Olive Strachan North West Export Champion 2016
phone +44 (0) 161 209 3950

Recently, I was proud to host another Olive Branch event alongside my good friend and colleague Anne Clews. We incorporated the TetraMap® into the session, which was held at the fab venue of TLT LLP in Spinningfields, Manchester.

Over 30 delegates attended the session to find out about the elements that make up the TetraMap® Tetrahedron. This is the minimum structural system in the Universe (Buckminster Fuller, 1895-1983), a four sided pyramid structure.

TetraMap® is a behavioural model that originated in New Zealand, and I am proud to say that both and I are trained facilitators. This powerful tool helps individuals to better understand themselves and how they can build stronger relationships with others. It is designed to develop an inspirational learning experience. The TetraMap® instrument measures our elemental preferences rather than our strengths and weaknesses.

The event heped delegates to focus on how to build resilience and effectiveness through developing their natural brands. Once everyone had their personal TetraMap® profile, they were given the opportunity to create a clear plan to enhance their natural learning abilities. TetraMap® is the globally-proven learning model that assists in discovering 'who you are naturally and what is your natural fit'. It is based on the elements of nature: Earth (like a mountain is firm), Fire (like the sun is bright), Water (like a lake is calm), and finally Air (like the wind is clear). It is an inspiring model that starts with building upon self-esteem and awareness, and gives a shared framework and approach for the way people think.

Ladies were evenly split into the various elements when it came to the presentations, and the sessions proved to be effective and fun for all. After the Olive Branch event, everyone left with the knowledge that will help them to:

  • Build better relationships
  • Create a vision
  • Be results-focused
  • Have a personal strategy for effectiveness

The feedback was fantastic and many of the ladies have already enrolled on our our TetraMap® Facilitators workshop, taking place 20-22 April in Manchester. If you'd like to find out which elements you are and how TetraMap® can accelerate positive change within your organisation, please contact olive@olivestrachan.com to enrol.

We are pleased to announce that our CEO Olive Strachan has been selected as an Export Champion 2016 to represent the UKTI NW (this initiative is unique to the North West). The first Export Champions were recruited for 2013, and have done a great job spreading the word about the benefits of international trade.

As a region, we in the North West need to sell more products and services overseas, and Olive is determined to encourage and support as many companies as possible to take up the export challenge. Here at OSR, we want to ensure that people know about the opportunities of exporting and the important UKTI North West does. The team alongside Olive are really looking forward to the challenges of 2016 and advocating the excellent work of the UKTI.

We at OSR will be offering courses to support the exporting initiative, including Cultural Sensitivity - A Guide to the Business Culture of the Gulf. This programme will assist UK companies wishing to trade in Gulf markets. It will provide each business with a good knowledge of cultural values and beliefs, as well as essential business etiquette. This course has been developed by experts who have worked and completed business negotiations and traded in the Gulf region. It will arm any professional with the key knowledge required to do business in the Gulf. The programme fits right in with the following OSR Values:

  • Inspiration - Inspiring others to reach their potential
  • Quality - Striving for excellence
  • Passion - Being committed to giving the best we can
  • Integrity - Being authentic at all times
  • Community - Giving something back
  • Collaboration - Providing specialist knowledge

2016 looks like it will be a busy year for OSR, and Olive's dedication and passion shine through at all times. As she steps up to tackle her new responsibilities, she is determined to make exporting great!

World of Opportunity Awaits

Earlier this month I was privileged to be part of the line-up of speakers for the UKTI North West ‘spotlight on the Middle East’ event in Runcorn. This event was specifically to help businesses to understand and take advantage of the opportunities available in the Middle East. This is a topic in the first issue of People Management Middle East. Peter Cheese Chief Executive; CIPD mentions that he believes that HR can make a huge difference in the Middle East. Bearing this in mind the CIPD now have offices in Dubai. They have increased their presence on the ground over the past year hosting several networking events including Peter Cheese speaking at the Annual HR Summit in Bahrain.

Having had the pleasure of working with UKTI North West for a number of years being part of their Passport to Export programme and having availed myself of their excellent services on numerous occasions I find them invaluable and would recommend UKTI to any organisations that operates globally. At the Runcorn event Clive Drinkwater, Julian Birchett, Sandra Thornber and the team organised an interesting and informative experience for all the attendees.

It was an event that I thoroughly enjoyed and found extremely beneficial. Emma Parsons from the Bahrain Embassy gave an informative presentation on living and working in Bahrain offering some excellent hints and tips together with pertinent contacts. Glenn Cooper of ATG Access took us through his journey of building an international business focusing on Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the highs and lows but also sharing the benefit of his experience. Diana from The English Manner shared her experience of working in the United Arab Emirates. As one of the speakers I shared Olive Strachan Resources and my experience of working in Qatar and Bahrain since 2004.

As a speaker on the day but also having the opportunity to listen to other speaker’s one of the key messages that was reinforced time and time again was regarding ‘Cultural Sensitivity’. It is vital to:

Complete your research:
  • Explore and immerse yourself in the culture
  • Learn the laws and the social etiquette
  • Try to learn some of the language – I always learn how to say good morning in the country I am working in.
  • Understand economic drivers and future plans e.g. there is a drive from an almost total reliance on oil and gas to a sustainable future as knowledge and innovation led markets.
Build a personal brand:
  • Have a key differentiator
  • Present yourself well
  • Dress/speak appropriately
  • Have an area of expertise
‘Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.’ Jeff Bezos, Founder Amazon

Know your social media channels:

Know Your  Social Media Channels

So it is vital that your organisation has a social media presence or you will be missing out on a large and lucrative market.

Build your network:

In the Middle East there is a big emphasis on recommendations and being well thought of is more important than being widely known.

Having a previous client refer you to a future one is the most effective manner of creating a presence.

If you are part of a trade or professional body this is a great way of making contact.

I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the UKTI are both excellent methods of making contact with international clients. If you attend the annual CIPD conference in Manchester there were many international organisations who were also in attendance and the UKTI have many trade missions that facilitate introductions to business contacts.

Opportunities:

Statistics from CIPD People Management magazine for the Middle East state that 37% of Middle East organisations plan to increase spending on employee training.

Women entrepreneurs are forging ahead in the Middle East and I have first-hand experience of this. A few years ago when I worked in Oman delivering a Springboard session to women entrepreneurs I was impressed by the variety of businesses and the amount of savvy professional women running their own businesses.

In addition, the penetration of smartphones in the Middle East is amongst the highest in the world!

As I previously mentioned having worked in the Middle East for 10 years I would recommend that we grasp the opportunity to work there. I have made some lovely friends who I am in contact with on a regular basis either in person or by using social media. The generosity and kindness I have received has been wonderful.

If you would like any further details about working in the Middle East or to attend our Cultural Sensitivity programme. Call me on: Office : 0161 209 3950, Mobile: 07739 763 750

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Having worked in a professional environment since the beginning of my career there has been a lot of change in the way organisations and individuals do business together. We were not encouraged to share information or work with others, we were told to; Go out there! Close that deal! Make it happen! This was reflected in your PDR’s when you would often be asked the question ‘what have you achieved?’ What added value have you brought to this organisation through your individual effort?

Fast forward to today and how things have changed! The word collaboration or being collaborative is part of most competency frameworks, with employees being encouraged to demonstrate that they are collaborating not only with colleagues within their business but with other organisations that may complement what they do. We are encouraged to increase our visibility through communication and influencing skills.

I have been on the Manchester Branch of the CIPD for many years and the values of the CIPD are around;

P A C E

Which stand for:
  • Purposeful
  • Agile
  • Collaborative
  • Expert
Once again that word Collaborative features as part of the values they hold dear.

As the CEO and founder of Olive Strachan Resources the word collaborate is a call to action. To be collaborative we have to reach out to others and demonstrate the business benefits of working together. In October of this year I experienced collaboration at its best. On 6th October we collaborated with TLT Solicitors to organise The Olive Branch networking event for professional business women. The event involved professional women sitting together to plan an event that would inform, interest and inspire people to come along and give up their valuable time.

TLT were gracious enough to host the event and provide us with a beautiful venue together with a delicious healthy lunch which was extremely popular. The event was in two parts, eating for maximum brain health and managing and retaining your talent. The feedback was extremely positive with everyone saying how worthwhile the event was and they had found it very beneficial. I was also asked ‘when the next event would take place’.

The second successful collaboration was with Hays recruitment specialist who were kind enough to host the CIPD HR Leaders event on 8th October. This was a breakfast event and Chris Maguire the Editor of Insider magazine gave us an insight into the world of newspapers and the changes he had observed over the years. It was rewarding to see a variety of organisations network over coffee and croissants. This event also involved Hay’s inviting along some of their clients who are HR Leaders to network with CIPD Chartered Fellows.

The feedback was fantastic and everyone had appreciated the opportunity to meet other North West businesses and enjoyed sharing insights into current issues. A benchmark of a good event is when an hour after the event has finished, there are still people sitting there reluctant to leave.

What are the benefits of collaborating?
  • We bring people together who would normally never meet in the scheme of things.
  • We learn from each other, each person has a different view point and methodology
  • We form new friendships and links that could be life changing
  • We learn new skills
  • We grow our business
  • We raise our profile in the business world and I could go on and on…
What should you do?
  • If you haven’t already then add collaboration to your marketing and PR plan.
  • Look for organisations that complement your own.
  • Clarify the outcomes of the collaboration so that there is no ambiguity
  • Have planning meetings so that on the day it runs smoothly with each person understanding their role and their contribution to the event.
  • Review and evaluate so that you can make any improvements next time.
Social Media

Use Social media to create some excitement around the event and raise awareness; we made use of twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It is very important to liaise with the organisations you are collaborating with so that you have a clear and consistent message.

Big NO NO’s

If you are using a speaker always see them in action before you use them and clarify that if they are good enough their product or service will speak for themselves. The lasting impression is how good your service or product is and NOT a big sales pitch. There is nothing worse than taking time out to go to an event when the speaker does not divulge the information you expect to be imparted. Instead they give you a teaser then proceed to ask you to view their website or read their book or register on their next event costing x amount so you will hear the rest!!

There you have it! So go ahead, collaborate! Share! Enjoy. I felt a sense of pride and achievement at both of my events this week and plan many more! If you feel you would like to work with OSR on future events email olive@olivestrachan.com

Olive Strachan profile

Olive Stracahan is the founder of Olive Strachan Resources, established in 1998 and based in Manchester, United Kingdom. Since setting up her own consultancy, Olive has delivered training that makes an impact all over the world. OSR creates bespoke solutions for any size of business, delivers cost-effective open programmes, and provides specialist advice for companies that do not have a dedicated in-house HR resource. 

Olive is an International Management Consultant, Expert Trainer, Motivational Speaker  and Executive Coach who started her career in the Recruitment industry working as a manager and coach for Reed Employment, Blue Arrow and Addeco.  Olive then pursued a career with Video Arts Training, establishing their first learning resource centre in Manchester. In essence, Olive has been developing Managers for over 25 years. 

Working in over 20 countries has given Olive the experience and understanding of International Business. This experience, combined with a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management, ensures that she is able to understand the issues that face organisations. Olive has travelled extensively and is an experienced facilitator; her main niche incorporates and develops managers, directors and working with individuals to reach their full potential. 

Olive Strachan has received all kinds of awards and accolades for her work as a training consultant. Many different organisations and institutions have acknowledged Olive’s achievements, and her twin talents for training and business coaching continue to earn recognition from all corners of the globe, including awards for:

  • Showcase Volunteer CIPD PACE Award 2014
  • One of the most influential Women in Business in the North West 2013/2014
  • The EMBF North West award for International Business
  • Recognised by the Worldwide Who's Who

Olive has worked with national organisations including Astra Zeneca, The British Council and Manchester City Council, Keele University, Packaging Automation, Irwell Valley Housing, Brand Additions, and international organisations within sectors such as pharmaceuticals, the financial sector, retail, banking, and education. She was also involved in developing the volunteers for the Commonwealth Games when it was held in Manchester. Olive has recently achieved an ILM Level 7 in Coaching and Learning, and she is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. An ex-Chair, of the CIPD Manchester Branch, Olive is presently an HR Leader for the Branch and a CIPD Council Representative.

I recently returned from a fabulous two-week break in the Caribbean to visit and spend some quality time with my family. I have returned rejuvenated and refreshed, re-engergised and refocused. This is how I would describe myself after a lovely holiday on the beautiful island of Dominica.

I meet with dozens of Senior Leaders every week, helping them to grow their teams and get more productivity out of themselves and the people they work with. Some feel the time to just think and switch off is limited, and a great deal of research has made clear the need for Leaders to take a quality break in order to re-energise, revitalise and refocus themselves and thus boost their businesses.

The great Microsoft guru Bill Gates has been known to escape to a secluded spot for what he calls 'think week', during which time his family, friends and employees are allegedly banned from disturbing him. This time to himself, with just his thoughts for company, serves as his thinking and creative time, and it has helped him to come up with his most innovative ideas. Another entrepreneur, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, has commented that 'think week' (which Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg also advocates) will "invigorate your thinking!"

Professor Cary Cooper's research supports this theory, suggesting that 'people who take holidays return feeling healthier and psychologically more robust'. I can certainly endorse this theory myself.

Spending time away in a tropical paradise definitely gave me the boost and thinking time I needed. I have reflected and identified the ways in which this timely and much-needed break benefitted me and my business.

The trip to Dominica allowed me to get away from my organisation, people, media, and business culture and get back to nature. This enabled me to return refocused to lead, inspire, and close deals. I had time to put major challenges into perspective, and various solutions arose about how these can be expedited. Standing on a volcanic, mineral-rich beach with the waves of the Atlantic Ocean roaring in the background, the sun setting in the distance, and lush vegetation all around helped me to focus my mind on the issues that are of vital importance. Although only recently returned, I will continue to reflect and refocus, and I will certainly be recommending the beautiful island of Dominica to my clients! I just can't wait to go back!

Meanwhile, as founder of OSR, I'll continue to nurture aspirations and fulfil professional dreams.

OSR logo

Your personal presence is the experience people remember and the memory of you that they take away. For example, the inner 'you' creates the outer 'you', and how you feel inside and your wellbeing makes a huge difference to how you portray yourself to others. Our outer behaviour is driven by inner factors such as self-belief, confidence, purpose, likeability, authenticity, and a determination to succeed. It also includes Mind Space and elements relating to this, which are Functionality, Sociability, and Mental and Spiritual Wellbeing. One of the factors that impact on your health and how we feel inwardly and outwardly is stress. When we encounter stress, we have less 'get up and go'.

Our energy levels leave us feeling low, and with less energy, this in turn can affect the digestive system and our choice of food. Therefore, nutrition plays a key part in your wellbeing and how you manifest yourself to others. There are also 4 key areas that are crucial for health; these are All Day Energy, Enhanced Memory, Improved Sleep, and Balanced Mood.

Reflective Coaching can also help to eliminate the symptoms of stress and aid your persistent negative thoughts. Gradually over time you will re-train the way you approach yourself and find your inner confidence. Through nutrition and coaching, your memory and energy levels will increase and you will improve your concentration and cognition. In turn, these actions will help you to develop the inner and outer 'brand you'. Feeding the Brain is a combination of mind, body, and brain, and how we use nutrients and coaching to aid your all-round wellbeing.

Olive Strachan will be joining nutritionist Jeannette Jackson at UK Fast Campus, Birley Fields, Manchester, M15 5QJ on Wednesday July 22nd from 2pm - 4pm. This FREE event is open to managers, HR, OD and occupational health staff, To book, please email info@inspirecorporate.tv.

 

Feed your brain MCR

OSR networking

In my previous career in the recruitment industry with Reed, Blue Arrow and Adecco, we were taught the importance of networking. This was in the days before LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, so we had to do it the good old-fashioned way: go out and meet people! This involved running events, assisting clients (such as Astra Zeneca and Matalan) with 'Learning at Work Day' events, and speaking at as many events as possible. The important thing was to get your leaflets out and speak to as many people as you could, as well as collection loads of business cards (which all then needed to be followed up). This had to be undertaken within the first 3 days of meeting that person before they went off the boil. At this time, the word 'Business Development' was a dirty word!

Move forward 20 years, and professionals - including accountants and solicitors - now have business development as part of their remit.

As an SME, and having run my own consultancy for 17 years, you may well ask what networking has done for me, and whether or not I have any hints and tips to share. For me, there are 3 key things that I feel are important in relation to networking:

Communicate

Decide what you are going to communicate. You have to ask yourself "what is my brand?" and "who are my audience?" before you launch yourself into any on or offline networking. At present, there are so many events that you could spend every day attending a different one. How will this benefit you or your business in the short and the long term? I often meet people at events who do not have a clear strategy as to what to communicate regarding their product or service. So clarify who you want to communicate to, what you want to communicate, and how you are going to do it.

Connect

You are now ready to make some connections. So, how are you going to do this? An obvious method is social media. There is so much choice nowadays; I find that Facebook is useful for long-term contacts that have been clients and are now friends. Twitter has proven successful for sharing my message, and LinkedIn for maintaining visibility and creating and reinforcing my brand. But I have found that, after the initial connection via social media, the face-to-face meetings are where you cement that connection and decide if you can do business together.

Netowrking isn't just about gaining business; you also give business to others when you meet them. One of my suppliers, Greenlight Computers, has taken care of my IT needs for the past 7 years, and this started from a networking event organised by the 'Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB). We met, connected, and have worked together ever since.

A good networker uses different communication styles to make their networking effective. With social media, look at the words you use and the tone of your communication. With face-to-face networking, look at the impact you make when walking into the room and put forward a compelling case to attract your fellow networkers to make contact with you. Don't do what one complete stranger did to me at a networking event: interrupt the conversation, invade someone else's personal space, thrust a business card into their hand, pitch your business, then move on to better prey without listening to a word from the other person.

Form an Alliance

This is about meeting someone, finding common ground, and getting them to commit to an ongoing relationship. Initially, just meet for coffee and explore the relationship, or - if they have a need - you can offer support; it could be 'I know someone whom I feel you should meet', or 'I am going to an event, would you like to come?' It is crucial that, at all stage, you remember the golden rule: 'Do not take and not give back'. There is nothing worse than the network grabber who asks for your help and takes it, but when you call them, they are never available. Then, when they want something, they give you a ring! Always give back, share, and try to help if you can.

Olive Strachan and others

If you would like to hear more about my knowledge of networking (spanning over 20 years) and how to make the most of your network, our next course, Networking for Business Success, will be hold 14th May at our offices at Regus, Peter House, Oxford Street, Manchester.

Tel: 0161 209 3950 // Email: olive@olivestrachan.com



 

Performance Management Appraisals and Staff Reviews usually take place amongst many organisations at this time of year. At Packaging Automation Ltd a Global Engineering and Manufacturing Company based in the heart of Cheshire, this year they are fully equipped with the tools and techniques to maximise employee engagement.

Last year I delivered at bespoke training programme to the leadership, and management teams along with the employees that has enabled the organisation to understand the critical factors that influence both employee engagement and disengagement. The OSR delivery helped them to identify and address gaps in employee engagement across the team and aided them to go on and develop high trust relationships within and across the PA workforce.

Established 51 years ago in Wilmslow by the Grandfather ‘Arthur Penn’ the family run business has grown from strength to strength. Based on the sturdy foundations of integrity and vision PA are passionate about every aspect of their business and the ‘people’ are the lifeblood of the organisation. Customers are key and their clients include many ‘Blue Chip’ organisations. Although PA have agents who operate in Europe, Turkey, Dubai and Australia, they are proud to have their roots in Great Britain.

PA’s Commercial Director Sam Ashton, who is the granddaughter of founder Arthur Penn, is delighted with the implementation of the new Appraisal reviews and staff handbook designed and prepared by Olive Strachan.

Amongest the feedback we received from PA,Sam had added her comments;

‘The effect the OSR Employee Engagement programme has had on all the staff is truly rewarding and promising for the future’. ‘The Culture change is evident and everyone is more motivated, it has been an enriching experience for everyone involved.’

We had to ensure the OSR programme had to fit within the company’s ‘Orbit’ which is a long term planning tool PA use under the guidance of the ‘Growth Accelerator’ initiative. Employee Engagement was one of the Orbit goals and Continuous Improvement was another.

The programme was designed to link in with the other company objectives, it had to add value and encompass personal development and growth for every employee. The change had to develop from the factual elements to ensure they could identify the ‘soft skills’. Unusual in an engineering company that is adept at ‘shaping the world’ and not naturally aligned to ‘shaping the workforce’

As part of the OSR Programme, I interviewed a selection of staff before designing the programme and spent many days providing in depth training with the management teams and team leaders as well as every employee. I believe this approach has helped to motivate, presented opportunities and changed the perception of Appraisals within the workforce.

The feedback after the days of appraisal reviews following on from the OSR criteria and guidelines was enlightening and promising. The employees actually admitted enjoying the process and moving on it has helped the teams to engage, interact, and support one another.

Sam goes on to say …

”Olive Strachan is a hidden gem. She is vibrant, engaging and energetic in everything she does and her positivity radiates and influences everyone.”

“Anyone who needs help or advice with Employee Engagement needs Olive Strachan as she can add value to any organisation. The change in our employees’ performance has increased by over 95% since we adopted OSRs systems and procedures. I have no hesitation in recommending Olive and OSR if anyone requires support with their Appraisal systems.”

At Packaging Automation Ltd it is evident that they are successful in embracing change. They are confident in assessing performance against goals, the company is innovative, the leadership team are not averse to taking risks and they are passionate about putting their customers at the heart of everything they do.

http://www.pal.co.uk/

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Premiere Hotels Group celebrating

Recently, it was my great pleasure to attend a gala dinner with some of the fabulous people I had helped to train and coach over the last few months for the Louvre Hotels Group, comprising Campanile and Premiere Class Hotels.

I had received an invitation giving me the opportunity to celebrate the success of the Sales Champions at the company's Sales Champion's Black Tie Gala Dinner. These were the very people I had helped to coach and train over the latter months as part of the OSR Employee Engagment in Action Programme. I was so proud to see them receive the recognition and rewards they deserved for their hard work and commitment to the organisation. The World Class Service chain clearly demonstrated their Do, Dare, Dream philosophy, which I felt we had achieved successfully together.

The exact agenda for the evening was shrouded in security, but it was lovely to see everyone arriving to a champagne reception dressed in their most glamorous outfits - it was reminiscent of the Oscars!

As the person who had been involved in working with the organisation to design and deliver the Sales Champions training, I felt humbled and priveliged to be invited to one of their highlights of the year. As a Learning and Development consultant, you do not often get the opportunity to celebrate success with your clients.

I arrived at Campanile in Bradford (www.campanile-bradford-co.uk) and immediately recognised many familiar faces; Mark Aldridge, Head of Operations Europe, was at the forefront of the welcoming team. As a senior leader, he has an excellent relationship with his staff, and this was evident throughout the evening. Along with Mark was another senior leader: Xavier Douchy, Vice President of Operations Europe, who had flown in especially for the occasion. Their demonstrations of support and showing an interest in their employees with their presence never cease to amaze. Mark knows each employee individually and the laughter and cheers as each person was greeted and acknowledged resonated throughout the hotel.

It was certainly a night to remember, and there was an air of suspense and expectation in the room as the winners were announced. Each person received a rapturous applause as they were called to receive their award. I can honestly say that it felt as if everyone was a winner at Campanile, but the outstanding winners of the evening were as follows:

  • Best Sales Conversion: Selina Knott, Campanile Swindon
  • Being Most Proactive: Tracey Mann, Campanile Basildon
  • Outside Comfort Zone: Kevin McCoy, Campanile Doncaster
  • Largest Increase in Revenue: Kate Cook, Campanile Dartford
  • Individual Site Ownership: William Furie, Campanile Glasgow
  • Engagement of Team: Rafal Gawart, Campanile Leicester
  • Improvement in Guest Service: Emma Taylor, Campanile Bradford
  • Exceeding Guest Expectation: Tomasz Fecinski-Gawl, Campanile Manchester

And finally...

  • Sales Champion of the Year: Alexandra Brown, Campanile Milton Keynes

The pride and delight on each person's face was clear to see as each winner was recognised not only amongst their peers but by their managers and the senior leaders within the organisation. This sight was clearly a pleasure to behold.

Olive Strachan at the Louvre Hotels dinner

Noreen Gregory and Juliet Hayes - the managers responsible for ensuring that the Sales Champion initiative was successful - had taken care of everything, from the delicious food and wine to the excellent service and the fabulous awards and prizes that were of the highest quality, ensuring that each person felt delighted to be part of the great occasion.

The Gala Dinner and Ball was the culmination of a project which began a year ago with a vision that Mark Aldridge had regarding staff engagement and ownership. Together with his team (comprising Noreen Gregory, Juliet Hayes and Emmanuelle Le Roux), it was truly a vision regarding how to better engage his staff.

Louvre Hotels Group values

From the outset, we agreed that the 4 traits that engaged employees were:

Enthusiasm, Empowerment, Inspiration and Confidence

The vision was for each employee within the organisation to feel committed to a common purpose and to playing their part in achieving business goals. A jigsaw piece would be incorporated into the project, linking to key actions that needed to take place for success. The jigsaw would be a large floor graphic with each piece representing a key action. The other side of the jigsaw would contain an explanation as to what each action would mean.

Each hotel would be given a large wall jigsaw, which was empty at first; then, as the hotel achieved the goal/objective, they would receive the relevant piece to insert into each space. The jigsaw would be displayed in a prominent position so that each member of staff had a visual reminder of their achievements. The ultimate goal was for each hotel to eventually gain all the pieces and have a full jigsaw on display.

Prior to launching the initiative, OSR was commissioned to design and deliver the Sales Champion's trainig and, at the end of the training, the pieces of the jigsaw were given to hotels that were already exceeding expectations.

Delivering a training programme can start the journey, but to guarantee transfer of learning to the workplace, it is essential that we have 'buy-in' from the managers so that the messages are reinforced. Bearing this mind, Noreen Gregory and Juliet Hayes were there during the delivery of the programme and immediately after to discuss action plans.

Measurements were put in place to monitor success. Each hotel was allocated a Sales Champion, who was tasked with sharing and cascading the learning within their hotel and presenting back to their team the concept of The Sales Champaion. To support them, they had regular coaching with their managers, meetings, one-to-ones and teleconferences with each hotel sharing in the success!

It was clear to me that The Drivers for Employee Engagement were deployed and utilised with exemplary practice. These drivers are:

  • Relationship with direct manager
  • Belief in senior leadership
  • Pride in working for the organisation

It was a night I will always remember with very fond memories!

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