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    Will Unlimited Annual Leave Become the New Business Normal?

    Increased productivity, heightened workplace morale, and more competitive benefits packages – these are some of the positive impacts that companies have reported since implementing the ‘unlimited holiday’ scheme.
    This new take on holiday allowance first started to grow within US-based tech start-ups as a way to stand out from their larger competitors but has since been embraced by larger brands – including Netflix and LinkedIn. As a testament to how much the scheme has grown, a recent job board report showed that positions offering the scheme had increased by 20% over the last year.
    How does the scheme work, and will it benefit the business and employee equally?
    There is no rule book for the unlimited holidays offering, and each business has tailored the value proposition differently around the levels of flexibility they’re able to offer their employees – some with success, and others with less so.
    A well-known success story of the Scheme is Roku, a TV Streaming app company based in the US, who no longer offer an official holiday allowance to their staff, but instead promotes the ethos that if your allocated work is completed you can take as much time off you like. The positive result of this can be seen in their 72% net promoter score – with impressive marks given for work/life balance.
    The scheme was less successful, however, for CharlieHR – a software company founded in 2015. Their COO Ben Gately explained in an interview that implementing unlimited holidays created anxiety within the workplace, causing the employees to take less annual leave than when they were given the standard 25 days.
    Although this scheme has mainly been seen within companies founded in the United States, it’s started to move across the pond over recent years. Warren Butler, Marketing Director of the UK-based Microsoft Dynamics Partner, Preact, had the following comments on how the scheme has benefitted their business:
    “We recently implemented the concept of unlimited holidays within our growing team to demonstrate the trust we have in our employees, which they had more than earned since suddenly having to work remotely due to the pandemic. It’s proven fantastic for business morale and applicants for new roles have doubled since we started promoting the benefit on our job specs.”
    Preact is one of the many growing UK-based companies that have adjusted their holiday scheme in this way and seen a positive effect on their employee’s wellbeing. Although the approach isn’t effective within all organizations, these types of flexible benefits will become increasingly necessary to remain competitive within the employment market.
    How to assess if the scheme will work for your business
    If you’re trying to implement new employee benefits within your business and you’re considering the unlimited holiday scheme, here are a few different ways companies have pushed out the offering within their businesses:

    Buy Your Holiday: The most common use of the scheme is allowing employees to purchase extra holiday days by taking a cut in their wages. This can, however, cause resentment within teams if people are in different positions financially.
    Ultimate Flexible Working: This is the scheme that Roku has implemented within their business and has worked well for their employees. For this to be successful within your organization, it’s important to monitor people’s workloads to ensure the scheme is fair.
    Commission Based: This can be a great way to incentivize teams within a business and push productivity, this version of the scheme would have to sit on top of the existing annual holiday allowance.

    Whichever way you intend to push the scheme within your business, it’s essential that you communicate it throughout the workforce on an ongoing basis and monitor productivity alongside holidays taken.
    By Lauren Fowles of Preact.
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    Owning Every Moment of Your Hiring Experience

    Companies often believe candidate experience begins and ends with the job application on your website. It definitely does include the job app, but there’s so much more to the hiring experience that deserves close attention.
    To create an overall amazing hiring experience, you first have to define its wider boundaries. The experience starts when people become aware that your organization exists; in other words, it’s your brand. It’s how you show up in the world, what you say on relevant current events, and how you portray life at your company through pictures, videos, words, and anywhere your brand is present online. The next touchpoint is when candidates apply for a job and hear (or don’t hear) from you with an enthusiastic, transparent and timely follow-up. Then hopefully they get an interview, then an offer and they accept.
    But it doesn’t stop there. The candidate experience extends beyond accepting their role to the first day on the job, and even through their onboarding period. There are easily dozens of touchpoints in the candidate experience, whether organizations realize them or not. That means dozens of opportunities to impress or fall short of expectations in the eyes of the people who are going to help you achieve your business goals. A negative or inconsistent candidate experience can damage your brand’s reputation and your ability to hire and retain the right people you need.
    Here’s some much-needed guidance on how to think about and shape candidate experiences to make them as meaningful and beneficial as possible, both for candidates and for everyone involved in the hiring process in the company.
    You no longer directly control your reputation
    The days when companies controlled what information was released about them are long gone. Today, in the time it takes to eat a ham sandwich, a person can get a full data dump about your company from Glassdoor and corroborate that information with other social media and connections on LinkedIn.
    Mathematically, most applicants and candidates for your jobs will never get an offer from you. However, many won’t hesitate to describe the experience, no matter how far they got in it, on Glassdoor and on very public social media channels. And these channels will help inform the decision of the next star candidate that you so badly want and need to hire.
    You’re no longer in control—at least not in the same way as 10 or 15 years ago. The only way you can be in control of your employer brand now is to think about the hiring experience and make it so good at every step that perfect strangers will interview with you and write you glowing reviews, even if they don’t get the job.
    What are you posting?
    Many organizations do not make a clear distinction between three documents:

    A job description is the internal document which outlines the responsibilities, requirements, expectations, pay and so forth;
    A job post lists the open role on an organization’s website, with enough information and enticement to appeal to talented people so they decide to submit their information; and
    A job ad is a placement on an external site like Indeed or ZipRecruiter, meant to get people to click through and apply.

    Don’t post your job description. It’s usually paragraph after paragraph of dense, bullet-point language and meaningless jargon. Instead, create job posts and ads that are customized and tailored for specific audiences that actually aim to attract great talent and give a real feel for what taking on this role entails.
    What are you mapping?
    Have you mapped every impression and interaction of your candidate experience? If not, you should. Mapping all your interactions with prospects during the hiring process will help you understand where you can improve and how you can stand out from competitors. A few areas to consider:

    Emails that go from your organization to applicants
    Which employees are contacting an applicant and coordinating an interview
    Creating useful materials to provide candidates before they interview (from employee profile blogs to brand videos to company milestone timelines)
    Understanding how to correctly pronounce a candidate’s name
    For in-person interviews – who will greet the candidate; where will the interview happen; is the candidate left alone in a room; is a beverage offered
    During any interview, regardless of stage – is there an agenda; does the candidate get a chance to ask questions; will someone share what next steps with the candidate without being asked
    After the interview – how do you provide updates on timing and follow-up interviews; how do you inform candidates you won’t be progressing with them.

    Have you asked how you’re doing?
    While mapping out every interaction will help give you think about the candidate’s experience from their perspective, you won’t actually know how well you’ve executed unless you ask them.
    Sure you should monitor Glassdoor, but it’s often the case that only a small (yet loud) percentage of all candidates will leave a review. Forward-thinking companies gather useful information through candidate surveys in addition to monitoring Glassdoor and other similar sites. We’ve found that around 20 percent of the surveys get filled out — giving us more data than what we’d gain with Glassdoor. These surveys should go to both candidates who received an offer and those who didn’t get the job.
    Having a consistent flow of feedback and information will help you continuously refine and improve your hiring process.
    Many companies think of new hire onboarding as the logistics of getting people a desk and a computer, with a side of paperwork to sign and documentation to complete. While that’s partly true, a new hire’s onboarding experience should include a whole lot more.
    Onboarding should be about how a candidate becomes part of the community as an employee. It should include opportunities and information to help them learn the real culture and philosophy of the company. During the interview phase, we may have established that a candidate will be able to do a particular job. During the onboarding phase, we show that person how to do that job, and how to begin to navigate the company teams, processes, and culture.
    You have the ability to transform onboarding from a boring bureaucratic function into a customized experience that will blow away new hires and compel them to want to tell everyone about how you gave them the red-carpet treatment.
    Add to that the efforts you make to improve the hiring experience in general, and not only are you likely to have increased the Employee Lifetime Value of this person, but you may well have your newest, enthusiastic referral source.
    Take ownership of the hiring experience
    By owning every moment of your hiring experience – from job post to onboarding – you are making the process easier and more productive for both candidates and your organization.
    The experience of applying for a job shapes how candidates form their impressions of your brand. Unless you’re a company like Google or Facebook, and maybe even then, most people don’t know what it’s like to work for you. If your hiring team is disorganized or unprofessional, that’s how the candidate will perceive your entire company.
    By taking ownership of the process to ensure a candidate has a good experience, you can improve your ‘talent brand’ and make it easier to hire great candidates who are excited to work with you.
    By Jon Stross, Co-Founder and President of Greenhouse Software, and Co-Author of TALENT MAKERS: How the Best Organizations Win Through Structured and Inclusive Hiring.
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    How to Hire a Data Engineer

    Data Engineering is one of the fastest-growing job roles in the tech industry with LinkedIn Talent Insights categorizing demand for these roles as ‘very high’. This means that it’s harder than ever for firms to attract and retain talent in this pivotal role. Estimates on the number of unfilled positions last year range from as much as 33-50%.
    One of the reasons for the shortage is the rate at which the discipline is moving, with tools and technologies emerging and evolving rapidly. This leads to the absence of a standardized toolset and means that the definition of the role can be dramatically different across companies.
    Based on research with 50 Data Engineers, and in conversation with Dani Solà Lagares (Director of Data at Simply Business) research from technology recruiting firm Stott and May reveals what Data Engineers are looking for, and what potential employers can be doing to increase their chances of snagging top talent. Here are the four top tips to come out of the research.
    1. Give them a clearly defined role.
    When looking for a new role, Data Engineers need to see a detailed and realistic job description. 72% testified that this was the most important factor in whether or not they will apply. If an employer doesn’t have this nailed down, then Data Engineers will pass up the opportunity in favor of an employer who has a clear idea of what needs to be done. ‘Give candidates a sense of the projects they will be working on and the stakeholders they will be engaging with,’ says Dani Sola. ‘Even more importantly, provide some narrative on the type of impact you expect key initiatives to make.’
    2. Provide the right technology stack.
    48% of Data Engineers stated that the technology stack they will be working with is the most important consideration in accepting a role. Because the technology stack has so much to do with what their day-to-day work will look like, it’s important that the fit is right. ‘Technical skillsets could vary dramatically from Kafka, Kafka Streams, Scala, Kotlin knowledge, advanced SQL, data warehousing skills, Python, the list goes on,’ says Dani. ‘It is important, however, to paint a picture of your requirements without asking candidates to tick every skillset that’s ever existed in data engineering.’
    3. Benchmark to ensure you’re offering a competitive salary.
    According to the research, 42% of Data Engineers say they are most likely to jump ship because their salary and benefits are below market rate. It’s important to make sure you are benchmarking your salaries against your competitors, and offering a competitive compensation package if you want to retain in-demand talent. ‘In my view, one of the major reasons engineers move on is that the initial value proposition of the role in that organization has not lived up to expectations,’ says Dani. ‘Don’t sell a dream and deliver a nightmare. If you’re authentic and invest in your team’s personal development that can go a long way.’
    4. Don’t wear them out with excessive interview steps.
    Data Engineers’ time is very important, so if they are being asked to jump through too many hoops, they are liable to simply look elsewhere. If you’re looking to recruit a Data Engineer, try to streamline the recruitment process as much as possible so that you can make an assessment of their fit without losing momentum. ‘Keep talent engaged during the hiring process,’ says Dani. ‘Create a sense of your culture and values. Make great first impressions as a potential employer. Interviewing should be about making the candidate feel at ease and creating an environment where they can show themselves at their best.’
    David Struth is Head of Marketing at Stott and May.

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    Searches for ‘Remote Work’ Increase Significantly During Covid-19

    Covid-19 is changing people’s work preferences with many now looking for roles that give them the flexibility to work from home. New data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, finds that job searches for remote work have increased by 60% globally since March. Companies will need to adapt to existing policies and offer greater […] More

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    E-presenteeism and Burnout: Impact of Mental Health on Employees

    New research reveals that three in five (58%) HR managers fear that the mental health impact of working from home due to Coronavirus is so great that they will lose staff, who could be forced to take time out of work due to burnout. The research, commissioned by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network,  in partnership with […] More

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    Green Jobs: Tracking Growth for UK Sustainability Professionals

    The UK is a hotspot for “green jobs” with London ranking 6th globally for its concentration of sustainability professionals, according to new data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. Overall, the UK saw a 12% increase in the number of sustainability professionals last year, higher than the global average of 7.5%, as the impact of […] More

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    How to Start Your Career Using Just Social Media

    When it comes to career progression, using social media to find a job or for professional development is something not many think about. Social media can be very divisive when thinking about its impact. From trolls and censorship to worries about recruiters ‘spying’ on you, it can get quite a negative perception. However, it doesn’t […] More

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    How to Be a Better Employer Brand Leader

    Where do you start when leveling up your employer branding? An experienced employer brand leader shares the strategies, tools, and skills that can make a difference. Sara Balaban is Employer Brand & Talent Operations Lead at Geller & Company. Have a listen to the episode below, keep reading for a summary and be sure to […] More