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  • Earlier this year, we wrote about the high cost of staff turnover and the importance of staff retention. Now, as an increasing number of people return to work after a prolonged time away from the office, employers are facing a new challenge - how to re-build workplace confidence and ensure that, once again, it’s a great place to work. As we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, feeling safe and cared for has overtaken much of what we would term ‘perks of the job’ such as gym memberships or Pizza Friday. Pre-covid, company culture would most likely involve activities that lighten the spirits of employees. This includes social activities after work, or long weekends, and early finishing. All notable parts of the employment package but, of course, for many members of staff, especially those working from home, this has been their experience for the past 12 months. What do we mean by company culture and how important is it for attracting and retaining valued employees? The problem with trying to define company culture is it means different things to different people. A positive shared culture can lead to lower staff turnover, less absenteeism, and a higher calibre of recruitment - all vital ingredients of a return to ‘normal ‘working. What is company culture, and does it involve every size of business? It’s probably best described as the personality of the business. This, of course, depends on the type of organisation, e.g. fast paced and dynamic (sales and marketing) or more methodical and static (professional services). It will also include company policies and procedures, and the organisation’s management style, as well as the way employees feel about working for the company, along with their responsibilities. It’s this shared ethos that determines whether current and potential staff feel they are a good fit and, of course, vice versa. We are aware that a high percentage (over 40%) of job seekers would not apply to organisations that did not possess their shared values. We also know that staff who currently work for an organisation that has a company culture that aligns with their own beliefs and mind-set will work harder and stay with the company for longer. On the other hand, conflicts with their personal feelings will reflect on their work performance or result in them leaving. Company culture is, therefore, high on the list of considerations for new job seekers. But as we said before, building the right employment package based on a single culture style is no longer a guarantee of high calibre recruitment. Employers need to fully understand what makes their business a great place to work and of course, as we say, it will be different things to different people. For those that have been working from home over the past 12 months, a priority could be the office working environment. We’re not suggesting replicating their home layout in the office, but it is certainly worth discussing if there is anything that can be done to improve their respective workplace. We do, after all, spend almost a third of our life at work! It could be simple things like more comfortable office furniture, a personalisation of the work desk and a selection of greenery to bring the outside in. Other considerations could be transparent windows that open, rather than relying on air conditioning, to create a brighter and less intimidating environment, as well as a comfortable and acceptable (to other colleagues) temperature etc. Over the past few years, we have seen significant changes to the office environment. From closed doors and narrow corridors to open plan workplaces able to adapt to the needs of the business, something where employees can influence the layout. Of course, despite further lockdown easing, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and concern regarding practices such as hot desking or shared kitchen facilities, but this will become clearer as time goes on. Culture is driven from the top There is no doubt, that the values of a company culture are driven from the top down. Also, the one thing that has become clear over the past 12 months is the fact that the word ‘care’ keeps recurring when we asked recruits what makes a company a great place to work. Even before the pandemic, LinkedIn reported that 66% of job seekers consider the culture of the prospective hirer to be a major consideration when looking for employment. It was also reported that businesses who actively manage their company culture achieve 40% higher staff retention. This means that having a transparent company culture that goes beyond a basic job description, as not only does it help to attract high calibre talent, but also goes a long way to retaining the staff you have already. How do we build the right employment package, especially in these uncertain times? If any of your staff have been furloughed or working from home, they will have become used to flexible working practices. Therefore, flexibility becomes a valuable component of the ‘culture of care’. The one thing that returning staff will have appreciated whilst remote working, is being able to manage their own work-life balance. This could be flexible working hours, juggling childcare duties, or avoiding peak hours if travelling. Reflecting on this, the one key influence of the pandemic is that working hours don’t have to be the traditional 9-5 if the style of employment can accommodate these changes. With the advancement in technology, it could even include hybrid working with a mix of office and remote working that suits both the employee and employer. A great place to work is, therefore, a place that puts the individual staff member at the heart of the business. This includes a recognition that an emphasis on competitive performance might now be undervalued by employees, and rewards based on a team spirit might be more appropriate. And talking of rewards, traditionally, social activities and fun events have generally been the backbone of company culture. In addition to Pizza Friday’s, this includes simple things like chats around the boiling kettle, interaction between colleagues, and celebrating occasions such as birthdays etc. OK, some of this could be done over Zoom but this is definitely something that remote workers have missed, so it becomes an important part of the company culture as things get back to normal. Building or re-building a company culture that inspires employees and encourages increased job satisfaction and productivity, is absolutely crucial as we work our way out of the covid pandemic. As we said earlier, what makes people happy at work is very individualistic, but there are several steps employers can take to create an environment that will inspire an employee to feel secure with their employment. Here are a few: Have a clear vision & mission statement – so staff know the direction of the company and what it stands for Provide a flexible working environment – if the style of work enables it to Encourage honest feedback on an ad hoc basis and not just at an annual review. Make this a feature of everyday office life, especially if linked to innovation Create a fun atmosphere within the workplace – such as office quizzes, night’s outs (covid permitting), celebration events and volunteering opportunities Ensure you support diversity within your company policies Show your appreciation with impromptu rewards, and not just linked to performance targets Establish a system that encourages continuous personal development (CPD) – both internal and external Monitor stress levels and mental health issues on a regular basis – this includes ensuring that staff take off time they are entitled to One of the main reasons for leaving a company (and no, it’s not money) is because employees don’t like the work environment. A negative workplace culture leads to a toxic workplace, which results in high absenteeism rates, increased staff turnover, low productivity, and unpleasantness between colleagues. On the other hand, a positive culture fit with the individual encourages an atmosphere that leads to a happy, fulfilled and more productive workforce. If you would like to discover more about building a post-covid employment package, please contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk
  • Multitask Personnel has added a new Permanent Recruitment Manager to their growing team following the appointment of Laura Thompson, who joins to lead the Professional division at the Rotherham based specialist recruitment consultancy. Laura, who brings over 7 years’ experience as a Recruitment Consultant, Senior Manager and Branch Manager, has a background in engineering and construction, two key sectors that Multitask operate in. Tasked with growing the Professional division and team, Laura’s key focus is to provide effective recruitment solutions to help existing clients on current vacancies, as well as bringing in new business across a wide range of market sectors that require professional expertise. Laura Thompson, the new Permanent Recruitment Manager at Multitask Personnel comments: “I’m delighted to join Multitask Personnel to lead and develop the professional division alongside the fantastic team already in place. After starting out as a resourcer in an ‘any and every’ recruitment environment, I’ve been able to make professional and technical recruitment my home over the past few years. “My focus will be on working with management and specialist white collar and operations support professionals including, Contracts Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers, Health and Safety Managers, Estimators and HR Managers across our specialist sectors such as Construction, Building Services, Environmental and Mechanical and Electrical. “Understanding my clients and candidates has always been one of my priorities, so building that relationship to understand their requirements is key to making this role a success. Multitask is a great fit for my experience and future ambitions.” Joining a busy and thriving recruitment business, the role provides key support to businesses across the UK who have a requirement for professional staff alongside their skilled trades and office support requirements. Claire Lee, Managing Director at Multitask Personnel comments: “As the business community continues to pull together and navigate itself out of the covid19 pandemic, we’re finding the requirement for professional management is increasing once again. “We therefore feel now is the perfect time to strengthen our professional desk with the appointment of Laura, who has all the skills and attributes to hit the ground running looking after a number of our key accounts and developing the division further. “We would like to wish Laura a warm welcome to the team, and remind our clients that our professional recruitment services are still very much part of our future plans here at Multitask Personnel.” Multitask Personnel is currently on an internal recruitment drive, with more new team members expected to join over the next few months as the recruitment consultancy continues to invest in their staff to ensure client requirements are managed quickly and efficiently. Laura and the team can be contacted on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk
  • The way we view employment has dramatically changed over the past 50 years. Previous generations grew up with a ‘job for life’ mentality. All that has changed, and today’s working population are accustomed to a fluid employment market. Something that involves, especially in response to the ever expanding gig economy, working for different employers over our working lives. However, it’s the Covid-19 pandemic that has had the biggest impact on the current flexible jobs market. In fact, some sectors, such as travel, retail, and hospitality, have been hit especially hard and will take a considerable amount of time to recover. Ultimately, this has created a mass unemployment and reduced opportunities for staff working in these areas. Despite the easing of Covid restrictions, we are still experiencing the repercussions of this fall out – across all industries and sectors. Could a change of career be the answer? This is something that many people will consider during their lifetime and not just in times of hardship. In fact, the average person will change careers up to seven times during their working life. However, according to a recent Covid-19 survey, around 32% of respondents were now considering a change of career as a direct result of the pandemic. And it’s not just those that have been made redundant; there are many who are currently on furlough or working from home that have exactly the same thought going through their head. Is now really a good time to be thinking about changing careers? There is no doubt, the last 12 months have been difficult for all of us. Being stuck inside, unable to go away on holiday and with all the doom and gloom plastered all over the media, it’s no surprise that many of us are despondent about our future and wondering whether now is the time to try something new. On the other hand, even before the pandemic hit, many thousands of people changed careers. However, it is not something to be taken lightly and involves a great deal of thought and family discussion. It can, however, offer many advantages as we will see later. A trade to the trades? There are lots of reasons why you might think about a change of career. As we said earlier, you may be currently unemployed or working in an industry that has been decimated by Covid and has dramatically downsized its employment pool. Or it could just be that you have reached the limit with your present employment and now wish to re-apply your skills and experience to a different industry. In fact, transferring a skill set to a growing industry such as construction, building trades or mechanical and engineering can be a transformative experience. The challenge of adopting a new career by exploiting current skills and experience is, undoubtedly, life changing for most people. However, as the Covid pandemic starts to re-shape the way many of us do business, this expertise will help drive many businesses out of the current pandemic recession. And while past generations saw work primarily as a way of paying the bills, today’s working population recognise that a rewarding career can be both enjoyable and fulfilling. This is probably why we are seeing an increasing number of current employees reflecting on their employment situation, with many taking a career change leap of faith. Unquestionably, lockdown has encouraged people to take a step back and re-assess their current career. For some, it could be a desire for a better work-life balance, something they may have experienced during the past 12 months. For others it could be the need for a new challenge, a less stressful position or even a way of overcoming a lack of enthusiasm in their current role. Whatever the reason, there are several steps that can be taken for a successful career change Here are our five. Write down all the reasons for wanting to change careers It could be that you feel your talents are not appreciated and you’re despondent about the future - even when things return to some sort of normality. After all, what was relevant when you first started work, may not apply today. Priorities change and areas such as job satisfaction may now override promotion, bonuses, and perks of the job etc.  These changing values, needs and priorities could indicate you are ready for a change of career. If this is the case, it’s time to evaluate your current job satisfaction. One of the best ways is to write down, what you like / dislike about your current job. Then apportion it to specifics such as the company, the type of work, the industry or sector, or the people you work for / with. After all, we spend a considerable amount of time at work. Under normal circumstances, it amounts to around 35 hours a week or 1,795 hours a year which adds up to 84,365 hours over a working lifetime. That’s equivalent to spending 3,515 full days at work! It’s a long time if you’re unhappy or lacking motivation. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to discover that job satisfaction is the number one priority for many of today’s employees. And being unhappy at work is one major reason that many consider a career change. List your professional skills Once you’ve done that and you still feel a change of direction is for you, then make a list of your professional skills, work experience and any interests that may have a bearing on future employment (such as charity work / leisure pursuits etc.). Also make sure you include your professional qualifications. And don’t forget, it’s never too late to retrain in a new field, or update your skills. Unlike in the past, when academic qualifications and professional skills were learned for life, today there is a plethora of flexible online courses that enable you to fit your studies around a busy lifestyle. Talk to a professional recruitment partner Professional recruiters, such as ourselves, can help you discover job options based on your skill sets and experience. You may be surprised how marketable you are in the current climate. We can also discuss current / potential vacancies that provide a fit. Find suitable roles Once you have identified an industry and / or position that marry with your skill set, experience, and core values, we recommend finding out as much as you can about the role and how easy it will be to transfer your talent to an unfamiliar working environment. We can help with this too, although we’re sure you will also find plenty of information available on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube. Test it out Sometimes, there may be an opportunity to test drive a new role, before committing yourself full time. If this is not possible or desirable, have a look to see if there are any first-hand experiences or videos online. A new direction may be exactly what you need There are many benefits to changing a career. As we said earlier, we spend around a third of our lives at work. If we are unhappy or unfulfilled then this will, undoubtedly, have an impact on our personal and family life. Changing careers could also give you a new direction. Rather than restricting yourself to a time-served career, possibly one you have worked in since starting work, now could be the time to apply your skills and experience to a completely new sector. However, a career change doesn’t have to involve moving out of your current industry. It could, for example, be a horizontal move, taking on a different role or reducing the hours worked. This could also offer you the chance to try some part time or short term contract work. Our specialist team of recruiters can advise you on this, just give them a call. Of course, as with most changes there can be a reluctance due to the fear of the unknown. A new working environment is always going to be a daunting experience to start with, and yes it will take time to build new relationships. However, with the help and support of friends, family, and professional recruiters like us, this could be just the right time to broaden your horizons by either transferring your skill set and experience to a different industry or taking on a different role within your current sector. If you would like to discover more about changing careers, give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk