Hello, I'm Lindsay Milner, founder of Silvern Training. We're a training and development organisation, and we work with non profit organisations to turn them into fantastic workplaces where people love Mondays - and every work day - and are engaged with their purpose.
I've had an almost 20 year career in the public sector, in administration and management, followed by almost 20 years career in the voluntary sector, including board level experience. I've worked with good managers and bad managers, I've seen HR departments unable to deal with the problems poor management causes. I've worked in places where there is poor engagement and understanding of purpose.
I have a good record of creating personal loyalty in teams where the workplace culture was toxic. In the civil service, I led the lowest performing team and increased their productivity, despite a great deal of negativity towards them. I became an unofficial leader and gained loyalty of staff members in a health charity, despite a period of change that wasn't handled well by the board of trustees. At another charity, I led a team of trustees through a period of conflict and came out of it with a strong team who oversaw the merger of a small charity with a larger one.
Helping people to develop confidence in themselves and their communications skills - this helps you to take a more holistic approach to work and to life
Helping teams to work more effectively together. This is a win- win. Team members are happier at work, get more done and enjoy the process. Organisations benefit from the reduced staff turnover and associated cost savings, and from increased productivity and profit.
Helping organisations improve workplace culture. This is helping teams, but on steroids. The benefits of improved morale, reduced staff turnover and absenteeism and improved productivity are amplified if they apply across the whole organisation.
You and your team are all overloaded with work. You're suffering the effects of poor communication - too many meetings that don't move things forward, pointless emails where you’ve been copied in on a reply to all, and you’re not sure if there’s actions for you included, no-one thinks of talking to each other unless it’s to complain about something. You may have poor working relationships - teams don't work well together to solve problems and support each other.
Cuts to public expenditure have changed the culture of support to non-profits, and the squeeze on finances has meant that you’re expected to do more with less. A few high profile cases have created a difficult climate for charity fundraising and public trust in charities has declined since last year. The Edelman barometer of trust shows that NGOs are barely trusted more than business in the UK, and trust has fallen four percentage points since 2016.
Technological developments mean there will be fewer jobs to go round, and everyone will want to do worthwhile work. While CEO and fundraising jobs are probably safe, finance and admin jobs are highly likely to be automated.
Sickness absence costs a median of £522 per employee, according to the CIPD annual survey for 2016. Stress, acute medical conditions and mental ill health are the most common causes of long term absence. A quarter of organisations report incidences of staff ‘pulling a sickie’, and a third report that stress related absence has increased over the last year. Workload is the most common cause of stress. The non-profit sector has the second highest overall incidence of absence, after the public sector, at 7 days per employee. This means that if you have a total of 20 staff, you’re losing an average of more than half a year of a full time employee to sickness absence. This is costing your organisation more than £10,000 a year, based on average figures.
Costs are not just financial. Your time is precious too - wasted time reading pointless emails, meetings where you're not needed or nothing is achieved. Time spent checking or redoing work, chasing for work to be done. And what about the toll on your health and emotions? Stress from overwork and deteriorating work relationships all have an impact. Research has shown that having a friend at work is a key indicator for wellbeing and enjoyment at work, so poor relationships are having the opposite effect. Office politics, gossip and bitching are all detrimental to wellbeing.
Whilst overall absence has reduced, almost 75% report that presenteeism - coming to work when not well - has been observed, and 30% report an increase in this over the last 12 months. Only 29% of non-profit orgs have a wellbeing strategy as part of their wider people strategy.
I've found there are seven key areas where organisations can implement change to improve the effectiveness of their teams. Purpose, autonomy and mastery are key motivators, drawing on Dan Pink's research into motivation. Good communication, appreciation and support underpin the workplace culture. And the foundation to getting the best out of everyone is developing trust. We've put all of this into a programme of workshops and 1-1 support to enable leaders and managers to create amazing teams, delivering fantastic results for their non-profit beneficiaries.
The benefits of this programme are that communication improves, so the team begins to work more effectively together. You're able to improve productivity, so workload problems are solved, and working relationships improve when everyone pulls together towards the purpose of the organisation
As a result, your team are working together as a cohesive unit and doing an awesome job, delivering amazing results for your non-profit
Everyone feels they are making a valuable contribution to their organisation, including you as the leader, and they also feel that they are valued.
I believe that the work we do is intrinsic to our identity and self esteem. If organisations tap into our desires and motivation at work, they will create amazing enterprises full of amazing people. And what better sector to do this than the non-profit sector?
I was ambitious from the age of 11, when a school teacher asked me, why did I want to be the secretary, why didn't I be the boss? Since then, I have been the boss, and it's not as easy as you'd think. I've also worked for some awful bosses, and that is such a waste of people's skill and talent.
The nature of work is changing immensely, and we owe it to ourselves, our teams, and society as a whole to make sure that change is for the better
I get most excited when personal ambition or aspiration combines with the desire to create something good in the world for someone else
When we work together, over time you're going to see benefits in becoming an amazing organisation with a culture that's attractive to your existing staff and irresistible to new hires
With a few changes to your leadership and management style, you'll quickly notice the benefits of a more pleasant and productive workplace
Click on the link to the survey, see how your team scores. If you leave your contact details, I'll give you a call so we can discuss what that revealed and consider the next step.
I know from many years working in and with the non-profit sector, it's full of people who are committed to doing their very best to make a difference in the world and help those with less.
By taking steps to make the workplace better, you're not just helping the people you work with, you're making a massive impact for the people your organisation serves too
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