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With no time left on the clock, Helen Housby made her shot, the last play of the 2018 Commonwealth Games netball competition. An English team had never appeared in the final, let alone won the gold, until Helen’s shot went in and they beat Australia 52-51.

Tracey Neville MBE, this month’s Motivational Monday speaker, was head coach at the time: “That one goal was something we’d been working towards for 20 years,” she said.

Tracey is from a sporting dynasty: her brothers – Gary and Phil – made names for themselves with Manchester United and England before enjoying long footballing careers. 

What makes Tracey stand out is the incredible journey she led the English netball team on, turning around a downtrodden, underfunded programme to create one of the greatest team triumphs of the last decade.

The motivations that drove Tracey were what she came to share with BigChange audiences this month.

Winning over the players

When Tracey came into the coaching role in 2015, she saw how the consistent success of the Australian and New Zealand teams was in large part due to the professional programmes they ran for their players. 

she said:

“When you’re going against competitors, you can’t cut corners. We needed to step up if we wanted to compete against the top teams.”

Launching a professional programme was a massive commitment that would ask a lot of the coaches and players – requiring them to commit to a full-time training regime, and step away from work and family commitments. 

And while the governing board wanted Tracey to make these decisions quickly, she needed to win her players over and make sure they were committed to her vision. 

Tracey and her team stayed in constant communication with every individual player in the run-up to the launch, listening to their hesitations and giving them all roles and responsibilities to make sure they knew how important they were to the journey. 

she continued:

“Our persistence and the hard work we put in at the start worked out, we had everyone on board and could start moving towards that gold.”

Adapting to be the best leader for everyone

Tracey also needed to take a hard look at her leadership style. 

She brought in two advisors, one focussed on sport coaching and the other a psychologist. 

Tracey Said:

“He specialised in psychopathy, and apparently I’ve got the same mentality. Lucky we’re doing this over Zoom!”

Since she answered to both the sport’s board of directors and her team, Tracey had to learn quickly not to carry the stress of one into the other. 

She said:

“You need to take on board decisions you don’t necessarily agree with, but I couldn’t put any negativity into my team, and relay those feelings to the girls.”

She learnt to add protected time into her week, where coaches and players had a safe space to share ideas with her.

“This meant there was an avenue to direct needy staff members to and a time to coax ideas out of the more independent ones,”

Tracey worked with her staff around the clock during tours and competitions, so building these meetings into her workflow and keeping her behaviour consistent while her team rode the pressures of competition was crucial. 

Learning to love winning

Tracey said:

“We had never made the final, at best it was third or fourth, that was the expectation of our team,”

Tracey continued:

“We began to celebrate success in team meetings, we tried to push the mentality that ‘It’s good to win’ as an entire group, in units and as individuals.”

This began to break down barriers between newer and older members, as everyone’s strengths and achievements were known and celebrated. It also developed a solution-focused team, who used individuals’ strengths tactically. 

Becoming a team at every level

Tracey came into an environment she felt was judgemental. She aimed to create a more collaborative and understanding way of working, which began with clearly understanding the ways in which people worked best. 

Her relentless focus on creating a committed, proud, passionate team who understood and respected each other helped pave the way for gold in 2018. Her strong spirit and free-thinking took her to heights no other England head coach had reached. 

She ended by saying:

“When you go to a job, it’s not about running along with everyone else, it’s about what you can do. I wanted to go in there and change the face of England netball.” 

And she did

Tracey was joined by Ash Razzaq, CEO of community-action charity CATCH. Over the past ten years they’ve been working to create positive spaces and outcomes for children in Leeds. During lockdown, they have operated food banks to help people isolating, shielding or struggling. BigChange audiences helped raise £500 for this cause.

Next month, we will welcome Donna Fraser OBE, a former Team GB Olympian and advocate for diversity and inclusion, who will speak alongside the cancer support charity Macmillan. You can sign up to this Motivational Monday here. We hope to see you then.

BigChange is giving away tickets for all of Leeds United’s remaining home games in the 2021-22 season. 

This month saw the start of Leeds United’s second year back in the Premier League, and the first in front of home crowds. 

To celebrate, BigChange is giving away more than 100 tickets. Lucky fans can win a chance to watch any of the Elland Road games from the BigChange corporate box. Some highlights coming up include:

  • Leeds United – Liverpool 12/09
  • Leeds United – Manchester United 19/02
  • Leeds United – Chelsea 16/04
  • Leeds United – Manchester City 30/04

As well as league matches, any cup matches played at home will be added to the giveaway, so keep your eyes on the BigChange social pages to stay in the know.

This competition is open to all members of the BigChange Network and anyone who may be interested. Therefore, we invite all leaders to share this message with their local network and get others involved in this fantastic opportunity. Just follow the link below to see how to be in with a shout. 

Click here to enter and win seats at Elland Road this season.

A surge at the end of last season saw Leeds finish in the top half of the table. We hope you join us to find out how 2021-22 goes.

We asked customers which features of the BigChange system have made a difference for them. We begin with MEDLEC

Electrical contractor MEDLEC has boosted worker productivity by 40% with BigChange, thanks largely to one feature – engineers being able to self-allocate jobs.

Christian Tonna, MEDLEC Managing Director says:

“As jobs come in they are instantly available to our engineers,”

Engineers can then pick up jobs that are nearby, convenient or which fill in gaps in their schedule. 

Tonna, whose firm works across southern England said:

“It means we can be more reactive and efficient with our time, therefore we’re around 40 percent more productive, allowing us to take on more work with the same resources.” 

This feature means field workers aren’t left twiddling their thumbs on site, or making unnecessary journeys. 

Field workers can access unscheduled jobs from several parts of the app: 

  • the ‘Job Lists’ view
  • the ‘Recent Job’ section within a contact 
  • the Contact itself.

Users can filter jobs to suit their location or skills.

To enable self-allocation, your administrators need to change a worker’s Resource Profile. An administrator should do the following:

  • Head to ‘My Account’ – ‘Settings’ – ‘Manage your resources’. 
  • Select the Resource you want to enable, and select Edit.
  • Under JobWatch Settings select ‘Resource can self-allocate unscheduled jobs’
  • Save. 

    From then on, that worker can self-allocate jobs, and your business can start winning a big productivity boost.

    BigChange, the leading workforce management technology company for the service and transport sectors, announces today that Martin Port, founder and CEO, is to move into a new role as chairman. Richard Warley, who joined the business as chairman at the start of 2021 will become the driving force of the business as CEO.

    The move is announced as BigChange prepares for the next phase of its development. The business, which has achieved nine years of consistent growth, is preparing to expand rapidly across multiple international markets and is building out the next generation of its technology platform.

    BigChange’s field service management technology is the core workflow tool for businesses employing field service technicians and operators. BigChange’s tools provide job scheduling, customer invoicing and payments automation, mobile workforce management, and client engagement. The Company’s platform serves 1,600 small to enterprise clients spanning more than 20 industries, from plant hire to drainage and waste, social housing to food service. Clients include Sunbelt Rentals, Silentnight, Recycling Lives, HSS and EDF.

    Martin Port, founder and chairman, says:

    I couldn’t be more confident that Richard is the ideal person to take on the day-to-day running of the business. He is passionate about BigChange, he’s taken the time to get to know our people and our culture, and he has an extraordinary depth of experience running billion-pound companies. It is our hope that, together, we can help BigChange to reach this milestone – unicorn status – in just a few years. We currently employ over 200 people around the world, and we hope to take that figure to 500 people. 

    This is a really exciting time for both me and for BigChange. I feel as though I have had a promotion and relish the prospect of a new challenge. My ambitions for BigChange have only intensified over the last few years and I know that, with Richard by my side, we have the best chance of executing our plan to become the leading mobile workforce management platform in every market we target around the world.”

    Richard Warley, CEO of BigChange, says:

    Martin has built a really special company that combines great technology with a very big heart and an absolute focus on making the world a better place for its customers and the people who work here. I’m excited about the scale of the opportunity out there for BigChange – both in terms of the size of addressable market and the breadth of technological solutions we can bring our customers. 

    Martin is an evangelist for the business and a great strategic thinker. My role is about taking this business to the next level and ensuring that we preserve all that is brilliant about BigChange’s culture while evolving into a much larger entity. I am going to continue to develop JobWatch’s functionality and relevance to the market, all while maintaining our focus on customer success and excellent service.” 

    BigChange has experienced 50% average year-over-year revenue growth since inception. In 2020, BigChange was recognised for its outstanding contribution to innovation when it was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, one of the highest official honors for companies in the UK. It boasts a Net Promoter Score of 84.8 – a rating that denotes world class customer service. It has also been ranked among the UK’s top employers, receiving two stars in the Sunday Times “Best Companies To Work For.” 

    BlueSnap to support BigChange Pay, enabling customers to accept a wide range of payment methods and manage the entirety of jobs through the BigChange platform

    BigChange, the revolutionary mobile workforce management platform, today announced that it is working with BlueSnap, the global online payments technology company, to provide a comprehensive payment capability to field service companies around the world.

    By integrating BlueSnap’s technology into BigChange’s software, the company’s 1,600 customers worldwide will be able to streamline their payment processes and improve their user experience by offering a wide range of fast, convenient payment options through the platform.

    The new BigChange Pay service will support a wide range of payment methods, including cards, mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and account-based payments. BlueSnap will ensure that BigChange customers worldwide can accept payment through the company’s platform, while protecting them with integrated fraud detection and chargeback management functionality.

    BigChange Pay will provide detailed reporting and support automated payment reconciliation with jobs and invoices to further reduce the administrative burden on back-office teams.

    Martin Port, BigChange founder and CEO commented:

    Fast, efficient payment is the best reward for a job well done, and BigChange Pay will help businesses grow stronger by making it easy to deliver an amazing payment experience to their customers and get paid quicker.”

    BigChange Pay means entire jobs – from quotation and job creation to service delivery, invoicing, and now payment – can all be managed within the BigChange system. That end-to-end approach enables exceptional customer service, complete control and more efficient, agile operations.”

    Ralph Dangelmaier, BlueSnap CEO added:

    BlueSnap is thrilled to be partnering with BigChange to offer their customers global embedded payments with BigChange Pay. With our white labeled solution, BlueSnap enables BigChange to deliver a seamless customer experience with auto-onboarding for global businesses who want to offer a localised payment experience and have greater visibility into their payment program with a merchant managed portal.”

    For mobile workers, compliance checks happen daily. They need to show simply and clearly that they are sticking to industry safety measures, the law, customer requirements, and company best practices. 

    The BigChange platform is designed with this in mind, and the tips below will help compliance checks run smoothly.

    Mandatory Questions

    When setting up worksheets to be completed on-site, simply tick the ‘Mandatory’ box next to any essential questions.

    Where you need your mobile workers to complete a check before they start working, if you have one or more mandatory questions, you can set the ‘Completion time for resource’ on the worksheet to ‘Before starting the job’. This requires mobile workers to answer those crucial questions before they can get started on their job.

    It’s just one way to keep your employees safe and ensure compliance checks are made on-site. 

    Worksheets

    Conditional Branching

    This makes sure the right questions get asked and don’t get in the way of work. 

    It allows you to set up worksheets so that questions are only shown if they need to be, which is important because irrelevant questions cause frustration and waste time in the field. 

    Conditional branching has multiple uses. For example, if a frontline worker reports that a certain hazard is present, it can automatically prompt follow ups about the nature of the hazard, and give tailored guidance. If the hazard is not present, the additional questions are not shown. 

    Or on a feedback form a customer rating of 1-4 could prompt more questions about why the customer was dissatisfied, while a rating of 8+ could prompt them to leave a brief, written review. 

    We hope these tips make compliance easier with BigChange. We’ll be back again soon with more ways to get the most from the system.

    Nobby Stiles wasn’t a man naturally cut out for football. His son John told this month’s Motivational Monday that he was half-blind, stood at 5-foot-5, and was 9 stone wet through. 

    Even his name wasn’t right. After meeting Manchester United coach Jimmy Murphy, he was told:

    “You can’t be a tough-tackling midfielder with a name like Norbert”.

    That’s how we came to know him as Nobby. 

    And yet Stiles is one of only three Englishmen to have won both the World Cup and the European Cup.

    John Stiles joined the BigChange team to tell the story of his father, the 1966 England midfielder who died in 2020 with advanced dementia, which his family links to years of heading the ball.

    John said: 

    “All of us have obstacles in life and my dad had plenty, what he did have going for him was a fantastic sense of humour. He was always enthusiastic, and he was never beaten.” 

    Nobby was largely on the bench at United from 1960 to 1963. Five years later, he’d have a World Cup, European Cup and League Title to his name. It all came from not giving up. 

    Nobby was so short-sighted that when he forgot his contact lenses for his first under-23 game for England he tried to take out Scottish striker Charlie Cooke but kicked Billy Bremner instead. John recalled:

    “After that, whenever they’d play together, they’d kick seven different shades out of each other.”

    It was Nobby’s first step towards the 1966 World Cup. He played every minute for England – from media criticism after a crunching tackle against France, the violent game against Argentina (which finished with a chair through the dressing-room window), to the iconic image of him dancing with the Jules Rimet trophy in one hand and his false teeth in the other. 

    But there was a greater importance to John’s visit. Nobby passed away while suffering from advanced dementia in October 2020. He was one of many ex-players who suffered brain injuries after a long career in football – an “epidemic of dementia from heading the ball” as John put it.

    Since its inception in 2020, John and his family have been ambassadors for Head for Change, a charity pushing for better protection of brain health in sport, and supporting ex-players. 

    John was joined by the charity’s co-founder Dr Judith Gates. She said that:

    “Players like Nobby formed the foundation of the modern game but didn’t get modern-day compensation.” 

    Her own experience of supporting her husband and ex-Middlesbrough player Bill Gates (who suffers with chronic traumatic encephalopathy), motivated her to be part of the solution. 

    The instant impact Head for Change has had in setting up support groups, educating, 

    and funding groundbreaking research has shown the popularity of the cause. 

    Thanks go to the BigChange audience, who raised £1000 for Head for Change, and our speakers John and Judith. You can watch the full discussion here. 

    Next month, we welcome former English Netball head coach, Tracey Neville MBE. She guided the women’s national team to Commonwealth Gold in 2018 and will be joined by Leeds community-action charity CATCH. We hope to see you then.

    You can register here.

    At BigChange, keeping customer data secure is a priority. Our ISO 27001 accreditation and independent security testing regime is testament to that commitment. 

    However, you also play an important role in maintaining security by keeping passwords secure. With BigChange, your data is encrypted both in transit and at rest, but using the same password for other accounts or responding to phishing emails can put you at risk. 

    BigChange’s 2-Step Verification (2SV) – a security feature that requires two pieces of information to authenticate you when logging in – offers another level of protection for your account and data.

    While the first piece of information is your username and password, the second is an extra credential that only you will have access to, a dynamically changing pin sent to your phone via the Google Authenticator App. You can even get the authenticator for many smart watches in addition to your phone. It makes sure that even if your password is compromised, your account remains protected.

    Extra security layer

    We are encouraging all BigChange customers to enable 2SV in the ‘Admin’ panel of ‘My Settings’, on the BigChange system. Hit the ‘Create’ button, and you’ll be shown a QR code that you can scan to set up 2SV. 

    For more tips on security, check out our Information Security Report which lays out the best ways to keep your data safe with BigChange.

    BigChange half-year results: Supporting the UK’s post-crisis recovery

    Last month, the CBI revealed that Britain’s hard-working companies are powering an extraordinary recovery, taking the economy to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/18/cbi-predicts-uks-economic-recovery-will-accelerate-into-autumn BigChange is among the businesses that are supporting this recovery, creating new jobs at an incredible rate, winning business both at home and abroad, and creating sustainable revenues that will help the nation bounce back from the crisis. It is with absolute pride that I announce our half-year results.

    People power

    We have grown our team to more than 200 people over the last six months. These brilliant new colleagues are part of our sustained investment in BigChange’s growth as we continue to build out our capabilities and win new business from customers large and small. In the second half of this year, we will welcome even more new faces. We are also currently building out our C-suite, bringing in top talent from across the industry to help support our growth ambitions.

    Going for growth

    During the last six months, BigChange signed more than £12.5m-worth of new contracts. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all 170 of our new customers – thanks for choosing BigChange. We now have 1,600 customers in total, with 40,000 users now relying on our technology. What an incredible result from the team! And we’re not done yet. We believe we will surpass 400 new customers by the year-end. Based on our performance so far this year, this means we are on track to increase revenues by as much as 50pc across 2021.

    Loyalty and customer success

    It’s wonderful to welcome so many new customers into the fold but, at BigChange, we never let new business distract us from the important job of cherishing and supporting our existing customer base. This is why I am so pleased that our repeat orders are exceptionally high, with more than 400 customers increasing their licence base in the past six months. I am also delighted that we have improved our Net Promoter Score. At 84.8, this NPS shows that BigChange offers world-class service to customers. If you would like to find out more about how BigChange keeps customers happy and helps them to thrive, please read our new customer testimonials – https://www.bigchange.com/why-bigchange/case-studies/.

    Our commitment to innovation

    Regular readers of this blog will know that earlier this year I pledged to focus on innovation and the creation of a pipeline of new product features to empower and supercharge the global mobile workforce. We are making good on that promise, releasing several new features in the coming months. Customers will be able to unleash the power of their data through our data-as-a-service offering, we will also offer customers large and small access to best-in-class business insights and analytics through our eagerly awaited PowerBI reporting built in the BigChange platform. And we have upped the automation factor in BigChange Pay to take on even more of the grunt work when taking payments. As always, all our R&D is focused on helping our customers to grow and become more efficient. If there’s something you want us to add to the platform, tell us! We have created an ideas portal to allow anyone to suggest updates or new features. Check it out here: https://www.bigchange.com/good-idea-for-improving-bigchange-tech-make-it-a-reality-with-the-ideas-portal/

    Have you graduated from the BigChange University?

    I am over the moon that so many of our customers have attended the BigChange University over the past six months. In total, our sessions saw more than 2,500 attendees. We created the University as a place where students can learn how to get the most out of the platform and find out about new and exciting functionality. We continue to improve and update our modules to offer real, tangible value, so if you haven’t had a look yet, then book your session today: https://www.bigchange.com/bigchange-university/

    Doing our bit for charity

    As a business, BigChange is committed to giving back, both to our local community and to charitable organisations that are making a big difference to people’s lives across the world. Last year, we decided to link our Motivational Monday series – our monthly events that welcome inspirational speakers – with charitable giving. This has been hugely successful and over the last six months, we have welcomed the likes of: Janet Street-Porter, the journalist and media personality; Kevin Sinfield OBE – or Sir Kev – the rugby player and campaigner; Tracey Neville MBE, the netball star who played for and coached the England team; and Benjamin Mee, who bought and reopened Dartmoor Zoo. Among the charities that the series has supported are: Living Potential Farm, which offers work experience to those with learning difficulties and disabilities; men’s mental health charity Andy’s Man Club; PhysCap, which works to improve the quality of life of children suffering from severe physical disabilities; Homeless Street Angels, which helps those sleeping on the street of Leeds; the community action charity CATCH, and veterans’ charity Help for Heroes.

    It’s a privilege to be at the helm of a business that is creating so much positive momentum for the economy – and for our customers and community. Huge congratulations to the team for a job well done. 

    BigChange lets you automatically send worksheets to customers and save emails in your Notes at the push of a button. Read on to find out how.

    The BigChange platform is designed to meet the needs of your business. An important part of that is automating repetitive, manual tasks, so you are free to focus on what matters most. 

    Automate Customer Feedback and Confirmation

    For example, if you’re looking to get feedback or confirmation from customers, you don’t need to spend copious amounts of time chasing them up over the phone or email. 

    By using the ‘Third Party Worksheet’ feature, you can set an email to be automatically triggered by a Note or Job activity. 

    This can be useful in a few ways:

    • When you create a job activity, automatically send a worksheet to the customer for confirmation of job details, and include a list of additional services they may need. 
    • When you complete a job activity, automatically send over a survey about how you performed. 

    If it’s important to receive confirmation before you start a job, you can prevent work being scheduled until this document has been completed. 

    Automatically Link Emails to Contacts Notes

    Our next tip is to use the BigChange Outlook add-in to automatically link emails to your Contacts Notes.

    The add-in icon is displayed on the ribbon at the top of Outlook, and allows you to seamlessly attach selected emails to your Contacts Notes. You can do this from your desktop Outlook app and Outlook Online. 

    If your contacts email you, you can add the email easily to an open Note, or create a new one. 

    If previous emails from the same contact have been saved, the add-in will automatically display the relevant Note. It can also recognise the email address and suggest Notes that might be relevant. 

    This helps you share information across your organisation quickly, and to store the information where you need it, in one place.

    This video has more information on installing the add-in for individual machines and via Office 365 administration. 

    We hope these two tips help you save time in BigChange. We’ll be back again soon with more advice.

    Best Companies has officially recognised BigChange as an ‘Outstanding Company to Work For’, granting the business a coveted two-star accreditation. 

    BigChange has been ranked in the UK’s Top 50 Technology Companies to Work For (39th) and The 75 Best Companies to Work For in Yorkshire and The Humber (51st).

    It joins the likes of Intuit QuickBooks on the Technology list, which celebrates companies with outstanding employee engagement. 

    “Here at BigChange, we’ve made it our mission to build an inclusive company full of talented, engaged people. That is fundamentally the right thing to do and it also makes us more successful. I’m incredibly proud that our employee engagement has been recognised as Outstanding. It shows how far we’ve come towards achieving our mission. And it shows what a strong position we’re in for a future of exciting growth driven by excellent people.”

    Martin Port, Founder and CEO

    BigChange was recognised for its Motivational Monday speakers, the way staff are encouraged to speak up through the BigVoice committee, and the achievement of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. 

    Best Companies works with some of the world’s best-known organisations to measure, improve and recognise staff engagement in the workplace.

    “One moment I was talking to my friend. The next second I was on the ground in more pain than I’ve ever felt. I’d been blown up. I woke up every morning knowing there was a one in eight chance. That day, I was the one.”

    JJ Chalmers has lived an extraordinary life, but much of the story he told for June’s Motivational Monday revolved around a single, terrible moment. One Tuesday afternoon, during routine patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, he was caught in the blast of an IED. 

    It was a pivotal moment. In a second, his active career in the forces was cut short; he was now on a different track – one that would lead to Invictus Games gold, a new career in broadcasting and even a stint on Strictly Come Dancing

    However, it wasn’t a smooth or simple transition. JJ’s story is one of constant determination in the face of great odds, but it isn’t a lonely one. 

    Far from the caricature of a grizzled military vet, JJ was beaming as he told of the strong support network that helped him face down every challenge: during his service, during his recovery and during his transition into the world of broadcasting. 

    This theme – making connections with others to bring out the best in yourself – begins with JJ joining the Royal Marines. 

    “I was raised in a house where service was held in high regard. I always wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to be one of the good guys.

    JJ entered basic training:

    “They issue you with a lot: boots, hat, a rifle, but more than any of that, they make you realise that you have the attributes of a Royal Marine inside of you. It’s just about bringing that out. They make you cold, wet and miserable. They take you to where you think your limit is and push you further. You quickly learn that hard work and determination can get you much further than you think is possible. It was like a sea change in my head. I realised any challenge which lay ahead of me could be solved with will, cunning and the application of my skills.”

    After graduating from training, JJ was sent to serve in Afghanistan. His unit was stationed in ‘the green zone’, a lush, fertile area in the south-east of the country that extends out from the Helmand river. 

    It was an area riddled with IEDs:

    “They’re designed to kill, and they’re completely indiscriminate. It could be a British soldier, but it’s much more likely to be a civilian.”

    JJ’s squad was sent to investigate a suspected bomb-making site, to shut down IED production in the area.

    JJ said:

    “It would be the most catastrophic place I ever visited”

    After the bomb went off JJ recalled that:

    “It was absolute pandemonium. We’d been taught to give ourselves first aid, but my right arm was almost gone and the fingers that remained on my left hand were barely hanging on. There was nothing I could do for myself.” 

    JJ received first aid from a fellow soldier. He recalls how he was told:

    JJ that’s all I can do. I have to deal with the other lads now. Keep shouting, let us know you’re with us.”

    He continues:

    “I knew the helicopter would take 25 minutes and I knew there was a 98% chance of survival if I got on it. So I had to grin and bear it. I’d never known pain like it but I knew I needed to get on and getting on was all I could do.”

    Despite not knowing the full extent of his injuries, JJ was relieved to be going home. He was put into an induced coma and transferred to the trauma unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. 

    “You put broken men and women in at one end, and hopefully get superheroes out the other. I needed to start again like a child. I was physically broken, and in a tough place mentally. Those demons start speaking to you at that point. When they did, I realised I had two choices. Giving up and feeling sorry for myself, laying in the hospital bed and accepting I had a miserable existence. Or I could do what I was told and listen to the doctors, nurses and physios who were putting me back together.”

    JJ returned to that moment in Afghanistan

    “When I was lying there, I heard ‘I’ve done all I can for you, I need to go for the others’.”

    But there weren’t any others in the beds around me. 

    “Two of our friends and our Afghan interpreter had died in the blast. They were snuffed out in an instant. That’s when I knew I didn’t have a choice. They weren’t given one, why should I be? The only option was to move forward and get better.”

    As he went through recovery, JJ regained his independence. He started cycling with the use of a recumbent bicycle, saying.

    “I re-learnt the benefits of exercise. I felt a reason to push myself again. But there was a huge part missing, the part the Marines gave me, sharing that experience with a team”.

    In 2014, JJ took part in the first Invictus Games. He captained the men’s trike team, in a race that would prove pivotal in his recovery. He says:

    “I was there for gold, or so I thought. It was an individual race but we could work together to position better. After 40 minutes all three of us were well placed for the sprint finish, but when it came time to leave the others I couldn’t do it. We’d worked as a team in that race and at every point during our recovery. Why did I deserve gold any more than them? We could only come through and finish together. We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. I knew then that I wasn’t alone. That I could achieve anything with the help of others.”

    That image of JJ and his teammates, crossing together, defined the first Invictus Games. All three were awarded gold and JJ was later interviewed by Jonathan Edwards. 

    “I knew on the Monday after, I didn’t want to be an athlete,”

    he says:

    “When I spoke to Jonathan, I said ‘The next time we talk, I want to be sat in your chair. How do I do that?’”

    That marked the start of a broadcasting career that’s gone from strength to strength. JJ was a presenter at the Rio Paralympics, got involved in the D-Day Memorial coverage and had just wrapped up broadcasting from the Leeds triathlon the day before his talk. 

    JJ finished with some advice for listeners about staying positive post-pandemic:

    “My recovery will never be complete. But my support network looks after me. When you’re at the end of a pointy spear, it’s the people behind you that power you. Whether you’re going onto the battlefield, onto the bike, or on air.”

    He continued:

    “I encourage people to take little victories and learn from little slip-ups. In the last year I was able to look at the circumstances imposed on us and wonder ‘How do I make the best of these?’”

    He finished by saying:

    “Keep on going. Keep on smiling. We’ll all get there together.”

    JJ was joined by Trevor Fudger from Help for Heroes, the charity providing lifelong recovery support to service personnel who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty. He mentioned how the work they do can send an ex service person down a new path where they still get meaning and purpose outside of service. Thanks to our donors, the BigChange network raised £630 for their cause.

    Next month, we’ll hear from John Stiles, the former professional footballer, son of 1966 World Cup-winner Nobby Stiles and campaigner raising awareness of dementia in football. Our charity partner will be Head for Change, for whom John is an ambassador. We hope to see you again then.

    Introducing a new space for you to suggest and share ideas about how to improve the BigChange system 

    BigChange has always aimed to understand the day-to-day challenges faced by mobile workforces, and to develop the solutions that help. 

    It knows that mobile workers using the system in the field every day have a great understanding of where improvements can be made. 

    The BigChange Ideas Portal is the latest way of letting users get those suggestions heard. 

    Users can find the Portal by clicking on ‘Suggestion’ in the Roadcrew tab of the BigChange system. Once there, you can sort ideas by Trending, Most popular or New – or suggest an idea of your own. 

    To make a suggestion, just click ‘Add a new idea’. 

    Try to explain your development suggestion as clearly and concisely as possible. Other users will need to easily see the benefit to them for your idea to gain traction. To help, we have shared a template: 

    As a [your role], I want to [the problem that you face], so I can [the benefit you hope to achieve].

    The Portal includes a voting feature, so you can boost awareness of the ideas you feel would help most. You can also subscribe to an idea you want to stay updated on. 

    For example, BigChange chose the most popular idea – “Make different job types show as different colours in the schedule” – to develop, and informed users when it was implemented earlier this month. 

    Product Director Jonathan Isaacs said:

    “For BigChange, it allows us to make better-informed decisions and pursue developments that matter most to our users, for customers, it lets them know their ideas are being heard and acted on. Users can give input on what they would like to see from BigChange, and crucially, receive notifications that let them know we’re listening.”

    “For 21 years, I’ve been living with depression. For 15 of those, I didn’t even know,” said former professional footballer Clarke Carlisle at the start of this month’s Motivational Monday. 

    Clarke is a former top-level footballer, straight-A GCSE student, defender for England Under-21s, and chairman of the Professional Footballers Association. He is also a survivor of five suicide attempts – and he has devoted his post-playing years to helping others thrive and avoid the darkness that at times enveloped him.

    His story is one of transforming your life by having the courage to ask for help. 

    Two pieces of advice for people who think they’re suffering – or think they know someone who is – shone through. 

    Clarke Said:

    “Do you think about your thinking? Thoughts aren’t facts, they’re intrusive, they come in, and then it’s up to you how you connect with it. And think about if you need to share it. Men aren’t great communicators, but for 15 years my actions were screaming for support, before judging someone’s behaviours, think ‘is there something this person needs help with and can I help?” 

    Clarke stressed the importance of talking about mental health and breaking down stigmas – drawing on his personal experience of burying your depression. 

    His issues in facing up to his mental health started with a stoic, disciplinarian father and a mother with a stiff upper lip,

    “What goes on behind this front door stays behind this front door,”

    Clarke recalls them saying. 

    As a member of an interracial family in 70s Britain, he was told early and often that,

    “You have to be better than everyone else, to be seen as equal to everyone else.” 

    He took this advice to heart, leaving school as a straight-A student and landing a spot in the Blackpool first-team at 16. 

    A poor debut left him questioning if he was good enough, but scoring a 91st-minute winner in his first home match suggested he was.  

    After several successful seasons, multiple man-of-the-match awards, and a call up for the England Under-21’s, a serious injury put him out for the season and left his footballing future at risk. That’s when the depression crept in. 

    A lack of awareness about depression meant Clarke tackled the symptoms of his illness instead of the real issue. Even after the first of his five suicide attempts.

    “My depression would manifest in crazy outbursts, binging and dangerous behaviour. At first I thought it was the drink, so I went to rehab. Afterwards, I was still staying in bed for 2-3 days, dodging work and family. I thought I was an idiot who couldn’t make responsible decisions.” 

    That wasn’t true. Clarke became Chair of the PFA in 2010, became the first footballer to appear on Question Time, and commentated on the 2014 World Cup Finals. 

    “Despite that every two or three months I was exploding into these behaviours. Anytime I felt my career was threatened, or my identity was questioned, my brain automatically connected it to that first suicide attempt. These behaviours were the uneducated mind trying to cope by oblivion and avoidance.”

    Throughout his successful career, Clarke was often caught up by these dark thoughts. “It became my truth,” he said. “Because I didn’t share it with anyone it went round and round my head.”

    Clarke was diagnosed with recurring, complex depressive disorder. This was the first step in understanding his illness and starting to heal. His wife Carrie joined Clarke to talk about how mental health affects the whole family, and about their shared recovery journey. 

    “Clarke had been in that pit of despair for 20 years,” Carrie said:

    “He’d climb out occasionally but it would suck him back in because he didn’t change his behaviours, change his beliefs, and he didn’t get professional guidance.” 

    In 2017, Clarke went into psychiatric care. Carrie remembers how,

    “it took him only 23 days, resting, eating, being diagnosed by professionals and treated properly for him to be well enough to come home”.

    Understanding his illness, speaking out about his problems and finding help from the right professionals all helped Clarke’s recovery. He urged anyone who felt similar to do the same. 

    His message couldn’t come at a more pressing time. He said:

    “Not all depression is trauma-based,” he said. “We’re only just learning about how it can be passed through genes, but it can even come about after a period of sustained stress and pressure. How long is that period? Six weeks. And we’ve spent the last 15 months in a pandemic.”

    Clarke and Carrie were joined by Leon McQuade from Andy’s Man Club, a mental-health charity dedicated to getting men talking about their problems. He cited the terrible statistic that every two hours a man takes his life in the UK, but said how change is coming as more men speak up honestly about their experiences. 

    The charity runs 50 clubs across the UK, creating safe, attentive spaces for men to open up about their struggles. Its awareness campaign epitomises the biggest takeaway from this month’s Motivational Monday – ‘It’s OK to talk’. 

    Next month we’ll be joined by the TV presenter and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers. Our charity partner will be Help for Heroes, of which JJ is a patron. we hope you can join us then, you can register here: http://bigchan.ge/MM-JJ-Chalmers.

    Spring apporte une nouvelle vie à BigChange University, avec une nouvelle session sur la santé et la sécurité et des modules renommés – pour trouver le contenu que vous souhaitez améliorer plus facilement.

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    The formidable broadcaster, journalist and Loose Women panellist Janet Street-Porter shares the lessons from her career on Motivational Monday (and drops in a few mantras along the way). 

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    Saviez-vous que le système BigChange vous permet de personnaliser votre page de destination? tandis que si vous utilisez un système téléphonique basé sur le Web, comme RingCentral, vous pouvez voir qui vous appelle et trouver des liens vers des fonctions courantes dans le système BigChange. Lisez la suite pour savoir comment.

    (more…)

    BigChange, the leading mobile workforce management technology company for the service and transport sectors, has appointed Nick Gregory as its new Chief Marketing Officer.

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    You can now assign a priority to your Notes – marking them to show which need to be addressed first – meaning you can focus and get to work on the most pressing tasks first.

    When work piles up, our first instinct can be to get our heads down and crack on, knocking out tasks as they come through. But not all work is equal, and the more effective business has its priorities in order, working to meet the most-pressing needs first.

    BigChange understands this, and wants to make it easier for all businesses to tackle work in the most efficient way. That’s why we’ve added a new function in JobWatch that allows users to prioritise Notes, making it easier and faster to see the most pressing information and to get going.

    This feature lets admins create a set of ‘Note priorities’ for instance, High / Medium / Low or Gold / Silver / Bronze. These priority sets can be customised for the various different departments and note types around your business.

    Administrators can then apply a priority set to a certain type of note in ‘Note types’ and choose which roles can set or change the priority.

    Users can then sort their Notes by priority, to see which need addressing first, or filter so only, say, high-priority notes appear.

    View a step-by-step guide to introducing note prioritisation at your organisation below:

    Prioritisation of Notes is just another way JobWatch can improve productivity and customer service – and give leaders better visibility of business-critical information, fast.

    Women make up 16% of the workforce in IT. At BigChange we’re doing better than that, averaging 27%. But we aspire to a 50-50 split. How we can meet this challenge was our focus on International Women’s Day.

    Jo Godsmark – our Chief Operating Officer – was joined by six colleagues from across the business, to share experiences of being a woman in tech – and to reflect on why they are the exception in the industry.

    Self-selection bias was identified as a key issue. Jo called for more and more women to apply. “I genuinely believe all of our recruiting managers want more women and support them in the business,” she said. “But we don’t receive the volume of applications we want.”

    Catriona Faulds, Project Manager in the Customer Success Team, continued: “You feel like you have to meet the whole [job] criteria as a woman, to be a perfectionist, to really outshine yourself to land the role. I feel that you find a different confidence in male candidates, who think they can grow into a role, or step up if selected.”

    “I think you can follow that gendered difference through to discussions about pay rises, promotions and opportunities,” said Jo. “I think sometimes women can be less vocal. We therefore have a great obligation as managers and leaders to design processes that don’t rely on people jostling for position, but instead assess fairly on someone’s worth.”

    Several employees said that the norms of their upbringing were vital to their success.

    “There was a moment where my mum went back into education later in life and it changed the views of me and my sister about what was really achievable,” said Catriona. “She became the breadwinner after university and suddenly the family dynamic changed. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do what I’ve done if I hadn’t seen that.”

    Lubov Krasicova, leader of the Automated Test Team, also saw her childhood as crucial. “In Ukraine we have a communist heritage,” she said. “At that time, a lot of women began to work in technical professions so it was normal. My mother-in-law was a rocket constructor.”

    Solving this problem requires making changes now, to improve things for future generations.

    Erica Donnelly, a Report Developer in Professional Services, said how, “Starting early and having an exposure to the subjects is obviously important. Even though I went to an all-girls school the subjects weren’t gendered, I got to learn about woodwork, soldering, electronics.

    “Later in life, getting women into more powerful roles will provide a role model and an aspiration for younger generations. Knowing you can enter into a role because you have someone who is already there is so powerful.”

    A powerful discussion also identified both being undervalued or joked about, and employers who wouldn’t let them balance work and family, as barriers to women fulfilling their full potential in tech.

    Tansy Sheehy, Customer Service Director, encouraged women to go for it because, “The tech field doesn’t have a criteria you have to fit”.

    You can watch the full discussion here:

    International Women’s Day 2021 comes at a challenging time. While female doctors and heads of state leading the charge against the pandemic have been put in the spotlight, globally, women’s job losses due to Covid-19 were 1.8 times greater than men’s, while mothers were 50% more likely than fathers to have permanently lost or quit their jobs.

    At BigChange we’re proud to promote these conversations, and to set testing goals for ourselves to get more women into tech.

    Five-time Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockcroft MBE tells BigChange Motivational Monday audience about pushing beyond notions of disability

    Soon after Hannah Cockcroft was born, doctors said her parents shouldn’t expect her to walk, talk, or ever live independently.

    Hannah, 28, is now a five-time Paralympic gold medalist. As a sprint wheelchair racer, she is world record holder in her category for the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m.

    On her journey from her Halifax home to the world stage “Choices over challenge” has been Hannah’s mantra.

    Speaking to BigChange’s Motivational Monday audience, she showed how when faced with a challenge, we always have a choice about our attitude and about how to deal with it.

    That ethos has led to great achievements on and off the track. “I get asked a lot what’s the achievement I’m most proud of,” said Hannah,

    “People presume I’m going to say the MBE or my Paralympic medals. But actually it’s my independence, because it’s a thing my parents never expected.”

    Her worldview switched during a visit to her Secondary School from the GB wheelchair basketball team.

    “I will always remember that day. They were able to do everything in these chairs. These guys really changed my mind about what it meant to be a wheelchair user.

    “It was the day a whole new world was opened up to me.” After years doing homework during PE lessons, or keeping score, Hannah discovered “sport was for me”.

    After trying basketball, wheelchair rugby (“I liked the aggression”) and tennis (“I had no hand-eye coordination at all!”), Hannah found her passion in track sprinting.

    By 17, she was a GB athlete and a world-record holder.

    “That was where I came up against the obstacle of classification. You get a number that means when you line up on the start line you’re racing against people with a similar disability to you.”

    “It started a big challenge, because people started to argue I wasn’t racing a fair race.”

    “That was the first time I’d ever been bullied. When you are surrounded by people like you, disabled people, that’s the last place you expect the word bullying to crop up. But I was told to put my head in a bonfire because it’d make the world a better place.”

    Her first reaction was to ask her coach to send her home. But she chose a different way, and went on to become one of the UK’s greatest athletes.

    Hannah’s inspiring story shows that, although we can’t always choose the challenge that faces us, we can always choose how we meet it.

    Watch the full video here:

    Hannah was joined by Daniel Gray, Chairman of Physcap, a Leeds-based charity, working to improve quality of life for children with physical and mental disabilities across Yorkshire.

    Daniel spoke of the tremendous work the charity does for children, and echoed Hannah’s message of giving every child with a disability hope, will to achieve and determination that nothing will beat them.

    As BigChange’s charity partner of the month, Physcap will receive the £1,250 raised so far to further its incredible cause.

    Next month, we’re excited to welcome Janet Street-Porter, the journalist and broadcaster. Our charity partner is Homeless Street Angels, who provide assistance and resources for the homeless in Leeds.

    You can join our event here: https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/7216149348162/WN_fhkHeHcZRX-3UpIpwcgq4A

    We hope to see you then.

    February 2021 – Kevin Sinfield MBE revealed the caring heart inside a man of iron, as he told February’s Motivational Monday that raising more than £2.5m for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) was a bigger achievement than leading Leeds Rhinos to seven Super League championships.

    (more…)

    February 2021 – This week is a big week for me and for the company I founded eight years ago.

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    15 December 2020 – It’s been quite a year. Here are the month-by-month highlights.

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    15 December 2020 – As part of our review of 2020, we cast our minds back to March to see what BigChange did to help workers and customers cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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    15 December 2020 – To finish our round-up of 2020, we look back at how the BigChange family continued to grow this year.

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