Cherry Professional, values, relationships
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Register a Vacancy

 

Role to fill?

Are you looking to expand your team? Register a vacancy with us today and you can rest assured that we will find the right person for the job. We will work with you to 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. We can make sure 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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Why use Cherry Professional 

 

Your most trusted recruitment partner.

We understand it's the details that make the difference. We think long-term, building trust and lasting relationships to ensure our clients feel valued, listened to and understood. Our business is founded on delivering positive experiences and enabling everyone we work with to achieve their ambitions and goals. 
We provide our clients with instant access to a pipeline of skills and talent to make search and selection as smooth and time efficient as possible, because we understand that sometimes you need things yesterday.
You can rely on us to cover every last detail from paperwork to payroll. 

See the Information on our Offering page for more information.  

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Our Clients

 

Who we work with 

We know what it takes to succeed in professional roles; our expertise and experience ensures that we match people with the right profile to clients’ vacancies. Our reputation for excellence gives us the ability to work with the region's best and most exciting businesses. Take a look at our current client portfolio.

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Denby Pottery

Derbyshire is home to many innovative and passionate organisations with which we are lucky enough to partner. One of those organisations is Denby Pottery. Denby was founded in 1809 and has grown from a small local manufacturer of pottery to the world wide, well-loved brand it is today. 
Denby has even more ambitious plans for the future and they don’t intend to slow down in terms of growth...

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Experian

We live in a world built on data; it is everywhere, growing in power and influence. At Experian we have always believed that data has the potential to transform lives and create a better tomorrow. 

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Thorntons

Being one of Britain's best loved brands takes a team of people who are dedicated, passionate, diligent, cheerful, thoughtful, resilient, ambitious and most of all consumed by the desire to make all of our customers (and colleagues) smile everyday. This doesn't happen overnight and here at Thorntons we take the time to ensure the people we recruit are as important as the yummy chocolates we make. On this site we...

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Games Workshop

Games Workshop is the largest and the most successful hobby miniatures company in the world. Our major brands are Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. In addition, we hold a licence for The Lord of the Rings/the Hobbit tabletop battle game. At its core the Hobby is all about our amazing miniatures and collecting, modelling, painting  and playing games with armies of them are activities enjoyed by millions of adherents all across the...

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Porterbrook

Porterbrook Leasing Company specialises in the leasing of all types of railway rolling stock and associated equipment.

By providing freight and train operating companies with modern rolling stock they can be assured of high standards of reliability and performance from their fleets. Passengers can also benefit from comfortable services and the latest technology.

With many new operators now active in the UK Rail market, different perspectives to service provision have...

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Vision Express

With 593 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best personalised optical care, style and quality. Customers can select from a wide range of frames and lenses for glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses, allowing everybody to reflect their individual personalities and lifestyles.With over 4,000 employees,...

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Refresco

Refresco is world’s largest independent bottler of beverages for retailers and A-brands with production in Europe, North America and Mexico.

With production in Europe, North America and Mexico our global sourcing and local R&D capabilities offer an almost unlimited variety of products, manufactured to customer specifications and requirements.

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AmTrust

AmTrust Europe Limited is our UK regulated insurance company. The head office is in London with further locations in Nottingham, Milan, Manchester.

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Blue Castle

Blue Castle Group are dedicated specialists in responsible waste management and the provision of utilities. Providing clients with sustainable and practical solutions, we work across all sectors and our team members have a depth of experience and knowledge. We are continually looking for opportunities to improve and streamline your business operations, from innovations to improved resource efficiency, we believe there is always a better way. We are committed to our...

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Xylem

Xylem’s well-known global brands have served the water market for many decades with products sold in more than 150 countries. We listen, learn and adapt to local environments, working in true partnership with our customers. Our brands serve a number of industries including agricultural, construction, environmental, food and beverage, government agencies, industrial, public utilities, residential and commercial building services. With deep application expertise in the water industry, we focus on...

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Motorpoint

Motorpoint is the UK’s largest independent car retailer selling new and nearly new cars up to three years old and with less than 25,000 miles - saving each customer £7,000 on average off the new list price in the process. It operates from twelve locations in Birmingham, Birtley, Burnley, Castleford, Chingford, Derby, Glasgow, Newport, Oldbury, Peterborough, Sheffield and Widnes. Motorpoint also has a UK-based call centre based in Derby dealing...

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Slimming World

Slimming World is the most advanced slimming organisation in the UK. It was founded in 1969 by Margaret Miles-Bramwell, who remains the driving force behind the company to this day. With the experience of a lifetime's weight problem, it is her enthusiasm and unique vision that has made the Company so successful. There are now over 16,000 groups held weekly on a nationwide basis via a network of more than 4,500 Slimming World trained...

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City & County Healthcare Group

City and County Healthcare Group is one of the largest providers of community-based social care services in the UK. Every day, tens of thousands of people with care needs are supported to continue living independently at home by our operating companies.

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Envirogen Group

At the Envirogen Group of companies, our vision is straightforward – to be industry leading water, air and process solution providers using sophisticated technology backed by expertise and service. It is our overriding goal to offer our clients total solutions that deliver consistently reliable performance at the best lifecycle cost for the systems and services that we provide.

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Fresenius

Fresenius Medical Care has been caring for NHS kidney patients in the UK for over 20 years. We are the leading independent provider of renal services working in partnership with the NHS. We carry out over 575,000 dialysis treatments a year for almost 4,000 patients, in over 50 clinics across England and Wales. We also supply dialysis products and renal pharmaceutical products to over 10,000 patients’ homes across the UK.

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Global Fire Systems

Global Fire and Security Systems are market leaders in providing quality product solutions to services through the Fire and Security market place nationwide. 

Global design, supply, install, commission and maintain fire detection, voice evacuation alarm, disabled alarm, refuge, fire telephone, intruder and CCTV, access control and fire suppression systems throughout the UK, providing service to a diverse client range using a broad range of manufacturers such as: Advanced...

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Ladbrokes Coral

At Ladbrokes Coral we provide customers with exciting, simple and responsible betting and gaming experiences both online and in shops, delivered by the most passionate and committed people in the industry. There’s never been a more exciting time to join us. Our recent merger combined more than 230 years of heritage and opened up a world of exciting opportunities for the future. With the biggest UK retail estate in the...

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MFA

MFA Building Control Ltd gained government approval in 2000 to act as Approved Building Control Inspectors. This enabled us to certify construction projects for Building Regulation purposes, a function historically carried out by local authority building control.

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Champions

Specialising in digital brand marketing & communications, we are an award-winning agency with a difference. With a team of over 90 Champions, we combine the expertise of 10 in-house departments to create the ultimate agency set-up. With our unique structure and over 15 years of industry experience, we are proud to have become a member of the Telegraph 100 Brightest business and 57th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100...

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OHeap Fire & Security

The Company was established in 1958 by Oswald Heap and now employs over 80 full time staff, including teams of dedicated engineers who service, install and maintain fire safety systems across the UK.

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Ramtech

Ramtech Electronics Limited was formed in 1990 to meet growing demand for an effective security solution for static caravans on holiday parks, and has grown to become a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of a variety of wireless safety, security and communication systems to the construction and leisure industries.

We now have alarms in over 30,000 holiday homes across the UK, providing peace of mind for holiday home owners and...

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Essentra

We are manufacturers and distributors of vital component parts, making the simple but essential things that help your business work.

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Browne Jacobson

We are a national law firm and experts across the private and public sectors. Our clients choose and stay with us because of our sector expertise, straightforward advice, pricing and product innovation and exceptional client service. 

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Retail Assist

We were formed in 1999 with the aim to provide Managed Services, for retailers. In 2007, we acquired Merret, our omnichannel supply chain solution. Merret was developed in a multichannel age, and we continue to advance our services and solutions for today’s omnichannel retailing requirements.

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Shorterm Rail

We are one of the largest and fastest growing specialist technical engineering recruiters in the UK. Consistent service excellence is delivered through our constant focus on customer needs and our on-going commitment to the continuous development of our business and the people who make it great. Our values guide and define all our interactions with clients, candidates, staff and shareholders.

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University of Derby

The University of Derby is a modern UK university located in the East Midlands and is rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Based at one of our three campuses in Derby, Buxton and Chesterfield, students can study for a foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate or research course across a wide range of subjectsincluding Forensic Science, Music Production and Civil Engineering.

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University of Nottingham

In 1928, while opening the Trent Building and University Park, Sir Jesse Boot wrote that …in each succeeding age the University will spread the light of learning and knowledge and will bind science and industry in the unity that is so essential for the prosperity of the nation and the welfare of our fellow citizens. That vision still has currency. It speaks to...

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Zebra Finance

At Zebra Finance we understand that some things in life are simply too important to miss out on, but funding them can be a challenge. That’s where we can help, with our flexible finance packages allowing you to spread the cost of these vital purchases. Partnering with sports organisations, private healthcare providers and holiday parks, we provide loans for season tickets, operations, site fees and much more. With big-name partners...

Cherry Testimonials 

Don't just take our word for it

We take pride in everything we do and feedback from our clients and candidates means so much to us.

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience with Cherry Professional.

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Help & Advice

 

How can we help?

Take a look at our help and advice pages to help you attract and retain the best talent for your business. 

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How to use Social Media to Recruit 
The online world of social media is a great tool to help attract the best talent for your business

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Latest HR news and  changes 
Changes in business are constant. Thats why we created this help section to keep you up to date with all changes in the HR and legal space

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Market information 
The home of information about the labour market

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Salary benchmarking

It can be difficult to know what to pay your current staff, as well as what to offer potential employees. Make sure you are paying at the right level in order to attract the best  candidates in the market.   

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Register a vacancy 

We know recruiting can be difficult, in today's skill short market talented candidates are in limited supply. That's why having a well networked recruitment partner is vital. 

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Need an Interim?

With the demand for permanent employees increasing month on month and becoming increasingly difficult, the short term solution to staying on track is using temporary workers.​

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Request a meeting

We like to meet face to face to build a strong, trusting relationship with us. This way we can ensure we will get an understanding of you, your business and it's culture. ​

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Advice on hiring 

At Cherry Professional we understand the costs incurred during your recruitment process in terms of finance and time. Read our guide to understand how to hire so you don't need to fire! 

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Who we work with

Our reputation for excellence gives us the ability to work with the region's best and most exciting businesses. Don't just take our word for it....

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Information on our offering

It's the finer details that create the differences. It's the HOW and WHY people chose to set up and run their consultancy the way they do that truly sets them apart. 

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Testimonials

We believe our service is the best. Don't just take our word for it...

Latest Blog

 

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Stranger Things is Back! What can you Learn from the new season

Stranger Things is back, and we cannot contain our excitement. The much anticipated third season of the hit Netflix sci-fi horror is everything you’d hope it to be and more! Some of the team will definitely be binge watching the entire season this weekend! But why are we writing a blog about it? There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the 80s nostalgia show. We want to talk about team work is one of the main themes, and here is how Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Will and Eleven demonstrate that they are the perfect team; They communicate, focus on their goals, have equal contribution, support each other, they’re organised and most importantly they have fun. These 6 qualities help make up such a successful team and the fab 5 demonstrate them throughout all 3 seasons. Communication Communication is essential within your team to increase work efficiency. Sharing thoughts, opinions and ideas will enable you to keep track of progress. Poor communication can lead to conflict, deterring from the end goal, potentially leaving work incomplete or incorrect! Goals and Results The fab 5 set team goals based on outcomes and results. It’s important to main focus on goals and results, it provides direction and an indication of performance levels! Equal Contribution When all members of a team contribute equally and understand their responsibilities projects will run smoother and improve employee wellbeing. Employees will feel a sense of belonging within the team, become more committed to their work and really care about the success of the company. Support Team members should always be happy to assist others when they are struggling with work! Employee wellbeing will increase when team members offer support to one another, it also helps to improve productivity and success of the business. So, always ensure that your team has a supportive culture. Organisation Organisation is crucial in order for the day to day running of your business to be smooth. Without it the workplace can become chaotic and it is unlikely that set goals will be achieved! While each individual should be responsible for their own workload. Managers should always be aware of any problems and check everything is going to plan. Regular meetings can allow you to make sure that people are on track and that deadlines are being met. Have Fun! When the Fab 5 aren’t being chased by crazed scientists or dog-like-aliens, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Will and Eleven they enjoy themselves and have fun! The office shouldn’t be all work and no play, as that can lead to employees burning out and a decrease in productivity. Teams who work well together often socialise outside of the office. Building positive relationships between your colleagues can make the office a much more relaxed environment. If a team can get these 6 factors right, success and reward will follow. It is not always the tasks that provided the challenges, it can sometimes be the teams relationships. If team members are able to work well together and be efficient, greatness can be achieved.

Libby McCaughey

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Why stand out like Alex at Glastonbury?

Making yourself stand out can be hard especially if you don’t have years of experience, unique knowledge or the desired skills yet. But have you heard about Alex? Well, Alex is a 15-year-old rap enthusiast who attended last week’s Glastonbury Festival and when rapper Dave called “who is sober enough to sing these lyrics with me?” Alex saw his chance. The teen rattled through every single word of the complex, quickfire tune Thiago Silva without hesitation and to be honest he slightly upstaged Dave. We thought this was an amazing example of how passion and personality can help you stand out from the crowd when applying for a role. So, what can Alex teach us? Be Prepared. As an avid Dave fan, Alex knew that it wasn’t uncommon for Dave to call a fan up to the stage to rap the AJ Tracy lyrics in Thiago Silva. We aren’t saying Alex woke up that morning prepared to be picked, but as a fan he knew the lyrics to the entire song like the back of his hand. He put on his TS shirt and pushed his way to the front in the hope of being close to the action… but little did he know, he became the action. On the shoulders of his friend physically standing out from the crowd! Whether you know there is a promotion up for grabs in your office, or you’ve just seen an advertisement for your dream job, proper preparation could give you that competitive edge. What are the company’s values? How can you imbed them into your interview or CV? It is the details that count, and they won’t go unnoticed! Dress for the Job you want. That is one of the most cliché things to say but in Alex’s case it could not have been more accurate. I’m not saying Alex woke on Sunday thinking “I’m going to get on stage, absolutely smash it and go viral”, but he dressed and carried himself to be noticed. The same goes for you. Make sure you look the part, and if you are well prepared, you’ll know what that is. Whether it’s formal suit and tie, smart casual or even fancy dress you’ll be ready! Confidence is Key. Most of us won’t be able to imagine just how nervous Alex was. Standing there, on a stage in front of THOUSANDS of people, at the BIGGEST field Festival in the world, rapping such a fast paced and complex song. But most impressively his confidence shone through. He acted and looked like he’d been preforming for years. Engaging with the audience, showing his passion and never stumbled over one word – a true professional. Low self-esteem can be self-destructive but being confident and self-assured is key in setting yourself above the rest. It shows your belief in yourself and your talent. Confidence should shine both inside and out. Start with your posture, keep your shoulders back and your chest high, a slouchy demeanor could read as insecure. Body language, eye contact, handshake to your smile, are all things that help to portray your inner confidence. Passion is hard to ignore! Focus on the Now. Alex “just focused on getting the performance right”, he never considered trying to turn his performance skills into a career. Although it is important to set achievable goals and look towards the future, you’re not there yet. Similarly, focusing on where you are now and not where you have been is a lesson you can apply to your job hunt or progressing in your career. Too often we let our shot falls or rejections weigh us down. Don’t let yesterday’s problem hold you back! So remember the 4 P’s to success, prepare, professional, passion and presentism.

Libby McCaughey

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Could working a 4-day week make you a better employee?

42.3 hours per week, that’s what the average Brit works. Meaning we have a longer working week than anyone else in the European Union! Our extended hours and work addictions are leaving us less time to exercise, spend quality time with our families or even to cook a meal. So, is the 9-to-5 approach still ideal for workers? Working long hours is bad for our health. Period. A recent study has shown that putting in overtime increased rates of illness, injury stress and even death, not to mention weight gain and increased alcohol use and smoking. A finance firm in New Zealand (Perpetual Guardian) made headlines last year as they experimented letting their employees work a four-day week instead of the traditional five-day week. Perpetual Guardian found the change actually boosted productivity among its 240 employees by 20%, and it was such a success that they made the shorter week a permanent option! Not only did it increase the productivity of workers it also made them feel happier, seeing a 7% decrease in their stress levels! Employees also, showed a 24% improvement in their work-life balance. Company founder, Andrew Barnes said, “the right attitude is a requirement to make it work – everyone has to be committed and take it seriously for us to create a viable long-term model for our business.” Researchers also said a shorter workweek helped to motivate employees to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office; for example, cutting meetings down to 30 minutes from 2 hours and telling employees when they are being a distraction. For more tips please visit – crazy busy. Overall, employees collectively agreed that working less actually produces more. With around three in four (78%) full-time workers saying they’d be able to complete their work in under seven-hours if uninterrupted, while almost half (45%) think they could wrap things up in just five hours or less (according to a global survey). According to the same survey the top five “time-suckers” were; tasks unrelated to their core job (86%), fixing a problem not caused by them (22%), general admin work (17%), meetings (12%), emails (11%) and customer issues (11%). Would you agree? If you were able to work free of these distractions would you personally benefit from working a four-day week? This concept of a reduced working week is by no means a new concept. The Swedish government has previously trialed a mandated six-day week in Gothenburg, with officials finding that employees completed the same amount of work or even more. So, if there is much evidence to support the positive effects of reduced working hours why isn’t there more companies participating? Would you support your business or the business you work for if they decided to trial a four-day week? I think the concept is something that in theory and in practice seems to work well but in our culture of always being on or connected would this encourage people to work even more hours, even with the extra day off.

Libby McCaughey

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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 prototype of a robot that can conduct interviews is the recent 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 managers commonly bring to the hiring process - while still ensuring 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 prioritising 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 recognise 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 monopolised by 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 civilisation”. 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 specialises 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 managers 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 sense and value a candidate’s personality. Skill set is factual and could look identical on two CVs, but 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, your experience and your achievements. So don’t be afraid to sell yourself. If you don’t tell them, how will they know all the fabulous things you have to offer! Nobody knows you better than you do, so make the most of the opportunity. If it helps to make yourself more aware of what you have to offer, why not make a list of all your skills and accomplishments. Before an interview, make sure you know your CV! Remind yourself of your previous roles and key responsibilities. What did you learn and how did you develop? How can you utilise your skills for this role? Having done your preparation and thought about this will make it easier to discuss in detail. Tip 4 - Do your research As part of your interview preparation, you will need to do some research. Not all candidates will think this is necessary, but honestly it is! Not only will the research make you feel more prepared and confident, it will help you stand out. What are the key things you should research? - The company and its history - The industry - Any recent positive news stories about the organisation - The role - The company’s initiatives (if you can find them) Once you have looked on their website, look at Glassdoor. You can see reviews form current and previous members of staff about the business, its culture and management. Don’t forget to check the company’s Facebook and Google reviews. These will give you a more unbiased insight into an organisations service and quality. Maybe you could also find information online to see how well their industry is performing. Is the business facing any challenges? Are there any new articles or reports on the company? Tip 5 - Use the job description It has been reported that 32% of applicants do not know what an employer is looking for. The job description will give details from the employer of the skills they need from their ideal candidate. The job description is a valuable tool, so make sure you use it to your advantage! Make a point of including the skills you have which are requested in the job description in your cover letter and CV. If there are any points where you don’t quite meet the requirements, explain in your cover letter how the skills and experience you have can be transferred to the role. If you need some career advice, our consultants are on hand to help. You can find all their contact details on our meet the team page.

Sarah Graham

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Management at Manchester United

Before anyone reads this I just want to say that I’m not a football fan.... Don’t get me wrong I like the international tournaments and due to having ‘sports mad’ brothers I’ve always loosely followed football in some fashion. I have always enjoyed the connection and unity that football brings to towns, cities and nations. Even when I was a little girl sat in the stands on many cold boxing day afternoons, I would always marvel at how so many people from all walks of life would pull together to support the game. I sometimes wonder what kind of world it would be without it. Anyway, that was to just set the scene of my limited love and knowledge of the sport and links nicely to what I wanted to write about which is the change in management at Manchester United and the lessons it can teach us about business and team culture. Over the last 2 and a half years we have all watched the changes at Old Trafford with interest. I’m not questioning Mourinho as a manager and I know he needs no introduction to anybody who follows football. He is regarded by many players, fans and pundits as ‘one of the smartest and tactfully brilliant managers’. He has been named as one of the top 10 greatest coaches since the foundation of UEFA. So what’s happened? Why couldn’t this established manager and coach take top quality players and turn them in to a top performing team? I’ve listened to fans and pundits’ comment on the ‘Manchester United culture’ and how that seemed to disappear during Mourinho’s reign. So how important is culture to success? Well, it appears to be vital! Leaders have the responsibility to first articulate a team’s primary cultural beliefs, and then to proactively embody these beliefs, mobilising all employees to personally engage in shaping the new culture. But what happens when that culture is so strong and established that it isn’t easily changed? Is it your responsibility to change your approach or leave the role? As a leader you are appointed to implement change as necessary but you should always be aware of the generated outcomes of your actions and how this will effect the bottom line and the business in general. So how can you manage strong cultures? Don’t create detractors. Not everyone is going to understand your philosophy so it’s vital you work hard to develop people and learn their traits quickly so you can appeal to their nature to align their outlook with yours. Some strong personalities can create extremely difficult situations, whether it’s ignoring direction or continuously challenging your philosophy but it’s how YOU handle it which will determine the output of the team. If you are a ‘my way or the highway’ manager this approach will not breed positivity in people who have dominant and assertive personalities. Additionally, by nature these people are traditionally leaders within their peer groups so alienating them or always having to prove your authority will never end well. Embrace the teams strengths. A well-established team will come with many strengths some of which you can overlook in an eager attempt to make a quick difference. This can be where most managers fail because they focus so much on improving a team’s weaknesses that the strengths that already exist can be destroyed. Additionally, if focus is only on the negative, a team can feel like they are not being developed or invested in and can become withdrawn and demotivated. Even with all that in mind, sometimes it just isn’t the right fit for the team or the manager. No matter the experience and philosophy of the leader, if both parties ideologies, methods and values aren’t aligned then the end goal will never be reached. I look forward to watching the change in Manchester United in the coming months and I think the premier league has definitely been shaken up this season and, just to put the winning confidence back into my colleague Richard Bowe, I am looking forward to Liverpool winning the league for the first time in 29 years!

Melissa Kilday

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Are you ready for the office Christmas party?

For most staff the office Christmas party is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the year’s achievements and kick start the festive celebrations. With all the food and merriment planned, what could possibly go wrong!? We have all heard a Christmas-party-horror story or two! In fact, according to the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD), 1 in 10 people know someone from their organisation who has either been disciplined or sacked for inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas do! While the festive faux pas make for great gossip, you may not know you are liable for the behaviour of your staff on work gatherings. Despite the Christmas party being out of the office and after work hours, staff are ‘acting in the course of their employment’ when attending. Therefore, as an employer, there are a few things to consider to make sure you are not dealing with accusations and arranging disciplinary hearings on your return to work! We have outlined our top tips below: Consider the event If you can already imagine the eventful antics which are likely to occur at a Christmas party, why not plan a low key celebration lunch or team outing instead? It can be difficult to cater for everyone’s personal preferences and the last thing you want to do is offend anyone, so be sure you double check the venue, theme and food options. Remind your staff Your staff might not be aware that work policies apply at a Christmas gathering. Therefore, in an attempt to minimise potential mishaps, it’s worth reminding your staff that disciplinary procedures are in place to protect staff. Review your policies On the off chance there are any occupational mishaps to attend to when you return to work you might want to familiarise yourself with your employer’s policy on Christmas parties or work-related social events. Having a good relationship with Human Resources is important as they will be your port of call for any questions and advice. Social media cautions As entertaining as social media is, it can have detrimental consequences for your business if it is not managed carefully. Make sure you inform staff of the damaging effect inappropriate social media use can have. Why not use past examples to demonstrate the disastrous outcomes caused to individuals as well as potential consequences for your business? As an employer it is your responsibility to ensure everyone is safe at the events you plan. So whether it is controlling the amount of alcohol provided or organising transport home, there are a number of safety measures which could be enforced to ensure your staff are safe while also having a great time. The Cherry team celebrated another amazing year with our Christmas party at Bistro Live on Friday. Fun was had by all with plenty of drinks and dancing on tables to kick start the lead up to Christmas. If you are having your work party soon we hope you all have a fantastic time and have a very Merry Christmas!

Sarah Graham

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The benefits of recruiting at Christmas

As we approach Christmas, it’s possible that you will be thinking less about your recruitment needs and more about the Christmas party. After all, this is the time to be celebrating the team’s hard work and successes throughout the year. But before you place a hold on your recruitment, be aware that December is prime time for recruitment. This sounds surprising as we know you may be thinking candidates are not available or not looking to change jobs at this time of year but this isn’t true. Many candidates start looking for their next challenge in December! So if you have a recruitment freeze for the holidays you could be missing out on the right talent to join your team! While you may be faced with more candidates on the market in January, you will also be faced with other businesses competing for the best candidates. The current labour market is extremely skill short, therefore talented candidates have more choice than ever. Therefore, Christmas is a particularly good time to get ahead of the competition and snap up the current talent. Some organisations experience a slight slow-down due to the holidays which means they have more time to focus on making the ideal job advert and sift through applications to find the perfect person. With fewer tasks and work pressures over the festive period, it also makes for an ideal time to start training new people as well as your existing employees. Christmas is a great time to ease people into the team quicker than any other time of year! Why? Well because they get to see first-hand how the team not just work together but also play together; which in a study conducted this year, 71% of active talent said that the team was a critical factor in moving and staying with a new employer. So, why not use the ‘Christmas slowdown’ to your advantage and have the team ready to go in the New Year? In recruitment, the 'Christmas slowdown' never really happens and that's partly because business in the east Midlands is booming if permanent recruitment isn’t what you need right now, temporary staffing could be. If like us, you have no such thing as a ‘slowdown’ you might find interim staff can help with any Christmas demands, cover holidays as well as add to any project work which has been put on hold for this time of year.

Melissa Kilday

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Are you covered for Christmas?

In many industries the Christmas is the busiest season. As Christmas approaches we all have a million and one things to plan for. But what about your business, have you got everything in place to ensure the festive period runs smoothly? At this time of year businesses suffer reduced productivity from struggling to keep up with extra demand in products and services, lower staff attendance due to illness, annual leave requests, and adverse weather conditions making it impossible for staff to attend work. If your business feels the extra pressure, have you thought about hiring a temp worker to lighten the load? Cherry Professional provide temporary staff of all types including people with their own limited companies, day-rate interims and temps paid on an hourly rate through PAYE. Why hire a temp? Temps are traditionally quick hires who can have an immediate impact on your business. They are quick hires increase staff morale as it means current staff aren't stressed. Temporary workers with specific skill sets that could be anything from systems knowledge to people management. This extra knowledge or experience can offer a new insight and support for other staff members and have a positive effect on your business Niche interim professionals are a speedy and cost effective solution to a specific problem. Temp workers offer flexibility as they can be hired for the shortest of assignments or time frames. If there is an unexpected gap in your team, a temp ensures it is ‘business as usual’ and there is no loss of productivity. Please contact us if you need any advice about temporary resource or if you have any recruitment issues you would like us to solve.

Sarah Graham

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How to get the most from your candidate interviews

Conducting interviews are a really important stage of the recruitment process. Not only are you trying to determine which candidate is most suited to your team, the candidate will also be wanting to decide which organisation is best for them. Remember we are in a candidate-short market. For every vacancy available, there are only 0.4 candidates. This means that candidates are spoilt for choice on the job market. It is down to you to sell yourself and stand out from the competition. So, what can you ask to get a unique insight to the candidate and what they have to offer? Well, Cherry Professional, we spoke to one of our expert recruitment consultants for some pointers and tips of the insightful questions to ask. To begin with… Interviews can be very daunting for candidates so take some time to welcome the candidate, introduce yourself and put them at ease. The more relaxed they are, the more responsive they will be. Take some time to explain your role within the business and ask them about their self. You can then start off by asking the candidate what they know about the business and the role. This a good question to ask straight away as you will be able to see how committed the candidate is and check their understanding of the role. Next, it is wise to run through their CV, be aware of any gaps in their employment history and question their experience to get a detailed understanding. Tip: Ask questions such as "Talk me through your position at XYZ". A question phrased this way will encourage a detailed answer. What to ask… “What would be your main development areas?” Why: This is a great way identify the candidate’s weaknesses and tailor any in house training straight to their needs. “How do you like to be managed?” Why: Every manager has a different style. You can pinpoint where they would fit within the business to get the best results. “What are your motivators?” Why: Motivators are a good way for you to understand what you need to sell back to the candidate to get them on board! “What do you want to achieve outside of work and on a professional level in X years?" Why: A lot of people don’t want to be stagnant within a company and will seek progression. Ask questions surrounding their progression and what they want to achieve outside of work but also on a professional level. This is a great opportunity for you as the employer to talk through why their goals are possible at the company. Tip: Use a time scale to keep the candidate focused in order to gain more specific information. In closing… “What do you think about the role and the business?” Why: You will get an understanding of how the candidate feels about you as an employer. This is just as important as what you feel about the candidate. Tip: If you like the candidate, chances are other business do as well so you need to sell your organisation just as much as they do. “Do you have any questions?” Why: This is a great conversation piece to finish off the interview and any loose ends. A good candidate will be wanting to ask lots of questions which again gives you the opportunity to speak about how great your business is. No two interviews are the same but having questions prepared in advance will help you stay on track to obtain the information you need. Tip: Bare in mind that candidates will have lots of interviews and they need to make the difficult choice of where they could be spending the foreseeable future.

Connor Coombes

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Dyslexia in the workplace

Did you see last week Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, holds his dyslexia accountable for his successful career? Statistically 10 per cent of the workforce will suffer from some type and level of dyslexia. According to The Dyslexia Association “Dyslexia is recognised as a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. As such employers are obliged to take action and make “reasonable adjustments” to help and support individuals with the condition to help them overcome any disadvantages caused by the condition”. Does your organisation have any processes or tools implemented to aid dyslexic workers? Whilst reading and writing may be a challenge for people with dyslexia, it is well documented that they are not limited with the skills they have to offer. According to The Psychologist the skills dyslexic people excel at include, good productivity, flexible coping, problem solving, ‘big picture thinking’ planning innovation, good communication and being creative. Evidently these are valuable skills to have in the workplace. The founder of ‘Made by Dyslexia’, Kate Griggs, said: "People with Dyslexia see the world in a different way and are not tied to conventional thinking..." This is supported by Theo’s experience, as he said the disorder forced him to find solutions to problems. Knowing how to support someone with the condition actually means you are likely to be embracing their potential and unique skills. The support you can offer includes training to understand dyslexic traits and the implications and impacts on ways of working. For more information on how to utilise dyslexia in the workplace click here.

Sarah Graham

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What do candidates want?

Did you know that 57% of UK workers have changed jobs in search of greater job satisfaction? This suggests job security is less of a priority as 22% of workers changing jobs said it was because they did not feel their hard work was appreciated. Clearly, employers need to be aware of this and able to offer engagement and job satisfaction candidates are searching for. As we are currently in a candidate short market with an average of only 0.4 candidates for each vacancy, we are aware of the challenges in recruiting and the importance of attracting the available candidates. So, how can you attract the talent you are looking for? When Cherry Professional recruit internally we meet candidates and work to understand their personal motivators and ensure that they are a suitable match what we can offer. For instance, we may offer additional training or study support for someone who is motivated by career progression or offer flexible working to someone motivated by maintaining a work life balance. Similarly, you can do the same during the interview process with your candidates. Remember, the interview is an opportunity to see if you and the candidate are a suitable fit. Try to establish what is most important to them and what their needs are for staying engaged in work. What is it that drives them, is it career progression, training, rewards and incentives, flexibility, workplace culture…? Can your company meet their needs? This time spent at the beginning will help you to identify and invest in the right talent. In terms of candidate attraction, we also recommend you put yourself in the shoes of a candidate when writing the advert. If you found your job advert, would it get your attention and offer something of interest to you? There are currently over 32,000 jobs advertised in the East Midlands. How does yours stand out? Be sure to showcase benefits which are possible motivators for candidates, particularly if they set you aside from your competitors. Think about the type of candidate you want to attract and emphasise the aspects you offer which would appeal to them. As job satisfaction and engagement increases productivity and is strongly related to staff retention in the long term, it is therefore important to consider adopting this to approach to your existing members of staff. These factors can be something different to each person and may change over time and therefore need reassessing at regular reviews if your employee’s priorities change.

Sarah Graham

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Are you geared towards ‘Generation Z’?

Are any of your employees aged roughly between 18 and 25? If so, they are often referred to as what is called the ‘Generation Z’. As the latest generation to be entering the workplace, employers need to be aware of how these candidates differ when it comes to recruitment in order to attract the best talent. So, who are Generation Z, and what do we need to know about them? Well, they are people born between 1995 and 2012 and tend to be ambitious, flexible in their approach to work and are characteristic in their upbringing. They are the only generation to have grown up with the internet and are technology minded. They typically go on social media every day and refer to the internet for just about all their needs from communicating with friends, catching up on news, shopping, managing their finances and booking their holidays. Generation Z are completely comfortable with technology and are therefore naturally suited to learning and adapting to systems and software used in the workplace. Recent research revealed that 88% of businesses believe that Generation Z will have positive impact on their workplace. A further 77% of businesses see the Generation Z skill set of digital communications and multi-tasking as a valuable contributor to helping a company meet their business objectives. Given their desirable skill set, it is important that employers know how to reach and attract the Generation Z candidate. If prospective employers neglect to embrace the needs of a Generation Z candidate, they run the risk of undermining their ability to compete and benefit from the best talent. Generation Z candidates are most likely to find and apply to job adverts on social media or well-known job boards. They will be interested to know that prospective employers can invest in their development and be at the forefront of technology with continuous investments and changes. Similar to millennials, they appreciate a flexible work environment which accommodates their needs and allows for a healthy work/life balance. A generation Z employee is not afraid to change roles, so support tailored to their needs will help give job satisfaction as well as make you more desirable among competitors.

Sarah Graham

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Does your business discourage employees to take time off when sick?

Over the last year, only 25% of employees who showed up to work sick said their organisation took steps to discourage this according to research made by the CIPD. Does your organisation fall under that small percentage or are you in the 75% of businesses that are happy for workers to ‘power through’ and be present in the workplace while sick? Sick days can have a real effect on the day to day running of an organisation as well as having a significant financial impact. Last year sick staff cost British businesses £77 Billion in lost productivity and with this staggering figure it isn’t surprising that employers are discouraging their workers to take time off when sick. However, this figure isn’t representative of only sick days taken, but is mainly made up of lack of productivity through ‘presenteeism’ (employees present in the workplace while sick) which amounts to, on average 27.7 days per worker annually compared to only 2.7 sick days taken. Due to these shocking findings, organisations are now being encouraged to look at their culture in regards to sick days and how they can improve their statistics, firstly looking at why their employees are turning up to work unwell. There are a number of reasons employees can feel under pressure to be present while sick, most commonly: Employees feel their workload is too large to take unexpected time off with fear of falling behind There is a lack of team work preventing workers feeling their colleagues will help out with any urgent duties Felling they will be disciplined or discriminated against for taking a sick day / days They won’t be believed or accused of skiving Financial deductions to wages without room in their budget Presenteeism can cause more damage than good as unwell employees are less productive and don’t work to their usual standard. Sickness can spread and in turn affect the team as a whole having a significant impact on the productivity of not just one worker but an entire department. Therefore, adopting a culture of sick day acceptance and support can only help to decrease the number of productive working days that are lost each year. It is essential to create an environment where employees feel comfortable about staying at home when sick, you can do this by: Offering flexible working – if an employee is sick but worried about falling behind, provide the tools they need to work from home Review your organisations policy on paid sick days Be supportive towards sick workers Support the wider team by taking on a short term temporary worker in the event of an unexpected absence There are many benefits to taking on temporary workers as they offer immediate cover for sickness leave, holidays and other unexpected absences, taking pressure off the team and filling gaps where you would otherwise be short staffed. Temporary workers can be flexible in terms of the length of an assignment and often offer a stronger skillset due to the variety of assignments they have previously completed. You might also find it useful to take a look at our blog highlighting the benefits of offering flexible working: Benefits of offering flexible working - https://www.cherryprofessional.co.uk/news/2018/02/benefits-of-offering-flexible-working/207

Melissa Kilday

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Are CVs help or a hindrance?

The Senior Vice President of Marketing at Indeed, Paul D’Arcy has described CVs as serving a ‘terrible disservice’ to job seekers. Would you agree, or do you think CVs a useful tool for helping you recruit? How much time do you usually spend reading a CV? According to Paul D’Arcy, a CV is briefly glanced at for only a few seconds to establish a candidate’s key details. In addition, he argues that CVs do not demonstrate what a candidate can bring to a role. Can a couple of pieces of paper really tell you how well someone is suited to your team? Research has also shown that CVs can be counter-productive as a candidate’s name or gender may be subject to an unconscious bias. Imagine ruling out the perfect candidate without even realising! But, you may be asking, what is the alternative? There are many ways to determine whether someone is suitable for your team. For example, you could consider using psychometric testing, personality tests or cognitive ability tests. Tests such as these are ideal for giving a more detailed profile of the candidate’s traits. It will also provide an objective way to see which candidate has the qualities most suited to your job specification. Of course, we understand that this is not always possible with time constraints – particularly if you have many applicants apply. This is where you would need a trusted Recruitment Consultancy like Cherry Professional. We meet every candidate we put forward for an interview. We have an impartial team of consultants with a combination of over a 190 years of recruitment experience. We are skilled in taking the time to get to know candidates personally and building a profile to get a full indication of their abilities. This means we know all the details about them, their skills, and experience so we can find the exact talent you are looking for.

Sarah Graham

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We all 'lose it' sometimes...

Did you know that 65% of office workers have experienced rage in their workplace and 45% regularly lose their temper? Is anger an issue in your workplace? We have all had a day when we feel like we there are so many demands for our attention that we wonder how we will achieve everything on our to-do list. Naturally, our demands can leave us feeling stressed and frustrated. When you consider that we now have more and more demands for our attention in working day, this is not surprising. Research by Deloitte has revealed that a demanding ‘always on’ culture and involvement in multiple communication flows, known as ‘hyper connectivity’ leaves us feeling overwhelmed and less able to absorb and process information. Combined with this, the information overload is likely to have an impact on your employees such as lack of sleep and poor concentration. This can then lead to added frustrations and your staff feeling like they may be reaching a limit of how much more they can manage. As a result of more and more demands, it is not surprising that our overloaded attention is actually contributing to increased instances of anger in the workplace. While it is a natural emotion and generally justified under the circumstances, anger has a number of implications to be aware of. For instance, anger can cause serious health issue such as chronic anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease. Having read this, you are probably wondering how you can prevent anger in your workplace in order to improve productivity and staff well-being. So, if your staff become angry, what should you do? Below we have provided some key tips to help you manage the situation. See if you can calm down your employee. Where possible, remove them from their stressful environment and find a place where you can talk in private. Be sure that you are open and available in wanting to help them. Take the time to listen and empathise with your employee. Try to get them to do the talking and have them explain what is wrong. What was the cause for their anger? Put yourself in their shoes, do not judge or criticise them. Concentrate on gathering the details without interrupting them so you fully understand the situation. This will help them the anger to deescalate. Show you are listening by relaying back your understanding of the problem. Once your employee has finishing explaining, discuss whether something could be put in place to prevent the angry situation occurring. What does your employee feel that they need to help reduce their anger? Looking at the account of the anger provoking situation, is there something that could be done to prevent the situation from happening again? It is likely that this issue will also be affecting the rest of the team, in which case your productivity is a risk of suffering. As they say, ‘prevention is better than cure’ so can you identify any unnecessary stressors or issues which cause information overload that could be minimised? If so, anger can be quickly managed and reduced. Maybe there is something you could implement so your employees do not feel as overwhelmed by information and demands. Click here to take a look at some activities which you could introduce into your workplace to help create a calm environment.

Sarah Graham

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Could a little furry team member help your stress levels?

We all know that business can be stressful, but do you know that stress can have long term effects? Six in ten employees experience stress in the workplace which contributes to absenteeism and lower levels of productivity. Clearly this is an issue which will have a direct impact on your team. How can you help to reduce stress and create a more productive and calm environment? Did you know pets are good for our health? This can be as relevant when pets are brought into the workplace. Research by the American Animal Hospital Association has shown that pets in the workplace have numerous benefits for employers and employees alike. The benefits include; Improved office morale Better communication Higher attendance rates A healthy work-life balance Reduced stress In my experience, Cherry Professional office is brightened by the most popular member of our team, which is actually our furry four legged friend, Pugsley! Pugsley makes everyone smile and boosts our staff morale whenever he is in! Pets help to increase productivity by giving staff a short mental break away from long or stressful tasks for a little fuss or playtime. Without realising, Pugsley does this for us with a little game of fetch. Pets have been well known to have a positive effect on stress due to the calming effects of increasing laughter and positivity and reducing blood pressure. Naturally, the benefits of reduced stress have great implications for related illnesses as well as implications for costs to you and your team. Are you considering bringing a pet into your workplace? It appears that the advantages are overwhelming, but what do you need to be aware of? Here are our tips for ensuring that both pets and employees are both suited to the work environment. Check with the rest of your team that they are happy for the pet to be brought into the workplace, there would be nothing worse for an employee with allergies struggling to work. Ensure pets are well groomed, clean and free of fleas or ticks. You might also want to check that all vaccinations are all up to date. Make sure you are aware of the pets training and dietary needs. Ensure that your workplace is ‘pet-proofed’ should the pet have any additional needs. Generally, it can be arranged for the owner to provide for the pet’s needs so costs should be minimal. Take time and care introducing pets into your work environment. If you take the time to allow pets to settle in, it will stop them feeling stressed and prevent any difficult responses. We hope that your new furry recruits bring as much joy to your workplace as Pugsley brings to ours! If you have a furry friend, why not introduce them by tweeting us @cherryprof!

Sarah Graham

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Do you have good relationships?

Could your team’s productivity be improved? Are you looking to increase profits? Of course the answer to these is obviously yes. ‘But how?’ I hear you ask. Well, what is perhaps surprising is that the relationships you have with your employees is possibly one of the biggest contributors for achieving this. Research by Forbes shows the investment of employee relations and a good employer-employee relationship produce: happier staff, higher levels of engagement, efficiency, productivity, greater respect for management, less conflict in the workplace, greater company loyalty and a willingness to achieve more In turn findings have shown higher levels of staff retention, greater business growth and an increase in profits. Sounds, like a dream come true, right? So, how can you improve the relationships with your staff? Connect with your employees How much do you really know about your employees? Developing your relationships by getting to know more about your employees and their personal motivators will strengthen your relationship with them. Understanding their commitments, will prevent potential issues arising. Employees will appreciate you taking on board their personal needs and will want to work harder for you in return. Introduce an open relationship Is your door always open? It is vital your employees feel you are available to support them should they have any problems. By demonstrating that you are approachable and make time for your employee’s means any problems get resolved sooner, are easier to manage and have less financial implications. As an example, it is reported every year, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue which impacts effects the workplace. At Cherry Professional we have 26 employees which means statistically 6 members of staff could be affected each year. A lack of support could have implications for their well-being as well as significant financial costs to the business. Research by the Mental Health Foundation has found that support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year. Encourage goals Which members of your team would enjoy learning new skills? By empowering your employees to reach their goals, you are investing in your team as well as strengthening your relationships. Employees passionate about career progression or learning new skills will appreciate the opportunity to invest in themselves. Top tip: Introduce incentives, training or delegate tasks to help your employee’s progress. Involve your staff Including your staff in regular business updates will enable trust as it communicates openness and transparency. An example, of involving your staff might be sending a regular team email to review progress on business goals. The involvement will give your staff a voice and show what they are working towards. At Cherry professional, our core ethos is ‘relationship led recruitment’. This applies to everyone we work with, including our staff. In fact, one of our core promises is: ‘Our business is built on our people and their relationships; it’s continued success demands that we invest in staff and provide the opportunity for consultants to become stakeholders in the business.’

Sarah Graham

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Are you about to offer too much?

Do you have an employee’s notice sitting on your desk? Are you about to lose a valued member of your team? Are you wondering what to do from here? We understand having a valued employee hand in their notice can feel disheartening to say the least. No doubt you have spent a significant amount of time and energy investing in them over the years and have seen them develop into the professional they have become. You may be considering your options, asking yourself what is best, do you rehire someone else, or make a counter offer? Wanting to keep your current employee can be incredibly tempting and therefore making a counter offer can seem like the easiest solution. After all, your employee already knows your team, your company and their role inside out. Well, research states that you will actually be worse off in the long run. Believe it or not, 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer leave in 6 months and 90% of candidates will have left within 12 months. Generally speaking, if an employee is prepared to take on the application process elsewhere, they will have become disengaged with their work and not have the same commitment to the company they once had. Often a counter offer of a salary increase (or other benefits) simply acts as a temporary fix by plastering over the cracks. It appears to solve all the problems and make them want to stay, but the issues which served as their motivators to leave are likely to still remain. Research has also shown that 50% of candidates who have accepted a counter offer have begun job hunting again within 2 months. Therefore, it is more financially beneficial to you in the long term to rehire rather than make a counter offer of a higher salary – and then potentially still rehire! In addition, you need to be aware of the effects this will have on your team. Having an employee who is now detached from their role, staff morale and productivity is inevitably going to take a hit. Are you prepared for this potential knock on effect? By not making a counter offer, you stay in control of your team and morale. If you do decide to make a counter offer, we would advise that you tread with caution as the statistics (and our experience) show it almost certainly never works. If this blog sounds familiar and you are faced with needing to find a replacement, don’t worry. Cherry Professional understand the importance of your time and are on hand to help to refill any finance or office based roles. With almost 10 years experience of monitoring the local job market and finding the perfect talent for our clients, we know we can help you. After all, we did not become the highest rated employment agency in the East Midlands by chance!

Sarah Graham

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Branding and it’s purpose

branding and it's purpose h1> ​It’s been a LONG process to get to this point and we couldn’t be happier to share it with everyone!! Cherry Professional’s refreshed look now demonstrates our development as a business and our growth over the last 10 years. The brand refresh came at a vital time. We wanted to externalise all of our internal messages and to show the world that we know exactly who we are, what we do and why we do it. A brand is vital to a company’s success. It is made up of various components such as an organisations positioning, design and communications. These components should be developed to reflect the identity or personality of an organisation as they create an overall impression of the culture and communicate your values. Successful branding differentiates companies from their competitors and also helps to attract and retain new customers. How can you use branding to your advantage? Stand out from the crowd Your brand is important for differentiating your company from competitors by emphasising your key messages and unique offering. A brand that stands out and is memorable is vital in competitive industries and it can be the tipping point when attracting new business. Brands which customers perceive to be different can pay up to 22% more so be aware that your brand can influence the price of your products. Our new brand is purposely very individual to represent our service which is unique, especially in recruitment. We are relationship led in our work and we strive to understand the individual needs of our clients and their specific recruitment needs. Justify your positioning A well-defined brand has a clear positioning in the marketplace. Your positioning statement is designed to quite simply state what you do and how it benefits your audience. This communicates the compelling reasons people should work with you and you always need to ensure you make the benefits clear. Know your mission ​Your mission describes your purpose and WHY you exist in your industry. This was revolutionary for us because internally we knew why we exist and why we choose to do recruitment at Cherry Professional and not anywhere else. Defining our mission actually turned out to be one of our most unique statements. This is ‘Empowering our clients to succeed and be happy’. Your employer branding This was one of the key reasons we decided to refresh our brand. We have an amazing culture at Cherry Professional (we may be a bit biased) but that culture just wasn’t being communicated effectively to the outside world. That has now definitely changed. Our employer branding has been defined from our positioning, values and mission. You employer branding needs to be top draw in today’s industry. The employment market is so skills short. When you are hiring you are competing against so many other organisations as there are only 0.4 candidates available for any role advertised. When a candidate see a job vacancy at an organisation, one of the first things they do is research the company. That process inevitably will introduce them to your brand which is the reflection of your organisation. Do you think your current brand is enough to make you different? Do you think it will attract the right talent? Your brand is yours. There shouldn’t be another company that exists that has your ethos, positioning and mission because they should be the features which make you different. Your brand needs emotion, history and feeling to make it believable and to get consumers to buy in. We have some companies we can introduce you to if you need any advice on how to develop your brand!

Sarah Graham

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How to hire so you don’t need to fire!

At Cherry Professional we understand the costs incurred during your recruitment process. These costs can be in terms of finance and time, which is a hassle we all want to avoid. Not only that, but if you hire the wrong person, these costs are amplified. Research has shown that more than half the companies in the top 10 economies have been affected by a bad hire. The impacts of a bad hire are: Loss in productivity Low morale amongst employees Negative impact on client relations Fewer sales Costs to rehire A decrease in sales or loss in money for the month is frustrating and disheartening but it can always be pulled back. Employee morale and the negative impact on your client relationships on the other hand, is something a little more difficult to repair. Given these issues, there is a great deal of importance placed on finding the perfect fit. This will to add to your company’s success and limit the potential costs in having to fire a candidate and rehire and train another all over again. So how can you hire so you don’t need to fire? Read on for our pointers which will guide your recruitment process. Use what you have Before you start thinking about where to post your advert, be careful not to miss the perfect candidate which you may already have! Look at the existing skill sets of your team. Perhaps you can delegate work or you might have an employee looking to progress and take advantage of new opportunities. This is a fantastic way to boost staff morale and develop the team’s capabilities. Know what you want Often the main cause of recruiting the wrong employees is due to not knowing exactly what you need for the position. How often have recruited on behalf of a line manager and not fully understood the brief yourself? Briefs can be passed from a Director and others before it reaches human resources and a recruiter. This can often have a "Chinese whispers" impact. As a result, clear communication from the start is absolutely paramount. While it is tempting, a common mistake is to reuse a previous job description, but you need to be aware of any requirements in the role which may have changed. Taking the time to reassess what you need will save you time and money and attract candidates which are more suitable. It is also worth considering how the new role will fit in with future plans of the business. Do these suit the candidate’s career goals? You need to feel confident that the candidate will be able to evolve with the business’s needs. Look at your team, how have they evolved from when you last hired an employee? Have other team members developed their skills sets, does this role need to be a higher level? Don’t be afraid to try something new You may feel unsure of the role you are looking for. For instance, you think you need a Procurement Officer but actually the requirements of the role has all elements of the project coordinator. If you are unsure about introducing new roles, perhaps consider using a contract or even a temporary or part time position. Personality is key Be aware that while it is important to have someone with the right skill set, it is equally important if not more so, to find a candidate with the right personality and attitude towards work. Skills can be taught but personality cannot. There is nothing worse than hiring someone to later find out that they are rude or offensive!

Melissa Kilday

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5 Ways to deal with the influx in summer holiday requests

June 21st marks the official start of the UK’s summer 2018 and with the summer months fast approaching I’m sure the holiday request are coming in thick and fast. After working hard all year, often the highlight for many of your employees will be that long awaited holiday, usually falling in June, July, August and September this can be a particularly tricky period when managing annual leave requests. Full time employees working 5 days per week are entitled to 28 days annual leave per year, part time workers are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata. With the majority of UK workers requesting their annual leave during the summer it is important to be fair and consistent with all employees. To help keep this busy period under control we have put together 5 handy tips that would be worth implementing in your office. Top Tips for managing summer holiday requests: Holiday Planner – It is a great idea to have a communal holiday schedule in your office /department depending on the size of the organisation. This can be online or a physical planner and should be easily accessible to all employees. Having a shared planner will allow workers to check holiday availability prior to planning their break. First come, first served – Having a first come, first served policy can eliminate any ill feeling towards colleagues who have requested the same annual leave dates. It will also take the decision away from an individual and show there has been no favouritism. Minimum time to request holidays - Putting in place a minimum time to request holidays will help in planning for any absent staff and better organise holiday requests in advance. This is particularly useful for employees that need to arrange childcare during those pesky 6 weeks school holidays. Recruiting temporary workers – Taking on temporary workers during busy periods can be an excellent way of ensuring workload is kept on top of and there is no extra pressure applied to the team. Temporary workers are perfect for relieving added workloads, they can be available at short notice, often able to work short assignments and have a vast skillset based on their varied experience. Be consistent, fair and transparent – There is nothing worse than putting a holiday request in only for it to come back declined and therefore with clear procedures in place this shouldn’t be the case however in the instance it is, give your employees clear and fair reasons why.

Melissa Kilday

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"We're In The Money"

You may have seen in recent news the almighty blunder made by Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe and the unfortunate capture of his ‘We’re in the money’ singalong. This cringe worthy moment was caught on camera by ITV News in between several scheduled interviews explaining the Asda-Sainsbury’s merger. This is the biggest deal to be made by two of Britain’s favourite superstores in recent years. With the merger said to be worth a staggering £12bn, Mike Coupe could have avoided embarrassment and a public apology by remaining a little more professional between interviews. Described as an ‘unfortunate choice of song’ Coupe has apologised, but was this an accident or a very clever and comedic publicity stunt? Either way this has left many loyal Sainsbury’s employees furious and let down as they fear for the safety of their jobs pending the merger. This has got us thinking about the importance of remaining professional in all business situations. In case you missed it… https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2018-04-30/itv-news-exclusive-sainsburys-ceo-sings-were-in-the-money-before-asda-merger-interview/ Remaining professional in business situations Professionalism in the work place is essential to the success of a business with varying levels of seriousness depending on the nature of the organisation. Being professional doesn’t have to mean the elimination of fun within a business, however, implementing important boundaries are essential foundations in the interaction with clients, customers, colleagues and other third parties. Understanding the boundaries set by an organisation will benefit the team by helping to avoid conflict and misunderstanding between colleagues and management. Professional conduct with customers and clients can only improve the reputation of an organisation, encourage repeat business and long lasting relationships. Dressing professionally can also have a profound impact on a business, especially if your role is client / customer facing. Of course dressing professionally doesn’t always mean to be ‘suited and booted’ but should be appropriate for the nature of the organisation. The way employees are dressed can be a visual representation of a business and guidelines for dress should be outlined clearly to employees, whilst being mindful of employer rights and individuality. Monster.co.uk have published ’10 Ways to be professional’ which can be a fantastic starting point when addressing professionalism in the workplace: 10 Ways to be professional Competence. You’re good at what you do – and you have the skills and knowledge that enable you to do your job well. Reliability. People can depend on you to show up on time, submit your work when it’s supposed to be ready, etc. Honesty. You tell the truth and are upfront about where things stand. Integrity. You are known for your consistent principles. Respect for Others. Treating all people as if they mattered is part of your approach. Self-Upgrading. Rather than letting your skills or knowledge become outdated, you seek out ways of staying current. Being Positive. No one likes a constant pessimist. Having an upbeat attitude and trying to be a problem-solver makes a big difference. Supporting Others. You share the spotlight with colleagues, take time to show others how to do things properly, and lend an ear when necessary. Staying Work-Focused. Not letting your private life needlessly have an impact on your job, and not spending time at work attending to personal matters. Listening Carefully. People want to be heard, so you give people a chance to explain their ideas properly.’ – Monster.co.uk

Melissa Kilday

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GDPR - Key Points

The countdown to the new General Data Regulation Policy is well and truly underway and with just under a month before the new regulations are put in place it is surprising to find that huge companies like Facebook are still not fully prepared. As of the 25th May 2018 any changes that are required by GDPR need to be legally implemented in your organisation. The consequences for any non-compliance with GDPR can be crushing for all businesses with fines of up to €20 Million or 4% global turnover, can your organisation afford to get it wrong? It has been widely reported recently that our data has been used without our consent by social media giant Facebook. Data analyst firm Cambridge Analytica used the personal data of over 50 million Facebook users without their consent and as a consequence of this data breach the backlash received has been severely damaging, not just financially but their reputation has also been significantly tarnished. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has publicly apologised but that is just the beginning of the work needed to rebuild their consumer trust. Sharing the personal data to third parties without consent is a severe breach of GDPR, with that in mind here are some key points to remember and implement in your organisation with regards to sharing data, consent and being transparent about your privacy policy: You must receive a clear statement of genuine consent (using a pre-ticked box is not compliant) giving individuals full control of their data and how it is used. If you have previously held consent, this must be reviewed to comply with new GDPR guidelines Keep all records of consent / consent requests and how it was obtained, these should be held separate from any standard terms & conditions Be clear about who the third parties are and name them Explain what third parties will use their data for Save evidence of consent Make it easy to ‘opt out’ and explain clearly how to do this Explain clearly how their data can be removed easily Keep any consent updated regularly and in line with any changes All emails sent should have your GDPR compliant Privacy Policy attached and easily accessible Customers must ALWAYS have full control over their personal data, what it is used for and where it goes Here at Cherry we are committed and passionate about the safety of our customer’s data and are dedicated to the compliance and transparency of the new GDPR laws. If you would like any further information please contact our Internal Data Protection Officer on sarah.gibson@cherryprofessional.co.uk and we would be more than happy to help.

Melissa Kilday

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One or more of your employees will quit this year....

Recent studies have shown that around 4.5 million workers will leave their current roles and are on the lookout for something new this year. What does this mean for your business? Employee retention should always be a priority and looking at how you currently retain staff with continuous improvement will prove to be invaluable. Recruiterbox have published ‘6 Sure–fire ways to improve employee retention’ that we think would be useful: ‘1. Make sure you are hiring selectively from the beginning. Consider things like diligence, attitude and integrity amongst other things like academic qualification, skills and experience. 2. Pay them right. Keep a tab on industry compensation standards. Structure the bonus and benefits well. 3. Offer flexible work schedules. Ensure employees are well prepared to do what their job requires like travel, late nights, vacations and so on. 4. Provide comfortable work environment and culture. Provide ample training and support new hires till they can manage on their own. 5. Be generous with praise and recognition. Uncover strategies to reward employees when you cannot afford to do it with money. A simple thank you or a well-done note could do wonders! 6. Give a career road map. Specify what they need to do to achieve the next milestone. Never deny acknowledging when someone meets their goal.’ – Recruiterbox For more information on the benefits of flexible working take a look at our short blog here - https://www.cherryprofessional.co.uk/news/2018/02/benefits-of-offering-flexible-working/207 As we are in the midst of candidate availability in the labour market being at an all-time low and East Midlands businesses struggling to recruit skilled candidates for their roles, news of a hike in resignations should have a positive impact on the number of candidate applications. Don’t let these candidates slip away, make the most of this influx by marketing your business effectively on social media. Attracting candidates through social platforms has become increasingly more popular over recent years and many organisations are having significant success. With a huge 92% of businesses using social media to recruit, here are our top tips on how to use social platforms to find your next star employee: Post any exciting business news/updates from a company page and ensure your employees ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ the posts generating some excitement around your organisation online and attracting new talent to you. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use a Boolean search on LinkedIn to find profiles matching the skills you are looking for i.e. If you are looking for an Accounts Assistant with AAT qualifications your search would look like this…”Accounts Assistant” AND “AAT” Know what you are looking for before you begin and be patient, the right candidates don’t always come up first time. Think about the variations of job titles you could search for. Keep location in mind, depending on the position you are searching for may depend on the distance candidates are willing to travel. When requesting to connect with someone on LinkedIn you should always send a short message along with that request. They are more likely to accept if you do and is the starting point of communication. Take some time to search for any successful candidates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this will show what their interests are and are their values in line with your organisation? LinkedIn will show you a rundown of the candidate’s experience which should be parallel with the candidates CV, provided they are both up to date. Google searching a candidate’s name and location more often than not will not bring up any concerns but a worthwhile task as it may flag up important questions/information. For more information on the recent findings that 4.5 million workers will quit this year, take a look at HR Grapevine’s blog here - https://bit.ly/2Hh2Fju

Melissa Kilday

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Gender Pay Gap

Gender Pay Gap has been a huge topic of debate and discussion in recent headlines and there’s a reason why, reports are showing just how shocking the difference in pay for male and female employees really is. Through the media attention this subject has received, many issues have been highlighted and organisations are starting to put changes in place to actively decrease significant pay gaps. The Prime Minister, Theresa May has firmly committed herself to tackling the gender pay gap issues in this country - ‘A hundred years ago, some women first won the right to vote…But for all the welcome progress in the decades since, major injustices still hold too many women back…When I became Prime Minister, I committed myself to tackling the burning injustices which mar our society. One such is gender pay gap.’ As of 4th April 2018 all organisations with 250 or more employees had a legal obligation to publish a report on their gender pay gap. Disappointingly around 1,500 companies failed to meet this deadline and have/are currently being chased to fulfil this obligation, surprisingly Unite Trade Union are one of the organisations late to publish their report. ‘One organisation that missed the deadline was the Unite union, which belatedly published its figures on Thursday. The union, which describes itself as being "at the forefront of the trade union campaign to achieve equal pay", revealed that its female employees' median hourly pay was 29.6% lower than what male workers are paid.’ – BBC News Following the published reports, figures have indicated that a massive 78% of organisations pay men more than women, 14% pay women more than men and only 8% are paying both men and women equally. Many new sources broke the gender pay gap down by sector reporting the Finance industry have one of the largest pay gaps, being beaten only by the Construction industry. Reporting on both salary and bonuses paid, men have trumped women on both fronts in the financial sector. ‘Men are also paid higher bonuses than women … The Finance Sector has the biggest bonus gap, with women paid 35% less than men on average. In other words, sector-wide, for every £1 of bonus money paid to men working in finance, their female colleagues will take home just 65p.’ – BBC News The recent reports have also highlighted an education company, Yellow Dot that are currently paying female workers 81% on average more than their male colleagues. They have stated they are aware of the pay gap issues in their business and are highly committed to fairness. By ordering large businesses to publish their gender pay gaps it has left no hiding place for these findings and as a consequence we are now seeing organisations with particularly big gaps publicly committing themselves to change with big players like RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) hoping to achieve full gender pay balance by 2030. In her efforts to tackle gender pay gap, Theresa May is asking Dads to take on extra parental responsibility allowing Mums to be more available for career opportunities, ‘We must encourage fathers to share caring roles more fairly, through initiatives such as shared parental leave, and promote schemes for mothers returning to work.’ This spurred on the question of…If men are currently earning more than women, can families afford Dad’s to take a step back on their career ladder to allow a potential increase in earnings for Mums? Is the real answer to improving the pay gap for employers to be more flexible? Offering flexible working conditions for more senior and management roles can open opportunities out to working mum’s and encourages employers to adopt a more relaxed view on progressing or taking on female employers that may require flexibly in the future. Making it easier for women to climb the career ladder by taking small steps like this can result in significant progression towards gender pay balance. Take a look at the BBC News report that highlights the findings of the recent gender pay gap figures and find out how big the pay gap is at your organisation - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43668187

Melissa Kilday

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Increase to the National Minimum Wage & National Living Wage

As of 1st April 2018 the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage are set to increase, this is a decision made by the government in an attempt to tackle the gap between wages and the growing cost of living. This should have an impact and positive improvement on the standard of living for minimum earners. MP Philip Hammond has said this is “the largest increase in youth rates in 201 years”. Full time workers on basic pay are set to earn around £600 more annually and £50 more monthly with the National Living Wage for over 25’s increasing from £7.50 to £7.83, this is great news for hard working employees in the UK. Although we are taking steps in the right direction to support our workers the Living Wage Foundation has found that, we are still behind the ever increasing UK Living Wage which currently stands at £8.75. The UK Living Wage is based on the amount workers need to earn to live. The UK government have had growing concern for the future of our millennials and their standard of living. It has been brought to their attention that young workers earning the minimum are struggling to save, get on the property ladder and live at the same standards available to previous generations. Due to the publicity surrounding this we have seen many organisations making positive changes to the way they pay their lowest earners and are promoting the importance of rewarding hard working employees with a decent days pay. We are now seeing a number of high profile businesses disrupting well-earned pay rises. Making these changes can also have a huge impact in the desirability to work at your organisation for new recruits. Offering a competitive salary can prove crucial in today’s labour market, which is particularly important given the skills shortage we are experiencing. What is the difference between National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage and how are they changing? All workers who are 25 years and older are entitled to National Living Wage and workers under 25 years are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. However, the National Living Wage does not include workers over 25 years that are Volunteers, Self Employed, Company Directors, work experience students or a member of the Armed Forces. Below is how you should see minimum earners hourly wages increase dependant on category: National Living Wage (25 years +) £7.50 - £7.83 National Minimum Wage 21 - 24 years £7.05 - £7.38 18 - 20 years £5.60 - £5.90 16 - 17 years £4.05 - £4.20 Apprentices £3.50 - £3.70 Employers are legally obliged to implement these wage increases as of April 1st 2018 and if found to be non-compliant will face up to a £20,000 fine for each worker being paid less than minimum, they will be ordered to pay the outstanding arears to the employee/employees and will be subject to a 15 year ban from working as a Company Director. Read more about the regulations surrounding NLW and NMW on the Gov UK website - https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage/employers-and-the-minimum-wage

Melissa Kilday

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Working Mothers

Official figures have shown a dramatic rise in the number of working Mothers over the past two decades with more than 1 million more in full or part time employment than there was 20 years ago. The Office of National Statistics reported an estimated 4.9 million Mothers with dependent children are now working in the UK. Working Mum's out there, you certainly aren't alone! These statistics highlight positive changes in the support the UK and society can now offer to working Mums. We are now living in an era where Mothers who choose to go back to work are not frowned upon for making this decision but alternatively supported in their quest to finding career success alongside the important job of motherhood – some say these women are modern day superheroes...so, how do they do it? Remembering there is no such thing as the ideal Mother but is it possible to achieve the ideal situation as a Mother to suit your personal needs. Working full time, part time from home or in an office, flexibility is now offered by most employers with the understanding that becoming a parent isn't the end of the professional development for many women. In fact studies have shown that working parents are often more reliable, organised and can achieve more than those without dependents due to their passion for not just personal success but financial security for their young and growing families. We are lucky enough in the UK to be offered one of the best maternity packages, giving Mothers a significant break in order to spend time and bond with their newborn, with financial support for up to 39 weeks before making the decision to either return back to work or stay at home for longer/indefinitely. Taking this time or a portion of the time offered out can help Mothers with their readiness to return to the workplace without the maternal guilt that working Mothers are often fighting. Long gone are the days that Mums are ‘expected’ to stay at home with their baby although the pressure and stigma is still very much present. Flexibility in the workplace can be a huge helping hand in avoidance of the fear of ‘missing out’ on your baby’s milestones that often stops Mum’s from returning to their career. Meeting other Mum’s like you can give another platform to share any worries, successes and best practice. Sites like https://mumsmeetup.com/ are the perfect place to meet mums like you!

Melissa Kilday

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Gender Equality

It’s International women’s Day, so what better time to take a look at how we have progressed in the equality of gender. How equal are men and women in 2018? Women have come along way since the days of not being able to vote, open a bank account or join the British Army (other than as a Nurse). Looking back at the timeline of Women’s equality in the UK it’s staggering to see the huge strides that were made by influential women but sadly it has taken huge sacrifice for the fight too. Although women have made incredible progress in the movement for equality over several centuries, the work continues and with more strong females in positions of power it is now becoming easier for womens voices to be heard. This continues to be a huge topic of discussion and in recent months we have seen this subject in the spotlight in the media for multiple reasons but one thing is for sure it feels like it's time for a STRONG front. In celebration of International Women’s Day we have taken a look back at significant changes in gender equality over the past year. One of the most shocking and most talked about stories in gender equality in recent months has been the BBC publishing their employees annual salary’s sparking a gender pay gap debate. In July 2017 it was revealed that of the BBC’s employees earning £150,000 per year two thirds of them were male and their top seven earners reaching up to £2.2 million per year were all men. In response to these findings our female Prime Minister, Theresa May said ‘...I want women to be paid equally.’ The issue of gender pay gap has been ongoing and fought for since the late 19th century and eventually after many years of protest the Equal Pay act was introduced in 1970 and the provisions of equal pay are now included in the Equality Act of 2010. This act states that men and women are entitled to equal pay and rights if they are doing the same job which made the BBC pay gap scandal even more shocking and complicated. Since this revelation the BBC have proposed an upward salary adjustment for 188 of their employees in attempt to reduce and support the reduction of gender pay equality. Tech giant Vodafone have acknowledged the importance of its female employees and are celebrating the achievements of some of its senior female influencers that have helped shape Vodafone and its success. In recognition of this and the under representation of women in Technology, Science, Engineering and Math’s careers, Vodafone have pledge to provide free Coding training for 1,000 16-24 year old women across 26 countries encouraging them to thrive in industries that have a underwhelming female presence. #CodeLikeAGirl Here in the UK we are proud see that the University of Sheffield has announced their sponsorship SheFest IWD (International Women’s Day) Fringe Festival supporting gender equality. Sheffield is no stranger to the struggles women have faced in order to fight for equality and their University has been lucky enough to educate some of Britain’s most influential women including the first Briton to go to space, Helen Sharman. With the strong history in this part of England, Sheffield University aren’t slowing down in its efforts by sponsoring this fantastic event. For more information about SheFest, check out their website - https://shefest.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/sf_bro_17_gold_web.pdf #PressforProgress is this 2018’s International Women’s Day campaign and kicks off today!! Celebrate the achievements of women and be a part of this movement. Find out more here - https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/11712/How-to-plan-IWD

Melissa Kilday

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2017 was a record breaking year!

During 2017 we experienced some of our highest highs. The team is rapidly growing and we just want to say thankyou to every member of the Cherry team for making it so incredible.

Melissa Kilday

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Benefits of offering Flexible Working

It is becoming more and more popular for employers to offer flexible working, in fact the East Midlands has made the most progress on flexi working in recent years, more than any other region in the UK. This benefit is a huge attraction to prospective employees not only those locally but to those further afield who may be looking to relocate. With 67% of workers wishing they were offered flexible working and 30% of workers saying they would choose flexible working over a pay rise, is it time for you to adapt your workforce in order to operate more remotely? There has been a surge in working parents with Mums and Dads out there eager to get back to work quickly. Without the benefits of working from home or altering hours, business’s across the East Midlands are likely to miss out on talented candidates with young children. The government are supporting companies and have fought to increase free childcare for working parents with a significant improvement to 30 free hours per week for eligible parents. Working Mums and Dads with flexible working are often found to be highly motivated and appreciative, now more than ever they have more than just themselves to think about with a little one entirely reliant on them; as a result parents are clearly eager to succeed to secure a future for their children. Students are also looking for organisations that can support their studying by offering flexible working. Students are often keen to gain work experience that reflects their studies with the additional benefit of a head start in paying off those hefty student loans. Employers have found that hiring students has added fresh enthusiasm to the office with their eagerness to learn and knowledge of modern day technology. Students will work hard to secure a great reference for future employment after graduation or potentially an offer to stay with your organisation. Universities are keen to prepare students for the labour market and are actively encouraging them to seek employment during term time being mindful that they aren’t overworked and their study time isn’t compromised making flexible working essential for their early success. Other key benefits to offering flexible working: 70% of workers feel that offering flexible working makes a job more attractive to them. This is due to long commutes, missing the rush hour traffic, having a better work / life balance and feeling appreciated and trusted by their employer. Workers may feel more motivated working from home and feel less stressed than spending long days in the office. Reduction in absenteeism and lateness. Your staff will be less likely to look for new opportunities, they will feel valued and, in turn, this will increase retention rates. If you would like any further information on the benefits of offering flexible working please contact Cherry Professional at our Head Office on 0115 922 2240 to speak with one of our experienced consultants covering the East Midlands market.

Melissa Kilday

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How to manage your team when a key member of staff leaves

Good employees will leave good organisations and there can be a number of reasons why. It is important to understand why in order to promote employee retention however, it is equally as important to manage your team effectively when this kind of disruption occurs. We have put together some useful tips should this happen within your organisation. Who is going to pick up the extra workload? Adding extra responsibilities to your team’s already busy day may leave them scratching their heads and result in a domino effect of leavers. A great way of avoiding this would be by recruiting a temp. Temporary members of staff are available at short notice and are often pro’s in picking up work quickly, leaving you with plenty of time to find the perfect candidate to fill the missing link in your team. There are almost 3,000 candidates actively looking for temporary employment in the East Midlands - ready and waiting to offer a helping hand. Build trust with your team by being open and honest with them about the employee’s resignation and how this may affect the team initially. Your team will respond well to honesty will in the face of serious challenges. Remember, there is nothing shameful about an employee leaving for greener pastures. If needed, don’t be afraid to ask your team for help. Get them involved in putting a plan together for the coming weeks, this can be an effective way of team building, making your team feel valued and reinforce a sense of security. Where possible stick to the plan and communicate when any changes may need to be made. In difficult times, you may find that morale is low within the existing team members. Let’s lift their spirits and motivate, why not try these 5 easy steps… Employee recognition – It is proven that most employees respond well to a good old fashioned pat on the back. Saying ‘ Well Done’ and acknowledging the hard work your team put in daily will only promote that feel good feeling and keep the good work coming! Reward top performers – This doesn’t have to be a monetary prize, an early finish or even play their favourite song in the office will keep them smiling. Say ‘Thank You’ – Easy to do, can be difficult to remember but the response will speak for itself. Don’t let them get stuck in a rut! – There are many roles that have repetitive duties and there often isn’t a great deal of change that can be made. Making small differences to their day where possible can encourage levels of enthusiasm. Get together – Having a consistent team meeting just once a week gives your team the chance to voice any challenges they may be facing and how to resolve them, make a plan for the week and discuss how last week’s plan came together. Also a great excuse to get some breakfast snacks in! If you are unexpectedly short staffed and would like to talk to one of our experienced consultants covering the East Midlands area specifically Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Lincoln about the benefits of recruiting temporary staff please call us on our head office number 0115 922 2240.

Melissa Kilday

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Are you prepared for Blue Monday?

January is one of the most exciting times of the year for businesses, with the promise of another 12 months to implement change, hire new staff where applicable and, hopefully, go from strength to strength. However, when it comes to your current employees, morale is often low after the buzz of the festive season has worn off, and parties, mince pies, and Christmas films are swapped with early mornings, busy commutes, and endless meetings. Do you know what Blue Monday is? Well this year, on the 15th January, Blue Monday will sweep the nation. This day is considered to be the ‘most depressing day of the year’ due to a range of factors including the weather, failed New Year’s resolutions, debt, and the amount of time since our last payday (let’s face it, December is an expensive month for even the most budget-savvy of us). We are trying to encourage Managers to help employees beat the ‘New Year Blues’, and increase office morale after the festive season. Promote a better work-life balance It’s not hard to identify why people feel exhausted after the Christmas Break. After a week or two of sleeping in, festive parties, and sitting on the sofa watching films, the dark, damp, early mornings can make it difficult for employees to readjust to their regular working day (I’m sure you’re feeling it too!). Reviewing your employee perks can help you identify how to promote a better work-life balance. For example, offering flexible working such as the ability to work from home when needed, can be very useful. Additionally encouraging staff to leave on time and also take their full lunch break will also help staff to feel rested and recharged. Highlight how staff can develop and build a roadmap for opportunities. Opportunities for development are now more important to employees than ever before! With such a skill short market it is now the new normal for people to “hold between 10-15 jobs in their lifetime (with 12 being the average), it shows that many won’t hesitate to move on if they feel their current role doesn’t offer them the best opportunity to develop their skills and career.” As January is the start of a new quarter for many organisations, it’s the ideal time to work with your employees to set personalised goals and highlight the year’s opportunities. Not only will setting clear goals help to keep your staff focused on their work (which will increase their motivation as they’ll want to work harder to reach these goals), but if they’re both small and realistic, this will increase morale by giving them a sense of achievement when these are completed. Have some fun! One of the easiest ways to beat the New Year Blues and ease your employees back into working life is by ensuring they are having fun! At Cherry, we try and take teams out to lunch at their favourite spots, after work drinks on a Friday, music in the office and just to encourage an open dialogue about how staff feel and how we can help to lift them back up! January Blues isn’t something you should fear and it isn’t something you should ignore either. Mental health and moral go hand in hand. If you need any advice on how to talk to someone who is suffering with depression please visit www.mind.org.uk

Melissa Kilday

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Is unconcious bias costing you talent?

Interviewing potential employees can sometimes feel challenging and other times it can feel very natural because you and the interviewee have so much in common, that’s great right? A recent article in HR Review stated that over a third of organisations are not training managers to avoid a common interview pitfall; unconscious bias. So what is unconscious bias? Unconscious biases are social stereotypes of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from individuals tendencies to organise social worlds by categorising. What are the issues? The challenge here is how do you identify that this is happening and what steps can you put in to place to ensure that your line managers are opening their minds to the entire talent pool available to them? With the talent pool decreasing on a daily basis, (due to unemployment figures decreasing and number of opportunities increasing) this is becoming more and more important. A few things that you may want to consider when you are looking to hire include: - A diverse workforce are more productive that a non-diverse team. A cognitive study completed by MIT engineers found that diverse work forces are 35% more productive. - By encouraging a diverse workforce, staff will produce a wider range of ideas to solve problems - Having a diverse workforce may include many different language skills - this could help communication with customers and suppliers - Job seekers find a company with a diverse workforce more attractive. When employees feel encouraged to be their whole, genuine selves at work, it helps productivity, creativity and fosters a company culture many quality candidates find attractive. What strategies can you implement to ensure that you are employing a diverse workforce? - Encourage open minds within your management team. - Always highlight the key benefits of having a diverse workforce and how that can aid revenue and also a more cultural and attractive organisation to work with or for. - Follow up interview notes with hiring managers to see if you can highlight any unconscious biases of other people involved in the hiring process. The job market as we know it is going through so tremendous changes including the push to close the gender pay gap, paternity and maternity policies, gross misconduct and other key issues. Unconscious bias is also an issue we need to try and combat together as it holds us back when giving potential employees a fair, UNBIAS chance when looking for their next career move.

Melissa Kilday

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Cherry Values

Today is world values day which got me thinking about Cherry’s internal values and how we keep sight of them so they aren’t just statements we make to our customers but what we truly believe in as a business. On Tuesday this week, the Cherry Management Team sat around a table to remind ourselves of the Cherry Values and then we went onto score ourselves against those values (do we live and breathe them? are we neutral? or do we behave in a manner that goes against our values?). This was part of a six-monthly check to make sure we are still on track (EOS). It was a 360 feedback session, it was very open and constructive, it allowed us a platform to hold a mirror to ourselves and be totally honest with one another….fair to say it keeps you on your toes and I felt nervous. I wanted to share with my network one of my core values in the way I lead Cherry Professional and how I live my life. When conducting day to day business, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of how important it is to improve yourself no matter what your role within an organisation and arguably, the best way to do that is to own up to and learn from mistakes. That is why the one internal value I want to share is to ‘stand tall, be courageous, have balls, be brave’. In Tuesday’s meeting I felt proud that the entire management team scored highly on this particular value. In the world of recruitment (and in life) you need to have honest conversations, give feedback not everyone will want to hear and be proactive in facing up to difficult situations, which is easier said than done. The ability to do this is so important in terms of doing a good job, being sincere, honest and inevitably developing your professional and personal character. There were 7 values that we scored ourselves against, I was happy that everyone in the room (myself included) had feedback for one another and for themselves. No one is perfect but I can say for certain that every member of the team tries their best, has passion, ‘stands tall, shows courage, has balls, and are brave – even when things are scary!’…..and best of all if/when we go off track it is a safe place to give/receive feedback so one of the team will let us know.

Melissa Kilday

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The Gender Pay Gap

On the 6th of April this year, the Government Equalities Office announced the ‘Gender Pay Gap Viewing Service’, a section of the equalities website in which the public can see whether companies are meeting their pay gap opportunities. This is in response to a growing concern over the gender pay gap, maternity leave and several other issues women are facing in the work place. Since this has been implemented, UK companies have published figures which show many companies have pay gaps that are up to 36% a report for The Independent has revealed, which is almost double the British national average of an 18% gap. This has been explained by reference to the different job functions many men and women hold in organisations, with experience and education also existing as major factors. However, with these explanations accounted for, the pay gap is still 5.5%, which is slightly largely than the percentage in the USA of 5.4%. One of the leading causes behind the gender pay gap is motherhood and many women feeling that they have to choose between a child and a career. In March, news broke that a group of around 50 MPs were urging for legislation to allow a fairer system for maternity and paternity leave. The MPs in support of the bill argue female employees will gain the benefit of not having reduced pay if they take maternity time off work, as their children’s fathers will also be able to have an increase in hours. The MPs also argue that this will help new fathers become more connected with their children, thus making them more motivated and driven when they return to work. Britain pay some of the lowest maternity wages in Europe and in terms of maternity leave, Britain’s exit from the European Union may mean less maternity time available for workers, as maternity leave is partially regulated by the EU. This may not be affected depending on which EU regulations the Government elects to keep however and new legislation may mean there is even an increase in time and payment. Another factor that must be considered is research conducted by Warwick Economics in their study Do Women Ask? In this study, it was found that women are less likely to ask for pay rises in the workplace then men (partially due to fear of the negative environment they feel it will cultivate) as well as the fact women are less likely to receive a pay rise when asking compared to male workers, however this study was conducted by asking Australian workers, therefore the evidence may not be applicable to British companies. Iceland have recently made headlines due to their introduction of laws to reduce gendered income inequality, despite already being the country with the smallest pay gap on Earth. If companies do not comply with these new regulations, they may face audits and fines and the vote also affected pay for ethnic minorities, LGBT citizens, disabled people and religious followers. Although the statistics may portray Britain and the wider World changing its approach to the gender pay gap, the Office for National Statistics has revealed that nationally the pay gap is reducing by only two and a half pence each year, meaning the gap may not be fully closed until the year 2069. The Office for National Statistics has described the issue as ‘complicated’, but explained that more girls sitting A-levels (12,500 more girls sat A-levels in STEM subjects than in 2010, meaning they are more likely to be paid a higher wage), an increase in female role models in the workplace and regulation could all be factors in how it’s being reduced.

Melissa Kilday

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Employee Engagement

With work life balance being a hot topic in the media and the theme of many leadership talks, it is important to consider how allowing employees to achieve their desired level of work life balance can positively affect employee engagement. The statistics on how some employers get this very wrong speak for themselves: - Research from CV-Library found that over half of workers (53.2%) report that stress is an issue in their current workplace, with nearly two thirds (61.9%) believing that their employer looks down on workers who get stressed. - The majority of employees (57.4%) believe that their manager does NOT offer support to help them manage stress at work. - 89% of workers think that being susceptible to stress at work can have an impact on career progression, with over two thirds (67%) believing that this is because stress can negatively affect performance in the workplace. - 46.9% said that stress can make employees burn out, causing them to take time away from work. Here at Cherry Professional we work hard, but we believe that encouraging staff to pursue their dreams both personally and professionally is vital for the wellbeing of staff, therefore having a positive effect on staff retention and employee engagement. A recent example from Cherry Professional Employee Graham Hutchison, highlights that by valuing and listening to employee’s requests, and by being flexible, both organisations and individuals reap the benefits. Graham was the first employee to ever request a sabbatical at Cherry, so we didn’t even have a policy in place to cover this. However, this was quickly overcome, and we were able to offer Graham what he requested: ‘Travelling is something me and my girlfriend have always dreamed of doing, just like many other people I imagine, but never actually thought it would be possible with the demands and commitments of modern day life. When you add to the mix that I work in recruitment, a highly demanding and cut throat industry, it really did feel like something that we would have to settle talking about for the rest of our lives rather than actually getting to do it. Having joined Cherry 2 years ago, I decided to take a chance and float the idea of a sabbatical across to our Managing Directors, Martin and Danielle (expecting a massive pie in my face), and was shocked at how bought into the idea they both were straight away. They understood it was something I wanted to do and were fully supportive, so granted me the time off to see the world. We travelled for 2 months in May / June 2017 across China, the Philippines & Indonesia and it was 100% the most amazing experience of my life. I know it was a tough thing for Cherry to offer, but I was never once made to feel any wrong doing and ever one has been so good in both the run up to travelling and since I have returned. Can’t explain how appreciative I am of Cherry’s values and commitment to their staff and I will always be grateful to them for letting me see the world. ’ The current thinking is that an improved work-life balance can help all parties – the organisation, the individual and the customer. “For employers, high stress levels not only impact overall productivity, but can also place organisations in a compromising position, as workers under a great amount of strain are more likely to turn on their heels and look for a better working environment elsewhere. This makes it more important than ever for management teams to take on the responsibility for keeping their staff happy and productive in the workplace and help to alleviate some of the pressures that their employees are facing.” Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

Melissa Kilday

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The Benefits of Giving Benefits

Everyone is familiar with common employee benefits; retirement plans, bonuses and holidays are usually what companies offer in order to boost morale and staff retention. The times seem to be changing however, employees at some of the UK and America’s top companies are receiving everything from Apple offering to freeze their staff’s eggs to Brewdog offering paid leave for employees who adopt a rescue puppy. PKF Cooper Parry are a prime example of this change in attitudes towards creative employee benefits. Their website proudly exclaims ‘we disrupt’, a disruption caused through their creative office spaces which include snooker tables, space hoppers and even a bicycle track. This has brought them media attention when they’ve opened new offices from the local and even national press. This creative attitude reflects on their employees, as Internal Communications Assistant Adam Carpenter says PKF Cooper Parry gives ‘scope for me to use my imagination and creativity’, showing the creative benefits lead to creative employees. Another company which has offered weird and wonderful benefits is clothing company Patagonia, who announced their employees take midday breaks in order to play Volleyball. This helps their employees become motivated and helps drive team-playing but also a competitive spirit. Take their employee Sammy Gonzalez for example, on their website he speaks highly of the company’s day care programme, explaining how it allows him to balance his work life balance and also notes how the Volleyball sessions are the favourite part of his day. Patagonia and PKF Cooper Parry demonstrate one of the best approaches to take when considering the advantages of creative benefits – child care services, pensions and suchlike will help to reduce the stress and worry of everyday life, leading to employees who are more engaged and flexible, but also the initially silly and strange things such as the Volleyball competitions help give a sense of identity to the workplace and helps drive a team spirit and increases motivation. An increase in employee benefits has developed alongside the ‘millennial’ generation becoming a significant part of the work force. Surveys have shown younger people who are going into work are looking for more engagement and a sense of purpose in their work rather than higher or competitive wages. 67% of young people surveyed admitted company culture is more important than wages. For smaller companies who aren’t able to offer the same wages as major ones, offering original employee benefits will help to meet these needs and market their careers to a new generation who will appreciate their fresh way of thinking. Marketing plays a big part in the benefits of using benefits as well, Brewdog’s paid leave for dogs benefit received international attention as a light-hearted news story, but this light-hearted news story helped the company stand out in people’s minds, a huge benefit for a company which exists within a competitive market. For businesses with a lot of competition, standing out is obviously key. To recap, giving employee benefits not only affects the employees themselves, making them feel stable, motivated and less stressed, the company itself will benefit from the increase in productivity and marketable advantage and the customers are more likely to feel inclined to use the company and more comfortable in their choice as they feel they are being ethical and the creativity will stick in their minds.

Melissa Kilday

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Our Annual Euro Trip Is Here!

Financial Year 2016/17 has been our best ever, with record-breaking results recorded across our divisions. Our consultants have been working incredibly hard, helping our candidates find their dream jobs and helping our clients fill the toughest of roles, all of which has resulted in targets being smashed, several Personal-Best performances and recording our biggest ever year. Needless to say our Board of Directors are exceedingly pleased! As a huge thank-you to our top performers, we’re whisking them away on the annual Euro-Trip – an incentive designed to bring out the best in all our consultants, open to everyone in the business. But what tantalising corner or Europe should play host to our superstars? …… LISBON! After much deliberation and many suggestions from our eager beavers (including Disneyland Paris, Ibiza and even Dracula’s Castle in Romania!), the group settled on Lisbon because it offers a heady mix of culture, history, nightlife and most importantly, sunshine! Ahead of them awaits an exciting few days in Portugal’s capital. Staying in a luxury hotel with roof-top infinity pool, the team have the opportunity to sample everything this glamourous city has to offer. With a ticket to do practically anything, from lounging by the pool days to walking & city-tour days, we can certainly guarantee they’ll have an amazing time. The highlight of the weekend will surely be the celebratory dinner hosted in one of Lisbon’s finest restaurants. Our Managing Director will share a bottle of Champagne (or two!) congratulating each and every one of our best performers on their successes this year. Check back soon to see photos of this amazing trip away!

Melissa Kilday

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The Benefits of Temporary Workers

Have you got plans to hire a temp? For maternity cover, sickness cover, project work, or just to help out over a busy period. We provide temporary staff at all levels from self-employed people with their own limited companies though to day-rate interims or simply temps paid on an hourly rate through PAYE. But what are the benefits of taking on temporary resource? Time is critical and temps are traditionally quick hires who hopefully can have an immediate impact on your business. You have the opportunity to conduct working interviews to ensure that personal fit and experience is what you are looking for. Temporary workers with specific skill sets, for example, specific system and process skills, can have a positive effect on your business, they can come in and deliver a project and then move on. Niche interim professionals with a unique skill set can offer a speedy and cost effective solution to any problem. The average time to fill a permanent vacancy is seven weeks, do you need someone right now? A temporary worker can fill a position while you’re hiring the ‘perfect’ permanent employee. If a gap in your team is unforeseen you may well need a temp to ensure its ‘business as usual’ and there is no loss of productivity. Hiring a temp is a great way to ‘try before you buy’. Remember though, some people choose to be temps for a reason (such as flexibility) and they may turn your offer down. Please contact us if you need any advice about temporary resource or if you have any recruitment issues you would like us to solve.

Melissa Kilday

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Fantastic Financial Year At Cherry

It’s the end of a whirlwind year here at Cherry Professional. Last Friday we celebrated our biggest year ever as a business and we feel very proud of where we are and the visions we’ve achieved. When we look back, we can’t quite believe that we were initially three people sat around a coffee table to now being a committed and hugely driven team of twenty four! We wanted to say a huge thank you to the whole Cherry Team for their fantastic work this year. This next financial year is already off to a great start with investment in two new people and exciting projects afoot.

Melissa Kilday

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Gender Pay Gap Regulations

From April 6th 2017 businesses with over 250 employees with be required, under The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations, to publish specific information about the differences in pay between genders. According to the Fawcett Society, the gender pay gap for full-time workers currently stands at 13.9% in the UK, and at the current rate of progress, it will take over 50 years to close the gap. What information needs to be published? All employers with over 250 relevant employees are required to report - Average gender pay gap as a mean average - Average gender pay gap as a median average - Average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average - Average bonus gender pay gap as a median average - Proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment This data must be published on the employer’s website for at least 3 years, alongside being published on a designated government website. How will gender pay gap reporting affect your business? No matter what your data uncovers, the legislation has not been introduced so the government can bring any legal actions against a company that has a clear pay divide. It is worth clarifying that any data showing a gap between the earnings of male and female staff is not necessarily the same as an unlawful inequality of pay under the Equality Act 2010. The UK Government hopes that by increasing transparency around gender pay differences, organisations will be encouraged to take remedial action. If the data demonstrates a large gap in pay between men and women clearly it has the potential to be both commercially and legally damaging for employers. This is not the aim of the Act. The real hope is that this data will draw attention to the worst offending organisations by shining a light on the average pay gap across these businesses. You may have seen in the Financial Times last month that Schroders published data about its gender pay gap. “It was revealed that that fixed pay for its female staff was 33 per cent less on average when compared with salaries for male employees at Europe’s second-largest listed asset manager. It also found bonuses for female staff were 66 per cent less on average than bonuses for male staff at the company.” – Financial Times With issues like these being highlighted we will most likely see more of these shocking statistics over the next year to hopefully encourage the gap to close before the predicted date of 2067.

Melissa Kilday

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#BeBoldForChange

March 8th 2017 marks a day where people around the world campaign for gender equality. Last year, organizations and individuals around the world supported the #PledgeForParity campaign and committed to “help women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women and men's contributions equally; and create inclusive flexible cultures.”– International Women’s Day The sad new is that the World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186! That is why IWD is a vital day to recognise and talk about the existing gender inequality that still very much surrounds us. Days like today can be a key driver in getting the world closer to achieving gender equality. This years IWD campaign is #BeBoldForChange. Which is campaigning for us to “call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world - a more gender inclusive world.” It is an action which encourages everyone to come together and become a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold realistic action to accelerate gender parity. You can submit your #BeBoldForChange action via the IWD website just like we have. This year Cherry Professional has pledged to take bold action to celebrate women’s achievements. We are committed to celebrating the women who inspire us, so we will be publishing something at least once a month that should be celebrated. We will be bold and - Hail the success of women leaders - Applaud social, economic, cultural and political women role models - Celebrate women's journeys and the barriers overcome - Reinforce and support women's triumphs If you have any inspirational stories about someone you know please get in touch!

Melissa Kilday

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5 questions NOT to ask in an interview

”Are you married?” Just making small talk? Try to avoid this question as a topic! The question can’t be asked for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it could be interpreted by the candidate as a way for you to find out their sexual orientation. Secondly, it could look as though you are trying to find out future family plans for the candidate such as kids etc. ”Do you have any kids/plan on having kids?” Under no circumstances should you ask the candidate if they have children, or if they plan on having children in the future. These kinds of questions could make the candidate feel awkward and pressured. They may also feel they could be overlooked if they do have children. ”How old are you?” Asking a candidate about their age is illegal. By right, a date of birth doesn’t even need to be on a CV, let alone brought up for discussion in an interview. You can ask if they are over 18 if it’s the legal requirement for the job, but that’s about it. ”What country are you from?” Do you notice an exotic accent and feel curious about where they were born? It’s a big no-no to ask this question directly. As an employer you are allowed to ask if the candidate is legally authorised to work in the country, or if they hold a valid work permit, but that’s it. ”How often did you take sick days in your last position?” You can ask a candidate how many days they missed in the past year if you feel it absolutely necessary, but try to steer clear of this question altogether, it can cause problems and offense in some situations. If there is a time gap on the candidate’s CV, you can ask why. You can ask about pre-existing medical conditions when the candidate has been offered the job, but only to ensure that there are no obstacles for that person to fulfil their role in the organisation.

Melissa Kilday

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Is boredom amongst your staff leading to absenteeism?

It’s been well documented that stress at work is a major contributing factor to both long term and short term absence. CIPD & Simplyhealth’s 2016 Absence Management Survey reports that stress is the number one cause for long-term absence and the second-biggest cause for short-term absence, after minor illnesses – these being cited as colds, flu, stomach upsets, headaches and migraines. It’s all too common to associate stress in the workplace with too big a workload. We’ve all experienced this at some point in our careers: working every waking-hour to meet tight deadlines; taking on too many complex projects at once; angst caused by demanding line managers; requests to undertake work that’s out of our comfort zone. But what about stress caused by boredom in the workplace? Over my professional career, I have witnessed emotional stress (frustration, agitation, low self-esteem and even depression) from candidates, clients, friends and even colleagues who are simply bored in their job. By bored they weren’t feeling challenged/mentally stimulated or they simply did not have enough work to do to keep them engaged. In some of those cases I’ve seen the physical symptoms of stress develop which has led to time off work absent. Moreover, feeling underwhelmed at work negatively impacts motivation and encourages absence due to non-genuine ill health (i.e. calling in sick). In one particular case regarding a candidate I knew in London, he was so bored in his job that often he “[couldn’t] be bothered with going to work today”. Boredom also leads to counter productivity and idleness. Graham Cole’s 2016 article on "Being psychologically absent at work: Types and effects of job boredom” suggests that boredom at work has a massive detrimental effect on an organisation’s productivity. It goes on to say that disengaged employees will not fully utilise their skills and abilities, which ultimately costs the employer money in periods of downtime when productivity is not at optimum levels. Having spoken to many HR professionals in the East Midlands it’s clear that whilst some organisations have a major problem with absenteeism, overall absence is “manageable” and “meets expected levels”. This mirrors CIPD & Simplyhealth’s 2016 Absence Management Survey that states, “The average level of employee absence (6.3 days per employee) has decreased in all sectors and is at its lowest level for seven years”. Nevertheless, the cost of absence per employee (£522 according to the survey), is still a significant financial burden to the employer. In managing absence, boredom (and stress and idleness related to it) needs to be addressed. In addition to stringent absence management policies and procedures the need to engage employees to ensure they are fulfilling their potential and productivity levels is paramount. Clearly, a balance where stress levels from too much work and too little needs to be reached. So, is boredom amongst your staff leading to absenteeism? Email me to let me know your thoughts and experiences. Andy Lilliman – Senior HR Consultant – Cherry Professional

Melissa Kilday

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