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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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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