The role of positive workplace culture

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There is a lot in the news at the moment concerning workplace culture and negative trends like ‘silent quitting’. Workplace culture is the essence and definition of any business. It’s what unifies the employees and management. It decides how your company will be perceived from the outside world – from clients to competitors. On a fundamental level, it’s the company’s shared values and beliefs, its attitudes and the ethics that people in a workplace share. A positive culture is essential for any successful business. But in these uncertain times, how do you make sure that you introduce a positive culture into the workplace?

A positive atmosphere

Many companies have directly addressed workplace culture and gone to great lengths to engender a positive workplace atmosphere. This has in some cases extended to include places where employees can socialise, but usually it is more along the lines of a friendly, sociable atmosphere. It can include a certain degree of flexibility, to better suit a work/life balance. This may also include working from home, as part of a hybrid working model, or working certain days of the week. Flexitime has been a feature of employment for many years, but many firms have embraced a wider flexibility now. This can help accommodate school runs, for instance, or the care of elderly relatives. Acknowledging employee needs and addressing them go a long way to generating a positive workplace culture.

Minimum effort

Defining shared culture and values in your business is very important. You want people working for and with you that care about their jobs and their business. The ‘silent quitting’ or ‘quiet quitting’ trend is actually nothing new, but it has become popularised via platforms such as TikTok. The idea behind it is to only do enough in your role to get your job done. You won’t run the extra mile, or exceed the parameters of your duties or your salary. In short, it’s doing the bare minimum to keep your job. It’s spurred on by disillusionment and the fact that people don’t want their jobs to be their lives. They want to work to live, rather than living for their work.

Positive attitudes

However, in any company – and especially in a small one – this attitude can be detrimental to workplace culture. There’s no room for passengers and by encouraging a positive atmosphere and a pleasant, sociable workplace, this kind of attitude may be discouraged. Larger companies have a culture and set of values – often via mission statements or other mantra – that will be obvious from your research, interview and induction process with the firm. Culture even extends to how you represent the company via your dress and attitude. These are expectations from employers that it is hoped are nurtured and will prosper in businesses that have a positive workplace culture – and hopefully rub off on everyone else.

The power of delegation


If you are managing a team, you know how difficult delegating work to other individuals can be. Managing a workload can be complicated and is a key factor in any successful manager and team – and consequently business. Getting the balance right between delegation and realistic workload can also be tricky. So, why it is so important to be able to delegate well? Well, the simple answer is you can’t do it all on your own.

Specialism and efficiency

Delegation isn’t just about getting somebody else to do something. It’s about matching skills to tasks, and matching knowledge to subjects, so you really need to get to know your team and colleagues well. If you’re dealing with specialist subjects, it’s often the case that someone will be better suited to carrying out a task than others due to their experience and skills.  Those with a background in certain subjects, say finance or planning, will be able to become familiar with and tackle projects faster than someone who has to research the subject, for example.   We can also delegate work aligned to strengths and motivations.  Delegation often brings out the best in an individual, if they are assigned to deliver a key piece of work or oversee a key project that involves the way they love to work.

Delegation is also about allowing individuals within a team to contribute to the overall success of a project or task. Being able to contribute a key component to a wider success is an important element of teambuilding and also for enhancing morale. While delegation feeds into workload management, which in turn can help with efficiency, it’s also not just a case of getting things done more quickly. A piece of work might pass through many hands, have many drafts, for example, until it reaches an ideal version. Different people will bring different perspectives to each draft – and each will have a made an important contribution. Most projects are like this and each contributor should be able to see their mark on the end result.

A range of options

That is why it’s important to have a diverse team membership, so that when it comes to delegation, you have a range of options as to who is best suited to the role, project or client. It’s critical to empower teams and acknowledge that their effort makes a difference, as leaders we can’t do it all and micro-managing does not bring the best out in people. Coaching skills can come to the fore as a result of delegation too. You’ll be able to identify which person is right for the project from their CV profiles or through discussion with them. in this way, delegation and teamwork create a positive business culture that benefits everyone.

There are of course cons to the delegation argument too. One of the biggest negatives of delegation is how to ascertain what to delegate to who. Some individuals may take umbrage at not being delegated a task that they would be well suited for, which can cause division and resentment in the team. In that case, you may have to explain your rationale for your decision, if it becomes an issue.    

Best-case scenario

In the best-case scenario, it allows staff to learn and develop new skills, while they are working efficiently on a ‘live’ project. But if you make the wrong choice, it could end up costing you money in lost time and wasted resources. When it works, delegation can be a huge asset, with improved efficiency and great results. It also of course gives you the time and space to focus on higher-level tasks. It’s all about getting the right mix of staff that will make delegation easier, as you play to their strengths and reap the benefits of the power of delegation.


Taking the right route

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The modern workplace – and the route to it – is changing all the time. Universities are not always offering the right path (or experience) into work for young people nowadays. In-house apprenticeships and earning-while-learning are becoming increasingly more important. Some companies are adapting and doing really well at this. Others are not. Traditional routes are no longer the only option. In fact, the experience for many roles is now better learned whilst actually working.

On-the-spot experience

There’s no substitute for actually doing a job to learn about it. It’s the quickest way to find out the processes you’ll need to be a success. Also, how the business works and the mechanics of the interaction between the staff. Of course, to secure a job, you need qualifications of some form, be they degree, diploma or other qualification. But increasingly businesses are offering their own apprenticeship schemes. These will create a workforce in the business’s image, tailored to its ethos and with the right attitude in place. In this way, the company’s ethics and practices are instilled from the outset. It’s a sound concept and will pay dividends in the future, with such aspects as knowledge-sharing and mentoring key facets of any successful business.

A different era

We are now in a different era of university education to the one many of us grew up in. For many years, there was a generation of students that were awarded grants. This made it a lot easier financially to make the decision to go to university. Nowadays, the student loan system places a considerable burden on students from the moment they leave education and enter work. Even if repayment is deferred until a certain earnings threshold is reached, the debt remains as an obstacle to other financial commitments, such as a mortgage or marriage. The range of university and college courses have increased too, and with it the number of students. Universities have become a combination of places of learning and businesses that need to make a profit.

Join the skills’ set

But it’s a lack of practical experience that is driving the current jobs’ market. The skills shortage is a problem and there’s no better way to learn skills than by taking on an apprenticeship. Some companies are doing it really well, such as the large local employer Airbus at Broughton aerodrome. This aeronautical engineering company, which is a key employer in the north west of England, is offering its own degree course.

The UK government website indicates the Top 10 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022. These employer rankings are developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research, which independently assess and rank the country’s top apprenticeship employers. The Top 10 are the British Army, Royal Navy, BT, Royal Air Force, Department of Work and Pensions, Clarkson Evans, Mitchells & Butlers, RSM, BAE Systems and Grant Thornton. The Top five SME Apprenticeship Employers in the UK for 2022 are Lander Tubular Products, Adopstar, Lee Marley Brickwork, Applebridge and Darke & Taylor. But some of these companies are not household names and there are some very big employers out there that could probably do more with regards to apprenticeships and training.

HR managers are having to look at different ways to recruit and bring in the next generation of talent. The most imaginative and forward-thinking will ensure their futures, probably deploying a hybrid formula of recruitment and apprenticeships. It’s a great way to harness talent and mould it into something truly successful in the workplace.

Quiet quitting – the silent enemy

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A variety of different factors – from cost-of-living uncertainty to the pandemic – have made a lot of people examine their work-life balance with forensic detail. What suits one person will not suit another, as everyone’s personal and working lives are different. One of the trends that has emerged is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’. It is associated with both work and home life, and can impact both. It is also causing problems for employers, managers and HR professionals, as this ‘silent’ change revolutionises the way people look at their careers. 

Balance or imbalance?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to employees who elect only to work the specific hours of their contract and fulfil the remit of their roles to the letter – no more, no less. Any extra input, or rather output, from them will need to be paid for. It’s been attributed to a number of factors, such as overwork, employee burnout and mental health issues around stress and anxiety. But it is part of wider trend of people wanting to extend the flexibility and convenience of working from home, or the hybrid part-office/part-home working that many companies have adopted. Apparently, 60% of UK employees value their improved work-life balance and job flexibility over a 10% pay rise.

The lack of structure when working flexibly is being found to be detrimental to some employees though. There are factors such as not knowing when you are going to see colleagues, or when others will be in the office, which can itself cause uncertainty for staff. Some people need structure, uniformity and surety. The nine-to-five routine and ‘who is in the office when’ on any given day matters to them. Many workers now feel disengaged from the workplace, which may mean they also feel disengaged from their roles too. As a result, motivation and productivity have dropped and there has been a wholesale disengagement from working life. Some employees are not even sure of what is expected of them in work and what exactly their roles are for the company. 

The need to reengage

The drop in engagement began in the latter half of 2021 and has particularly affected younger workers. The social aspects of work – communication, chat, popping out to the shops or for lunch – have also been disrupted or supplanted altogether by working from home and the ever-changing routine of any given working week. This has led to over half the UK workforce now reportedly contributing to the quiet quitting trend.

If you don’t feel valued at work, are unsure of your role, or will only do the ‘bare minimum’ of what’s required of you, then this is partly due to poor management. Managers need to make sure their staff are aware that they are part of a wider company. They must feel supported and genuinely valued, and must be provided with a place to work where people can learn and grow, engage with other staff and collaborate to create great teams. Isolation and disengagement should never be felt by any employee and only if managers address this will ‘quiet quitters’ be encouraged to reengage once more.


Bouncing back – wellbeing in the workplace and the importance of resilience

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We are all faced with challenges and difficult situations at work every day, many of which are out of our control. The important thing to address is how you bounce back from them. We are taking a look at the importance of resilience and creating wellbeing in the workplace.

Promoting wellbeing

We all want to work in the right environment, where individuals and organisations can thrive. Wellbeing starts with the office and facilities available to the workforce. The office space needs to be designed with the employees in mind and should incorporate wellbeing measures.  Nobody wants to work in a cold, clinical or shabby office, it should feel inviting and fresh to help boost morale and productivity. You don’t need to spend lots of money to do this; you could try introducing plants, artwork or just add a splash of colour to the walls.  It’s easy to create a ‘home from home’ environment.

Be flexible

Where possible, help to promote a positive work life balance with flexible working. Many companies are now resorting to ‘hybrid’ working; not just because they had to during the covid pandemic but because hybrid working often more easily allows flexibility. Keeping healthy contributes to overall wellbeing, having a selection of fresh fruit available and different benefits like gym memberships, health insurance and cycle to work schemes can help motivate healthier lifestyles.

What is resilience at work?

Resilience can show how effectively you handle challenging situations in your personal life and at home. It is often described as the ability to ‘bounce back’ and comfortably carry-on during adversity. Resilience means facing challenges, solving problems, and recovering from mistakes.  It can help employees manage their stress levels and encourage motivation when facing challenges. Here are several ways that highlight the importance of resilience in the workplace.

  1. Helps with self-esteem

Resilient employees may have better self-esteem because they can face challenges that may be presented at work with confidence and positivity.

  1. Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism

Absenteeism can present itself when the individual is stressed, overworked, or dissatisfied with their job. They may be struggling with their physical or mental health. Promoting wellbeing and resilience can help alleviate stress and work-related anxiety. In turn Presenteeism, where an employee works longer than required or through sickness, can indicate a stressed environment where they are unable not to work. By supporting physical wellbeing, offering flexible working hours, and making sure workloads are manageable you can help to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism.

  1. Boosted productivity and supports innovation

A resilient workforce will perform. This will mean an employee will have the capacity to thrive. It helps them to adapt, cope, and respond positively. A resilient employee feels more comfortable and confident and copes better with the idea of failure. As a result of this, they will take well-informed and measured risks within the workplace by trying new things, sharing new ideas and helping to lead the team.

A workplace needs strong leadership which can demonstrate resilience to others. Learn about employers’ needs and consider resilience training. By taking on board all the different factors mentioned, you can help improve wellbeing in your workplace.


Managing a hybrid workforce

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Of the multitude of challenges thrown up by Covid, the changes it made to the world of work are still being felt by all of us. Many of these changes look like they are here to stay. Thousands of people found themselves having to adapt to working from home almost overnight. Now, well over two years after that first national lockdown, with some people still working exclusively from home, many more have combined working some days in the workplace with some time working from home.

 Adapting to a new way of working

Some organisations were already very familiar with this ‘hybrid working’, long before the pandemic, and had it down to a fine art. Many more have had to adapt quickly to find ways to ensure their employees can carry out their role from their own home as easily as they might at the office. Technology, with the extraordinarily speedy adoption of platforms such as Teams and Zoom, can make the adjustment easier. However, it can also bring its own challenges, with broadband accessibility, for one thing, frequently being patchy, particularly in more rural areas.

 No ‘one size fits all’ for hybrid working

Some employees love working from home, with the time and money saved without commuting. It can help create a work-life balance that has benefitted mental health, and in some cases, even enhanced performance. Other people can struggle with working from home. They may miss the team spirit and camaraderie that sharing a workplace can bring. Equally, not everyone’s home lends itself well to becoming a workspace. Lack of space or caring responsibilities can make working from home overly challenging to be sensible for everyone. It’s really important that managers bear this in mind when it comes to setting new rules for their working model.

Every organisation needs to ask if hybrid working suits it. How is the mental health of the workforce being benefited, for good or ill? Is a good work life balance being achieved or are some employees feeling left out and isolated? Is there a danger that those who work from home more may feel they are missing out. Not just on the day to day, but feeling marginalised on longer term opportunities, for promotions and training for example?

Its all about trust

Managing a hybrid workforce effectively really just comes down to trust. Before 2020, many employers would have been concerned that working from home allows employees too much freedom. How would you know that someone is really working if you can’t see them? It is actually surprisingly difficult to quantify and monitor how much someone is working, wherever they are located – in front of you or many miles away. After all, presence in the office is no guarantee of productivity.

Managers need to change their mindset and trust their employees to manage their time effectively. Good managers focus on the outcomes. Does your workforce’s new way of working negatively impact your customers? Are their needs still being met? If the work is being done and your employees are available for customers when they are needed to be, surely that should be all that matters.

Staying relevant in a changing world

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It’s very easy in the day to day, to lose sight of what actually allows you to carry out your job. We all take our attributes for granted to a certain extent. If you have experience in a discipline or sector, it does become something of second nature as to how you work and how your role is carried out. If you’re someone who works in an office, you don’t sit down at your desk in the morning and think: ‘What should I do today?’ We naturally check our emails, attend meetings, carry out tasks, do our jobs, but the process is entirely instinctive.

Working and learning

However, instinctiveness and routine perhaps encourage us to rest on our laurels too. This can lead to complacency when it comes to keeping up to date on new legislation and the latest industry thinking in our sectors. Some companies implement training and updates as a matter of course. If this is offered, it makes sense to take whatever opportunities are available. Employers may fund courses, including master’s degrees and other further qualifications, as well as conventional diplomas, degrees and relevant vocational qualifications.

Further education in the workplace is a positive outcome both for employer and employee. This mutually beneficial option is worth exploring if there are areas of research and education you’d like to take on. There will be a multitude of options, from in-person courses to online certificates. However, make sure that any academy purporting to provide certificated accreditation is authentic and the real deal, and not a bogus organisation.

Improved prospects

The importance of keeping relevant isn’t always naturally encouraged by employers. It may be down to the individual to make the effort themselves. There are many ways to keep abreast of industry developments. This can be through the membership of industry bodies, or it may be through websites and courses.

You can also tap into your colleagues’ knowledge. They may be able to advise you where to find relevant information, or even provide the tuition or training themselves. Sharing skill in the workplace is one area in business that is often overlooked. Networking might also be an option, with tips and news on current thinking and development often best heard by word of mouth. There’s no quicker way to impart information than an in-person conversation. It’s often the most straightforward and low-key situations. An informal chat over lunch or a coffee, for example, can prove the most unexpectedly rewarding.

Looking beyond the expected

You can also look beyond your sector too. There will be affiliate courses and accreditations that will be useful in your long-term career path. Certainly, any academy courses and memberships of official organisations – that will, in simple terms, ‘add letters after your name’ – will expand your skillset. This will make you a more attractive prospect for any employer in the future, and of course enhances your CV. Joining organisations will ensure you keep in the loop regarding industry developments and technological advances. You may also like to look at coaching and mentoring, whereby you will undergo a career appraisal that will identify areas where you can explore. A good Career Coach will both find out where you are in your current situation and identify areas you can address for career advancement that will keep you relevant – both for your current career path, and the road yet to be explored.

Shy and (un)retiring

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The current economic climate is leading to all kinds of unusual phenomena. From the continuation of work from home to the adoption of hybrid working models, people are changing their lifestyles and working life routines in a multitude of ways. One aspect is that people are continuing to work beyond their retiring age – but also some are coming back into the workplace, having already retired. This can be for many reasons, from financial necessity to personal choice. However, ‘unretirement’ is an undeniable trend that is worth looking at.

Uncertainty and finances

Research from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that there are now more people aged 50 and over in work – or actively looking for work – than since just prior to the pandemic. This is driven by a  number of key factors that are affecting everyone, in one degree or another. These new findings identify upwardly spiralling inflation, volatile financial markets and the soaring cost of living as leading to the ‘great unretirement’.

Some of the statistics are telling. Of the increase of 116,000 over-50s working or looking for work in the past year, more than half of them were men aged over 65. This is an increase of 8.5%. This research also showed that 37,000 more women over 65 were also now in work or looking for work. Experts deem this increase is being driven by former retirees returning to work, rather than people working longer.

Volatile financial markets are said to be creating significant fear and uncertainty in people’s perceptions of their future retirement income. Any kind of pension pot can be affected by all kinds of factors and in some instances, if there have been financial difficulties with the business, or any kind of personal fallings-out (such as divorce), this can have a big impact on savings, assets and pension arrangements.

Wellbeing and benefits

In addition to the obvious financial benefits, there are of course a variety of positive impacts on a worker’s wellbeing by continuing to work. For many the void or retirement simply isn’t for them. Working can provide a sense of purpose and direction, of motivation and routine – not to mention exercise, both mental and physical, depending on the role. The social aspect is very important to many people too.

The ‘great unretirement’ also keys into some important aspects of Career Evolution’s vocation. We work a great deal with people who are getting work-ready and getting used to entering (or re-entering) the jobs market or workplace once more. We guide our clients on using networks and keeping up-to-date on developments in their sectors. It’s always worth subscribing to newsletters, or retaining links to your sectors via networking or even socialising, just to keep up to speed on any new legislation or technological developments. In this way, it won’t be such as shock when you re-enter the working environment.

With the jobs market becoming particularly competitive, it’s more important than ever to gain an edge. By continuing to keep in touch with your network and being creative and flexible about what a career might look like, it will ensure that you are prepared – should you want to ‘unretire’ yourself and enter the world of work once more.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.


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Welcome to our new vlog from Career Evolution!

We will be sharing weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our fourth vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from July, including developing your personal brand, portfolio careers, identifying transferable skills, and a case study with Peter McCarthy.

Watch the video below:

See our first vlog here, our second vlog here and our third vlog here.

Developing your personal brand

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Self-awareness is a wonderful thing, and we all know how we think we see ourselves. Perhaps we think we are confident, competent, decision-making leaders, with bags of energy and the ability to deal with any crisis life throws at us. Or maybe we’re mere mortals, not infallible, with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. But how do others see us – and do the two ‘images’ match up?

Clarity and consistency

Your personal brand is about clearly and consistently presenting who you are – your real strengths, true personality, character, attitudes and motivations – and the ability to articulate them concisely and with confidence. To create your personal brand, you need everyone to understand who you are, what you do, where you add value and why they might want to employ you.

A key factor of your brand is consistency. Every facet of your brand must add up – from your personality ‘in person’ in an interview or the workplace, with the contents of your CV, to your online presence, via social media, or a blog or website. There’s no point in presenting one viewpoint in your social media persona that completely contradicts your real views. Make sure too that your CV reinforces your beliefs and achievements, rather than disputing them. Remember, abilities, traits and qualities that should be highlighted in your profile should cover four key areas – Personal and Interpersonal skills, Organisational and Decision-making.

Being true to yourself

Your CV is a good place to start with creating your brand. Despite some companies using online application forms for job vacancies, a strong CV is just as important now as it always was. It allows you the time to think about your achievements and strengths, and quantify and present them in a coherent, striking way. They can also be easily adapted to form the basis of any kind of online application form, by tailoring the responses from your CV to fit each question.

It’s also useful to have various different edits of your profile. A short passage is always useful to have – the kind of 150–200-word paragraph you might be able to use at a networking session as an instant concise introduction. This should state clearly and simply ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’. It should be something that is true to yourself and that you feel comfortable delivering in person – a reflection of you in a few words.

Two sides, one face

Play to your strengths and as much as possible, your work persona should complement your real personality. There’s no point in putting an act on at work that is difficult to maintain. You’ll constantly be thinking you mustn’t let your guard down, which most of us can never do. The two sides of your life – your work and your personal life – may be quite separate (that is, unless you run your own business!).  Ensuring that you include as much of your own personality into your ‘brand’ will make it easier for people to relate to you – and your sincerity will be rewarded with reciprocal honesty and trust.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.