We don't sweat our assets, say accountants - ScottishPower 360º development process
"We now have clear insight into the top 10 key development areas for the department" Richard Peach, Group Financial Controller.
ScottishPower Corporate Finance accountants don't want to sweat their assets! Instead they want their highly-talented and motivated teams of accountants to achieve ever-higher standards by working closer with each other and their key clients. This may seem a tall order given the calibre of recruits attracted to ScottishPower's Corporate Finance Division. However, Group Financial Controller, Richard Peach paraphrases the words of Anita Roddick "If you are doing things well, aim to do them better".
Corporate Finance is an extremely exacting and testing environment. Success is no longer based purely on accountancy excellence. In order to provide an outstanding finance service to the rest of ScottishPower, the Division recognised it needed to heighten everyone's ability to deliver the very highest level of teamwork and interpersonal efficiency.
The Keil Centre was asked to design a diagnostic process to identify colleagues' perceptions about how skilled staff were in a raft of technical and interpersonal skill areas. ScottishPower engaged The Keil Centre because of their track record of designing similar processes for other blue chip organisations. A bespoke 360º feedback process was designed to identify the priority development issues.
"We developed all the materials for the process in close consultation with ScottishPower and used their terms and language to ensure common understanding of what we were trying to measure," says Christine Hamilton, Chartered Occupational Psychologist at The Keil Centre.
360º feedback is a powerful development tool and research has shown that the most critical elements contributing to its efficacy are the rigour applied to the design, and the care adopted in the feedback process.
The objectives of such a 360º exercise are to:
- Focus individuals attention on the behavioural aspects of performance
- Link behavioural competencies to overall effectiveness as a leader
- Provide a means of diagnosing development needs in these areas
- Provide a means of opening up a dialogue with others about the "softer " aspects of effectiveness
- Encourage those taking part to take control of their development and use a wide range of development activities
- Communicate widely through the department or organisation the values and behaviours the organisation aims to promote
The result was a detailed analysis of individual and collective priority areas for development.
For further information, contact Christine Hamilton at our Glasgow office.
"The Keil Centre's understanding of the critical issues and practical advice was very much appreciated" Richard Peach, Group Financial Controller
Looking for guidance on work-related stress? Steve Lee joins The Keil Centre
The Health and Safety Executive recently published new guidance on work-related stress 'Tackling work-related stress - a managers' guide to improving and maintaining employee health and well-being'. The Keil Centre is pleased to announce that Occupational Psychologist Steve Lee, main author of the guidance, has joined our human factors team. Steve is well placed to advise organisations on how to ensure policy and practice are compliant with (or go beyond) HSE 's guidance, are in line with best practice, and secure health, safety and economic benefits.
Prior to his work on the stress guide, Steve worked for HSE on a variety of human factors topics including:
- Special projects, including the introduction of a set of licensing regulations following the Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy; and the development guidance for venue owners following the Hillsborough disaster. Both projects had a strong emphasis on reviewing and improving the safety culture of the respective industries
- Defining roles and responsibilities for health and safety on aircraft and how these should be conveyed to the industry and workers (in terms of incident reporting, etc)
- Examining minority group understanding, attitudes, and perceptions of health and safety risks
- Undertaking chemical reviews to ensure that exposure limits for existing substances remained valid and appropriate.
Steve can be contacted at our Edinburgh office
Copies of 'Tackling work-related stress - a managers' guide to improving and maintaining employee health and well-being' (HSG218), priced £7.95 are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk,CO10 2WA. Telephone:01787-881165, Fax:01787-313995, Website: www.hsebooks.co.uk
Stress risk assessment - New, user-friendly method
A key element of recent Health and Safety Executive guidance on tackling work-related stress (see opposite article), is the requirement to undertake a comprehensive stress risk assessment. However, there are currently few user-friendly risk assessment methods. Employers need a full picture of levels and sources of stress, and clear indications of the practical steps which will prevent or mitigate the work-related causes of stress. The results produced by existing stress questionnaires have been characterised as "describing the water to a drowning man" - offering a detailed description of the problem, but little in the way of locally-relevant solutions. In addition, a recent review of such measures for the Health and Safety Executive concluded that many had limited reliability and validity. The full text of this report, 'A Critical Review of Psychosocial Hazard Measures' is available at www.hse.gov.uk
To address some of these shortcomings, The Keil Centre and Rob Briner of Birkbeck College, London, a leading critic of current stress management practice, have developed a novel, solution-focused stress risk assessment methodology. This new method is consistent with recent HSE guidance and incorporates employee involvement, the ability to benchmark results, sensitivity to local circumstances, action-oriented insight into how specific stressors affect well-being and practical preventative actions.
For further information, contact Ronny Lardner at The Keil Centre
"This method is the first to combine short questionnaire-style measures with more in-depth analyses of what people actually think are the causes and solutions of the stress problems they experience. It provides a much broader picture than other available methods and allows for a more sophisticated understanding of what employees both feel and think." Rob Briner, Senior Lecturer, Psychology Department, Birkbeck College
Management standards - Leading UK employers develop internal management standards
A central plank of the Health and Safety Executive's strategy on work-related stress is the development of management standards, which aim to describe what organisations need to do to control a range of common work- related stressors. The Keil Centre and Rob Briner at Birkbeck College are currently working with two major UK employers to develop internal management standards. An initial stress risk assessment using the method described above identified the main work stressors affecting six occupational groups including manual, craft, technical, clerical, professional and senior management staff.
Management standards have been developed for the following stressors:
- Job insecurity
- Performance feedback
- Training and development
- Job design
- Work-life balance
- Role ambiguity
These standards are intended to help managers understand what they can do to prevent /mitigate the harmful effects of each stressor, and are based on up-to-date research and the information provided through the risk assessment. Reaction to date has been favourable.
For further information, contact Ronny Lardner at our Edinburgh office.
"The standard helped me stand back and appreciate these are real issues for our staff. I can now see what we need to do to prevent the problem, and how to avoid it in the future" Senior Operations Director
Resolving difficult situations - Professional support is at hand
During 2001 The Keil Centre gained new expertise in the form of Gabby Wynne, a Chartered Counselling Psychologist, and Craig Simpson, a Chartered Clinical Psychologist. Traditionally, the main focus of clinical and counselling psychology has been assisting people to resolve existing problems with their health and wellbeing. We have also found that clinical and counselling skills can be extremely helpful in an organisational setting, to help managers and those in supervisory roles to deal with some of the difficult situations they face. Those in a supervisory or managerial role are expected to deal with a broad range of people issues which may include:
- supporting staff who have personal problems
- managing performance issues
- motivating team members and building confidence
- dealing with interpersonal conflict between team members
- defusing anger
- improving team morale
- bullying in the workplace
- harassment issues
Clinical and counselling psychology tools and techniques can help to handle such situations successfully. Our clinical and counselling psychologists are able to add depth of understanding about why people behave the way they do, and are experienced in helping managers and team leaders develop the skills for dealing with difficult situations. Once equipped with appropriate tools and techniques, managers feel confident to tackle the situation. At present, this kind of work is carried out via individual coaching sessions. An in-house workshop can also be tailored to the needs of an organisation.
For further information, contact Gabby or Craig at our Edinburgh office.
Improving safety: cultural and organisational factors - Developments, industry applications, tools and techniques
PRISM is a three-year EU-funded project to improve safety in the process industries by disseminating state-of the-art human factors knowledge, tools and techniques. The first in the PRISM series of seminars will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland 's historic capital city on 24 and 25 January 2002.The seminar will focus on the following topics, and how they are inter-linked:
- Improving safety culture
- Safety through teamworking
- Behavioural safety
- Employee involvement
This two-day event will be of interest to operational managers, HSE practitioners and human factors specialists in the process industries or other high-hazard domains.
The event will combine input on the latest research with industry case studies and opportunities for hands-on experience of tools and techniques. Active participation and involvement by delegates will be encouraged through working in multi-disciplinary teams to question speakers, review and discuss seminar content, assess its practical application and identify unmet industry needs.
To extend a warm welcome to visitors to Scotland, a traditional Scottish conference dinner is included. As the birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard is close by, a piper, address to the haggis and malt whisky tasting will complete the Scottish theme.
Begin 2002 by joining us in Edinburgh for this unique event!
Contact Katrina Hogg at our Edinburgh office for further information.