Returning to the ‘new normal’ 

The 'new normal' of office work in one image

The coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives over recent months.  recent YouGov poll showed that most people believe that the adjustments made necessary in recent months will permanently change the working environment.  The press has widely referred to this as the ‘new normal’ – but what is that and how do we get there? 

The 'new normal' of office work in one image

Cadence Innova has been working with a number of clients as they adapt to deliver their services in a new way, with many of their staff confined to their homes. The last few months have been hard on individuals, families and businesses, but there are positives to be found in adversity.  In many organisations it has been a catalyst to much wider adoption of smarter working, which, if harnessed correctly, can improve staff wellbeing and work/life balance in the long-term.  Indeed, we are already seeing employers who are emphasising this aspect of their employee offer to support recruitment and retention. 

Shortterm changes to your buildings cannot be underestimated and will need to be planned carefully. Nonetheless, long term changes to working patterns will also impact your estate.  Initially this may be a consideration of the workspace design to ensure that the space is suitable for the tasks your team need to physically meet to undertake; the smarter working adage of ‘work is a thing we do, not a place we go’.  In the longer term, these changes to work styles may result in a rationalisation of the estate, as there is a stepchange in agile working. 

At the heart of all of this is your staff.  Your people are the most fundamental asset that you have, and many are not finding it easy.  Working from home can be isolating and lead to both physical and mental challenges.  Childcare has interrupted work (and video conferences!) in all organisations.  It has been a worrying time for many.  At Cadence Innova our approach to change is always people-centred as our 7step approach to designing and implementing the ‘new normal’ explains: 

  • Create a genuine dialogue: this builds confidence and a sense of inclusion in designing the ‘new normal’. 
  • Really consider your buildings: what are they for? How can their usage be adapted in future? What are your real capacity needs? 
  • Adapt your working environment to make it safe for those who will be in it. 
  • Anticipate and nudge the behavioural changes which will be necessary in buildings. 
  • Understand the impact of commuting and travel as part of returning to the office. 
  • Perfect remote working protocols and develop leadership and management styles to suit. 
  • Takpositive steps to support wellbeing in the long term 

With 14-year track record of people-centric change consultancy, and involvement in all aspects of transforming our clients culture, workplace, business processes, technology and adoption of digital, we can help in the next stage of your organisation’s journey. Adopting the ‘new normal’ can be a positive change, and people-centric change is what we do. 

Contact us at challengeus@cadenceinnova.com 

Rapid Response service

Cadence is offering a Rapid Response service to help people and organisations during this unprecedented move to large-scale remote working.

Helping you get to the new normal of remote working,

Cadence Innova ran a series of free webinars, primarily focused on live demonstrations driven by your questions, to help you get more comfortable with Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. If you’ve missed the live webinars, you can watch them and post questions by clicking on the links below.

Please click on the name of the of the session to watch the webinar recording on our YouTube channel.

SessionDescriptionDuration
Overview of TeamsThis session will take you through the features of Teams and what the application looks like.  Ideal for those just starting out using Teams.45 mins
Teams MeetingsThis session will focus on creating, joining and participating in Teams meetings and will be live demo based.30 mins
Collaborating with a Team using TeamsThis session focuses on the Team part of Teams!  That is how to create a ‘Team’ that allows a group of people to chat and collaborate in one central place, with Channels to organise subjects or projects.30 mins
Teams mobile appWhen you don’t have your PC with you, the Teams mobile app has most features of Teams and enables you to collaborate from anywhere.  This session will run through the basics and show some tips for effective working with the mobile app.30 mins
Overview of Skype for BusinessYour company may not have made the switch to Teams yet and is still using Skype for Business as its Unified Communications tool.  This session will run over the basics of Skype for Business.30 mins
Skype for Business meetingsThis session may be useful for those still using Skype for Business meetings.  It will look at creating, joining and participating in Skype for Business meetings.30 mins
Cadence Innova – Anything CollaborationJoin us for a drop-in session handling general questions you may have around collaboration and remote working.  If there is demand we can run this every week.60 mins

If you have any other requirements, please contact us by calling us on +44 (0)20 3858 0086 or email us at challenge.us@cadenceinnova.com

Remote working: the new normal?

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has triggered – through necessity – exponential growth in remote working and the need for more sophisticated and considered approaches to collaboration.  

Although it might seem straightforward for office-based people to simply head home, armed with a laptop and a mobile device, there are some wider implications that should be considered to ensure you or your teams can work effectively in this way, and sustain doing so for a potentially long period. For those unfamiliar with remote working, it may be a significant change.  

Today’s workplace technology forms the basis for remote working, and most organisations will have some systems in place. However, these may be fragmented and/or not fully understood and embedded. Below are some of the key things to consider in preparing for what could be the long-haul. 

Collaboration 

Microsoft Teams leverages the Office 365 suite to provide one place for Unified Collaboration. Functionality include status setting; instant messaging, 121 and group calling, online meetings, document collaboration and more. In taking Teams mainstream, consider the following: 

  • Are all users appropriately licensed? 
  • Does everyone know how to use the tool? 
  • What will best fit your culture? Is audio conferencing enough, or is a comprehensive Unified Communications tool including Calling, Video, sharing or file collaboration needed? 
  • Will people need telephone dial–in access to meetings where Internet access over 4G or WiFi is not available? 

Internal access 

People who normally work on the office network directly (as opposed to remotely) may need additional services to allow secure access to tools that are kept isolated from the public internet. Consider whether VPN (Virtual Private Network) or Virtual Desktop/Applications services are available, appropriately sized and licensed, and that people know how to access the services. 

Equipment 

Whilst you or your team members may already have a laptop and suitable mobile phone, others may have a desktop PC in the office and nothing at home. Early action should establish the devices people have, and any constraints (such as capped internet provision or low bandwidth at peak times). Some other considerations include: 

  • What are the Mobile Device Management (MDM) considerations for personal devices? 
  • How will people get support for broken hardware? 
  • Are there caps on internet provision? And if so, will there be extra charges as people consume and how will people be compensated? If your organisation is policy-driven, specific new policies or policy changes might be needed. 

People 

The psychological impact of sudden change to working practice, particularly under these kinds of circumstances, should not be overlooked or underestimated.  

Mechanisms to ensure people are supported, connected and engaged will become increasingly important as people experience a range of physical and psychological responses and pressures. Your organisation’s unique culture comes from its people and how they work together, so changing the dynamics will have both short and longer-term consequences. Placing your people and their needs at the centre of your organisation’s remote working strategy and support will have long term dividends. 

Environment 

Although technology is important, physical environment plays a large part in longer term remote working.  Sitting at the kitchen table is fine for when you occasionally need to dip into work, but long term, this can have consequences. A survey or other consultation exercise can help bring understanding of the infrastructure and capabilities people currently have to work from home to identify short and medium–term gaps or alarm signals. 

Be aware of: 

  • Physical space: privacy, ergonomics, lighting & power, health & safety, disturbance 
  • Access to resources: suitable internet, Wi-Fi, phone signal, impact on and of others in the apace 

Well-being 

Pressures and strains of personal lives will often be invisible to an organisation, but they will always be there for those working from home and can impact people in different ways.  Long term remote working can increase anxiety and loneliness as the lack of social interaction with colleagues can leave people feeling isolated. It may help if: 

  • The organisation maintains normal working hours, enabling people to structure their working day effectively 
  • During extraordinary circumstances such as these, there is flexibility for the care of others (e.g. children not at school, elderly relatives etc) 
  • There are regular meetings using video, so that people see as well as hear each other 
  • Appropriate changes are made to pastoral care practice, to take account of the changed situation 
  • The organisation openly acknowledges the challenges (including the impact of news and social media reporting), creating space for people to talk and share experience  

Interestingly, when working from home, people are less likely to move, take a break and take exercise. It’s obvious when you think about it – no travel to the office and no contact with others in different parts of the building. Part of caring about wellbeing could mean encouraging people to take walks, eat well and drink plenty of water. Very often, homeworkers feel even more tied to their desks than they would be if office-based, so giving this ‘permission’ can go a long way.  

Getting Started 

Cadence Innova can offer immediate help with our Rapid Response and Business Continuity services. Both look at what you can do to make this challenging time easier. 

Rapid Response 

If you have an immediate or urgent need for training and/or people engagement with Microsoft Teams (or Skype for Business), please contact us for a consultation. We can help with: 

  • Live instructor-led Training and support on remote working tools such as Teams or Skype for Business 
  • Live Q&A sessions for best practices on remote working including help with meetings 
  • High level technical review of your Teams implementation 

PeopleCentric Business Continuity 

The current situation is forcing organisations to act quickly. In the longer term, when time allows, it is prudent to think in broader terms about business continuity.  Traditionally, this has tended to focus on the technology and major incidents, such as a physical office location or critical services being unavailable for a short time.  Typically, this results in a technology-heavy MVP that doesn’t necessarily look to the sustainable longer term with inadequate emphasis on the impact on people.   

Our People-centric Business Continuity service not only considers technical or organisational matters, but also places a trained lens on wellbeing when working remotely. This includes: 

  • A comprehensive Health Check on your remote working and collaboration tools and services 
  • Communications and business changes services on how to effectively and sustainably work remotely 
  • Wellbeing impact assessment and tailored plan to help keep people stay engaged, connected and healthy when working from home 

As part of our Values Commitment to supporting UK business and the workforce, we are able to offer some elements of our Rapid Response Service free of charge.  

For more information please call us on +44 (0)20 3858 0086 or email us at challenge.us@cadenceinnova.com

DNA of a successful corporate entrepreneur

Composite Hand and DNS symbol

One of the paradigm-shaping concepts we believe will impact the future of work is corporate entrepreneurship, where individuals inside an organisation display the same entrepreneurial traits as were originally employed in launching the business. 

These traits, described by Forbes Magazine in 2014 as the “identification and creation of an opportunity, marshalling the resources and providing leadership to create social or economic value” can be realistically instilled in employees, so long as an entrepreneurial culture exists – one where freedom and responsibility are equally valued, and practised.

While the traditional entrepreneur may set the organisational culture, the corporate entrepreneur is a member of a wider ecosystem. He or she needs to carefully balance independence and innovation with corporate citizenship. Too little of the former could result in wasted opportunities and personal frustration; but too little of the latter could give the impression of being disruptive—or worse, destructive.

The successful corporate entrepreneur has a natural aptitude for creating win/win situations.

The successful corporate entrepreneur has a natural aptitude for creating win/win situations. They’re adept at gaining the trust of others – both in their own and client organisations. There is a political astuteness that defines the corporate entrepreneur. They have a distinct ability to navigate the hierarchy and make an impression on the key influencers within their own and client organisations. They build networks and supporters through proactively identifying, engaging and converting the sceptics. They are self-aware and focused, whilst being able to adapt to challenging environments.

The corporate entrepreneur acknowledges that ‘selling’ is not simply about the product or service being sold. It is about working with the client or colleague to articulate a vision, moving the dialogue away from commodity and price towards service and value. In the client context, they become the go-to partner, trusted to achieve results and deliver value. In their own organisation, they play an active role in keeping up momentum, driving innovation through respectfully challenging the status quo and continually recognising opportunities.

In this age of disruptive innovation, corporate entrepreneurship enables organisations to remain relevant and keep one step ahead of the curve.

Contact Hatty: Hatty.Richmond@cadenceinnova.com

Why financial well-being is important to your organisation

Financial well-being is a critical part of well-being but is often overlooked by organisations. 

Why is financial wellbeing important to your organisation?

At least 1 in 10 people struggle financially but keeps it private. 

People with financial worries say their work and productivity is suffering. Many turn to payday lenders or work second jobs. 

They are more likely to look for slightly better paid jobs elsewhere, costing you more money to replace them and train replacements.

People don’t leave their financial worries at the door when they arrive at work. The impact on the workplace is significant. Lost productivity as a result of employees worrying about their finances impacts the bottom line by 4%. You may be surprised to know that almost half of your employees worry about their finances and for 1 in 5 these worries are significant enough to cause sleep deprivation.

Don’t get left behind. We can help you help your employees to take the first steps toward better financial lives.

Helping employees to address their financial concerns can also help with employee engagement. Employees tell us that they would value broader financial guidance, debt management and counselling if they were in financial hardship. 38% of employees say they would move to a company that prioritised financial wellness.

Don’t get left behind. We can help you help your employees to take the first steps toward better financial lives. There are many models that work. The common thread between all of them is that their success is measured.

Many people don’t want to answer detailed questions that pry into their personal lives. We take a different approach. We measure how employees and participants feel about their finances. Across 70 countries, our survey and scale have been used to help organisations and empower their employees to take charge of their financial wellbeing. The results speak for themselves. They show improvement in workplace productivity, higher employee and community morale and greater loyalty.

Find out more. Contact john.hoffmire@cadenceinnova.com or hatty.richmond@cadenceinnova.com

The unexpected benefits of Sprinting

At Cadence Innova we have fully embraced agile ways of working and the practice of working in sprints. There was method behind this evolution. We expected it to increase efficiency, help us deliver smarter and faster and help our clients save effort and money. This has all gone to plan. Perhaps what we didn’t expect is that we would enjoy it quite so much.

No idea is a bad idea. We are encouraged to share our thoughts. Sometimes from the most outrageous or funny suggestion an idea is born that turns into an innovative solution for a customer.

So why are we enjoying working in sprints so much?

We are united – Nobody wants to sit at an isolated desk all day after a morning commute and then travel home again, having only communicated with others in formal meetings. That’s why we’ve replaced the solitary desks with project tables. The project table is a vibrant and happy place to work. We share ideas, stories, food and anything else going. We help each other through difficult tasks. Because nobody wants to struggle with a difficult task alone. 

We have a voice – Nobody has to wait to be invited to a formal meeting to find out what’s going on and to offer an opinion. Everyone is kept in the know and on the same page at all times. 
We can express our crazy ideas and no idea is a bad idea. We are encouraged to share our thoughts. Sometimes an idea can be born from the most outrageous or funny suggestion, then grow into an innovative solution for a customer. 

There is no hierarchy – Of course we have our individual roles, but this is real teamwork at its best, with shared responsibility and accountability. Nobody has to worry about being wrong; we will all work to make it right. 

We work together and celebrate when we get there – We constantly discuss our common goals so there is no opportunity for people to go off track. We are one team heading in one direction with one goal in mind. And when we get there we celebrate together and enjoy the success. 

The walls are colourful – Gone are the grey walls. Our office is covered in post it notes, diagrams, ideas, drawings and random thoughts. It helps breed creativity and brightens up the day. 

So, for me anyway, there is no going back. For team well-being and productive working – try sprinting.

Contact Elaine at Elaine.Griffin@cadenceinnova.com

Barriers to innovation

Remember the days when you were a fledgling start-up company?

Every day was about creativity and innovation. You employed bright, innovative people. Your goals were to identify a problem and create an interesting solution. Your passion was to think out of the box and be recognised as an Innovator, to bring something new to the market. Profit was a goal on the horizon but the real, everyday goals were getting new products and services off the ground. Each great customer review was a small win, because you knew that meant you were heading in the right direction.

Today you are a big successful company. Your only measure of success is profit. Customers are quantified, expected rather than valued. You no longer take risks because now there’s a risk of letting the shareholders down. Your employees no longer feel free to share their creativity and ideas. The entrepreneurial culture has dissipated, which means you no longer attract the bright innovators.

Where did you lose the edge? And what happened to Innovation?

Governance, bureaucracy and a focus on profitability may have changed your company’s DNA. Blinkered by the bottom line, you can’t see beyond your successful product, brand or line. Your goal is to continue as you are while increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. Your success may not last long.

Bring in new people that are willing to help you think outside the box

How do you gain back your edge? You need a fresh perspective. Bring in new people, or get a kick start from a consultancy that is willing to help you think outside the box, shake things up and embrace the unconventional thinking that led to your initial success.

Continue riding the wave of success but build on it with fresh ideas so it doesn’t come crashing down. Expand your brand to other products or services. Think like a brand-new customer. Attract different thinkers. Take risks.

Don’t get stale, get creative.

Contact Elaine Griffin or Kirsty Auchincloss:
Elaine.Griffin@cadenceinnova.com or Kirsty.Auchincloss@cadenceinnova.com

The benefits of reducing the Gender Pay Gap

How doing it can help organisations maximise employee engagement, create a happier work environment and increase profit?

The Gender Pay Gap is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average hourly earnings across an organisation or the labour market and it is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.​ It exposes how men and women are positioned from the lowest to the highest paid roles in a company​. A pay gap in favour of men is usually explained by more men employed in higher paid jobs, and more women employed in lower paid jobs. E.g. In most airlines the majority of pilots are male, resulting in a large pay gap in favour of men (median pay gap at 9.7%)​. It is important to note that no company is the same. 

Individual organisations will have different causes contributing to their pay gap, but they are most commonly linked to:​

  • Access and attitude to flexible working and parental leave​
  • Societal expectations of gender roles​
  • Progression opportunities​

 

Collaborating with the Government Equalities Office, Cadence has helped build the web services needed by employers to report their gender pay gap data. If you would like to explore this data – click here.

Why reducing the Gender Pay Gap is a good thing?

Although many businesses are worried about reporting their findings, and how this will affect their brand reputation, sharing actions towards a GPG reduction enables organisations to differentiate themselves and capitalise on being a transparent and fair workplaces. This is also the case for  smaller companies who are not legally obliged to report on their gender pay. Some other benefits reducing the gap are:

  • It can raise staff morale:  this supports recruitment and retention;
  • It can decrease the number of uncomfortable pay-related conversations during personal reviews;
  • Hiring the best talent will become markedly easier. It will make it clear to new candidates that they’re entering a world of fairer opportunities;
  • When it comes to remuneration, HR teams will be spared the unsavoury task of dealing with gender inequality

Show your positive actions! Research shows that taking steps to increase gender representation, diversity and inclusion brings a whole raft of further business advantages with it. A growing body of research finds that the more diverse a company is, the greater its employee engagement, retention, productivity and profit rates are.

A good example of this is the French multinational firm Sodexo. It studied its workforce and presented data from 50,000 managers across 70 entities worldwide. It showed that teams with a male/female ratio of 40% – 60% produce more sustained and predictable results than unbalanced ones.

The Gender Pay Gap ≠ Equal Pay

The Gender Pay Gap is often mistakenly and unknowingly conflated with Equal Pay. This has negative consequence, as it allows people to shrug off the issue​. Equal Pay is where men and women are paid the same amount for doing the same work. To do otherwise is illegal. Conflating the Gender Pay Gap with Equal Pay is problematic as it allows people to assume an organisation they run or are employed by does not have a gender issue, as long as they pay men and women equally for the same roles​.

How can you improve the gender pay gap in your organisation?

Gender balance is not a diversity issue as women constitute 50% of every other dimension of diversity. By continuing to focus on this, we sadly categorise women to what they are not: a minority among many to be “managed. Organisations need to move the emphasis away from “helping” or “fixing” women. The gender pay gap is not a women’s but a business’ matter. To make progress, we need to frame the issue in a way that it fosters a culture of change.

Success in this area comes when combining powerful business process:

  • Training needs to be combined with assigned responsibilities for compliance
  • People need to be aware, but also experience change
  • Mentoring needs to come with real sponsorship (opening doors, making people shine also in their absence!);
  • No awareness workshops, without increased and measurable access to opportunities

How can Cadence Innova help you?

During a recent training session Cadence ran for Women in Social Finance network, we invited Hackney’s Employment, skills and human resources Councillor Carole Williams. She discussed how understanding the gender pay gap helped Hackney adopt an inclusive approach to equality – looking beyond gender. They have a wide range of equality initiatives, including a parental leave policy and many employment programmes they run as a council.

Every change is dependent to the subtleties of your business context. There is no one size fits all approach. As Cadence understands local government and political issues, the systems and the complexity of communities we can provide technical and leadership support at the intersection of these worlds.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question and you want to know how working to reduce the GPG can generate gender smart investments, impactful business processes and a happy & productive team!

Email us: challenge.us@cadenceinnova.com

Mentoring and coaching for business transformation 

Constant change is a permanent fixture in business and digital transformation. Organisations need to create space and tools to enable their people to adapt to this change. A mentoring and coaching programme can help.

Gita Singham-Willis, Director at Cadence Innova, on “How to Adapt to Change”

Today’s leaders are instrumental in this process, as they will guide and shape a culture that will support people through today’s fast pace of change.

For members of an organisation, whatever their position, it means being able to learn, test, fail, design again, being challenged, and develop new professional and interpersonal skills, without facing ‘punishment’.

Techniques such as coaching and mentoring, when embedded in your team’s daily routine, naturally promote a learning culture within your organisation and help staff members grow.

Amplifying your learning culture and, as part of this, setting up a robust mentoring and coaching programme can support the mechanism of change. It tells your people: “You matter”.

Many studies show that creating an enabling and transformative learning space within your organisation will contribute to generating significant business benefits, starting with the gains that productive, engaged and enlightened teams generate, the innovative power corporate entrepreneurship triggers, etc.

At Cadence, we have road tested a toolkit to help your people adapt to change:

1. Conduct a learning culture baseline assessment 

Your learning culture informs the sense of purpose and shared values that guide people’s progression and performance throughout the organisation.

This baseline shows the spoken and unspoken messages people receive about what is valued around learning, in particular, the messages are being sent through processes, systems, symbols and behaviours; how messages are interpreted by people; and what outcomes they lead to.

2. Define your purpose  

Clarify and communicate the purpose of this learning and support programme, why it is set up and/or amplified. This is not just a “nice-to-have”, it can be a genuine engine for culture change.

3. Identify your learning tools 

There is a range of formal and informal learning platforms and techniques available. Among them, coaching and mentoring are fluid tools that organisations can activate rapidly.

To deploy a powerful coaching and mentoring programme, first be clear about how they fit within the overall direction of the organisation.

  • Coaching focuses on process, creating a space where thinking happens, enabling the recipient of coaching to think of solutions themselves, and developing new habits. It is not advice. You can call on professional coaches or start training people with coaching skills as a powerful internal communication and learning tool.
  • Mentoring mostly focuses on content, examples, direction, and a mentor’s own experience and stories.  It contains a level of advice. It can take place between peers, or with external professionals.

4. Picture what good looks like  

As we support organisations through business transformation, we help them first define the principles of a good learning relationship. For mentoring and coaching relationships, we encourage mentoring /coaching partners to  share a covenant, in which they will define scope, length, boundaries and ways of measuring success and impact.

As the programme spreads out, mentoring and coaching will become a cornerstone of your ways of working. Importantly, at the core of every mentoring or coaching conversation – whether this is part of a formal or informal (situational) context – is the notion of consent and confidentiality.

5. Measure outcomes and benefits

As staff form new habits, apply new knowledge and gain in confidence, it is paramount to capture evidence of change and outcomes throughout the organisation.

Some benefits will be immediate, others will take time to flourish.

Change management is not a one-time project but rather an ongoing exercise that comes with everyday challenges. Therefore, embedding an organic learning culture within your organisation will give you incremental and sizeable benefits.

If you would like a conversation with no obligation about how to set up or amplify a mentoring and coaching programme, as part of your business and digital transformation? Get in touch with challenge.us@cadenceinnova.com