Category Archives: HR

Use the Grid To Plan Organisational Training Needs

It was key to Labour’s successful handling of public relations and the press and it infuriated many newspapers by appearing to pre-empt many stories that would have called for a swift reactive response from No10. And, coincidentally, it was the departure of a second Mr Brown from No. 10 Downing Street in 2011 that saw the end of ‘The Grid.’

As an author on the subject of Needs Analysis (Successful Training Needs Analysis in a Week, Hodder and Stoughton) it became instantly apparent that there was a parallel use that could change the reactive management of staff development into proactive management. This blog is an edited extract from ‘Development Needs Analysis’ an eBook coming out in 2015.

If we start with something that is embedded into change management we get a glimpse of the power of the grid – PESTLE. Most manager know that this refers to the change ‘triggers’ political, economical, social, technological, legal and environmental. The PESTLE headings now provide focal points for pre-empting training needs.

The Grid would list in a calendar format the events that directly and indirectly affect the then government so – equally – it could be used to list the events that will directly or indirectly affect the organisation.

Here’s a small example of a grid structured around one week of political activity in the House of Commons:

01-07 Dec Mon  Tue  Wed  Thu  Fri  Sat/Sun
House of Commons  Road Investment and NHS  Counter Terrorism Chancellor’sAutumn Statement  Pensions  International Development and Economic Growth in London
Other News
 Organisation Events

Board meeting with accountant to discuss AS

[See Point 6]

 Other Events (sports, music, etc.) FA Cup [See Point 5]
Training Need?  [See Point 1]  [See Point 2]  [See Point 3]  [See Point 4]

Here’s just a quick set of thoughts that could be addressed before the events listed take place:

  1. If the organisation is involved in the construction or planning of roads then this might lead to a need for more tradesmen or planners. On the other hand it might mean laying off workers in the future and a need to train someone internally to take over a planning activity. The same applies if the organisation is the NHS or a supplier to the NHS.
  2. Is the organisation involved with counter-terrorism? Will this lead to new opportunities in sales with a consequent need to train more sales staff on particular equipment?
  3. Does HR need to change pension policy? It might not need training – just an adjustment in the way that a pension is calculated.
  4. International development might need speakers with a foreign language. Economic growth in London might require more staff to meet new demands.
  5. The FA Cup could lead to an involvement ranging from sponsorship through to hosting in a hospitality suite. Does the organisation need to engage and train ‘hosts’ to ensure that all networking opportunities are identified?
  6. Is there a need to train a minute taker?

If these ‘grids’ can be projected into the future then it is possible to predict organisational training need. The above example only mentions a response to political and economical change triggers but what about the other triggers such as:

  • Social – There is always a social impact with a budget. There will be a social impact with regards to many of the items listed in the grid above from changes in the NHS (changes in best practice to deal with increase in patients for example). Even down to training staff to run a ‘food bank’ (food management, people management, empathy issues, etc. are just a few)
  • Technological – New growth brings new technology and money to buy it with. But if growth means recruitment then training will be required.
  • Legal – New laws dealing with counter terrorism will lead to training needs (how to recognise terrorist activity, how to use electronic equipment, etc.).
  • Environmental – Investment in roads will lead to environmental issues. Some of those issues will be difficult to deal with. Training may be required for PR when presenting new roadways to the local community. There may be a need to train volunteers to help create new habitats and then move endangered species of wildlife.

Just by looking at one week’s programme for the House of Commons we can see that a multitude of organisations might be affected and all of the change triggers are felt.

There are some many more events that might or might not affect an organisation. But by using a grid there is much more control and proactivity when addressing training needs.

Interestingly, the same grid would still allow you to plan for press releases just as it did for Alistair Campbell (to whom this post owes so much – thanks). But there may be another training issue there e.g. do you need to develop an internal PR team or do you need to develop someone to handle an external PR company?

Further to that do you need someone who understands the social media streams that your organisation uses – Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest?

The grid is a vital decision card in the MAPP Development Needs Analysis set. But in 2015 it will become a MAPP card set in its own right. In the meantime, there are product details for the MAPP DNA product page and in our MAPP Store – just follow the links below:






Project Managing TUPE – 1st Steps

It is easy to leave the TUPE process to HR and to legal advisors. They are the subject matter experts to whom we often defer when it comes to the legal side. But should any manager, employee representative or union representative involved just lie back and think of England?
There are a large number of tasks that will be carried out by managers and negotiations that will involve managers, employees and their representatives. It follows therefore that there is a need for these people to understand what is going on during the TUPE.
The three basic rules of change management state that those impacted by a change should be:

  • Involved with the decision-making processes – If you do not involve, you will meet with resistance and those impacted will not take ownership of the change.
  • Informed as to what is happening at all times – If you do not inform, people will make it up and often think the worst.
  • Bad news is better than no news.

The most important people involved in TUPE are not HR or lawyers but the people impacted by the TUPE.
However, before taking any action you must consult with HR and legal advisors. You can then use the MAPP to co-ordinate decision-making, discussion and the delegation of tasks.

Take a look at “Project Managing a TUPE – 1st Steps”:

  • Your first decision-card is ‘thinking about a TUPE’. This first card sets the scene. You need to make sure that you are sure that a TUPE is appropriate.
  • You do this by identifying the ‘Business Transfers’ – what business do you intend to transfer out.
  • You also need be aware of any assumptions, risks and possible issues by carrying out a ‘Benefit and Risk Analysis’.

Once you have identified the business to be transferred you need to involve ‘Key Stakeholders’ – remember the three basic rules of change management. Oh and don’t forget your customers!
There are other steps involved but at this point you should also be well into relationship management with the other business involved – the one taking on the transfer of people and business. So some cards are duplicated here into transferor actions and transferee actions.

The two cards identified – and repeated here – in 1st Steps are:

  • Inform of Possible TUPE
  • TUPE Preparation Meeting

Both of these actions will need to be carried out by transferor and transferee businesses.

mappstoreThese are just some of the first decisions that you need to take into account. Remember that ‘Project Managing a TUPE – 1st Steps’ is free – just click on the MAPP Store image and follow the link.
And if you like ‘1st Steps’, then follow the same link and purchase the full set of ‘Project Managing a TUPE, which carries more decision-cards and allows everyone to be involved in the process from advisors to decision-makers.


Job Description or Development Plan – MAPPraisal

Most companies are not philanthropic when it comes to staff development. So during annual appraisal – and out of just these two cards – I would say that the development plan is the most relevant to the performance management of an employee and the needs of the business.
Why? Because the job description should be derived from the business needs and when it comes to creating a SMART development plan for an employee it is vital we focus on business objectives.
Imagine the manager of a fast-food outlet who agrees to a development plan that includes dress-designing. Obviously, that does not add value to the company.
An extreme example admittedly but if the same manager offered “customer relationship skills” or “management skills in the fast-food industry” then there is a link to business objectives and business brand. It is also relevant to an employee’s appraisal.
My dress-making skills would have left me wanting when it came to that appraisal – even with my Cub Scout’s sewing badge. Having worked in a Happy Eater my CRM skills may still have needed developing!
The CIPD will tell you that performance management means mapping job description to brand values and as a result mapping performance of the individual and organisation as a whole through to those same values.
If brand values are taken from business objectives and performance then the MAPPraisal allows you to make the same connections when appraising an employee.

mappstoreTo purchase a copy of “MAPPraisal 1st Steps” or the full “MAPPraisal” click on the MAPP Store logo.


MAPPraisal – 1st Steps

The appraisal process is nearly always a daunting one for both managers and for employees [first published on 7 July 2014].

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development tells us that performance appraisal is an excellent opportunity for employees and their managers to ‘engage in a dialogue’ about ‘performance and development’.
They also state that whilst HR is there to provide advice and guidance the responsibility for carrying-out HR policy lies with the manager.

What are the first steps that should be addressed in any appraisal? My experience of the appraisal process has been as an appraisee and appraiser within the Armed Forces, the Civil Service and the private sector. There were a number of common elements in each experience, such as:

• A start, middle and end to the process.
• Two people involved – normally me and my manager or me and someone that I managed.
• Three main documents – job description, the appraisal document itself and a development plan where appropriate.

The 1st Steps MAPPraisal addresses these eight elements and has a decision card for each:

  • The start – As a manager you should have been informed by HR that an appraisal was required. As an employee you should have been informed by your manager or HR that your appraisal was due. Place this card on the left-hand-side of the work area as the start point for the planning and decision-making related to the appraisal process.
  • The manager or team leader – The responsibility for carrying-out the appraisal process is with the line-manager or team leader.
  • The employee – you are at the centre of the appraisal process – it is your performance that is being appraised.
  • The appraisal document itself – All appraisal processes should be supported by a document that guides the employee and manager, records progress of the appraisal process itself, provides HR with a record of completion.
  • The job description – Each role within the organisation should have a job description that states the functions expected to be carried out by an employee within their assigned role. For the employee it is a true statement of functions and objectives laying out the required standards of performance.
  • The appraisal interview – This is the point at which managers and employees come together to discuss performance and development needs arising from that performance. It is important that any discussion is structured but free-flowing within that structure.
  • The development plan – Once the employee’s performance has been appraised and agreed the development plan can be created. The plan should consist of SMART objectives that are agreed by all parties but mostly between the employee and their manager or team leader.
  • Appraisal Process Completed – This card should be placed on the right-hand side of the process. It is the card that you work towards and reflects the fact that the appraisal process is complete for this period.

mappstoreRemember these are just the basic elements of a MAPPraisal.
For a more comprehensive set of decision cards and prompts purchase the MAPPraisal set from the MAPP Store.