According to a recent Mckinsey report, the global pandemic has disproportionately impacted female employees. Women are 1.8 times more likely to lose or feel forced to leave their jobs due to COVID-19 than their male counterparts.
There are many reasons for this, one being the rise in unpaid caring responsibilities for children and loved ones, a role which is still filled most often by women. Furthermore, research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that women are approximately one-third more likely to work in a sector that has been forced to close due to COVID-19.
If employers fail to tackle this issue head-on, they could lose some of their best workers, and there could be a regressive impact on gender equality in the workplace.
What You Can Do as an Employer
Businesses across almost every sector are facing challenging times economically, strategically, and operationally. It can be tempting to squeeze as much productivity out of each employee as possible.
But in the long-term, retaining the most qualified and experienced staff will cut recruitment costs, boost the company brand and help the business ride out the tumultuous months ahead.
So, how can you support your female employees to continue working?
1. Redefine “Flexible Working”
Many employers believe that they offer flexible working, but in these unprecedented times, a new, more radical approach is needed. Allowing remote working and providing the home office technology and support to do so is now a given.
Employers must go further by offering employees the option to reduce their hours temporarily, even swapping from a full-time role to part-time. Job-sharing might also be a solution for some people. If an individual is struggling to meet their work quota but cannot afford to drop their hours, employers could consider paying their full-time salary for fewer hours — this may seem disingenuous at a time when the budget is already thinly stretched, but factor in the cost of recruiting, onboarding and training new staff, and the logic becomes clear.
Flexible working is especially important for female workers who often assume the primary care role for children and family members. The freedom to finish a little early, swap working days, or reduce hours could make the difference between an employee remaining with the company or feel forced to leave.
2. Consider Individual Circumstances
COVID-19 and its ramifications are impacting everybody differently. “Fair” leadership does not always mean treating people exactly the same.
Your employees’ needs will vary significantly. Perhaps one person is caring for a partner with COVID-19 and caring for their children alongside work, while another is struggling with their mental health due to the restrictions on social interactions. COVID-19 affects men and women differently — men are more likely to die after contracting the virus, partly because they account for a higher percentage of “key roles”. In part, women have a higher risk of unemployment due to the nature of their work being less easy to do remotely. It’s unlikely that the same solution will meet the needs of both employees.
Adopting a case-by-case approach to supporting people will allow you to boost employee engagement and retention.
3. Reassess Your Approach to Performance Management
An employee should not be penalized for switching to a flexible working schedule that suits them or accepting an offer to reduce their hours temporarily. Leaders must adapt their means of monitoring and measuring performance, setting goals, and developing staff to accommodate individual ways of working.
Over the past year, organizations have been forced to rapidly update their performance management process in response to the pandemic and the rise in remote working. As the primary carers in many households, women should not have to sacrifice their future career prospects or miss out on recognition and rewards because the responsibility has fallen to them for childcare during the pandemic.
Performance management should be an ongoing conversation that includes agile goals that can be easily adapted to meet the changing needs of the business and the individual.
4. Embrace New Ways of Working
If a significant number of your employees are working remotely and very likely juggling their professional and home lives simultaneously, now is the time to review employee expectations and ways of working.
While a flexible approach to work is essential for many people, it can help to impose more structure in some aspects of daily operations. For example, setting aside a fixed period each day or week for internal meetings can help parents plan their work around childcare commitments.
It’s also important to review the technology, process, and systems in use. An office-based role where colleagues are a short walk away from each other is a completely different environment to one in which people are communicating entirely online. Avoid “death by email” by switching to a short-form, real-time communication platform such as Slack. This can reduce time — Slack messages tend to be short and relatively informal and boost employee engagement, team working, and morale.
After decades of improving gender equality in the workplace and narrowing the gender pay gap, COVID-19 threatens to force progress backward by ousting women from their jobs. Employers must put effort into retaining female employees for the long-term benefit of their businesses and keeping society moving forward.
Stuart Hearn is a speaker, people management specialist, and the CEO & Founder of performance-tech company Clear Review. With 20 years’ HR experience, both as an HR Director at Sony Music and a consultant, he has spent the last 10 years helping organizations to embed practices that engage, develop and retain their people.
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According to a recent Mckinsey report, the global pandemic has disproportionately impacted female employees. Women are 1.8 times more likely to lose or feel forced to leave their jobs due to COVID-19 than their male counterparts.
Since the announcement on the 22nd February 2021 that lockdown restrictions will be easing, there has been a 466.67% increase in Google searches for “returning to office”.
Over the last year, the UK has had to adapt to a new way of working, especially with mental health affecting so many people working from home. A study done by Harvey Nash shows that 1 in 3 people reported that their mental health has deteriorated, while 26 percent of UK tech professionals have said that they are experiencing even higher levels of stress than they did before the pandemic.
Researcher at the Institution of Organisational Safety and Health (IOSH) Kirsty Iliffe and leading commercial space provider, Bruntwood Works, have provided advice and some lessons learned from the past lockdowns when it comes to supporting employees mental health.
Kirsty says; “The ongoing stress of the pandemic could lead to both physical and psychological damage and even depression and anxiety,” she goes on to add; As employers, organizations have a duty of care to help their employees and in many countries, they have a legal obligation to do so.”
“It’s important that organizations are aware of the potential mental ill-health implications and ensure they are aware of their roles and responsibilities in supporting their teams.”
1 – Have regular, honest one-to-ones
Lockdown has changed the way we schedule our days. Previously, a manager’s office door was always open. Now, our communication has dwindled as the lockdowns go on, and we get used to working from home.
Effective one-to-ones under the new measures look fundamentally different; they should be open, honest conversations about how we feel, what we’re worried about, and — most importantly — what’s helping us through it.
“Keep in regular contact with remote workers,” says Kirsty. “This will help to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness. It’s a good way to ensure that workers are well and that they understand any information and instructions presented to them.”
During these conversations, you should let your staff set the agenda. This is the time for managers to listen more than anything else. Establishing a safe space where employees feel heard, can be a lifeline for those who are struggling.
2 – Bring the office perks home with you
Back in the office, business owners spent a lot of time understanding how their employees’ environment affected their productivity, meaning they were creating office perks that would encourage a friendly and productive environment, but when we entered lockdown this wasn’t an option anymore.
Companies should continue to boost staff morale by finding ways to continue those perks outside of the office.
Here are some of the most common office perks — and how you can replicate them remotely:
Gym memberships — If the gyms are closed run a virtual fitness club instead. Share your results using a smartphone app and incentivize the winner with prizes like an afternoon off or an Amazon voucher.
Free food — Used to getting free snacks or meals at the office? Send your staff vouchers to order themselves a tasty lunch a couple of times a month.
Great internet — Most modern offices have fast internet speeds to cope with staff being logged on eight hours a day, but it’s tricky to replicate that at home. Invest in some signal boosters for staff who are having trouble with their home internet connection.
Office games — Missing the foosball table in the office? Luckily, there’s a ton of virtual games you can challenge teammates to instead. You can play Pictionary, Scrabble, and even chess online. Start a leaderboard to see who’s doing best on your team!
3 – Share some good news
When everyone was first put into lockdown, we were obsessively connected to the news cycle, which was mainly negative news being fed to us. Continually being exposed to negative statistics greatly impacted the outlooks and moods of workers. To combat this, companies should share the good news as regularly as possible.
Jo Gallagher, People Business Partner at Bruntwood Works says the company has made practical efforts to share more good news. “Every day, right across the business we’re seeing, hearing, and reading some great colleagues’ stories on our staff conversation platform, Universe. We’ve welcomed a few new Bruntwood Works babies, we’ve embraced new learning opportunities and we’ve seen how our customers are supporting the fight against COVID-19.”
When reading through the press it may not be easy to come across positive news, as a business you can share stories of staff achievements and acts of kindness. Doing so will help lift moods and it may also help to prevent their mental health from deteriorating.
4 – Keep your (virtual) door open
When we were in an office environment, employees often mixed with different teams and senior team members, whether that was whilst making a coffee or having lunch.
Since we are working remotely that just isn’t possible anymore. Setting up measures that bridge the gap between the teams and senior members is important to make sure those relationships are still present.
“Communicate the organizational plan,” advises Kirsty: “be open and honest with all employees. Explain what the organization is doing to help protect its employees, their families and friends, and the organization itself.”
Opening these channels of communication helps your team feel more closely connected with what the business is doing. It gives them a chance to have their say during a time when very little seems to be in their control.
One of the best ways to do this is to have virtual ‘open door’ times for senior staff. During these sessions — perhaps a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon — company directors should keep their calendars free and be prepared to chat with any staff members who want to talk. It could be about the business’s performance, staff concerns, or even new ideas for how the team can move forward.
5 – Don’t give up on social events
Social events were simple before the lockdown. Teams would go out for a few drinks or maybe a fun activity and everyone would have a chance to get to know each other a little better.
As we can not attend any social events, it becomes easy for companies to stop hosting and creating staff socials. Leaders need to look for new options available to them.
Schedule regular social events with your team. Anything that lets you keep in touch without the conversation centering around work will help support your team’s mental health. Here are some virtual socializing ideas your business can try:
Virtual coffee sessions
Zoom evening drinks
Friday afternoon quizzes
A TV and film recommendations group
30-day music challenges
Virtual book clubs.
One step at a time
“People have personal triggers; some are better to carry on working while others simply need some downtime. There is also the social stigma that many feel around talking about their struggles.
Kirsty from IOSH highlights that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to maintaining your team’s mental health because everyone is different.
This being the case, businesses need to be in tune with their staff on an individual level. The only way to do that? Take a genuine interest in each and every member of your team.
“Some decisions can only be made by the individual, such as whether to go off sick or to continue working.”
“Make sure you’re investing in those relationships, regardless of the new obstacles in the way. That needs to be the number one priority of any company right now,” says Jo Gallagher from Bruntwood Works. “If you really care about how your staff is coping, finding the right support measures for them will quickly follow.”
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The nation’s working practices have changed dramatically in the last year, with many employees now working from home on a semi-permanent basis, and for those who can’t, they’re facing new working conditions with PPE becoming compulsory.
Given the circumstances, it is imperative to keep your workforce as motivated as possible and be sympathetic to the changing situation. There are many factors that come into play when creating the optimum atmosphere for a productive workday, whether it is at home or at the office, with music being a key part of this.
Sodexo Engage surveyed 2000 employees in the UK to discover the most recommended genre of music they listen to in order to stay productive. With its upbeat and rhythmic tones, pop music topped the charts closely followed by pumped-up rock and beat-driven dance.
Table 1: The top ten most recommended music genres for productivity
% listening to this genre
Surprisingly, although historically discussed as a prime genre to improve focus, classical music just made the top 5. However, out of the most recommended artists, Mozart made the top three with the show-stopping Figaro’s Wedding being mentioned as a must-listen.
Recommendations for every mood
When it comes to recommended artists there is something for every mood. If your team is looking for some motivational morale-boosting goodness then the British rock band Queen, who charted in first, has the goods. Their motivational beats like ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ were just some of the hits recommended by respondents. Equally, if they’re in need of some calm and chilled out vibes, then second place Ed Sheeran is perfect with ‘Thinking Out Loud’.
Pop music is the most productive genre no matter what the task
The task you are doing very much dictates the type of music that is a benefit to you. Upbeat pop music is the most popular by task breakdown across the board including writing (36%), reading (18%), manual labor (34%), and administrative work (32%), however, we do see other genres creep into the mix as well. Work that requires a more focused mind, such as reading and writing, see the soothing sounds of classical music feature. Classical often offers a calm and light feel with instrumental tones, in fact, 38% of respondents prefer to listen to instrumental music when trying to be productive.
Engineers are the most passionate professionals
Not all music genres are favorites for everyone and when working in a communal setting, we often have to listen to the same tunes. Engineers are the most passionate profession with 38% of respondents admitting to arguing with colleagues over what to listen to whilst on the job. Sales reps (33%), bank workers (30%), and tradespeople (29%) also made the top five most passionate professions.
Keeping remote workers motivated by music
Music can offer your employees an outlet for release and an opportunity to get pumped up for the day or a big project. It’s very important to offer suggestions to your employees, on how they can best balance their workload and keep up their motivation, particularly whilst working from home. In fact, 56% of respondents said music makes them feel less lonely when working from home and 61% also said it helps boost their morale.
Using music to help boost productivity certainly has its benefits, and Sodexo Engage has used its insights to create a “Productivity Playlist” for you to share with your employees or use yourself.
Commenting on the research, Emma Yearwood, Director of HR at Sodexo Engage says:
During this time it’s so important to help employees feel motivated, positive, and productive in their role. With music being a strong commonality in the workplace across the world, some professionals have missed out on this as we are forced to work from home during lockdown.
Between pop and rock music, it was a close call, but with pop being a style of music that resonates with different professions, the results prove just how popular it is in the workplace.
Given the variety of music artists that made the top ten recommendations, such as Queen, Ed Sheeran, Abba, Oasis and Coldplay, it goes to show that getting your working surroundings right is so important in ensuring your employees can work happily and feel positive about the task they’re undertaking.
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When recruiting, if you’re not adapting to working trends along with the nation, someone else will. So how is the working world settling into its new routine after a year of lockdowns and restrictions?
Whilst many think people prefer working from home, you’ll actually find there are mixed opinions. Some like ditching the commute and having flexibility, others miss face-to-face interaction and getting out of the house.
Office design experts, Diamond Interiors, have reviewed a chaotic working year to see how the nation has adapted and predicts what’s next for the working world.
What has working from home changed for good?
Flexibility certainly sticks out as a big winner. Without a doubt, people are appreciating the ability to spend more time at home, especially those with children. Businessman and founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson has been pushing CEOs to adopt more flexible working models even before the pandemic:
“I’m a big believer that with the technology we have today, balancing family and business should be easier, not harder. Both partners should be able to work, realize their potential and raise a family; and flexible working enables people … to do this.”
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, sees “the future as being more flexible” and realizes the importance of cutting down commuting for his staff:
“It’s always made me wonder when I see people commuting two hours and away from their family and friends on a Friday, you realize they can’t have plans… So I think we could do better.”
Not only does working from home cut out commute times, but it can also cut down costs considerably. With travel costs, petrol, transport and then the daily or weekly lunchtime dining – it all adds up. At home, you’re not tempted by office lunch takeaways, local eateries, or having to spend money on actually getting to and from work.
However, money transfers to increased electricity, heating, and internet usage. But, how does it compare?
If you look at a worker who typically drives into a city every workday – such as Bolton to Manchester – that’s around 26 miles of driving every day (13 miles there and back). You’re looking at around £50 in unleaded fuel being saved a month by working from home. For a train commuter traveling from Bolton to Manchester, who uses a monthly season ticket, that’s around £105 saved or £120 without using a monthly season ticket.
But, you’re probably spending that back on electricity and gas over the month by staying in more. As of April 2019, the average dual fuel variable tariff was estimated at £104.50 a month. This is before the pandemic and government-mandated lockdowns. Now that more people are working from home, with more hours using electricity for work on computers, homebrews, daily microwave pings, lights and so on, that figure is probably rising by at least 50%, if not doubling – especially during those winter months and cold spells.
How has homeworking affected productivity?
Gabriele Musella, CEO, and Cofounder of Coinrule, notes a positive, saying working from home “has increased my productivity level. I can stretch out and schedule my work conveniently and work in a more relaxed environment.”
Others, however, have noticed the strain on productivity homeworking brings, like Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of Diamond Interiors: “We’ve seen employers struggle and noticed an impact. The office environment brings teams together and is where productivity thrives. That spark fades out when staff are distanced from each other; sadly business can suffer.”
Pichai (Google’s CEO), echoes this by valuing the office for face-to-face interaction and “being together… when you have to solve hard problems and create something new.” He wants to “create more flexibility and more hybrid models” since the company’s internal survey interestingly found quite a split in the favoring of working remotely and in the office.
Are we entering a new hybrid-working age?
Salesforce – a cloud-based SaaS company – supports a hybrid work model, claiming “the 9-to-5 workday is dead.” But, they also understand the difficulties of working from home, “especially for those with families at home or for those who are feeling isolated.”
Big-tech companies are also following suit with Twitter announcing early on that staff can work from home “forever.” However, employees can work in the office when it’s safe to do so.
With isolation impacting mental health, increased office FOMO, and balancing out costs, it seems the work-from-home shift will be a sliding one, rather than a complete switch. People are enjoying more flexibility at home, but want the best of both worlds. Only time will tell what the future of the working world will look like.
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Before the pandemic, flexible working was seen as the ultimate benefit. Whether it was the option to work remotely or to take advantage of a company’s flexi-hours policy, it was lauded as a fantastic perk for any role. Flexibility was offered to many, but not all workers (46% of UK workers weren’t offered any flexible working options in 2018), making it all the more desirable to those who were living without it. However, due to the dramatic shift we’ve seen in the past 12 months, this type of flexibility seems is undoubtedly here to stay. If it’s the norm, not the exception, what benefits should employers look at offering instead?
We recently hosted a webinar with four HR experts: Founder and Managing Principal at IA, Mark Stelzner; Group HR Director at Reward Gateway, Robert Hicks; Founder of Play Consulting, Marcus Thornley; and Saskia Donald, an HR professional with over 20 years’ experience. They discussed the need for employers to shift their employee benefits to better reflect individuals’ priorities. Find the key benefits below.
Wellbeing will remain a huge player in the benefits game moving forward and, as Robert explained, “firms [who] do wellbeing well will see talent stay, and those who don’t will struggle”. Due to the challenges brought on by the pandemic, employees are now more in tune with their personal wellbeing and will look to their employer to help them cope. It’s important your clients view wellbeing holistically, taking into account mental, physical, financial, and social wellbeing.
In terms of mental wellbeing, companies looking to improve their offering can implement many different solutions, including training a mental health first aider, creating online resources, organizing structured training sessions, or even simply offering a subscription to a meditation app.
However, it’s not enough to simply have these resources available – clients should also lead by example when it comes to looking after their employees’ mental health. Mark described a recent moment where he recognized his employees needed him to lead the way during a period of acute stress: “I immediately put a message out to my entire team [to]… cancel every meeting if you need to and take care of yourself and your family.” Your clients should understand their employees will need support in different ways at different times; by allowing them space to pause and reset, they will prove they care about their workers’ mental wellbeing.
It’s essential to remember the other forms of wellbeing as well. For example, if your client is looking to promote physical wellbeing, they could implement a cycle-to-work scheme or hire a trainer to deliver virtual yoga/Pilates/meditation sessions. Similarly, by taking into account financial stressors and doing their part to alleviate them, employers could potentially offer a one-off stipend to help workers set up their home workspace, courses, and education around budgeting/pension funds, or access to a financial advisor.
There are a myriad of different options for those looking to introduce these benefits – the important thing to get right is recognizing the need to do so. Simply put, according to Robert, workers will ask their employers, “what are you doing to help me with my job, be effective and help me cope with all of my challenges?”
Learning and development (L&D)
Throughout the past 12 months, many of us have turned to online courses to develop skills or learn something new. According to Marcus, he’s seen “a lot of uptake in our business around learning… [it’s] never been [in] higher demand as it has been through lockdown”. There are a number of ways employers can encourage their staff to learn. Some of the better examples include allocating an annual amount for a person’s L+D and allow them to use it as they see fit; making online training documents available via a remote HR platform; or identifying those in the business with strong skills in a particular area and asking them to lead a presentation or seminar. At Tiger, the latter has worked particularly well: consultants have presented to the wider business on a variety of topics, from Brexit regulations to the importance of personal brand.
While it’s not surprising we’re seeing more benefits to help employees set up their home workspaces, this trend is here to stay. Many employers are now offering a stipend for workers to spend on better working equipment, but Marcus believes this benefit may evolve in the future to include “home utility grants – electricity, Wi-Fi, gas.” Not only will it appeal to those struggling financially due to the pandemic, but it will ensure workers feel truly looked after by their employer.
Two months into 2021, the global pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our lives and work. As recruiters, our knowledge of this uncertain market has never been more essential. By remaining abreast of benefits changes, you’ll be in a better position to advise your clients and help them attract the best candidates moving forward.
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The fourth industrial revolution has shifted our world into a new digital era and the pandemic has accelerated this from a movement to an immediate necessity. Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and Oxford Economics’ Work Ahead most recent report, The Work Ahead: Digital First (to Last), examines the most significant trends and tactics for businesses around the world to be aware of and act on if they are to ensure a successful future of work.
What is clear, now more than ever, is that companies that lagged behind on their digital transformation and those that have not evolved to keep up in this digital era are sure to be hit the hardest, with some at risk of becoming obsolete. In fact, half (49%) of global businesses expect COVID-19 to destroy traditional, non-digital business, as well as those that do not move online aggressively enough. The findings of the report confirm that digital competency is key for the future of work.
Other findings include:
The effect of the pandemic on employer/employee relationships
Business leaders cited employee safety (59%) and worker recognition (58%) as their current key priorities. Employee compensation and safety are understandably a top priority, given how the pandemic has changed the business landscape and forced many companies to make difficult decisions when it comes to staff. But this might change over time as new economic and labor dynamics shape workforce strategies, with new compensation models coming into play.
However, the pandemic has also shown a need for greater social protections, with almost half of business leaders (45%) expecting better access to pay and benefits for freelancers. More than two-fifths (43%) also expect a drop in pay for highly paid executives. There is no doubt, however, that one of the biggest influences of the pandemic is business leaders’ acceptance of home-working, as two-fifths (41%) foresee HR policies having to be adapted to account for more flexible approaches to remote working in the future.
The skills needed for advancing in careers are shifting
The pandemic has left society in a period of existential doubt. Technology has not only caused an adjustment in how we work but galvanized how we think about it. It has raised questions around how we are valued and remain valuable in a world where machines are increasingly automating mundane work.
The concept of “upskilling” is one that has increased in popularity – centered around human talent acquiring skills and proficiency that even the smartest machines cannot be equipped with. When revisiting our report from 2016, business leaders then were less receptive to the importance of innovation, the ability to create new and better ways of working. However, this concept has grown in recognition among business leaders and is now regarded as the most important skill for succeeding at work.
On the other hand, “strategic thinking” is a skill that has significantly dropped in importance when compared to 2016, falling from second-ranked to the fifth most important skill for business leaders. This likely reflects the current appetite for disruptive ways of thinking.
A new appreciation of technologies impact on work and society
We are clearly entering a new stage in our relationship with technology. A decade into this new digital era and business leaders voice a greater appreciation for the promise and peril inherent in modern technology. There is a better understanding of the power of technology, with more agreeing that digital technologies will positively impact their employment, whether by protecting them from being replaced by robots and AI (44%) or helping them stay employed (46%).
Unexpectedly, the report showed a decline in business leaders’ belief that digital technologies increase personal efficiency and productivity – in the range of 30 to 40%. This shows insight into the reality of our “always switched on” frame of mind brought on by technology. The additional layers of technology we are now subject to in our virtual working worlds have created an environment where employees are working longer hours, working more intensely, and juggling more demands, but these layers seem to be having the knock-on effect of making many of us less efficient and productive.
Digital is not the silver bullet we once thought it was
The core components at the center of this digitized world are the 3 A’s – AI, automation, and analytics. The report revealed that the further business leaders move into their technology implementations, the more they appear to be recognizing that none is a “silver bullet” that can be easily deployed to produce magical results.
Developing this more mature appreciation for what digital technologies can actually do is an important step of the digital journey for every organization. While companies initially dragged their feet and debated how seriously they should take these 3 A’s, there is now no doubt that combined, they are critical for every organization to stay in business in the great post-COVID reset.
We are now deep in the era of “digital in practice”
It is all well and good to think about the future of work, but this report shows how important it is for businesses to act, and now. When COVID-19 took over our lives, business leaders had to scrutinize everything from how and where employees worked, to how they engaged with customers, to which products and services were viable as customer needs and behaviors switched, quite literally, overnight. It is clear now that those businesses with data mastery at their core were the best at pivoting, adapting, and reinventing themselves on the fly.
And for the companies that are lagging? Digital transformation is no longer a journey, but a key component in staying relevant and fit for purpose. For the businesses that do not consider themselves to be “modern”, you soon will be – otherwise, you could face extinction in this digital era.
By Euan Davis, European Lead for Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work.
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It’s been a good few years – 78 years to be exact – since Abraham Maslow published his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” and introduced us to the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’.
Chances are you’re already familiar with it, but it features five stages and is typically stylized like a pyramid. Moving from the bottom to the top, the stages theorized a human being’s motivation; psychological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The theory was that the lower needs have to be satisfied before you can move up to attend to the needs of the next stage, and so on until you reach the final stage.
But as we stated before, it’s been a while. So much about life, especially working life, has changed in the last 12 months. Is it time to introduce a new hierarchy of needs that is more suited to not only the 21st century, but our current working situation, and the state of modern recruitment?
Before we dive in, let’s quickly recap the five stages of human needs (according to Maslow):
Physiological: This first stage is about our most basic needs like food, water, and sleep
Safety: Are we safe? Are we healthy? This covers everything from shelter to financial stability
Love / belonging: Once we’re safe and fed, how do we feel like we belong in our own lives? This could be through relationships, friendships, and romantic intimacy
Esteem: Then we start to work on ourselves. This self-growth and building on our esteem happens through status, respect, and recognition
Self-actualization: This final stage relates to self-fulfillment which – according to Maslow – says is unique to every person
Introducing: The new hierarchy of needs for working from home in 2021
2020 saw a complete overhaul of how we do our jobs, and how businesses interact with their employees. Last year saw us replace face-to-face meetings with Zoom and desks with dining room tables. The working world has changed, and our needs have alongside it, with how we go about our jobs, the way we communicate, flexibility, and ways to improve productivity. One thing that hasn’t changed though is our desire to succeed in our careers.
Now in 2021, mid-pandemic, many businesses are now in full work-from-home mode while continuing to go about their day, conducting meetings, recruiting new staff, and pitching for new customers. With all that in mind, business security solutions provider, Expert Security UK, thinks it’s time for a new hierarchy of needs:
Working equipment: To do a job properly in the digital age, your equipment needs to be top-notch. That means no internet outages, no computer crashes, or faulty equipment. These are the basics.
Security: We all need, and all deserve, to feel safe regardless of where we do business. This means that our premises – wherever that may be – needs to be protected efficiently with things like electric gates, driveway security bollards, and CCTV, etc.
Safety and hygiene: If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should never be complacent when it comes to hygiene, especially in an enclosed workspace. As we (hopefully) move forwards out of this pandemic, businesses will need to have updated health and safety policies that reflect hygiene and social distancing best practices. If home is your work – whether it’s temporary or permanent – keep your hygiene standards high.
Team culture: Don’t forget about your people. Office banter and inside jokes are easy to keep alive when you’re all in one place, but with most people working from home, it’s more important now to keep that office culture alive and well. Use the internet and digital means to your advantage.
Career success: Just because we’re working from home doesn’t mean our ambitions have been put on hold. We all have a need to feel valued, and that includes in our careers. Make sure your employees’ progressions are still on track, so they have something to work for.
By Sam Levene at Expert Security UK.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to some tough times for a lot of professionals in the UK, especially those who are on the lookout for a new job. If you are in this position, it has therefore never been more important to make sure your application is as strong as it can possibly be, in order to give you the advantage against some stiff competition.
For manual workers, such as drivers, laborers, and maintenance workers, this can feel like an especially big challenge, since these types of workers are often less likely to have a written CV prepared and ready to go.
As such, if you’re a professional in one of these fields, it’s worth taking some time to think about how to craft the perfect CV. This will make a real difference in helping you get noticed, and give you the best chance of securing an interview.
Getting the right structure for your CV
If you have not written a formal CV before, it can be hard to know where to start. Getting the structure right should be one of your top priorities, helping you present all of the key information that employers want to know in the most persuasive way possible.
When writing your CV, follow this simple five-step structure:
Introduction – this should be a five or six-sentence statement about yourself and your experience, summarising your most relevant credentials, as well as your contact details
Core skills & knowledge – write a bullet point list of your most relevant professional skills and qualifications, focusing on what’s most relevant to the job you are applying for. This may include a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) certificate, or something similar
Employment history – list out your employment history, starting with the most recent role and working backward, for up to 10 years where possible. Detail each role with bullet points about who your employers were, your main duties, and any key achievements worth highlighting
Education history – this should include all of the schools, colleges, and universities you have attended and the years you were there, alongside any other relevant additional educational qualifications
Hobbies & interests – finally, you should highlight some of your personal interests and pastimes that highlight relevant skills, or positive aspects of your character. Any team-based activities and hobbies that demonstrate dedication and effort could help you stand out from the crowd
Perfecting the formatting
With the core content of your CV in place, it’s time to make sure that the presentation is also up to the right standard. Don’t worry if you are inexperienced with graphic design – as a rule, CVs generally benefit from being simple and easy to read, so flashy visual presentation shouldn’t be necessary.
Here are a few tips for making your CV look professional:
Use a basic, clear font such as Arial or Calibri, with a size of around 10 or 11. This will be large enough to be readable, but compact enough to give you room to fit in all the important information
Stick to black-and-white, rather than using colors. Overly colorful CVs are harder for employers to photocopy and may end up looking unprofessional
Keep the length of the document to two sides of A4. Shorter CVs may look incomplete or underdeveloped, while busy employers are unlikely to read anything too long
Divide up the text into readable sections. You want any future employers to be able to get information quickly from your CV, so make sure you divide up the content into snappy paragraphs, using clear subheadings and bullet-point lists to make it easy to read
Avoiding common mistakes
Finally, before sending off a CV, it’s vital to double-check the content to ensure you have not made any basic mistakes, as these could result in your application being dismissed straight away.
Spelling mistakes and poor grammar – these kinds of errors simply look sloppy, and employers will often reject the whole CV as a result. If necessary, have a friend check the document over to find any mistakes before you send it
False or exaggerated statements – although a CV should be designed to impress, you should never lie about your qualifications. Any untrue information will be found out during the recruitment process, and that will reflect very badly on you
Sending out a generic CV – the core content of a CV will be similar for each job you apply for, but each one should be specifically tailored to the role. This will help you focus on the information that’s most likely to impress each employer
Failing to explain gaps in your employment history – if you have been out of the workforce for several months or years, you must be able to provide an explanation, otherwise, the employer is likely to see the gap as suspicious
By following these guidelines, you should be able to create a document that really showcases your qualities and skills, even if you don’t have any past experience in writing a CV. This will help you apply quickly for more roles, bringing you one step closer to securing the job that’s best suited for you.
Debi Bell is the Head of HR Services of Lanes Group. She is a highly qualified professional who has overseen the development of the company’s HR department since 2013, working with senior managers on key personnel management, efficiency and legal compliance issues.
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