5:10 pm 23 May 2017

Solving the challenge of interviewing young people

23 May 2017|Categories: benefits of strengths-based recruitment, early talent management, recruiting young people|

Giving young people a fair chance in an interview can be extremely difficult. Because they are young they have a limited amount of experience, so it can be hard to know what to ask them. I’ve heard recruiters say that they struggle to eke the interview out beyond five or ten minutes for that reason.

The other thing that companies struggle with when they are using a competency approach is that answers can be Googled and practised. So, it then becomes tough to distinguish one person from another let alone see the ‘real’ person when what they are doing is trotting out rehearsed answers!

A strengths approach changes all that.

Read about Paul Dilley’s experience of introducing strengths-based selection for apprentices at Lloyd’s Register.

“We wanted to be able to identify that in our potential Apprentices (traditionally school leavers or people applying for one of their first jobs), even when they don’t yet have a lot of work experience. We wanted an approach that would enable the individual’s natural passion to come through. And, we wanted a fair process that would give us concrete evidence to back up our recruitment decisions for the new Apprenticeship Programme, even when these inexperienced candidates weren’t able to give many (or any) examples of when they had displayed different competencies in a work environment.” Paul Dilley – Early Talent Manager, Lloyd’s Register

Find out what happened. Read the full interview with Paul, here.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results (the first on the subject) is out, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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12:26 pm 2 May 2017

An ordinary man, an extraordinary man

2 May 2017|Categories: extraordinary people, making a difference, using your own strengths|

Panayiotis Tetsis was a Greek artist. He died last year age 91.

I remember seeing Tetsis, as he was commonly known, some years ago walking his little dog. He looked so ordinary. How do you recognise a great artist from appearances? Here was a kindly looking man in his eighties, tall and plodding. A man who would go unnoticed except for his height, long limbs and disproportionately small dog.

His house, high above the port in the Saronic island of Hydra, is perhaps like him. Extraordinary in its ordinariness. His studio, a cool white space on the first floor, has been left as it was when he died. It contains very little – a few large canvases on the wall, a formal sofa which would look at home in a 19th century lady’s boudoir and a smallish table cluttered with an artist’s detritus.

The rest of the house is also simple, under-furnished and unfussy. Few of its contents look like they were bought after about 1950. Some old photographs, some traditionally embroidered pieces of table linen and less than half a dozen of his paintings are personal pieces among few non-essential items of daily living.

His aunts’ shop is part of the house and adjoins one of the only two sparsely furnished bedrooms. The shop closed long ago, but remains intact in its charming old-fashioned style and walls lined with wooden display cabinets and shelves. The museum man remembers shopping there as a child.

The spirit of Tetsis seems to live on in this peaceful, simple and cool place. I’m familiar with his paintings. But to accept his open invitation and quietly wander through his home gave me an idea what the important things in life were to Tetsis.

The lady in The Lazaros Koundouriotis, the museum to which Tetsis bequeathed his house, spoke of how ‘human’ and down to earth he was. The young men in the other art museum – the Historical Archives Museum of Hydra – said he would tell them off if they treated him as a “great artist”. “I am just your friend,” he’d say.

Tetsis’ work is impressive. I always imagine artists such as him to be so unlike ordinary people. That they can create pieces that defy the imagination and that they touch others so deeply through their work. I wonder what kind of person is able to do that.

Thank you Tetsis for letting us into your house and thereby revealing to us a little more of the man you were.

Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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5:51 pm 11 April 2017

How to buck the trend and halve staff turnover in months

11 April 2017|Categories: benefits of strengths-based recruitment, Engaging Minds strengths videos, how to reduce attrition rates / staff turnover|

Last week a contact, who knows about the strengths work we do at Engaging Minds, sent me a newspaper clipping. The headline read:

“Firms hit by rise in staff turnover as workers get bored with their jobs”

The article was by Shruti Tripathi Chopra, City A.M.’s deputy news editor, and she went on to say,

“A third (36 per cent) of HR directors have seen an increase in staff turnover in the last three years, according to a study by Robert Half UK. Boredom and frustrations with their current role or company (35 per cent), poor work-life balance (31 per cent) and stagnant career prospects (30 per cent) were the key reasons why employees chose to move on.”

But, we know it doesn’t have to be this way!

Firms can adopt strengths-based recruitment; done right it means you select people who are a great fit, are high performers, love their jobs and STAY. On average, our clients’ turnover halves within six months.

Watch one HR Director talk business benefits of the strengths approach, see what she says about staff turnover in Saga at 1.06 minutes into the video.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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5:15 pm 22 March 2017

The secret ingredient of an effective talent management strategy

22 March 2017|Categories: strengths at work, strengths-based talent management|

I had a conversation recently with a researcher who is investigating game-changing talent management approaches. She told me that she hasn’t found any yet! For all the books that are written and conferences that are run on the subject, it’s one of the most confusing and difficult issues that businesses encounter. And she says that she has spoken to lots of organisations and all are struggling in one way or another.

Let’s assume that the purpose of a talent management strategy is to ensure that an organisation has the right people in the right jobs to enable it to thrive now and in the future. That means you have to have a good grip on where you want your business to go and the context in which you are operating. And it means staying tuned into that. So, if, for example, consumer behaviour starts to change, you are aware of it and can adapt accordingly.

That’s the first challenge.

The second challenge is knowing which people will be able to help you deliver your strategy. What are they like, what are they really good at and where can you find them?

Few organisations find it easy to answer these questions.

This is where the secret ingredient comes in.

If you know who your great performers are and know why they are so great, you can find more of them and you know how to motivate them. If you are not really clear, then you will always be taking pot luck, to some degree, when you make appointment decisions.

Figuring out what makes great performers great is crucial. Knowing what the great ones have in common allows you to identify others like them. What are their innate strengths, what do they love doing what energises them? What are their values and what motivates them? Once you have that profile you have the foundation stone of an effective talent management strategy.

If I were to give one piece of advice to talent managers it would be to invest in acquiring this insight.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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7:39 am 9 March 2017

The small things

9 March 2017|Categories: making a difference|

we are happy to serve you by gratisography

One of my pet hates is people being on their mobile phones when they are at the counter being served. I think it’s rude.

Yesterday, however, I was that person. I was desperate to grab some lunch in Pret at Waterloo station before boarding my train. As my turn to order came, I tried to end the phone call I was having, but I didn’t quite manage it. I felt bad, and smiled and apologised to the guy who was serving me. We had a bit of a chat. Then, he offered me a free coffee! It made my afternoon.

It’s the small things that make such a difference to any of our encounters, to our days, to our lives.

I sometimes think about that when I’m working in big organisations and we’re discussing how to make things better. There are always big things that need doing. But the small things can make a big difference too. Listening to somebody, saying thank you, giving positive feedback, making time for someone. All count. A lot.

Thanks Ronaldo at Pret — you inspired me to write this post. And thank you Pret for giving your staff the freedom to do a little thing that makes a huge difference.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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1:52 pm 15 February 2017

How one miserable experience led to a revolution

15 February 2017|Categories: being in the right job, being in the wrong job, strengths at work, using your own strengths|

Once upon a time there was a young woman who loved her job.

She couldn’t believe how lucky she was to be able to spring out of the bed in the morning excited to be going to work! (She knew from some of her friends’ experiences that not everyone felt that way.) She did so well in her job that she was promoted more quickly than she could have possibly imagined. She was over the moon. But… not for long. The problem? She was promoted into a job that was just not ‘her’. Within weeks she was utterly miserable. She felt like the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

That young girl was me in my twenties.

My experience of being promoted into a job that I was such a bad fit for, affected me deeply. Not only was I unhappy, I lost my zest for work and my confidence plummeted. I knew my boss was trying hard to help me, but I just wasn’t cut out for the type of work the job demanded of me. My previous job had involved a lot of connection with people. I’d had to use my creativity to find new solutions to old problems, and I’d been frequently presented with new challenges. My main relationship in the new role was with spreadsheets and data. I hardly saw anyone from one day to another. Some people love this way of working. But I found it stifling and not at all energising.

However, one my strengths is positivity. Another is determination. My experience gave me a strong desire to understand how it is that people can be appointed to jobs that are so wrong for them, and to do something about it.

More than two decades later I am running a company whose mission is to help get people into jobs they love.

Our strengths-based approach to talent management is a win, win, win. It’s a win for the organisations, it’s a win for their employees, and it’s a win for their customers.

  • It’s the answer to people being happy at work
  • It’s the answer to people feeling valued for who they are
  • It’s the answer to people being appointed to jobs they love and in which they will thrive!

At our Engaging Minds team ‘away day’ this week, we were looking back at 2016. We created a poster showing last year’s highlights:

Engaging Minds 2016 in review poster

More and more top organisations adopting a strengths approach; the publication of the first book on strengths-based recruitment and development; the launch of our online Strengthsmatch™ Strengths Assessment Tools, a CIPD award for Best HR/L&D Consultancy; the launch of our YouTube channel where our clients talk about the benefits of focusing on strengths.

It’s incredible how that one miserable early-career experience, of me being promoted into the ‘wrong job ‘, has led to something more positive than I ever could have dreamed of. My story makes me proud, and celebrating it this week with my team has spurred us all on to do even more, even faster, to progress our mission.

If you want to make a difference to how happy people are at work please tell them about the strengths revolution. It changes lives.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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12:55 pm 27 January 2017

Where our strengths can lead us

27 January 2017|Categories: benefits of strengths-based development, how to live the life you want, using your own strengths|

One of my strengths is connecting with people. I love it. I love getting to know people, their stories and what’s important to them.

Some of the best things in my life have happened because of connecting with a new person.

About six months ago, at breakfast time during a poetry event, I sat next to someone called Iain, whose opening line was that he was an accountant at EY. I admit to being happily surprised by the inspiring conversation which followed!

Iain told me about the Employers Stammering Network that he’d founded. A stammerer himself, he told me his story. It was clear from what he said that life can be very hard, personally and professionally, for someone who stammers. I knew a bit about that already though. My dad had a stammer. People would mimic his way of speaking sometimes. Though it was supposedly ‘in fun’, I’d wondered what it was really like for dad. Was he known as a good listener just because it was often easier than speaking? The breakfast conversation brought all this back to me and got me thinking.

Iain and I talked and talked that morning. Together we realised that the strengths work I do could help people who stammer.

So, last Friday we ran the first ever strengths workshop for twelve members of the Employers Stammering Network. It was uplifting, fun and moving for me. And, the attendees gave us these words to describe their experience:

Engaging Minds strengths workshop ESN feedback words

Confidence building. Positive. Energising. Insightful. Refreshing. Challenging.

If I hadn’t connected with Iain that day at breakfast, this strengths workshop might never have happened. And twelve people from ten different organisations wouldn’t have gone away from the session, buzzing with plans to put what they’d learned about themselves into practice, both in the workplace and in their everyday lives.

“I often talk about research that suggests that people who stammer develop skills such as listening, empathy and resilience. However this workshop took me to a deeper place of understanding my true strengths, what a difference it makes when I use them and how I can now use them much better. I wish I’d done this workshop twenty years ago.”
Iain Wilkie — Senior Partner, EY

For me, this is proof, yet again, that using our own strengths can lead to wonderful things.

Thank you Iain for talking to me and telling me your story. Find out more about the Employers Stammering Network: https://www.stammering.org/employers-stammering-network

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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11:28 am 12 January 2017

2017 New Year’s Resolution

12 January 2017|Categories: how to live the life you want|

I used to think that a large part of my work was to find new, interesting projects by convincing people of the difference Engaging Minds makes.

But, I’ve come to realise that my job isn’t to convince or persuade.

Rather, it is simply to find like-minded people!

It’s exactly what I’ve done all my life. My friends, associates, and everyone else I enjoy hanging out with are my ‘like-minded’ people. They share my desire to understand the world and make it a better place. They tend to be curious, caring and determined types. And guess what? This description fits ALL of the clients that have ever engaged us for our strengths work. Doh!!

So, this year, my New Year’s Resolution is simple – to do more of what I’ve always done. That is, to find more like minds to work with.

What will you be aiming to do more of in 2017?

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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2:05 pm 16 December 2016

Count what counts, and celebrate it

16 December 2016|Categories: benefits of strengths-based recruitment, Engaging Minds strengths videos, pioneers of strengths-based recruitment, successful strengths-based recruitment implementations|

Too many people have told me they will be glad to see the back of 2016.

As individuals, we might feel we can influence little, and I admit I have repeatedly felt powerless in the face of the scale of the world’s problems and the human tragedies I’ve seen unfolding this year. So, I have to bring myself back to the difference I can make and am making.

My team and the Strengths Champions in our clients’ organisations are making such a positive difference to people’s lives. People are flourishing in jobs they love because of strengths-based recruitment and development.

Our work has touched thousands of people in organisations, as well as hundreds of young people in schools[i]. And it succeeds in any setting – we’ve profiled carers, baristas, nurses, managers, receptionists, delivery drivers, sales people… from old to young, blue collar to professional, high earners to people on minimum wage, and people from different cultures and countries.

EVERYONE wants to do work they love and be valued for who they are and what they bring. That’s why our work is so important to me, because it means that EVERYONE CAN.

It’s why the best reward comes in moments like when a matron recently approached me at University College London Hospitals and asked if she could give me a hug because of the difference our work has made to her nurses and patients!

So, my message to you, as this challenging year draws to a close, is to think about what you are doing that is making a difference, even if just to one person. It’s important.

A few weeks ago, we filmed HR Director, Lynda Greenshields, talking about the difference working with us made to people in the organisations she has worked in, and why strengths work matters personally to her. Have a look. I think you’ll be inspired.

And whatever positive difference you have made in 2016, however small or however great, celebrate it and be proud of it. Because it counts and it matters.

[1] Our Flourish strengths assessment tool for young people is available to download free here. Tell a young person about it today, and help them to a career they will love.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

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Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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3:11 pm 25 November 2016

Five top tips for calming interview nerves

25 November 2016|Categories: being in the right job, how to live the life you want, how to make a successful career change, recruitment|

A young person asked me last week for some tips to overcome interview nerves. He was going for interviews for his first job. Here is what I suggested:

1. The most important thing is to be yourself. If you are trying to fake it that adds extra pressure and is stressful. So, how do you best ‘be yourself’? See tip 2.

2. Clearly understand what strengths you have – this is an excellent way to feel confident about yourself. For example, are you great at connecting with others, do you love analysing data, or are you brilliant at solving problems? Think about what you are naturally good at, what you love doing and what motivates you, at work. When you talk about these things you will flow – the interviewers will engage easily with you and that will make you feel even more confident.

If you’re a young person and would like some practical help to understand what your natural strengths really are, our strengths assessment tool for young people is free to access online as a PDF download. It’s called Flourish, and you can find it at the Flourish website. Do take a look!

3. Go into the interview with the attitude that you want the job, only if you are a great fit for it. And, consider that if you aren’t a great fit, you wouldn’t want the job anyway. This attitude will give you confidence. After all, who wants to do a job that is not right for them?

4. A basic tip, but it works — take some deep breaths, down to your belly, before you go in. That will calm you.

5. If you are able to pop to the loo before your interview, go and do the ‘power pose’ in private — stand up, hands above your head, straight posture. Click here to watch Amy Cuddy explain why this ‘power pose’ technique gives us confidence.

My tips to help stop your voice and body from shaking are:

  1. Deep breaths (as above)
  2. Power pose (as above)

Both positively affect your physiology and will make you feel calmer and more confident.

Good luck!

 

My new book is about how strengths-based approaches are transforming organisations and changing lives — if you want to know more about the Strengths Revolution, click here to check it out.

sally bibb strengths book published 3 May 2016

Sally Bibb’s new book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results is out now, published by Kogan Page.

Use discount code HRSBRW at the Kogan Page website.

UKBA 2016 Finalist logo
Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
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