Monthly Archives: March 2014

Can understanding psychology drive the health & safety agenda at work?

Reading Time: 1 Minute 30  Seconds

We’ve recently been doing some work with a number of clients around the subject of psychology in the workplace. Our occupational psychologists are working with organisations to help them understand why managers and employees behave in certain ways and the impact this has on their organisation, especially in the area of health and safety.

workplace safety

Understanding how people behave in certain situations, especially in dangerous or stressful environments, and the decisions they are likely to make in their jobs, can highlight knowledge and training gaps; and psychology is the key to understanding human behaviour. Knowledge of psychology can give businesses a better understanding of why mistakes happen and help them to address them.

We’ve launched a new, bespoke two day course ‘Psychology for Managers’ to provide managers with a greater understanding of the basic psychological constructs that influence employee motivation, job performance, foresight and wellbeing. The course will help managers improve their foresight to take the appropriate action, at the right time and manage decisions efficiently. It will help them make sense of their own and others’ behaviour, and give them a flavour of the different psychological situations we all face as individuals and as part of a team at work.

For organisations where health and safety is paramount such as companies in construction, utilities and transport, the course looks at the key psychological barriers as to why organisations and individuals don’t act safely, and the key psychological enablers to influence organisations and individuals to be safe and healthy – which can help managers bring about a behaviour change where needed.

This will ultimately help organisations deliver their health and safety agenda and ensure all their workers are safe as possible in the workplace.


Download your PDF version here: Can understanding psychology drive the health and safety agenda

Banking on good customer service

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

At the end of last month RBS announced a change of direction declaring that it wants to build a bank that earns its customers’ trust by serving them better than any other bank.

In a statement, RBS said, “we want our customers to trust us more and to do more business with us which, in turn, will improve the performance of the bank. By 2020, we aim to be the number one bank for customer service and the most trusted bank in the UK.”

However, the bank received a mixed reaction with media commentators noting that it has some way to go to achieve this. Notably, on the same day consumer website MoneySavingExpert said its readers rated RBS/NatWest 13th out of 14 providers in terms of customer service as a result of a string of IT failures, as well as ongoing PPI payouts which have all dented public trust.

However, the banking sector has to start somewhere and this announcement by RBS, to become more customer focused and aiming for customer service excellence is welcome news. Banks need to look at a behaviour change to address the banking culture of greed, risk taking and bad decision making, which has all contributed to the sector’s damaged reputation.

Customer confidence in the banking sector is at an all-time low. A report published by Edelman Global Trust Survey 2014 said that banks and financial institutions are the least trusted sectors in the whole global economy. Given that trust should be at the foundation of all financial services, banks have a long way to go to restore our confidence.

The banking sector has suffered tremendously since the start of the recession with a series of high profile scandals including the mis-selling of PPI and the Libor rate fixing that have led to resignations, huge fines and a reputation that is quite frankly in tatters. Banks have to work hard now to try and rebuild customer confidence, and need to change their business model, putting the customer at the heart of what they do.

They need to better understand their customer needs and be able to deliver consistently good customer service. Years ago people had a relationship with their bank manager, now most people’s experience with their bank is online or over the phone. Good customer service is paramount in restoring faith in the sector and is something all banks should be focused on.

Make a Change Day – helping to drive NHS compliance standards

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The NHS is striving hard to prove standards and care one initiative that is making a real difference is the NHS ‘Make a Change Day’.

Now in its second year, ‘Make a Change Day 2014’ was launched on 3rd March 2014 and thousands of people across the NHS and wider society are making pledges to make a difference and improve care.

NHS Change Day is a frontline led movement; the largest of its kind, with a shared purpose of improving health and care, and is something we wholeheartedly support as we believe behaviour change and improvements in healthcare can only happen if everyone across the NHS is committed to improving standards and workforce competency.

The campaign mission is to inspire and mobilise people everywhere, staff, patients and the public to do something better together to improve care for people. Anyone can get involved to pledge something that will make a difference. Last year pledges included a GP spending a day in a wheelchair to better understand disabled patients and a manager helping dementia patients eat their lunch.

Two doctors first came up with the idea for NHS Change Day after attending an NHS leadership course. One of these is Dr Damian Roland, is a paediatrician at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and last year he tasted the medicines he routinely prescribed to his child patients and, realising they were very unpleasant, decided to work with his pharmacy to try to improve their taste.

Interviewed for the BBC News web site for this year’s launch, Dr Damian Roland said: “A single pledge might not sound like much on the face of it, but… it can create massive momentum for improvement.”

Last year 189,000 people took part and this year the target is 500,000. Nearly 45,000 pledges have been made so far and people have until 31st March to get involved and make a pledge via the web site

Its 66 years since the NHS began and today it faces tough challenges to meet the demands of a 21st century healthcare system. Inevitably this is going to mean a period of change and the implementation of new processes and procedures to help improve patient care, including competency management and compliance standards.

These things take time but its initiatives like Make a Change Day – where anyone can get involved that can make a huge difference in tackling the overall patient experience, improving patient safety, and ultimately restoring the faith of the public.



How an understanding of psychology will help you to uplift the Health & Safety Agenda

Psychology for Managers provides managers with a greater understanding of the basic psychological constructs that influence employee motivation, job performance, foresight and wellbeing. The programme will enable managers to make sense of their own and others’ behaviour; giving managers a flavour of different psychological situations we all face as individuals and as part of a team at work.  The course will also empower managers to adapt their thinking towards personal and team development by giving them the tools that will inspire them to practice what they have learned.


As a bespoke package, Cognisco will ensure that your specific organisational aims, such as safety, performance, innovation, etc., are taken into consideration. The sessions are designed to ensure high levels of interactivity and will incorporate a number of different learning methodologies that will ensure the content is understood and retained, rather than seen as “just another training course”.


The key aim of the course is to change the way managers see themselves and others and to encourage them to get the best out of themselves and their teams through gaining an awareness of how psychology can change the way we are as managers.  The vision of the course is to enable managers to work towards having the foresight to take the appropriate action, at the right time and manage decisions efficiently.


What We Will Cover?

– What is psychology and why is it important to you and your organisation

– Psychological examples of the effects of individual behaviour on group performance

– An understanding of how the brain works and learn new strategies to develop foresight

– Understand the relationship between thinking and behaviour

– Understanding how the mind works and recognise the limits of our own abilities

– Recognise how common errors in judgment can derail you in more ways than one and how to deal with some of these errors in judgement

– Understanding and seeing how patterns of behaviour from common rules, regulations, policies and incentives can be predicted

– Using behavioural psychology to identify and solve performance problems

– Showing that by understanding psychology how it can change your own behaviour and how it can be a method of changing others’ behaviours


How Managers Will Benefit?

– By gaining an awareness of specific aspects of psychology, managers can build on their own strengths and be able to identify strengths in others to work more effectively

– Show how influence changes individuals’ attitudes and behaviours without any formal authority

– Identify some common misconceptions on how to work effectively and how these can change individuals’ perception of performance and success

– Become aware of bias, decisions and actions that influence their behaviour

– How to manage peer pressure and the perception of reality

– Demonstrate how managers can encourage the adoption of new ideas

– Identify some of the underlying problems individuals might be dealing with in their work environment, which will enable managers to view employee effectiveness in a different light to increase performance

– Show how to get better results from underperforming employees

– Working towards developing foresight by intervening before problems occur

– Gain an insight into the influence of others and what influences their own decisions