberly, from first direct, as she explained, has got a hearing impairment. And so she said in a previous organization, she made what she thought was a reasonable request and turned out to be perceived as very unreasonable. I’ve had

Speaker 2 21:17
quite a number of negative experiences in education and working, as well, where I have asked RISD for reasonable adjustments, it was simple things like, can you just tell me where you’re going to be standing, just so I know, where I can position myself so I can feel included and that I can hear you and would you mind maybe not turning around facing the other way. And someone actually turned around and said to me, I can’t make just adjustments just for you, there’s 40 people in this room, and I didn’t feel my request was out of out, you know, out there, it was just wherever you’re standing, so I can sit myself in a way that I can be involved. And, you know, that had a massive impact to me and my mental health.

Al Elliott 21:56
Thankfully, When Kimberly moved to first direct, she got involved in something called an employee resource group ERG, you might have heard of that a couple of weeks ago on our MadWorld, because it was definitely a theme that Kimberly said that first direct, very open and supportive of her being in this group.

Speaker 2 22:11
Whilst my role is working in first direct, I focused fairly heavily very heavily on our customers, I have a big role to play in supporting our colleagues as well. And I get involved heavily in our employee resource groups. So focusing quite often on those with disabilities or care need responsibilities. So despite also having health, and disability myself, I am a carer for my partner, who has long COVID. So it’s been quite challenging for us whilst we’re learning and adapting. And it’s just being that flexible, and having the time to do that. And I find first, I like that absolutely fantastic.

Leanne Elliott 22:45
You don’t need to completely change the way you do things to have an inclusive workplace. In fact, there’s a term reasonable adjustments that summarizes this idea perfectly to make people feel included, you probably only need to tweak a couple of things. Francois from a gas explains that by making these reasonable adjustments, you’ll end up not only attracting and retaining great employees, but also getting more out with them too,

Speaker 5 23:09
though, I speaking to someone the other day, who has significant physical and mental health difficulties, talking about horror stories of where she used to work and, you know, ask him for some very simple adjustments that would have a massive difference in her life. And her manager saying, Well, if I do it for you, what about everyone else, you know, and her coming to work, being in tears a lot of the time and really, really struggling. She’s now working for an employer who is literally completely the opposite of that. So she, it was interesting, she was saying to me that actually, if you look at the hours I work is less than other people I work with, because my employer gives me time off for my appointments and paid time off my appointments. But the output I produce is more you know, because I come in, I feel valued, I’m able to kind of give my best to work. And she was saying that actually, because of that kind of culture of support, it’s then passed on to our customers. So that organization has received lots of awards for good customer service. And that is because the staff are producing better work, they’re interacting with the customers better because they feel valued. There’s a misconception that actually to put in adjustments for somebody, you have to spend a lot of money, but sometimes it’s just thinking about, you know, their different changes to the work tasks. Is it a case of you know, if somebody is having a depressive episode, do they need a bit of a break in terms of the work load, and that may well be temporary? I think you know, more and more now we’re talking about flexible working and actually that can be really helpful for some people in terms of having a bit of flexibility over when and how and where they work from Whaley.

Al Elliott 24:48
Amy McCarran one of our regulars on the podcast is very well known advocate of healthy workplaces. In fact, she has worked with the European Parliament to create their strategy around mental health. She says it just boils down as being a bit more flexible,

Speaker 6 25:01
we’ve seen from the Society of occupational medicine flexibility reduces long term sickness. And given that in the UK at the moment, we’ve got more people out of the workforce with sickness than ever before, I’m really reluctant to rush back into that kind of working pattern that we had before because it just excluded so many people, women, people with caring responsibilities, people with disabilities, people with illness, pre pandemic, my partner is an internal audit partner. So they used to have four audit audit committees a year that were always face to face. So people flying in across the globe for these things. And my argument was always Why can’t you do it remotely? And it was, Oh, that was impossible. And then suddenly, we had two years of working from home. And magically, they found a solution to this, right. So everything is always possible. And when there’s a will, there’s a way, right. I think what we’re at risk of at the moment is what works and what doesn’t work and just slipping back into the old. There’s definitely an argument about people and connection and some of that product, creativity lost, and we all hate being on Zoom every day. But also, we have a chance to really change a workforce that isn’t working for the better for so many groups that weren’t. So

Leanne Elliott 26:08
to summarize, creating an inclusive workplace isn’t just a fancy HR term that business psychologists like me use, it’s very simply creating workplaces where people feel they belong. Get that right, and you’ll attract the very best talent in your industry. Okay, enough about inclusion and diversity. I feel we’ve, we’ve covered that quite nice in the last few weeks. What is the third thing that we need to be prioritizing in 2024?

Al Elliott 26:36
The third thing we need to prioritize is developing a shared purpose. Now, purpose might sound like one of these fancy things always nice to have we really, you know, oh, yeah, we were working towards having a shared purpose. But if you’ve dealt with employees who don’t have a purpose, or don’t share the purpose of the organization, you know, what it feels like as a customer? When’s the last time you went somewhere and someone was really rude to you? Or you said, you wanted something? And they were like, No, I can’t do that. Compare it to that time. And I’m sure we’ve all got one where someone went and employee went above and beyond to, to do something for you to solve a particular problem. You’ve got that Zappos springs to mind that they were famous for going above and beyond, they sold shoes, but they also someone rang up once said, I need a pizza. So they found a pizza place, Google it found a pizza place and get it got it sent to them. So the point is that they have a shared purpose, the purpose for Zappos was to create the best customer experience on the planet. The problem is, if you don’t have a purpose, then number one, your employees don’t really have a reason to be good. And number two, your clients and customers are going to realize this and they’re gonna go to someone who does have a shared purpose. One of the most purpose led organizations probably in the world is the NHS in the UK, you can see that they’ve got very difficult workplace. There have been some controversies in the past, yet still people turn up and they work they do their very best for the person who’s walked through that door who needs their help, they are purpose driven. Now proper is from the NHS England, which I had to ask her what what that wasn’t helpful for today. But she explained that even though they are quite far from the actual primary care that’s given out, they still all share the same purpose

Speaker 3 28:17
NHS England again, no, I wouldn’t say report back to you. But we are kind of like responsible for our liaise quite closely with the Department of Health and Social Care Worker, health and social care department. And then on the top, you have got the ministers if you like, and then the government but ultimately for NHS, everybody, wherever we are. It’s the patients are important and what works for the patient how collaboratively and inclusively we work together to make to provide good outcomes for the patients. I think we are definitely definitely passionate about our business, which is basically patient care. I think everything revolved around that. So I think I think nobody can beat us in that having

Leanne Elliott 29:00
purpose provides us with individuals with humans as meaning and that is a fundamental human need. And again, regular listeners would have heard as mentioned this in a bit more detail in our muddled episode where we talked about belonging. So if you want to hear more about that, go back a couple of episodes. Having purpose feeds into positive actions, attitudes and behaviors such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, extra role, effort. Purpose is a reason people stay at organizations. It’s a reason they go the extra mile, and it’s also the reason they experience positive well being. But purpose is more than just vision. It’s at its most impactful when we understand the purpose of the organization. We understand our role in Mission delivery, and we have the resources available to us to direct reason, role and resources go hand in hand. Malcolm the guy in charge of health and safety at L’Oreal He is very clear on both his own purpose. And how that then passes the purpose on to colleagues

Speaker 4 30:05
is that one person dies at work, what would happen to the family, what would happen to your partner, if you didn’t come home at night, then it shifts from, I need to work safely for L’Oreal to I need to work safely for me, my family, because that is my sense of purpose. And once somebody realizes that they become better health and safety ambassadors at work, and it’s switching that equation is given a meaning as to the why to the sense of purpose of why we should work safely. And then maybe you’ll follow the rules because you don’t want to be run over by a forklift truck, you don’t want to vote. So you’ll start to understand the why behind the rules.

Al Elliott 30:44
Just in from Mars. The same he said that the company is guided the entire company is guided by purpose, which has helped him to define what His purpose is.

Speaker 1 30:51
And the third element and a really important element for us at Mars, because we are very purpose letters of business is live your purpose. So what what is your purpose? What do you get up for what what shines with your personal values? And how can you do more of that at work, because people who are living their purpose and working towards their purpose are going to be more engaged, more inspired, and more thriving and flourishing more in the workplace. My purpose is, is that self selflessness is a virtue. So I spent my first 20 years at Mars in sales, and going through the sort of standard sales progression from running the North Birmingham territory, up to sales leadership positions. But what became really, really apparent to me was more, I preferred, developing others and helping others thrive more than I did, selling products to customers. That realization led me to move into the, into the human resources, space, and then into the health and wellbeing space, which is where I really feel I could make a positive difference and help our associates, we don’t have employees, we have associates, help our associates sort of thrive, flourish and bring their bring their best selves to work on a daily basis.

Al Elliott 32:03
Kimberly, from first direct explains that the purpose of the bank is central to everything they do at first direct. And when they all have a shared purpose, everything else kind of just slots into place.

Speaker 2 32:14
I think it’s really ingrained in the culture. And it goes full circle, from my perspective, as well. Because if you invest in your people, they’re going to be thinking about loyalty to you as a brand, someone that you they trust, they listened to, they are happy at work, they’re comfortable talking about things. We listen to the things that they they want to do. So if they’re interested in personal development, we will offer those opportunities for them as well. It’s really taking on board that feedback.

Al Elliott 32:41
And the cool thing is that as first Durex primary purpose in law in business is to protect people’s money, they have to build trust. And that kind of permeates automatically into the culture, trust and protecting people. As

Speaker 2 32:54
a financial industry, we are heavily regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and other establishments as well. So, you know, it’s ingrained that people have to do learning, we have to think about lots of things like risks, protecting our customers in different circumstances. And it kind of crosses through and into, you know, thinking about your people as well. So if we’re thinking about our customers, how can we provide amazing customer service to these people who are banking with us, and they’ve invested, you know, their time, their money, and trust us to take care of them and their banking and financial needs, we need to be thinking about how we do that for our people as well. Because if our people aren’t happy, then they’re not going to be providing that great customer service. So it’s spotting the signs where someone’s not at their best, they’re not maybe bringing their best self to work. It could be something work related, it could be something at home. And it’s really just thinking about how do we spot those signs? How can we talk to these individuals, in our in our company, and just give them the opportunities to speak as well, because I think listening and just having that ability to talk to someone is really, really powerful.

Leanne Elliott 34:03
I think a few words of caution here for any business leaders that are listening and thinking about perhaps Yes, I need to look at purpose. Every business probably has a vision, which is essentially the written version of your purpose. Have a look at that, do you still reconnect with it often that can change as our business grows or, or evolves over time? And if you don’t connect with it, change it, find a purpose that you do connect with? Then include your employees in the conversation, what do they find purpose in how does this align, you know, the purpose of your business align with with that values as an individual because that mismatch isn’t going to work either that can cause that’s called Moral burnout. If we’re not sharing our own values aren’t aligned with the organization we’re working for. And finally, which is really a very strong word of warning. purpose alone. Ain’t gonna do it. Purpose has to feel into each individual role within the organization, each role needs to understand how they’re contributing to that mission delivery. And they need to have the resources available to them to do that, that means manageable workloads, that means the right skills and training to do that job. You cannot just say, Do you know what? Everyone’s got purpose, everyone believes in this, and therefore my business will continue to grow, and I can bleed everyone dry for it, you probably can for a time. And you know, without getting too into the politics of it all. We have seen that with the NHS in the past 12 months, and the massive amount of strikes have happened across different types of practitioners, from nurses to consultants to junior doctors. Purpose will take you really really far. But in itself, it’s not enough.

Al Elliott 35:48
Well said layer that was spectacular if you’d listened to, if you just stop listening now fine. You’ve just got gold right there. Okay, so the third priority is a purpose, a sense of purpose. Lian, what’s the fourth?

Leanne Elliott 36:02
The fourth, I was about to get off my soapbox, but I think I’ll stay on. Yeah, like, the fourth and final priority is have great marriages. It is one of my favorite topics. You know, management is so important. Leadership is so important. If you want to make the quickest and biggest impact on your business in 2024, then train your managers to be the very best they can be. Managers account for about 60% the variance in employee engagement, about 40% of variance in well being managers, our culture keepers, managers are motivators, managers are quite simply everything. And they need to be trained to improve their people skills, not that technical skills to do the technical transactional elements of their job, their people skills, they need to be trained in empathy, and compassion, and communication and conflict management. In coaching. These are the skills that make managers better, and people happier, not training your managers, but saying you care about your people is like saying you’re a vegetarian, but you eat meat. It’s simply not true. I’m sorry, but it’s simply not true. If you do one thing for the love of RuPaul, Charles, train your managers, I

Al Elliott 37:14
love soapbox, Lea, I think she speaks a lot of sense.

Leanne Elliott 37:17
I don’t get to take a breath, and hand over to Kimberly. Kimberly from first direct first I rec clearly invest in their managers, let’s say more,

Speaker 2 37:28
my line manager who just listens to what I have to say, because it’s quite often I don’t want or need him to do anything, I just didn’t feel safe in a space that I can get something off my chest, because that’s really, really powerful as being able to open up and talk about what you’re experiencing what’s on your mind. Because I find if you hold on to that, that can cause problems for you in in the future. So I faced a lot of adversity, and I’ve talked about my health and challenges well, but from a mental health perspective, my dad actually committed suicide 15 years ago. And one thing that that kind of was powerful at the time then was that he didn’t really have anyone to talk to, and there was a lot of judgment. And back back then I think, you know, people weren’t really open to talk about Well, being a mental health, it was just a new thing. And I think sometimes in some cases, there’s still a little bit of a taboo about it. But people are starting to open up and that being able to talk about it is what helps. And that’s something that we have ingrained in our business. And in our culture. We don’t talk about our staff, as staff, our agent, there are people and we describe them as amazing people, they provide fantastic and amazing customer service. And that’s embedded right through from our frontline colleagues, right through to senior leadership, and everybody has a voice. And we listen to that. And there’s lots of updates that come out from our senior leadership, and our people really do hold them accountable. So if they’re not happy, and they don’t like what they’re hearing, they will be quite blunt about that with our CEO. But he takes that really, really well. And he will be really honest with our people and talk and explain, you know, this is why we are doing something. And when you have that opportunity to really talk and listen. It really, people really listen and take that on board and it’s like, okay, I get what you’re saying now,

Al Elliott 39:16
it feels weird, but first director mas are almost like, in lockstep as they as we’re going through this because they totally agree. And they do exactly the same thing. He’s just in to explain a bit more, we’re really,

Speaker 1 39:25
really conscious of the, of the importance of good mental health at work. So so that’s where our focus is mental health and energy. And we were developing packages, resources, a lot of support to help line managers help them help their teams to make sure that we we create an environment where it’s it’s safe to talk about mental health, where there’s no stigma attached to mental health where it’s okay to not be okay. And then once those conversations are happening, where, where they’re needed, we’ve got really good resources that people can go to for help quickly easily and get the help they need. We don’t really, it’s less important where they get the help as long as they get the help.

Al Elliott 40:06
And when I asked Justin about what how do you create the business case for this, which let’s be honest, a lot of us in organizations have to create a business case for these kinds of things. He just said, we don’t bother miles know that this is really, really important.

Speaker 1 40:19
Fortunately, we’ve moved past the need to justify a business case, our leaders get it. Our leaders appreciate that the most important asset that our business has is its people, the happier the healthier. The more engaged, the more connected those people are, the better productivity is, the better innovation is and frankly, the better workers and the better the better results we’ll get. So fortunately, my the people that have come before me have largely done that job for me. And I don’t have to justify myself justify my costs or just or come up with a business case anymore. It’s just in what can you do? How can we do this? How can we go faster

Leanne Elliott 40:55
Probert from NHS England believes that a great manager is both inclusive and compassionate. It’s

Speaker 3 41:00
how you treat people. And that’s their central fit. without any prejudice and judgment on whatever the differences one may have, than me, for example. And also thinking and believing and actioning that everybody ideas, or comments or feedback is valuable. And everybody brings something to the table. And I’m really actively listening. And even even if you disagree, or it’s completely different from your views, that’s what I think it’s being inclusive and compassionate. But at the same time, it’s kind of like I’ve said, getting things done. So it’s great to have different opinions. It’s great to include everyone, but you know, how do we move forward as a team or as an organization together? It’s kind of important as well. Okay,

Al Elliott 41:54
so you’re at this point now thinking, Well, that would be lovely. But how the hell am I going to get my managers to be the superhumans that you seem to be describing here, Leah? Well, the good news is they don’t have to know everything straight away. Francois from UK has some reassuring words for you, there’s a

Speaker 5 42:10
lot of responsibility, put on managers to do a lot of things at home and keep business running as usual. And then support staff during a time we’re actually you know, there’s a lot going on with the cost of living with having come through a pandemic. So we do try and simplify things. And I think, you know, sometimes managers, you know, often they’re scared of mental health, they’re scared, they don’t, you know, they don’t feel expert in that kind of area. And what we say and what we provide for our guidance, which we’ve we’ve just produced on reasonable adjustments at work, is that actually, it’s about good management skills. So it’s about checking in with your staff regularly, having those conversations and and actually saying, Look, I’m not an expert in your mental health, but you know, tell me, how is it impacting you? What can we do? What can you do? How can we work together and getting advice, you know, either from a CAS or occupational health, to help kind of support you with that as well.

Al Elliott 43:02
In short, she explains, we just need managers to care managers

Speaker 5 43:06
that have regular conversations with staff that can check in with them and start to spot those signs where perhaps they’re struggling or finding things difficult, and then be able to have those kinds of conversations about how they can adapt workload or other adaptions to kind of support them before they go off. Sick.

Leanne Elliott 43:23
Good managers are rarely surprised by an absence by resignation. Good managers see it coming and they mitigate the risk. Like any good leader, like any risk in your business, you plan for it, you anticipate it you scenario planet, you mitigate the risk. If you’re a manager or a leader, and you’re not sure about how to have these types of conversations, you’re not alone in this, go to HR, go to your manager, go to whoever in the company is responsible for training and employee welfare, ask for training opportunities, asked for a list of services to signpost, people to you’re not meant to have the answers or fix a problem. You’re meant to facilitate the conversation and point people in the right direction. If you’re still not sure where to start, please do get in touch. We know some awesome training organizations and support services. If you are listening to this and even just have the tiniest bit of butterflies in your stomach thinking I need to step up my management game. Congratulations, my friend, you are already in the top 20% of people leaders for even feeling that because what you’re feeling there is empathy and accountability. You’ve totally got this

Al Elliott 44:33
Okay, so I know we’ve featured some big companies here I know we’ve talked about some big topics and I probably I know it probably sounds a little bit overwhelming. I just want to say to you take lightly handset take a breath. This is what you got 2024 You got entire 12 months to get on top of this and he’s likely already good at a several of these things. You’re probably 80% of the way there on at least one and if you’re a smaller company remember, you can implement this tomorrow. You You can listen to this today, write some notes tonight implemented tomorrow, you’re not the NHS, just in from Mars, which is a big company has got some reassuring final words for you, our owners

Speaker 1 45:10
of the mass family, we don’t have to answer on a quarterly or half yearly basis to stick to external stakeholders per se. So the business is able to make those long term decisions for the benefit of the business and for the benefit of those of us that work within the business. I think that’s the real opportunity. And because it’s family owned, and the family really care, the family wants us to do this stuff for the family, the family knows that our best assets are our associates, and right from the family, right from the leadership on down. It is how can we help people thrive? How can we help people bring their best selves? What are we doing in the health and wellbeing space, what we’re doing in the inclusion and diversity space? What are we doing in the sustainability space, because the business has been going 100 years, we want it to go up, go on for another 100 years, and then another 100 years. And in order to do that we need, we need to bring in great people, we need to keep great people and we need to develop those people to their full potential so that they can do their absolute best for the business. And what underscores all of that is their health, their well being and safety, to innovate their safety, to talk about what’s important to them, why and how it can help the business.

Leanne Elliott 46:20
You don’t have to get all woowoo about this or start mandating changes. Just do your best to create a workplace where people want to be, the rest takes care of itself. There’s

Speaker 1 46:31
no yoga on the roof at 7am or anything like that. But people people are allowed. We have five principles that guide us as a business quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom. So every associate is encouraged to take responsibility to do what will energize their day. So is it walking the dog? Is it meditation? Is it heading off to the gym at lunchtime, whatever it is, people are encouraged to take that responsibility for, for what works for them,

Leanne Elliott 46:59
our regular listeners will be starting to see a lot of patterns, they’ll be starting to see that actually there’s not, there’s not when you actually break it down. We don’t talk about that many different things here on the podcast, we talk about typically three or four core things that then can kind of, you know, span out into into different nuances and detail. I think this is the thing to remember what I was saying, you know, try not to be overwhelmed. There are so many different things that business leaders might be asked to do or expected to do. But let me reassure you on this, if you focus on the mental health and well being of your employees, if you create an environment that fosters psychological safety and inclusion, if you develop a shared purpose and give people the role and resources they need to deliver that mission, and you have great managers, it’s kind of it. If kind of it, the rest will get more mature and professionalize as you grow as a business, and as you get bigger. But that’s pretty much it, you’re probably won’t need anything else in terms of people and culture apart from a good employee Insights tool to measure the impact and return on your investment. And that just is just good business sense, right? Absolutely. If

Al Elliott 48:15
you’re interested in such a tool, then just so happens, we have one, if you’re interested. Then just go into the show notes, you’ll see there’ll be an email for the NRA and just drop us an email about the RX seven and we’ll explain everything to you. So let’s just summarize and remind you of the four things you need to be concentrating on in 2024. The first is focusing on mental health.

Leanne Elliott 48:33
The second is creating inclusive workplaces. The third is developing a shared purpose. And the fourth Let’s say it together everyone have great managers if you’ve got any feedback any ideas for episode should say shout out to Jeremy one of our lovely listeners who got in touch with me this week about a potential great episode idea. So yeah, any feedback, any ideas, any thoughts, questions, if you are overwhelmed, get in touch our email is in the shownotes have a look at our business website or blog You can actually book in a free 30 minute call with either Al and I or that on that if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or not sure where to start? Yeah, get in church. And

Al Elliott 49:15
if you want to join the public discussion, just go to LinkedIn and search for truth lies and work. You’ll see we’re all over it. Okay, so I think that’s another episode anything else to add? Lee before we go, nothing

Leanne Elliott 49:25
else to add other than I guess you’ve got this. I know. I know. I can get angry sometimes. And I’m sorry. But I say it was my saying to you last night. I was like if people just listen to what I said that wouldn’t have a job. Like my job would be redundant. Um, so in one hand, I’m glad it’s not quite yet but still, you know, I’d find something else to do. But anyway, yes, no, thank you to our incredible guests. Thank you again to all of the team that make a difference media and mad world for their support in promoting these three special episodes. And we will be back next week with a brand new founder story who we talked Continue out.

Al Elliott 50:00
I’m gonna keep it a secret because I’m excited about it. But if you’re on Twitter, you probably know him. He’s all over Twitter. Elon

Leanne Elliott 50:06
Musk will be here on the podcast next week. Could you imagine?

Al Elliott 50:11
Could you imagine? Yeah, we

Leanne Elliott 50:13
should go down on that one.

Al Elliott 50:15
Yeah, I don’t think he’d come back for a second time I think after he’d spoken to you. Alright, um, just lastly if you did enjoy this just can you do us a favor? Can you click Subscribe on whichever podcast app you’re using, and then also automatically download future episodes because number one, we want you to hear everything we put out and number two, it does help us in the rankings because if you download it and more more people download it we appear higher and higher on the charts. So thanks for listening. We will see you next week. Bye for now

Leanne Elliott 50:52
filling the day about how to have

Al Elliott 50:58
you read that? Just read it out loud

Leanne Elliott 51:01
didn’t read the introduction. Say what you just want to be crystal crystal clear Baron some Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. I can’t get this out.

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