A happy workspace?

There’s a lot of talk about workplace happiness, yet how about a happy workspace? We’ll explore how your surroundings impact your mental health…

Why this research matters:

While you couldn’t be blamed for thinking there are more pressing issues to consider, how you feel about your working environment could actually be part of a large (and expensive!) problem.

Poor employee ‘enthusiasm’ in January could now contribute to an annual national cost of £93 billion.

So how are people feeling about their surroundings?

According to the ‘In Pursuit of Office Happiness’ report by Staples…

  • 1/5 of workers say their workspace is ‘depressing’, with 31% feeling ‘ashamed’ of it, and 24% having gone so far as to lie about their surroundings.
  • 81% believe ‘a well-functioning and attractive workspace’ positively affects a team’s mental health.
  • 68% say greater investment in their workspace would make them feel more valued.
  • 35% are struggling to concentrate due to noisy offices.

These findings cause 46% of employees to believe they would ‘be happier in a different job.’

Ideas to create a happy workspace:

The report also offers a number of tweaks that could contribute to a happy workspace. These include introducing:

  • An office dog (27%)
  • Free spa or yoga offerings (27%)
  • Nice stationery (23%)
  • Access to free healthy snacks (23%)
  • Hammocks or sleeping pods (20%)
  • And even punch bags (20%)

It’s not clear how many options were provided to respondents. While the responses may not suit you or your employer, it’s clear that businesses need to consider realistic changes that they can make.

This might start with some simple decorative changes – from pot plants to artwork, furnishings and lighting. There’s a whole separate report on the impact of the latter.

Naturally, if there’s more at the root of your low job enthusiasm than lighting, stationery, and snacks, it might be time to step up your job search



The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current. 



GDPR: are you unknowingly breaching the law?

What does GDPR mean to you? Perhaps you thought your role in it all ended when you received your last ‘we don’t want to see you go, please stay on our mailing list’ request last summer. Well, you could be unknowingly (and regularly!) breaching this legislation in and out of work…

How employees risk breaching GDPR legislation…

What’s the issue here?

GDPR requires personal data to be secure at all times. Personal data refers to all ‘information about a particular living individual. It doesn’t even need to appear especially private in nature; if someone accessing the data could identify its subject then you are most definitely dealing with personal data.

For this reason, it’s suggested that pseudonyms and encryption, and other such measures, are used to secure all personal data.

Transferring data to phones and laptops, which can easily be lost or stolen, and email accounts and apps, which could be hacked or accessed by third parties, increases your risk of a data breach.

It’s not just employees overlooking GDPR. The Independent reports that many small businesses remain ‘clueless’ about the legislation.

Could you be dismissed for breaching GDPR?

Serious breaches could indeed lead to dismissal; your employer’s disciplinary procedures may state this.

GDPR requires more serious breaches to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’). The ICO has a helpline which will guide you through the necessary measures to ensure the data breach is contained.

This isn’t to say that every breach must be reported to the ICO. Rather, it’s those that are higher risk.

What to do next…

  • Stop using personal accounts and tools to deal with work communications and/or data! If your employer is actually asking you to use these, direct them to the above links to ensure they are aware of the data breach risks.
  • Consult your employer’s GDPR guidelines and training materials.
  • Speak to your HR team or a manager if you have any additional concerns.
  • Visit the ACAS and ICO websites for legal information regarding GDPR.
  • Any employers would be wise to provide adequate training to all team members. Both to ensure you’re being responsible and to support your ‘learning culture’.


Money worries at work

Are money worries affecting your work? You might not associate financial concerns with recruitment discussions, however, this very topic has become an increasing news theme over recent months…

Most employees experience money worries.

But what does this all have to do with recruitment?

Working towards solutions…

  • This issue presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The more that these discussions take place, the more likely employers are to find ways of supporting their team. While the most innovative companies can make this another staff attraction and retention differentiator.
  • Professionals will also feel less alone in their money worries. Anyone who has concerns that they are unable to discuss with their employer would be wise to contact the Money Advice Service. This is a free, impartial service.
  • On a separate note, if you’ve never really got to grips with your payslip and tax code, this post should help.
  • If you’re wondering whether you could earn more for your career experience and skill-set, speak with your Recruitment Consultant. Regularly researching jobs in your industry can also improve your knowledge of the going market rates.


Overcoming the Sunday Scaries

Do you suffer from the Sunday Scaries? If so, you’re one of the 2/3 of Britons experiencing the same…

This term, also regularly interchanged with the ‘Sunday Blues’ and the ‘Sunday night fear,’ describes the poor mood and/or anxiety that sets in ahead of the new working week.

It’s been found that many workers lose most of their Sundays to their work-based worries. Unresolved work tasks, thoughts of horrible commutes and unpleasant colleagues currently top the list of concerns.

People are engaging in a number of numbing behaviours in response to this. Alcohol and junk food appear to be among the common distraction tools.

Why are so many people affected by the Sunday Scaries?

Unsurprisingly, poor job satisfaction levels appear to be at the root of the phenomenon. It’s stated that more than 2 million British workers actually think about leaving their jobs daily. That’s 7% of the national workforce.

Professionals are experiencing high levels of stress and feel the burden of their employer’s expectations and workloads.

The evidence also shows that many people are working weekends and when they should be on leave.

How to overcome the Sunday Scaries…

Learn to recognise what’s under your control. If there’s something you can change – such as planning more enjoyable activities for your weekend – then do what you can to change it!

The same applies to anything under your control at work. Can you speak with someone about your workload, is there another method of travel you can use, is there anything you can do to improve your workplace relationships?

On a personal note, make sure you’re supporting your physical and mental health as best as you can.

Each change adds up! We hope this advice helps. If you’re ready for a fresh start, our Jobs page is the place to begin! Meanwhile, let us know how you overcome your Sunday anxiety over on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn



Is voicemail dying in recruitment? Advice included!

Why you might want to rethink your attitude towards voicemail when it comes to your job search…

It’s great that there are so many ways to get in touch with recruitment agencies and prospective employers these days. This may be via social media, email, a text, or call. However, research suggests that one method of contact might be dying out. Yes, the title gives this one away, it’s the voicemail!

According to the research (published by HR News):

  • Only 20% of respondents choose to leave a voicemail if they can’t reach their contact by phone.
  • There’s a distinct age divide: middle-aged and older people are far more likely to both listen to and leave voicemails promptly versus their younger counterparts.

What stops people from leaving a voicemail?

  • The primary reason (22%) for not leaving voicemails is that people don’t like to receive them themselves! In other words, they’re trying to do the prospective recipient a favour of sorts. This was closely followed by:
  • The fear of making a mistake that they can’t delete (21%),
  • A belief that it won’t even be listened to (17%),
  • Disliking their own voice (17%),
  • And embarrassment that they’re not speaking directly to someone (15%).

The article also cites a number of reasons that people dislike receiving voicemails.

Advice for job-seekers…

Perhaps it is the case that voicemails are a dying breed of communication. However, whatever your viewpoint, you’d still be wise to brave them for the good of your job search for now!

You never know which HR manager, employer or recruitment consultant might be calling you – nor for that matter their preferred method of contact.

It’s savvy to make sure you’re as accessible as possible and you’re actively listening to and responding to any form of communication regarding your job applications. After all, you don’t want to miss an urgent interview invite or temp assignment. You certainly don’t want to be that one candidate who is always super tricky to get hold of.

Alongside this, leaving voicemails yourself where appropriate allows you the opportunity to impress an employer with your professionalism. Our advice?

  1. If you’re nervous about leaving a message, be proactive. Before you even pick up the phone, jot down a few points that you’d say. Say them aloud to yourself if needed.
  2. Always state your name and number clearly and slowly, repeating any details as appropriate.
  3. If you make a mistake, most voicemails offer the facility to re-record the message. If not, apologise for the confusion and move on…just as you would in regular conversation. Remember, the recipient is also human!

What to do if your voicemails don’t work:

Don’t leave this to guesswork! Make sure that your contact knows in advance that this is the case and ensure you provide alternative routes to reach you.

Additionally, always respond in as timely a fashion as you can. If you’ve asked for emails or texts, be sure to monitor them.

The more proactive you are, and the more you use your initiative, the more points you stack up against your job-seeking competitors!

Looking to contact a recruitment agency for the first time by email? Here’s what to include in your cover message



7 days of employee attraction tips!

Are your employee attraction strategies up to scratch? Check your progress against our top tips – we’ll be sharing something daily over the next week…

The latest skills shortage stats show just how vital this information is to employers. After all, you’re currently competing against a greater number of companies for a smaller number of candidates.

Ready to get started?

DAY 1: your culture and ethos

Could you (and your existing team) describe your company culture and brand values/ethos? If so, how do you promote this to prospective employees – is it on your website? Do you include any blurb on your job descriptions? If you answer ‘no’ to any of the above, it’s time to get brainstorming!

Working for brands with a positive purpose is becoming increasingly important to emerging generations of professionals.

Communicating your company culture can also help attract like-minded individuals to your business. And we all know the value of a positive team fit!

What’s more, well-aligned values also appear to boost later productivity and workplace relations. Please note: the ‘well-aligned’ is key here! It’s important that anything you communicate is truly reflected in your workplace. Whether that’s comments about the positive atmosphere, your people-centred approach, or your attitude to progression and diversity.

DAY 2: building your benefits package

You might not think you’re in the position to create much of an employee benefits package, however, you really don’t need to have a vast budget in order to do so. It could also be a costly mistake not to at least explore your options.

Where possible, detail some of your employee benefits in your job descriptions. 85% of candidates are more attracted to organisations that do this. Or, at the very least, make sure candidates know that there are a number of benefits on offer.

Do your competitor research to see what other companies are offering their employees. Also, swot up on the latest research surrounding job-seekers’ priorities. We reguarly share such news findings, including our recent post on what most employees want and need in 2019.

DAY 3: be more flexible

It’s time to discuss flexible working. Yes, this is featured in some of the staff benefit discussions, yet it more than deserves its own employee attraction spotlight.

People are increasingly drawn to companies that provide flexi-working opportunities. There are multiple plus points to consider here:

  1. It may help you attract large and in many cases untapped talent pools, such as maternity returners and working parents.
  2. Again, emerging worker groups are also more attracted to jobs with flexible and home working potential.
  3. Your team may become happier and your business may better keep up with rapidly changing workplace needs.
  4. What’s more, as the UK lags behind other nations in this respect, you may gain a distinct competitive advantage in your field.

DAY 4: be a rarity!

In order to attract the most valuable employees, you need to offer and promote something that few companies ever even consider.

Something that will also help retain your employees once on-board – and help overcome some of the most worrying national workplace trends (the employee performance crisis; high levels of disengagement and a general sense of unhappiness at work)…

This something is only offered by approximately 19% of businesses and is best described as ‘an experimentation culture’. It’s all about enabling your employees to share their ideas without criticism, actively encouraging innovation and creativity, and all-around greater team and individual involvement. You’ll need to have the right management approach in place to make this possible. You’ll also need to communicate this message to prospective employees. However, just think of the possibilities for your business!

DAY 5: make a path

Again, this is somewhat touched upon as an employee benefit. Yet did you know that 90% of UK employees deem training to be ‘vital to furthering their career?’ All the while, only 25% of HR professionals say their employers provide a ‘learning culture’.

You may not have the sort of business that enables a clear route of progression, yet you can certainly help your employees to see a path of personal progression and development. What a helpful tool to include in your job adverts.

As we’re now deep into a ‘skills economy’ period, it’s great to consider all training avenues – from online learning and knowledge sharing to in-house coaching and external courses. This is all discussed in the above-linked post.

DAY 6: now for the salaries!

It’s hard to deny that salary levels are important. UK employees are more motivated by pay than those of any other European country, with 62% of professionals saying that their salary is their primary driver to work.

In addition to this, average national salaries grew by 7.6% last year. This is driven by the skills shortage and saw a boost in December when candidate availability numbers fell again.

Make certain that your salary levels are as competitive as they can be to attract more job applicants. Monitor your competitors’ job adverts and be sure to seek salary guidance from your Recruitment Consultant.

DAY 7: bringing it all together

You’ve put in all the work to create an attractive employer offering, now you need to make sure you’re reaching out to as many candidates as you can; as effectively as you can!

This means crafting an appealing job description – and making sure that this is actually getting in front of your target audience.

Contact an expert recruitment agency in your industry for support with both elements. From job description guidance, through to regional industry insights, and ready access to the most effective candidate attraction tools, there are so many benefits to working with a dedicated recruitment consultant. They may even have the perfect person on their database waiting for a job such as yours!

Thanks for joining us for this week of tips. We hope you’re feeling ready to execute your newly refined employee attraction approach! To discuss your recruitment needs, please call Appoint on 01225 313130.



Ghosting in recruitment

Why ghosting may be a growing recruitment issue – and why you really want to avoid being a part of it!

Mostly, ‘ghosting’ refers to dating. It describes the act of ending a personal relationship suddenly and without any explanation…or further communication whatsoever!

This cultural phenomenon actually entered the Urban Dictionary back in 2007 and is now regularly discussed online.

The act of ghosting is also increasingly being discussed in relation to both recruitment and employment.

How candidates are ghosting employers:

In this case, a growing number of job-seekers are failing to get in touch to explain that they will not be attending job interviews or their first day of work. Some are even using this practice to leave their jobs!

Why is this phenomenon growing?

Sources suggest that there are a few factors at play here. Firstly, the fact the ongoing skills shortage has created what’s known as a ‘candidate-driven market‘. As the name implies, this is when there are more jobs than there are appropriate applicants to fill them. In such periods, applicants can enjoy a greater sense of choice and may feel less pressure to impress each prospective employer. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

The digital nature of many recruitment processes could also be facilitating this problem. Candidates who have had little if any real-life contact with prospective employers might perceive ghosting to be a more ‘acceptable’ practice.

Applicants who have already experienced or used ghosting in other areas of their life may additionally feel that it is normal.

Why you really want to think twice about ghosting prospective employers…

The employment market will not always be candidate-driven. Throughout our many years in recruitment, we have also observed lengthy employer-driven periods. During such times, candidates compete against vast quantities of applicants and must stand out to succeed.

Your reputation really is your currency. Prospective employers and recruiters are looking for candidates that they can trust. It’s far better to get in touch and explain you’ve had an alternative offer, or that your plans have changed than to simply disappear. This shows that you respect everyone’s time and all efforts invested in you to date.

Employers, managers and recruitment consultants may also move around. The person you ghost at one company that you don’t care so much about may very well become the person recruiting for a role that you truly want.

Keep those doors open – those five minutes needed to pick up the phone or tap up an email could make all the difference to your future career!

Are you the sort of candidate who always wants to make a good impression? Here are the latest jobs that we’re recruiting for! You can also register your CV via the website.  



Low candidate availability + workplace happiness

National candidate availability has fallen again. How does this affect job placement numbers and how does it relate to workplace happiness?

Low candidate availability

The latest REC and KPMG UK Report on Jobs (compiled by IHS Markit) reveals that…

  • The number of job-seekers reaching out to UK recruitment agencies and/or making applications for permanent roles fell at a ‘marked’ rate towards the end of 2018.
  • There were also fewer temps available for agency work. This decline is ‘softer but still marked’.
  • This affected UK permanent job placement figures in December – causing the most gradual growth levels observed in 20 months.
  • Conversely, temporary placements grew at a faster rate; managing to beat November’s ’25-month low’.
  • Demand for both temporary and permanent employees remains high and sits well above the average figures recorded throughout all surveys to date. There have been 21 years of surveys conducted in total.

There are also some variable factors:

  • The South of England has experienced the greatest number of permanent placements throughout this period.
  • Generally, England saw better placement levels than the rest of the UK. This was particularly true for temporary appointments.
  • There was most demand for private sector employees, both temporary and permanent, in December.
  • As for recruiting sectors, the Accounting & Financial and Engineering industries represented the highest demand for permanent employees.
  • On the temp side, executive and professional roles saw the slowest growth in demand.

Does low candidate availability spell high happiness at work?

Not if other studies are anything to go by! It appears that continued economic and political uncertainties are at the root of many of these findings.

In fact, 69% of individuals may currently be unhappy at work. Furthermore, 88% of employees are frequently undertaking personal or other non-work tasks in order to hurry the day along!

Popular distraction activities include:

  1. Gossiping with colleagues (61%)
  2. Facebook (45%)
  3. Personal email (44%)
  4. Drinks making/kitchen time (29%)
  5. Shopping and banking via apps (25%)
  6. Looking for a new job (19%)
  7. And unnecessary toilet trips (17%)

A number of more serious distractions are also discussed in the original post.

Advice for candidates & employers

Are these findings the motivation you need to finally take advantage of the skills shortage? Employers looking to do so will need to ensure they’re doing everything they can to enhance their staff attraction offering. Call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.

Candidates can also visit our jobs page to see the types of openings we’re currently recruiting for (you’ll see this is regularly updated!).



Working with Gen Z

This year, Gen Z employees are expected to outnumber their millennial peers in the workplace…

Generation Z refers to the population born from about 1996 onwards and it’s a group also referred to as the ‘post-millennials’.

Gen Z differs from other employee groups in a number of ways. Let’s review some of the key findings:

Gen Z: career predictions

Source: HR News

  • This could be a highly mobile employee group. More than 1/2 (55%) intend to hold their first professional role for less than 2 years.
  • Staff retention tools could make all the difference to Gen Z workers. In fact, more than 70% of employees would remain in their job for up to 5 years if certain benefits were in place.
  • The most popular benefits include training and mentorship opportunities (76%), flexible working options (63%), and the potential for home working (48%). Although, they may not always want to use the latter. We’ll return to this topic shortly!
  • Prospective employees also want to see more job details provided up-front in job descriptions (68%).

Gen Z: ‘dropping out’ of the recruitment process

Source: Recruiting Times

  • 18% of this staff group are currently ‘dropping out’ of existing recruitment processes.
  • Gen Z employees crave a more ‘personal connection’ with their employers. And a lack of this may prove a barrier to their job application and acceptance decisions.
  • New technologies may attract and engage these candidates throughout the recruitment process. This could include everything from interview tools to digital exercises and even online mentoring schemes.
  • Efforts towards meaningful engagement can help improve the candidate experience. Any negative insights could also be publicised via digital platforms.

Gen Z: politically and socially aware

Source: Independent

  • Generation Z’s business perceptions are highly influenced by recent ‘social, technological and geopolitical’ change.
  • Employees are more attracted to companies who prioritise ‘diversity, inclusion and flexibility’.
  • Alongside a focus on tolerance, businesses should resolve any issues surrounding pay levels and workplace culture.

Gen Z: blurred lines

Source: HR News

  • The boundaries between work and play may be fuzzier for post-millennial employees. Many (65%) perceive a ‘fun environment’ to be a core component of a positive workplace culture. Conversely, only 22% of Baby Boomers (workers aged 55 and above) agree.
  • It’s a sociable group and 81% say communal areas are important at work.
  • A mere 8% of workers think they would perform better working from home (whereas the national average is 20%).
  • Many candidates value friendships at work (43% versus 22% of Baby Boomers).

A reminder about age discrimination…

These are fantastic insights for employers looking to attract a diverse workforce. Naturally, this type of data will always be somewhat of a generalisation and it’s important to get to know the specific needs and wants of all prospective employees – something an expert Recruitment Consultant can assist with!

In addition, it’s also vital that businesses remain aware of age discrimination laws. LawDonut has one of the best FAQ guides we’ve seen on this subject.

For further staff attraction advice, please call the office on 01225 313130. Candidates can also search and apply for jobs here