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  • For many, it’s time to return to the office after spending months working from home.  And whilst employers have done their utmost to support staff in their remote working environment, it’s not the same as being able to motivate and monitor employees on a collective basis. Despite the limitations offered by remote management, there is no doubt that employers have done everything in their power to retain a cohesive team, largely via virtual meetings and the occasional socially distanced get-together. Academic research shows that while most people have managed to work from home, the lack of personal contact with work colleagues is starting to put a strain on the effectiveness of teams within the organisation. This means that over the next few months, with a drift back the office, there will be a focus on re-building team spirit and re-establishing leadership skills. The key is to find a balance between the wishes of the individual and the effectiveness of the team. This is where leadership skills play such an important role in the creation of trust and loyalty, something that is recognised by most successful organisations. How do you build a winning team in the aftermath of a major pandemic? The first consideration is to identify what we mean by a team and its importance in increased productivity and staff retention. A team can be best described as a group of people with a range of complementary skills that work together to achieve a common goal. This is very specific and quite different to a group. Which three of these do you think is a team rather than a group? A runner in a marathonVolunteers in a charity shopMembers of two families attending a weddingEight nurses working in a hospital not always on the same shiftAll the stewards and stewardesses of an airlineA group of children on a fairground ride The answer is 2 / 4 / 5 as they combine three elements key elements; the team, the individual and the task, along with the complementary skills needed to work together in order to achieve a specific outcome.  However, choosing the right team members and style of management is not easy, as everyone will have a different approach. This mix of the ‘right’ people and the most efficient leadership style is how successful teams are created.  These teams are managed by people who build trust and encouragement, spend time thinking about external forces such as customers, competition etc. and support the team on a ‘needs must’ basis. Who are the ‘right’ people? According to Dr Meredith Belbin, a team is not a group of people with job titles, but individuals - each of whom has a role that complements the other team members. The most successful teams comprise a diverse mix of talent, which are categorised into nine team roles. Belbin says that these following nine roles (in no particular order) produce the most effective team: Co-ordinator: A good chairperson sets the agenda and clarifies the team’s objectives. This role suits someone who is confident without being domineering while, at the same time, promoting collective decision making. Completer: This role suits someone who is known for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Meticulous and conscientious, who will personally check all the details – and then again, just to make sure. Implementer: Well organised, disciplined, efficient, trustworthy and reliable are words that sum up this role. Here is a person who can translate ideas into manageable talks and then timetable them for the other team members. Monitor / Evaluator: This is a role designed for someone who excels at absorbing and making sense of random information and then making a sound judgement. Creator: As the title suggest, an asset to the team is someone who is creative and has an imagination that can best be described as ‘out of the box’. Also good at problem solving. Resource investigator: This role suits someone who is enthusiastic and good at developing contacts. They are good at working under pressure. Shaper: Here is another one that works well under pressure and has the drive and energy to overcome obstacles. Specialist: This is the expert on the team whose interest is usually confined to their own sphere of knowledge. Can be best described as a single minded self-starter. Team worker:  This role epitomises the definition of a team. A reliable team player that co-operates willingly and can be relied upon to be diplomatic and a good listener. What does a team need to make it work? Clear objectives. Managers need to have a clear understanding of the goals and benchmark of success, including realistic time frames, and be able to communicate this to the team members.  It’s also important that team members know their specific responsibilities. Support. A good leader will delegate problem solving tasks to the whole team while at the same time have the trust that they will be able to supply the support needed – especially from the top down. Parameters. These are the ground rules that team members will work to, such as time keeping, methods of communicating with each other (especially if it still includes some remote working) and the process for evaluating individual performance against the overall team performance. Relationships. Learning about member’s skill sets is an on-going process. There will always be hidden talents that the manager was not aware of at the start of the process. As time goes on, this expertise can be assigned to specific problems or issues, leading to increased productivity. As relationships develop and the team starts to take shape, this will lead to an improvement in co-operation, trust and effective communication. Communication. The single most important factor to successful team building. Encouraging members to share information and knowledge is the key, and a good manager will expedite this. This does not mean endless irrelevant meetings, but by encouraging Q & A from everyone involved in the task. Listening, not talking, and stimulating discussion amongst team members should inspire creativity that leads to an agreed consensus. There is no question that team building will become even more important in the next few months as employers regain the trust and loyalty of their staff post lockdown. On the other hand, it’s not something that can be achieved over night, and could certainly prove to be a challenge for many businesses as they start to re-establish themselves in the market-place. Once you have identified the type of right people for your organisation, speak to a recruiter like Multitask Personnel, who can help make filling these roles a reality.
  • ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’ A common phrase, but wise words all the same, roughly translated as, if you always think the same way about things and never change your thoughts or ideas, you will always end up with the same result. A truism that could easily apply to many job seekers who fail to recognise the opportunities that exist, especially as we start to come out of lockdown. Having said that, there’s no denying it’s been a tough year for most of us. From crisis to opportunity Almost 1.7m unemployed in the UK and another couple of months before we will, hopefully, regain some sort of normality. And yet they do say out of a crisis comes opportunity. While it’s true that some businesses have certainly scaled back their expansion plans, the combination of government financial support and extensive vaccination programme is enabling increased employment opportunities. As organisations start to recover and, in some cases, plan for future expansion, we are starting to see an increasing number of vacancies. This means if you were thinking about changing your job or career, now could be a good time to take the plunge. Where do you start? Well, the first thing to appreciate is that changing career, or having a change of direction, is actually quite empowering during a crisis. Having to find a new job or choosing to look for new employment encourages us to take a step back and consider what we really want to achieve from our career. You may also have had some free time over the last few months to consider whether you wish to do the same thing as you have always done, or whether having an open mind might lead to new opportunities and to ‘doing what you love’ or probably more importantly, ‘doing what you are good at’ Is it time for a change of direction? Instead of thinking about a traditional step up your existing career ladder, what about a change of direction? As the economy starts to open up, so does the jobs market. In fact, now could be just the right time to consider a more strategic approach to your next employment. Some sectors, such as technology, health care, construction, and distribution, are actively hiring and we continue to see other industries ramping up their employment opportunities. Admittedly, not all of them may be permanent roles at the moment, but as lockdown eases and we get back to some sort of normality, there is every chance that many temporary positions will be converted to full time roles within a short period of time. Where do you start on your next journey? They do say, ‘own what you’re good at’. What this means, is to identify your employment strengths and identify what skills and attributes you have that have enabled you to achieve success so far. Once you have focussed on what ‘makes you’ you can then start to reflect on your future career path. Speak to a recruiter! Getting help from a recruitment partner can also help at this stage. We have a team of specialist who can take away many of the time consuming tasks as well as help paint a broader picture of the current jobs market. Your next move could be a sideways step that embraces your skills and experience, but possibly in a different industry or sector. We have many clients looking for specialist staff. Could that be you? There’s probably never been a better time to evaluate employment opportunities. Covid-19 has changed the way we do things, which in some cases, will be irreversible. This means now could be a very good time to consider what you would like to do next. Take time out to research the jobs market, noting which sectors are surviving, and in some cases thriving in the current pandemic, and then match your abilities to these sectors. For example, recycling and innovation are two key terms for the future. Could your current skills match this growth market?  Don’t just account for your accredited skills, make sure you identify transferable soft skills, such as good communication, leadership, problem solving, flexibility etc. Once again, if you are unsure how to identify these skills, give us a call. By identifying your complete skillset now, you are successfully preparing yourself for what will undoubtedly be a different employment environment in the future. Also, if there are skill gaps that could prevent you from achieving your dream job, there are plenty of opportunities to upskill. Now is also the time to upgrade your CV Consider what will make you more employable in the future. If certain skills are lacking such as technology, or latest legislation, enrol on online courses, download tutorials, listen to podcasts and tune into video channels. Also, look at job descriptions to determine the key words you can include in your CV. Certain hobbies and interests can also have a positive impact on a CV. A practical knowledge and interest in IT would certainly increase the recruiter’s interest, as would sporting achievements. Playing a sport demonstrates skills that can be transferred to the workplace. These include team building, persistence and problem solving. However, it’s a regular involvement in a recognised sporting activity that will influence the interview, rather than a round of crazy golf at Butlins. It’s also worth spending time updating and revising your LinkedIn profile. Add new skills and experiences, adjust settings that indicate you are available for work and post articles, blogs, and observations to ensure you keep in front of your networks’ eyes. Also, ensure you are connecting with secondary links, such as friends, former colleagues, friends of friends, and ex school / college members etc. After 12 months of lockdown, many of them, just like you, will want to connect to the wider business community and could potentially be keen to help you pursue your ‘new’ career. As we said earlier, have an open mind when looking for new job opportunities. Do your research to identify growth sectors, look at what skills these industries are looking for and see how your skill set and experiences can add value to their Business. Also, if you are currently working from home or continue to be off work under the government’s furlough scheme, it’s going to be much easier to pick up the phone or connect online than it would be trying to do it at work. Remote interviews are a thing now! It’s also worth practicing your remote interviewing technique, as it may be some time before we are able to revert to traditional face to face interviews. Use Zoom or MS Teams to develop both your personal body language and practical video techniques. Using such technology will also test your fortitude and personality traits such as empathy and patience – all things you will benefit from when it comes to starting your job search. Our top 10 tips So, if you are looking for a career change or new job, here’s ten top tips to help you on your way. Don’t forget, you can ask for help from your business network, colleagues, or professional partners such as ourselves, we’re glad to offer any advice or support. What are the skills and experiences have helped you succeed so far?How would you measure success in your current position?What are your reasons for wanting to change careers?How important is money in your search for that dream job?How realistic are your salary demands?What would make you enjoy your time at work more?Are you allocating time to update your business knowledge?Do you require to update / revise your skills to respond to current and future employment opportunities?How comfortable are you with technology such as video conferencing etc?What’s the one thing that would make you say ‘yes, I accept’ at your job interview? Finally, with rising unemployment and still some uncertainty, it may look bleak at the moment. However, while larger organisations have certainly reduced their manpower (for the time being at least) there is light at the end of the tunnel. Remember, ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. Why not break the mould and speak to our team of recruiters today on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk?
  • ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’. This comment, attributed to artist Andy Warhol, will always be considered one of the most celebrated quotes ever, despite him, in later life, denying that he ever said it. This example of early personal branding has become uncannily prophetic in the age of social media influencers and YouTube personalities. But what has all this got to do with recruitment we hear you ask? Plenty. Especially if you are looking for a job or new employment challenge. How you position yourself in the market-place is a critical factor in your success. And that means producing a personal statement that resonates with the target audience – in this case, the prospective employer. What is a personal statement, and how do you go about producing one? A personal statement is just like Andy Warhol’s famous quote, it’s what gets you noticed. A summary of why the prospective employer should hire you, and what benefits you bring to the business. Where do you start? Today the vast amount of competition, all vying for attention, has a myriad of outlets to enable this. A personal statement, therefore, has to work hard to stand out and catch the recruiter’s attention above everyone else’s. How do you define a personal statement? It’s a concise summary of the key skills and attributes that make you the most suitable candidate for the position. In your CV, it usually appears below your name and contact details and is written usually in the first person, ‘I am’ or ‘I did’ etc. It is also important that you tailor its content for every application submitted. Generic versions soon get ditched. This not a one size fits all operation. Every role is different and requires unique skills and experience that should be reflected in your personal statement. For example: ‘I have ten years’ experience as a commercial gas engineer in the Stoke area’ and ‘The last five working in the construction sector’ etc. A personal statement is the six second* chance you have of ‘selling yourself’ to the recruiter. (*six seconds is the average length of time your CV will be looked at). It should, therefore, concisely combine skills, personal attributes, goals, and ambitions, and why the organisation should employ you. All in less than 150 words and without any waffle or rambling content. On the other hand, you are not auditioning for The Apprentice (unless you are, of course) so hold back the hype, cancel the buzzwords (culture fit / talent pipeline / synergy / Rock star etc.) and be honest (back to The Apprentice again) without over-exaggerating. It should also be consistent and formatted the same as the remainder of your CV (otherwise it looks like a cut and paste) and back up your claims with accreditations and professional memberships (ACS / Rail RISQS etc.) By the way, if you are struggling for inspiration, refer to the recruiter’s job description and make a note of the skills and experience they are looking for. Then make a list and cross them off as you write your personal statement. The structure of the statement should be concise and business like. No catchy slogans and phrases such as ‘I have always wanted to work for xxxx for as long as I can remember’ etc. Express your enthusiasm in the benefits you feel you will bring to the company. Also, avoid generic statements such as ‘knowledge of Microsoft programs’ and be more specific, such as ‘approved competence in SQL / Python’ etc. If, of course, this is relevant to the vacancy. Don’t just include everything you are good at or skilled in. Remember, this is a tailored personal statement. It is designed to answer the question ‘why you are the most suitable person for the advertised vacancy’ and should focus on what benefits you bring to the business, rather than how much you’ve achieved in your life. For example: ‘I have over 10 years’ experience as a performance analyst in both a data and contact centre environment. I have good communication skills with a proven track record in building relationships – both internally and externally.’ ‘I am ready for a new challenge and keen to progress further in this field. I have previously produced several statistical analysis reports for my current employer. This enabled them to introduce a revised methodology resulting in savings of over 30% per annum’ Another example: ‘I have worked as a domestic and commercial gas engineer continually for the last seven years. The last three predominately in the construction industry. I am fully qualified, having obtained both commercial and ACS safety certification. ‘I have previous diagnostic and fault finding experience and an up to date awareness of all health and safety procedures. I consider myself good at communicating both orally and in written form, having achieved a level 7 certificate of achievement in a CPD accredited communications course, attended as part of my internal training progression programme.’ What should be included in your personal statement? Skills that are pertinent to the job you are applying for. Evidence of competency in these skills. Refer to them in context of the job description. Experience in the recruiting company’s field of operation. Career goals. This will highlight your aims and objectives and one of the reasons for applying for the vacancy. If you are currently unemployed, include details of any voluntary work or training courses you’ve attended during this period. The reader will also be interested in hearing how you’ve remained connected and up to date during this period. For example, keeping your LinkedIn profile refreshed, maintaining contact with networkers, overseeing industry trends etc. If you have had a career break, for example pregnancy or a gap travel year, mention this but don’t dwell on it. Use it to highlight your well balanced composition. Make sure your personal statement not only catches the reader’s attention but keeps them reading to the end. Make it interesting and compelling. Don’t include any adverse or negative comments about your current / previous employment. This is not the place to bad mouth your current employer (they may know each other!) Don’t cut and paste or plagiarise someone else’s personal statement. Remember, the reader is looking at many more than just yours so familiar or common phrases or statements will stand out, just not in a good way. How to end your personal statement In show business, they do say ‘it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish’. It’s the same with a personal statement. A strong opening sentence will certainly hook the reader, but it’s a strong closing sentence that will clinch the interview. The final paragraph gives you the chance to emphasise the key points in your statement and leave them in no doubt that you are the perfect person to fill their vacancy.  This is where your interest and enthusiasm shines through. Not just your interest in the area of work but the opportunity to work for such a progressive organisation. It’s also where you can highlight what makes you special, in other words what your unique selling proposition (USP) is – the key thing that makes you stand out from all the other applicants. Finally Check your document for any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes and get someone else you trust to read it through and get their opinion. We’re happy to offer advice on how to create an eye catching personal statement, just drop us a line on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk