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Read the latest blogs from our  team.

Exploring three new behaviours and beliefs in three key employment phases – Part 31 August 2017

Employees should be accountable for their own engagement at work. This can be achieved by incorporating three new behaviours and beliefs into their day-to-day life. In this series of articles, my colleague Bart-Jan van der Linde (Principal Consultant) and I explore these three key behaviours and beliefs in, what our colleagues in City & Guilds Group believe to be, the three key “employment phases”. This article focusses on the third and last phase - Progressing on to the next job.

The Importance of Trust in Working Relationships31 July 2017

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Fees Order, which required payment from Employee Tribunal claimants, is illegal. This removes a significant barrier to legal action against employers and makes it much easier for individuals to bring claims against employers.

Using culture change as an antidote to the effect of unconscious bias on workplace diversity17 July 2017

I recently had the pleasure of talking to a talented consultant who had just finished running a week-long leadership event for a top 50 blue-chip organisation. He mentioned that every session was great, except the Diversity and Inclusion/Unconscious Bias session, which received average feedback at best. He remarked that similar events have shown him that it was not unusual for this session to rate the lowest.

This got me thinking: what is it about diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias training that is not hitting the mark?

Exploring three new behaviours and beliefs in three key employment phases – Part 26 July 2017

Employees should be accountable for their own engagement at work. This can be achieved by incorporating three new behaviours and beliefs into their day-to-day life. In this series of articles, my colleague Bart-Jan van der Linde (Principal Consultant) and I explore these three key behaviours and beliefs in, what our colleagues in City & Guilds Group believe to be, the three key “employment phases”. This article focusses on the second phase - Being successful and fulfilled on the job.

Three big ideas to influence your talent strategy – Part 3: Personal and organisational narratives28 June 2017

Just like actors in a play, employers now want to be part of a good story. They are not happy just watching stories unfold in front of them. Furthermore, employees want to decide which character they play and how they contribute to the story...

Virtual working is real work…you just need the right culture13 June 2017

Culture is a little like DNA: organisations are 99% similar (we have access to the same pool of people, we sit in the same offices, on the same chairs and have the same access to technology and process) and yet the 1% makes all the difference. That 1% is culture – and like DNA, it’s tiny but changes everything. Culture is often described as ‘How things get done around here’. If that's truly the case, then it's comprised of the behaviours that are visible, role modelled and rewarded in the office environment.

However, how can that culture be translated when more and more of your workforce are located remotely or work from home?

Three big ideas that will influence your talent strategy – Part 2: Experiential careers7 June 2017

Recently, I spent some time talking to my colleagues and clients about what the biggest issues are for talent strategy. Exploring these themes in depth, as will be attempted in this series of three articles, is a critical first step. However, it is even more important to understand the implications they have on an organisation’s talent strategy. Over the course of the few months, I hope to investigate and share with you what these three big themes mean in practice throughout the talent cycle.

Exploring three new behaviours and beliefs in three key employment phases – Part 131 May 2017

Employees should be accountable for their own engagement at work. This can be achieved by incorporating three new behaviours and beliefs into their day-to-day life. These new behaviours and beliefs are relationship focus, going the extra mile and love of learning. In this series of articles, my colleague Bart-Jan van der Linde (Principal Consultant) and I explore these three key behaviours and beliefs in, what our colleagues in City & Guilds Group believe to be, the three key “employment phases”...

How ‘Viral Change’ can bring you closer to the transformation you are seeking23 May 2017

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

You, your CEO and your HR Director need to become experts in infectious diseases. Believe it or not – it will make implementing change in your organisations much, much easier.

C&GG at The CIPD L&D Show17 May 2017

Last week 3 business units from City & Guilds Group made their way to Olympia London for the CIPD L&D Show. Members from ILM, Kineo and The Oxford Group (TOG) all congregated around our custom-made stand.

Three big ideas that will influence your talent strategy – Part 1: Diversified career journeys16 May 2017

Recently, I spent some time talking to my colleagues and clients about what the biggest issues are for talent strategy. Exploring these themes in depth, as will be attempted in this series of three articles, is a critical first step. However, it is even more important to understand the implications they have on an organisation’s talent strategy. Over the course of the few months, I hope to investigate and share with you what these three big themes mean in practice throughout the talent cycle.

The Apprenticeship Levy - An Opportunity, Not a Tax4 May 2017

The Oxford Group is delighted to announce our approval onto the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. As a result, you can spend your apprenticeship levy on leadership and management learning journeys facilitated by Senior Consultants at The Oxford Group.

Felix Bramley, Business Development Manager, writes about how The Oxford Group is challenging the traditional perception of apprenticeships and how this can provide value for your organisation. He also provides a link to a great employer guide from our sister company ILM which includes everything you need to know about the Apprenticeship Levy.

Surviving and Thriving in the Gig Economy Part 2: New Approaches To Building Employee Engagement3 May 2017

The rapid changes and instability in our economic and political environment, the demise of job security, and technological advancements over the last thirty years have given rise to the new gig economy. Short-term contracts and holding multiple jobs at one time are almost the norm. In this new, fractured world of work employee engagement has become both more important, and more difficult to maintain.

How growing SMEs can avoid costly recruitment mistakes26 April 2017

Generally, small and growing companies have the potential to be more agile, and therefore successful, than large corporations. However, while agility can mean reacting quickly to market opportunities, this speed increases the risk of getting it wrong…no more so than when it comes to recruiting new talent.  The cost of replacing or re-recruiting staff if the wrong decision is made is worryingly high. A 2014 Oxford Economics Report found that the loss of an employee on a salary of £25,000 a year or more carries an average financial impact of £30,614. This impact covers both the logistics of re-hiring and the lost productivity suffered.

The 5 Principles Behind Designing a Successful First Line Manager Development Programme18 April 2017

In today’s current economic climate, organisations face unprecedented challenges in order to remain competitive and relevant. Global uncertainty, disruptive technologies and unrivalled transparency (customers and employees rating sites) all contribute to the ever-changing workplace. First Line Managers (FLMs) need to adapt to this change quickly; but they can only do so with support from their superiors and suitable training. Without this, they and their organisation will underperform.

Demystifying Innovation with Chris Bárez-Brown11 April 2017

In small organisations or start-ups, having an idea and getting it out there is relatively easy and terrifically motivating. Yet, when we apply that same logic in large organisations, the chance of getting an idea out there is almost zero. Why is that?

A recipe for recruiting the right people5 April 2017

Do you find recruiting the right person a headache? At The Oxford Group, we still see people recruiting candidates on the basis of their technical skills, university attended and previous job titles. Companies often ask questions and use criteria that don’t truly get to the heart of a person’s suitability for a role: behaviours and values.  Together with my colleague, and Principal Consultant, Maggie Matthews, I’d like to share some recruitment best practice via a simple recipe.

The Oxford Group is now on The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers3 April 2017

From April, all companies which have a UK payroll of £3m+ will be subject to the ‘Apprenticeship Levy’. This will be 0.5% of the monthly payroll, collected from employers by HMRC. However, employers will be able to ‘claim back’ their levy if they invest in apprenticeship programmes...

Surviving and Thriving in the Gig Economy Part 1: How Did We Get Here?29 March 2017

Today’s employment market is becoming increasingly fractured and dysfunctional. They call it the “gig economy”. But employee engagement still matters – for the sake of quality, customer satisfaction and innovation. However, this radical change means that conventional, top-down approaches to building engagement are doomed to failure.

Ready Made Taster28 March 2017

On 15th March, The Oxford Group hosted a taster session from a selection of Ready-made Training Programmes. The idea of the session was to explore a few key topics and exercises used in our training programmes.

Coaching in uncertainty13 March 2017

We find ourselves in unprecedented times of global political, economic and environmental change; this has created a new uncertainty. In this time of uncertainty one thing is for certain: talent needs to be nurtured in order to be retained. 

Q: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

A: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

Change is inevitable – progress is not. (And neither have to be painful)3 March 2017

We all have to undergo changes in our lives; whether we like it or not.

Are you developing the right people to be tomorrow’s leaders for success?1 March 2017

The right people are those with clear aspirations and a real commitment. Many organisations have specific high potential development programmes – however if your selection process doesn’t effectively identify those people, you may be investing in vain.

Getting Employee Engagement on your CEO’s Agenda: Part 313 February 2017

As an HR leader, boosting or maintaining employee engagement is probably a major item on your ‘to do’ list. But unless it is already embedded as part of your organisation’s culture, it is rarely in the minds of the CEO and Board.

This is the third and final article in our series which sets out three crucial steps you need to take to place employee engagement on your CEO’s agenda.

Why you should define the competencies your staff need today and tomorrow9 February 2017

While it’s common for organisations to develop competency frameworks, often they are focussed on what people need to do their jobs today, and fail to go far enough to allow managers to recruit and develop talent who can help the organisation meet its objectives tomorrow.

The real journey to becoming a customer-centric organisation: Part 31 February 2017

Philip Watts, an expert in transformational change strategy, has seen a variety of organisations succeed and fail in their attempts to become customer-centric. So, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Philip on this very topic.

Getting Employee Engagement on your CEO’s Agenda: Part 29 January 2017

Employee engagement is no longer simply a buzz-word. Ever increasing research into its effects on the economy and business success, a rapidly changing workforce and shifting expectations of employees regarding their work environment have made it a crucial part of many organisations’ business strategy.

In this second article in the series we step away from the logical, and focus on the emotional arguments that you need to make for your case to be successful.

The real journey to becoming a customer-centric organisation: Part 23 January 2017

Becoming customer-centric, particularly in organisations where the customer hasn’t traditionally been central to their culture, is a major transformation, and one that extends far beyond a new customer service policy.

The real journey to becoming a customer-centric organisation: Part 16 December 2016

I am frequently asked what organisations can do to become truly customer-centric; if there is a specific series of actions or policies they could copy. The reality is, becoming customer-centric requires a great deal of consideration and effort to ensure it goes beyond paying lip-service to a buzz-word with a new customer service policy.

How to manage in a VUCA environment14 November 2016

Levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are ramping up in workplaces across the globe as recent events have threatened international trade and the job security of millions of employees in various sectors worldwide.  In such an environment the role of the manager is vital in maintaining engagement with teams in order to help them to continue to be effective.

Getting Employee Engagement on your CEO’s Agenda: Part 11 November 2016

We’ve all been there. As an HR leader, you know that employee engagement needs to be firmly on the CEO’s agenda if anything meaningful is going to happen. Maybe you’re trying to make the case to repeat your employee engagement survey, or even to run one for the first time but it’s the wrong time.

The Power of the Soft Stuff: If you want to change a culture, change behaviours18 October 2016

Q: Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many frogs are on the log?

A: Five, because deciding and doing are not the same thing.

[Not More] Employee Engagement Lessons from Rio20 September 2016

“Wait. Before you say: “You can’t compare employees to athletes” or “It’s not realistic to implement lessons from Olympic coaches in a regular workplace”, read on. When it comes to engaging teams, there are more similarities between these groups of people than you think…”

Teams Rule – It’s time to ditch the dogma of individual rewards if we desire culture change19 September 2016

“90% of teams in organisations are not teams as we know it. They are working groups of individuals trying to be a team but failing because they are pseudo teams desperately trying to emulate great teams like we witnessed at the Olympics. These teams are not motivated to act like teams because they are not treated and rewarded in the right way…”

The Oxford Group is to deliver internationally recognised training to local managers19 September 2016

The Oxford Group has recently successfully achieved the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Approved Centre status and will begin delivering ILM qualifications.

The art of communication in resolving conflict9 August 2016

Unmanaged conflict in the workplace can be detrimental to an organisation and costly, not only in financial terms but also in terms of talent retention and the potential loss of skilled team members. Therefore, learning how to reduce or avoid conflict in the workplace is a valuable investment – at any level.

How to build a First Line Manager programme that works28 July 2016

First Line Managers (FLMs) hold a key role in the organization, managing the majority of the organization’s staff and setting the standards for how things are done on a day-to-day basis.

The new language of virtual working12 July 2016

In the fourth of our ‘Perceptions & challenges of virtual working’ blog series, we look at the challenges of communicating in a virtual working environment.

The ‘Mouse Jiggler’ effect29 June 2016

At some time or another we’ve all heard it. “Oh yeah, working from home today?” It might have been levelled at you or at a colleague – or perhaps you were the person saying it?  And you don’t have to look too far to read about apps such as ‘Mouse Jiggler’, that could be used to keep up an appearance of active working by stopping PCs or laptops going into sleep mode while a rogue worker puts their feet up with a cuppa and checks Instagram.

EU Referendum - Dealing with Ambiguity27 June 2016

The recent referendum result has sent shockwaves across the Business world following 52% of voters voting in favour of "Brexit". Felix Bramley takes a look at how to deal with Ambiguity in times of uncertainty.

A training method to avoid21 June 2016

Following the shocking article on BBC news regarding a training session at Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank in China where a trainer used physical punishment on participants who did not excel during the training.

The ‘P’ word14 June 2016

There are countless motivational quotes written about it, and reaching its peak is the Holy Grail for the vast majority of organisations. We’re talking productivity, and specifically about the impact that virtual working has on productivity within large organisations.

Demonstrating Results from Front-Line Manager Training2 June 2016

Does your organization have a training program in place to develop your front-line managers? If so, chances are it wasn’t easy to put in place … and it’s not cheap to run. To help them cross that bridge, you may send your new front-line managers to week long classroom sessions or pay for lots of online learning modules. And then sit back and hope for the best...

Virtual working - challenging perceptions: international research results30 May 2016

I recently ran a webinar with Nick Cowley which looked at key results from our international research, commissioned to 1,600 employees across all levels of organisation in China (Hong Kong), France, USA and the UK.

Engagement and millennials25 May 2016

On a recent train journey from Leeds, I found myself talking to a group of employees from a fast growing UK-based software company, who explained to me that they were on their way to Antigua for their yearly week away designed to encourage the colleagues to get to know one another and increase engagement. Over the course of the journey, I learnt a lot about the company and its culture which in turn also taught me a lot about engagement.

How to avoid the virtual working ‘morale dip’3 May 2016

Over 50% of people with experience of working virtually believe their morale would be higher in a traditional office environment. Find out more from our latest research.

Princess Royal Training Awards Now Receiving Applications2 March 2016

Don't miss the opportunity to enter the Princess Royal Training Awards with City & Guilds Group.

5 Conversations shortlisted for book of the year9 February 2016

Close but no cigar

The year of the Monkey8 February 2016

Using 5 Conversations to manage a melting pot of personalities.

Learning technology – where’s the creativity?6 January 2016

I was recently contacted by a learning technology company who were surveying trends in learning technologies over the past 10 years.  As I acknowledged some of the advances: the increasing use and quality of eLearning, both stand alone and as part of a blended solution, the range and quality and of on-line videos and other resources available, and the ability to deliver reasonable quality live classrooms remotely using WebEx and other platforms, I also became increasingly aware that in many respects technology in learning is still at a very limited and curiously traditional stage of development.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from The Oxford Group18 December 2015

Office opening hours and Season's Greetings

Paris taster event round-up4 December 2015

Our recent event in Paris focused on giving some insight into the 5 Conversations programme.

Managing global logistics and protocols in a 365-day-operation world24 November 2015

How does your global business manage a huge range of different public holidays and local closures in order to stay effective in a world that never stops?

The art of conversation, start with “Hello” - just like Adele13 November 2015

British singer-songwriter Adele, has recently made an incredible comeback with her highly anticipated new single “Hello”. The song is an artistic example of how communication between two people can break down and teaches us a lesson or two on the art of conversation.

CIPD November 2015 round-up11 November 2015

We have now returned to our offices after a successful CIPD conference in Manchester.

Managing relationships in the virtual world3 November 2015

The focus of our recent webinar was “Managing Relationships in the Virtual World” where we discussed how it is important to have the right tools, mind-set and conversation in a virtual working relationship.

Looking at the past and going Back to the Future21 October 2015

In 1989 Back to the Future II was released and it was in this film that Marty McFly and “Doc” travelled to today, 21st October 2015. A lot has changed since then but sadly I’m still waiting for my flying car and self-lacing trainers…

The Oxford Group was established a couple of years before Back to the Future II was released. Since then we have seen a number of changes in how we work with our clients and how technology has, and continues to play, a big part in what we do day to day.

The self-aware leader: using coaching to maximise the return on 360° investment for senior leaders15 October 2015

I was joined by a long-time colleague, Julie Havard, who has been a consultant and executive coach at The Oxford Group for 16 years. Julie works on a global scale, and supports me in managing relationships and in coaching projects.

When communication between boss and employee ‘virtually’ shuts down7 October 2015

A recent episode of X Factor saw communication shut down between boss and fellow judge, throwing into question their working relationship and illustrating the pitfalls of remote working.

Making virtual teams work – A practical guide for global organisations6 October 2015

In our recent webinar, “Making virtual teams work – a practical guide for global organisations” I was able to catch up with Robert Rigby-Hall, who I have known and worked with for a number of years. Robert has vast experience of working in HR globally and in this webinar we had a fascinating conversation where he shared his insights and lessons learned. Our discussion focused around four aspects of virtual working: building trust, dealing with practical challenges, managing time zones and using technology.

Business globalisation & effective leadership approaches30 September 2015

Business globalisation has risen dramatically over the past few years, with the business and social world increasingly inter-connected and leaders seeing the benefits of a globalised approach and the need to bring local countries together to work towards a single global vision, consistent marketing and sales strategy, streamlined operations and universal procedures and policies.  I find myself discussing this topic quite regularly in Asia, with leaders facing the huge challenge of balancing the ideal of thinking globally and acting locally.

New Rules for a Virtual World9 September 2015

How do you build trust, engage others and get things done when your colleagues are on the other side of the world? Or in a different part of your business or team?

6 ways to maximise your leadership skills when managing offshore teams20 August 2015

Over the last few decades we have seen a large increase in offshoring, particularly within China and India where the cost of labour is low.  Having worked in Asia for many years, I have seen first-hand the opportunities and challenges that organisations face when they offshore their business. This blog explores some of the key challenges leaders face when they are working within an onshore/offshore environment, and offers thoughts and advice on how best to tackle them effectively.

How to lead agile and innovative organisations - the winning formula!30 July 2015

In Asia, I am seeing more and more leaders working within agile organisations. Agile organisations are change-ready, and therefore able to adapt and respond quickly to complex and ever changing environments. In the right business and environment, agile organisations deliver extraordinary results and performance, and agile teams within a non-agile organisation tend to have an energising effect on the rest of the organisation. 

Feedback Hungry Teams – The Key to Successful Businesses1 July 2015

Asia is booming and many organisations are fast tracking employees into management roles even if they don’t have people management experience. In Asia we get asked time and again;  ‘How can I improve team performance and get better results?’

8 Top Tips for Successful Coaching in Asia1 June 2015

With Asia’s accelerated market growth and its importance within the global economy, there is clearly a real need for leadership development and coaching programmes to ensure optimum employee engagement and productivity within these fast growing organisations. 

7 powerful ways to engage and retain millennial talent in Asia5 May 2015

One of the most pressing challenges that sit high on most leaders’ agendas is how to effectively attract, engage and retain millennial talent but why are Millenials so important?

Chunk It Down – Getting your message understood26 March 2015

Do you sometimes wonder why your team members don’t understand what you mean?  Do you say one thing and they act on something completely different?  Have you ever thought that sometimes this might be because of how you have communicated your message?

6 ways HR can encourage authenticity2 March 2015

Authenticity is seldom thought of as a major driver of organizational performance, a source of innovation or productivity.  In fact, we may not think of authenticity at all.  But increasingly organizations are realizing the benefits of having authentic leaders.

Actions speak louder than words2 February 2015

A company’s vision is often carefully crafted, underscored by common values and reflective of the company’s mission. The only problem is, how does an employee know if they are acting in a way that is fulfilling the company’s vision? And how do they come to understand how the vision applies to them?

Using ‘purpose’ to take objective setting to the next level7 January 2015

Despite traditional objective setting being implemented, workers are still unclear about what they are working towards. Find out what a study undertaken by The Oxford Group and Atomik Research in 2014 across the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and France revealed.

What I’ve learnt as a new First Line Manager28 November 2014

Guest blogger Marketing Manager, Katrina Strathearn, shares her experience of becoming a line manager for the first time. 

Once upon a time… why and how leaders should be telling stories30 October 2014

In an age where employee engagement is recognised as critical to productivity and the bottom line, you or the senior leaders in your organisation may be seeking a more innovative way to engage employees with key company messages and values.

Are you mentorship material?30 September 2014

Mentoring is a process that provides medium-term, regular support that enhances an individual’s current performance and maximises their potential for the future.

Say what you see… giving feedback in the moment22 August 2014

As a Line Manager, do you find it difficult to give feedback in the moment? Do you save it up for a weekly or monthly meeting? Do you wait until the twice yearly review? Or do you just never do it all?

Taking accountability for being the best leader you can be14 July 2014

We often challenge groups of leaders with this simple question:  “Who is accountable for making you the best leader you can be?”  After wry smiles people raise their hands and call out, “Of course, it’s me!”.

4 ways to get global leadership & management training right25 April 2014

How do global organisations approach rolling-out leadership and management development programmes. Here are four points that will help you when planning your approach to a global leadership and management development programme.

The business savvy line manager11 April 2014

Practical Training Strategies to Retain Talent in Asia Pacific – Part 3: Providing Training in Business Acumen

Stepping up to the challenge28 March 2014

Practical Training Strategies to Retain Talent in Asia Pacific – Part 2: Enabling People to Make the Transition from Manager to Leader

Going…going…staying!14 March 2014

Practical Training Strategies to Retain Talent in Asia Pacific – Part 1: Developing Skills in Managing Performance

Top 10 Tests for Accountability3 March 2014

We believe that leaders need to acknowledge that they alone are accountable for improving their own performance as leaders. To do this, they need to make a deep, emotional commitment to being the best leader they can be. But what does this involve?

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