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Recruitment

Just so you are aware, we are open as a business, but just working with a smaller team of Consultants, business support and finance staff to help with any recruitment needs or career guidance. Click the link below to find the right person to contact for any questions or advice. 

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We're not everything to everyone

With over 260 years of recruitment experience within the team, we are confident in our knowledge, skills and expertise. We are a specialist agency that has the experience to help and advise on lots of recruitment issues and queries so if you have any questions about recruitment or need career advice we are on hand to help.


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If you’re looking for a new finance or office role in the East Midlands, we provide introductions to leading employers and all the support you need to make the most of the available opportunities. As the region’s leading finance and office recruitment agency, we’ll use our expertise, knowledge and networks to help you secure the right role in the right company, enabling you to achieve your aspirations and ambitions.

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We’ll find the best candidates for your roles and enable you to recruit the right people for your business. We get results through relationships, working closely with you to build a deep understanding of your requirements, preferences and priorities. We can then make sure that you get the most from our expertise, knowledge and networks so we can move quickly to secure the skills and talent you need.

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Cherry Professional

a bit about us

About us

​We strive to be the most trusted finance and office recruitment partner in the East Midlands; the first call if you are contemplating your career or hiring into your team. We know that people make business happen and in recruitment that couldn’t be more true. Our entire business is built on long termtrusting relationships with candidates and clients alike. We truly value how important your ambitions are and that is why we work tirelessly to understand your needs.

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Latest Blogs

 

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Coming back from furlough? Top tips when working from home

Create a workspace: Having a dedicated room/space, where you can sit comfortably, solely for work, will help you ‘get in the zone’ and focus. Make sure the workspace has everything you need before you start so you aren’t constantly up and down looking for paper or a pen, for example. If you live with family or in a shared house, be open with them about your expectations during work time, especially when you are on calls/meetings relating to work. Be reasonable but clear on your expectations. Craft a daily work routine: Replicate what you would do if you were in the office; wake up at a certain time, take a break at a certain time etc. Make sure you follow a certain schedule, structure your breaks, and in general, create a structure to follow. Stick to your working hours: Along the same lines as creating a routine, try and stick to your working hours. During this pandemic is has been quite apparent that people may be shifting their working hours to suit them but it’s important to try and retain your working schedule as much as you can. From a Managers stand point what’s also very important is to be open and honest about expectations and flexibility. Also, let your team members know when they can reach out to you throughout the day and be available to them. Check your internet connection: Make sure you have a secure internet connection and fast enough to keep things running at all times. Communicate with your employer if you are having difficulty accessing the internet or if your connection may be unsecure. Be visible: It’s important to stay connected with your team and colleagues. Keep on top of emails and any other internal communication channels. If you have a lot of meetings, or are not working specific hours put that in your calendar so people know when you are available. Limit distractions: Whether that’s taking a TV break, scrolling through social media or making a snack, make sure you have finished (as best you can) the task you are working on so you can leave your work at your desk when taking time out. This will also help you be more productive as it enables you to retain your focus and dedicate your time to your duties. Share your thoughts: Working remotely may be a huge change for some people and in others it can lead to the fear of missing out. Remember that your manager and team members are always there to hear your ideas and updates and some of them will be feeling the same way that you are. These are uncertain times for us all, don’t be frightened of communicating your thoughts. Remember to have fun: Relationships with colleagues are important, it’s a key factor in building a working culture in an organisation. Having them around only virtually can seem strange and can make you feel detached and alone. Try and get involved in fun virtual experiences with colleagues whether that be a quiz or a Friday night catch up. Pursue work-life balance: Maintaining a positive work life balance is something that has been a challenge long before this pandemic. But having work life balance shouldn’t be something you aspire to, you need to create it. Again as mentioned in point 3 “stick to your working hours” - if you work over time on certain days, communicate that to your manager and work out when you can take those hours back, if possible, or at least create yourself a plan to try and reduce this moving forwards.

Melissa Kilday

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Have you put your professional and personal development on hold?

I’ve recently watched the 10 part documentary ‘The Last Dance’ which focuses on the life of basketball legend Michael Jordan. It was a great watch (definitely recommend it, even if you aren't a fan of basketball) and it showed insight into the life of numerous superstars and gave real perspective on Michael Jordan's motivation and drive as a professional athlete. The series talks about the highs and lows in Jordan's life, it shows his commitment to being the best and how that commitment never took a back seat even during the toughest times. Why am I telling you this? Well, the documentary got me thinking about growth and my own dedication to self-improvement, which has taken on a different dimension this year due to COVID 19 and its impact on the world. The current pandemic has created crises amongst the health and financial markets that are disrupting the lives of almost everyone on our planet. COVID-19 is forcing many of us to confront a new world that is unfamiliar, unpredictable, unexpected and uncontrollable. The rapid change has caused people to purely focus on the here and now which is completely understandable, but it’s important to also try and keep hold of personal and professional goals and motivations during this time, if possible. Before I go on, I want to acknowledge that using the current crisis as an opportunity for personal growth is something that has been forced upon us, we either sink or we swim. This blog is not intended to reduce or distract from the seriousness of the consequences many people will face due to COVID 19. However, many people are motivated by working on their personal development whether that be via education or through experience and it’s important that, even during challenging times, that doesn’t stop, you just need to manage your expectations accordingly. Progression within business is important for many employees and, even in times like this, dreams and ambitions shouldn’t need to be put on hold. Rather, they should be adjusted in line with what the new business world may look like during and following this pandemic. Many businesses will be in no position to offer that progression right now. But it is still just as important to note how you may be able to develop your skill set and knowledge during this time and understand what short term goals can replace some of the more longer term ones you originally had planned. For those on furlough, being detached from work may be causing stress and worry, others may be enjoying some ‘time out’. Either way it’s important to ask yourself how you may be able to utilise this time to set goals you never thought about before? Such as; taking up online classes, reading that book on leadership you were always keen on, volunteering, even gaining insight to a completely new skill that may be outside your professional field. Personal development can be inspired by role models in all different fields, such as Michael Jordan. People working in key/core roles may be feeling additional pressure and stress due to an increase or decrease in business demand, they may be working in a new environment, with new systems implemented purely due to lockdown. I’ve spoken to some people who are even doing a completely different role to help out. It’s important that, if possible, you try to understand how this time could provide you with an unexpected chance to grow and understand how this is impacting your professional development. You may be learning new ways to handle stress, learning how to get the most out of rapid change and even how you've adapted your leadership style to suit the ‘new norm’ such as managing remotely. Either way your personal and professional goals and ambitions should not be shelved, we need something to focus on during times of adversity. It’s healthy to be mindful on how you are growing during this time and if you feel like you are not, then reach out to someone who may be able to help and provide guidance on how to make the most out of this time. If you don’t have a personal development plan now is a good time to sit and reflect on what it is you want to achieve and how you may need to adapt to do that in these current times. Ask yourself questions on how you want to develop outside your role, what objectives can you set yourself that are achievable now rather than later. If you would like access to a development template, please email me and I can send one over. I’m writing this blog because I’ve always been passionate about development and I’ve had some times in my life where I felt lost, and focusing on my personal and professional goals gave me a much needed anchor to grasp hold of. I didn’t realise that during the last few months I have been ignoring and distancing myself from my dreams, as if I sub consciously gave up on ever achieving them. Over the last 10 years I have chased those dreams passionately, with a fierce commitment to achieve them, and I felt extremely disappointed in myself for almost letting them go - even temporarily. I now need to refocus my personal development to enable me to grow and develop in the “new, post COVID 19, business world”. This has been a difficult time, there’s no denying that but I want to make sure that when I look back on this period of my life, I know I have been present and mindful in understanding how difficulty creates opportunity.

Melissa Kilday

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Blurring the lines between work and home life - how to reduce burnout and stress!

Last week Twitter announced that they were giving employees the ability and option to work from home indefinitely. There are clearly positives and negatives regarding this with experts saying we shouldn't be surprised if people are starting to feel unmotivated or less productive. For many, working from home started out positively! Extra time in bed, no reason to get dressed unless you are on video calls that day and spending more time with the children. For others, it was more negative, as it’s natural for people to need a routine and to be able to separate personal lives from their professional one, which is hard in any normal situation, but in times like these its become almost impossible. Burnout was already on the rise before the coronavirus, in part because the blurred professional boundaries made it more difficult to switch off. We are now in a world that is considered ‘always on’ which means we have instant, one touch access to the whole world. We have no regimented down time. Did you know that, on average, professionals check their email 15 times per day, or every 37 minutes and some people (including myself) check work emails first thing in the morning and last thing at night. With the “new normal” now being that people work from home and organisations starting to contemplate a permanent remote working culture, we need to understand and know what that will do to our personal lives and mental health, both in a negative and positive way. I personally enjoy working from home but only for short periods of time. Personality testing indicates that, being a extrovert, I thrive being around people, which makes times like this difficult as, like most, I enjoy human interaction. Understanding qualities in yourself like this will help you figure out and process what barriers may arise when working remotely that stop you being motivated, engaged and productive. So, what can you be implementing or thinking about to make sure working from home isn’t a problem and how can you separate your work and professional life to reduce burnout? - Keep your work space to a specific area in your home so your job doesn’t intrude into the lives of your family members or people you are living with (especially if two of you are working from home at the same time). Have a dedicated space that you assign as your workstation instead of checking emails, voicemails or texting in front of the TV or spreading work out all over your property. Make sure this space is as quiet as possible so you can concentrate. - Keep the noise out. The world can seem even more noisy and chaotic when we are trying to concentrate, so try using noise cancelling headphones or ear buds to block out any sounds which may cause distractions and result in you feeling frustrated. ‘Studies show that a delicate blend of soft music combined with soothing nature sounds—such as waterfalls, raindrops, a rushing brook or ocean waves—activates the calming part of your brain, helps you concentrate and lowers heart rate and blood pressure’. - Establish boundaries around your work space during work time that is off limits for others in the house. Explain that you need no interruptions or distractions in this space, even if you have to put up physical barriers such as locking a door etc. I know this can be futile with young children running around the house. Always try and explain why you need to focus and concentrate. If possible, only go to your designated space when you need to work, don’t go in there to rest as your brain will not be able to distinguish this as personal space, no doubt you’ll be happy to move as far away as possible anyway! - Put the work tools away. After your agreed work time is finished, put away your electronic devices or switch off emails. Keep work reminders in the designated work space and well out of your personal space to prevent your mind from always being pulled back to work. You need time to relax and switch off to allow yourself to be able to separate yourself from always being ‘at work’. - Make sure you stay connected! Utilise platforms like Facetime, Teams and Zoom to keep in contact with your colleagues or employees. If you start to feel lonely or disconnected with your work, consider setting up a support group of friends who are also working at home. Make plans to ‘meet’ on a regular basis and share creative ways you’ve adjusted to the new situation. - Get out of the house when possible – spending so much time at home can cause ‘cabin fever’. Make sure you have a plan to get out of the home at least once a day, even if it’s to sit in the garden or walk around the block. There is extensive research that shows spending time in nature lowers stress, helps you relax and clears your mind. - Make the most of your free time - After work try to enjoy other areas of your home or engage in fun activities that you enjoy, even if that’s just watching a bit of TV. Try to stay in contact with people as much as possible. Organise an online quiz via video call, or host a digital dinner party for you and your family. It’s important that we speak to and spend time with friends and family members when you can, so you feel connected to the people in your life that you care about. For some people working from home is easy, some people even suggest they are able to concentrate more and be more productive. But for others, it’s difficult, whether that’s because you have children, feel lonely and detached or just want to be around those you work with to bounce ideas off. Its important to understand how you are feeling about your current work situation and implement steps and routines that can help improve the balance between your personal and professional lives.

Melissa Kilday

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Do you have a financial wellbeing strategy?

Over the last few months the world has been turned upside down, leading to stress and worry amongst families, businesses and loved ones. Having a personal financial wellbeing strategy has never been more important as it is at the moment. Clearly it’s not just about the economy and the financial markets; the new reality we are faced with affects all of us in terms of everyday decisions around how we spend, how we save, and how we protect ourselves. We all need to think about reprioritising and being sensible with our money. We encourage everyone to refocus on the things that are needed rather than wanted. To be able to manage during this time, we need to get creative, to make the most out of what we have available; we all need to learn how to live with less. When it comes to money, it’s important to make sure that you think about all options available to help keep you as stable as possible. Unless you are financially secure it’s sensible to stop buying non-essential items right now; as much as it’s great to use the extra time we all have to scour the likes of Amazon and ebay, having less money to make purchases may lead to financial hardship sooner rather than later. Whether you're trying to save money, adapt to a decrease in salary, or need some extra financial help, you can rest assured that you have options. If your income hasn’t been affected Budgeting will enable you to make the most out of your disposable income. As all restaurants, pubs and clothing stores are closed, as well as no sporting events or concerts to attend, at least for the time being, you've probably been spending less without even realising it. If that is the case this will allow you the opportunity to reprioritise what you will spend your money on when we do eventually come out of this unprecedented situation. That will, hopefully, be a positive thing to do – we all need any positive thoughts we can to cling on to at the moment. I’m sure there’s never been a more pertinent time to realise how important saving is and how important it is not to waste money. If this has been a tendency in the past this time will help you realise this and change spending habits moving forward – having some savings at this moment in time will enable people to come through this relatively unscathed and certainly less stressed than if this was not the case. If your income has dropped Of course a reduction in income will effect people as we all, generally, live to our means. Due to COVID19 many employee’s across the UK have taken a reduction in hours or been furloughed to support employers. But, just because your salary has changed, that doesn’t mean your outgoings have. So what can you do? Well, it’s a matter of budgeting, getting rid of spend that’s non-essential and finding ways to lower your normal monthly expenditure. Here are some tangible ways to do that: Understand your total monthly outgoings and calculate how much a month you need to reduce that by inline with your new salary. You can, for example, take a look at your utility bills and contact the suppliers to find out which tariff is best for you and ask about any other low cost options there may be. Insurance is a big cost for many people. House, pet, car and life insurance can take a large chunk of your salary each month. Contact your providers to see if you can lower the rates in any way, even for a couple of months. Shop around to see if you can take advantage of multi-policy discounts or find a cheaper supplier – then ask your provider if they can match it to save any further administration. There’s never been a better time to spend your food vouchers or coupons. Nectar cards, Tesco club cards and any other loyalty schemes will come in handy during these times. If you have any saved coupons hidden away, then make sure you use them. Down load money saving apps that give you daily deals or apps that auto generate discount codes when shopping online. Look at your mobile, TV and broadband providers to see if you are paying for any “add ons” like additional data, more minutes, a land line etc. If you have any credit cards or bank loans talk to your bank and see if you could re finance, reduce interest rates or lower the monthly payments. If possible, try to get an understanding from your employer around how long the reduction in hours or pay may be for, so that you can factor it into your conversations with suppliers (we realise no one has a crystal ball though). Re-evaluating your fixed monthly costs and looking for ways to save is a smart move at any time. You may find that the changes you make will have long-term benefits and will, of course, give you a more realistic understanding of your outgoings, something you may not have given a thought to. If you’re struggling to make ends meet So many people are struggling right now. Part time employee’s, people who have been made redundant, the self employed and freelance workers are all trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet. So, what can we suggest? Firstly, how much are your fixed outgoings per month and how much you need to live (food, supplies etc) . As above, it’s important that you speak to suppliers to see if there is anyway you could get some short term help. Whether that’s minimising card repayments, taking a mortgage holiday or minimising missed payment fees. Once you’ve done this you will have a better understanding of your finances and allow you to prioritise your bills/spend. Take advantage of help If cutting your budget isn't enough to make ends meet in the current environment, don’t panic. There could be something to help that you haven’t heard or read about just yet. If you're having trouble paying your rent, talk to your landlord about your situation and your options. Some agencies and landlords are granting 3 month payment holidays or considering a temporary lowering of rental payments. If you own your property and your income has been affected, as previously mentioned, jump on the phone to your lender and talk about your options. Some banks and lenders are offering 3 month or more payment holidays on mortgages. In response to COVID-19, the UK government has put into place the job retention scheme which has been a HUGE help for UK employers and employees. If you have been furloughed, use this time to truly understand your financial situation! Some loan and credit card lenders are allowing you to freeze interest, to lower payments or to take repayment holidays for up to 3 months. If you know you’re incomings aren’t going to cover your outgoings please don’t just let the bills pile up! Reach out to providers, ask for help, you may be pleasantly surprised at the support and guidance you receive. I know there are millions of people across the UK worried about their financial situation, but you need to know there is help and support out there. Having these conversations are not easy but you will feel a lot better from having made them!

Melissa Kilday

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8 ways to support staff who are furloughed

The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge financial impact on UK businesses. The government have implemented a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in order to help us retain staff during this difficult time. Those taking advantage of the Job Retention Scheme will be placing their employees on furlough. Whilst this may ease the financial strain on the organisation and, in most cases, the employees, what we need to think about is how those on furlough will adjust to such a significant change. Talking to our own employees, our families, friends and business connections, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that staff may be worried about whether they will even have a job to return to. Being furloughed, when other staff aren’t, may cause them to feel undervalued and, some people have even mentioned feeling guilty that they aren’t working, especially if their colleagues are. So, what can we do to support our staff during the furlough process? We aren’t experts on mental health, so we have taken advice from places such as Mind, Mental-health.org and other mental wellbeing professionals. But the bottom line is no one has experienced this before and we don’t have all the answers but, we do have some very well thought out suggestions. - It’s vital to be honest and open with staff. Never make false promises, this can lead to staff feeling let down. As Managers, always explain why you have made the decisions you have and offer insight into the real workings of a business. - Get other members of management or even the business owners to reach out and fully explain why this decision has been made, people will appreciate the time and understand that this was not an easy decision and the primary goal is to retain jobs and protect the business. - Set up regular wellbeing calls with furloughed staff. Whilst they can’t help you with work, you can talk to them about what they are doing with their time now and just check in to see how they are coping. Try and get teams together via video chat, groups of people who are furloughed could provide advice and suggestions on how to keep busy and active during this time. - Encourage staff to think and talk about their mental wellbeing and try to check in with tips on how they are managing it during this time. We have recently written a blog with 7 tips to stay positive here - Try and encourage staff to set personal goals during furlough. Talk about any skills they want to learn and new avenues for development they could look into. One thing we have tried to do with newer/less experienced staff is suggest ways to improve their skills via online training platforms and reading materials. This has had a fantastic response, and, who knows, when we are all back to work, employees may have learnt new, innovative skills to help drive their personal performance. - Encourage staff to keep in contact with other colleagues who have been furloughed. Even if it’s just one other member of staff, this will help them develop deeper bonds and connections with members of the team they don’t necessarily have day to day contact with. - Openly suggest things they could work on that, as their Manager, you may think they would benefit from or be good at, knowing them as individuals.This may not even be work related learning, it could be learning a language, writing a book or even starting a Youtube channel. Anything you think someone could use their abilities for and help them to feel good about themselves is clearly of benefit. Communication and encouragement is massively important. If you liaise with your teams and try to establish a transparent line of conversation it will encourage them to express honestly their concerns and thoughts. Even if you can’t provide any support in the form of answers, you can provide support by listening and talking.

Melissa Kilday

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Ideas for a fun filled Easter weekend

Easter weekend usually means going away with loved ones, a BBQ or two if the sun is shining or trips to see family and friends. This one will be different of course due to the current lockdown. I’ve been speaking to colleagues, business connections and friends who have children and each persons situation is different. Some people are still working full time from home trying to balance work and giving their little ones enough attention, some are furloughed and feel frustrated and out of ideas to keep the kids off of the Xbox. Many people within the team at Cherry Professional are working parents, so, we wanted to pull together a few fun ideas that anyone could embrace to ramp up the fun at home. I think the last few weeks have reminded us all about what’s truly important and how precious time is. So, here are a few ideas to make Easter with your little ones as memorable as ever. Grow your own Easter eggs This one helps bring a little magic to the weekend! The night before Easter Sunday, take the kids outside and get them to ‘plant’ some small foil-wrapped chocolate eggs in a flower pot. Whilst they are sleeping, replace the small foil eggs for HUGE ones and watch their delight. Try to remind them this only works once a year otherwise you may find them hiding treats around the garden hoping for a bigger treat every morning! Bunny hop You might not be able to go out, but you can always bring the fun and mystery inside! Before the kids head off to bed, help them set up a gift for the Easter Bunny. Sprinkle some flour on a tray (or the floor if its easy to clean) with a carrot as a gift for the Easter Bunny. Whilst they are sleeping, find something that can create bunny prints in the flour, a cotton bud, end of a pen, anything small should do the trick! You could even put some flour paw prints leading away from the carrot. The kids will wake up to magical bunny prints around the house. The classic egg hunt! If you’ve never done an East egg hunt, here’s what usually happens; parents hide eggs all over the house or garden and the kids have to find them, usually there is a map and clues! But this year it may be a little different as you can’t bring everyone together, there may only be a few of you. So, leave a letter from the Easter Bunny telling you and the kids that there are eggs hidden in the garden, in the house, even just in the kitchen! That way, parents and kids can be involved, everyone racing to find the most eggs! Egg decorating This is a classic! Most of us have either painted or dyed eggs in our time, and it’s a great craft activity for kids of all ages (yes, even teenagers!). There are plenty of ways to decorate eggs, whether you choose to hard boil the eggs first or use Styrofoam ones, it’s just as fun! This video shows you how to decorate eggs with food dye from English heritage, it shows you how to create bright and fun eggs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjHeWTqPgT8 If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced for the older ones, you could set up a competition to see who can decorate the best egg. The prize - a HUGE Easter egg, remember, no matter what age, everyone loves a treat!. Another idea, as you can’t be with other loved ones in your family, why not use felt pens/sharpies to decorate the eggs to resemble a family member! An egg-celent way to bring a few familier faces into the house! Easter baking Such a fun and messy way to enjoy Easter and it’s something that everyone can get involved in. This is also good for parents who have children with allergies or who try to reduce sugar intake etc as you can choose what you bake! A few recipies I like to use but there are so many out there, that you wont be short on ideas! Gluten free Easter cookies https://freefromfairy.com/wholesome-easter-biscuits-gluten-free-dairy-free-egg-free-nut-free-refined-sugar-free/ Lemon and Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/lemon-blueberry-quinoa-pancakes/ Healthy one bowl bake brownies https://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2018/03/28/healthy-one-bowl-chocolate-chunk-brownies/ (you have to scroll quite abit to find the recipe, but it's worth it they are yummy!) Classic fairy cakes https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/iced-fairy-cakes Play Easter games Pin the tail on the bunny, egg & spoon race, sack race, Easter crafts and so much more! You can get creative with this one for sure, think about all the outdoor games you used to play and add an Easter themed twist! We hope you and your loved ones have a egg-cellent Easter, and its filled with egg-treme fun and laughter. Stay safe and stay home. The weather looks nice too, so you may even be able to get the BBQ out after all!

Melissa Kilday

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How to reduce burnout and increased stress in key/core workers

Over the last few weeks the UK and indeed the world has been thrown in to uncertainty and chaos. With people being told to self-isolate and many being made redundant or furloughed, there has been a huge focus on peoples mental health. We wrote a blog previously about this subject – you can read it here. But this blog is about the critical key workers still leaving the comfort and safety of their homes to go into work, staff who haven’t been furloughed, still working long hours, keeping the wheels moving as much as possible. We all know that over-working can lead to burn out, burn out (if not addressed and treated) can lead to all sorts of mental issues that people are left to battle with such as depression, anxiety, extreme stress, insomnia and more. Even before this pandemic, extra pressure and mental health issues within the UK workforce caused 44% of absences. COVID-19 has taken organisations by surprise and there is, therefore, an increased pressure on existing key/core workers, many working in conditions that aren’t safe. With all of this in mind, mental illnesses are expected to rise. As a manager or business owner it’s imperative you create an open working environment where possible. We understand at the moment that certain sectors are massively under-staffed and over-worked to even have the time to support employees who may be suffering. Here are a few suggestions to bear in mind or implement within your team: - Allow employees to talk with one another, whether that’s via electronic devices, over team video calling or even face to face whilst following social distancing rules and wearing protective equipment. In an organisation in which employees can talk freely with each other, productivity and problem-solving is usually enhanced. - Try to ensure efficient training is in place. If you are hiring temporary staff to fill holes for sickness, or just to cover increased demand, they NEED the correct training. Invest the time as much as you can at the start as that will reduce new members of the team distracting current employees or their manager. When a member of staff doesn’t fully understand a task they themselves tend to procrastinate, which just results in the work still not being done and being passed to someone else, increasing their risk of burn out. - During this time trust is key. You need to give employees adequate control over how they do their work. If staff are working from home, on a warehouse floor, in a dispensary or on a checkout, you need to have faith that they know how to complete their job. Of course newer members of the team will need more support initially, be there to offer it, but bear in mind, after training, workers are more productive and able to deal with stress better if they have some control over and flexibility in how they perform their work. - Talk openly with employees, communication is important now more than ever! Management should keep colleagues informed about what’s happening in the business, transparency is key. This also gives employees the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions and feel valued. - This might be an obvious one but right now it’s vital that management appreciate all employees’ efforts. Workers are better able to cope with heavy workloads if management is sympathetic, understanding and encouraging. Listening to employees and addressing their issues is helpful for moral. During COVID 19 most employees understand that as management you may not have all the answers, you may not have the resource to support the issue or ease any work load but you need to explain that. Don’t make false promises, or over promise and under deliver. You’ll find loyal and committed employees will value the honesty and will persevere more positively as they know what to expect. We are now swimming in muddy waters and navigating a situation that we have never experienced before. As Business Owners, CEO’s, Managers and employees we all have to pull together and share knowledge. Offer support to other businesses where possible and think about the people, the business and the ‘other side’ of this pandemic; the best way to get through this is together.

Melissa Kilday

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How to answer difficult questions

Line Managers, Business Owners and Leaders have been asked difficult questions recently due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Employee queries are becoming increasingly more frequent but, unfortunately, difficult to respond to due to the fact that we don’t have all the answers. This isn’t unique to COVID-19, in business there are always issues and topics that raise uncomfortable conversations. We wanted to compile some top tips on how to handle difficult conversations, because 2020 is throwing us some real curve balls! Understand the root of the question Some questions will be asked out of different emotions, stress, anxiety, uncertainty, ambition, curiosity etc. It’s vital you seek first to understand the reason behind the query in front of you. That should help you devise the best response in the most appropriate way. Finding the root of the question and fully understanding it will allow you to be prepared for any reaction that may follow during the conversation. It’s important to allow the person to express their emotion freely too and feel safe doing so otherwise they may leave the conversation dissatisfied. Take time to respond If you’re asked a difficult question, give yourself time to determine how you want to respond, having processed the information. This tactic­­­ is evident when politicians or vocal celebrities don’t answer the question instantly, they’ll repeat or rephrase the question as a lead in. If they do it well, that method gives an opportunity to think of ways to reposition the information. Utilise that when you’re approached about difficult topics, it may give you those vital seconds to create the right response, but if you need more time just say so and get back to them with a well thought out reply. Don’t get defensive It’s important not to let people hit your emotional triggers when you’re answering questions. If that happens during a 1:1 or a business conversation and you get defensive, you lose. Maintain your confidence by maintaining your composure. During this time not a lot of organisations have all the answers, and some employees may get emotional and question the businesses sustainability and methods which can raise emotions and cause business owners and leaders to get defensive. Make sure you communicate your point that even if you don’t have all the answers right now, give them the answers you do have, even if that only clears up half of the query. It will allow the employee to leave the conversation feeling more informed that they were previously. Be honest It’s easy to tell white lies to avoid a difficult conversation, that applies to personal and professional life. But you need to establish and understand your core values and how you want to be perceived amongst your employees. If you don’t have all the answers or feel unsure on how to answer something specific, be honest about it. Most employees will appreciate your transparency and understand no one has all the answers all of the time. Communicate your position If you feel you are not in a position to answer a question then explain why. If It’s because you don’t have time to go into the detail needed, ensure you rebook for a time when it’s more suitable, allowing you to obtain external help where appropriate. If you feel you're not the right person to answer that question due to knowledge around a specific subject or that the question may need input from different departments such as HR or finance, make sure you communicate that. Employees would much rather be given the correct answer from the right people, than to be passed between departments and various business leaders seeking answers. By explaining this you gain credibility, it shows your dedication to business synergy and also shows that you want the employee to get the right answer. Our number one piece of advice for this specific situation (COVID -19) would be to keep employees up to date on any changes as soon as possible, be as honest as you can about the businesses position and try to keep people engaged and motivated. If you would like additional guidance on ways to do this, please let us know and we will share our help guides with you.

Melissa Kilday

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7 ways to stay motivated, productive and positive during lockdown!

Panic surrounding Covid-19 has caused a lot of stress and anxiety; with confirmed cases rising, stock market volatility and worrying for loved ones, it’s completely understandable that people feel emotional at this time. With most of the nation now working from home making huge changes to their normal routine, it is important that we are all taking care of our mental health – with all the above stress combined with no social contact for the next few weeks it’s fair to say we will all be feeling cabin fever soon. Here are a few simple tips/reminders to help keep you motivated, productive and most importantly positive during this time! Try to maintain normal routines The coronavirus has altered how we now live our everyday lives, but that doesn’t mean that everything has to change. Try to stay as close to your normal routine as possible. Maintain some kind of structure from your pre-quarantine days. If the new you is working from home, start your day as you would normally have, and maybe take a walk instead of your routine commute to the office. The situation seems to change daily, however, if you have some consistency in your daily activities it will make it all feel more manageable. Studies have shown that our bodies tend to function better when eating, sleep and exercise patterns are set to a regular schedule. Stay connected According to studies, loneliness can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, so don’t isolate yourself completely. Keep in touch with your family, friends and colleagues via Skype, FaceTime, a phone call, texting… really any form of digital communication. Ask how they are and let them know how you are! If you’re used to getting up and walking over to a colleague’s desk, then use Microsoft Teams, Zoom or other software that allows you to have video conversations with colleagues rather than just emailing them. Staying connected is important as it helps us to manage stress and some studies have found it helps us to live longer and happier lives. Go outside We have been advised to stay inside as much as possible, but this doesn’t mean we have to be imprisoned in our own homes. If you suddenly find yourself dwelling on your problems or if you feel a little less productive, go and sit in your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one or take a short walk. Research has shown that exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally and mentally, it also contributes to your physical well-being – reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones. Take a break It can be so easy to avoid breaks altogether when you are working from home. It’s important that you don’t let the association of working in the place that you sleep, prevent you from taking five minutes to relax and get a brew. Rather than using your breaks to catch up on the next episode of a TV series or getting lost on YouTube, take the time to get up and move away from your desk. Go for a wander, get some fresh air and take a breather. Breaks, like making and eating lunch can recharge you and give you a renewed focus to do better work. Don’t assume that you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re at home, it’s important to take those breaks like you would in the office. Plan and Prioritise Spend some time at the beginning of the day to figure out what you’ll be doing and the things that are a priority. It’s easy to run out of time or energy for work without a structured plan. It’s equally important to plan time to stop work. The danger when working from home is that work and personal life can start to merge together, and you might start to feel like you’re always “on”. To aid this choose a time to “check out” of work. Even if it is a mental checkout, this will help to separate work and personal life, maintaining a work life balance. Designated workspace One of the biggest challenges when working from home is all the distractions: your family, children, pets and even the kitchen. This is why it is so important to have a designated workspace. If you have a sperate home office or spare room, then perfect. But if you don’t, pick a space where you can close the door and achieve a bit of solitude. Focus on the positives it is almost impossible to know exactly what the future looks like! Try not to obsess over things; What will happen next? Will the supermarket shelves be restocked soon? How long am I going to be trapped in the house? When will this all end? Instead try to focus your mind on more positive things. For example, despite Italy being one of the worst affected countries by coronavirus, Italians can be heard singing from their windows/balconies to boost morale. Even in the darkest of times, we must try to find a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. Over the next few days we will be creating a bank of helpful guides and tips to ensure we get through this time as well as can be expected.

Libby McCaughey

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Coronavirus

Last week Cherry Professional started the week a little different. Rather than being in our office, most of the team are working from home, following the advice given by the government. We wanted to reach out and reassure you of our plans to keep the business wheels moving as best we can, whilst ensuring that each of us are protecting ourselves, our families, our customers and our communities during these unsettling times. This is a time for us to pull together, everyone is in a similar position and as each new development unfolds, we will continue to adjust our approach accordingly. We understand there are challenges to face and as a business we are committed to staying positive and we are working as flexibly and agile as possible to meet the needs of our clients, candidates and team, playing our part in keeping the economy moving forward as much as we can. We have a dedicated Internal Business Improvement Manager responding to Government advice and keeping the entire team up to date as we adapt our approach in response to the developments. We have a robust business continuity plan that has been rolled out across our organisation. Our fully functioning internal infrastructure allows our whole team to work remotely using Microsoft Teams, cloud technology, laptops and mobiles which will enable us to keep “business as usual” as normal as possible. We will carry out our meetings and interviews using video technology, we will also be updating our blog with tips and hints for you, your loved ones and colleagues to stay motivated, active and mentally safe during this time. For those that want to get in touch with us we are at the end of the phone (or an email) to help you, as always putting our relationships at the heart of everything we do. Whilst we are doing absolutely everything we can from our end, we appreciate that this is an uncertain time for many and there will be situations beyond our control, so in advance, we want to thank you for being flexible and patient. Finally, a huge and heart felt thank you to those working in the public services who are helping keep us safe and healthy as much as possible. We are incredibly grateful, Thank you!!!

Libby McCaughey

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Safeguarding your business against Coronavirus

Planning for operational resilience can reduce concerns in your workplace during the global panic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19. Here are a few tips on how you can take the appropriate measures to mitigate your business and employees against disruption. Identify the specific risks posed by Coronavirus that are unique to your business. Ensure your pandemic or business continuity plans are updated accordingly. Communicate such plan(s) to employees, customers, suppliers and partners. If your business requires employees to make national and international travel, set limitations as a precaution. Hysteria is contagious, so talk to employees. Let them know you are prepared and are protecting them. Communicate effectively what the businesses response plans could mean to them, including health and risk education and social distancing through working from home. Identify operational and revenue impacts from potential disruption to key suppliers and vendors. It may be weeks or months from now, but as a business you should consider the feasibility of obtaining goods, ingredients and potentially component parts from alternative suppliers. Monitor updates from public and/or global health officials and governments, continuing to keep employees informed and educated about the outbreak. For more information and guidance on what to expect across the UK and action plan tips visit Gov.uk Other key sources; Guidance for employees, employers and businesses. Latest advice on how to protect yourself. Global map of coronavirus cases, recoveries and deaths.

Libby McCaughey

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Paid less because you're female.

#BetterForBalance, last year’s International Women’s day theme. Although international Women’s day was back in March, the battle of equality is one we continue to fight! Over the last several decades women have worked tirelessly to break stereotypes, glass ceilings and constraints, yet gender inequality is still prevalent. When this year’s gender pay gap report was published, it found that hundreds of ‘big firms’ saw an increase in their gender pay gaps(gasps), that’s around 2 in 5 companies. I was surprised at this, especially considering there has been numerous campaigns and social events to minimize it. But, why has there been an increase? Dharshini David, BBC’s economics correspondent suggests that as a result of an influx of female hires in junior positions the gap has widened and progressing them through the ranks could take years. I understand that this could be a contributing factor, but I am skeptical to it being the sole cause, aren’t you? Yes, there has been a 121% increase in women within accounting and finance roles which is fantastic, but for every 10 men in senior roles there is only 1 woman!! Even more significant there is an average 21.5% gender pay gap. So, what the 121% increase really means is that MORE women are getting paid less than their male counter-part to do the same job. Along with construction, finance as a sector has the largest gender pay gap. Does it come as much of a shock? No? We didn’t think so either. It’s no secret that finance has long been an industry monopolized by men, nonetheless it does not justify the vastness of the gap. So, what does the 21.5% gender pay difference mean? In theory women work for FREE 1hour and 40 minuets each day. That totals to 57 days a year. Shocked? Even more jaw dropping a senior CFO role where the average salary in the UK is £106,980, a woman could be getting paid a staggering £23,000.70 less than her male counter-part. Think of what you could do with that amount of money. Luckily, it’s not too late to rectify it. In fact, real women are taking real action to make themselves heard! Recently we saw Carrie Gracie resign from her position as China Editor at the BBC over equal pay, after the GPA report was released. For a company that claims to be ‘golden standard’ you would have expected it to be the last place to see the gender pay gap have such a large effect! The BBC has since said that it has now made “significant reforms”. If you don’t know the gender pay gap in your business be keen to find out. Although you’re not legal obliged to report into .GOV if your company has 250 employees or less, it is something you should know and be aware of. Research supports the claim that diversity is not only economically beneficial but essential for the wellbeing of your staff. Companies who invest in diversity and inclusion have a 57% better team collaboration and increase their staff retention by 19%, saving them around £11,000 a year. In this current skill short market finding new talent to replace staff is becoming increasingly difficult, so any way to retain staff need must be acted on! Want to know if your salary is competitive or are you interested what you could be paid depending on your career? Or if you’re an employer wanting to know how you could be competitively playing your staff take a moment to fill in our Salary Survey!

Libby McCaughey

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Dominating Your Industry at a Young Age: The Key to Success

We know that success is personal, and everyone has a different perception of what it is to be successful. What we want to talk about in this blog is what patterns there are or personal characteristic that draw strong connections to achieving professional success. Every successful entrepreneur has to start somewhere. Sadly there isn’t a “magic pill” that launches you into the free world of leadership (that we know of). Richard St. John, TED Talks speaker and Success Analyst concluded after 7 years and 500 interviews there are 8 secrets to success; passion, work, focus, push, ideas, improve, serve and persist. Richard published these ideas in his book “The 8 Traits Successful People have in Common”. Richard’s concept can seem a little too simple without context. So, let’s look at the successful female entrepreneur Grace Beverley, who is the 22-year-old CEO of multimillion-pound businesses TALA, B_ND and SHREDDY. Grace, who graduated from Oxford University last year, started her first company B_ND making vegan-friendly resistance bands whilst she was still a student. She began to build a name for herself on social media documenting her fitness journey and showcasing to her increasing number of followers her passion for working out and being active. Through this passion she found her first opportunity. “I’ve always been interested in finding gaps in the market and opportunities in items that don’t exist” she told Radio 1 Newsbeat. “I had been using resistance bands and there were either really expensive good ones or really cheap, rubbery and plastic ones [on the market]” “So, I looked into manufacturing to see how I could produce an affordable product, while still being ethical and I ended up making resistance bands and vegan barbell pads.” The UK gym wear industry is set to be worth £6.7bn over the next five years so it is fair to say it is a highly competitive industry to break into. Beverley focused on what would set her apart from her rivals like Gymshark and Nike. Her focus in business has always been primarily on sustainability and creating affordable gym products that don’t fall under the ‘fast fashion’ label – because they are eco-friendly. Being aware of the financial setbacks that come with making products that are 100% recyclable and wanting to price them as affordable for their young customer base, Beverley worked hard to manage expectations and created a range of 92% recycled clothing. “For sustainable brands to be able to make their mark – we need to show there is that demand and people are choosing them over fast fashion equivalents.” In May last year when Beverley’s second brand TALA launched her first set of clothes sold out in 20 minutes, with a new collection selling out online in December. One of the standout commitments of her brand has been showing that women of all sizes can feel comfortable in gym clothes – her range caters for sizes 4-20 with options for taller women as well. Beverley’s innovative ideas of improving existing products on the market gave her an industry leading business model that has led her businesses to end the year with combined sales over £7.6m. She pushed herself managing businesses and completing her degree at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. She serves to make the fashion industry more sustainable and to provide customers with eco-friendly fashion at an affordable price. Beverly persisted through the mounting obstacles women face in the business world, even recently in an interview with The Telegraph she faced criticism on her appearance and willingness to take photographs. She responded saying “it’s hard not to get frustrated when all-female entrepreneur angled approaches seem to lead instead to thinly veiled misogynistic pieces.” While it is clear success is personal, perhaps John’s ideas on The 8 steps to success has some truths to them. If you embody the 8 key characteristics of a successful mindset you might find yourself in a place of personal success, whatever that might be.

Libby McCaughey

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Nottingham forecast to have one of the UK’s fastest growing economies

A recent article published by West Bridgeford Wire said that the East midlands as a whole had the UK’s fastest-growing regional economy in 2019, and Nottingham is expected to, over the next three years, have one of the fastest-growing city economies in the UK. According to EY in the latest Regional Economics Forecast, Nottingham’s economy will expand by 2.1% per year between 2020 and 2023. Manchester (2.2%), Bristol (2%) and Cambridge (2%) are all also outperforming overall growth for English regions of 1.8% and for the East Midlands of 1.6%. Nottingham employment is also expected to grow at an average rate of 0.9% per year up to 2023, which again outperforms the East Midlands average growth of 0.6% and the UK overall rate of 0.7%. Even with fears surrounding Brexit the latest IHS Markit Report found, business activity rose for the first time in five months in January. Staff recruitment also continued to grow after recovering from its lowest point seen last September. They saw a rise in permeant placements for the first time in a year, as well as sharp fall in staff availability. This indicates a higher demand for staff, but the overall availability continues to drop. Where lower temp labour supply was reported, this was linked to a combination of upcoming IR35 legislation changes, market uncertainty and tight labour market conditions. With the National Living Wage due to rise by 6.2% to £8.72 and the National Minimum Wage due to rise 6.5% to £8.20 data showed a sharp rise in permanent starter’s’ salaries as well as temporary pay rates. “Nottingham is undergoing a massive regeneration at the moment with £2 billion of developments on the city’s Southside well underway and more in the pipeline. “This new report reflects the positive impact this will have on the local economy and jobs over the next few years. “The next decade is a big opportunity for Nottingham. With our target to be the UK’s first carbon-neutral city by 2028, we’re ambitious for Nottingham to continue to grow and develop in a sustainable way that benefits local people, building an even better place to live, work and enjoy.” Said councillor David Mellen, the Leader of Nottingham City Council.

Libby McCaughey

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Growing trend of "Duvet Days"

For years companies across the globe have discouraged absence at work. Yet being ill in the office is rapidly becoming the new ‘Frankenstein’ of the corporate world. On average absenteeism is costing UK Businesses an estimated £29bn annually. On the flip side, for every £1 that it cost a workplace of absenteeism, presenteeism costs £2.50. Over 70% of those businesses surveyed admitted that absences have directly affected profitability, yet more than a third have no idea how much exactly it is costing them. Both absenteeism and presenteeism are dramatically affecting your companies’ profits, and it seems to be a viscous unbreakable circle. If employees are ill and cannot come in your profit margins drop but if they are ill and do come in your profit margins drop over twice as much. While there may be no quick fix, in recent years studies have shown the positive impact flexible working can have on your business. So, where do you start? In 2017 131.2 million working days were lost to sickness (an average 6.6 days off each year) and 10% of those were due to stress, depression and anxiety. CIPD figures show that stress is one of the biggest causes of unplanned absence in the workplace. While you’ll never be able to entirely eliminate stress from the workplace, there is a way to manage it. Duvet days allow employees a rare opportunity to put their needs first, doing wonders for their overall mental health and wellbeing. Let’s be honest no job is perfect, and no one can be bright-eye and enthusiastic 100% if the time. Most jobs are inherently high-pressure, and many businesses operate to tight deadlines. If your employees are reaching a breaking point and you find sickness absences are spiking why not trial offering duvet days. They are a great way of managing workplace stress and send a strong message that you trust your employees and that you have a genuine care for their wellbeing. It’s important to identify that duvet days would be suitable for your business; some sectors require employees to be in a specific place for a specific amount of time. But if you feel like your business could operate with a more flexible working plan here are a few tips on how you can effectively incorporate duvet days into your workplace culture. 4-day week If your employees will be spending one day a week in bed, then they will need to make the time up elsewhere. Consider shifting from five seven-hour working days to four nine-hour working days. Studies have shown working longer days overall can boost productivity, reduce stress levels and improve employee work-life balance. Take a deeper look in how your organisation can benefit from shorter working weeks. Implement the right systems Tracy Nolan from PressPlug’s said that she was able to offer her team duvet days because the business operated with a cloud-based system. If you are considering offering your employees duvet days, you will have to consider the technologies that will enable to get there. Be clear In effect a duvet day is another form of absence, so its imperative employees understand what counts as a duvet day (and what doesn’t) and for them to have a clear outline of what will be expected of those who wish to take one. Shortfalls Manages only approve annual leave requests when they can ensure that their absence won’t be an issue for the business and the rest of the team. The same should be true for duvet days. e-Days absences management system is an effective tool for both employees and managers to simultaneously see who will be in on any given day at a glance, making it easy to see whether that duvet day will cause, and problems and the request approved in moments. If you think a member of your team may be a little stressed and over-whelmed, allowing them the opportunity to take some time out at home might make all the difference in helping them feel more refreshed and in turn be more productive. Let us know your thoughts and what your plans are to observe and implement duvet days in your organisation.

Libby McCaughey

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Chinese New Year: Empower a Successful 2020

Unlike most Western Holidays, Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year as it follows the Lunar calendar. 2020 Chinese New Year is the year of the Rat, but what does that mean? The word ‘rat’ has lots of connotations, some of which can be negative but according to Chinese astrology, the rat is associated with the Earthy Branch and the midnight hours. The rat is the first of all the Chinese zodiac animals and in Chinese culture, rats are seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful but are content with living a quiet and peaceful life and they represent the beginning of a new day. The Chinese New Year has us thinking about the qualities and characteristics people could embrace to empower