5 reasons to build your EQ

In today’s world, as our focus on what a true leader looks like continues to shift, one thing is for sure. They need to be emotionally intelligent. But why?

Well, those leaders who have emotional intelligence are generally easily able to build relationships, have personal integrity and excellent communication skills, along with the power to be inspiring to those around them. It’s surely a no brainer.

Who doesn’t want that in their leadership team?

Emotionally intelligent leaders are usually able to rally the troops and encourage more efficient and productive teams, regardless of pace, economic upheavals and periods of change and growth.

Here’s 5 reasons for anyone to build their emotional intelligence

Improved Relationships: Emotional intelligence helps individuals to better understand their own emotions and those of others. As a result, it can lead to stronger and more meaningful relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

Effective Communication: People with high emotional intelligence are better able to communicate their thoughts and feelings effectively. They can express themselves in a way that is clear, concise, and respectful, which can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.

Better Decision-Making: Emotional intelligence allows individuals to make better decisions based on their emotions and intuition, in addition to logic and reason. This can lead to more thoughtful and effective decision-making, especially in complex or ambiguous situations. Our DECIDE modules help you do this.

Increased Resilience: Emotional intelligence helps individuals to cope with stress, setbacks, and adversity. They are better able to regulate their emotions and maintain a positive outlook, even in difficult circumstances.

Professional Success: Emotional intelligence is highly valued in the workplace, as it is often associated with effective leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed in their careers and be seen as valuable assets to their organisations

Talk to us if you’d welcome our help in growing this skill in your teams.


How can AI help learners of the future?

The robots are coming…

We thought we’d jump on the Artificial Intelligence bandwagon and see what we could learn. Our guest blog writer is none other than Chat GTP4 themselves. 

We asked them to tell us how they could help learners of the future. This is what they told us (and it took them less than 20 seconds). 

Hey ChatGTP4, tell me how AI like you can help future learners?

As an AI language model, I can help learners of the future in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples:

Answering questions: I can answer questions on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Learners can ask me questions to clarify their understanding of a concept, or to learn something new.

Providing personalized learning experiences: With the help of machine learning, I can understand a learner’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide personalized learning experiences to help them improve.

Language learning: I can help learners practice their language skills by providing real-time feedback on their grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

Creating educational content: I can generate educational content, such as quizzes, flashcards, and study guides, to help learners master a topic.

Recommending learning resources: I can recommend books, articles, videos, and other learning resources based on a learner’s interests and level of knowledge.

Overall, I can help learners of the future access knowledge and learn in new and innovative ways.

What do you think?

Will you be using AI to help you learn?

Ready to start journaling?

It’s reported to be one of the most powerful self-improvement activities you can do, and yet for many, it’s still not on their radar. It’s a simple one. Journaling.

Even though this practice it’s been around for hundreds (well, actually, thousands of years), journaling is currently having it’s celebrity moment.

In fairness, journaling isn’t a new thing or a fad, and countless studies have shown that if done regularly it can help you access a whole host of benefits for your emotional, and physical self.

So, what is journaling?

In short, journaling is simply you keeping a written account of your experiences, feelings and thoughts as you go through your daily life. What we like about this practice is that there’s no perfect way to do it. Every person who journals does it their way, and if it’s right for them, then it’s working.

No rules. No trends. Just journal your way.”

If we peeked inside a few journals (which of course is not the done thing!) we’d see so many different versions. It could look like a to-do list, or a quote, or even something you did that day that brought you or someone else joy. You get the point. It’s personal. To you.

They key here is to develop this habit until it’s a part of every day and then you can reap the benefits helping you to spot patterns, trends & insights and track your emotions.

The benefits

There are many benefits of journaling so we’re just going to focus on four to get you started.

  1. Improves mental well-being by being able to spot insights and patterns
  2. Helps you set goals and keep a record of your progress and achievements
  3. Can help you overcome challenging situations by recording thoughts and feelings and allowing time to reflect
  4. Gives you a place to record things that are important to you, whether it’s gratitude, feelings, or positive emotions

At We Are BRAVE we use our own journals which are designed around the BRAVE principles.
This allows the user to reap the benefits or journaling with a nod towards keeping the BRAVE methodology alive at the same time. We help by including some insightful questions to prompt reflection and the capture of key thoughts.

So, will you bite the bullet and begin to journal?


Boosting performance with Micro-Breaks

If you, or your team are struggling with tough workloads, never-ending to-do lists and the beginning of the dreaded burn out then we might have a (micro) solution for you. Try a Micro-Break.

When you hear about resilience, most content and advice will suggest taking regular breaks, but has anyone clarified how long a break needs to be?

Clearly a fortnight in the Maldives would most likely be the best solution, but being a little more practical we were really interested in some recent research by a University in Romania we came across.

‘Romanian researchers looked at the effect and efficiency of microbreaks on 2,000 people

The study has provoked some interesting discussions, mainly because what they found was that taking short microbreaks, as short as ten minutes, during a working day could boost team wellbeing and prevent burnout.

So, what are microbreaks?

What exactly is a microbreak? We were not sure either but according to this interesting research, it’s some dedicated time away from the task you are working on, that lasts ten minutes (or less). One thing the study did find, was that “the longer the break that was taken, the better the performance of the individual”.

10 Micro minutes, dedicated to time out, can have a BIG impact

While the research points at the importance of taking these micro-breaks throughout the day, separate stats show a worrying trend, that some employees just don’t take any breaks at all in an attempt to power through and just get their work done.

In fact, a study back in 2019 from Quantum Workplace said that 22% of team said they took no breaks at all (you’ll be pleased to know they did at least take lunch and toilet breaks!)

A powerful snippet of data from the study in Romania showed that those microbreaks we talked about are great for a boost to your energy levels and brilliant for batting away tiredness. They even showed that they can boost performance, mainly when the task the person was doing was repetitive, or alternatively, a creative one.

OK, how do we get the best from a Micro Break?

We’ve found that when you need a break, and need re-energise, for a performance boost, there are a few things you can try.

  • Move your body – try a walk round the garden or round the block.
  • Read a chapter of a book to break the focus on your screen
  • Power nap (set an alarm!)
  • Make a drink
  • Eat a snack
  • Meditate
  • Listen to music
  • Play with a pet
  • Doodle, draw or sketch
  • Crosswords or puzzles

Which of these do you think you or your team could try today?

Love this blog post?

Share it with the team and use it as a discussion point at your next team meeting!

Bringing Reward into 2022, one baby step at a time. 

A Reward department often covers more than you think, and it’s the department everyone benefits from, even if sometimes they don’t realise it.

What I’ve seen is that the reward options can usually be pretty standard and similar across many organisations. You know the usuals! Competitive pay – check! Pension – check! Holidays – check! Healthcare check! You get the point.  

While this is fantastic, and all of these are great benefits for your team, the approach to reward can often be slowed down by process, implementation, and a little red tape.  

So, how do you modernise and simplify the approach? 

In an ‘ideal world,’ where unlimited budgets, innovative technology and workforce devices are the norm you can do a lot. Some start-ups and cash rich businesses are now issuing credits for reward, so you flexibly create your package, choosing what matters for you. Bike for Work Scheme…but not interested? Then don’t choose that option! Sadly, we don’t live in the ‘ideal world’ and this approach is still new, but some evidence is showing very few schemes can truly be that flexible as it’s difficult to make every benefit optional, so core benefits have to be included. That said, we’re keeping our eyes peeled on how that works out and storing ideas for the future. 

For now, we need to work with what we have, and some smart baby steps is enough to get our ball rolling. 

Some steps to get your reward ball rolling. 

  • You must ensure you have a real, in depth understanding of the business from all perspectives.  
  • Rewards and benefits look vastly different from an office to a sales floor and it’s essential to talk to your people, in whichever way works best, to get to the real insight. 
  • Taking the time to understand what is important to colleagues and the profile of your workforce is also really important.  
  • Make sure you have considered diversity, age profiles and generations when considering reward solutions.  

Considering Multi-Generational Workforces 

As we enter 2022, we will see more of the five generations in the workplace than ever before. 

If you’re unsure where you fit, I’ve included the years of birth.  

  • Traditionalists – born 1927–to-1946 
  • Baby Boomers – born 1947-to-1964 
  • Generation X – born 1965-to-1980 
  • Generation Y (Millennials) – born 1981-to-2000 
  • Generation Z – born 2001-to-2020 

The amount of technological advancement that has occurred between the birth of the very first traditionalists and Gen Z is so vast it’s created two completely different life experiences. When a Baby Boomer got their first job, arriving to see a computer at each desk wasn’t the norm, whereas a Millennial and Gen Z have never known a world without a computer, a phone, mobile and probably a laptop. 

In our business, 59% of our workforce is currently either Generation “Y” and “Z”, 23% Generation X and 18% Boomers. 

Imagine the implications on reward when you are trying to engage five different generations at once?  

Another crucial factor to consider is your colleague profile mix.  

Here’s what I mean in real terms. If we did bite the bullet and jumped straight to a credit scheme where you pick your own benefits the colleague mix can cause issues. 

If your business has a substantial number of colleagues who are part time this means that they might not have enough credits to choose anything over and above the basic, expected reward benefits and this could mean that they miss out on some of the benefits that they would ordinarily have been available to all. It’s something that we have to consider with a workforce of our size. It must be fair.  

Based on my experience I totally agree that one size certainly does not fit all anymore but using the data available to support key decisions will certainly help!  

What did we do at The Midcounties Co-operative to modernise and simplify? 

Our first steps were to look to modernise how we issue colleague thank you vouchers. A fantastic way to reward our teams, loved by everyone, but they had a historic flaw.  

Previously the vouchers were printed on paper, posted out to stores and often had to be replaced when colleagues misplaced them, damaged them or they fell subject to many other mysterious fates! 

After plenty of research, looking at data, and of course, talking to the very people who were due to be in receipt of them we hatched a digital revolution plan. We launched a new digital solution via our app where colleagues would instantly see their reward vouchers on a mobile or desktop device. This is one step for Claire Foster and the Reward Team, and a giant leap for the Midcounties Co-opeartive teams! 

We of course considered our colleague mix and spotted that some people might struggle because they don’t have a smart phone or laptop at home.  

We made sure we supported those colleagues by allowing access via the store computer and if nothing else worked, we could still arrange for a paper voucher to be sent to them and are working with our Utilities team to think about how we can provide affordable smart phones and tech support for our colleagues who do not currently have a device. 

Interestingly, several months after a successful and well received launch, only 1.9% of eligible colleagues have requested paper vouchers. Result! 

Is this solution I’m sharing with you perfect? Of course not!  

But what is important is that we have already held a lesson learned session for improvements/changes we want to make. We’re talking to our people. We’re reviewing what we have done and how we could improve it. And that’s real progress towards modernising and simplifying the reward offer we have right now. 

So, in summary.  

Work with what you have got.  

Look at the data.  

Talk to all the people.  

Take an educated risk.  

Make a reward baby step.  

Keep an eye on the rest of the world as they change reward and learn from their lessons.

Claire Foster​ | Head of HR and Reward | The Midcounties Co-operative

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