Helping employees through change

Posted on Jun 18, 2019

The only constant we can be certain of is change. As we prepare to
move into a new decade, the companies that will win in the 2020s
are the ones that are proactively designed to adapt to the world’s
constantly shifting realities.
These realities will include the wider roll out of artificial intelligence,
a more diverse workforce, an ever-greater emphasis on data
protection and strictly enforced regulations designed to protect the

How ready are you and how can you get ready?

Many, if not the vast majority of businesses and organisations, have
deeply entrenched workflow systems that are underpinned by
decades-old hierarchies. Deconstructing or even just mildly
disrupting these systems can actually lead to further entrenchment,
if not full-blown resistance.
With the need to change in mind, how do you actually go about it?
It’s all about your people – all of your people. A newly published
“cultural audit” of An Garda Síochána found that “change has not
landed at the front line”. This is a hugely common barrier to change.
The people at c-level are briefed on the new processes, with a full
understanding of the whys and the hows, but staff further down the
line are left out. How can change happen in an environment that
lacks inclusion and genuine buy-in?
The cultural audit of gardaí revealed “scepticism” towards the
force’s newly designed Modernisation of Renewal Programme. After
all the hard work of examining the change you need, followed by
initial attempts to implement it, this kind of scepticism from the bulk
of your staff is the last thing you want to come up against.

The science of organisational change


New research from the Boston Consulting Group examines the
science of organisational change. It found that traditional
approaches to cultural transformation are not that effective.
The research found that only about one in four transformations
succeeds in the – and the success rate has been trending
downward. So, how can you make sure you are the one in that four?

Successful implementation of change


The global consultancy group identified five components to ensure
the successful implementation of change. They are:
  • Ground change programmes in evidence
  • De-average change strategies according to the nature of the challenge at hand
  • Embrace uncertainty and complexity in change management
  • Use technology to identify the right talent to execute change
  • Tap into emerging science to enhance change programmes

Helping your employees to change


After you’ve decided on your transformation programme, how do
you roll out change on the ground? In an article for the
Harvard Business Review, Bryan Walker, managing director of global design
company IDEO, wrote about how a 33-year-old Indian
pharmaceutical company transformed itself.
Dr Reddy’s produces affordable generic medication and has more
than 20,000 employees in 27 different countries. Decision-making at
the company had grown more complicated and parts of the
company had become misaligned.
Its CEO, GV Prasad, needed to make Dr Reddy’s culture nimbler and
more innovative. He hired IDEO to learn about the needs of
everyone at the company to create a common purpose. Everyone –
from shop-floor workers and scientists to external partners and
investors – was consulted.
Eventually, the purpose was pared down to four words: “Good health
can’t wait.”

Leading by example


And this is where things got interesting. Instead of plastering this
new slogan on motivational posters and repeating it in all-hands
meetings, the leadership team began by quietly using it to start
guiding their own decisions. The goal was to demonstrate this idea
in action, not talk about it.
Prasad saw a change in the company culture right away. “After we
introduced the idea of ‘good health can’t wait’, one of the scientists
told me he developed a product in 15 days and broke every rule
there was in the company. He was proudly stating that.
“Normally, just getting the raw materials would take him months,
not to mention the rest of the process for making the medication.
But he was acting on that urgency. And now he’s taking this lesson
of being lean and applying it to all our procedures.”
If you want to help your employees through inevitable change:
  • Base your plan in evidence
  • Embrace technology
  • Avoid mandates

Leading the way to more family-friendly workplaces

Posted on Jun 4, 2019

Childcare is the real glass ceiling. There are two key things that
make this so.
Firstly, men earn more than women in Ireland. The gender pay gap
currently stands at 14% and, in some professions, that goes up to
Secondly, the cost of childcare is often described as a “second
mortgage”. In some parts of the country, it costs as much as €308 a
week for one child. So, when it comes to returning to work after
having your child – faced with crèche fees versus your take-home
pay each month – is it any wonder the job that brings in the lower
salary, inevitably the woman’s, will be the one sacrificed when it
comes to paying for childcare over doing it yourself?

How does all of this play out for women in society?

When it comes to the jobs around the house – the cooking, the
cleaning, the school homework, the drop-offs, the pick-ups,
remembering birthdays and planning the dinners, otherwise known
as the “primary care work” – 70% of this is carried out by women,
according to the 2016 TASC (Think-tank for Action on Social Change)
Women are working – they’re just not getting paid for it.

Women missing from positions of power

How does this ceiling of childcare play out for women, in a larger
societal context, in terms of holding positions of influence?
In business, women only make up 18.1% of directors of Irish-
registered ISEQ20 companies. At CEO level, women lead about 10%
of our companies.
In Dáil Éireann, only 22.2% of our TDs are women. There are 16
constituencies, some of which are entire counties, that do not have
a woman as a TD. At local council level, 23% of the country’s
councillors are women, up 2% on the 2014 elections.
In the media, all the editorships of our national newspapers are
male. And in education, women make up 45% of all academic staff
at our higher-level institutions, but men hold around 75% of the
professorships and about two-thirds of the associate professorships.
As for the role of Taoiseach; we’ve had 14 of those and, no, not a
single one of them was a woman.

Equal parental leave

Childcare is the real glass ceiling and that is why Guinness’s news is
so game changing. From July 1, the 26 weeks of paid parental leave
will be offered to all Diageo employees in Ireland who become
parents, regardless of gender or sexuality. It will also apply
regardless of how people become parents – via birth, adoption or

Why is this such positive news?

As we reach full employment and companies start to struggle with
recruitment and retention, this is a pivotal moment for workers’
rights that will encourage equal distribution of childcare between
Now the woman, the person on the statistically lower salary, will no
longer have to be the one to step out of the workforce, unless they
so choose.
Also, the fact that a company as big as Diageo is making this move
means other businesses will feel the peer pressure to follow suit.

Attractive parental package

Canadian company, Shopify, which has employees in Ireland,
already has an attractive package in place for their staff who
become parents. The e-commerce platform supports employees who
are new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up
payments to 85% of salary for up to 34 weeks. It also offers parental
top-up for fathers and adoptive parents to 85% of salary for up to 18
All of this is happening against a political backdrop where fathers
receive two weeks’ State pay on the birth of a child – a benefit that
will increase to four weeks from November. The Government plans
to continue extending this over the coming years.
Equality isn’t just good PR, it’s actually good for business and for the
creation of a stable, sustainable economy. Who doesn’t want that?

Feargal Quinn’s big regret revealed in one of his final interviews

Posted on Apr 26, 2019

He revolutionised Irish retail, held five honorary doctorates, was father to five children and grandfather to 19 and, when he ‘retired’, he became a Senator and a broadcaster, but Feargal Quinn had one regret.

It was a regret he hoped would provide inspiration for other entrepreneurs. “I didn’t open my first shop until I was 23, I should have opened it at 21,” he told Margaret E. Ward on the Broadly Speaking podcast during the summer of 2017. “Start earlier than you’d planned,” he added.


Dressing for success is hard work

Posted on Apr 23, 2019

Dressing for success is hard work

In a business casual world, is the old adage of dressing for success obsolete? Not quite.

When getting dressed for the office, we’re beginning to take style tips from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, rather than Mad Men’s Don Draper. While sharp suits, fancy dresses and high heels may still be seen in some workplaces, employees are increasingly opting for a more casual style, with a greater focus on comfort. Suits are out and techie casual is in. (more…)

How to deal with underperformance

Posted on Apr 12, 2019

How to deal with underperformance - Broadly Speaking

Regardless of the approach, performance management is a key part of your role as a leader.

How to deal with under performance

The very thought of an annual performance review is enough to strike fear in some managers and employees. This is a time-consuming process filled with awkward conversations, often pointless metrics and contrived goals, but is it also the ultimate ‘tick-the-box’ exercise?

A number of major companies have dispensed with annual performance reviews and instead use a less formal and more continuous approach to staff assessment.


The quest for flexibility

Posted on Mar 19, 2019

Quest for flexibility

“Happier employees equal a more productive workforce.”

The quest for flexibility

What would you do if you won the lottery? Maybe you’d choose to build your dream home, travel more, retrain and change career or support causes you believe in. Whatever your answer, it’s a good way to see what choices you’d make if money was no object.

What if time wasn’t as much of an issue? What would you do with an extra four hours a week? Work more? Exercise more? Read more? Watch more tv? Simply take the time to have a coffee and think?

Between the pressures of work, family, commuting, hobbies, life admin and unexpected bumps in the road, there never seems to be enough time for everything we want to do.


Getting the most from your team

Posted on Mar 8, 2019

Team building puzzle pieces

“A team is something you belong to, something you feel, something you have to earn”

Getting the most from your team

Take a bunch of rag-tag underdogs, some wise cracks, a dollop of Hollywood pizzazz and hey presto, a cult classic is born. An early 1990s movie about ice hockey might seem an unlikely place to draw inspiration for leaders and managers, but stick with us.

In The Mighty Ducks, actor Emilio Estevez takes on the role of Gordon Bombay. Once a star ice hockey player, Bombay finds himself, courtesy of enforced community service, coaching a low-ranking local team. He teaches them a few tricks, learns a little something along the way and so on and so Hollywood. (more…)

Don’t mention the strategy

Posted on Jan 29, 2019

Business woman working with team to develop business strategy

As a leader, you need to be able to explain your strategy to your team in a short, succinct manner.

Don’t mention the strategy

A new approach can result in a meaningful strategy plan, rather than a worthless document that just collects dust

Moments before he was about to go into a meeting with the chief executive of a major retailer, an executive took Martin Reeves aside and told him not to mention strategy. A tricky ask, considering Reeves is a strategist (as well as being an author and member of The Boston Consulting Group’s strategy practice leadership team). (more…)

Simple steps to improving your leadership in 2019

Posted on Jan 3, 2019

Business woman standing with her staff in background at modern bright office conference room

Be a better leader

Simple steps to improving your leadership

Can you remember your worst boss? Did their micromanagement make your life a misery? Or was it their lack of respect that pushed you over the edge?

In a recent blog post, recruitment firm Cpl considers what makes a bad boss. Micromanagement, not backing up their team, too much ego and unrealistic demands were all cited as red flags. “As many companies strive to improve diversity and company culture, there are still bosses out there that drive their employees to quit,” Cpl’s post notes. (more…)

The benefits of giving

Posted on Dec 13, 2018

Woman holding sign that says Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility

The benefits of giving

The next few weeks will likely be a flurry of activity at work: getting projects over the line before year end, setting goals and budgets for the year ahead, and finishing off all those niggly admin tasks that have slid to the bottom of the to-do list.

And outside the office, you’ve probably got plenty to think about too: buying gifts, ordering festive food and arranging the logistics of your family’s holiday celebrations.

But, if you can find a moment, now is a good time to reflect on how you as a leader and your company gives back all year round.


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