Feed on

 I loved recording this podcast because it gives a look at the background and theory as well as practical experience, hints and tips for reviewing and improving Employee Experience.  In this episode I am joined by Lara Plaxton (@_Lara_HR on Twitter or here on LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/lara-plaxton-7927aaa) who is the head of HR at FDM UK.  Lara has a fairly unique perspective on employee experience as the work that FDM do, doesn't necessarily match with the standard model.  FDM support organisations and graduates, ex-forces and returners by placing graduates in client organisations but importantly, those graduates remain as employees of FDM.  So FDM's employees experience two (potentially) different cultures; one for being an employee of FDM and then working in a clients business every day.  

During this podcast we explore some key terms and definitions around User Experience, Employee Experience and Design Thinking before going more specifically into what Lara and FDM do to measure and improve their employee experience.  We cover some key things to think about, tips and techniques to review or improve employee experience and we delve deep into the thinking and theory behind this area. 

As always, links and references:

Systems thinking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V38HrPnYkHI - short video with Peter Senge

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050915002860 - research paper (open access)

http://amj.aom.org/content/58/1/1.short  - short article on design thinking

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0011-7315.2004.02611.x/full - Pullman and Gross (2004) Ability of experience design elements to elicit emotions and loyalty behaviours

https://www.wiley.com/en-gb/Interaction+Design:+Beyond+Human+Computer+Interaction,+4th+Edition-p-9781119020752 - Preece, Sharp and Rogers (2015); Interaction Design - Beyond Human-Computer Interaction


Employee Experience

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_experience_management - Short definition

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2017/01/05/the-employee-experience-is-the-future-of-work-10-hr-trends-for-2017/#13666e8920a6 - summary article

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13678868.2014.886443 - Cascio (2014); Leveraging Emplolyer Branding, performance management and human resource development to enhance employee retention


User Experience




The Service - Profit chain HBR article



Moira Clarke 10 year causation analysis



Human Centred Design

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175630614x14056185480186 - Giacomin (2015); What is Human Centred Design



https://www.routledge.com/The-Business-of-Gamification-A-Critical-Analysis/Dymek-Zackariasson/p/book/9781138824164 - Dymek & Zackariasson (2017); the business of gamification

Design Thinking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-hzefHdAMk - Video with Tim Brown CEO of IDEO


In this episode of the podcast I chat with an athlete that has competed at the highest level in his class.  As a Visually Impaired (VI) judo fighter Jonathan (Jono) Drane (@jonolopodis) has represented team GB at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016 finishing 5th in the 81kg weight category while having a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).  Prior to Rio, he won gold in this first competitive VI championships in the US and won a Bronze medal in 2014 IBSA world championships.  During the podcast we explore how he personally experienced emotion in the ring, how it affected him, what he did before, during and after his bouts to work with emotion.  We also explore how, in one of his current roles in coaching judo, he explores emotions with those he coaches.  We also discuss strategies that Jono has (or still does) use to work with emotion(s) and his view of how his life and neurodiversity (ADHD) impact his ability to effectively work with emotion(s).
References as always:
Jo Frazier and the Thriller in Manilla
Inverted U hypothesis
Kasparov - deep thinking
Alpha Go - Korean Master playing ‘go’
Mind Gym - understanding 
The book of five rings - strategy 
The rise of the superhuman - Stephen Cottler
The Zen or Archery - Mindfulness abd Archery

In this episode I am joined by Sarah Taylor Ph.D (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/sarahholiday) where we explore her research and practice into the ways we can enrich workplaces by humaising it and how we can also bureaucratise it too.  Our focus is her research in an elderly care setting and what employees and care workers in that setting really enjoy about their work, and how it is not necessarily what lines up with any set of 'professional standards'.  We begin with setting a philospohical and sociological backdrop and then dive into a lot of detail as to what her research has found.  We close by learning more about how Sarah is taking her research into a more corporate setting and looking at how her findings can inform ways that her organisation manages performance.  A really great conversation and as always... the references:

Rupert Sheldrake - https://www.sheldrake.org
- Scharmer, C. O. (2009). Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Non paywalled/access limited article - 
Hanlon, P., Carlisle, S., Hannah, M., Reilly, D., & Lyon, A. (2011). Making the 
case for a ―fifth wave‖ in public Health. Public Health, 125(1), 30–36. 
Atul Gawande - Being Mortal: Medicene and what matters in the end
Martin Buber: I - Thou relationship
- Andrews, N. (2014). We Need to Talk about Love‘. Co-production Walves. 
Available from: 
- Kitwood, T. (2012). Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First. Berkshire: Open University Press.
Loss of practical wisdom 
Owen & Mayer - beautiful moments of connection

In this episode I am delighted to have Professor Sir Cary Cooper as my guest.  Cary is the President of the CIPD, researcher, practitioner and part of the Manchester Business School.  His accolades are too long for me to list here so if you want to find out more about him, here is a link to a bio of his.  I wanted to get Cary on the podcast for quite a while now as someone that is personally experienced and a respected researcher in this area.  We get into:

Cary's personal experiences with Stress and Wellbeing

His experiences working, consulting and researching in the workplace

The importance of stress and mental health for individuals, teams, companies and the economy as a whole

Uncertainty, anxiety, burnout and the difference between acute and chronic stress

This is a fab episode and here are the links and references:

Articles on techno stress
Chronic Fatigue
http://oem.bmj.com/content/oemed/54/6/367.full.pdf - Spurgeon, Harrington & Cooper (1997)
Articles linked to Antonio Horatio-Osorio the CEO of Lloyds that openly discussed his mental health challenges
Report on social mobility in the UK (2017)

This episode picks up the Emotion at Work in Stories theme I shared at the start of 2018. This time with Amy King (@Amy_C_King) as my guest, we take a trip into how burnout has been a part of her life in recent years.

We explore the knowing and not knowing that you are becoming burned out, how loving what she does has contributed towards Amy's burnout experience and how she now approaches life (or does her best to do so) in a way that will prevent it from happening again.   

As well as exploring the practical, tangible and everyday things Amy has done and continues to do, we get into how psychology, sociology and wider aspects of burnout.

With this being a Stories episode there aren’t many references as such. There are some things from the news and other places we talk about and here are the links to those things:

When not being sick causes harm


Book - The Obstacle is the Way


Sleep and Burnout


Blog post from Karen Bevan about her experiences with what she calls a 'breaking point'


A TED talk that Any shared with me that she likes and thinks needs to be in the show notes



This episode picks up the Emotion at Work in Stories theme I shared at the start of 2018. This time with Amanada Arrowsmith (@pontecarloblue) as my guest, we take a trip into how imposter syndrome has been a part of her life from early childhood but really took hold in her early twenties.

We explore this internal voice that often tells her that she’s not good enough, not enough, that she will be found out and can cause crippling self doubt. We get into where that voice has come from, what has given it voice, how she quietens it, her strategies for working with it effectively.

As well as exploring the practical, tangible and everyday things Amanda has done and continues to do, we get into how society, norms and life can shape the formation and growth of this ‘inner critic’.

With this being a Stories episode there aren’t many references as such. There are some things from the news and other places we talk about and here are the links to those things:

Story about the liver branding surgeon


Reading I did around types of Imposter Syndrome


Does imposter syndrome affect women more than men?


Sas Petherick


Blog from Gemma Dale (@HR_Gem) on Imposter Syndrome 




In this episode you get to hear Nick Shackleton-Jones, Sukh Pabial & I explore and share our views of emotion, cognition, memory and learning.  The conversation takes turns and explores areas I didn’t plan or expect and was really intersting all the same.
We talk about the affective context model where Nick suggests that as humans everything that we think, has an emotional basis behind it.  We talk about using repetition in learning, making things memorable and emotionally evocative and how at times we just need to attend to what others are concerned about.
As we cover a lot of ground, there are a LOT of resources and links all listed below.
Nick’s original blog post that started this conversation
Sukh’s post in response
Friedrich Nietzsche
Martin Heidegger
Relevance Theory
Working memory summary
TED talk on how your working memory makes sense of the world
Episodic memory summary
Semantic (or declarative memory)
Herman Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
Summary of Bartlett’s 1932 Study ‘war of the ghosts’
Elizabeth Loftus talking at TED about the fallability of memory
Harris (1973) study into estimates of basketball player height
Concern - Task - Resource Model
Iowa Gambling Study
Paul Ekman and Emotion
Tal Ben-Shahar and wellbeing and positive psychology 
Martin Seligman and positive psychology
The Charity Mind
Antonio Damasio - Descartes error
How we decide by Jonah Lehrer
Daniel Kahneman- Thinking Fast and Slow
The TED talk I mention on how people look back on their lives positively

In this episode I tell my story or at least some of my story of 2017.  I found 2017 really hard.  Physically and more importantly (for this podcast) I found it emotionally hard.  I feel lucky that feeling content and settled with life is something that generally comes easy to me. 2017 was not like that.  Here I talk about how I struggled with my identity, with how I saw myself and that the reality was not something I wanted to or chose to face.  As well as this sharing of my 2017 I talk about what is to come for the podcast in 2018.

Here is a link to the video I reference about the context forcing me to be someone I wasn't


Here is a link to the blog that I wrote part way through the year


If you are interested in hearing more about the live podcasts, please email 


*This is a rebroadcast of the episode orignally aired in July 2017*
Here we explore the breadth and depth of emotions so listeners can use what we discuss to help enrich lives or help protect from or reduce harm.  We focus on the roles #emotion #credibility and #deception play in the workplace.
In this episode our founder, Phil Willcox is talking with Georgie Nightingall about changing up the standard networking type conversation.  A lot of the talk we do, especially in a networking type setting is ritualised.  What we mean by that is the types of questions we ask, the responses we give and the way we interact is almost pre-set.  A good example of this would be the classic 'So... what do you do?' type question at a networking event.  During our conversation we go on to explore conversations in the workplace, in teams, on line and the link to the identity or identities we build for ourselves.  We also cover identity at work, at home and how the boundaries can/do/will become blurred.  I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with Georgie and below are the links to all the different theories or concepts we have discussed:
Relevance theory and meaning:
Trigger Conversations and their events:
Conversation(al) rtiuals
Allowable contributions
Allowable contributions and improvisation:
Thanks for listening.  If you enjoy what you hear, then please leave us a review...

In a rebroadcast of episode two,  we explore the breadth and depth of emotions so listeners can use what we discuss to help enrich lives or help protect from or reduce harm.  We focus on the roles #emotion #credibility and #deception play in the workplace.

In this episode we talk with SJ Lennie who is a DI at Greater Manchester Police who is taking a sabbitcal to complete her PHd at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Her area of research, emotional inauthenticity and the psychological impact of emotional labour of police officers.  Having been a police officer for 15 years with a successful career at Hampshire and Greater Manchester Police and a detective inspector.

We talk about the impact that organisational rules and culture have on both the emotions that you are allowed to display and to feel.  This conversation boradens out into the coping mechanisms and strategies that police officers use to help navigate the emotional labour (the emotions they feel) and the emotional work (working with others emotions) that is required in their job.  Some examples of these coping mechanisms include; suppression, repression, alcohol and acting.  Interestingly, SJ's personal experience and her research is showing that the majority of strategies that are used are psychologically unhealthy for the officers.

Finally we bring the conversation together to think about what we the listeners can learn and take from this into our daily lives or into our workplaces.

We talk with each other about a variety of research papers and books and you can find links to them all here:


Goffman, E. On facework 

Hochschild, A. R. (2003) The Managed Heart. The commercialization of human feeling. 20th Anniversary Edition ed., London: University of California Press.


Stevens, A. (2001) Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Pennebaker, J.W. (1997) ‘Writing about Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process’. Psychological Science, 8(3) pp. 162 - 166.

Pennebaker, J.W. and Seagal, J.D. (1999) ‘Forming a Story: The Health Benefits of Narrative’. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55(10) pp. 1243 - 1254.

Liberman, M.D., Eisenberger, N.I., Crockett, M.J., Tom, S.M., Pfeifer, J.H. and Way, B.M (2007) ‘Putting Feelings Into Words: Affect Labeling Disrupts Amygdala Activity in Response to Affective Stimuli’. Psychological Science, 18(5), pp. 421 - 428.



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