Podcast 180 — L&D in the Not-for-Profit sector

What are some of the L&D challenges faced by the not-for-profit sector? And how do they overcome these challenges on restricted budgets?

Written by Nicola Boyle
Published 04 February 2020
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Podcast 180 — L&D in the Not-for-Profit sector

This week on The Good Practice Podcast, Nicola Boyle and James McLuckie are joined by Cat Kernohan, Head of L&D at Oxfam, and Kate Kellaway-Moore, Head of Talent and Resourcing at Oxfam to discuss.

In this episode you'll find out:

  • How Oxfam deliver their L&D initiatives on restricted budgets
  • How not-for-profit organisations can attract and retain talent in the workplace
  • How Oxfam increase women's opportunities for promotion and senior leadership
Nicola

Hello, and welcome to The Good Practice Podcast from Emerald Works, a weekly show about work performance and learning. I'm Nicola Boyle, and this week we're talking about L&D in the not-for-profit sector. Here with me this week is Emerald Works's Learning and Performance Solutions Director and returning guest James McLuckie, along with guests Catherine Kernohan, Head of L&D at Oxfam, and Kate Kellaway, Head of Talent and Resourcing at Oxfam. Hi, James

James

Hi, guys. How are you doing

Nicola

And hi, Catherine, and hi, Kate

Catherine

Hello.

Kate

Hi.

Nicola

I think it'd be helpful just to say at the start of the discussion that we are going to be discussing Oxfam in a UK context. Catherine and Kate, do you want to give us a brief explanation on why we've decided to do that

Catherine

Yeah, hi. Yeah, it's Cat. Everyone calls me Cat, so I'll go with Cat, if you don't mind for the podcast

Nicola

Okay. Yeah, sure

Catherine

I feel very formal being Catherine. Yeah. My role is for Oxfam in Great Britain, but we do have a global remit. We felt like we might touch on that a bit because some of our approaches, we do think about a global audience. But we do have quite a complex structure. Oxfam Great Britain is part of a confederation along with 20 other independent Oxfams. Between all of us, we're working in 90 countries around the world. Our learning and development is offered through a global shared service in that space. It does start to get a bit complicated when we start to talk about our structures and how we work globally

We thought for this podcast, how we work in the UK, which perhaps be most interesting and perhaps ease for us to talk about, and also when we're working globally, we tend to work slightly differently, in that we're more partnering with HR colleagues so that they can find local solutions, or giving them resources so that they can come up with things that really suit the local context and their cultural considerations. Whereas in the UK, we tend to be a bit more hands on

Kate

Yeah. I think what I would, so this is Kate speaking, so is that we do have a number of courses that we consider Oxfam-wide. We have a kind of core, I suppose learning offer, focused on making sure that we have a consistent approach to induction, what we call our code of conduct, so looking at how do you kind of Oxfam's values through everything that you do, and aspects like that, including safeguarding and different approaches. Yeah, there is certainly a core that's relevant to international and UK context. But yeah, most of our specific more hands-on work is with our UK stuff

Nicola

Okay, great. Thank you. As an not-for-profit, Oxfam will need to deliver L&D initiatives on a restricted budget. Can you give us some examples of how you do this

Catherine

Yeah. This is something that we are constantly having to really think about, how do we deliver learning in a way that is impactful, meets the needs of our teams, but recognizes that we don't have big budgets to work with? One of the approaches that we take, which I'm sure many of your listeners will be familiar with is looking at where people learn most and thinking about 70/20/10. Trying to tap into the learning that people are doing in their day jobs, and then supporting them through that, and supporting managers to support their teams through that with quite simple tools

Whether that is giving our managers the skills they need to put in place coaching approaches, so they're asking questions and supporting their employees to think about where they're learning and reflect on learning. Helping managers have those conversations that really get to explore with their team members, what motivates them, and think quite creatively about how to then tap into those motivations. That might be about giving them new projects that they can take on, or projects in a different part of the organization that they might be able to be involved in, which is one of the things that we do have an amazing scope to offer because we have such a rich, and interesting, and diverse field of work. We can offer people interesting projects, and then it's about trying to support them through that learning along the way

Kate

Yeah, I think one of the things that can be quite interesting, and Cat taught it there, is that we do have quite, I guess, a diverse range of staff doing really, really different works, everything from what your most programs are running projects, right through to retail networks. We have really, really different set of people that need different kinds of learning and development. Because of that, one of the approaches we take is to also really work closely with people across the organization. Some of our learning and development is actually led by people directly in those teams, because I suppose there's two benefits, I think to that

One, that there are often people that want to develop into learning and development practitioners themselves, and that's a way that we can develop them into that and support and work closely with them on that. But also they tend to know their teams and their needs much better actually than we could. So really partnering with them can be a massive benefit to us, and also solves problem for us, in that we don't necessarily always ... we can't develop an offer, I suppose, that would meet the needs of everyone, and that can really, really make a big difference

James

Can I ask a question about how you identify some of the solutions that you put in place? Is there metrics that trigger ideas in your head, or is it through conversations, or you're just keeping an ear to the business, or the strategies changed in Oxfam? What triggers some of these solutions and tools that you put into the business

Catherine

Yeah, a bit of everything that you mentioned, really. Firstly, we think about where's the organization trying to go. We have a 10-year strategy process that has given us a sense of what kind of skills our staff might be needing to develop, and then what we might put in place to help support with that. One is what the organization's trying to do and how we can support with our learning offer. The other is we are engaging with employees across a whole range of teams on a daily basis, so as a team, then really reflecting what we're learning, what we're hearing, what we're noticing, so that kind of ad hoc conversation that you mentioned there

Then we have started to do a bit more formal learning needs analysis with some of the different divisional areas. Spending time with managers in those teams to get them to think about what is it that they need to develop to deliver on their team's objectives, and not just the wider organizational piece, but also maybe specific skills in campaigning, or influencing, or raising money, or engaging with the general ... whatever it might be, and then we work with them and partner with them to think about how could we support them to respond to those needs

James

Is there any kind of, because obviously, I was just exhausted listening to you guys talk about what you're doing, and the diverse skillsets and the diverse part of the business. Obviously, you mentioned campaigning there about the educational piece, then there's the retail piece too. Do they all get a chance to speak to each other, or learn from each other, or swap stories, or what have you

Kate

Yeah, I think there are lots of spaces where people will come together across Oxfam, and they will be spaces that potentially will be running. I think key a one there might be we have a central managing people Oxfam office, often bringing together people managers from Oxfam where they already have that kind of opportunity to connect the same to our leadership programs as well. There are certainly spaces that we formally organized

There are also some staff networks as well across Oxfam. We have a Women's Leadership Network, we have a Beam Network as well, so different groups, I suppose, where people are connecting and sharing learning. I think it's still a challenge. I don't think we necessarily have all the answers there, because it tends to be that people

James

I would be very surprised if you did.

Kate

Yeah.

James

I think the intent to want to try is the most honorable thing there. Yeah. It's interesting, because I've worked in larger organizations before. Obviously, this Emerald Works, there's about 150 of us. We're relatively small size compared to you guys, but I have worked in larger orgs in the past where that very siloed mentality is still prevalent. I've got, obviously, friends who work in larger organizations, and that silo mentality is a real problem. It just struck me just listen to you guys, you've got this very rich, diverse strands within the business, and it's great that you feel that there is merit in getting them all to talk to each other, and it's really lovely to hear that.

Kate

I think so one of the things that we will run centrally from the learning and development team is also aspects of learning that I think more speak to how people work rather than specifically what they do. For instance, we have a resilience offer, and we have specific pieces also around the behaviors that we want people to live. I think in that space, you can really sort of bring people together to say there is a commonality in how we want people to work at Oxfam, but also offers an opportunity for people to essentially be together, whether it's online, or it's in a room. I think that can be a massive benefit. That's not to say that we don't see or recognize in ourselves that there are silos that happen

James

Yeah. That's human nature. Yeah, yeah

Nicola

My understanding is that there's opportunities for people to move to different roles as well, so move sideways, job share, et cetera. That's another way that they can learn in a less formal manner

Kate

Yeah.

Catherine

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah, go on, you Kate, give your answer

Kate

Actually, my experience, so I've been at Oxfam, and Cat probably reflect to a similar sort of career journey. I started Oxfam actually in the nursery 10 years ago, and I've worked in different roles across Oxfam. I suppose I felt that through my own experience, and I think we definitely aim to support people to develop skills that will allow them to move in different career directions. That can often happen through things like comments, or shadowing people for a period of time, and different ways that people can get that, I suppose stretch experience into different spaces. Yeah, we definitely try and focus on that. Cat, what would you add

Catherine

Well, I think I would have said something quite similar really around, yeah, we really try and support people to explore different opportunities to develop their career within the organization and take those sideways moves, and take opportunities to learn different skills, working in different teams. Hopefully, that also helps break down those silos a bit. Kate and I certainly have moved around different teams, and hopefully, we brought that learning then into the roles that we do now, and we'd like to encourage others to do the same

Nicola

Yeah. It's also perhaps an incentive for people to stay within their organization as well. Being a not-for-profit, you're perhaps in a place where you can't offer higher pay, for example, so it's just another way that you can help to retain talent within the sector and within the charity itself as well

Kate

Yeah. Yeah. That's, I suppose, the aim of many organization, isn't it, to try and think about how do you develop the people and start working with you? I think Oxfam has a massive advantage, and I've been to lots of different events focused around talent and retention with organizations looking at, ""How do we give people a sense of purpose and meaning in that work?"" Actually, I suppose the benefit to Oxfam is that we have that, people do come to us knowing that the work they do is having an impact on people around the world. Yeah, we try not to take that as a given that everyone who comes to work for Oxfam, necessarily, is there because of the course

But I do think a lot of people are, and that can really, really help. Then it's a question of once they're in, and they're really believing in that mission and seeing the impact of their work, how can we grow and develop them into different spaces, and using that 70/20/10 model as well as a, I suppose, a kind of basic foundation to that

Catherine

One of the things I think that we have that is really special and I'm really proud of is we have an internal coaching program. I think that's a fabulous learning and development tool really to help people explore what their goals are, and also what their future career aspirations might be. We encourage managers to have those conversations anyway, but with a formal match with a coach. It really gives people that opportunity then to think and have the space to explore what they might need to develop, bring those kind of thoughts about what next step they might want to take in the career, and then hopefully, identify that within the organization. But to have that support to them as they're developing, I think is really something that we feel really proud of, and is a great benefit to our staff as well

James

Great. Curious, how do you support and develop your managers to be coaches? Because it's something I hear a lot in different organizations that say the manager as coach. I'm certainly not going to name any names, but I've seen some horrendous attempts at the manager has been set free, creating merry hell as they get in their head, right? ""I'm a coach. No?"" I don't think you are. But just I'm always curious to find out how orgs actually develop managers as coaches, and what support is in place for them

Catherine

Yeah, yeah. I would say that all our managers are there yet, but it's definitely something that we would aspire to encourage our managers to really take a coaching approach. We place it in our managing people at Oxfam course, which Kate mentioned as one of the big skills that we spend time exploring with them and helping them to start thinking about the third ... Many of our managers, it's the first time they've thought about coaching, so one of the key things then is for them to go and start practicing and thinking about it, and then offering them support, either coming back to us in the team or further training around how they can ask questions in a way that generates insight that gets their employee thinking differently about problem, and isn't a problem telling them the answer, because ultimately, hopefully, that gives the manager more freedom because they've got employees that are really switched on, and really engaged, and developing, and frees up the manager to work on other projects

We hope it's a win/win for everyone. But we are quite careful to make the distinction between coaching and everyday moments as a manager or as as a colleague, to our formal coaching offer where we do take people through a coach training program, which is accredited by one of the large coaching bodies. Then they go through more rigorous ongoing support, and have supervision, and all the pieces you'd expect with a coaching program. There is a bit of a difference between if you'd call yourself a coach, or if you're taking an approach as a manager to offer that coaching style

Nicola

With the formal coaching initiative, is that something that staff have access to any time, or is it part of a once a year personal review

Catherine

Yeah. No, they can access at any time. Any member of staff around the world, so this is one of our global offers, can make a request to work with a coach. We aim to turn around matching within a week. Depends a bit on our supply and demand, but hopefully, we can find them a suitable coach who is based again, anywhere in the world. We've got 80 coaches at the moment working with us who are working in different languages, working in different countries, and then hopefully, they get matched, and they work together for six to eight sessions, often remotely. They're using something like Skype to connect, and then yeah, hopefully, that's helped them to think about their goals and to support them of what they need that support on

Nicola

I was also thinking as well within the not-for-profit sector, how do you support work-life balance and support wellbeing within the team? Or what's the initiatives that you have to support that

Kate

Yes, massively important, and I think you're asking the question around what might retain people within Oxfam or another organization. I think the piece that's important to everyone, I suppose, no matter where you work is actually your wider life, and how do you balance that around what you do in the day. We really, really see wellbeing and I suppose flexible work is an important part of our culture. Again, I think it's definitely an aspiration, and we recognize there's lots of work that we need to do

One of the pieces that we've really, really tried to emphasize is that we need it to run through different aspects of the way that people work. So thinking about what does it mean to have a flexible at work culture, and also making sure that through things like our performance management tool, which is called Let's Talk, it's much more rooted around having quality conversations around development, but also wellbeing. Always being prompted to ask that question around wellbeing, how are you today, and how do you feel, and how are your work priorities as part of those ongoing conversations that we have with managers and the team

I suppose as a team, we also try to offer different ways that teams can bring wellbeing into their conversations, into their day to day. We're currently working on a piece of work, looking at self-care and what we're calling collective care. Generating conversations and running those conversations around what kind of individual actions can we take each day for ourselves and for each other, and again, just keeping that conversation alive, and also, I suppose, making sure that people feel that that's something that they should have as well. That idea of that your kind of performance is led by working extra hours, really trying to combat that kind of deep belief that can often be there in organizations. Like I said, it's definitely a work in progress. Cat, do you want to talk more on the resilience offer as well? I think that's quite relevant

Catherine

Yeah. Just thinking about what Kate's saying, I think that the flip side for us around having this amazing, motivating course that many people are brought to the organization and want to work for Oxfam because of the impact it makes, means that often people find it really hard to draw a line and stop work. There's always more to do. I know we won't be alone in that. There's other sectors and other organizations that would have that challenge. But really supporting people to think about boundaries and think about how they can pay attention to what they need to thrive in the workplace, and not only think about the work that they're trying to do and the impact they're going to have on people living in poverty around the world

One of the things that we offer is we have resilience webinars that are run. Again, this is one of our global offers, because we run it as a webinar, so anyone can access it and listen to it. That does focus more about, as Kate mentioned, the individual response, what might you need to make sure that you're staying resilient and thinking about what you might need to do that. Then we've just started exploring, as Kate mentioned, some workshops that are trying to bring in that more collective thinking that actually is about having a culture where people can really thrive. What can we do together to pay attention to things that are going to help people's wellbeing and resilience to thrive

James

Wellbeing, that must be a massive thing for you guys, given what the story is that people must hear, and even like in the shops, people coming in, and trying desperately hard not to stereotype here, but imagine when someone come into a charity shop, that perhaps then in their luck, and what have you, and just the everyday stories must be massively emotional, regardless of which area of the business you work in

Kate

No, I think you're really right, and I think that ... Yeah, exactly, what Cat was talking about there, that sense of that meaning can often mean that, and also that we don't necessarily have all the resources, or there are gaps that mean that there is work for people to do, and so then people fill those gaps by working beyond their hours. I think we know that it's important that we continue to have the conversation that gives people permission to not do that. It's definitely challenging

Catherine

I think there's something as well about what's L&Ds role in that? What's the learning and development team's space, and what are our limitations? We have an in-house staff health team, and a counseling service, and other support mechanisms that we wouldn't want to be offering through learning and development. Trying to find the place where learning and development can really make a difference is a constant conversation for us, actually, about what is our expertise, or what is it that we can bring through our team, and what maybe is beyond our skillset or beyond our experience, or yeah, expertise that we can do anything with

James

Yeah. I think that's the key thing, is a really perceptive thing as well, as quite often, when I've spoken to L&D colleagues, it's almost like they're always expected to know the answer, and then that pressure, they don't give themselves permission to say, ""Do you know what, I'm not the best person to help."" They try and find a solution, rather than recognizing, ""You know what, a solution is needed."" But I'm not the one to put that in place, but my job is then to facilitate that solution being brought into the organization, or to spot support that it's needed, and then bring it into the organization, rather than be the one to run it or manage it

I think sometimes L&D's greatest talent is just to spot the opportunity for learning to happen, and then just get out of the way because just put the conditions in place, then get out of the way. That sometimes is the most constructive thing that we can do, constructive thing

Catherine

Yeah.

James

Yeah.

Catherine

Yeah, definitely, definitely

Nicola

Okay. When we're talking about leadership within the charity sector, I find that women are often underrepresented. What could be done to make women more visible within the leadership

Kate

Yeah, it's definitely something that's a massive focus for us. Particularly, at Oxfam, actually, women are represented, kind of high representation across our staff. But actually, when you look specifically at leadership, we recognize that more needs to be done. We talk about women, but we also talk about other marginalized groups as well who may not be part of the leadership picture

One thing that Oxfam specifically has, so we have what we call the Oxfam Feminist Leadership Approach. It's a very, very specific approach to leadership that looks at trying to break down the barriers to women's progression, and really puts women's rights at the heart of how we lead, so we consider that leadership is everyone at Oxfam, and there are particular behaviors and principles that we should all follow. Our leadership programs are all built around those same principles

Just to give you an example, there are things like I share power, and I challenge my behavior, and I champion diversity. So principles that we want people to live so that the way they lead represents that. That's one of the things that we are currently doing, and that, I suppose, is for everyone, we recognize that actually, in order to solve the challenge, we need everyone to be behind it. Yeah, it's a kind of very purposeful approach specifically to do that

Then we also really look at also who's coming into the organization, and this is a massive piece of work that's ongoing for us. At the moment, I'm sure it's across the sector looking at diversity and inclusion. We have a specific training program, and the training program is built around bringing people into Oxfam who may not have experience in the sector. We don't actually look at technical experience, we're looking for people who really live our values, and also bring lived experience of poverty and inequality. For that reason, we often attract people from lots of different backgrounds

What we hope our aspiration for that program is we're bringing people in, and we can also widen that learning to other aspects of how we attract and bring people into the organization, and think about, ""Okay, how do we then support people once they're in the organization to grow and develop within?"" Lots of different levels we're looking at this, but yes, so massively important to us

Catherine

I could give an example of a couple of things that we've offered in the learning and development team to really support women to explore their leadership. One of the things that we brought in a few years ago was something called Women Leading in a Thinking Environment. We took the thinking environment, which many of our listeners may have come across, comes from Nancy Klein. We took the methodology of that and the approach that really speaks to our values because it creates environments where everyone has an opportunity to speak, where they don't feel like they'll be interrupted, where there's a sense of ease, quality of attention to all of those really lovely pieces that go with the thinking environment

We designed something that was purely for women so that they could come into a space with a small group, and have facilitated conversations around what they might need to support their leadership. They could bring whatever they wanted, but we used the thinking environment as a way to help them explore that for themselves, and to feel safe in doing that, and to feel like it was a protected space for them to bring things that they might not have felt comfortable to do in other learning spaces that we offer. That's something that we want to keep experimenting with really, is thinking about how do we create spaces where people can really thrive and explore what they might need to support them, while also paying attention to needing our office to be inclusive, and thinking about when do we want to offer something out to everyone? When do we need to quite purposefully address things like how we support women to feel like they've got what they need to further their career, or further their opportunities for leadership

James

The inclusion piece is interesting there because obviously, we all have shared perspectives, shared context, shared experiences, and I think sometimes you have to make a decision that this is the context or the experience we're going to be exploring in this space, and it could be like women in leadership or women in a certain space. There's always someone that's going to get a little bit uppity and say, ""Well, what about the men in leadership? What about this and the other?"

I do always find it fascinating the way that people approach that to say, ""Well, do you know what, yeah, we're not excluding you from the conversation. It's just that even at the moment fundamental level, people have different experiences of management. Well, we're just focusing on frontline managers for this particular conversation, and we'll be opening it out. But just for now, it's the time for this conversation to happen, and this particular space doesn't stop happening elsewhere

Catherine

Well, one of the things I would say is that we have to do it in a way that's really purposeful. With the Women Leading in a Thinking Environment, we felt very comfortable with any challenges we got, because we have evidence that shows us that women are not yet on parity with their male colleagues, certainly in senior leadership spaces, and the gender pay gap for us gives us that data, that evidence that we need to feel confident that that's the right approach for us to take. Being purposeful about why we might do that, and feeling confident that we can explain it, I think helps us to then feel like we can then also offer those other opportunities for open spaces for people to have those same conversations, but in a different way

Kate

I think we try to see it also as an and. Rather than that sense of like it's an or, having safe spaces, there's also a men's network that specifically focused on, I guess, supporting the movement of women's rights, and I suppose that space in it. I think that really seeing as we may in some cases need to offer very specific things aimed at women, we also need to make sure that our leadership offer represents everyone, but also brings vary, and that's why we have these specific principles that are to try and get everyone to think about their role in supporting women. Like I said, not just women, but other marginalized groups. I guess it's seeing how the both can fit together, how everyone can support this because we recognize that what underpins it is some cultural aspects as well that needs to be addressed together

James

Yeah. I was just going to make a very crass point is that what Kate was saying about providing evidence for the initiatives that you're doing. It almost frustrates me that you have to do that. I get why you want to do it, and why you need to do it. Even feed on professional practice, you'd want to have it backed up by evidence. But it's just so obvious that women being marginalized is still an issue. There's some great strides being made all across the world, including what you guys are doing. But it's clear that it is still a problem that there is that gap there, that male-female gap there

I do get quite frustrated when people question, ""Why are there women only groups?"" Well, it's obvious why there are because there is still that gap that exists there, and I don't think we should be disparaging against any efforts to try and redress that. As such it's very crass point, very crudely made, but as I said, I do get very

Catherine

Yeah.

Kate

Yeah.

Nicola

I agree. Hear, hear

James

I'm a sister doing it for myself.

Kate

Yeah.

Nicola

We'll now move on to our regular feature, What I Learned This Week, where we each share something we've picked up on over the last seven days. James, would you like to go first

James

Oh, I'd be delighted as regular viewer, but oh, this is my favorite part of the podcast where you scramble around your brain trying to think of something you've learned in the last week. But yes, I read the Sunday papers that's why ... But more Sundays, I just sit down and read the supplements. There was quite an interesting piece in the observer with Steve McQueen, the film director who did things like 12 Years a Slave, Shame, and Widows

I had no idea he was actually quite a professional and prolific artist before he was a film director. It seems to be it was mostly photography-based, and he's got an exhibition opening in the Tate with photographs of school kids in a London school. It just got me thinking a little bit about well, how does previous jobs influence your current job. Obviously, it's not such a leap to go from visual artist to film director. That's a fairly nominal leap. But I just had a little straighter on the internet to find out what is other film directors done that's led them to be film directors. Some of the responses were quite interesting

Obviously, I'm not going to read all of them. But I thought Quentin Tarantino's biography was vaguely interesting. He was adult theater usher, a film extra on an Elvis impersonator on the Golden Girls, which I thought was quite specific. George Lucas, he actually was into cars before he got into films, and he was wanting to join the Air Force, but it was diabetes kept him out of it. Alfred Hitchcock was also a military cadet during World War I

Actually, when you have a think about that the movies that these guys have made, you can see the where their past interest and their past careers, you can see facets of that, and the what could have done. Obviously, Lucas, being a bit of a speed demon, it sounded like then the Star Wars movies are very frenetic and full of high energy. Hitchcock, if he was in the World War I, then a lot of his films are very black and dark. Yeah. I just thought you can go in that. I went on a little journey for about two hours just scouting the internet and looking at directors and their previous careers. Yeah, so just a few bits of trivia from me this time

Nicola

Thank you. Yeah, people have many talents. Cat

James

Well, I'm not sure being an Elvis impersonator in the Golden Girls was a talent. There's certainly many, many stories to tell about that. Yeah

Nicola

Cat, would you like to go next

Catherine

Oh, that's a tough one to follow, Alworth and Star Wars, and mine's a bit more a reflection of something that I tried last week. I was running one of our managers programs, and I really wanted to challenge myself to bring something a bit more creative into one of the sessions, and was quite pleased because I thought, ""Well, I've got an idea. I'm going to try something with Lego."" It was relating to building something with Lego, and I had in my mind what I wanted it to achieve. I set up the task, and ran the task, and I felt like it definitely was what I'd intended

What I didn't pay attention to, and what actually reflects some of the conversations we've had on this podcast was what people in the room might need. I hadn't set it up thinking about any particular requirements of participants, and it turns out, one of the participants was actually colorblind. While she said it didn't hugely impact on her ability to take part, I hadn't thought about how I set up the exercise to really pay attention to, could everyone take part on an even sort of setting? I think there's something there for me that I'd really like to think about taking forward, how do I make sure that I'm paying attention to that, but without taking away from the novelty of the task? I didn't want to explain too much what's going to happen, because that would have taken away the element of surprise

Actually, the woman who was affected, she happened to mention it in passing, and it really didn't have an impact on her. But it just made me think, it's something I want to learn from and pay attention to for future similar ideas that I want to bring into learning offers

James

I just wonder how you could do that without asking people to fill out some kind of ... not fill out a questionnaire, but just to do some kind of disclosure at the start. We were a festival last year, Sch�tzenfest, and there was a ... I think she was the Chief Technology Officer for Monzo, and she was talking about that inclusive recruitment practice. She says that they don't ask people, ""Do you need to have special access to the interview?"" They just tell them regardless, ""This is how the interviews are accessed if you're a wheelchair user."" Or they just don't ask them, they just assume some people might need to know. But I just wonder in your specific circumstance, Cat, how you could allow for that. It'd just be almost impossible really, apart from being gracious enough to ask a question upfront

Catherine

Yeah. Yeah. Interesting that this participant said she wouldn't ... If we'd asked, ""Do you have any special requirements?"" She wouldn't have thought to mention anything. I think it's something about how I describe what's going to happen without giving away what's going to happen. This following task that we're going to undertake will require you to use small pieces of Lego, and it will require you to be great. There's something maybe in how I framed it that could have given her the choice to opt out of ... She actually had to lead it. She maybe could have offered someone else a lead, or to still make that choice a lead, but know what she was signing up for. Yes, it may be just in the language that we use when we're framing a session. But yeah, not an easy answer, so definitely

James

No, no, no, I surely don't have it. Sorry

Catherine

What??

Nicola

Kate, how about you? What have you learned this week

Kate

Mine is really nerdy, but it probably speaks a little bit about my last week has been. This connects well, actually, to some of the themes and topics we've been talking about. We're currently in the real head space of preparing our next gender pay gap report, and we are working on a 10-year plan that sets out how we will work to, I guess go beyond seeing the gender pay gap as just a data point, and really look at the cultural underpinnings of it

I ended up in my own rabbit hole, really nabbit... Really nabbit? But going down a rabbit hole of looking at different things. One of the things I came across was a report done by the government inequalities office and the Global Institute for Women's Leadership. Perhaps not like a Sunday afternoon read, but it's a good read. It talks about the different things that are really working in women's progression, and are actually some of the things that aren't proving to be backed by the evidence. But one of the things that I came across was a really interesting piece that looked at, actually, one of the massive barriers to women's progression is actually the mindset that people have when people opt for part time or flexible hours, that they are taken themselves out of the career route. They're not ambitious, they just want to prioritize their wider life

Actually, really, the shift that we need to make is actually to not make that assumption, and to break that down, and actually, that would be one of the biggest things that we can do. Actually, how does then our training that we could do with managers around flexible, how could we shift that mindset? I thought it's a really interesting report, and it's definitely made me think about, yeah, what this really looks like. It also was good lesson for me. I'm looking externally, the amount of amazing pieces of research are out there that people are doing, and looking at this. Sometimes I think you can be so inwardly focused to actually taking that bit of time to look and see what's out there. It's a good learning for me as well

James

That part time work mentality is an interesting one. I have worked for bosses in the past that buy into that kind of toxic notion of you've got to be in before 9:00 and leave after 5:00, and I suppose you're not seem to be doing your job. I'd see some people who worked part time being incredibly productive because they were so focused on what they had to do. I think there's a real management lesson there in terms of giving staff the proper motivations and the proper performance support, and the proper outcomes to focus on. Yeah, I certainly would never undervalue the contribution of a part time worker, but I can completely see how through everything else that goes around about that, why some people would feel like that. It's really, really sad

Kate

I think some of the stuff can be subtle and not conscious of just assumptions that we make. Yeah, I think we'd all reflect that we'll be guilty of some of those. Yeah, it's just a really good reminder of actually, it makes a difference to think that actually, yeah, you can be part time and still aspire to sit on a leadership team, and we should. We should provide that here

Nicola

Yeah, that sounds really interesting, and we can pop a link in the show notes as well just with some more information on that. My what I learned this week is to do with augmented reality. I've seen that Pinterest, the app, has now included AR. Some brands have signed up to this, so L'Oreal, for example. The way it works is that when you're using Pinterest, you can put your selfie camera on, and L'Oreal, for example, with a lipstick. They'll be promoting a lipstick, and you can use Pinterest's augmented reality to try on different lipsticks using your selfie camera. I thought that was quite cool. You can just see different shades on you, and I think it'll be interesting to see how brands will use that ability with augmented reality, and if it will make a difference to sales as well. I just thought that was quite interesting

That's all from us this week. If you'd like to get in touch with us about anything we said on the show, you can tweet me @Nicola_BoyleEW. You can tweet James

James

@JamesMcLuckie.

Nicola

Cat and Kate, what's the best way for listeners to get in touch with you

Kate

Great question. Probably me, LinkedIn

Catherine

Yeah, and I'd be the same

Kate

Drop me a message. That would be lovely.

Nicola

Great. You can find out more about Oxfam by visiting their website oxfam.org.uk. You can tweet Emerald Works, @Emerald_Works. If you've enjoyed the show, why not leave us a review, and make sure you subscribe so you never miss an episode. Thanks for listening. Bye for now

Catherine Kernohan

Catherine Kernohan

Head of Learning and Development, Oxfam

Oxfam is a vibrant global movement of dedicated people fighting poverty - together. Doing amazing work - together. People power drives everything we do.

From saving lives and developing projects that put poor people in charge of their lives and livelihoods, to campaigning for change that lasts. That’s Oxfam in action. 
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Nicola Boyle

Nicola Boyle

Marketing Communications Executive, Emerald Works

Nicola has over six years of marketing experience. Her responsibilities include managing social media, podcast and webinar channels, as well content management and event planning. Nicola enjoys identifying and anticipating client needs and delivering the best possible experience to build successful long-standing client relationships.
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James McLuckie

James McLuckie

Learning and Performance Solutions Director, Emerald Works

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About the author

Nicola Boyle

Nicola Boyle

Marketing Communications Executive
Nicola has over six years of marketing experience. Her responsibilities include managing social media, podcast and webinar channels, as well content management and event planning. Nicola enjoys identifying and anticipating client needs and delivering the best possible experience to build successful long-standing client relationships.

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