Cake in the Office – health hazard or edible symbols of collegiality and teamwork?

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Guest blog: By Dr Harriet Shortt, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies, Bristol Business School

I am sure many of us are familiar with cake in the office – cakes to celebrate a colleague’s birthday, cake sales for fundraisers in the office canteen, exotic sweet treats brought back by co-workers returning from holiday, and office bake-offs between competitive teams.

The BBC reported last year that this ‘office cake culture was a danger to health’ and the Royal College of Surgeons argue ‘workplace cake culture’ is impacting the health of workers in the UK, citing obesity and dental problems as key issues caused by such activities. The latest report from the Royal Society for Public Health (published in August 2016 and featured here on the Work Wise UK guest blog by Shirley Cramer CBE in November 2016) discusses the impact of rush hour commuting on our health and well-being and notes that unhealthy food and drinks that are made available by outlets in train stations during our commute is potentially adding ‘an average of 767 calories’ to our diets each week. And only in January of this year, The Telegraph reported that civil servants had been warned that ‘office cake culture could be a public health hazard’ by a blog post written by a member of the Treasury’s ‘Wellbeing Workstream’.

Whilst I am not disputing the issues raised in these reports – they highlight important timely and relevant concerns around the health of the UK workforce – I would like to raise some further questions and thoughts about what other role cake plays in our offices today. Office cake culture isn’t just about health concerns – my argument here is that food plays a vital social, cultural and political role in office life and organisations should be considerate of the relationships and interactions that are centred around food.

I have been doing some research in a large public sector organisation about the food and drink consumed in their office – or more specifically, their new open-plan office. I am exploring the interconnectedness of food, work, people and space and considering how the ‘foodscape’ (where and how people encounter food in the built environment) of the workplace influences food consumption and social interactions at work. I have been asking: In what ways does space influence where we eat, what we eat and with whom? What is the role of food in our organisational environment and how does it impact everyday spatial practices? How might formal and informal eating practices alter our everyday experiences of space at work?

To help address some of these questions, I asked the staff I worked with to take photographs of their daily interactions with food in the office. They took photographs of food in the canteen, home-made cakes on desks, tins of biscuits on locker tops, and where they made tea and coffee. They talked to me about what meanings these held and why they were important in their everyday lives.

Some of the findings show how formal, designated spaces for eating and drinking, such as the canteen and tea stations, are popular with many workers. Eating lunch in the canteen with groups of friends is a daily ritual and provides opportunities to talk about personal lives, gossip, and a time and space to share hobbies and interests. The tea stations, designed by management and the architects to provide a space in which workers could meet whilst making a hot drink, are identified as ‘nice chatting areas’. However, although the tea stations provide a space to share a few words with colleagues and allow for chance meetings with others, due to their central public location in the open-plan office conversations here are brief and inhibited by the visible and audible nature of the space. Participants noted these drinking spaces were neither suitable for private or work related discussions.

During our discussions, workers reflected on their new open-plan, hot-desking environment and told me they felt this workplace design impacted negatively on teams and working practices: ‘…we just don’t get the banter around the office…not social banter, but I mean sort of asking for advice on what we’re doing…now we’re hot-desking it can be isolating…and there are too many people around’. In amongst these feelings of isolation, what these workers really appeared to value was the informal, ad-hoc sharing of food at desks and on locker tops in walkways and corridors. It is the ability to share food across this new office space that workers identify as key to bringing people back together and reconnecting conversations. Sharing food in this way is an important catalyst in promoting work based discussions and internal networking; ‘…people come and see us when we have food! It gets people talking…’ and ‘…cake, it’s really important…it breaks up the day, gives us a treat…it impacts on morale in a big way’.

It is worth reflecting here that, as a number of researchers have noted, open-plan offices are often designed with collaboration and teamwork in mind, yet here we see the word ‘isolating’ being used to describe how this new open-plan space is experienced by its users. It is somewhat ironic that workers feel isolated with ‘…too many people around’. Nonetheless, it seems it’s the combination of both open-plan space with food that produces a collaborative working environment for these workers. Indeed, one employee describes the placement of food on locker tops as how people ‘…display their wares and encourage people to talk more’ and how this ‘…encourages passers-by to stop, talk a bit of shop, eat and move on’.

Paradoxically, despite all the talk of talk, social interactions and connecting over cake, workers also identify the inability to eat alone as problematic. The very sociality of eating poses privacy issues for some and the open-plan, hot-desking environment presents particular challenges. Some identify the canteen as a space where the ‘pressure to talk’ is unwelcome. The canteen has been designed and is used by many as a social space where bench seating and long tables promote conversation and create a setting where meals are eaten together. Yet, for example, one worker told me ‘…I just want go and sit and eat my lunch and get back to work’ and is frustrated there is no opportunity, or rather no space, in which he might dine alone. The spatial and social expectations in the canteen are such that talking over lunch is a prerequisite. Indeed, a number of workers deliberately choose to eat lunch at alternative times of the day in order to avoid eating with others.

Consequently, alternative spaces for private dining are frequently sought out. Almost half the workers I spoke to took photographs outside the office, at various locations in the nearby city centre that captured where they liked to eat, including cafes, parks, and benches by the river: ‘…I can…sit on the green and have a bit of peace and quiet and eat my sandwich’. Others talked about finding alternative meeting and eating spots in cafes so they could ‘…talk about sensitive materials…’ over lunch or ‘…have a bit of a gossip…’ As we heard, the tea stations offer a nice chatting area, but as one worker said ‘…you’ve got to be careful because obviously now we are open plan, everyone near that area can hear what you’re saying!’ It seems only certain sorts of conversations can be had over food in the office and if privacy is required, alternative eating spots are pursued.

So far, my research has unearthed a complex picture of the foodscape of work – it throws new light on the appropriation of space in the office, re-defined by workers as informal eating locations and spaces for informal munching and chatting, vital for their morale, team communications and internal networking. It has also emphasised that the boundaries of a workplace foodscape are fluid and that we don’t just eat in the office and we don’t always want to eat with others. Sometimes solace is sought and eating a sandwich alone offers workers rare moments of contemplation and reflection in an otherwise impermanent, visible, and public working world.

In this current climate of health and well-being programmes and the drive for a healthy workforce, organisations might wish to take heed of the complex meanings of food across the landscape of work before implementing such programmes or raising alarm bells that cake in the office is a public health hazard. Indeed, other discourses around health and eating at work promote messages that food should only be consumed in designated eating spaces, and not at ones desk. This comes from other health and safety perspectives where workers are encouraged to take ‘proper breaks’ and avoid working through lunch breaks as well as organisations who demand a clean and tidy office, with clear rules ‘not to eat at your desk’.

However, if organisations are serious about understanding the eating habits of their employees, they should understand that food matters at work, but not just in the canteen and not just in relation to health. If organisations wish to remove food from parts of the office, they should be mindful that they are potentially removing the very catalyst that promotes sociality at work and confiscating edible symbols of collegiately.

In addition, organisations must be wary of their disciplinary approach to eating in the office and how, perhaps, this undermines the needs of some workers and marginalises others’ food choices and behaviour. We might reflect on the lack of space in which workers are able to eat privately and consider that eating at ones desk is perhaps less about working through a lunch hour, and actually more about simply creating a personal space in which to eat alone and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet.

I hope that some of the questions I raise here, and in my research, may provide a starting point for other, future research into food, eating and the workplace – we might want to consider; what do the foodscapes of homeworkers look like and how are they experienced? How are foodscapes experienced and constructed by workers on the move or flexible workers without desks or offices? To what extent should we be concerned with ‘office cake culture’ given its social, cultural and political importance for workers? It is with these questions in mind that I end this blog and ponder over the future of food in the workplace, over a sandwich and coffee at my desk.

Harriet’s research will be published in a book later this year: Kingma, S., Dale K. & Wasserman, V. (Eds.). Organizational space and beyond: The significance of Henri Lefebvre for organizational studies – an edited collection. London: Routledge. Harriet will be discussing her research at the 12th Organization Studies Summer Workshop ‘Food Organizing Matters: paradoxes, problems and potentialities’ in Crete 18th -20th May 2017. Harriet is also supervising UWE Bristol Business School dissertation student Susannah Robinson, who is exploring the culture of food at work in a multinational organisation in London.

Original blog post taken from Work Wise.

CIMA Presents: Finance Business Partnering: The Conversations that Count

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On Thurs 23rd Feb, CIMA President Andrew Miskin FCMA CGMA visited UWE to present CIMA research on the changing role of the management accountant in the information age.

He addressed  an audience of public and private sector delegates, academic staff and students, and lead an interactive discussion on finance business partnering. He was welcomed by Tracey John, Head of Research and Business Development in RBI and supported by an introduction from Professor Robert Luther. 150 delegates enjoyed an insight into the future of the management accountant in the information  age and a lively panel debate ensued. A number of students from AEF attended and their comments included:

It was a very powerful talk that gave me new insights to approach my current modules with, as well as a rare chance to have an informal talk with leading academics and accountants that more students should utilise.(Maxwell , BAAF3)

‘It was an enlightening experience and was full of lots of relevant insightful information. Andrew seems to have a very real and positive idea about how management accountants fit into the future. I found the whole thing very interesting.’ (Abigail BAAF3)

CIMA are actively involved in supporting our accounting students and are already planning further events of this kind with us.

‘Replete with folly and injustice’ – Hammond follows in Osborne’s footsteps

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Author Jo Michell, Senior Lecturer in Economics

The media response to the Budget is always reliably low on content and high on hyperbole. Even by these exacting standards, 2017 has been a vintage year. Coverage has focused almost exclusively on the decision to raise National Insurance contributions for self-employed workers – with some side glances to the tax treatment of dividend payments. The macroeconomic implications of the budget have passed almost without comment.

In the days leading up to the budget statement, much attention was focused on Hammond’s proposed £60bn ‘rainy day fund’ – alternatively marketed in some outlets as a ‘war chest’ or ‘gas in the tank’ – to cope with Brexit contingencies.

What form does this fund take? The average reader probably imagines that ‘putting money aside’ involves a transfer of funds into an account somewhere. Maybe the Chancellor will open up an ISA to keep his £60bn safe from the taxman until he needs it?

In fact, the Chancellor’s £60bn ‘fund’ is not yet even in his own hands – it refers to planned additional borrowing between now and 2020.

How, the reader may reasonably ask, is planned borrowing a ‘rainy day fund’? The answer is that – despite determination by politicians and the media to conflate the two – household finances and government finances do not work in the same way. The endless references to ‘living within our means’ and ‘maxing out the credit card’ are deeply misleading – usually intentionally so – when applied to public finances.

Rather than ‘cash in the bank’, the £60bn ‘fund’ is a result of the Chancellor shifting his own fiscal targets around. When he took over from George Osborne, Hammond inherited a ‘fiscal rule’ requiring the government to be in surplus by 0.5% of GDP by the 2020-21 parliament. In plainer language, this means that the government must aim to be repaying its creditors to the tune of half a per cent of GDP by 2020.

In the Autumn Statement, Hammond – taking a leaf from the Gordon Brown rulebook – shifted the goalposts. Instead of aiming at a 0.5% surplus, the new target is a 2.0% deficit. By 2020, the government will aim to be borrowing an amount equal to 2% of GDP per annum.

Incidentally, a 2% deficit by 2020 is pretty much exactly what Labour proposed at the last election. Although denounced as the height of fiscal irresponsibility by the Tories at the time, this has now been spun into a prudent ‘rainy day fund’.

At the time that the Chancellor shifted the goalposts, official figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility showed projected actual borrowing to be a bit less than the target of 2% – by a total of £27bn over the period up to 2020. Since the autumn, official predictions about the public finances have shifted slightly in Hammond’s favour:  as a result of the credit-fuelled post referendum consumer spending spree, tax revenues are now projected to be slightly higher over the next few years.

If the latest round of projections turns out to be correct (they almost certainly won’t) the Chancellor will further undershoot his borrowing target, by a total of around £60bn over the period.

To use the government’s favoured credit card analogy, it is as if you were to obtain a credit card with £1000 limit, and then plan to spend only £400 – leaving you with a ‘rainy day fund’ of another £600.

But this misleading analogy shouldn’t be used. For one thing, the Chancellor is free to set his own limit: the 2% number is arbitrary. He could conjure billions more into his ‘fund’ simply by raising his borrowing target to 3%.

All this of course assumes that he doesn’t make any changes to his tax and spending plans – he could, of course, use public borrowing to fund additional spending on investment and services.

But he won’t do this. He is determined to miss out on the once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by ultra-low interest rates. Rather than taking the advice of the economics profession and spending on desperately needed new infrastructure, the Chancellor presents further austerity as prudence. It is nothing of the sort.

This highlights a more important difference between household and government finances. Spending by an individual household on accommodation, food and clothing will not affect the size of its wage packet. This is not the case for government. Increased public spending leads to higher employment and therefore to higher tax income and lower benefit payments. This is why the ‘credit card’ analogies are so wrong and so pernicious. Government expenditure and income are not independent.

This is what lies behind Keynes’ claim that cuts may not even achieve their narrow aims of reducing government debt. Spending cuts during periods of weak demand lead to lower growth and higher debt ratios.  Recent research finds strong evidence for Keynes’ position: ‘Attempts to reduce debt via fiscal consolidations have very likely resulted in a higher debt to GDP ratio through their long-term negative impact on output.’

In their analysis of the budget, the Institute for Fiscal studies noted that the UK has now gone a decade without growth (on a per capita basis). Average earnings are not projected to reach 2007 levels again until 2022 – by then the UK will have gone fifteen years without a pay rise.

This unprecedented situation is man-made. It is the outcome of seven years of macroeconomic mismanagement. Hammond’s insistence that austerity is prudence brings to mind Keynes’ response to demands for budget cuts in 1930, just after the Wall Street crash: ‘I suppose that they are such very plain men that the advantages of not spending money seem obvious to them.’

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows that the burden of cuts in the coming years will fall entirely on those on low and middle incomes, while the better off are set to see their incomes rise.

The emergency Labour budget of 1931 was, Keynes wrote, ‘replete with folly and injustice’. The statement could equally have been made about any budget presented by George Osborne. Hammond appears determined to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.

 

The Distinguished Professorial Address: Professor Sylvia Walby -“Gender and the crisis”, March 30th

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The Bristol Business School invites you to Professor Sylvia Walby’s Distinguished Professorial Address at UWE Bristol on Thursday 30 March. Register your place here.

Sylvia Walby OBE is Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNESCO Chair of Gender Research, and Director of the Violence and Society UNESCO Centre at Lancaster University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and of the RSA.

She was the founding President of the European Sociological Association; and has been President of Research Committee 02 Economy and Society of the International Sociological Association. She has served on the sub-panel for Sociology for HEFECE REF2014, and as a non-executive director of the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

Her research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the European Commission, European Parliament, European Institute for Gender Equality, Council of Europe, ESRC, and the UN. Books on ‘society’ include: Crisis (Polity 2015); The Future of Feminism (Polity 2011); and Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities (Sage 2009). Books on ‘violence’ include: The Concept and Measurement of Violence against Women and Men (Policy Press 2017), and Stopping Rape: Towards a Comprehensive Policy (Policy Press 2015).

Her address will look at answering the question “Is the mid-twentieth century European nightmare, in which financial crisis led to economic recession, fascism and violence, being repeated today?” 

Abstract:

“What constitutes crisis is contested. The construction of government deficits as if they entailed fiscal crisis to be treated as a state of exception is contested. The cascading of crisis from one institutional domain to another is also contested, since renewed democratic forces potentially provide sites of resilience and resistance.

The significance of gender relations in this democratic resistance is often underestimated. How is the crisis restructuring the gender regime? The complex inequalities on which the financial crisis draws, and which the development of global finance exacerbates, intersect in diverse ways. The paper argues for a gendered conceptualisation of the crisis, not as ‘refamilialisation’ in which women are pushed out of production back into reproduction, but rather as a critical turning point in the trajectory of the public gender regime from a more social democratic form to a more neoliberal form.

The paper offers analyses of gendered practices of the stages of the crisis. It addresses whether the crisis – erupting in finance in 2007, and cascading through the economy, the fiscal, and the political – is now leading to an increase in violence. The theorisation of crisis is developed using complexity science, gender theory, and a reworking of the concept of social system.”

The event is free to attend. Register your place here.

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Students win big at UWE Talent Awards

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Every year, UWE Bristol celebrates their students and alumni with the Celebrating UWE Talent Awards.

This year, the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School won more awards than any other Faculty by winning in five categories and also having five runners up.

Firstly, Heather Murray, a student on BA Marketing degree, won the Undergraduate Intern of the Year award for an internship at St Werburghs Community Farm. The citation from her employer noted that during the internship she  became fluent and confident in writing licence and funding applications, together with communicating excellently with a wide range of people.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was won by Rob Wilson, Will Dooley and Bradley Green founders of Crowdreach, a business started whilst they were students on the Business (Team Entrepreneurship) programme. This start-up business delivers a  Crowd Funding service and has delivered on over 30 projects, with one project raising 1 million dollars.

Next up, the winner of the  Social Entrepreneur award was Neha Chaudhry, a graduate of the MSc Marketing degree, who developed a walking stick which assists sufferers from Parkinson’s disease. Neha used her social enterprise as material for a number of her assessments on the MSc Marketing programme.

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Matthew Lee, Managing Partner of Bishop Flemming LLP, with the winner and nominees of the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Placement Student of the Year Award

Philippa Borton, a final year student on BA Business and Management, won the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Placement Student of the Year for a placement at Boeing Defence UK. Her employers commented that she provided market analysis on a range of multi-billion pound campaigns, receiving formal recognition from executives in the UK and the US and making a valuable contribution to the business. She is currently working on a dissertation for which she collected the data whilst on placement and continues to work part-time for Boeing. Philippa has been offered a full time position with Boeing when she graduates.

Finally, Sagar Limbu,  an alumnus of the BA Business and Management and now a student on the MSc International Management, was a winner of the UWE Bristol Futures Award Student of the Year and a runner up in the International Experience Student of the Year category for an internship in China with Generation UK.

The Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School also had several runner ups in different categories across the night:

Arian Ali Ghanbari, from BA Business (Team Entrepreneurship) was a runner up in the Social Entrepreneur category for Solarnest. Arian used a UWE Enterprise grant to take part in the self-employed internship programme, building Solarnest’s brand, awareness and social media following.

Angharad Griffiths, an LLB Law student, was the runner up in the Undergraduate Intern category for an internship with Coull Ltd, who noted that she was ‘focused, efficient and always on time’ and that they are offering her a part-time role within the company.

The two runners up for the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Placement Student of the Year were Victoria Strange from BA Business Management with Law for a placement as Business Development Co-ordinator with Barton Wilmore and Naomi Lee from BA Business Management (Leadership, Change and Organisations) for a placement as Project Support Co-ordinator with Treves UK.

Congratulations to all the students and alumni who won and nominated at the awards!

Students from partnership University in Malaysia visit UWE Bristol

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UWE Bristol has partnerships with several Universities across the globe, including Taylor’s University in Malaysia, which enables students across the globe to gain a UWE Bristol accredited degree.

Established in 2004, the partnership with Taylor’s enables students from both Universities the opportunity to study in Bristol or Malaysia in their final year of study.

In mid-February, 12 first year students from Taylor’s came on a study visit to UWE Bristol in order for them to get a feel for what it could be like to finish their degree within the Bristol Business School at UWE Bristol.

Whilst on their visit, the students were given the task of working on a brief to launch a product in Malaysia or the UK. They worked closely with our Team Entrepreneurship students and the Academic Success Centre.

The end of their visited culminated in the students presenting their research and products back to Bristol Business School lecturers. Associate Head of Department (Partnerships) Business and Management Christine Comrie commented:

“The Malaysian students were very committed and engaged throughout the whole project. We were very impressed by the amount of work and research the students had undertaken into coming up with excellent product ideas”

Additionally to working on the brief, the students were given the opportunity to work with students studying for the same degree as them; attend lectures and take part in team building activities.

The students fed back that they had a great experience and some of them plan to hopefully return to UWE to finish their studies.

After the success of this study visit, it is hoped that visits like this will become regular events, and there are plans in progress to develop similar opportunities for UWE students to visit Taylor’s University.

 

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School helps celebrate alumnus Jeremiah Daliel’s first book, inspired by his real life experiences

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On Thursday 16th February, Bristol Business and the Bristol Law School invited alumnus Jeremiah Daliel back to UWE to help him launch his first book.

Jeremiah Daliel was in a car accident in 2011 which left him wheelchair bound. Whilst recovering in hospital he found he had ample time on his hands so began reading avidly and ended up enrolling for not one but two degrees: LLB Law at UWE Bristol and Criminology at the University of Portsmouth.

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On his first day at UWE Bristol, Jerry’s tutor asked the class what they saw themselves doing in the future.

Whilst his fellow classmates talked about future careers they would have, Jerry said he wanted to stand to receive his degree, 3 years later.

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Miraculously, Jeremiah managed to stand up completely unaided and remain standing for the first time in 5 years to receive his degree from UWE Bristol in July last year.

The incredibly emotional moment was shared on UWE Bristol’s Facebook page and was viewed over 130,000 times.

From being shared across UWE social media, the story got picked up by the press and Jerry soon became an internet sensation, with most major newspapers covering the story.

Since graduating in July, Jerry has continued his studies at UWE Bristol and is now undertaking his Advanced Legal Practice course. He hopes to go into full time practice upon completion.

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As well as studying for the LPC, Jerry has also written the book “Paradigm Uncovered: Up Close and Personal”.

The book was inspired by the life changing events which happened to Jerry but focuses on setting and achieving goals.

The book aims to help you change your mind-set in order to stay focused and achieve your goals.

Guests were welcomed to the book launch by Pro Vice Chancellor Jane Harrington, before Jerry shared his experiences and read excerpts from the book to the crowd.

Photos from the event can be found here. Credit: REW-Photography.

Students gain “real world” presentation feedback from Robert Half Employment Consultants

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This term students in the final year of the BA Accounting and Finance degree work on an audit of a fictitious company Sheridan AV in the Audit and Corporate Governance module.   Last Friday they took part in a practice presentation of their work on the planning phase of the audit to a panel comprising the two tutors (Susan Whittaker and Nicola Horner) who acted as the audit manager and the audit partner.  Also on the presentation panel was Leo Hewett who is an Associate Director of Robert Half employment consultants.

Susan and Nicola provided feedback to the students on their technical audit knowledge and Leo gave them instant feedback on their presentation skills.

The intention is that students will be able to consider this feedback  before they make their assessed presentation next month.   Leo’s feedback will also be helpful for students to consider when interviewing for graduate positions.

Alumnus Jeremiah Daliel Launches his book at UWE Bristol – Thurs 16 February

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Jeremiah Daliel became an internet sensation when he stood for the first time in five years at his UWE Bristol graduation ceremony in July to receive his Law degree.

Join the Bristol Law School and the Bristol Business School help him celebrate the launch of his book on Thursday 16 February at UWE Bristol.

Since his graduation, Jerry has finished and launched his book Paradigm Uncovered which inspires setting and achieving goals. Paradigm Uncovered converts the reader from going with the flow to taking charge of life’s controls

Jerry became wheelchair bound after a bad car crash in 2011. However, Jerry used his time in hospital to study for a degree in Criminology and Law.

He is currently studying the LLM LPC Advanced Legal Practice at UWE Bristol and plans to go into full time practice on competition.

At the launch, Jerry will share excerpts from the book as well as recounting some of his experiences including when he stood at his graduation ceremony.

There will also be time for networking over light refreshments.

Places are free to attend but you need register via Eventbrite.

 

Equipping Line Managers for People Management: A Leading Edge Workshop, 5th April 2017

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Author: Debbie Bishop, Lecturer, Human Resource Management, Bristol Business School

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“I am very lucky, my line manager is Assoc. Professor Sue Hutchinson, who has impressive research credentials from her work looking at front-line managers and their role as people managers’. She understands the critical impact this role can have on operational performance. I get plenty of feedback from Sue, not just once a year, but whenever she has a chance to pass something on to me. She is accessible to me, if I want to ask a question or discuss an issue. My performance reviews, as you might expect, are very useful. I feel listened to, valued and know I have a variety of development opportunities available to me. And these are some of the key aspects needed in a good line manager.

Recent survey evidence from the CIPD[1] found that 35% of employees were neutral to dissatisfied with the relationship they had with their line manager. Further, they found that 40% of employees rarely or never had their training and development needs discussed with them.

Only half of employees felt they always or usually had the resources to do their jobs and perhaps a slightly different 50% felt their line manager always or usually recognised a good job. And there is plenty more research to back this up. Mike Clasper spoke at a Distinguished Executive Address in September 2015 and in his position as Chartered Management Institute President, pointed to their research findings that nearly 50% of line managers are ineffective. It is a frightening statistic, but the findings consistently point in this direction. But as Sue’s own research has shown, line managers face many challenges at work, with “people manager” being only one aspect of their demanding and varied workload. And when you add to this CMI research findings that 2/3 of employers offer no management training, we can hardly be shocked at the predicament.

On the 5th April at 5pm, Sue will be leading a free workshop aimed at helping you think about how to equip your line managers for people management. Sue will help you consider how to enable, resource and support your line managers so that they are equipped to manage people fairly and effectively. We hope the workshop will be interactive and welcome questions or discussion on your own circumstances and challenges.

We think the workshop will be of benefit to senior managers, owners/directors of SMEs as well as those with responsibility for HR. I will be there also, as will my colleague Dr Helen Mortimore. We will be adding our own mix of HR practitioner experience in this area, in the hope that this hour gives you access to as much expertise as possible!

Sue’s track record in this area is proven; her research findings in this area have helped a diverse range of organisations support their line managers as implementers of HR policies, and transformed the way they work in this area. She has also carried out research on this subject for the CIPD. A list of Sue’s research is available here.

For more information about this workshop and the Distinguished Executive Address that will follow click here. To book your place on the workshop please email us directly at Events@uwe.ac.uk stating your name, position and organisation and “Leading Edge Workshop 5/4/17” in the subject would be very helpful.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at debbie.bishop@uwe.ac.uk

We look forward to meeting you!”