3 Critical Considerations for Enabling Large-Scale Remote Work
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

We are now well into the COVID-19 pandemic. Borders are closed, public venues are shuttered, and people all over the world are being instructed to stay at home and isolate.  Businesses, meanwhile, are being forced to make the shift to a remote workforce, whether they want to or not.

To be fair, we knew that a telecommuting revolution was coming for quite some time.  Thanks to the advances in networking technology, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected to both colleagues and clients. Moreover, the portability of modern computing hardware and the availability of distributed cloud applications have together created greater worker empowerment than at any other point in modern history.

Unfortunately, the reality is that for many companies, remote work, particularly at the scale demanded by Coronavirus, is extremely challenging. For some, it may even verge on impossible. Even WordPress creator Automattic has found distributed work at such a scale to be difficult, as founder Matt Mullenweg acknowledged in a blog post earlier this month.

“[The situation is] not ideal on any level,” he explained. “Even at a remote-friendly company like Automattic, we rely on in-person team meetups and conferences to strengthen our connections and get work done. For now, we’ve cancelled all work-related travel.”

Given that this pandemic isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, your business will need to deploy the necessary frameworks and policies to support remote staff. Because the alternative is to simply let everything grind to a halt. That’s not really an option.

 

The Cultural Shift Won’t Happen Overnight

In our experience, one of the most significant challenges with telework involves a cultural shift. When you support a remote workforce, you by definition allow everyone a certain level of flexibility. You also provide staff with much greater accountability and freedom than they would have in an office.

What we’re saying here is that micromanagers have no place in a distributed workforce, nor do traditional office hours. Outside of scheduling occasional meetings and touch-bases, you should allow your employees to work when, where, and how they choose. Offer them your trust, and hold them accountable for meeting their deadlines and fulfilling their responsibilities.

You might be surprised at how well they excel.

That said, distributed work is not for everyone. You’re bound to have a few staff who find the isolation stifling, even harmful to their mental health. Make sure to foster enough of a sense of community that people can easily connect with and reach out to one another, whether via a videoconferencing platform like Zoom or a chat app like Slack.

 

Mental Health

 

Decentralized Cybersecurity is a Must

As you might expect, remote work takes the idea of the traditional security perimeter and blows it out of the water. While there’s still a place for firewalls, access controls, and network security, these measures on their own are no longer enough. If you’re to enable remote employees in a way that keeps your data safe, you’ll also need the following.

  • File-centric security. Your IT department should have the ability to control, extend, and rescind file access and permissions with relative ease, and this functionality should be layered over sensitive assets in such a way that it does not interfere with workflows.
  • Secure tunnels. In the event that your staff must access on-site resources, you’ll want a means of protecting that remote access, such as a VPN, a virtual server, or an encrypted remote desktop.
  • Additional security software for staff. This may include a password manager, access to a premium antivirus, etc.
  • Mindfulness and accountability. Provide your staff with free access to documentation and training materials to help them recognize common phishing scams, especially those that try to leverage the fears of COVID-19.

 

Understand That This Could Be the New Normal

The world has already been forever changed by Coronavirus. Even once the pandemic dies down and the dust settles, telework will remain a fixture in many businesses, not just a competitive advantage but a baseline offering. While some staff will most definitely leap at the chance to return to the office and get back to business as usual, many others will continue working from home offices and other locales.

Don’t fight it. Embrace it. You have everything to gain from a distributed workforce, including and especially access to talent which might otherwise be inaccessible in a more traditional workplace.

 

About The Author

Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Max Emelianov


Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.


How To Build A Culture Of Access At Work & Harness The Power Of Disabled Staff 
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

According to the Office of National Statistics, almost half of all disabled people in the UK are unemployed (46 per cent). Considering that there is thought to be nearly 8 million people in the country with some type of disability, that is a massive number of undervalued and underutilised people.

It, therefore, seems logical to ask ‘Why are so many disabled people unemployed?’ The answer is, unfortunately, because there is still a certain amount of stigma around disabled people. Many businesses and hiring managers are likely to think of a disabled employee as an inconvenience at best, and an unnecessary expense at worst.

But thankfully, such stigmas and mentalities are starting to fade away. Especially because of the — as studies have shown — tangible economic benefits that are enjoyed by companies that have already invested in disabled talent.

 

workplace wellbeing

 

A success story

While there is some truth that a disabled candidate may need some adjustments to help them in a typical workplace, most of these adjustments are inexpensive and very minor. And this could make all the difference between hiring a disabled person with the relevant skills and the right attitude, or just another able-bodied candidate.

In the engineering sector, the company Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure came to that realisation back in 2016. So they reformed their hiring policies in the hopes of building what we would now commonly call a “culture of access”. According to Dawn Moore, the company’s HR director, the reforms have benefited progress immensely. Wins include an increase in recommendations from 50 – 95 per cent; greater feelings of respect and inclusivity from line managers, and a near total agreement amongst employees that the company has their wellbeing as number one priority.

The company is now seeking ‘Leader’ status. That is, an official recognition by the UK government that a company is committing itself to building a culture of access within its walls.

 

workplace culture

 

‘Disability Confident’ and the campaign for greater inclusivity

The ‘Leader’ status is part of a hierarchy of status-levels recognised by the UK government’s Disability Confident scheme. When it was first implemented, Disability Confident openly sought to encourage employers to recruit workers with disabilities.

Initially, a lot of questions were asked about how the scheme could ever hope to be reasonably successful. After all, many businesses feared major adjustments would be necessary to their workplaces. There were also misgivings about the different approaches that would need to be adopted more generally to promote inclusivity.

These are legitimate obstacles for businesses that won’t go away overnight, but that hasn’t deterred the more-than 16,000 British companies that have already signed up to the ‘Committed’ level. At this level, companies have declared a promise that they will take active measures to recruit and hold on to disabled workers.

Committed is the lowest form of recognition by Disability Confident. After that is ‘Employer’ status followed by Leader status — the final level. In order to become a Leader, a business must prove that it has demonstrated a positive influence on having recruited disabled people into its workforce.

 

The benefits of the ‘culture of access’ at work

The benefits of a culture of access don’t stop with helping disabled people into the world of work. They reach every employee in the business. Once the mentality of inclusivity is introduced into a workplace, people tend to become more aware of the needs of others, full stop. It encourages greater levels of support for all employees and a greater sensitivity to others who may be undergoing changing family or health situations.

Lastly, as more people are waking up to the fact that disabled people, much like the general population, come with incredible individual talents and strengths of their own, the untapped disabled workforce may be a lifeline to many key industries at home.

The British engineering sector, for example, has been in a free-fall recruitment crisis since before 2016. With the curtain suddenly lifted on a standing army of nearly 4 million people, it becomes obvious that such skills shortages and recruitment problems only have to be an issue if we, as a society, let them be.

At the moment none of the Leader-status businesses under Disability Confident are in the construction and industry sector — in fact, very few of them have anything to do with technology. This attitude will have to change soon for these businesses to avoid a deep crisis. But the key to success remains remarkably simple: it is all about creating a workspace where everyone — including disabled people — can work, thrive, and most importantly stay, with a business.

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly equipment. 

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


Under Pressure: Do We Thrive Or Choke When Stressed?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

All of us are under pressure at some point in our lives. Chronic, or long-term stress is often the result of high-expectations; usually in a job role. Other ‘acute’ moments of stress may be single-events. This could be having to give a speech, make a presentation, or meet a tight deadline. It is how we deal with the pressure that is important, and that which has captivated psychologists in recent years.

 

A tale of two mindsets

Most people can be divided up into two camps. There are those with a ‘positive’ stress mindset and those with a ‘negative’ stress mindset. If you ever attended university, you might recognise the positive stress-heads. The ones who crammed an entire paper or exam’s worth of notes into one long-night before the deadline. These are the people who tend to think of stress as a challenge. They use it as an opportunity to strengthen motivation, sharpen the mind, and really achieve something.

In contrast, those with ‘negative’ stress mindsets view the entire phenomenon as unpleasant and negative. Not surprisingly, this view is harmful to the body. People with negative mindsets are more likely to engage in self-deprecating humour, which actually invokes more distress. Worse, they tend to go into a situation admitting defeat. When a person already has low expectations of themselves and the work they are doing, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The sufferer tends to sink down to those low expectations.

 

Making the negative positive 

It isn’t surprising that positive mindset-people are less likely to be stressed out in the wake of difficult life events. But there is hope for their negative peers — because there are ways to unlearn the negative mindset. For example, after listening to a presentation on how stress is actually a good thing, even the most negatively minded people performed better when placed under stressful situations.

Another — albeit strange — remedy for negative stress is to get scared instead. Studies have shown that watching horror movies can temporarily calm the brain, and “recalibrate” emotions. In fact, the more stressed a person was before watching a film, the calmer they felt afterwards.

Time pressure also has the curious quality of being able to make people act more like themselves and to improve decision-making. One study by Fandong Chang and Ian Krajbich forced their volunteers into making tough decisions with money. The more selfish individuals acted more selfishly under time pressure, and the more prosocial people acted more socially. Perhaps crucially, the same study found that, under great time pressure, the experts often make the correct decisions.

 

Under pressure, together

Impending moments of acute stress can be very unpleasant, even for more positively minded people. Impending moments can be as varied as a surgeon waiting to go into surgery theatre, to a singer anxiously stepping out in front of a large audience to perform.

What can make the difference between thriving and choking? Research suggests that a text message from a close friend, family member or partner really can help a lot. One study, carried out by psychologist Emily Hooker, found that a simple text message can help to reduce heart rates and blood pressure. The message doesn’t even have to be particularly supportive! Even generic messages work, as long as they remind the brain that there’s someone out there who cares, regardless of what it is they are saying. In the event that no message is received, just visualising someone who you can rely on also works to calm the brain.

Other, not-so-obvious ways to bring down stress in the workplace is to simply make support services available. In a similar way to the mundane text messages above, employees don’t even have to use any of the services for their stress levels to drop. Just knowing that there are counsellors or equipment, or systems in place is enough to reduce the negative mindset of stress.

 

Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK

 

The razor-thin difference between success and failure

A common occurrence in high-profile sporting events is for a sportsperson to suddenly choke under pressure. This phenomenon happens when the pressure becomes overwhelming and can lead to a rapid deterioration in technical ability. Male athletes are more than twice as likely to choke when the pressure gets too much. This is because men suffer bigger spikes in the stress-related hormone cortisol when they become stressed.

But there is another stress-related phenomenon in high-profile sports that you might not know about. It is the opposite of choking — psychologists call it ‘clutch performance’. Athletes who experience clutch performance excel under pressure, not the other way round. An analysis of athletes who all showed signs of clutch performance reported feeling completely involved in their task. They become unaware of everything except their objectives — even the audience. But the most important thing that each of the athletes described was this: in such circumstances, they visualise success and never thought about what the consequences would be if they failed.

This feeds back into recent research carried out by the psychologist Vikram Chib. Vikram concluded that altering how you look at the stakes can dramatically reduce the chances of choking. It really is mind over matter, in many cases.

 

Conclusion

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have either a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ stress mindset. This can greatly determine your behaviour in times of pressure. The former naturally have it easier, but not to worry. Negative stress can be unlearned and even turned into a positive thing.

There is still much research to be done but, in the meantime, if you happen to be facing a particularly difficult situation, why not try embracing it — as an opportunity to thrive, develop and grow — and imagine first and foremost, that you have already succeeded?

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of De-Risk, a strategic programme risk management company based in Surrey, UK.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


Large vs Small Businesses: Which Is Better For Your Mental Health?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Many of us — an estimated 10 million in Britain — work in medium-to-large sized organisations. Companies which employ between 250 and 1,000 staff. But the most common source of employment remains small businesses. And very small businesses at that: about 13 million Brits earn their living in organisations with workforces that average around just five people.

Obviously, as anyone who has made the jump from small to large business (or vice versa) can tell you, life can be very different at these two ends of the employment spectrum. But which is better for employee wellbeing and mental health? As it stands, far more research has been compiled on the functions of large businesses, the government’s own civil servants, in particular. But with investigations of small businesses finally catching up, a picture is beginning to emerge that might reveal a definite answer.

 

The power of trust

Large organisations, which often have more money to invest, often provide valuable training and avenues for their employees’ development and progression. Yet at the same time, employees tend to be suspicious of larger companies and trust them less. This may be down to two reasons: one is a simple matter of size and communication. That it is difficult to always communicate clearly to larger bodies of teams. The second is that larger corporations can be more ‘political’, with their being inevitable winners and losers divided along these political lines.

To contrast this with smaller business or self-employed workers, there are much higher levels of trust, job satisfaction and job involvement. But there are also higher levels of conflict between the spheres of home and work. In the initial advantages of flexible home working and more autonomy, there are also jarring gender differences. With women tending to be more than likely the ones with the highest home/work conflict.

While it is true that more autonomy and control over one’s work can help to reduce stress levels. The problem is that small business-based workers report having so much more of it. And with these heavier workloads comes — paradoxically — raised cortisol (stress) levels. Small business-based workers have also reported increased loneliness and isolation than their larger-organisational counterparts.

 

Company Culture

 

 

The power of performance

As larger organisations struggle to communicate with their employees. It should not be surprising that they also struggle to recognise the individual contributions of their hardest workers. The resulting effect is that people often feel like they are nothing more than invisible cogs in a huge machine. Efforts to identify hard work, such as performance management systems and KPIs, are only understood to have short term benefits. In the long run, asymmetric salaries, bonuses, and promotions, only serve to punish and demoralize workers who feel they’ve been left behind.

Competitive cultures can make the workplace an unpleasant environment, and drive out pro-social behaviour. And if the competition is valued above learning and development this can lead to what is known as ‘knowledge hoarding’. Where team members guard the secrets to their success to ward off rivals.

Mastery Climates

Small businesses, on the other hand, tend to lean toward so-called ‘mastery climates’, which are the opposite of knowledge hoarding ones. Here people are encouraged to emphasise learning and collaborations with co-workers. Yet that doesn’t mean mastery climates are only available to small businesses. On the contrary, such a climate can be replicated by local managers able to implement model knowledge sharing behaviours by putting a great degree of trust in the employees. In large organisations, positive organisation and support can go a great deal to overcome the conflict that can come about in hierarchies.

 

The power of ‘job crafting’

It seems that there are not a lot of opportunities to determine what and how the work is done in larger, hierarchical businesses. The result is that work is often fragmented into smaller pieces for employees to work on. Who then fail to realise the bigger picture and the true meaning of the work carried out.

‘Job crafting’ has been shown to be effective in helping to not only retain staff. But also in engaging them and enhancing their happiness levels. Crafting in itself does nothing to reduce the demands of the job, but it does force employees to think about the resources they have and to engage and use them more effectively. This type of crafting is more familiar with smaller businesses (though it isn’t a guarantee), but there is no reason why it couldn’t be implemented into larger businesses under local managers as well.

Job crafting also encourages greater co-operation and dialogue between employees. And can help to unravel a toxic work atmosphere and reduce feelings of isolation in smaller businesses.

 

Some thoughts and reflections

There are advantages and disadvantages to working in both large organisations and smaller businesses. It is too simplistic and unfair to say that working in large hierarchical businesses is bad for employees within them. After all, working freelance, or for small companies can also be depleting and bad for mental health. What is crucial to good mental health, is that all employees recognise or find meaning in what they do. After all, work plays a hugely important role in our personal identity and wellbeing. So does making sure that we are paid well, and fairly, for the tasks at hand.

What is equally important is that, whether one is working for a large or small business, there are positive organisational supports in place. Support in the way jobs are designed, and executed; preferably by good local leaders. The use of fairer ways to track performance management is also very important. Especially if it is to lead to the development of a ‘mastery climate’.

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of Re-Space, an office refurbishment and fit-out company located in Kent, UK. 

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


How Payroll Cards Are Changing The Company Culture
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Hiring experts constantly look for ways to build and preserve company culture and ensure that each and every employee feels cherished and respected in their work environment. Sometimes, the potential to enhance employee retention comes from your company benefits and team-building efforts. The perks you offer to each employee, and access to vacation days will contribute to making them feel more valued. At other times, however, that same potential hides in the least likely of places. This includes your payroll department and procedures – which includes so much more than simply their salary or their bonuses.

It encompasses everything from the way in which you handle taxes, ensure timely payments, utilise compensation for incentivising better performance and rewarding successful employees, all the way to how transparent you are with your payroll in general. Here are a few ways in which you can expect payroll to grow and empower company culture when used properly.

workplace culture

Inspiring confidence and trust

Nobody likes to wait. You don’t want your employees to feel the disquiet of anticipating their salary and then receive it a week later. If anything, you should aim to exceed your employees’ expectations. This is another segment of your business where you can show them how reputable and trustworthy your company is. 

Your employees’ salary is one of the main symbols of success, but also of financial security, and if your business fails to live up to those security standards, chances are you’ll drive your employees away, into the arms of an employer who pays them in time, and in full – every time, no excuses. 

Preserving your company’s reputation

A vital segment of building your company culture includes how your business is perceived based on your financial track record. Are you famous for always working with reputable vendors? Paying your taxes in full? Even using some of your profits to contribute to certain causes?

Managing your finances like a business is a multifaceted process. It allows your employees, but also the public, get a sense of what your brand stands for – and it should stand for integrity above all else. When you protect your reputation in such a way, you’re bound to inspire your employees to be your brand ambassadors. They are much more likely to stay loyal and recommend your business when you stick to your promises.

Ensuring simplicity and convenience

Your employees already experience plenty of stress in their daily lives, and you don’t want to add to it. If anything, you want to make sure that their compensation is a source of joy in every possible sense. This includes the way in which they are able to collect, use, and rely on their salary. In recent years, more companies are transitioning to modernised payroll systems that utilise automation as well as personalization.

For example, one of the benefits of the payroll card is that your employees can now avoid long waiting times and additional fees when they need access to their salary. It is a simple, yet effective way to make this process all the more convenient. This single decision shows that your business puts your employee first when choosing the most efficient, cost-effective solutions for their payroll processes. Taking out all the hassle from this process allows your employees to build stronger bonds with your brand.

Making employees feel appreciated

If working for your brand means being valued and appreciated, you can rest assured that more employees will be eager to stay with your business for longer, and oftentimes recommend your brand as an employer to people they know and trust. Your payroll is the key ingredient in providing this sense of value and appreciation to your employees. When they always receive their salaries on time, and they always get the bonuses they worked so hard for, they will indeed know that their work is noticed and rewarded.

Ensuring optimal, if not competitive compensation, delivering it efficiently, and respecting your employees’ needs in the process all contribute to your team’s desire to stay true to your business. Keep in mind that such high levels of fairness enable companies to build a culture where people thrive and gladly put their best foot forward for each task. 

Payroll may seem like yet another monotonous process that boils down to numbers and stamps. However, when found in the hands of the right HR expert, payroll becomes another empowering tool for your entire company structure, a way to build your reputation, and a key to employee satisfaction. Use it to help your company culture evolve and let it mimic all the values that your business stands for – it will inspire people to stay true to your business and bring other valuable assets to your doorstep. 

Written by Lauren N. Wiseman.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

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Lauren N Wiseman


Lauren is a regular SRO Blog and Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto - Kindness, always.


4 strategies to get the best talent for your small business
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Did you know that unemployment rates in the UK are now at their lowest since the 1970s? This is obviously great news for the economy but presents a big challenge when it comes to hiring the best talent for your company. With the job market now being candidate-driven, finding the right people for your organisation can be harder than ever before.

We all know how important it is to have the best people working for you. With a talented and motivated team on board, your business stands the best chance of being successful. In that sense, employees are your most valuable asset, and care must be taken to recruit and retain them just as much as generating sales or managing finances.

So, are you doing all of the following?

 

Review your HR approach

A new recruitment drive is all very well but before you start thinking about hiring new employees, are you sure you’re doing everything you can for your internal staff retention and development? There’s little point hiring new people if they won’t stay with the business long enough for you to reap the benefits.

Business Coach and Online Educator Rob da Costa suggests the following talent retention incentives in one of his recent blog posts:

  • A focus on education
  • Salary increases based on merit
  • Flexible working conditions
  • Attractive benefits package
  • Pointing out future possibilities
  • Promoting from within
  • Investing in quality managers

Take a look at your team and ask yourself how happy and engaged your workforce is. Are you training them, promoting them, rewarding them appropriately? Do you have a positive company culture? In a job seekers’ market, it’s not just job seekers who are being harder to please. Your existing staff may consider changing jobs if they feel more valued elsewhere.

 

Invest in your company culture

Company culture is a big and growing topic that you cannot afford to neglect. It’s a magic formula that goes like this: Get your business model and your internal culture right and you’ll be surprised just how quickly word gets around that your company is the place to be.

When your candidates, employees, customers and the public interact with your business, what’s their experience? The way your company is perceived hinges on its internal culture and how this is managed. Everything follows from here – from team engagement and productivity to employee happiness, staff retention, and business success.

Identifying and developing your company’s brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be done. Here are four things you should be doing:

  • Build authentic and meaningful recognition and reward into your company culture to meet your employees’ needs to be recognised for their efforts and achievements, and drive performance, staff retention and employee engagement.
  • Build strong teams that collaborate eagerly, communicate openly, trust each other’s views and are motivated to engage in best performance. Team building shouldn’t be a one-off activity, day-to-day reinforcement may be needed to create a collaborative work culture.
  • Build a flexible work environment, allowing and trusting your staff to choose when, where and how they work. This freedom coupled with personal accountability strengthens your work culture by encouraging happier, higher-performing teams.
  • Create a caring culture that genuinely looks after its employees and goes beyond the norm. X, Y, Z generations want to know that you will look after their best interests and care for them, especially in their hour of need. Employees now prefer healthy food and access to help and advice over a beer fridge or pool table.

 

Company culture

 

Recruit with precision and focus

If there are no internal candidates you can promote to the vacancy, outside recruitment is going to be your next step. Start with a clear job description and be focused on what exactly you are looking for in the right candidate, and what you are going to offer.

The customary ‘spray and pray’ efforts of yesteryear will no longer cut it in a job market where candidates can afford to be choosy. With so many other companies competing for the highest calibre candidates, your job advert needs to stand out for all the right reasons.

In order to reach the right people, you need to know where to find them. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, are an excellent place to start engaging with potential candidates. There are plenty of specialist organisations and software tools to help you with this. You could also partner with a recruitment consultant who will have the time and resources to dig deep into the job market on your behalf.

 

Ensure a positive candidate experience

Once you have shortlisted your best candidates for an interview, follow through with a carefully prepared and organised meeting. It’s amazing how many companies invest time and effort into recruiting candidates, yet blow their chances on the day. A good candidate will know if they’re being fobbed off with an ad hoc interview.

A negative candidate experience is unlikely to lead to the result you are seeking. Worse still, a disappointed candidate may share his experience on online platforms. Poor feedback may discourage others from joining your company and negatively impact on your brand.

According to recent figures, a positive experience will make the job candidate about 1/3 more likely to accept your job offer. You are selling your company, so you should put your best people in front of the candidates that you want to impress. Confident, ambitious job seekers will have plenty of other opportunities on the table, so do your best to woo them.

 

Written By Annie Button

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

 

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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.


Top 10 biggest recruitment trends in 2020
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Recruitment Trends in 2020

LinkedIn’s 2020 predictions for the world really got us thinking.

How will the macro trends, determined by such a rich data set (their entire 2019 content) play out in the world of recruitment?

The last decade has been the most transformative the recruitment industry has experienced. From the tools we now use, the processes we apply to even the language we speak – it has all changed.

A so-called RecTech revolution has impacted the way we attract, acquire, onboard, understand, manage & even reward talent. The cumulative impact has been a technology network effect. That is, not investing or engaging online is simply no longer an option.

Given that each company, department, and job can require its own unique approach, the need to enable more people with these technologies and tools has never been so apparent.

However, when you contrast all of the influencing forces impacting the job market economy against the vast range of solutions providers out there – it’s frankly mind-blowing! And depending who you talk too – better or worse than ever.

 

Has RecTech wrecked us or just rewired us?

Keeping up with this pace of change and interpreting it so that you can hire or get hired in the most effective & efficient way possible – seems impossible.

However, the attraction, development and retention of the best talent are still listed as a massive concern for the vast majority of CEOs. As Mark Benioff, Founder and CEO of SalesForce, explained;

“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do”.

The emergence of “employer”, “personal” and now “career” branding further demonstrates a radical shift in the world of recruitment.

So that’s my prelude, now let’s make sense of what I believe are the top 10 most significant trends.

 

 

 

1. Evidence based recruitment to become the new standard

There are many stages within the recruitment lifecycle where better decisions could be made. Unless you are on the OJ Simpson trial, the best choices are based on real evidence. In the world of business that proof is in the form of extensive data sets, aka “Big Data”.

The evidence-based recruitment trend will mostly be delivered by technology. AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Predictive Algorithms & other cognitive technologies are going to enable this shift.

Thinking more intelligently about how we do what we do, based on facts, without slowing us down – will only make us better.

 

2. The top perk that professionals will want.

Several significant 2019 surveys confirmed that the perk that professionals appreciate and desire most – is time.

Expect the following “time perks” to continue and expand:

  • Flexible hours
  • Burnout breaks
  • Remote working
  • Coworking spaces

With cloud computing the norm and collaboration tools like Asana and Slack, the time sink of commuting every-day is being addressed. There is no more unequivocal evidence to support this than the adoption of Microsoft 365.

Even the company most synonymous with the desktop & office has its head firmly in the cloud.

 

3. What prospective employees value most.

Anyone born pre 1980 will remember a corporate world of reputable and trusted brands to work for and the concept that a “job for life” being desirable.

However, between 2000-2010, Gen X and Y shifted employee mindsets towards a “cool culture” as the most influential factor when looking for a job. Initially, this manifested itself in the form of egg-shaped chairs, casual Fridays, ping pong and a beer fridge.

Over the last 10-years, we have seen cultural trends evolve even further. This reflects the influence of the millennials, many of whom – now in their thirties – are calling the shots. And it’s more likely to be double expresso over tequila shots.

 

This generation has shifted corporate culture from “cool” to “caring”

The beer fridge has been switched out to a smoothie machine and healthy eating options. Company happy hours? How about discounted or subsidised health club memberships and access to a range of wellness and mental health-related initiatives.

The newer generation genuinely cares about the environment and want to work for companies that take environmental issues and corporate responsibility seriously.

They also have no time for management speak, waffle words and lip service. Any divergence in the public image and the company culture will be exposed by employees anonymously via social media and platforms like Glassdoor.

Even a whiff of “David Brentitus” will be remedied with a level of ridicule that Ricky Gervais would be proud of. In an era where the Clickarazzi can make even the smallest infection go viral, keeping it real is the only way to win.

An authentic & caring culture might seem like a “nice to have” to many leaders, but the trend towards “must-have” is in full effect. If you want the minds of the next wave of bright young talent, you must first understand their hearts.

We have effectively moved from a ‘Cool’ to ‘Caring’ culture. The working environment has replaced the ‘family’ in terms of ‘who will look after me’.

 

4. Brexit

At the point of writing this article, we are just a couple of days away from the 31st Jan deadline.

Markets do not like uncertainty, and the employment market is no different. I think 2018 took the brunt of the Brexit negativity with companies investing more in talent acquisition in 2019. However, this bad break up is not over.

Brexit is the single most potent force that could affect the stability of the British economy over the next 12months. Continued whispers of an economic recession refuse to go away. And subsequent caution and procrastination may resume when it comes to spending money on talent acquisition.

I am, however, relatively optimistic that we will grind out an acceptable deal with Europe and secure a good trade agreement with the US & other international partners. Hopefully, in 12 months, uncertainty will be replaced with optimism and Boris saying, “I told you so”.

 

5. Plugging the skills gap

Internal training, upskilling & reskilling programs combined with a far more proactive long term apprenticeship and graduate recruitment program that recruits from ground level up, seems to be the only reliable and sensible approach to plugging the skills gap.

Continuous increases in salary and the use of contract workers can not be the long term strategy. The competitiveness of organisations will continue to suffer if labour costs and price pressure are not rationalised with more proactive and forward-thinking workforce strategy.

In a rapidly changing, technology-driven world, it is very easy for individuals to get left behind. The government must anticipate this problem and policy must keep up with reality – even if it’s virtual.

New technology entrants focusing heavily on next-generation features, including social and video learning, microlearning and learner engagement have disrupted the traditional LMS (Learning Management System) market over the last few years.

Look for the emergence of Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) to see where this market is heading in the future.

 

6. The role of AI in recruitment (and recruitment tech)

AI continued to make a significant impact on the recruitment environment last year and is set to continue for years to come.

Just as robotics has shifted mechanical tasks away from human beings, AI has the potential to impact so-called knowledge workers. Reskilling programs that are run either within colleges or the workplace can help address these issues.

Any company that fails to see the overall and ongoing role that variants of AI will bring to the table will undoubtedly get left behind. Burning Glass has demonstrated that AI is no longer a buzz in this industry – it’s in play today.

2020 will “clearly see” more technology platforms embrace and incorporate AI. Also, watch out for a new variant of AI dripping into our consciousness as Quantum AI joins the conversation over the next few years.

“Quantum recruiting” – you heard it here first!

 

7. The new-look independent recruiter

Independent recruiters and HR professionals that deliver recruitment services directly to corporations will start to benefit from the lower costs of Talent Acquisition and HR Technology. While most already understand the benefits, they are put off by what the perceived investment would have on a “Me Ltd” business model.

The reward to the (early adopter) recruiters will be that more clients will that want to work with them. The independent recruiter model makes sense in the right situation. By adding a technology benefit (usually reserved for teams), it will make even more sense and therefore more money for the freelance professional.

The advantage to the client will be a deeper external recruitment partnership that can provide a more comprehensive range of recruitment & HR services.

Advanced recruitment platforms and tools such as Smart Recruit Online can become the cornerstone of the independent 2020 recruiter’s service offering.

 

8. Wellbeing, Mental Health, Diversity & Inclusion

High on the agenda for many companies are issues such as wellbeing, mental health, and diversity.

We believe that 2020 will trend away from a reactionary box-ticking approach to these critical issues – to a more proactive mindset.

Depression and anxiety alone cost the global economy more than $1 trillion in lost productivity every year, according to the World Health Organization.

As the millennial’s move from the management to the executive level of the corporate world – expect their values and concerns to permeate only further.

 

 

9. Highly configurable centralisation recruitment software

Most of us are aware of and probably already use an ATS or HRIS system for managing recruitment activity.

What you may or may not know is that ATS and HRIS systems don’t really do meaningful talent attraction. Or at least they do it poorly and in most cases are actually counter-productive to a direct hiring strategy. They also offer minimal configuration and customisations are usually very slow and very expensive.

Unwitting users are often stuck with a complicated, over-engineered one size fits all platform for several years. Modern recruitment platforms are cloud-based, plug & play, and acts like a configurable web application rather than a website. Think of a mobile device where each feature that you want to use is downloaded and activated like an app.

Next-generation software platforms are designed to be far more proactive and effective when it comes to talent attraction. They are simpler to use, provide a better candidate experience and cost a fraction of the price of an ATS or HRIS service. However, before you rush to throw away your ATS. First, look at whether the system you are considering can complement what you already have.

 

The recruitment ecosystem is fragmented. Centralisation systems are evolving to help users embrace and utilise the ever-changing best in class tools and services.

Despite the marketing hype, the idea that a single technology platform will be the “total” end to end solution – now and forever – will continue to trend towards nonsense.

A single dashboard that consolidates and generates management information from a dynamic technology stack should be the preferred end game.

 

10. Tech providers to deliver complementary services

I will paint the scene. You sign up for an expensive ATS or HRIS. Once the system is installed and you’re trained to use it, it’s as if the vendor no longer has any interest in you.

But now you’re signed up for the next 3 years. And that’s the SaaS model and good luck trying to get someone on the phone who can actually help.

Sound familiar?

Servicing models that take a proactive role in ensuring that users continue to get the most out of technology will be the trend as customer churn becomes the focus. Customer acquisition is only as powerful as customer retention when it comes to growth.

Beyond ‘services’, expect a commitment to performance becoming a vital feature of the current business models. This will, in turn, change the mentality of the vendor in terms of the ongoing development & support of their technology and customers.

Vendors becoming accountable for what their tech delivers is what the market wants.

Solutions providers understand that adapting and supporting an evidence-based approach to the processes that are applied will influence and optimise desired outcomes when using their systems. And we are back to prediction number 1 – Evidence based recruitment will become the norm.

Article was written by Mark Stephens and Simon Billsberry.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a multi-award-winning talent acquisition software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable cloud-based platform integrated with multiple screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can do for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Working Remotely? 3 Ways to Keep Your Recruiting Team Connected
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

For most businesses today, remote work benefits are no longer an outlier. Even if full-time remote positions aren’t an option for your company, most of the workforce would prefer to work with some deviation from a standard 9 to 5 office schedule. Flexible work hours, part-time work from home and even coworking spaces are all becoming key components of the overall business landscape.

Two-thirds of employers in 2019 already offer full- or part-time remote work. Looking toward 2020 and the new decade, the upsurge toward off-site work solutions is only forecasted to increase.

There’s a good chance your recruitment team isn’t immune from the remote trend, either. Thanks to technology that allows recruiters to conduct interviews, track the progress of candidates and communicate with colleagues, remote recruiters have no challenge connecting with their teams and the company at large.

If you want to discover how today’s recruiters are adapting to their remote work styles, continue reading to learn about the top 3 remote tools connecting recruiters, staffers and HR teams.

 

Wellness

 

1. Centralised Recruitment Management System

Because remote recruiters often do not have the ability to meet in person with their team members, your off-site help will need a centralised location where they can execute and organise their work. A Centralised Recruitment Management System is a tool designed to help your teams more effectively recruit and hire new talent.

In the context of remote work, Centralised Recruitment Management tools connect your recruiters through a wide array of features. Smart Recruit Online hosts our platform through the cloud, which enables your team to access this system both in and out of the office (barring an internet connection). From drafting your job description to moving candidates through the hiring funnel, SRO operates on desktops, laptops and mobile tablets, which gives you the flexibility to attract new talent wherever your day takes you.

 

2. VoIP Business Phones

Perhaps the most significant factor in staying connected with your teams is having effective paths for communication. That’s why many businesses offering remote work have started to look for communication tools that are just as mobile as their flex workers. A VoIP business phone is a cloud-based piece of technology that allows your recruiters to send and receive calls over an internet connection.

Similar to many tools powered through the cloud, VoIP phones give their users greater accessibility when making calls (especially compared to a hardwired landline), among other benefits. Depending on your preference, you can call your recruiting colleagues through a mobile phone, tablet or computer with a wireless connection. In the past, offering a business phone for your remote team members would require a manual installation of a new phone line in their home. But with VoIP, giving your recruiters a number is as simple as downloading the correct software. When corresponding with potential candidates, these phones become a great tool for conducting remote phone interviews from coffee shops, bookstores or other public areas.

 

3. Project Tracker

Although recruiters may not work on projects in the same way that your business’ delivery teams do, tracking your projects (whether that’s an individual candidate or a larger targeting campaign) proves to be invaluable for remote recruiters looking to align current and future objectives. A Project Management Software platform is a network of tools and features that helps teams successfully execute on their deliverables in a timely manner.

Because you won’t be sitting next to your team in an office, remote work poses a unique challenge in that it’s difficult to keep your team members updated on the work you’re tackling on a day-to-day basis. That’s why many project tracking tools allow you to view assignments based on the members involved in each step along the way. Creating a digital space to update your progress as you work can help management track the progress of your current hiring initiatives to ensure that you meet the deadline. Project trackers also promote a more productive work culture—one of accountability and ownership for remote recruiters who may otherwise feel out of the loop. By assigning specific tasks to individuals on your team, you can better manage resource allocations and make sure that each part of the process is accounted for.

On the author:

Makenzie Libermann is a content specialist dedicated to covering the many technological and cultural shifts that companies face today. On the off chance she isn’t writing, you can find Makenzie researching the latest news on pop-culture or curling up with a great book.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

 

MakenzieLibermann@smartrecrooot.com'
Makenzie Libermann


Makenzie Libermann is a content specialist dedicated to covering the many technological and cultural shifts that companies face today. On the off chance she isn’t writing, you can find Makenzie researching the latest news on pop-culture or curling up with a great book.


How Blind CVs Impact the Recruitment Process
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

How Blind CVs Impact the Recruitment Process by Diana Nadim

A new solution for the recruitment process has stepped on the scene and it’s called blind hiring. A blind CV is the basis of blind hiring. It is a CV that doesn’t have any identifying factors like name, gender, age, or race. This type of recruitment has been introduced with the purpose of eliminating any type of conscious or subconscious bias. By evaluating the candidates more objectively, the companies will be able to hire diversified candidates who are truly fit for that job position. But the question is how does blind hiring affect the recruitment process?

 

The Presence of Bias in the Recruitment Process

As much as we would like to live in a world without discrimination or favouritism, the reality is that they are often present, especially in the world of business.

There are many pieces of research and academic studies that prove that bias is widespread in the hiring process. Take a look at the following facts:

  • According to a 2017 UK study, just a third (32%) of HR managers felt confident that they are not prejudiced when hiring new staff. Nearly half (48%) admitted that bias affects their candidate choice, while 20% said they couldn’t be sure if bias affected their decisions.
  • A report by the Women and Equalities Committee from 2016 showed that Muslim women are three times as likely as women in other social groups in the UK to be unemployed.
  • In a US study, universities seeking a laboratory manager were randomly given CVs with male or female names. Those with ‘male’ names were rated as “significantly more competent and hirable.”
  • As a part of their study, the US National Bureau of Economic Research sent out 40,000 fictional job applications and found that the fictional workers aged 49-51 received 19% fewer responses than those aged 29-31. Those aged 64-66 received 35% more interview invitations than those aged 29-31.

Such a discriminating attitude towards potential candidates enables companies to find the best candidates. The characteristics which employers subconsciously value more don’t necessarily depict a better candidate. That is why blind recruitment was introduced.

The Introduction of Blind Hiring

It all started in 1952 when this method was used by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The musicians were asked to play behind the screen during their audition which increased the number of women who were accepted to the orchestra.

According to later research, blind auditions by 50% increase a woman’s chance of being accepted by an orchestra.

The problem with bias is that it happens subconsciously so people don’t have control over it. Even those who claim that they are completely objective while going through the candidate’s CV, they still might choose a male candidate rather than a female.

 

How Does a Blind CV Work?

In a recent podcast about unconscious bias, Ksenia Zheltoukhova the CIPD’s Head of Research said, “Anonymising CVs is an effective intervention for increasing diversity in organizations and reducing bias in recruitment.”

Therefore, it all starts with censoring the CVs. You can’t really make the whole recruitment process anonymous but CV censorship will help you pick the best of the best without subconscious bias.

A blind CV can be executed in more than one way. It all depends on how much you want to emit. One option is to just eliminate the basics such as name, gender, and name. Another option is to remove other personal details as well such as the educational background.

The reason why some recruiters opt for the second option – that is eliminating educational history – is to prevent favouring candidates who have a similar background to their own. For example, if the recruiter went to Yale, he or she might identify and feel closer to those candidates who also went to Yale.

The steps you need to take to make the blind CVs work are:

  1. Decide which information you want to remove from the CVs.
  2. Use an automation tool to anonymize the data or ask a colleague who won’t be a part of a recruitment process to eliminate that information from the CVs.
  3. Start reviewing blind CVs.

 

The Advantages of Blind CVs

Blind CVs can definitely improve your recruitment process. To summarize all the positive impacts:

  • They eliminate initial bias.
  • They don’t allow personal information to affect the recruiter’s judgment.
  • They single out the best candidates without focusing on race, age, or culture.
  • They help the recruiters hire a diversified workforce.
  • They show that the company isn’t discriminating.
  • They boost the employer brand.

You might think that your recruitment team is already as objective as it can be, but you’ll never know unless you give blind CVs a chance.

 

The Potential Issues of Blind CVs

While positive sides of blind CVs are notable, we can’t forget that there are two sides to every story. Some of the limitations and drawbacks of blind CVs are:

  • Those who have quotas for gender and race might not be able to fulfil them if they eliminate personal information.
  • Without knowing personal interests, the recruiters won’t know if the candidate is a match to their company’s culture.
  • It only eliminates bias from the initial stage of recruitment, so the bias can reappear during the interview.
  • The recruiters can still form bias based on other information; e.g. the experience can reveal the age of the candidate.
  • Eliminating personal information can lead to an incomplete picture of the employee. If someone has a gap in their work history, a blind CV won’t give the explanation why and therefore it can harm the candidate’s chances.

Undeniably, using blind CVs has its issues as much as it has its advantages, but it can bring some innovation and improvement to the hiring process. It all comes down to what the company finds to be the best for its progress.

 

Some Final Thoughts

Using blind CVs can improve your company’s diversity and help you choose the best candidates by putting bias aside. Besides using blind recruitment, you can also emphasize your commitment to diversity by stating on the job post that you are interested in forming a diverse team. Also, make sure that everyone on the hiring committee is ready to put their differences aside and accept the blind hiring process as the best choice for the company’s progress and success. By building a team of diverse people, you are building a better tomorrow for future generations.

 

Diana Adjadj

Diana Nadim is a writer and editor who has a Master degree in Marketing. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields. Besides working as a contributor writer for TrustMyPaper and WowGrade, Diana also runs her own blog. What inspires her the most in her writing is traveling and meeting new people. Follow her on Twitter.

 

Offering support for both recruiters and on-site HR workforces, Smart Recruit Online helps businesses find and hire the best talent more efficiently. To see how SRO can improve your talent acquisition, campaign management, and candidate screening workflows, book a demo today. 

Book a demo

 

 

Diana Nadim


Diana Nadim is a writer and editor who has a Master degree in Marketing. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields. Besides working as a contributor writer for TrustMyPaper and WowGrade, Diana also runs her own blog. What inspires her the most in her writing is traveling and meeting new people. Follow her on Twitter.


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