Uncertainty, whether we like it or not, is a fact of life. It is one of the few things that we can rely on. We encounter it in our personal relationships, in the workplace, in our climate, national and global events. With recent political events resembling something akin to a Shakespearean drama, a revolving door of politicians and changes instigated by the EU referendum there has rarely been so much uncertainty about our future at a national level.

Although many key decisions are thrashed out on the political playing field the changes and uncertainty have a ripple effect on organisations which trickles down to ordinary people as we try to anticipate what these changes will mean for us personally. When we are unable to rely on the familiar and the predictable it is easy to lose our grounding. We can feel lost. Uncertainty can lead to higher levels of anxiety, depression and unhealthy ways of coping. Having said that we always have a choice over how we respond to it, no matter how overwhelming it may seem. Even if there are things we cannot change, there are many proactive choices we can make in our own lives.

Click below to download an outline for our Dealing with Uncertainty and Change training course.

Workplace stress is one of the most pressing factors affecting employee mental health and overall wellbeing. For managers this can be a particularly important subject; walking the fine line between subjecting employees to positive pressure and negative stress is difficult.

Noticing this problem and wanting to learn more, CiC recently surveyed over 400 senior HR professionals to gain their insight as part of the ‘Stress, Anxiety & Depression in the Workplace Survey 2017’. The survey found several interesting and important trends that were sometimes completely unexpected. One particularly topical result here was that 40% of those surveyed found that a lack of staff or managerial training was the top reason that hindered them in supporting employees suffering from stress in the workplace.

“Workplaces are amongst the institutions that contribute to, and impact on, our mental health throughout our lives.” (ACAS Research Paper, 2016).

The survey also found that decreased motivation ranked as the most concerning potential result of stress in the workplace for senior HR professionals.

It only takes one small change to make a massive difference to managing stress and building resilience amongst staff.

Click below to download an outline of our popular Stress & Management Resilience training course.

Many employers working with CiC have recognised the benefits of supporting employee wellbeing; initiatives have included fruit for the office and discounted gym membership. Whilst these gestures convey values and support for good health, managing mental health requires a more interpersonal response. For managers, the approach to understanding and managing mental health concerns is likely to be part of their remit. This may feel daunting and place further stress on managers themselves.

CiC’s ‘Stress, Anxiety & Depression in the Workplace Survey 2017’, surveyed over 400 senior HR professionals to gain their insight into mental health in the workplace. The survey produced many interesting insights, some of which are important to highlight here.

One particularly interesting finding, especially when discussing a managers remit and responsibility for mental health awareness, was that a quarter of those surveyed listed staff with disabilities, or those that worked part-time or shift work, as the most vulnerable to stress anxiety and depression in the workplace. The findings therefore highlighted the fact that an increased awareness of these issues from managers was needed.

Employee wellbeing and mental health needs to be considered as part of recruitment, induction, performance management, development, absence management and exiting.

Without due consideration there could be effects on employee morale, as well as financial and legal issues, which in turn may impact on organisational performance.

CiC have developed a focused training programme to spend time with managers sharing definitions of mental health and giving guidance on having conversations with, supporting and line managing those suffering with impaired mental health.

Click below to download an outline for the Mental Health Awareness for Managers training course.

Critical and traumatic incidents are, by their very nature, unpredictable and in most cases unavoidable.

As a business it is important to understand the powerful impact they can have on your personnel and their families and have plans in place to allow you to react appropriately and protect your organisation.

Critical incidents can come in a number of guises, from workplace accidents to natural disasters, the death of a member of staff to a terrorist attack. Each incident is unique and the traumatic effects can be as varied as the events themselves.

In organisations and departments where such incidents are likely, employees should be given training on the psychological impact of traumatic events. Preparing individuals for the expected reactions can help to build resilience and create a culture of knowledge and understanding in the team that allows for more effective response to and defusing of critical trauma.

CiC have developed a focused training programme to spend time investigating the effects of traumatic incidents on individuals and your organisation.

Click below to download the Coping with Traumatic Incidents training course PDF. Once you read through, I’d be happy to further discuss the specific needs you may have in your organisation. Please email hkey@cic-eap.co.uk to get in touch.

Many employees working with CiC have recognised that early stage identification and effective conflict management skills can lead to successful resolution.

Conflict is a part of life and embraces any situation where we meet obstacles in achieving everything we want. Conflict does not always arrive by choice but we do have choices as to how to deal with it.

Conflict management, or conflict resolution are terms that relate to the skills required to manage and resolve disagreements, differences of opinion and differences in working with Managers spending up to 30% of their time trying to deal with conflict alongside their daily work, it not only puts additional stress on them but also wastes valuable time and energy. How Managers identify and deal with conflict can make or break a business. It is essential therefore to have the necessary skills and support system in place.

Conflict costs billions of pounds every year.

Without successful intervention, situations can escalate to a more entrenched and challenging extent. This directly impacts team morale, productivity, performance, sickness absence and engagement.

There are increased financial costs to the organisation and time costs associated with the more formal HR and legal procedures which may have to be implemented as a result of not recognising the early stage signs or simply choosing to avoid the situation completely.

It is essential to be able to recognise, manage and resolve team conflict and create more positive outcomes.
CiC have developed a focused training programme for Managers and HR professionals to enable them to effectively and confidently manage conflict. From identifying key triggers that can cause conflict through to managing aggressive behaviour and volatile situations. This training programme will help managers to potentially tackle difficult conversations and situations competently.

Click below to download the course outline for our Conflict Resolution training course.

No matter how successful a team or organisation, difficulties in communication are almost inevitable in any group of people working together. Differing beliefs, values, goals and life experiences all have the potential to contribute to misunderstandings. Although most problems can be resolved with relatively little intervention, it is all too easy for conflicting perspectives and expectations to escalate into something much more difficult to deal with.

When issues are too complex to handle internally CiC’ offers a Mediation service that will help organisations prevent and manage interpersonal difficulties to enable better working relationships,  build more successful teams and maximise organisations performance.

CiC’s team of professional CMC registered mediators offer impartiality, confidentiality and advanced skills to conduct mediation and facilitation without potentially causing harm therefore increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Week 5 introduced CiC’s conflict resolution course for Managers and HR professionals.  One of the key points highlighted was the importance of early stage intervention.
Not having the right conversation at the right time but just hoping that the conflict will disappear.

With ever changing working environments and increased presenteeism, people are under increased stress and teams become fractured.   If conflict is not managed correctly then Individuals lose their identity and become entrenched in long and costly formal procedures. This often results in increased sickness absence costs as individuals take time off to deal with the effects of conflict

Recognising this CiC’s mediation service offers  a quick, cost effective, confidential and informal process  which  allows the individuals  to retain ownership of the situation in a safely facilitated environment therefore increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

UK statistics show that 80% of mediations reach a full resolution.

CiC has a team of experienced professional mediators registered with the Civil Mediation Council.  All our Mediators follow an appropriate code of conduct and are sensitive to diversity, equality and anti-discrimination and confidentiality issues.

Click below to download the course outline for our Workplace Mediation training course.

This week we are focusing on resilience in the workplace. Personal resilience relies on an individual’s ability to communicate, respond and remain well around disruption. Week 7 will give us an opportunity to look at increasing our understanding of resilience and developing resilience skills.

Today’s workforce is subject to ever increasing disruption from many different directions. Individuals have to work hard to maintain their personal well-being and remain productive. Additionally, teams working together are heavily impacted by disruptions; finding themselves unable to communicate and forced into a culture of surviving rather than thriving.

The productivity, efficiency and focus of individuals relies on their ability to cope with disruption and change. Those with less ability to respond resiliently will notice this immediately.

An increase in stress and its myriad symptoms naturally follows and the mental and physical well-being of employees suffers.

The teams and departments they work in can then feel the effects of this too; with similarly affected performance and, most crucially, an overall negative response to change.

By working with individuals, managers and/or whole teams, CiC deliver a comprehensive and robust training programme that gives practical tools for resilient responses and allows for positive change following disruption.

Sooner or later all organisations will be confronted by crisis. It is almost inevitable. From workplace accidents to cyber attack, from acts of terrorism to natural calamities, the threats are multiple and complex. And while large scale incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire or the Manchester bombing will attract headlines, more localised events such as the death of a colleague or company cutbacks can have a devastating effect on your staff.

In an increasingly unstable and uncertain world, it becomes ever more important to feel that we have created an environment that we can rely on. But as safe as we like to think we are in our daily lives, the unexpected can take many forms and can strike at any time.
With unexpected events we see an increase in those suffering from the effects of psychological trauma. An experience becomes traumatic when it exhausts people’s coping mechanisms and overwhelms their capacity to think clearly.

Every organisation hopes that it will not be faced with a traumatic event. However, the unexpected can and will happen – often throwing well-established business practice into disarray. Natural disasters (fire or floods) and workplace incidents (sudden death, traffic accidents) or crises beyond our control (terrorist activity or avian flu) can test an organisation to its limits. Human continuity is a ‘bottom line’ issue for any organisation and sustaining human continuity in the face of traumatic events requires an understanding of disaster behaviour. If people are left to their own devices and are unsupported after an unexpected incident in the workplace, there is a risk of stress related symptoms at a later date and long term sickness can escalate.
This can have catastrophic implications in organisational settings as employers and managers battle to make sense of fast-moving events and struggle to come up with robust deliverable responses.

CiC’s learning programmes, which can be delivered internationally, give managers the tools they need to boost both personal and organisational resilience. Training sessions are tailored to the specific needs of client organisations and may include:

  • Understanding human reactions to a crisis
  • Breaking bad news
  • Managing absenteeism during and after a crisis
  • Devising positive wellbeing strategies following a traumatic incident
  • Business Continuity – essential people issues
  • Psychological impact of critical incidents
  • Spotting early signs of traumatic stress
  • Building emotional resilience

These programmes can be delivered face to face or via webinars, and can be complemented by a dedicated e-learning resource.

CiC’s critical incident cover offers you the reassurance that even in the midst of disaster experts are on hand to guide your organisation every step of the way. Our Critical Incident Support staff are selected from our most senior and highly qualified clinicians. CiC’s services include

  • On-site support for those immediately impacted by the crisis and for the managers involved in dealing with it
  • 24/7 helpline providing practical and emotional support to employees & families
  • Ongoing consultancy for HR & OH
  • Group sessions to facilitate team building
  • Family liaison advice and support
  • Specialist post trauma treatment (UK & overseas) from expert psychologists

Organisational resilience can definitely be learned and developed, and CiC is in a unique position to support companies at all levels through its multi layered approach to business continuity.

Critical and traumatic incidents are, by their very nature, unpredictable and in most cases unavoidable.

As a business it is important to understand the powerful impact they can have on your personnel and their families and have plans in place to allow you to react appropriately and protect your organisation.

Critical incidents can come in a number of guises, from workplace accidents to natural disasters. Each incident is unique and the traumatic effects can be as varied as the events themselves.

However, there are some things you can do to ensure you are properly prepared.

Having a Crisis Plan in place is vital. This plan should focus on:

  • Minimising the reach of the incident and the number of individuals exposed to it.
  • Preventing the possibility for further associated events.
  • Organised and robust psychological support for those involved or affected.
  • Investigating the causes and preventing repetition.

Psychological reactions to traumatic incidents are likely. They will most commonly affect those involved primarily with the event; however, this can easily spread to colleagues and family close to them. It is important to understand that reactions are not always immediate and can require attention for months, even years, after the event.

A critical incident can overwhelm and cause considerable distress. It is normal to have an emotional reaction to such an event. Typical responses include; recurring thoughts of the event, general anxiety, feeling ‘on-edge’ or restless, volatile moods, fatigue and disturbed sleep. Distress is not always noticeable and, left unchecked, can continue to harm the individual, their performance and general wellbeing.

These reactions should always be assessed and attended to by qualified psychological practitioners – CiC’s critical incident cover offers you the reassurance that even in the midst of disaster experts are on hand to guide your organisation every step of the way.  Our Critical Incident Support staff are selected from our most senior and highly qualified clinicians.  CiC’s services include

  • On-site support for those immediately impacted by the crisis and for the managers involved in dealing with it
  • 24/7 helpline providing practical and emotional support to employees & families
  • Ongoing consultancy for HR & OH
  • Group sessions to facilitate team building
  • Family liaison advice and support
  • Specialist post trauma treatment (UK & overseas) from expert psychologists

CiC respond to each incident on a case by case basis in order work best for those affected and those involved in supporting them. Those working to help the individuals involved, usually HR departments, are supported throughout the management post incident. Crucially, we organise follow ups months after the event in order to assess the emergence of post traumatic stress symptoms.

Please click the below to download our PDF on Trauma in the Workplace.

Stress and personal resilience:

  • Understanding your own stress triggers and knowing the ‘warning signs’
  • Achieving the ‘right amount of stress’ – how much do you want?
  • How to manage difficult relationships to reduce stress and gain resilience
  • Techniques for stress management and progressive stress reduction
  • Techniques for improving personal resilience and confidence

Emotional wellbeing:

  • Changing internal attitudes and perspectives for self-empowerment
  • The cycle of thoughts, feelings and behaviours – getting control, changing emotions
  • Self-support techniques for reducing intensity of emotions
  • The importance of laughter and how to use it
  • Doing more of what you know works

Living in the moment:

  • Mindfulness meditation – using the breath, being present; guided meditation practice
  • Using nature / outdoors to ‘switch off / switch over’
  • Appreciation and gratitude, mutual support through better listening exercises
  • Gaining personal insights, learning to take time-outs, time for self

Fulfilment and sense of purpose:

  • The bigger picture, wheel of life and life roles and stages exercises
  • Personal and professional fulfilment and the link to wellbeing
  • Achieving a better work-life balance, taking responsibility
  • Making small changes for a big difference

Visioning / Goal setting:

  • Knowing where you are going, effective goal-setting exercise
  • Self-motivation – what’s really important, so what?, so where next?
  • Creative visualisation exercise to support goal achievement
  • How to set personal goals and achieve them

Click below to download the PDF on Mental Health Awareness for Managers