Why do staff leave?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

In 2018 we published an article that discussed why staff leave, reviewing and comparing turnover rates and the most common reasons staff cited when interviewed upon exit, as the reason for moving on.

 

Back then the 5 main reasons for staff leaving were reported as:

  1. Not the right culture fit – employees felt that their personality or work style did not mesh with that of the business or their co-workers or that the company did not align with their personal values.
  2. Unhealthy working environment –some businesses were deemed to be guilty of not providing a work environment which meets regulatory standards.
  3. Below-average compensation – Employees felt (whether rightly or wrongly) that they were not being compensated enough for their role.
  4. Lack of progression and opportunity – Some employees felt that they were not being given the opportunities to progress that they deserved. This may have been down to the employee themselves, but also to poor people management and a lack of structure to support progression and development.
  5. Poor management – having the wrong person in charge of a team can always lead to poor culture and poor productivity.

 

In the last 12-18 months, according to new research published by the Chamber of Commerce, there has been an increase in the number of people leaving their jobs, especially within small businesses.

 

 

In 2019, 42.1 million people left their job at a small business, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with the pandemic, employment numbers have only declined.

 

In this article, there are seven commons reasons listed, for employees to leave, which include:

  1. The pandemic resulted in layoffs
  2. More people retired during the pandemic
  3. Women left their jobs to care for and educate children
  4. Higher-taxes are pushing people to move
  5. Employees leave in search of a more flexible schedule
  6. Bosses are often behind a decision to leave
  7. Employees are apt to leave without career advancement

 

The article explores the motivations behind each of these reasons, but I wanted to highlight the one noticeable absence from this latest list. That of Cultural misalignment.

 

So much research has been done in regards to Talent Attraction, by the likes of Deloitte and Gartner over the last few years, and given that anyone leaving a company, for whatever reason, is also looking for a set of criteria in a new position. In that respect Culture has been a prevalent item at the top of the list, in every report that I have read.

 

Providing a genuine caring culture, with company wellness and wellbeing  schemes, mental health support, etc is certainly high on the agenda for millennials.

 

We have also noted a strong desire by the younger generations to work for ethical and environmentally sensitive organisations that align with their own beliefs.

 

Both articles provide interesting insights and the latest Chambers article paints a bleak picture in many respects, especially around the impact of the pandemic.

 

That said, it still acts as a reality check to all SME business owners and Talent Managers of why people and talent look to leave your organisation.

Mark Stephens


Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 10 years. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers - Innovation in Business award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, CareersPage Ltd, The HR Resource Library and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd. Smart Recruit Online is the winner of 7 national and international awards for recruitment innovation.


How to Improve Workflow in the Office in 7 Surprising Ways
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Here we cover how to improve workflow in the office in 7 surprising ways.

 

Everybody says it’s better to “work smart” than to work hard. While we believe you should do both, let’s think about working smart for a second. What does that actually mean? For too many people, working smart entails cutting corners, lowering standards, and trying to slack off as much as possible while hoping your boss won’t notice. Basically doing as little work as possible. This, besides being unethical, is wrong (at least partly).

 

Working smart means achieving the results you want, accomplishing your goals, and finishing projects, while investing as little energy and as few resources as possible. You still get the job done, you do what you’re supposed to do, you just making it easier for yourself and others. This is almost synonymous with getting a better daily workflow.

 

Two people high fiving representing teamwork to improve workflow in the office

 

Improving how stuff is done, whether your’s specifically or your team’s, is all about efficiency and working smart. Below we give you some tips, tricks, and examples of how you can do just that.

 

1. Encourage healthy and productive habits

Small, daily habits can build up. The small things we do every single day for weeks, months, years, reflect upon a company’s productivity much more than some fantastic new system or hair-brained scheme.

 

For example, you can point out that people should go for a walk while on their breaks. Instead of staring at a phone, people will feel much better if they get some fresh air (according to this Business Journals article).

 

Encourage physically active breaks and healthy habits at the office. People should drink plenty of water and maybe opt for some healthy snacks. Fill up your rec room with fruits, nuts, and granola bars.

 

As far as actual assignments go, promote a distraction-free environment. Don’t ban smartphones, but encourage people to keep them in their pockets when work is being done.

 

2. Prioritisation matters

Similar to our previous point, knowing how things are done, and what needs to be done first, is pretty important for your organisation. So, sit down with your team, and talk it out. Have a very clear idea of what are the most important tasks that need to be done, and who needs to do them.

 

The words 'to do list' on a desk

While the actual workflow will vary from company to company, there are some general principles you can check out. We strongly suggest you try out Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important chart. You write down a list of tasks you need to do. Then, you figure out which one of them falls into which category. Tasks can be:

  • Urgent, and important – top priority tasks
  • Urgent, not important – tasks that need to be delegated, rescheduled, or somehow minimized in the future
  • Not urgent, but important – personal, fulfilling tasks that you should still find time for
  • Not urgent, not important – distractions and busy work that needs to be eliminated.

 

3. Breaks are not the devil

Many of you diehard entrepreneurs out there might balk at the idea, but breaks are actually good for you (and your employees). High-level motivation and a ride-or-die attitude are all well and good, but if you’re wondering how to improve workflow in the office, taking a break will improve efficiency and workflow significantly.

 

People need breaks, they need to rest. A solid lunch break, with a couple of short breaks throughout the day, can mean the world. People get the opportunity to recharge their batteries, stretch their legs, and can get back to work fresh and invigorated. Check out this Forbes report on scientific studies that deal with stress and breaks.

 

If you force your people, and yourself, to work for hours on end, your work will suffer. You may not notice it, but you will become less and less efficient as time goes on, and you might start making mistakes. The best workflow and organization setup won’t help if you are too tired to focus.

 

4. Train and educate your people

People in training to improve workflow in the office

If you want to get a heads up on your workflow in the office, focus on training and educating people. Investing in seminars, courses, and proper instructors can yield amazing benefits. Studies show that it increases self-worth and motivation, not just their relevant skill. The best part is that you can pick and choose a seminar that fits your needs the best, allowing you to maximize workflow and efficiency.

 

For example, if you have noticed that productivity is lacking because people are procrastinating with their tasks and are losing motivation, getting a motivational speaker or investing in a seminar on goal setting might help.

 

You can also get an expert to come to your company and help everyone with becoming more efficient. An outsider might notice some issues, they might give you advice on problems and weak spots that you never noticed before.

 

Finally, helping your people improve their skills and get better at their jobs (through courses and seminars) means everything will run more smoothly. It will show them that you care about their careers and their skills, thus further improving efficiency by improving motivation.

 

5. Get the right tools for the job

Another way to improve workflow in the office is investing in the right tools. Now, these can seriously depend on your field of expertise and the actual industry your company is in. We do however have some suggestions.

 

First of all, things need to be efficient. We suggest you get a centralized messaging app for the entire company. Get some alternatives to Slack, and use it exclusively for communication. Communicating over email, an app, skype, Facebook, Whatsapp, and whatever else means you will most likely lose some important data and make mistakes.

 

Invest in good computers too. There is nothing more stressful than a slow work laptop. This goes for any type of equipment your people need to do their jobs.

 

6. Efficient multitasking is a myth

No, you cannot multitask, according to science. Doing multiple things at once means you will do all of them worse than actually dedicated your full attention to one task at a time. Your brain will overload from all that extra data, and you will miss out on important aspects of work.

 

A laptop with the words 'do not disturb' on it

 

Try to have set “do not disturb” hours for especially difficult and important projects.

 

7. Learn how to communicate

Proper communication improves every aspect of your business. The better you can communicate, the lower the chances of having misunderstandings and confusion arise at the workplace. You also become better at motivating your employees, as well as connecting with them.

 

This tip might be the hardest to figure out, but it’s not impossible. Check out some courses, read an article or two, buy some books, find specific google videos… Just take your time, and try to think outside of the box.

 

Conclusion

And there you have it folks, a couple of unexpected ways on how to improve workflow in the office. Think outside of the box, better efficiency isn’t that obvious. Getting the most difficult part of the job right away, learning how to communicate, investing in proper tools, and actually taking breaks will help you, and your team, do your jobs better.

Lena Hemsworth



4 Ways to Support Your Employees as They Return to the Office
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

It seems near impossible to imagine a life past the pandemic, but as more vaccines become available and widespread immunity increases, companies and employers need to prepare to safely and effectively bring employees back to the office. While the landscape of the workplace has drastically changed and some will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future, many will choose to come back to the office partially or full time. There are a number of strategies that workplaces can implement to ensure that their employees feel supported if and when they return to the office.

 

1. Create a Timeline to Return

The shift between home and office is going to be a slow one. As an employer, you’ll need to anticipate that it will take your employees at least a few weeks to ensure that their affairs are in order. Stay transparent with your employees about the timeframe in which they can expect to return to the office. Give them a projected date as soon as possible, even if it is subject to change. If they know that a return to the office is imminent, people can begin to make plans for things like childcare and pet sitting. These arrangements can sometimes take weeks to secure. Some may even need to figure out their method of transportation once again.

 

 

When deciding when and how to return, you might consider creating a hybrid schedule. This could mean that certain teams come in on two days out of the week, while other teams come in on the opposite two days, and you use a day in between as a completely virtual day. Or it could mean that everyone is in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Tuesday and Thursday are your virtual days. Whatever you choose to establish as your new schedule, make sure it is consistent and communicated to your employees in advance.

 

Employees will also need time to adjust the routines that they’ve developed while staying home. Some of the luxuries of working from home, like waking up late, midday workouts, and cooking every meal have become normal parts of the day. People will have to return to waking up with time for the commute and preparing meals in advance. It may be helpful to suggest to employees that they should get back into these habits prior to returning to the office, this way the change does not feel so drastic. It might even be helpful for employees to start using a habit tracker to make the transition easier and more successful.

 

2. Provide a Clean Workspace

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the cleanliness of the office space to the forefront of everyone’s mind. One of the top priorities as an employer should be to make sure your employees are not only comfortable in their work environment, but to make sure they stay healthy. Keeping the physical office space disinfected shows your employees that their safety is a major concern.

 

Focus on keeping your high-touch surfaces clean to abate the spread of germs. High-touch surfaces are exactly what the term would imply; the surfaces that are touched by the most people multiple times a day. These can include doorknobs, light switches, hand scanners, faucets, kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Consider setting a reminder in the morning, midday, and evening to go around to each area to sanitize. You can also designate a specific one or two people to be in charge of turning on lights and locking and unlocking doors.

 

Consider creating task forces assigned to sanitizing certain areas. Having specific team assignments will safeguard any areas from being overlooked, and will assure the frequency with which each area is being cleaned. You can also assign someone, perhaps on a rotating schedule to make sure you have things like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and paper towels in stock. When it is time to restock, they can place an order to have the cleaning supplies delivered to your office. By keeping employees engaged in the process, they can feel better about their office space knowing that it is cleaned to their own standards.

 

Another way to keep the office cleaner and your employees safer is to eliminate the need for shared items. For example, each employee that requires a phone should have an individual phone or a business number that they can use on their own phone. You can also do things like giving every employee their own box of pens, and making sure that you have enough keyboards and mice that they won’t need to share. Your employees will feel better about coming into work if what they are using is their own and they don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of others.

 

3. Encourage Sick-leave and Doctor’s Visits

A key component to supporting the well-being of your employees is to encourage them to take charge of their health. Attending work while feeling ill is no longer an option. Whether it be a mild cold or something more serious, it isn’t worth coming into the office and potentially spreading an illness to someone else. Not only do you want to try to create an environment where your employees feel confident that they won’t get sick at work, but healthy employees will ensure that you don’t lose any productivity due to multiple absences.

 

Let your staff know that it is acceptable and even encouraged to stay home while ill. As many have learned, viral illnesses can have a range of symptoms and severity. Consider creating a list of concerning symptoms for your employees to reference so that they can easily make the decision of whether or not to stay home. If you’ve been working remotely for a while, they might be able to complete their duties from home if they’re feeling up to it. If they are especially unwell, encourage your employees to take time to rest so that they might recover faster.

 

You should also be supportive of your employees making time to find and utilize healthcare. Simple communication to remind them to stay up-to-date on their medical treatments, checkups, vaccines, and general health can lead to an overall healthier and more productive staff. Visiting a doctor for a severe or continuing illness should be encouraged.

 

4. Support Mental Wellness Initiatives

There is a chain reaction effect that comes from empowering employees to improve or maintain their mental wellbeing. If people are in a healthy headspace, they are more likely to put effort into taking care of other areas of their life, especially their careers. Employees want to feel excited about coming into work, and you can help them do so by letting them know that their mental health is a priority to the company. In fact, one study by TELUS International showed that 80% of the employees surveyed would quit their job if they found another position at a company that placed a higher value on their mental health.

 

 

First and foremost, being transparent about how the mental wellness of your staff is valued will let your employees know that this is a top concern to the company. You can also give your employees a boost by having your HR department, managers, or directors do personal check-ins to make sure that the work environment is not contributing to a decline in someone’s mental state. By having these personal conversations, you can create individual action plans to lower overall stress and relieve certain pain points.

 

You can also implement weekly or monthly activities that might improve personal wellness. Activities such as a virtual yoga class or sharing a healthy recipe can work to boost morale among employees and get them to take an active role in their health. Even encouraging something like scheduling a fifteen-minute coffee break with a coworker can improve the feelings of connectedness and interaction that working remotely has stripped away.

 

The transition between working from home and returning to the office will undoubtedly be tricky for companies to navigate. Employers have to consider the health and safety of employees, new in-office logistic plans, and the mental and physical adjustments that workers will need to make over time. People have changed their daily workflows and family situations to accommodate remote work, so employers will need to be understanding as workers readjust to life in the workplace. If managed correctly and with care, together we can secure a smooth return back to work.

kyla.martin@smaart.com'
Kyla Martin


Kyla is a Philadelphia-based writer with six years of experience writing in the organisational communications space. She is dedicated to helping companies improve and adjust to better serve their people.


The 5 Major Benefits of HR Software
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

There are many benefits of HR software that make life just a little bit easier in your business.

 

The business world has gotten decidedly more complicated in the last year. With the global pandemic changing how we commute to the “office” and mental health becoming a vital priority for managers and employees alike, the importance of a well-run human resources department has never been more apparent.

 

Improving HR isn’t easy though. The human element creates a wide range of complicated challenges and remote work policies have forced many of these processes into the virtual space rather than face-to-face. Fortunately, you can keep up with the shifting trends of the business world by organizing and digitizing the process with HR software.

 

As with most business tech, HR software is designed to make life a little bit easier for the people on your team. By streamlining daily processes, improving communication, inspiring productivity, providing actionable data, and ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations, the best HR software platforms will give professionals the tools they need to truly get the most out of their team.

 

Not convinced? Well below, we’ll go through five major benefits of HR software that are of the utmost value to your business, particularly during a global pandemic.

 

1. Improved Communication

No, it’s not just for healthy relationships; good communication is equally important to the success of a business. In fact, a study found that 28% of employees cite poor communication as the reason for not being able to deliver work on time.

 

Whether it be coworkers on a project or a manager to their team, you need to find a way to keep the lines of communication open and functional, and that’s essentially the main advantage of HR software.

Three different images of workplace teams smiling and collaborating

The right platform will allow you to stay in touch with your employees on a regular basis with check-ins, provide tools for them to reach out when they need to, and will facilitate praise for a job well done after a completed project.

 

Yes, HR software costs your business money, but keeping employees happy is always a good return on investment. And with 58% of professionals stating that clear and regular communication is the most important factor when it comes to a positive work environment, it’s safe to say that it’s worth the cost.

 

2. Streamlined Recruitment

One of the best ways to ensure that your company is headed in the right direction is a solid recruitment strategy. After all, your company is made up of employees, and those employees had to be recruited at some point, so it stands to reason that your ability to attract and retain talent has a direct and significant impact on the success of your business.

 

This is where HR software can really shine. For one, it allows you to organize your recruitment strategy with meaningful, actionable data right out of the gate. You can tailor searches, filter candidates, and generally streamline the entire process of finding the right candidate.

 

HR software isn’t just about finding new talent either. With the right platform, you’ll be able to establish a promotion funnel that asks and encourages current employees to apply for higher positions. This not only guarantees that your company culture will develop with term employees, but it will also improve morale among employees who see growth as a possibility rather than an obstacle.

 

To be frank, most established companies are already taking advantage of HR software to recruit talent, which is why the best candidates last an average of only 10 days on the market. In fact, 98% of Fortune 500 companies use some kind of recruitment software, and 94% of recruiters say that it has positively impacted their hiring process.

 

3. Actionable Data

Arguably one of the most helpful aspects of any type of online business resource is the ability to track and analyse reports. As any social media CEO could tell you, the value of data is undeniable, and it’s even more helpful when it comes to managing your employees and how they work.

 

HR software tracks a wide range of metrics that can give you the insights you need to really improve your business, including employee turnover, job performance, approval processes, and many more. Understanding this data will not only help you ramp up productivity, but will also show employees that you’re invested in their success.

 

85% of HR professionals believe people analytics are going to be very important in the future

 

Again, it’s hard to deny that this element of HR software isn’t vital, particularly with 85% of HR professionals believing people analytics are going to be very important in the future.

 

4. Keeping You Compliant

It may seem like an innocuous department at your company, but the reality is that HR professionals are granted access to a whole lot of privileged information that should not be made available to the public.

 

Subsequently, HR software that can provide you with the safeguards necessary to stay compliant with state and federal laws in regards to employee privacy can be a serious help for even the most seasoned employees.

 

From pay stubs to medical data, HR software can keep the important information as private as it needs to be, by law. After all, the last thing you want on a Monday is for HIPAA complaints and I-9 fines to start piling up, particularly when lawsuits can reach the millions of dollars range before you know it.

 

5. Inspiring Productivity

HR software isn’t just an online portal for employee benefits and time-off requests. These platforms are incredibly robust and offer a wide range of features that not only helps you manage employees, but also give them the control to manage themselves. As you can imagine, these kinds of empowering features naturally improve productivity, if only because it’s streamlining processes that would otherwise take up someone’s valuable time.

 

Additionally, HR software improves productivity most for, you guessed it, HR professionals. From the ability to delegate tasks, to the inherently distraction-reducing nature of the average HR software, you’ll likely make the job of your HR team infinitely easier simply by installing one of these platforms. And taking the load off your HR employees can be quite beneficial, especially considering 72% of HR professionals are stressed out because of high attrition rates at their business.

 

Simply put, investing in your HR department is going to inspire productivity, because it will give them the tools they need to get the job done, and get it done right.

 

Employees clapping at a talk after being inspired

 

So there you have it, the benefits of HR software far outweigh concerns regarding their effectiveness or cost. By using this kind of software, you will be vastly improving your business performance by making life simpler for your employees.

 

Looking for more ways to improve your business efficiency? Check out our other blog posts.

conor.cawley@smaart.com'
Conor Cawley


Conor Cawley has been a tech writer for over five years. He’s written about everything from HR and project management to tech titans and innovative technologies. In his spare time, Conor performs stand-up comedy events enjoys spending quality time with the family.


Ways to Attract Employees Using your Website
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Are you using your company website to help recruit new talent? Perhaps you have a great Careers Page and update it regularly with current vacancies, but what about the rest of the site? Ways to attract employees on your website go beyond these basic tactics. 

 

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Annie Button


Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.


Keep the Light Burning: How to Motivate Staff Working Remotely
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Working from Home (or WFH) is not a new trend, but 2020 managed to turn it into an everyday reality for lots of people (whether they wanted to or not). This also means we had to adapt to a new way of approaching work connections, communication, and how to motivate staff.

 

(more…)

Erika Rykun


Erika Rykun is a content strategist and producer who believes in the power of networking and quality writing. She’s an avid reader, writer, and runner.


The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The importance of soft skills in the workplace is increasing, particularly as more businesses start to adopt remote working as a permanent option.

(more…)

Luke Smith


Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn't writing you can find him travelling, hiking, or gaming.


4 Ways Employer Branding Videos Get You the Best Applicants
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

In today’s candidate-driven market, a positive, definite employer brand is important for attracting and retaining top talent.

 

With an employer profile, you have numerous opportunities to showcase your companies’ unique brand and culture. Including online employer branding videos in your profile is a brilliant way to communicate your brand to candidates due to the rise in the video.

 

(more…)

Cathal.Doorley@smartrecrooot.com'
Cathal Doorley


Cathal Doorley is the Founder & CEO of Rezoomo.com with over 5 years in the online marketing and web development industry & over 3 years in the recruitment industry. Specialising in employer branding and recruitment marketing.


5 Advantages of an Inclusive Workplace in 2021
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Many businesses experienced a considerable slump through 2020 due to the pandemic, but as the world begins to recover in 2021, companies can see this as an opportunity to develop themselves in new directions. A great place to start is by diversifying your employee base, and creating a more inclusive workplace.

(more…)

Gemma Hart


Gemma Hart is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating in 2016, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts.


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