Tag Archives: rickter

Nurture soft skills to create a place people love to work

7K0A0223As organisations increasingly recognise the importance of soft skills, the Rickter Scale provides an ideal vehicle to benefit both the employee’s personal growth and the company’s bottom line through soft skill development.

Customer service key to business success

Good standards of customer service are critical to any business success and the soft skills (or lack thereof) of your workforce has a lasting effect on the customer experience. It has been well documented that a happy workforce equals happy customers.

Employees who feel undervalued and overlooked are not conducive to any place of business. People always perform best when they feel appreciated, with their input and achievements being acknowledged. Feeling ‘good’ about work and that they are a valued part of the team helps an employee feel motivated to do their best.

In these busy times, managers can be forgiven for being so caught up in trying to keep on top of business activities that often employees are being ‘left to it’. More than ever it feels there is too little time to spend speaking with staff when there are clients to see, orders to go out or issues to resolve.

However neglect soft skills development at your cost, with recent research by the Development Economics group suggesting this is an area worth £88bn to the UK economy per year, particularly in businesses that rely on face-to-face human interaction.

Tackling the soft skills gap to create a better workplace

The best way to improve soft skills is through the recognition of what they are and then by goal-setting and measuring the subsequent journey.

 Workplace wellbeing can easily be aided by taking some simple steps:

  • Teach your workforce what soft skills are
  • Using the Rickter Scale, work with individuals to recognise their soft skills and determine the steps needed for growth
  • Create a workable action plan, encouraging individuals to build and expand on their soft skills

Working on your team’s soft skills will almost certainly contribute to the productivity and operational efficiency of your organisation or service.

Rickter is the ideal process for helping individuals recognise and develop soft skills such as Leadership, Communication, Resilience and Time Management.

Contact us to request more information on the Nurturing Soft Skills Rickter framework.

What do you do to create a happy workplace? Tweet sharing your ideas @ricktercompany  #Rickter

The Ultimate Rickter Interview

With 15 years experience of using the Rickter Scale, we asked our Director of Operations Nan Wood  for her top tips to accomplishing an effective Rickter Scale interview.

“On training days I often receive positive feedback on my skills when interviewing.  These usually centre around how at ease I am, the tone of my voice and how good my recollection is when I reflect back.  I have to say that most of this comes with practice and perhaps a few things I have picked up over the years of using Rickter.  Believe me when I started, I had the same challenges and worries as everyone else! I thought it might be useful to share what I consider to be my tips for using Rickter effectively.”

  1. After your Practitioner training read all of the handouts, especially the “Rickter Steps” document, to help get the process of the interview clear in your head. Don’t feel that you have to learn the Baseline Profile Questions off by heart, familiarity will come through using them. There is more chance of making mistakes if you try to rush things. Don’t cut corners, stick to the language and the process as you learned it on training.
  1. Think about who you are going to interview first and if you have a choice in this, ask an individual that you know and with whom you have already established rapport.
  1. Prepare for the interview by having all of your resources ready. If you are using an overlay, ensure you have printed off those questions, the recording sheets and Action Plan. Put your resources in the room before the interview, laying them off to the side on a small table if possible, but within reach.
  1. Think about where you are going to do the interview and set up the space to be as user-friendly as possible i.e. chairs in ten-to-two position, handkerchiefs and water. I try to sit on the left of the individual because this enables me to read the headings on the board and acts as my prompt. Make sure you are safe by working with someone and letting them know where you are and how long you plan to be.
  1. Be welcoming to the individual you are going to interview and help them feel at ease. Their first big step may be coming through the door to see you.
  1. Practice your introduction, keeping it simple and explaining the reasons that you are using the Rickter Scale and what you hope the individual will gain from it. Remember to protect yourself and the individual by explaining the service rules of confidentiality and disclosure.
  1. Think about your body language, the tone of your voice and about this being a shared experience. Try to be observant as you go through the Rickter process, watching the individual’s body language. This can lead to you asking additional questions, or if you see distress or agitation it is about asking whether they are okay to continue. You don’t want Rickter to be a negative experience, so always remember to offer choice.
  1. Remember the individual is the expert on themselves, you simply have to listen and value what is being shared with you. Don’t panic over reflecting back by putting barriers up in your head, where all you are thinking about is that you have a terrible memory. Reflect back only what you have heard and not your own opinions. Bear in mind the individual is sharing in this process and will help you to recollect if necessary.
  1. Record the Action Plan and help make the steps for the individual small and achievable. If they can complete the first step, they will be encouraged to move forward and see the impact this has on the rest of their lives. Make sure you explain this is an ongoing process and set a date for the review before they leave the first interview. Record the interview data. This evidence is there not only for the individual’s progress, but also to demonstrate the work you are doing and your service provision. It may even help you to keep your job secure by demonstrating good practice to help gain funding.

10. Ensure that you have support from line management. You need to know that you have someone to talk with and share how you feel if you have a particularly challenging interview, but it’s also good to share and celebrate those positive outcomes. Remember too that we are always here to support you and we like to hear of the positive effect Rickter has too. Knowing you have this should help to build confidence.

I hope these tips help as you are using the Rickter Scale and if you have any to add, we are always open to learning.

Nan Wood, Director of Operations

Launch of new Rickter Appraisal System

Appraiser Training A new way of undertaking staff appraisal, our system benefits Management and Staff, helping achieve positive outcomes for the organisation as a whole.

Having just delivered our first Rickter Appraiser training, we are very pleased with how well it has been received:

“Excellent course, I will recommend it to others”

“As the Rickter Appraiser System is a positive focus, it will promote positive teams and very realistic goals”

This training focuses solely on staff appraisal using the Rickter Staff Appraisal System which has been developed around the Rickter Scale Process.

Through our experience and from feedback received on training evaluations, we identified a common gap exists around managers/supervisors delivery of staff appraisals/supervision. Quite often people have earned promotions and moved through a service or company and although they know their organisation systems extremely well, they have never received any kind of training around carrying out staff appraisal.

We are promoting the Rickter Appraiser training to address this skills shortfall and to offer a formal method for reporting positive staff outcomes and good practice. Some organisations are unhappy with the appraisal systems they currently have in place and are looking for a simple and effective replacement. We know that the Rickter Staff Appraisal System works, having used it very successfully within our own employee management programme for a number of years now.

The one day Rickter Appraiser course is ideal not only for those new to employee management, but also for anyone wishing to enhance their existing skills and implement a more formal system of appraisal and staff engagement.

The training costs £195.00 per person which includes a Rickter Scale Appraiser Board and access to the online Rickter Appraiser IMS (Information Management System) for recording action plans and outcomes. Lunch and refreshments are also included.

On completion of the training, you will receive a certificate to use Rickter in the capacity of staff appraisal and will leave equipped with all the tools you need to implement a new Appraisal System that straight away will help build motivation, helping create a stronger workforce.

Please complete our webform to register an interest in accessing future courses. Be sure to state your location and the number of places you would provisionally require.

Thank you so much to our first participants, Jan and George. We very much appreciate your input and feedback.

Making an Impact: Moore House Care and Education

PSI Worker and young person in the Throughcare service.

PSI Worker and young person in the Throughcare service.

Moore House Care and Education is an independent organisation in Scotland that specialises in the provision of high quality child care and education services for young people between the ages of 11 and 18 years who have additional support needs because of the social, emotional and behavioural challenges they face.

The Psychological Services and Intervention (PSI) team have been using the Rickter Scale® since 2005 to support and motivate young people to make positive lifestyle changes and to measure outcomes following periods of intervention.

Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) was introduced by the Scottish Government following a review of the Children’s Hearings System in 2004. This national policy and programme requires all agencies in touch with children and young people to play their part in making sure they are healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included and, above all, safe. Working together with families and local authorities, Moore House are using the Rickter Scale® to help practitioners focus on what makes a positive difference for young people, and how they can act to deliver these improvements. Supporting a positive shift in culture, systems and practice across the organisation, the Rickter Scale® has become central to the driving and evidencing outcomes of care and education planning. Regular reviews of Child Plan progress is promoting a shared approach and accountability that builds solutions with and around young people and families. The Rickter Scale® allows us to clearly evidence the positive outcomes that we achieve during a young person’s placement at Moore House.

Having noted the potential benefits for using Rickter Scale® with staff, Lead Practitioners within Moore House are now using the tool to support new staff through their initial induction period and as an aid to ongoing support and supervision.

PSI are now providing psychological assessment, intervention and consultation to external local authority child care agencies and foster families. For more information see our website; www.moorehouse.org.uk or contact Stephen Drysdale (PSI Manager) on 01506 652 312.

Moore House

Work in Wales

Rickter Interview - Practice SessionI have been delivering quite a lot of training in Wales, some of it to Workways who tackle the barriers that prevent individuals from finding employment. The project provides support with job searching, CVs, application forms, interview skills, telephone techniques and access to training. Participants are also matched with local businesses, helping them gain the vital experience needed to find long term employment.

Practitioners will use the Lifeboard to help the individuals they are supporting identify the barriers that are preventing them from  getting into employment and training, but also to structure an achievable Action Plan to help them move forward.

Led by Neath Port Talbot Council in collaboration with Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and City and County of Swansea, the South West Workways project is backed with £12.6 million from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Through this work partnerships have also managed to access funding and as a result I have been in Cardiff delivering Rickter Multi Agency Training events for individuals and smaller groups. I am currently looking forward to the next event of this type in Cardiff next week. 

Positive Outcomes from the Bulgaria Conference


Keith and I returned to Plevin, Bulgaria for the Sustained Employment Project conference on the 8th July.  We were given a very warm welcome by Elena Ivanova-Kiritsova and Penka Spasova who have been managing the project and also by the Practitioners who have been doing all of the interviews. Over the past year we have built up wonderful friendships with this group of very professional people. The conference was well attended by representatives from various partner agencies and government departments.

When originally developed the Sustained Employment Model was to look at how we could support unemployed people by using the Rickter Scale® to access training and employment. For those who were employed it would be used to help them maintain and grow within their work situation. With this in mind 650 people were interviewed; 300 unemployed, 300 employed and 50 employers. This work was undertaken by 10 Practitioners, expertly managed by Elena and Ira Nikolova. The role of the Rickter Company was to train these experts and help them develop a dedicated overlay of questions to engage with clients and evidence the work being done. The group met in Newcastle for a consultation and introduction to the model and later were trained in Plevin.

BG Trg Group


The Practitioners had to find the people to participate in the project and then conduct the initial interview and review interviews, all within a period of five months. The Rickter Company monitored the practice of these experts. The outcomes from the interviews have been excellent and the Practitioners stood up at the conference and gave their feedback of the impact that it had on people’s lives and a few case studies of their experiences in using the Rickter Scale®. Identifying choice was one area that stood out as being an important factor for some of the unemployed people and for employers it was raising awareness of the importance of supporting and valuing staff. One unemployed person who had been supported by the project gave very positive feedback on his experience of being on the receiving end of the Rickter Board. 

We were interviewed by the press before the conference, as this model is being used to feed back results to the Department of Labour and is an important and innovative way of working that has never been used in Bulgaria before.

Keith gave an informed presentation on the outcome of the final report and I talked about the positive work of everyone involved and gave examples of where Rickter is being used in different arenas within our work in the UK and other parts of Europe.  At this point I must say that had it not been for our expert translator, Kalina Ilieva perhaps things might not have gone so smoothly! Elena and Penka spoke of the importance of the outcomes of using Rickter and the impact it was having on the people of Plevin; 14% of the participants who were unemployed have gained employment.  Elena also spoke about how this model could have an impact on the whole of Bulgaria and the way people in services work.


This project has been such a success that we have been invited to participate in a new one starting in August that will see Rickter offered to young people to gain entrepreneurial skills.

You can read the final Project Report here

Nan Wood, Director of Operations


What is coming up for Rickter in 2013?

What is coming up for Rickter in 2013?

Well for me at the moment it reads like a European Tour! I am off to Bulgaria in January to do a monitoring visit for the practitioners who are working on the Rickter Sustained Employment Model in Plevin.

flightIn February I’m heading back to Bulgaria with Keith, this time to the capital of Sofia to have a meeting with our European Partners around the Mobility Project we are working on. At the end of the month it will be over to Carpi in Italy to monitor our Italian Practitioners and have a meeting with our Transfer of Innovation Partners to look at how using the Rickter Scale is progressing in Italy, Greece and Germany and also to start planning our conference. Look out for it!  It will be held at Northumberland University Campus in Newcastle on the 4th September.

In March I will be off to Dublin, delivering some Rickter Scale Training. Please contact us on 01463 717177 if you would be interested in attending this open course, which is scheduled for the 7th March.

Later on in March I will be returning to Bulgaria again to monitor progress and offer support to our practitioners.

Romania calls in June for Keith and myself, as part of our Grundtvig Partnership where we are exploring support mechanisms for parents and professionals who are supporting children affected by social/media addiction.

September brings our Transfer of Innovation Project to an end and we will have everyone in Newcastle for this.

Meanwhile we will all be busy delivering training in the UK and working on new developments and the promotion of Rickter. I wonder when Rick made the first board on his kitchen table whether he thought it would become so far travelled….

Work Programme

Rick HutchinsonIt seems that there are more people applying for less jobs than ever before. There are many providers doing great work to meet the governments targets who are struggling to come anywhere near what is expected of them to get their payment by results.

So if they do not succeed does that mean they have failed?

On one level I guess they have – in terms of getting paid from the government, however what about all the good work they have done to get their clients ” Opportunity Ready”! That is improving their self esteem, confidence, CV writing and interview skills etc. Surely we have to give them not just credit for this work, but also financial help to continue to work with a difficult client group so that when the job market picks up they will then see the fruits of their labour when their clients are “Opportunity Ready”?

How do we measure these soft outcomes? Look no further than the Rickter Scale process. It is designed to assess, motivate and provide such evidence to funders and demonstrate value for money. We welcome enquiries from providers so we can help them to help others to tackle the unemployment situation with a new confidence and so that they can now demonstrate their effectiveness.

Customising Rickter

Rickter Scale has been very successful with organisations that have managed its implementation. Those organisations realise how important it is to use appropriate questions for the individuals they are working with. This ensures the questions have a purpose, motivate the individual empowering them to take control and also give the added value of supplying the right evidence to funders.

Now it could be that the Lifeboard (original headings supplied on all Rickter Boards) hits the mark (it’s my personal favourite), but perhaps a Basic Skills or School overlay from our existing collection is the best one. We have a huge selection of overlays that you can browse on our website http://www.rickterscale.com/what-we-do/overlays

Rickter Overlays

However have you thought about a fully customised overlay that will tick all your boxes? It only costs an additional £35 to have a bespoke overlay developed and supplied with its own custom software, and the turnaround is very quick.

Why not have a look at some examples on our website which can help provide a first step to devising your own version? To go ahead with producing a custom overlay please send an outline of the ten headings and questions as you would like them to info@rickterscale.com

We’ll review your format and come back to you with any suggestions before it receives final approval and is allocated with a unique overlay order code.

We’re happy to provide as much input as you want to get the overlay that’s going to work best for you. For more assistance please call our office or get in touch with me direct – we’ll be happy to help.