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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Managing Mental Health Risk At Work

    Author: Steve LoftPosted: 23 June 2020

    When we talk about risk management, employee mental health is very often not something considered, but it can have a massive effect on health and safety in the workplace. I asked my colleague at WellMent, John Allen, to research the current thinking around mental health and risk management at work, and here’s his findings. Click read more to read the full article   


    Mental Health Risk Assessments at Work – How to write one in 2020

    We all have a legal and moral responsibility to manage work related risks, including mental health. The transport sector manages risks to staff and passengers every day. Maintaining good mental health amongst colleagues is smart and critical to success. The TSSA and other unions have been working together with transport companies to manage the risks and push employee wellbeing to the top of the agenda.

    Why do we need to risk assess mental health at work?

    Poor mental health costs us all financially and morally. Following 2017’s ‘Thriving at Work’ review, the latest analysis by Deloitte shows poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion a year – a rise of 16% since 2016. 1 in 6 people in the last week will have experienced anxiety or depression. And in the rail industry, the rate of suicide is 1.6 times higher than the UK average. But the research also showed that for every £1 invested in mental health interventions, employers get back £5 per person. Investing in good mental health at work reduces sickness, presenteeism (showing up for work when you’re sick) and staff turnover. Away from the figures, we have a moral obligation. Work should not make us ill or exacerbate existing illness. Work should be a positive force in our lives, helping to provide us with a sense of identity and achievement.

    So how do we risk assess mental health at work?

    We combine the guidance from the HSE, Mind and other leading experts and marry it with guidance from sector specific experts; in this case the transport sector. We must also consider the impact of Covid-19, particularly in the transport sector. The pandemic has forced everyone to adjust their risk assessments and the UK government has now recommended every employer to include managing mental health in return to work strategies. Below are recommendations on risk assessing mental health at work.

    “Work-related mental health issues must be assessed to measure the levels of risk to staff. Where a risk is identified, steps must be taken to remove it or reduce it as far as reasonably practicable” 


    Remember; employees have the right to work where risks to their health are properly controlled. Employees also have the right to protection after returning to work from sickness absence if an illness has made them more vulnerable.

    Drawing up a mental health risk assessment 

    1. Identify the mental health hazards 

    Abusive customers? Passenger accident or suicide? Armed robbery? Bullying? These are some hazards that might result from work situations in the transport sector. Before you start listing what you think the current hazards are, it is worth checking to see if there is an existing risk assessment for mental health. See if you can locate it. Cross-check existing assessments with HSE guidelines. Do they provide provision for mental health risks? If not, a new assessment needs to be done. Once done, you can then begin accurately identifying the mental health hazards still present at work. 

    2. Assess the mental health risks 

    Start by consulting each other. For example, how likely are workers liable to need support or time off due to crippling anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental health condition exacerbated or caused by work? Assess these risks in your workplace. What impact do they have on day-to-day functions? What impact are they having organisationally? What is the organisation already doing to minimise these risks? 

    3. Control the mental health risks 

    Is there occupational health support in place? Is there a wellbeing strategy to help the organisation thrive? You and your colleagues know better than anyone what the risks and potential risks are. Talk to colleagues. Talk to your manager. Ask questions. Your workforce is diverse, and everyone will be experiencing different issues. They may have suggestions you didn’t think of. Another way to help control these risks, is to consult government sanctioned support and advice for employers. You could use Mind’s guide on the Stevenson/Farmer ‘Thriving at Work’ review. This is UK government supported data and guidance. The report suggests all organisations adopt some core standards. These standards can be useful ‘lampposts’ to guide your mental health risk assessments and wellbeing strategy. 

    4. Record your findings 

    Key to any risk assessment is to record your findings. A failure to do so will invalidate any assessment and could lead to increased mental health problems in the future. Plus, it’s useful having a ‘go-to’ document to refer to when you’re not sure about issues. 

    5. Review the controls 

    Review agreed control measures regularly. In the current Covid-19 climate, a good routine to get into is perhaps once a quarter. It might be you don’t need to review for at least a year, but with the ever changing nature of work in an uncertain environment, you might want to review mental health risk more regularly than a standard assessment. 

    6. Build Covid-19 into mental health risk 

    The virus is not going anywhere. Science tells us this. So, we have to find ways to thrive with it. The current fallout caused by Covid-19 includes increased anxiety, frustration, guilt, anger, grief, fear of redundancy and general upset. What special controls do you think might help in a mental health risk assessment? E.g. PPE, minimal customer contact, regular management check-ins, support buddies, flexing or reducing work hours where practicable, using wellbeing champions, ensuring there are an appropriate number of Mental Health First Aiders available, providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for staff to call, or signposting to relevant local or industry support services where an EAP does not exist. 

    Raise awareness & show stigma a red signal

    It can be difficult to speak out sometimes. Incredibly difficult. But with UK mental health at an all-time low, it is essential we all try to speak up, particularly to help those unable or too afraid to do so. Use the resources provided by the TSSA and other organisations. Arrange meetings and discussions. Remember: Talking saves lives. Talking also helps organisations thrive. If senior management struggle to understand the importance of mental health, show them the statistics and investment returns. Approach from the profit angle if the moral angle doesn’t get through. Above all, try and remain positive. 

    Managing the mental health risk is everyone’s responsibility

    Just like physical health and safety, it is everyone’s responsibility to manage the mental health and safety of themselves and their colleagues. Mental health is like physical health, if we don’t look after it, we will keep ignoring our own personal “warnings” and passing our “red signals”. 

    References & Sources

    How to Implement the Thriving at Work Mental Health Standard in Your Workplace – Mind 

    Saving lives on the railways – Samaritans 

    Poor mental health costs employers £45 billion a year – Deloitte, Jan 2020 

    How to be mentally healthy at work – Mind, 2016 

    Mental Health in the Rail Industry – Mental Health at Work 

    Covid-19 – Lockdown and your mental wellbeing - RSSB, April 2020 

    Mental Health in the Workplace – Word Health Organisation (WHO), May 2019


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  • Unconscious Bias Blog - Archetypes

    Author: Andrew HollingsworthPosted: 16 June 2020

    In my last blog I introduced you to Jung’s Archetypes and in this blog, I wanted to explore a specific archetype to see if there could be some of the UB patterns hidden within it and to explore whether there are some deeper underlying reasons for the UB’s. Click read more to carry on reading 

    The Rebel/Destroyer Archetype has a terrifying name that can easily be misunderstood based on the biases that spring to mind but there is a lot more to this ancient pattern than the label suggests!

    The Rebel/Destroyer is a paradoxical aspect of our psyche and as with all extremes can produce extreme results and outcomes. The goal of the Rebel/Destroyer is metamorphosis - not just change... It is driving by the need to revolutionise and transform things that are either not functioning properly or not the way they think it should. A positive outcome to this can be the ability to ‘weed the garden’ - when done appropriately, creating amazing opportunities for growth and innovation. The Rebel/Destroyers ability to troubleshoot and game-change is a powerful tool in the hands of a balanced Rebel/Destroyer.

    By contrast, when our Rebel/Destroyer isn’t in balance it can produce destructive behaviours in self and others. Radical views and repressed anger can lead them to break the rules and ruthlessly pursue their interests labelling those who don’t share their drive as weak and useless.

    If, as Jung suggests, we all have this Archetype within us operating either unconsciously or (now) more consciously, how could this form some of our UB?

    The pioneering French Psychologist Pierre Janet, regarding as one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, suggested that ‘there is a certain weakness of consciousness which is unable to hold all the psyche processes together’ – in other words the unconscious is in conflict with our conscious and as a result doesn’t necessarily harmonise in a balanced way.

    Maybe this is a driver for UB, those unconscious elements being driven by our Archetypes struggle to actualise as a result of the conflict? Maybe the Rebel/Destroyers need to bring revolutionary change is misunderstood and regarded as reckless and conflictual by conscious self or others?

    Maybe through this inner conflict our UB can be explored, harmonised and rectified in a balanced way?

    Another avenue to consider is Jung’s view on the ‘the Shadow’; our Shadow representing the supressed, hidden aspects of the psyche that we don’t appreciate. Many times, our UB will be expressed and projected onto other people via the activities of the Shadow.

    How often do we hear someone (normally ourselves if we’re honest) talking about a character trait or behaviour that we don’t like in someone else?

    “They’re selfish, they’re stingy, they’re liars...” etc etc. which is then normally followed by the expression “I can’t stand people like that...” Ouch...

    I would suggest in a significant amount of cases, the person projecting from the Shadow isn’t even aware it’s their Shadow and with little or no awareness of where this trait or behaviour is coming from.

    In the cases of those who probably do have a good idea, what they’re really saying is something along the lines of “I don’t like that trait in me but rather than face into it and deal with it, I’ll blame other people”

    I’ve shared with you one of the twelve core Archetypes which Jung regarded as personality complexes within themselves and how the struggle between the conscious and unconscious can result in traits and behaviours that we struggle to deal with.

    Maybe the quest to understand UB will unfold the more we explore and face into them with openness, honesty, patience and a lot of humility!

     Andy Hollingsworth

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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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