Author Archives: varnmedia

hiring sign

A Quick Guide To Successful Recruitment

Receiving an unexpected resignation letter is a big hit, not only to you but for the company too. Losing an employee who is a productive and trusted team member is hard to replace and means the start of a tedious, uncertain recruitment process.

Two business men shaking hands

Choosing a new recruit correctly is great, but making a bad hire is a sap on precious management time, energy and emotion.

Here are some quick tips to help you increase your chances of hiring someone quickly and efficiently:

Approach Good People Before Vacancies Arise

It is always good to keep an eye and ear out for rising stars within the industry, or people who possess certain skills that could make them a strong team member. It is a good idea to take an interest in their career, their life and try to understand their aspirations. Building a relationship with a network of people will always make filling a vacancy much easier.

List The Character Traits That Are Non-Negotiable

Finding people for a role is easy, but finding people that will be a good fit can be much harder. By making a list of the character traits that are definitely required, it will make you much less likely to make a bad hire. After an interesting bad experience with a dishonest sales person one organisation simply added ‘liars need not apply’ to their next posting and saw the amount of responses drop but the quality of these candidates rose.

Answer Every Answer With A Question

Although someone may come across well in an interview, the chances are they have had time to practice their responses. If you can find a way to answer every answer with a question, you will be able to find out if the candidate’s answers lack substance. Finding out what happened in their previous role is helpful but by drilling down into the details is much better.

Involve The Team

Some roles are often best recruited not through interview but through an audition instead. By inviting the candidate to work amongst the team for a day, you can ask the team at the end of the day to comment and vote on the candidate’s suitability of that person for the role.

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6 Tips To Successful Q & A Conferences

Question and Answer conferences can go either one of two ways. Either there is a deadly silence or they become adversarial battles between the audience and top brass.

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We have put together 7 tips to help you manage the discussion and make it a pleasant and productive session for all concerned:

  • Always try to channel the questions through the host to a panel. A good conference host will demonstrate their independence by gently challenging the panel and by ensuring that the members of the panel answer the questions honestly.
  • Mix the questions up. Mix business questions with ‘about you’ questions like what did each panel member have as their first job?
  • Prepare questions beforehand. The host can have these on cards and can start a debate or switch to a new topic easily.
  • If you can be confident that there won’t be anyone in the audience that will hog the microphone then you could consider using a ‘catch box’ which helps to inject energy into the audience and means you can help to get more people involved, much more quickly.
  • You could consider having delegate’s text their thoughts and questions in during the conference, or you could use a hashtag through social media for people to use.
  • It is important to allow the host to change the discussion amongst those from people in the audience. For example, if there was a conversation about pay and this was stuck on topic for a while, the host should look to ask a question about working environment to move the subject on.

If you’d like some more free advice ahead of you upcoming conference, do get in touch with our team at Team Building London today.

deathbymeeting

Less Time Spent In Meetings, More Action

A lot of time can be wasted in meetings at work because they are unproductive and often arranged without an agenda. But meetings should in fact be the opposite.

meetings

A good meeting will help improve communication, produce good decision-making, generate useful ideas and motivate teams. Unfortunately though, too many meetings lack any kind of purpose, energy or structure. This makes them a waste of time and can, in some cases, demotivate people.

Patrick Lencioni suggests a fresh approach to business meetings in his book, ‘Death by Meetings’, by adapting the structure, purpose and location to prevent discussions from going off track and failing to reach a conclusion.

Here are some pointers from the book that will help make your meetings more productive:

Instigate Brief Daily Updates
This reduces overuse of email, eliminates misunderstandings and false assumptions and ensures team members are well aware of what one another are up to.

  • No agenda
  • No minutes
  • 5 minute duration
  • Same time
  • Same place
  • Every day
  • Standing in circle
  • Meet even if several are absent
  • Include coffee

Introduce Weekly Tactical Meetings

  • Start with 60 second ‘my week’ update from each attendee
  • Agree priorities from those updates to create an agenda
  • Agenda items must be topical, relevant and tactical
  • 6 agenda items max
  • 60 minute duration

Introduce Monthly Strategic Meetings

  • 2 or 3 topics only
  • Strategic not tactical
  • Embrace debate and courteous conflict
  • Research topics in advance
  • Reach decisions

And consider Quarterly Off-site meetings

  • Deep review of strategic direction
  • Team development
  • Competitor analysis

Lencioni argues that this approach to meetings will create energising discussions that build momentum and help to drive your organisation toward reaching your company’s goals.

If you would like help with making your team meeting more productive, contact our team at Team Building London today to hear how we can help.

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Team Building Using Everyday Objects

Finding time to enjoy team building exercises on a day-to-day basis within your workplace can be difficult, but if you can it is both convenient and useful.

Lego_Color_BricksNathan Sawaya using LEGO to create art is an example we know works well that you could adopt in the office. He uses pieces of LEGO to recreate versions of well-known works of art from around the world. These works of art may not always be to critical acclaim but show initiative and creativity to create them. His exhibition has been hailed as an accessible, creative and fun way to use everyday objects.

Our team at Team Building London have been using LEGO over the years to playfully help team development. So we agree with P Kristiansen and R Rasmussen that LEGO is a great business tool. Read their book on ‘Building a Better Business using the LEGO Serious Play Method’ which highlights the benefits of LEGO in the workplace.

If you would like to find out more about how LEGO can help inspire creativity, teamwork, planning and financial budgeting, contact us today to discuss how we can help you incorporate everyday objects into your team building.

Team Building For Everyone

Team Building Can Work For You And Your Team

There are a whole host of team building activities available but finding one for a large corporation can be a challenge.

Team Building For Everyone The reason for this is because larger teams have more personality types to cater for – Activists will want to run about while Reflectors will rather just observe. Pragmatics will more than likely ask ‘what’s the point?’ whereas Theorists might prefer to study or solve a complex puzzle.

Here at Team Building London, we have developed a team building activity for everyone to get involved and use their skills, combining a wide range of competitive team building challenges so that every member can showcase their style and skill. Demonstrating everyone’s differences can be the source of success within a team.

Teams of 6 are able to use their wit to solve problems and a number of practical team challenges. During each challenge teams will compete against one another before they move onto another conundrum. Bonus points are earned throughout by those who successfully complete these puzzles which require both analytical and lateral thinking.

There are also opportunities for physical challenges which are selected to suit the location and the participants – many of our tasks can be performed indoors and out.

It is important to think about everyone’s skills and strengths because their varied learning skills will affect their input into the team building activity. By incorporating fun into a number of exercises, everyone has the chance to excel without needing to be the fittest or cleverest.

If you would like to learn more about our team building activities and how we can make sure everyone gets involved, contact us at Team Building London today.

Conference Meeting Room

8 Rules To Make Meetings Great

Meetings can easily fall into the trap of being unproductive and a waste of time, but there are ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to your meetings.

Conference Meeting Room

Make Meetings Great

We first saw these meeting ground rules in a conference room of a Japanese car company, and have been using and recommending them ever since.

The next time you decide to hold a meeting, try and enforce these meeting rules and see what difference it makes:

1.   Make sure you start and finish on time Continue reading

Firing an employee

Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

Most managers face a number of tricky situations in the workplace on a daily basis – one of the toughest is having to decide whether to fire an under-performing team member or not.

Firing an employee

Firing an employee

If you’re faced with this task, here are 5 considerations to ease the decision:

1.       Does good past performance justify a weak future performance?

Just because team members were once strong, it may not necessarily mean they will be as strong in the future. Weak team members may reflect badly on other staff, suggesting that under-performance is okay. Continue reading

Pearlfisher's ball pit

We Say ‘Balls’ To Team Meetings

Here at Team Building London we are always trying to promote creativity within the workplace, so thought it would be worth highlighting a company on the right track!

Pearlfisher's ball pit

Pearlfisher’s ball pit

Pearlfisher, in Hammersmith, West London created a meeting environment reminiscent of a children’s ball play area – only this is for around 30 adults.

The reason for this was to create a place to help companies stimulate new ideas and creativity, which is something that can easily get lost in a normal daily meeting within the workplace. This type of environment is great to bounce ideas around and to have fun at work. Continue reading

Beating The Networking Headache

How To Overcome The Networking Nightmare

There are always a large number of networking events throughout the year and sometimes your boss may pass you an invitation, suggesting you go along to one. Networking is not for everyone, but in this blog we will look at how you might be able to look at networking differently.

Beating The Networking Headache

Beating The Networking Headache

Entering a room of strangers can create a number of fears, including:

• You could get stuck with the most boring man or woman in your industry
• You might be subjected to a hard sell
• You’ll be left standing alone, looking lost

But let’s consider what you can actually gain from going to a networking event: Continue reading

Some New Year Resolutions

3 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Office

We often set ourselves resolutions at the start of the New Year – some of us fail and some are still going strong, but as personal resolutions fade, we have put together three ideas to help improve office life.

Some New Year Resolutions1.       Better conversations, less meetings

Formal meetings on a Friday and a Monday should be banned. Instead consider informal lunches and chats over coffee on these days. Oxford Think Tank Career Innovations research identifies that closing the “Conversation Gap” can help organisations build trust, increase employee engagement and retain talented people more effectively. Continue reading