10 Keys To Happier Living: Connecting With People

10 Keys To Happier Living: Connecting With People

In todays hectic and fast paced world filled with distractions, it can sometimes be hard to make the right amount of time for yourself and others around you. All too often you will board a train or bus and see a sea of people all staring down, absorbing themselves into a digital world, whilst seemingly forgetting that there is a whole world going on around them full of knowledgeable and interesting people that have the ability to change moods, educate you and make you smile.

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We would love to see more interaction between people in everyday and work life as we feel it encourages good feelings, learning and actual interaction, which in turn can lead to a happier life. This is not the only aspect of increasing your happiness, but one we feel would play a big role, by putting down the phone or tablet and holding a conversation, many of the 10 keys for happier living identified by the people at Action for Happiness would become easier to achieve.

It would be a lot easier to say “10 keys for happier living, pfft, what a load of garbage’ than taking the time to have a look and perhaps put one into practice and see if any improvement in happiness is achieved – to overcome the urge to feel like you live a perfect life already is the trickiest one, and whilst we are by no means saying you need to fix things, interaction, education and learning are what got you to where you are today, so imagine how much further you can go.

Everyone’s path to happiness is different. Based on the latest research by the Action for Happiness team, they have identified 10 Keys to Happier Living that consistently tend to make life happier and more fulfilling. Together they spell “GREAT DREAM“.

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In this series of weekly articles we will focus on one particular action. In this weeks article we are going to hone in on what feels to be the most important skill in the sector in which we operate.

Connecting With People

People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So taking action to strengthen our relationships and build connections is essential for happiness.

Action

Pick up your phone and make a call to a friend or family member that you have been meaning to reach out to. Make the first step in reconnecting with that person and when you finish your phone call think about how you feel. We predict you will feel happier and less stressed about things and have a slight change in persona if only for the short term, now imagine if you did that 3 times a week.

If you would like to know more about Action for Happiness you can find everything you will need on their website.

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10 Keys To Happier Living: Connecting With People

10 Keys To Happier Living: Connecting With People

In todays hectic and fast paced world filled with distractions, it can sometimes be hard to make the right amount of time for yourself and others around you. All too often you will board a train or bus and see a sea of people all staring down, absorbing themselves into a digital world, whilst seemingly forgetting that there is a whole world going on around them full of knowledgeable and interesting people that have the ability to change moods, educate you and make you smile.

Help Us Tell Our Story!

Help Us Tell Our Story!

HELP US TELL OUR STORY
We are recruiting for an experienced Communications and Engagement Manager to join our busy Development Team. If you are creative, engaging, proactive and people orientated we are looking for you!

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Help Us Tell Our Story!

Help Us Tell Our Story!

HELP US TELL OUR STORY

We are recruiting for an experienced Communications and Engagement Manager to join our busy Development Team.

If you are creative, engaging, proactive and people orientated we are looking for you!

The role is brand new to our team and isn’t for the faint hearted – if you enjoy a challenge then this might be the role for you!

You will have the opportunity to shape our internal and external communications, be our voice on campaigns and represent us at events.  You will also be responsible for our website, digital footprint and work to develop our reputation.

Skills you will need:

  • Communications and Marketing experience
  • Excellent copywriting skills that are flexible for varying audiences
  • Knowledge and experience of designing promotional material
  • Strong digital and social media skills
  • Event organisation and administration experience
  • Strong attention to detail

You will need to work with flexibly and initiative with little supervision in a busy environment.

You will work directly with our Head of Membership services to help us engage our membership organisation, which includes all the councils across the North West. You will work alongside the Director of Development and other senior colleagues to support us to achieve our ambitious plans.

If you are passionate about the public sector and want to work in lively, hardworking and forward thinking environment to make a difference to the North West then this is the ideal opportunity for you.

If you would like to find out more please contact Kash Haroon at kashh@nwemployers.org.uk

Salary from: £23,111

Contract: Permanent

Working hours: Full time

Application Deadline:  Monday 5 November 2018

Interview and assessment date:  Thursday 15 November 2018

Click here to view the role profile 

Please contact Kash Haroon via email at Kashh@nwemployers.org.uk for an informal discussion about the role and scope of activities.  To apply for this role please send your expression of interest outlining your capabilities against the role profile along with your CV to applications@nwemployers.org.uk 

 

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Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

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National Networks for Collaborative Outreach Project (NNCO)

National Networks for Collaborative Outreach Project (NNCO)

As part of Adult Learners Week 2016 and ongoing development opportunities the Open University have initiated and will be leading the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCOproject. Below are the main details and contacts for those in the know.  

The focus of the national NNCO is specifically to support adults looking for part-time, flexible study opportunities to improve their long term life/career prospects. All the resources being developed will be free, online and in the public domain. If you have a focus on adult learners or are working with younger learners where the full-time undergraduate option doesn’t seem feasible (i.e. grades below those required or the need to work and learn at the same time) we would be more than happy to discuss how we can support your work.

A reminder of the 3 areas of our work follows:-

Development of a project website:
The project is now well into the delivery phase. Our web development team are working to produce a website that will aim to simplify the complex world of adult education. The main focus will be to serve adults looking for advice and guidance on non-traditional routes to and through higher education and will include all types of learning opportunities e.g. apprenticeships, HE, FE, work-based learning, recognition of prior learning, informal to formal journeys, accredited/non-accredited provision.

Over the next 5 months the project team will ensure that all necessary content is included in the website, as well as ensuring that accessibility and user testing is carried out before the final version of the website is ready to go live by end of July 2016.

Development of a suite of free online courses:
The course teams for the 6 free online courses have now been established. More details of the target audiences for the courses are below:

  • Teaching assistants and other low paid, unqualified school staff.
  • Healthcare assistants and the wider health sector workers (bands 1-4 primarily).
  • A generic ‘planning a better future’ course aimed at a wide section of low paid workers, e.g. those in retail, hospitality, service industries.
  • A social care course to support those in low paid or voluntary work in home, residential, community or family care settings.
  • A course for those who want to set up, develop and sustain a Micro-Small Enterprise.
  • A course for those interested in being involved with the Voluntary Sector.

Learners will be able to collect online, downloadable badges (between 3-5 per course) and an end of course statement of participation. So although these courses won’t carry any credit, they do offer learners something to show as recognition of their completion. All courses are due to go live by the end of July 2016.

Research and Evaluation:
The project is exploring ways to embed robust tracking and monitoring mechanisms into the website development and the free online courses to enable exploration of the use and impact of the learning assets. The assets will be evaluated using a mixture of analytics (to monitor user engagement, navigation and journeys), evaluative surveys (to gather feedback after use of the resources) and, specifically for the courses, a measure of self-regulated learning .

If you would like further information please contact one of the team below:-

Julie Gowen (SPoC and Lead) – Head of External Development
Evaghn DeSouza – Project Manager
Jen Goff – Evaluation Officer

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If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

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Timewise Councils

Timewise Councils

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Emma Stewart MBE, Timewise Joint CEO, talks exclusively about why flexible hiring is shaping the future of the workplace.

We are going through a radical period of change in the workplace. People want a better work-life balance and employers are responding to this. The Government has recognised this with the introduction of flexible working and shared parental leave. The public has also responded with 14.1 million workers now looking for some form of flexibility in their next role.

To push this point further, our Timewise Flexible Jobs Index highlighted that just 6.2% of quality jobs are advertised as open to flexibility at the point of hire. Nowhere is this more important than within local Government, where unprecedented pressure on budgets and services require innovative approaches to job design through both recruitment, workforce planning and commissioning.

Many councils are already undertaking agile programmes, investing in technology and hot-desking to drive a more flexible approach to managing people and services. But, this is only part of the story… Whilst 82% of managers believe flexible working benefits their business, driving a culture where people are empowered to make their own decisions about where, when and how they work, is much harder.

It means a huge shift in approaches to working for both employer and employee alike. To support you through this, we have developed the Timewise Council programme. To help local authorities develop and implement real culture change around flexible working and hiring.

Councils who undertake the programme are supported by us to re-think:

  • How to position flexible working in order to maximise performance for their organisation, managers and people
  • How recruitment processes can offer more flexible roles and build a more engaged workforce.

The Timewise Council also helps Local Authorities reduce costs when working with external suppliers, especially agencies and social care job design. Councils who lead on flexible hiring have a real opportunity to share their learnings and educate local employers on the benefits it can bring their business, as they have the potential to unlock more, quality, flexible jobs within the local community. This is particularly pertinent for people with family and caring commitments, who are unable to work within a 9-5 or full-time framework.

So why do local authorities decide to become Timewise Councils? 

Embracing flexible working and hiring delivers clear returns for organisations and individuals. Recent research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that flexible working could, potentially, add around £11.5 billion to the UK economy.

Larger corporates who have been working with Timewise to implement and manage workplace flexibility, have seen an estimated £15M in financial benefits per annum – through improved productivity, reduced travel and real estate costs. Not to mention improved staff attraction and retention. Flexible working can save organisations money, not add to costs.

A case in point. Timewise Councils seeing business benefit

The London Borough of Camden became the first Timewise Council in 2014 and now encourages flexible working requests as part of all job adverts. Their strategy to support flexible and part-time working is attracting applications from a wider range of quality applicants. Between November 2014 and January 2015, 20% of new starters joined Camden council with a flexible working arrangement in place. Lambeth has become London’s second Timewise Council, and are also incorporating smarter approaches to job design, as well as promoting already existing flexibility in order to both attract a more diverse, skilled talent pool of candidates, and realise efficiencies in how jobs are done.

The full list of Councils who have now achieved Timewise Council status includes: Camden, Lambeth, Islington, Stoke on Trent and Leicestershire county councils; the tri-council partnership between North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. Other Councils currently undertaking the programme to achieve Timewise Council status, includes Enfield, Carlisle, Warwickshire, Taunton Deane, Surrey, Croydon, Tewkesbury and Carlisle city council.

Early feedback suggests these councils are starting to see, or are expecting to see, shifting management attitudes towards presenteeism, with their perceptions changing from having to accommodate flexibility, to seeing that it is very good for business.

This year, the Government Equalities Office and the Local Government Association are supporting the development of a Timewise Council network. Giving authorities the chance to undertake the programme at a subsidised rate, in order to build insight and learning.

We know the challenges for local government are significant, but becoming agile and flexible in how they work and manage their people, is one crucial way to become future fit. As Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth puts it… “Being Timewise allows us to recruit a more diverse workforce and help raise the standard of living for the families of those we employ.”

 

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Employment Law Brief with Darren Newman

Employment Law Brief with Darren Newman

In the first of many guest blogs by our colleagues and associates – Darren Newman provides an insightful and extremely relevant employment law update looking at the potential impact of social media in the workplace.

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Social media has revolutionised the way in which we interact and communicate with each other. This poses a challenge for employers. To what extent can the online activities of an employee be something that an employer can impose limits on? When can online comments made be the subject of disciplinary action?

As with any other area of off-duty conduct, the answer depends on the extent to which the employee’s activities impact on the legitimate business interests of the employer. Employees have a duty to render faithful service to the employer and publishing derogatory comments can be a breach of that duty. What an employee says online may also provide evidence that they are not a suitable person to be employed in a particular role.

Take the recent case of The British Waterways Board v Smith. Mr Smith was a manual worker who was required to be on 24-hour standby one week in every five to deal with any emergencies that might occur. The team in which he worked was not a happy one and a number of grievances were raised about alleged bullying.

Just before Mr Smith’s complaint was due to be heard, however, he was accused of gross misconduct based on comments he had made on Facebook. The comments had been taken directly from his Facebook page and some of them dated back up to two years.

Most of them simply stated that he hated his work and described his supervisors in (very) unflattering terms. More seriously, some of his comments referred to drinking while on standby – something strictly prohibited and regarded by the employer as gross misconduct.

Mr Smith argued that all of his comments – including those about drinking while on standby – were ‘banter’. He hadn’t intended them for public consumption, but his Facebook account had been hacked and the privacy settings changed so that anyone could read them.

The employer didn’t believe him and decided that he must have been drinking while on stand-by, so he was sacked for gross misconduct. The Tribunal found that the dismissal was unfair. Mr Smith had 8 years of unblemished service and consistently good performance reviews. The employer had actually known about the comments for some period of time before deciding to act and the Tribunal took this to show that the matter was less serious than the employer subsequently claimed.

The Tribunal also noted that the comments were made on a social media site used for ‘chat’ and which ‘frequently involves people making claims which are either exaggerated or simply not in fact true’. Given that a fair procedure had been followed and the employer honestly believed that Mr Smith had been drinking while on standby the only option open to the Tribunal was to find that the dismissal was fair. Frankly I think the employer had a lucky escape here. It does seem quite harsh to take everything someone says on their Facebook page – aimed solely at their own circle of friends – as the literal truth.

I can certainly imagine that someone would boast about drinking while on standby in order to seem cool and rebellious while staying scrupulously sober – and the employer had no other evidence that the employee had been drinking when he shouldn’t. But even if we take this case as being a close-run thing, there are still lessons that we can learn from it.

If the employer actually hacks into an employee’s account and obtains information illegally, then that is a different matter. But, in general, any evidence that an employer can lawfully access online is fair game.

I also think it was significant that some of the comments could be used as evidence of specific misconduct – drinking while on standby – as opposed to the employer’s concern that Mr Smith’s other comments had risked bringing the employer into disrepute. We all moan about our work – don’t we? Requiring employees to be positive and engaged while writing about their day on Facebook or Twitter is surely taking things too far. Employers may worry that when negative comments are published online they can be seen by the whole world.

However the reality is that most comments on social media are seen by almost no-one. It is important to keep a sense of perspective and think carefully about how much harm has actually been done. Where there is a more specific concern, however, then the employer is justified in taking a much harder line. In the Smith case the issue was drinking on stand-by.

In a lot of local authority work the concern will be over information regarding children or vulnerable people. Making an online comment even in jest that could lead to a vulnerable person being identified, or which might give the impression that appropriate care was not being given, is the sort of thing that an employer will be entitled to have no sense of humour about.

One of the key questions in an unfair dismissal case is often whether the employee should have understood that the conduct in question could lead to dismissal. Where employees work with vulnerable groups or where the employer has some other specific reason to be concerned about what might be said on social media – then it is worth making this clear, either in a general code of conduct or a specific social media policy.

It is best not to get carried away. A policy that is too restrictive will be widely ignored and will do more harm than good. Employers should appreciate that employees will say things online that they wouldn’t say in the workplace.

However, where an employee’s role causes a particular risk of harm if comments are misjudged or taken out of context then a strict policy is justified – and also helps protect the employee. One misplaced comment about a care home or school could erupt into a Twitter storm that can be a nightmare for the individual concerned as well as causing damage to the employer. If employees are given clear boundaries about referring to work on social media then most will be grateful to be given good practical advice.

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Don’t forget to check Darren Newman across the web:
Twitter: @DazNewman
Web: http://bit.ly/1KO27z9

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Why Interchange is Great!

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2015 Annual Conference: Re-Imagine Public Services

2015 Annual Conference: Re-Imagine Public Services

At this years’ Annual Conference we had a fantastic line up of speakers that engaged and inspired the audience to think differently about how we re-imagine public services.

Creating opportunities for our members and their partners to connect and network is core to why we exist as an organisation. We have utilised our annual conference to bring together leaders from across public services to share ideas and practice around how we can re-imagine our public services.

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The event featured informative, interactive and inspirational presentations from:

Professor Tony Travers, Department of Government at London School of Economics
Matching aspirations to resources: changes, trends and opportunities

Carolyn Downs, Chief Executive at the LGA – What next for local government
68 days into a new government what are the implications for the sector and LGA priorities?

Andrew Lightfoot, Director of Public Service Reform at Greater Manchester Combined Authority 
Eyes on the prize – how will devolution change public service, from imagination to delivery in Greater Manchester?

Andy Walker, Citizen Representative 
Keeping it real – people centred thinking for public services.

Catherine Mangan, Senior Fellow, INLOGOV at the University of Birmingham
What does this new world require of us as leaders?

Annette Wetherell, Love Barrow Families Project Lead at Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust
Working with complex families differently in Barrow

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We hope that as a result of the conference the delegates will not only make meaningful connections with colleagues they wouldn’t normally come into contact with, but also be inspired to take forward ideas that they have heard to their local area.

Here’s a flavour of what the delegates thought……

An exceptionally inspiring event.

As an HR practitioner working on a range of transformation activities, the focus of the event was highly appropriate. Thank you.

Another opportunity to work together as councils for the betterment of the communities we represent.

Good to get out of your own local bubble and meet other people and hear what they are doing.

Coming from an NHS organisation, it was great to understand a local government perspective – lots of food for thought.

 

We are planning a series of further events throughout the year and we hope you will be able to join us at these.

If you would like to find out more about how North West Employers can support you to re-imagine public services then get in touch with the team support@nwemployers.org.uk or 0161 834 9362.

@NWEmployers
#ReimaginingPS

 

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If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media