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News and Blogs

Check back here in the coming weeks to read more about what's new here at Adapt.
 

APRIL 2018

The Three Ts

Make sure that your team are using Technology appropriate to maximise their Time effectiveness to achieve the desired Targets.

Technology is a key part of everyone’s working life, and often a fairly major investment for SMEs, so it makes sense to be confident that it is being utilised to maximise it’s potential. A great tool for monitoring, analysing and reporting IF used correctly but what if it isn’t?

Bob, you know the guy in customer service, who produces the monthly board report to show the analysis of customer calls, orders, new contacts and complaints each month. Did you know that he takes all the data home on paper and spends Sunday with his teenage son transposing it into an Excel spreadsheet? The impact on his stress levels, family time and concern about taking confidential information out of the office means he is looking for a new job.

You know Clare, the secretary in accounts? The one who is really quick at typing and data entry so she does the financial report each week? Did you also know that she hasn’t got a clue how to do formula so she works out all the sums on her calculator and types in the final figures? Great until someone alters one figure on the sheet thinking that it will all automatically calculate the impact and nothing happens making the report not fit for purpose.

Or how about the new cloud-based system that you invested in last quarter? Did you realise that your IT guys have never worked with the system before so they are great at the 50% they understand, but all those other features that have come with the upgrade? Not quite got round to installing or maintaining those yet. That may explain why the improvements and cost-savings in the business case to invest in the technology haven’t yet been realised.

And what about Pete, from production who has been off sick for three months following an operation? Did you know he still uses a paper diary so no one has had a clue when his key accounts are to be reviewed, or when he had meetings scheduled or actions to do? Might explain why three accounts have left as they felt they were being ignored.

Finally Sarah, the one who is busy at her desk updating the security policy. Only she is updating the wrong version, as there seem to be three copies of the same document on the shared drive, with no way of identifying version, author or any changes that have happened. So she will be doing it all again next week, making it a very expensive update.

Every organisation has it’s Bob, Clare, Pete or Sarah, struggling to get the end result they need in a timely and professional manner due to technology hindering them, not helping them.

You have all the technology you need to run an efficient and effective business yet if your people are not supported and trained on how to make the best use of the features and tools you have given them, you may as well get your old IBM out, dig out your Filofax and dust off the fax machine.

Or of course, you can call Adapt (1473 414414) who run every type of IT training imaginable from Excel for Beginners through to Sharepoint. We are confident we can improve your Three Ts and ensure your team are happy, confident and stress-free using the technology you have invested in.

 

MARCH 2018

Aint (s)no(w) stopping us now!

 

With temperatures dropping to around -5 last week, and enough snow to close schools, cancel trains, disrupt bus services and to generally have an impact on travelling anywhere, we’re delighted to say that none of our client’s were inconvenienced or affected by our trainers not being able to pitch up to deliver training courses on site.

So, we would like to pay tribute to our amazing trainers.

One in particular who lives on Mersea Island.  She decided to leave home and catch a lift in a neighbour’s 4x4 to a client’s site located at Colchester Business Park to deliver a Communication Course.  She left at 5.45 am for a 9.30 am start, just to make sure she got there on time.  Her journey home was horrendous as the snow had blown across the country lanes from the fields and was inches deep in places.  The journey was made worse when her taxi refused to take her further than the causeway from the mainland because of the snow drifts and cars up ahead getting stuck.  With only one road in and out, she ended up walking until a kindly lorry driver stopped to give her a lift! 

When asked by potential clients, how do you prove your reliability – that’s it right there!

 

FEBRUARY 2018

Working with Millenniums

It is likely that your first line managers and maybe even some of your senior managers are Millenniums, also called Generation Y, and with that generation comes a new approach to careers, life/work balance, attitudes and skill base.

Born between 1977 and 1994 (to assist you with the math that would make them age 24 to 41), they literally are a whole new generation to those who came before, having experienced rapid and extreme changes in society, often with little idea to what came before them. If you don’t believe me, tell a 24-year old that you can remember the first desktop PC being delivered to the office, or email being introduced and watch their face.

Structures and approaches that worked with previous generations must be Adapted if they are to be successful in attracting, developing and retaining a successful team.

Millenniums are sophisticated and self-centered – they have grown up seeing it all, being exposed to it all, knowing it all. Every wonder in the world has been witnessed in enhanced technical glory in games and films, making the real world seem slightly tainted and smaller than the imagery they are familiar with. Speed, options, choices, are all essential both in home life and work life.

From a work aspect, this can create considerable benefits…. and costs.

They expect less loyalty from an employer – there is no “job for life” attitude, yet this means they can be less loyal to the employer. Expecting to move companies frequently, even internationally. Concerned with “what’s in it for me”, reflecting their awareness of a lack of loyalty to them.

They are flexible – willing to travel, willing to learn, willing to adapt. They expect a flatter organisational structure and expect to diversify and take on new responsibilities.

They are technologically advanced and reliant, learning towards flexible working hours: taking a smartphone on holiday for staying in touch in friends via social media means it is highly likely that work emails and work social media is also dealt with.

They are used to having roles customised to suit them whether in hours, tasks or culture.

They lack face to face skills, leaning towards network and relationship building via technology which can leave challenges when dealing with other “generations” of employees.

The solution is to acknowledge these needs and manage them. Maximise their flexibility and willingness to learn. Review your working methods to benefit from flexible working hours and encourage employee retention. Develop their networking and personal skills. Develop succession plans.

Want to know how to benefit from the skills and approach Millenniums can give you - speak to Adapt.

 

JANUARY 2018

The Modern Public Sector

No longer a guaranteed job for life and attracting multinational corporate leaders into senior roles, the modern public sector is an exciting and challenging place to be.

Employing over 5.44 million staff, which accounts for roughly 1/6 of the workforce in the UK, it offers a career for all regardless of your interests, skill set or qualifications.

The recent focus on apprenticeship schemes has resulted in a growth of young talent joining straight from school, with a focus on internal succession planning to drive cost savings and improve quality standards. The challenge now facing the public sector is how to retain talent and remain competitive with private sectors employers.

Training and development programmes are one such way of retaining talent by increasing:

  • Job Satisfaction and morale
  • Motivation
  • Empowerment
  • Sense of Value
  • Professional development

The key to success is working with a training provider who understands the public sector, the standards required and the demands. When choosing your training provider consider the following issues:

Value for Money – with budget cuts and public accountability on spending, you need confidence that you will get the results you need, and achieve value for money

Culture Shifts – awareness of underlying culture blockages that may be preventing skills and talent from being utilised to the optimum level need to be considered when facilitating learning programmes

Customer Service – a high level of customer service must be at the heart of all tasks regardless of role or employer. Any training programme needs to take this into account and be aware of the importance of the “customer” to the modern public sector

Confidence – often confidence and enthusiasm may be lacking or hindering the individual from performing to their top capability. A training course that encourages personal skills alongside business skills will have a greater impact back in the workplace

Skills Retention – to maximise the impact, and VFM, using a training provider that has a process for encouraging skills to be retained is a benefit, and improves productivity

Practical Approach – the practical aspects of the training are important to encourage participation and minimise the impact on services being delivered. For example having half-day sessions, on-site, can allow participants to feel relaxed and more willing to attend as it is not adding to their day to day pressure

Transferable Skills – including core skills which are transferable to different departments or organisations within the public sector will increase willingness to learn and encourage talent to be retained. An impact can be seen on immediate to return to the workplace.

With the right training provider working in partnership with you, your team will be effective, talent will be retained, and services improved.

Adapt Limited has been working with the public sector for over twenty years. If you would like a chat about training options for your team, how to make your budget go further, or achieving specific targets, give us a call and we would be happy to help. 

DECEMBER 2017

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a large ship” – Benjamin Franklin

Words such as lean, diversify and empowered have all resulted in team leaders and managers needing to develop finance skills. Of course we all still need the professionals – where would we be without the accountants – but everyone now needs to understand financial management to a certain degree.

Words such as PAYE, NI, assets, budgeting, over-spend, deficit, variances may have some of your very competent managers in a spin resulting in a liability (just couldn’t resist the pun) for your company’s objectives and financial positioning.

Experts in their field, whether it is a doctor, engineer or machinist, need to understand how to manage their own budget but it is vital to appreciate that these people didn’t sign up for being accountants. Training needs to be given in a language that all can understand and to a level that is suitable for a non-accountant.  They need to feel comfortable and competent.

Investing in your non-financial managers ensuring they understand the jargon and finances will be well worth the expenditure. You will receive a guaranteed return and an increase in equity on your fixed assets.

OK, that’s enough really bad links to financial words…..

If you feel that your team could do with improving their financial understanding and would benefit from some friendly, easy to understand training please get in touch.  We offer performance improvement solutions to the people who deliver on your business goals, through first class training and development options all designed and delivered with you, our client and your outcome expectations at the forefront of what we do. 

 

NOVEMBER 2017

I don’t really do figures….

Words such as lean, diversify and empowered have all resulted in team leaders and managers needing to develop finance skills. Of course we all still need the professionals – where would we be without the accountants – but everyone now needs to understand financial management to a certain degree.

Words such as PAYE, NI, assets, budgeting, over-spend, deficit, variances may have some of your very competent managers in a spin resulting in a liability (just couldn’t resist the pun) for your company’s objectives and financial positioning.

Experts in their field, whether it is a doctor, engineer or machinist, need to understand how to manage their own budget but it is vital to appreciate that these people didn’t sign up for being accountants. It’s not their passion or key skill set but it is a core part of their role. Training needs to be given in a language that all can understand and to a level that is suitable for a non-accountant.  They need to feel comfortable and competent.

Investing in your non-financial managers to ensure they understand figures is crucial to allow them to make evidence based decisions to promote growth and increased profit levels. Your finance team will be more supported, and your non-financial managers empowered and confident.

If you feel that your organisation would benefit from reviewing your management and supervisory team’s skillset and finance understanding please get in touch.  Finance for Non-Financial Managers training and development that is clear and easy, non-technical and designed for your needs, will have a positive impact on your business.

 

OCTOBER 2017
 

Be Responsive to Change

Alongside death and taxes, you can be sure that in business you will be faced with a period of change. Some of which may be welcomed, and indeed planned, whilst other changes will be forced upon you through shifts in the economy, changes in the market or the result of a workforce change.

When change does occur, the senior team must lead by example and embrace the change and look forward. Even 50% of the workforce being made redundant can be seen as a positive change if it means that the organisation can continue to operate, and start a new growth plan.

The following three features of an organisation will enable it to respond positively to change:

Engaged Workforce

An engaged workforce will understand that change is sometimes needed for the good of the organisation and work together to ensure a smooth transition.  Engagement, that is being passionate, committed, and putting in maximum effort, can be encouraged through learning and developing. Certain skills can help at a time of change, such as communication skills, presentation skills and chairing meetings effectively. These skills may prove vital in communicating the change to the wider organisation and clients. A workforce that feels they are being invested in, and are equipped to do the job well, will remain engaged during the period of change.

Resilience and Mental Well-Being

Change does bring an increase in stress and pressure which results in its own challenges. Ensuring that your senior team are adequately trained to not only communicate effectively but to recognise signs of stress in their teams and act accordingly, will improve the response to change.  Resilience can be increased through having open communication, high levels of team support, work-life balance and an awareness of the importance of mental well-being. During periods of change, it is important to increase the opportunities for staff to raise their concerns, be updated on progress and be involved in decision making.

Systems and Methods

Having the procedures, methods and systems in place to enable timely and efficient response to change is vital. One such system is Agile.

Agile is aptly named. If being agile to you means having the ability to twist, turn, bend, change direction quickly without losing speed, and react to the environment sharply and with ease, then that is what Agile can do for your software development project management approach.

The main benefit of Agile over other project management principles and methodology is the ability to respond quickly and change priorities and workload in response to environmental changes. This makes it ideal to manage any change within an organisation and is used mainly in software/systems development projects. A process that encourages stakeholder involvement and feedback, which responds to change quickly and efficiently.

If you would like to learn more about Agile or discuss how we can support you through a period of change, please contact us. We offer performance improvement solutions to the people who deliver on your business goals, through first class training and development options all designed and delivered to you, our client and your outcome expectations at the forefront of what we do.

 

SEPTEMBER 2017
 

Why Train Your Leaders?

Employees are often promoted due to technical ability or operational requirements and find themselves in a position of people management, or leadership almost through default.  Whilst they may be technical experts and leaders in their field, being a leader of people, requires a different skill set: a skill set which needs to be taught, nurtured and developed.

If you have a hierarchy of supervisors, managers and leaders who lack the people and strategic skills required in those positions it can be disastrous for your organisation. The result may be talent loss, reduced productivity, increase in complaints and grievances and precious time is spent firefighting and resolving human resource crisis.

Being an expert in the field is not enough. The quicker you can train your leaders the better. This reduces the risk of developing poor habits and embedding a culture and approach that you do not want.  The result of training your leaders will be that not only will you have an engaged and empowered leadership team, but an engaged and well-managed team.  A great opportunity for succession planning and talent retention.

Developing a leadership training and development package can be daunting. Often persuading those who hold the purse strings that they would benefit from the development, and gaining their engagement in the process is a challenge.  We would advise a three step process.

The first step is to be clear on expectation. Validate what is required of your leaders and managers, and regularly monitor and measure the performance in formal appraisals and regular reviews. Communicate those expectations through the organisation so there is accountability for their behaviour. This may include Chairing skills, strategic business planning, dealing with grievances and challenging conversations, or understanding financial data.

Secondly, once you are clear on what is required, you can do a skill-gap analysis to identify where training and development may be needed. This may not be related to time in position. In fact, an employee who has been in a leadership position for twenty years may be in more need of updating their skill set than a newly appointed supervisor. Is there a need to improve communication skills? To review strategic planning? Or is it report writing and project management that needs to be improved?

Thirdly, think about how best to engage the participants to maximise the impact of the training. This may mean bite sized chunks over a series of months, an interactive workshop held off site, or a one-day seminar. It may dovetail with introducing a coaching or mentoring scheme, or train those not yet in supervisory positions to be able to recognise talent early. Once you have identified the skills that need developing, obtained the budget to fund it and agreed on a provider partner to work with you on the resolution, you need the individuals to turn up, participate and change their behaviour so engagement is key.

If you feel that your organisation would benefit from reviewing your senior team’s skillset and approach please get in touch.  We offer performance improvement solutions to the people who deliver on your business goals, through first class training and development options all designed and delivered with you, our client and your outcome expectations at the forefront of what we do.