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Going Beyond Blog of Learning Opportunities

This blog is a place to share the learning opportunities through Going Beyond, our Communities of Practice education programme.  You can request to join a Community of Practice here:

 Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6

  • Understanding VUCA

    Author: Luke ChesterPosted: 19 May 2021

    Understanding VUCA - As we emerge from a global pandemic, we are left with a whole set of ‘unknowns’ that will permanently affect the social, political, economic, and technologically landscape. The ‘new normal’ will be the way we operate now, but what is it? Does anyone know? Has anyone got a plan for it?

    If you are feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, take stock in the fact that it’s nothing new... it’s something we’ve been dealing with for at least the last 50-60yrs. It’s just that it’s speeding up – this ‘new normal’ is called VUCA.

    The US military first coined the term at the end of the cold war to describe the lack of clarity they were facing - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. This is something we recognise only too well in the transport and travel sector.

    The series we are running on VUCA isn’t designed to eliminate VUCA because you can’t, and it’s here to stay. Still, the workshops and facilitated discussion groups will help increase your understanding and awareness of the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity that you are facing and help you think about strategies and approaches to help you cope and navigate them.

    Come and join us and become part of a proactive group, and together we will start to understand what we can do and create a vision for navigating our way through it.

    Luke Chester

    TSSA Organising Director

    Strategic Organising & Campaigns Team


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  • Challenge Bullying 2020

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 13 November 2020

    In May 2020, TSSA launched our Addressing Bullying and Harassment Community of Practice as part of our new education initiative, Going Beyond. Since then we have had several events and discussions to explore what causes bullying and harassment and in what ways can we change our workplace culture to make them more inclusive.16-20 november is Anti-Bullying Week part of our community of practice learning we are holding our first ever TSSA Challenge Bullying Conference. This is an online event to delve even deeper into how we can address bullying and harassment. Click Read More to find out what we will discuss in Challenge Bullying 2020...

    Over the year some questions have led our spiral of learning on this theme, thinking about how we address bullying and harassment at work. Here are just some:

    ‘What would a bully-free workplace look like?’

    The opposite of a bullying culture is not the absence of bullying, but in fact a culture that when described, is inclusion, empathy, kindness, connection. Those elements need to be lived through our organising and the approach to this issue, as they need to be modelled to be embedded in the workplace.

    ‘Who has examples of best practice that we can learn from?’

    Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone can say they are a model of best practice, as no one has yet eliminated bullying and harassing behaviours from their organisations. It seems more realistic at this moment in time to think about the journey we are going on, acting and reflecting on what is working, what is not, and building towards an inclusive workplace. There is still a lot to understand in terms of why people bully, what enables these behaviours and therefore what practical things can an organisation and individuals do to stop it.

    If the opposite of a bullying culture is inclusion, empathy, kindness and connection, then

    ‘What are we doing to make our workplaces more inclusive?’

    I spoke to Loraine Martins, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Network Rail this week, who said clearly that we are all ambassadors for the good and not so good in our industry; that our work on inclusion runs parallel to any work we can do to address bullying and harassment in the workplace. Loraine spoke to me of the need to be consistent, develop trust so that people are confident to speak up about their experiences or intervene when they observe bullying and harassing behaviours. The challenge she said, is to reach that level of consistency.

    ‘Is our approach to addressing bullying and harassment critical in the outcome, or does it just matter that it ends?’

    This is a question that pops into my head when the catch phrase ‘Zero Tolerance’ is said, not because the sentiment is not right, but because fighting might with might, doesn’t quite feel right to me. Many people use that term and for good reasons. Whilst potentially a controversial opinion, Zero Tolerance is not a phrase I would naturally associate with inclusion, empathy, kindness and connection, even though bullying behaviours should not be tolerated. Language plays a strong part in creating an inclusive environment and culture. Shouldn’t we reflect on the language and behaviours we want everyone to adopt, and ensure our way of addressing bullying includes that language and behaviour and reinforces that new culture?

    Jon Everest of Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa New Zealand is an expert in Restorative Practice. He shared with me his thoughts on how the language of the justice system does not translate well into the workplace. Concepts of perpetrators or offenders and victims, can only lend itself to people seeking to defend themselves, not reflect on their behaviours and acknowledge their part in the process, and change. Similarly, the mechanisms of investigation, disciplinaries and grievances identify only two people affected, the bully and the victim, and simply seeks to identify what rule they have broken and how they can be punished. In reality, Jon suggests their colleagues are often aware of what is going on and when the investigation ends, there is still residual harm done to the entire workplace that is usually not addressed at all. Neither is there always exploration of what an organisation can do to prevent it from happening again. While there is a place for formal processes, if we are to truly address bullying and harassment, we need to go beyond our current approach and understanding of injustice and seek to restore the workplace relationships between all people affected, following any harm that has occurred.

    We will hear more form Loraine Martins and Jon Everest at our Challenge Bullying event and explore the concepts of Restorative Practice, Diversity and Inclusion in more detail in our Community of Practice throughout 2021 and beyond.

    Challenge Bullying as an event has resonated with many members. We have had more applications for this than any education event in the past ten years. For some of those who will attend, it is because they are facing this issue in the workplace right now. For others, they want to know how to support colleagues or make a difference in their workplace. Either way, it is clear the work of our TSSA Addressing Bullying and Harassment Community of Practice in 2021 will be extremely important to changing member’s lives for the better. Challenge Bullying is not simply what we need to do, but a challenge we set ourselves to change workplace culture, not simply get better at what we are currently doing as it is not going to create the difference our members want.

    TSSA will continue to lead on addressing bullying and harassment through building our community of practice and applying our learning to our work changing lives. If you want to be part of our CoP you can request to join here:

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director

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  • Going Beyond for Racial Equality

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 30 October 2020

    Going Beyond for Racial Equality - TSSA's New Community of Practice

    October was Black History Month and I am pleased that TSSA has been active and focussed on bringing people together around issues of race in the workplace. In response to our members who are BAME and who wish to support BAME colleagues, we have established our Going Beyond for Racial Equality Community of Practice, to explore what we can do as a union to improve equality, diversity and inclusion for BAME people in our workplaces. Click 'Read More'...

    Over the past two years we have worked to build an active BAME network and really explore the lived experiences of our members who are from black, asian and minority ethnicity communities. Unfortunately for some members, those experiences have included casual and blatant racism, subtle micro-aggressions and experiences that make workplaces feel unsafe, unsupportive and in some cases hostile. The impact on people facing this kind of environment each day, is extremely damaging to mental health, self-esteem and their ability to perform and contribute at work. In some cases, safety can be compromised, where bias and prejudice clouds the decision making and reactions of people in safety critical roles and roles that manage other people. During the covid pandemic, safety for BAME people has been a significant concern. Our BAME members who are key workers have raised concerns about their exposure to Covid-19 through their job roles and we have worked tirelessly with employers and government to ensure they and others are safe. In times when you know you are at a higher risk than other people, you need to also feel confident your concerns are being heard and will be addressed, and that you are safe at work. More than ever TSSA is needed by BAME workers in transport and travel.

    We also have other members who have been moved by local and global events this year and want to know what they can do to end racism and support BAME colleagues. Our work building the Inclusive Rail campaign for LGBT+ people has made it clear that allyship is essential for changing negative culture and making our workplaces inclusive. We encourage anyone who wants to be an ally for BAME people to get involved in our community of practice. Our BAME members want to have the same opportunities to contribute and progress in their careers that other people experience and we all can help that become a reality.

    Going Beyond for Racial Equality is a community of practice that will help all TSSA members and supporters talk about race, about prejudice, about privilege, about equality and find practical ways we can bring about change and make our workplaces inclusive of BAME people. You can request to be part of the community of practice here:

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director


    If you have any about your safety at work due to covid-19 visit or contact our helpdesk



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  • Why Inclusive Rail is an important campaign for all TSSA members

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 04 August 2020

    As I said in my recent newsletter, it has now been two years since we launched our campaign at Westminster, releasing our Role Model Posters and our LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces Bargaining Standard. Inclusive Rail has fast become one of the most important campaigns TSSA has run in the 21st century. We have achieved many things over these past two years, and all TSSA members can and should be proud to promote this campaign for inclusion in their workplace. Our aim is to make the railway inclusive for LGBT+ people by 2025. An ambitious aim, but one that will impact all members of TSSA should we achieve it. In this blog post, I will outline three main reasons why all members of TSSA should support, promote and get involved in Inclusive Rail. At the very least this is because the support and interest we get from members regarding this campaign has outweighed any other campaign of recent times. Click ‘Read More’ to find out more… 


    1) We can learn from our Inclusive Rail success  

    Our Time to Grow Strategy action point 12 is ‘Learn from Ourselves and Others’ and this is exactly the case with our successes from Inclusive Rail. All the things we have done for Inclusive Rail can be done for other campaigns and help other groups of workers. Everything can be applied in other work from the campaign activities to the materials we have developed and the monthly communication we have established with all members.  


    We have engaged over 5000 people in our campaign activities to date through a variety of ways. People have joined TSSA, completed #NoBystanders cards, become active in our LGBT+ Network, participated in our 5-year placard challenge to share what you think will make the railway inclusive by 2025, attended network and forum events and visited our workplace stalls and education sessions. That means almost all those 5000 contacts have actually been 5000 conversations, where we have been able to build visibility of TSSA, share our values, and the reasons why people should join and get involved in TSSA. As a result, we have built our LGBT+ Network from 5 people to 50+ members. The response we have had on the materials such as our powerful Role Model posters has led to opportunities for our members to share our campaign and aspirations with others, at conferences such as Network Rail’s Archway conference, Stonewall’s prestigious Annual Workplace Conference and globally, with international trade union federations. 


    More directly, reps are seeing the value of applying this learning to their own projects. Gurprit Bhakar, TSSA BAME Network member attended our Equality in the Workplace seminar in 2019 and heard about our invitation for members to become LGBT+ allies: ‘We can encourage people to be allies for BAME workers too’.  


    2) Respected colleagues and workplace leaders are joining TSSA  

     Shane Andrews, Chair of Archway, has been a TSSA member for many years and has volunteered to be a new Role Model on our poster series. He has volunteered to be a part of our poster campaign because it enables him to be a visible face of LGBT+ leadership and to empower people at work. Other members have joined because they are taking leadership roles in the workplace and see the work we have done with Inclusive Rail as supporting their vision. Our union is leading on equality, and those who are active on equality issues in their workplace see the value in being a part of TSSA. Our ’10 Reasons to Join and Support Equality’ video highlights some of the reasons why people should join and get involved.


    3) We are setting the standard in the industry  

    We launched our very first Equality Bargaining Standard as part of the Inclusive Rail campaign in 2018. Over the past two years, we have gained commitments from companies to work towards our bronze, silver and gold standards for LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces. Now two years on, we are beginning our first audits against our very own standard. In conjunction with Stonewall, we are helping companies on their journey of inclusion and leading the industry through our Inclusive Rail Industry Forum and our new LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces Community of Practice. Everything we are doing in our Community of Practice will guide companies to achieve our gold standard, whilst also enabling our members to show leadership in their workplaces on LGBT+ issues. This model of working, including the use of Bargaining Standards, is being replicated in other areas of equality (see our Neurodiversity at Work Equality Bargaining Standard) and has the potential to support our industrial bargaining also. Inclusive Rail has proven that our members engaging with companies over standards is a successful strategy for our whole union. 


    And finally, there is a change within TSSA to become a more welcoming, inclusive organisation that doesn’t just talk about our values - we live them. This is demonstrated throughout the Inclusive Rail campaign and gives TSSA a level of credibility within the rail industry and throughout the UK and Ireland that it has never had before. We are proving month to month that we are not shying away from addressing hard issues and campaigning to change people’s lives. That is exactly what Inclusive Rail is trying to do and it is working. Through campaigns like Inclusive Rail, we will build a bigger, stronger and more inclusive, TSSA. 

    EQ Agenda cover

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  • Producing Results – what can you expect to see experience

    Author: Andrew HollingsworthPosted: 20 July 2020

    Building on from our introductory video, this blog is written to give you a bit more detail about what you can expect for the first 4 sessions. Click Read More to expand

    Here are a set of areas that we will explore over the series: -

    ·       Review how workplace cultures effect the production of results and people development.

    ·       Exploration of how leadership and management styles get results and how those styles affect people and whether they’re appropriate

    ·       Understand how our perception shapes our reality’ and the effects it has on our interactions

    ·       Discuss how the management of performance impacts results

    ·       Analyse how using an emotionally intelligent, inclusive leadership approach enables us to deliver sustainable results


    Later this week we will be releasing 2 videos from guest speakers that have had experience working in environments that are very much about producing results; a former head Chef who has working in a range of challenging and demanding environments and a former performance coach in the world of football who has worked with Premier League players. Both of them will give you a brief insight into what their world’s were like and then later in the month, you will get the opportunity to join them live to ask them questions and explore how results were produced and the impact that had on them, the teams and the environment around them.

    Following on from this, we will explore and discuss a range of different leadership and management approaches to understand the impact that they have on producing results on the individual, team and culture, for example: - the challenge of getting the task done, whilst developing the individual and getting the best from them as well as building a high performing team – no mean feat!!

    We will also look at some of the research from the Harvard Business Review and see how the area of performance review and appraisal systems has been undergoing, somewhat, of a revolution over the past few years and what organisations are doing now to create an approach that gets the best from their people.

    Finally, we will hone in on what an inclusive, emotionally intelligence leader looks and sounds like and how they get the best results from their people through understanding their personality and strengths through a person-centred approach.

    These 4 sessions will act as the catalyst for what is sure to be an insightful, thought-provoking series.

     Look forward to seeing you on it and check out the website/social media for dates

    If you havent signed for this series of events you can do so here .

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  • Updates on your Communities of Practice

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 07 June 2020

    I am excited and motivated by the way you and other TSSA members are embracing our Going Beyond programme and Community of Practice (CoP) approach to education. The opportunities are endless for us to learn about key themes and topics in a deeper way, steering us to the right path to address key issues for TSSA members. Here are a few of the ways that Going Beyond will deliver for our members:

    1. People who join a CoP will be influencing the programme of learning, through the questions you have as a result of attending an event, or reading a blog post or taking part in a discussion. New information will be sourced or a new event will be developed to meet your learning need.
    2. Education resources will be developed as we go along, either from recording a guest speaker at an event, or sharing articles we find on a topic, etc.
    3. Learning can happen all the time and is not restricted to in-person meetings or events. Our interactions and online resources are there for you all the time, right when you need it.
    4. Going Beyond expands our learning opportunities from our traditional education approach of in-person events, to include online video conference events, blogs, social media interaction, more space to talk and develop our understanding through specific events that generate discussion, not just impart knowledge.
    5. Each CoP will follow a Spiral of Learning that will lead us to make conclusions and apply our learning in a practical way to the benefit of all TSSA members. Hence - community of practice.

    We are building momentum in this new approach. Here is an update for you on each CoP.

    Addressing Bullying & Harassment

    The first CoP to be launched, there are now several Blog posts and two online events that have been held and well attended. CoP Organiser, Andy Hollingsworth has also organised two upcoming CoP discussion events to bring CoP members together to talk through people's learning from the guest experts. You can find the event information here: People are clearly searching for answers on how to address bullying and harassment, which is exactly what the CoP aims to do in all our exploration of ideas, culminating in our Challenge Bullying conference to be held in November.

    Mental Health & Wellbeing

    This is by far our most popular community of practice for TSSA members. CoP Organiser Steve Loft has been a long time member of TSSA and has shared some of his expertise and knowledge in the field of mental health and wellbeing in this Going Beyond Blog. Do search for his blog posts using the 'Author' filter function on the right hand side of the Blog page.

    The learning from this CoP is going to be critical to enable TSSA to transform workplaces, making them more responsive and accepting of people's mental health and wellbeing needs. Upcoming events include a first discussion with the CoP Our Question on Mental Health where you will have a say in what events and topics the CoP will explore in the rest of 2020. We also are holding A Global Conversation on Mental Health with international guests sharing the challenges in their contexts and how they link with our own. This CoP will be part of launching TSSA's Mental Health & Wellbeing Equality Bargaining Standard this year.

    Flexible Working

    We are in the middle of a global experiment of remote working, which is one way to provide flexibility in work. So how are we going to make the most of that? Our first event for this CoP will be for Reps to discuss what good practice we want to keep as a union. This will be followed by an event to be scheduled in July, with people who are leading change for their company's in the area of flexible working. This CoP will be developing TSSA's new Equality Bargaining Standard for Flexible Working, through exploring new concepts and innovation and learning what makes a difference and identifying the key components our union needs to set as our our standard.

    Representing Members

    Our first two events for this CoP were around the subject of a Safe Return to Work during Covid-19. More events will be scheduled from July.

    Onboarding of New Reps

    We have a great opportunity to provide new reps with the best learning experience we have ever been able to provide, through the community of practice approach. Our first online Reps Intro Sessions have been scheduled to give a grounding in the role of a rep. This will be bolstered with online learning on our Blog and interaction in our social media spaces. Some of our experienced reps will be sharing their knowledge and experience through our CoP, providing a group mentoring experience.

    Future of Rail

    This is another popular CoP with members and also potential members. We haven't announced any events yet but we have some exciting events on the boil including accessibility of our railway and what that means for the future of rail, driving innovation in technology, exploring public funding of infrastructure, and we will be sharing new rail environmental resources. This CoP is where we hope our members who are leading on innovation will share their experiences and vision for the future of rail, so do get in touch if you have something you would like to share.

    Neurodiversity at Work

    TSSA members are extremely proud of our work on neurodiversity. Establishing this CoP will amplify the learning of our Equality Reps, acknowledging their expertise, and drive commitments to our Neurodiversity at Work Equality Bargaining Standard. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of TSSA's research report that launched our Neurodiversity Programme and this CoP will be setting the direction of our work in this area for the next 10 years. Events will be announced starting in September.

    Leading People

    Our members who manage people or aspire to manage others are going to benefit significantly from our new community of practice approach. Almost every CoP will explore an element of leadership, so our Leading People CoP will benefit from the accumulated learning from our entire Going Beyond programme! Over the next two months a series of events will be announced on leadership, including specific events on leading in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, or 'VUCA', environment.

    Skills Reps

    Our union learning reps and those who are supporting Apprentices, or working on issues of performance reviews and career progression will be leading TSSA's skills agenda. Understanding how the transport and travel industries are changing will be critical to establishing a strategy to reskill, retrain or help a just transition for those whose jobs are at risk of change. We also welcome the influx of apprentices and new workers into the rail industry, and our reps have a clear role in ensuring their training and development meets a standard. This CoP will have events from September and will seek to develop our union's approach and strategy for skills development in our industries.

    LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces

    Our Inclusive Rail campaign aims to make the railway inclusive of LGBT+ people by 2025. This is an ambitious aim and we will need to work with allies and supporters to achieve it. Our union's work in this area is industry leading and the CoP will be bringing together people leading on LGBT+ inclusion to ensure companies are aspiring to and achieving our TSSA 'Gold Standard'. Events have just been announced for this CoP.

    More to come

    Over the next three weeks you will hear more from CoP Organisers on the events they are leading and about the learning you can do now. You will also soon find some events from our Self Organised Groups to engage with people on the extremely important topics of equality that are affecting our members. More will be posted in our Going Beyond LinkedIn group, and this Going Beyond Blog, so please do join the group and comment on the posts.

    I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    With kindness,

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director

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