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Are you unsure about your current role? Do you feel as though there's something missing or it's time to move on? Register with Cherry Professional today to make sure your next move is the right one!
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Here you will find help sheets, useful tips and hints, white papers and more so you can be kept up to date with the labour market and all things recruitment. If you have any suggestions of things which you may find useful in your job search, please let us know.

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Our Latest Blogs

 

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Do Dads Find Parental Leave Easier to Get Than to Take?

The importance of supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace continues to be a priority for organisations globally. Taking a fresh prospective on equal paid parental leave benefits for both men and women seemed fitting, post Father’s Day. Around 40% of parental leave taken is by men, however many still describe men taking paternity leave as the “kiss of death”. In major Wall Street investment banking firms’, bankers say corporate culture undermines generous policies. Currently men who work in the biggest US bank can take up to 16 weeks of parental leave. However, many agree that they feel it is easier for companies to tweak policies than it is to actual change company culture which shapes the way people think and act. But why is there such a stigma when it comes to childcare, even though more men are eager to share it. These traditional gender roles are outdated and quite frankly unhelpful, so what is already being done to improve the situation and what are companies’ future plans? According to UK laws, “an employee can take 1 to 2 weeks of paternity leave from the day the child is born till 56 days” while mothers are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave.With the statutory pay amount up to £145.18 on 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lowest. Perhaps men are reluctant to take leave due to reduced pay, after all money can cause a lot of stress in life. Insurance and savings business Aviva addressed this concern back in 2017 when they reconstructed their paternity leave policy. All parents are now eligible for the same amount of paid and unpaid time off, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or how they became a parent. They offer 12 months paternal leave, including six months at full pay, with parents able to take this at any time within the first year. “We just thought that dads would want to spend time with their children from the first day, just as mums do” Aviva saw an immediate embracing of their new policy, with around 500 parents take time off, with almost half being male. They anticipated that men might be reluctant to take up their new offer due to peer pressure, wary of how it might affect their career. Within the world of finance and insurance, it’s no surprise that some would say men who ask to take the parental leave their companies offer are practically asking to get fired. However, Aviva found that on average dads took 21 weeks to spend time with their children. Many dads have said it has helped them to understand what women have experienced for generations; worries about perceived commitment to work, balancing family and career, and anxieties about returning. They have become more sensitive to others’ situations, so this fresh perspective is invaluable. It is clearly imperative to train managers and leaders about company policies however, the change needs to be deeper! Revamping outdated company cultures, to ensure that men don’t feel ashamed to take time paternal leave. An employee at IBM said “people believe they’re more important than they are struggle to disconnect. It’s one thing to have the policy to take the leave. It’s another thing to take it.” Understandably, equal parental leave is not going to bring about workplace equality overnight, but it is a step in the right direction, breaking down gender stereotype barriers.

Libby McCaughey

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The Importance of a Cultural Fit

So, you have just found the perfect candidate. They’re smart, qualified, have a fantastic CV and are eager to start. Imagine they’ve been in the job two months and you start to notice that your fresh new superstar starts trudging instead of walking. Their performance starts to take a dive… They’re coming in late and leaving early. You have a chat and find out they love their job, compensation is more than fair, but they say that something just doesn’t feel right. You’ve got yourself a cultural misfit. Okay, a ‘cultural misfit’ doesn’t sound great but there is no need to start pointing fingers because it can be difficult to find someone that ticks both the skill set and cultural fit boxes. A cultural fit is when a prospective employee’s behaviours and beliefs align with the core values of a company. It works both ways. Chances are candidates are researching for a cultural fit too. But why is a cultural fit so important? An overwhelming majority of HR leaders and hiring mangers agree that hiring a cultural fit is crucial. It is estimated that we spend over a third of our lifetime in the workplace, so it’s important that you and your employees feel happy and connected to the business. If they don’t it could present a problem for staff retention. On average in the UK staff turnover costs a business £11,000 per person… a cultural fit is important to retain staff and prevent staff turnover, which could save your company thousands each year! A cultural fit would also have a positive impact on employee engagement. When their beliefs are in tune with the core values of the business, they are more committed to work hard. Those who are in jobs which match their personality are more confident and competent, leading to the improvement of business success. Just like it is important for an employee to be a good cultural fit, it is also crucial for companies to have a strong culture. Poor culture is a productivity drain and could end up costing the business. Organisations with a strong culture are generally more collaborative and have better communication. Communication will come naturally to those employees that do fit culturally. Better communication also leads to improved team work. The more employees that are a cultural fit, the more the company’s values are engrained in them, keeping goals and end targets clear. Teams will work better together, with personal and professional differences being much easier to resolve. A company’s culture steers them towards business success and is key for employee engagement and productivity. Employees who identify closely with a company’s culture are happier and experience greater job satisfaction, become more committed and ultimately perform better and stay with the business long term. This is why a cultural fit is so important. You’re not alone if you are struggling to find candidates that fit culturally in your business. It can be difficult and time consuming. Here at Cherry Professional we build a deep understanding of your requirements, preferences and priorities to ensure that candidates are a great fit culturally as well as having the right skill set! If you would like more advice on how to hire for a culture fit, please get in touch.

Libby McCaughey

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Why diversity matters!

More and more research now reinforces the link between diversity and increase in company financial performance, but organisations are still fairly uncertain how they can utilise diversity and inclusion in the most effective way to support their growth and value-creation. Yes, that’s correct. Having a more diverse workforce could increase your profitability! But, what can your company do to craft better inclusion strategies for a competitive edge? Diversity in the workplace is a crucial attribute to any business and it comes in different forms. At its core, diversity is about embracing people of different races, genders and sexual orientations. Yet progress on diversification initiatives has been slow. It is firstly important to understand why diversity matters in the workplace. You should consider a broader understanding of diversity, going beyond gender and ethnicity. June marks the celebration of Pride across the globe, commemorating the Stonewall riots, embracing all sexual orientations and is a form of diversity that needs to be better represented in the workplace. With around 4 out of 10 LGBTQ workers report they felt bullied at work, a statistic which is 11% higher than the national average! Even more shockinglyaround 41% have reported leaving a job as a result of feeling bullied! Market reports have consistently shown that there is a decline in candidate availability as many are reluctant to move due to the uncertainty of Brexit. If this is the case retaining any and all staff is of the up most importance. Securing the most talented professionals will require employees to take on a new, innovative approach to access more diverse talent pools. Organisations that embrace diversity in the workplace are not only more productive they are also more creative and possess competitive advantages and have a longer-term value creation (or economic profit). While 85% of employers are saying that increasing diversity in their workplace is a priority, almost half (46%) don’t have strategies in place to attract diverse candidates. So, what tools and new technologies can you use to help your business reach new sources of talent, explore strategies to develop a company culture that embraces diversity and addresses the hurdles faced when creating a collaborative and diverse workforce? Employers should consider the use of words in job adverts. Studies have identified that some words or phrases can subconsciously put off professionals from certain backgrounds. Also, incentives for existing staff to refer new candidates to the business could be an effective tool. This stems back to ensuing that you have a sound internal diversity and inclusion strategy, if your employee’s truly believe in it they will be able to constantly and consistently get this across externally. Recruitment consultancies can be highly effective at helping employers connect with a more diverse range of candidates, more than half of businesses do not currently ask recruiters to provide diverse shortlists, potentially missing out on the opportunity they offer to access more diverse networks. Around 45% of employers believe that their current recruitment tools are ineffective at helping diverse candidates find their company. Diversity is deeply imbedded in our culture at Cherry Professional. As your recruitment partner we will work with you to develop understanding of your business and what is important to you. With 61% of employers agreeing that partnering with a diversity organisation can help them reach broader talent pools, will you join them? Finally, make a lasting impact when recruiting and ensure the message is shared throughout your company – embrace diversity not because it could improve your bottom line results, not just because it is ethically correct but because it is the right thing to do, in a world where you can be anything chose to be kind! If you would like to see a copy of our Diversity and Inclusion statement, please get in touch!

Libby McCaughey

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Is there a future for AI in Recruitment?

Many HR Managers said they had plans to invest in AI tools within the next five years after a recent survey conducted by Swedish technologists. Do you? No? Well, maybe that’s a good thing! Artificial Intelligence is quickly becoming a popular tool for human capital tasks, like hiring and promoting employees. Although it has been years in the making - with original ideas and plans first developed back in 1955 by Newal and Simon – today we are seeing rapid changes in AI technology, and developments in robotics. A protype of a robot that can conduct interviews is the resent result of over 60 years of research. Tengai’s (yes, she has a name) main objective is to offer candidates with job interviews that are completely free from unconscious biases - which recruiters and mangers commonly bring to the hiring process - while still ensuing the experience “seems human”. How can a robot seem human? Would a glowing yellow face, backed by a machine, seem human? At 41cm tall she sits at eye level with the candidate and even has the ability to blink, smile lightly and tilt her head. She can mimic the way you speak and even your facial expressions. More, creepy than human don’t you think? Perhaps it’s something that you’d get used to over time. Maybe it’s just a bullet we have to bite if AI and robotics really does eliminate unconscious bias. If we are currently in a skill short market any tool that can improve the hiring process should be something we invest in, right? Well, maybe not… Race, appearance, age, gender, wealth and more are deeply embedded subconscious attitudes we unknowingly make judgments on. In fact, they are so embedded that pattern matching and prioritizing familiar traits (popular AI techniques) can STILL result in institutional bias! How can a robot, with no emotions, feelings, or mind, harbor unconscious biases? AI tools rely on heaps of historical data like, employee evaluations and promotions in order to recognize patterns and make assessments. Something called natural language processing is used in order to program AI human capital tools. This means bias is injected into the analysis by favoring data that contains ‘masculine’ words. As one of the largest global firms Amazon is a great example. When they began to introduce AI into their hiring process, their computers were programmed to identify patterns in and previously submitted CVs to understand what metrics lead to a hire, compare new CVs against the indicators of previous successful ones and provided a result. Simple enough. Not really… In this example the majority of the CVs submitted were from male applicants, the program then began to link words such as ‘executed’ and ‘captured’ with successful candidates. However, as it linked those words to male candidates it’d cut women out of the process! This result may not come as a surprise in the tech industry, which has long been monopolized my men. But any industry can be susceptible to this kind of disparity! Elon Musk said, “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization”. The tech mogul argues AI could become and existential threat and regulations must be put in place NOW, not after! Are human jobs really at risk? Will tech replace us? Musk argues that AI does threaten jobs, and we should be concerned Musk isn’t alone with his concerns about AI. Swedish psychologist, Dr Malin Lindelöw, who specializes in recruitment, says: “Recruiting is very much a leap of faith. It’s a huge investment. It’s a huge commitment. And you need to believe in the decision you make… I find it very difficult to believe that recruiting mangers will rely on a robot.” We are currently in a skills short market, especially in highly competitive industries such as finance. So, when it comes to the hiring process and interviews, it’s as much the choice of the candidate whether or not they want to work for the company. Not only do AI programs fail to eliminate unconscious biases out of the hiring process, robots are unable to senses and value a candidate’s personality. Skill set factual and could look identical on two CVs, the robot would neglect to acknowledge what candidate would also be the best cultural fit for a business. Unlike a robot, internal and external recruiters and hiring managers use years of experience to build a deep understanding of your requirements, preferences and priorities to ensure that candidates are a great fit culturally as well as having the right skill set. Robots may be the future but is it the best future for recruitment? What do you think? Let us know, we are intrigued to find out!

Libby McCaughey

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Paid less because you're female.

#BetterForBalance, this 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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Why you need to think about your staff's well-being!

Renowned corporate wellbeing expert Dr Cary Cooper found that, new research from Close Brothers reveals employers are underestimating the impact, of poor employee financial wellbeing in the workplace. 88% of employers think that their employees worry about money but only a third (30%) think that money worries impact their staff while at work. Sadly, the reality is quite different as 73% of employees said that money worries do impact them at work. “Employers don’t just underestimate how many employees are affected by poor financial wellbeing in the workplace, they also underestimate the scale of the problem. In Close Brothers’ newly developed Financial Wellbeing Index, employees score their wellbeing in seven areas of financial health; employees across the UK scored themselves an average of just 53.6 out of 100. Whereas, employers given the same test, estimated their employees’ financial wellbeing at 70.5 – nearly a third higher than the reality.” This reality gap isn’t helpful for employee understanding and engagement, but it’s also restricting maximising their people strategies and impacting business performance. 22% of employers confirmed that poor financial wellbeing has led to reduced productivity, 19% recorded higher absences whilst another 22% said it caused them to lose talent all together. The current skill short employment market makes retention and attraction a top priority for businesses across the UK. One of the ways to improve retention is to implement a comprehensive Financial Wellbeing Strategy for employees. 27% of organisations surveyed said they plan to implement one. Why? Implementing a framework like this could help employees feel more stable and supported at work, it could offer solutions to financial worries that employers haven’t thought of, whilst they have been occupied feeling the stress and pressure of it. Take a look at Simplyhealth’s wellbeing strategies they suggest you should be implementing in the work place to help you to gain an idea of what will work best for you! It is vital that you are paying your staff what they deserve. The more they feel valued in your company the more they will feel motivated to perform! If you are unsure or feel you may be undervaluing your staff take a look ar our salary survey. It is designed for candidates to compare their salaries for roles and experience, it will enable you to gather a better understanding of what is best for you to be doing for your employees. “Conversely, the benefits of improving employee financial wellbeing are clear. Of those organisations that are already tackling the issue, nearly a third (30%) say that it helps improve employee productivity, a quarter (24%) say it assists in talent acquisition and retention, and 22% say that it helps to fulfil their strategic business objectives.” In today’s world it’s critical to try and retain current talent as well as, working on attracting new skilled candidates into the work place. It isn’t just higher salaries and maximised benefits that can make employees feel valued and supported. Implementing initiatives to support a person’s wellbeing weather that’s financially, mentally or physically will set you apart as an employer. It will inevitably improve productivity, retention and over all business aims.

Melissa Kilday

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6 Things you didn’t know about how to manage stress.

Studies have found that stress can be beneficial…HOW? Stress can actually improve memory and focus. But, like anything, if you have too much of it, then the effects can be detrimental to not only your mental but also your physical health. Let’s face it, stress is an unfortunate side effect to human life and whichever way we turn there is something that can potentially cause you stress. So what are the main causes of stress? In a recent study by Mind, it stated that 1 in 3 people said that their work life is quite or very stressful. Why does work cause people to feel more stressed than debt or financial problems? Well, having an overwhelming workload, tight/unrealistic deadlines and a lack of support from management or other colleagues are just some of the main triggers of stress. Do they sound familiar to you? Don’t fret we have some tips to help you recognise and manage your stress levels. Triggers! Take note of what situations cause you stress, write it in a journal or anywhere were you can reflect on those situations that bought on your stress and how you reacted to and managed the pressure. Keeping a physical note of this can give you the chance to reflect and you can put strategies in place to tackle your triggers. Balance! Around 80% of people check their phone and emails when they wake up before doing anything else. We advise you to always set work-life boundaries to make sure you aren’t stressing over emails at the dinner table or being woken up early by work calls. Start by making a small change like putting on call forwarding at home and on the weekend and make adjustments from there. Communication! You shouldn’t suffer in silence. If you feel as though you are drowning underneath a massive workload, communication with your manager is vital. Remember, stress IS NOT a sign of weakness. Make a note of all the things that are causing you stress, try coming up with a solutiontion to manage your work load. Make suggestions to eliminate distractions or even hiring a temp to help support the business if necessary. Relax! Did you know that in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe? That means we spend less time doing the things that we really enjoy, the things that make us happy and reduce stress. Make a conscious effort to leave the office at on time to do something you enjoy doing. Take a break at work. Try a mindfulness or meditation app, breathing exersices or simply just going for a walk to get away from a screen for a while. What is best for you? That is sometimes the hardest thing for most of us. It requires time and criticism of yourself and your current work place. It can make you feel stressed and anxious or you may decide that where you are currently working isn’t the right place for you anymore and we know that search for a new role can add to the stress. That’s why we would always recommend talking to a confidential and unbiased source to advise on what your options are. Empower!! Create a strong support structure. Having a network of people who listen to eachother, knowing you’re not alone in your feelings and it allows you to see situations from other perspectives. You’ll be able to share and receive advice, empowering others and in turn, being empowered! The next time you have an unmanagble stressful day, look to these tools to help bring you back to a better headspace; remember to, “check on your strong collegues, your quiet collegues, your ‘happy’ collegues, your creative collegues, check on eachother” and help where you can. When the people around you feel overwhelmed by stress, be supportive and they will do the same for you! Share these tips with your team to let them know you’re here for them. We need eachother!

Libby McCaughey

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What Game of Thrones can teach you about recruitment

Yes, you read that right, Game of Thrones holds some valuable lessons when it comes to hiring and recruitment! The world eagerly anticipates the Game of Thrones return for its final season on 14th April, the team here at Cherry Professional cannot wait! Most of us are binging on previous seasons just to get us through the next nine days. But what can Game of Thrones teach you when it comes to important business decisions. Well hold onto your dragons! Bias out, Objectivity in. Now, let us begin with a throwback to where it all began in season 1. We all can recall that haunting scene … the beheading of Ned Stark. We watched, jaws open, while Joffrey had the Protector of the Realm executed. Following the death of King Robert Baratheon, Cersei named Joffrey as King and branded Ned a traitor. Joffrey lacked skill and Cersei lacked objectivity, which is a perfect match for complete anarchy, cue the next 7 seasons! If we take a moment to imagine Cersei took time to evaluate her candidates, Ned and Joffrey, free of bias and objectivity, and she chose to name Ned as King. Okay so there probably would have been no season two, and yes, it’s bad for the world of entertainment but what is important for recruiters to take from this is to make objective decisions and remove bias when considering a new hire! Diversity. Moving on swiftly to season two when we watched Theon Greyjoy make his way back to Pyke on horseback, with a young woman he later discovers is his older sister, Yara. Theon pledged alliances to his father, which were quickly rejected! Rubbing salt into the wound his father King Balon, exclaimed he had entrusted Yara with leading his assault. Disgusted with his decision, Theon argues his sister is unfit to rule, primarily as she is a woman. This is a much more obvious lesson. Yara leads her assault successfully despite Theon’s doubts. Similarly, Brienne Tarth proves herself a worthy warrior and is appointed to the Kingsguard, even though she too was an unlikely fit as a female knight. It’s important to consider how diverse your workforce is and actively work to widen it! Preparation This now leads us to ensuring that you are hiring correctly and what measures you can take to do so. Daenerys Targaryen is a perfect example for a correctly hiring employer, or shall we say Protector of the Seven Kingdoms with a clear idea of who she wanted to hire. When appointing her next advisor while she was continuing her quest for the throne, Daenerys needed someone who had knowledge of the geography and politics of Westeros. She needed them to be an intellectual, not loyal to the throne and able to balance her lack of experience of ruling. This is what you call a candidate spec. When Daenerys hired Tyrion Lannister, she kept this candidate persona in mind. Although he is cruel to his enemies, he shows people closest to him great compassion. He is witty, smart and his problem solving skills speak for themselves. It is imperative to make an exhaustive candidate spec when considering your next hire, to ensure you find the perfect fit! Right fit. What do you recall about Podric? That he was seemingly awkward? Or perhaps completely incompetent? Well, Podric was a completely loyal and dedicated squire, he provided a priceless service for both his Masters and surprisingly defends and saves one in battle. What he lacked in experience he made up for with complete dedication to his role. I ask you to now think back to a time when you were sat facing a candidate who was completely perfect on paper, did they tick every box on your list? Did they however lack passion for your organization? You need to seek candidates who are genuinely interested in your organisation; understand where you’re located, your core values, and so on. You want to hire passionate people, hopefully traits that will lead to dedication and loyalty in the future. So there you have it – a crash course in how to turn your favorite show into useful material! While these lessons have come from a somewhat trivial source, they are important none the less. They are imperative when it comes to new hires and they should remain in the back of your mind when doing so.

Libby McCaughey

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Mental Health: Tackling workplace stigmas

Metal Health: Tackling workplace stigmas “Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. – Richard Branson. Over the last few years mental health has become a widely talked about topic from some very high-profile names, not to mention a number of campaigns to continue to raise awareness and to educated people on mental health. Despite this, there is much to tackle when it comes to mental health in the work place. Why do we find it more comfortable to talk about mental health from an objective point of view? Why do we find it so difficult to open up about our own experiences? Many people still put on a brave face and smile when it comes to their own mental health because they fear letting their emotions show will be seen as a sign of weakness or maybe effect their career prospects and have negative reproductions. We can understand why people this way, these are not irrational fears, in 2017 a report showed 15% of employees who disclosed a mental health related issue faced a demotion or a dismissal. What are you doing to makeyourstaff feel like it is safe to talk to you? Did you know, 1 in 6 workers are affected by conditions such as anxiety and depression every year? According to Mind1 in 4 people experience a mental health illness at any given time; so, the chances are, right now, while you’re reading this, someone in your office is suffering in silence. What can you do to shift these attitudes? How can you create safe environments where your staff feel empowered to openly talk about their issues without the fear of judgment or discrimination? Flexibility. 60% of employees have experience mental health issues in the past year due to work.Stress, anxiety and depression can be trigged by many things depending on the individual, while someone may find presentations and meetings stressful others may fear working alone. Being flexible is a necessity, your employees health and wellbeing are paramount and in the long term this approach will only benefit your business. Stress is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK costing on average £1,035 per employee per year. So, making some adjustments right now could help reduce absenteeism in your business. Culture and Leadership. It’s yourresponsibility to not only promote good mental health but to actively take steps to create that environment where your staff feel safe talking about it. Putting in place a set of rules or policies isn’t enough, a complete culture change needs to take place in order to change the way people perceive and handle mental health. CEOs, business owners and leaders need to speak up about mental health, stopping the taboo and helping make it an issue people are comfortable discussing. Education and awareness. Its mandatory for organisations to train people on new software, policies and procedures, there is little or no training on how to deal with human issues. Guidance is needed for your HR teams and Managers in order for them to appropriately deal with mental health issues. They need to be able to spot signs and symptoms within their teams and feel confident discussing it. Mind and Rethink offer amazing training programmes to help create work places where stigmas and discrimination don’t exist. Communication. Since the middle of the twentieth century companies have conducted annual audits to track employee performance. However today work has become so fast paced, it is less predictable, stable and repetitive. It’s important to make time for more regular meetings one to one with your employees even if its once every other week, just to check where they are, how they’re feeling and what can be done if they are struggling. While workplace stress is a real problem, your approach to it can make a huge difference. By following the strategies outlined above will help identify and reduce stress in the workplace. We hope you continue to learn how to tackle and talk about stress at work and if there are any great tricks you think are helpful that we have missed off, please let us know!

Libby McCaughey

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"The Power of Thinking without Thinking"

Unconscious bias is a fact of life. Everyone harbours them – and unknowingly takes them into the work place. These deeply embedded subconscious attitudes span, race, appearance, age, gender, wealth and much more. They make mental shortcuts based on social norms and stereotypes, conclusions made so quickly and so quietly it goes quite unnoticed. This hidden drive stymie diversity and retention rate to even how you chose to promote or not promote. Not to mention undermine your recruiting efforts and employee development, and your organisation’s culture. Its not a new idea but has be the centre of Malcom Gladwells Blink - the influence behind this blog. And it is certainly frightening how something so primitive and uncontrollable can be so detrimental to your business. Unconscious biases are prevalent and permeate throughout the workplace from all levels as everyone carries these prejudices but are completely unaware of them, even when they may completely believe that decimation and prejudices are wrong. They cause decisions to be made in favour of one group, decrementing others. For example, Queensland University found that blonde women’s salaries were 7% higher than women with brunette or red hair. So now we can see how something minute as the colour of someone’s hair can lead our mind to jump to conclusions. What you thought of unconscious bias before beginning this read, you now know goes much deeper than just gender and race. Tall men may find the unconscious bias to work in their favour within the corporate world. Around 58% of Fortune 500 CEOs were all just shy of six feet tall. Let me put that into some perspective, 14.5% of men in the overall American population is six foot or taller. Even more striking is that 3.9% of the male American population is six foot two or taller! So over a third of that 14.5% is a CEO at a Fortune 500 company. Just to push on that pain, an inch in height is worth $789 per year in salary. Why do we fall for tall men? MIT and University of Chicago sent 5,000 CVs to 1250 employers. Each employer received 4 CVs, one average candidate and one above average, one with a “typically white” name the other a “typically black” name. “Typically white” names received 50% more call backs than applicants with “typically black names”. More shockingly even though the black candidate was more skilled than the white candidate, the white candidate still received more call backs! We are currently in a skill short market, so to have your unconscious bias eliminating people from the hiring process so quickly will mean you missing out on some real talent. Can you afford that? Google publically admitted that when it came to diversity it could be doing better. Even some of the biggest businesses have recognised they’re guilty, but at least they’re doing something about it. Google blamed the lack of diversity on unconscious bias and went on to announce its “bias-busting” initiative. It included workshops and seminars designed to identify and address unconscious bias within the work place. They also released a tape of one of their seminars that is now available to watch in YouTube. Ultimately the training made employees more comfortable in recognising unconscious bias and in calling out themselves and others for it. Now 20% large American companies provide unconscious bias training to all employees. What are you doing to eliminate it in your office? Here are some suggestions to reduce bias in your recruitment and hiring efforts. Vet your job averts for suggestive language! Using extreme pro-masculine or pro-feminine vocabulary or requirements can deter potential candidates. Words such as “exhaustive”, “enforcement” and “fearless” can prove more enticing for male applicants whereas, “transparent” “catalyst and “in touch with” attracted a more feminine tone. Widen your net! Actively pursue diversifying your team, studies have showed a correlation between a more diverse team and increase in financial takings. Ultimately the more diverse the company the more money it was making. Script your interviews! Setting predetermined interview questions and paying attention to the setting to ensure a level playing field. Most recently a London based recruitment firm is now trailing robots to conducts its interviews. Training! Follow Google and other major companies and take the time to educate your staff and address the problem instead of hiding behind it. Invest in training days. In 2018 Starbucks closed all of its stores for the day to host a mandatory training day for all employees on race awareness. Be aware of the consequences! And this is why you need to be doing something about it. 6,000 black people in the state of Iowa claimed that they were victims, not to overt or deliberate discrimination but that potential employers were subconsciously favouring whites. Yes subconsciously. Well they sued for $67 million less earnings. In an effort to reduce bias and promote inclusivity, we hope that you will take active steps with in yourselves and your business to implement strategies to support it. It would be great to hear of any active initiatives you have to take unconscious bias in the work place.

Libby McCaughey

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Employee Attrition vs. Employee Turnover: What you need to know.

1 in 3 workers will leave their job to work somewhere else by 2020. Do you like the sound of that statistic? No? Neither do we. There are a number of metrics that many companies use in order to measure the efficiency of their recruitment. Employee attrition and employee turnover are often used interchangeably, but they do represent two different types of employee “churn”. Employee attrition is referencing to the lifestyle of your employees, and how it affects their work. Some examples include, leaving due to a moved, changes in family circumstances, or even going back to school. It’s not negative, they aren’t leaving because of an issue but rather a life change. When unwanted employee attrition takes place, the company tends to be downsizing, struggling financially or perhaps are going in a new direction. Employee turnover, can come as a result of an unsuccessful recruit, culture clashes and dysfunctional teams, but a massive 80% of employee turnover is a direct result of poor hiring. When employee churn occurs, as a result of turnover, the vacancy needs to be filled quickly. Did you also know that the cost of replacing a high-level employee is anywhere up to 400% of their annual salary! Just to put that in to perspective, if an executive is making £120,000 a year, the true loss of your company would be around 213% of that, totalling a huge £255,600. Would you be willing to pay this just because of a poor hire? The KPMG and REC 2019 Markit report released last month recorded that candidate supply was at an all-time low. Widespread reports concluded steady increase in vacancies but a continuous rapid decline in candidates to fill them. This brings us on to can you spot employee turnover before it happens? There are a number of indicators that help identify those employees whose minds are elsewhere. Key indicators include: - Absenteeism! Are they under work related stress? If you notice staff having extended leave. Are they applying for new jobs and interviewing elsewhere? - Disengagement! On average 73% of unengaged works are looking for work elsewhere. Are your staff “zoning” out? - Productivity! Unhappy staff produce 10% less work! So if your highest performers are under performing ask them why? What is going to help keep their focus and increase productivity? But ultimately it is down to preventing the problem from the get go, and cutting that scary 80% of poor hiring down. Consider using a recruitment partner to save you time finding the right recruit with the correct skill set. Use skill testing programmes to short list the candidates you’re looking for and finally encourage new candidates to meet the team to prevent cultural misfits. Seek assistance for hiring, it will relive the load from your own desk and/or your HR department and in turn prevent hiring people who don’t fit into your organisation. WE take care of everything recruitment related to make your search as smooth as possible. We build a deep understanding of your requirements, preferences and priorities to ensure candidates are a great fit culturally as well as having the right skills. You can either cherry pick what works for you or pick Cherry and we will find the perfect candidates to for you.

Libby McCaughey

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16 days till the end of the fiscal year ... How to manage the stress!

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, you’ve spent months in building anticipation for it. No it’s not summer, and unfortunately not your holiday. It’s the end of the financial year. The time financial teams across the nation dread, a sort of time-honoured tradition for accountants as they scramble to meet looming deadlines. Stress levels mount and pressure builds, as they prepare to sign off accounts, complete paperwork and collate reports. We can sympathise. Like any other company we are trudging through the same swamp. We know the pain of the 12 hour days during the bleakest months of the year. We know you’re juggling a million other things, the company doesn’t close its doors so end of year tasks can be completed, there will inevitably be ongoing projects, perhaps payroll to submit and month end reports to complete. You then start unknowing projecting stress into your life outside of work, frustrated to find a cue to get your much needed caffeine fix. For those of you sharing these woes know you’re not alone, here are our tips to help you survive this intensely stressful time. Delegate! You know that your team is your most valuable asset. Your job is to ensure that they maintain focus on the most pressing tasks. It is critical to prioritise tasks and balance the work load efficiently. While you may see delegation as a loss of control, it is a beneficial tool empower your team and keep them focused. It is valuable to explore adding temporary contracted employment to help ease your teams work load. We can help minimise the stress on your team, allowing them to keep focused and consistently meeting deadlines! Review! It’s fairly obvious and I’m sure most of you are already doing it but “if your fail to plan you plan to fail” really is true. While it’s easy to have the aspiration to plan, it can be a tricky task to execute, perhaps try to spend Monday mornings drawing up a rough idea of the week to come, know meetings scheduled, deadlines coming up and listing tasks that have to be completed in order of urgency. At the end of each day take 5 minutes to review, and reshape accordingly in order to make progress. It’s easier to chew small bites than to swallow something whole. You may discover your team are burning out, to improve efficiency you may need to add staff. Mindfulness! Everyone can agree that the end of the financial year feels like it goes on for a lifetime! But it’s important to remember that it doesn’t. And to sprinkle salt on a wound it is winter, its cold, wet and you can rest assured that you won’t be seeing daylight for the next few weeks, as you make it to work before day breaks and you leave long after the sun sets. Alas there is a light shining through the trees, there is a clear goal in sight. Keep focused on the ‘now’, maintain competing short-term deadlines and reshape plans day by day to adapt and overcome obstacles. Don’t be distracted by asking “what if”. Have faith in your work, and tackle the complications when they present themselves. Negative thinking will never help, try to stay positive! Motivation! The last quarter of the year can be the more stressful than other months combined. It marks the clearing of social calendars, missing your loved ones and resorting to microwave meals when you eventually do make it home. It is important to keep yourself and your team motivated throughout this time. Keep moral up by presenting small rewards, occasional team lunches to keep you all feeling connected. During a time of very little joy and a whole load of stress it will remind you and your team that you are not alone, you’re in it together. Adding temporary employees can spread weight of the work and allow your team to make time for the small things, in turn keeping them motivated. If you can see the stress in beginning to produce cracks in your team it may be time for you to review your approach. Yes it will always be a busy time and yes stress is inevitable but it’s about how you can minimise stress, reduce errors and improve the efficiency.

Libby McCaughey

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What it takes to become a global success like Owen Farrell...

We’ve all heard it time and time again, “Practice makes perfect.” Does it? In a team of some of the best rugby players across the globe, we have been discussing what truly makes a perfect pro. Back in 2018 England lost to France and Ireland, this year they have come all guns blazing recently beating both teams. So what is different this year? Is it because they’ve learnt from their mistakes or have they practiced harder and put in more hours surely? For those who have been living in the remote wilderness for the last 10 years, Malcom Gladwells Outliers: The Story of Success details the importance of the 10,000 hour rule, using examples from the global success of The Beatles to Bill Gates technological career. Much like Owen Farrell’s success as becoming the world’s best rugby goal kicker. Gladwell identifies how successful people, practice eight hours a day, seven days a week, for five years, before they are experts in their field. This does sound daunting, however there are key characteristics outlined to help get you well on the way to discovering your true potential. Do you practice in a way which will maximise your benefits? I’m not suggesting what you lack in innate talent can be made up in its entirety with 10,000 hours of practice, but ultimately that 10,000 hours of practice will enhance your natural ability. It’s passion, which drives your want to improve and succeed. Its’ all too easy to say been there done that, but if you want to stand out and elevate yourself as an expert then be proactive, sit back and say okay what is next! It is important to understand this rule (I think it’s better described as a guideline to success rather than a definitive rule) doesn’t just apply to athletes, performers or even musicians. It applies to anyone who wants to excel and become an expert in their chosen profession or skill. Be a little more “Generation Z”, always be switched on. “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later” – Richard Branson So what are some characteristics that are key to becoming an expert? Here are our Top Tips: Dedication! The persistence and focus to practicing. It’s about learning how to not be impatient or easily distracted. Challenge! Continuously and consistently pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to learn something new and difficult. Learn! Absorb every piece of information, grab every opportunity you get to develop your knowledge, whether that’s training at in the workplace, listening to a podcast or reading a recommended book. Nike says it best, Just Do It™. Feedback! Be inquisitive, why are you falling short? What can you do to improve? Don’t let missing the mark dishearten you, try and try again! So what do we want you take from this post? Ever heard the saying “every day’s a school day”? Make this more than just a statement, make it fact. What sets you apart from the rest? What makes you more hireable than the rest? The best piece of advice we could give you is to find something you have a real passion for, practical or academic, visualise it, focus on it, and strive to become a Pro at it!

Libby McCaughey

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#BalanceforBetter - International Women's Day 2019

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the economic, cultural, social and political achievement of women across the globe, and throughout history. The theme this year is #BalanceforBetter, calling for the construction of a gender-balanced world. Balance drives a better world, and you all collectively have your part to play. While it may be the theme of 2019s International Women’s, it doesn’t begin and end today. This year’s theme continues to encourage the acceleration of gender balance in businesses, politics, media coverage and wealth. Did you know around 82% of young men receive feedback after applying for a job, while a little under a third of young women (30%) are missing out on this vital constructive guidance. Additionally, young women generally found the experience of applying for a job more difficult, not to mention the pay gap. When recruiting as a business you should be actively making adjustments for the right talent regardless of gender, we currently stand in a skills short market so you have a duty to be flexible in order to grab that talent! Statistically recruitment is a male dominated industry, with many known recruitment firms across the UK named after their male predecessors. Our office currently stands at 18 women to 12 men, we understand that we have to be flexible for our staff and our talent with 8 female members of staff on flexi or part time because they are working mums, we understand that it is our responsibility to support them to ensure that they are happy and successful in both their role and personal life. One of our youngest female employees has been in our top three preforming recruiters this financial year, and has been the only person in the company history to go from Trainee Recruiter to Lead Consultant. Our MD, Danielle Asano when asked about gender balance said, “19 years in recruitment has taught me a number of lessons and I’ve seen a fair few mistakes when it comes to gender and hiring. Recruitment is a people business, we are not an industry run by machines. Over past 10 years running Cherry we have had staff members need to flexi work due to children, ill family members, study, illness, other life issues and just choice. We quickly learned that our business need to adapt to keep the talent we valued. Other steps we have taken include infrastructure such as cloud based systems to allow our staff to work from almost anywhere, and hours that work around their lifestyle. In the current skill short market it is important to be mindful of staff needs, which is also a vital tool in attracting the people we want at Cherry.” That’s a quick idea of what we do, but what do you do to join us and millions of other businesses in paving the way for gender balance. Motivation is key, help rise each other up, celebrate achievements and support lows. Be proactive, what differences can you make? Just to show you what people from all industries are doing to fight for balance! Cricket Australia are celebrating the fact that 6 in every 10 new Australian cricket participants are female! STRIKE THE #BalanceforBetter POSE and show you’re support, do what you can to make a positive difference for women EVERYWHERE.

Libby McCaughey

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Absenteeism vs. Presenteeism – which is worse?

Did you know that workplace absences costs UK businesses an estimated £29 billion a year? As you may have noticed January – and winter in general is notorious for unauthorised employee absences. Research by Britain’s Healthiest Workplace found that employers are losing 27.5 days of productive work from each employee. The average absence for each employee lasts for 6.6 days, and can take its toll. Absenteeism and sickness has many implications to a business such as work not getting done, the team becoming over-worked under the extra pressure and often struggling to maintain the same levels of productivity. So, what’s the alternative? Many businesses can’t afford for staff to go off sick, but what about the staff who choose to work while they are ill? Well, surprisingly presenteeism is almost as bad as absenteeism. Presenteeism is when an employee comes in to work despite being too ill to be productive. Presenteeism is common in high-pressure workplaces where employees are stressed and feel obligated to come in. Not only does presenteeism risk making other staff members ill and the problem becoming an ongoing cycle but it has been found to have consequences further down the line. 64% of staff who attended work ill reported an increase in stress-related absences later on as opposed to 35% who hadn’t. What’s more, 3 in 10 organisations reported an increase in the last year. Causes So, since both absenteeism and presenteeism are both a problem for the staff and business, what can we do? Well, we looked at the most common reasons for absenteeism which are: minor illness; stress; musculoskeletal disorders; recurring medical conditions; back pain. Knowing that these are the most common reasons for staff absence, we have provided some tips for you to implement in your workplace. Review the environment Our work environment is vital to our well-being. For instance, 34% of employees are regularly suffering from backache, 25% suffer neck ache and 23% suffer headaches as a direct result of how they are working. Given that so much time is spent at work, even the slightest changes to your chair and monitor will be beneficial. Allergies can be another issue at work, to avoid triggering or aggravating allergies companies should consider the fabrics used on furniture in the office. Try to use low- or non-toxic paints, and bring in plants to counteract any pollutants that do exist. Promote the importance of healthy lifestyle A strong immune system can defend against potential illnesses and dragging energy levels. How can you encourage wellness in the workplace? There are a number of low cost alternatives which can encourage new healthy habits. Why not provide fresh fruit or healthy snacks such as granola in the kitchen or break room. It’s no secret physical activity is good for physical and mental health. Why not encourage employees to get active by prompting them to use the stairs or introducing walking challenges. Fitness programmes can be made fun by including an element of competition, and a reward can encourage participation. Introduce a bike to work scheme or suggesting that staff get off the bus a stop earlier are also great fitness suggestions. stress relief Presenteeism is also much more likely to happen when workloads are piled high or if an employee feels their job security is threatened, so it is important to find ways to manage their stresses. Try to encourage open communication about stress and mental health-related topics amongst your employees in company communications and staff reviews to ensure they receive the support they need. It is also worth reviewing management policies as workplaces which are employee focused are known to improve staff engagement, morale and increase productivity. Options such as flexible working, incentive schemes and duvet days help very well with absenteeism. Encouraging workplace recognition can also help reduce stress. Employees who feel they have a positive and personal rapport with their management are more likely to be engaged, and they would feel appreciated when they or their work gets noticed. Make a point of recognising the efforts of your team members and appreciate their achievements. Given the impact stress has on mental health, as an employer it is your duty to look after staff. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of signs of mental ill health. These include mood swings, uncharacteristic and erratic behaviour, low employee engagement and poor productivity. If you are supporting staff with mental health issues an employee assistance programme may be useful. Other resources such as such a confidential telephone or in person counselling should be available. For more information click here. For examples of more easy tips to help will all aspects of employee health, click here.

Sarah Graham

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5 tips to manage the fear of job hunting

It’s fair to say that job hunting can be a challenging time, but if the thought of applying for your next job fills you with dread, you are not alone. A survey conducted by CV Library found over half of applicants are scared of the application process. So what exactly are we afraid of? Well, 55% are afraid of being rejected for a role they want, 42% are concerned about attending interviews, and 29% feel troubled when it comes to writing a cover letter. These statistics aren’t too surprising but try not to worry! We have a few useful tips to help combat your fears and make your job-hunting experience run smoothly. Tip 1 - Face the rejection If the fear of rejection stops you from applying to that ‘dream job’ then you’ll never get it! Make the application! Even if you don’t get that specific role consider it an achievement that you are making an application and taking the right steps forward to get your ‘perfect role’. Even if you are unsuccessful in your application, that doesn’t mean that you have been rejected. Try to get feedback, every application you make or interview you go to offers an opportunity to gain more knowledge and learn something new. Use the feedback as tips to implement in your next opportunity to find something better. And, if it does take you a few interviews to get your dream job, you will find that it becomes easier each time. Tip 2 - Take the pressure off yourself While it may feel that this job is the ‘be-all and end-all’, it doesn’t need to be. This is the best time to be searching for new a new job as employers are currently struggling to find talented candidates due to the current skill shortage. Data shows there are more than twice as many jobs available as there are candidates. So, what does this mean for you? Well, it is an exciting time to be looking for a new role, there are more vacancies to choose from and fewer applicants to compete against. So this means you can relax, see what’s available, take your time and choose the opportunities you prefer. Tip 3 - Prepare yourself In terms of staying relaxed and showing what you have to offer, you need to prepare beforehand. You should prepare what you’re wearing and know where you are going, we even suggest to some candidates who are unsure of the area to do a test run to the location a few days before. Also try and practice how you would answer some commonly asked competency based interview questions for more information click here. Remember, an interview is your chance to shine and tell the employer as much as you can about yourself, y