Menopause in the Workplace – Spotlight for Employers

New Guidance on Menopause: Supporting Your Team.

At our recruitment agency, we prioritise building a workplace that embraces diversity and supports every employee’s well-being. The spotlight is now on the new menopause guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), emphasising the importance of understanding and accommodating menopausal symptoms in the workplace.

The new EHRC guidance provides clarity on employers’ responsibilities and offers us valuable insights on how to best support employees going through this natural phase of life. According to CIPD research, two thirds of working women aged 40-60 with menopausal symptoms said they’ve mostly had a negative impact on them at work.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, chair of the EHRC, said: “As Britain’s equality watchdog, we are concerned both by how many women report being forced out of a role (owing) to their menopause-related symptoms and how many don’t feel safe enough to request the workplace adjustments.”

Its important to stay informed and create a supportive environment for your team members experiencing menopause. Let’s break down the key points you should be aware of.

Employers’ Obligations on menopause in the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees from discrimination based on age, sex and disability. The EHRC says that where menopause symptoms have a long-term and substantial impact on a worker’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, these symptoms could be considered a disability. This means you might need to make reasonable adjustments to support your employees.

Health and safety first: You’re legally required to assess and manage risks in the workplace, and that includes factors impacting your employees’ health, like menopause.

What You Can Do:

  • Educate yourself and your managers: Get clued up on the EHRC guidance and its implications. This will help you answer questions and create informed policies.
  • Take a look at your existing policies: Are your current policies, like flexible working or dress codes, inclusive enough to support employees experiencing menopause? Let’s make sure everyone feels comfortable at work.
  • Talk openly and honestly: Encourage open and respectful dialogue about menopause. Workshops, info sessions, or anonymous surveys can be a great way to get the conversation started.
  • Offer support resources: Provide access to information on managing symptoms, employee assistance programs, or referrals to healthcare professionals.
  • Make adjustments when needed: If an employee’s symptoms affect their work, talk to them and see if there are adjustments you can make, like flexible hours or a cooler workspace. Everyone’s situation is different, so be understanding.

Remember, creating a safe space for open communication is key. Here are some tips:

  • Normalise the conversation: Let’s make talking about menopause as normal as chatting about the weekend!
  • Train your managers: Don’t assume your managers know how to handle sensitive topics. Equip them with the skills to have supportive and sensitive conversations with employees.
  • Lead by example: Show your commitment by participating in awareness initiatives or even sharing your own experiences (if comfortable, of course). ️

By understanding your obligations and taking these steps, you can create a welcoming and inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and able to thrive at all stages of their lives.

Want to learn more?

This is a spotlight on new employer guidance, not an expert guide. To make sure you get the right information, check out the EHRC guidance.

As always, Octopus Personnel is here to help. If you have any questions or need some extra support, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re just a phone call or email away.

Looking for more inspiration on supporting your employees? Read our blog How can businesses support workers in the cost of living crisis? 

 

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

How can businesses support workers in the cost of living crisis?

New report from the Living Wage Foundation.

The Living Wage Foundation has published a new report that found that despite inflation easing, the cost of living crisis is far from over for Britain’s 3.5 million low-paid workers. Half of those surveyed reported that they are worse off than a year ago, with 65% saying it was because of the increased cost of living. The report also found that food bank usage is higher than a year ago for those on the lowest pay, with 60% having visited food banks over the past 12 months.

This is hurting workers’ health, relationships, and quality of life. The Living Wage Foundation calls on businesses to pay their staff a real Living Wage, calculated based on living costs. By committing to the real Living Wage, you can help to make a difference in the lives of low-paid workers and their families.

As a business, you can help by:

  • Paying your staff a real Living Wage.
  • Partnering with local charities and organisations that support low paid workers.
  • Advocating for policies that support low paid workers, such as increasing the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable housing.

By taking these steps, you can help to make a difference in the lives of low paid workers and their families.

What if you can’t increase the wage bill right now?

We know that the cost of living crisis has had a catastrophic effect on businesses as well. Some businesses are struggling to make ends meet and increasing the wage bill is just not an option right now. However, there are still ways to support your workers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer flexible working arrangements. This can help your workers to save on childcare and transportation costs.
  • Provide access to training and development opportunities. This can help your employees to upskill and improve their earning potential.
  • Partner with local charities and organisations that support low-paid workers. This could involve offering discounts or donations to these organisations or volunteering your time and expertise. For example, you could partner with a local food bank to provide your workers and your local community with access to affordable food.
  • Advocate for policies that support low-paid workers, such as increasing the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable housing. You can do this by contacting your local councillors and letting them know that you support these policies.
  • Offer shared transportation to and from work. This could involve setting up a carpool or cycle-to-work scheme or providing subsidised shuttle buses.
  • Provide on-site meals or snacks at a discounted price. This can help your staff to save money on food costs.
  • Offer child care assistance. This could involve providing on-site childcare or making childcare vouchers more accessible. Find out about the local childcare options available and help employees to share their recommendations and experience with their colleagues.
  • Offer financial planning assistance. This could involve providing workers with access to a financial advisor or offering educational workshops on budgeting and money management.

Every little bit helps! By taking some of these steps, businesses can make a big difference in the lives of their employees.

Where to start.

Be creative and flexible. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to supporting your employees. What works for one business may not work for another. Be willing to try different things and to adjust your approach as needed.

Get feedback from your teams. Talk to your employees about what they need and want. What would make their lives easier? What would help them to be more productive and engaged at work?

Work with other like-minded businesses. Partner with other businesses in your community to offer shared resources and support to your workers. For example, you could work together to set up a carpool program or to provide subsidised childcare. Your local Chamber of Commerce network could be a great place to start.

Be patient and persistent. It takes time and effort to make a real difference Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep working at it, and you will eventually make a difference.

Make a difference.

Supporting your employees is not just the right thing to do, it also makes good commercial sense. By supporting your workers, you can create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone and make a real difference to your internal marketing. You can also help to build a stronger and more resilient community.

 You can read the full report from the Living Wage Foundation Inflation eases but cost of living crisis far from over to learn more.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Job Market Insights – Summer 2023

Unlocking insights

We’ve got our tentacles on the pulse of the job market and we’re here to bring you the latest on the job market landscape.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) have just dropped their latest report on the current state of the job market, and we’re here to break it down for you. 

  • Permanent placements fall at quickest rate since June 2020.
  • Upturn in candidate availability gathers pace.
  • Pay pressures ease only slightly amid rising cost of living.

Cloudy with a chance of sunshine

The REC has reported on a dampened job market but with some sunny spells brightening the outlook. Businesses are not yet confident enough in the economic outlook to commit to permanent hires. This has led to the steepest pace of decline in placements since June 2020.

  • While the demand for temporary workers remains strong, the availability of workers has shrunk in recent months as job hunters hold out for permanent roles.
  • Labour supply has risen substantially. The overall availability of staff has risen at a substantial pace amid the slowdown in recruitment and reports of redundancies. This means that there are now more people available for work than there are jobs available overall in the UK. But that doesn’t always make it easy to find the right fit.
  • Competition for skilled workers is still high, and employers are willing to pay more to attract and retain skilled workers. However, the pace of wage growth is slowing down as the economy cools.

What does this mean for businesses?

  • Businesses should be prepared for a slower pace of hiring in the coming months. It will take longer to find the right person for your vacancy. We can take the pressure off by searching and first interviewing candidates, so you only have to select from our recommended shortlist on your client portal.
  • Businesses may need to be more creative in their recruitment strategies, such as offering more flexible working arrangements. In a recent Hays poll on LinkedIn, flexible working came second only to pay for people searching for jobs. Think about what you offer your employees and remember to tell us so we can shout about it in our advertising.
  • Businesses should be prepared to compete for talent, as the number of available candidates is increasing. Strategies such as our video recruitment to attract candidates could be key in getting your job vacancy noticed by the right people.

What does this mean for job seekers?

  • Job seekers should be prepared for a more competitive job market. Those who adapt and are open to trying new things will be more successful. Consider temping to try out a new industry. Hospitality and construction are industries that are experiencing shortages, so now is an opportune time to find work in these areas.
  • Job seekers should be proactive in their job search and should be prepared to negotiate on salary. Start thinking about what could put your application ahead of the rest or have a chat with Anna or Katherine to see what you can do to supercharge your CV.
  • Job seekers should consider taking on temporary work while they look for a permanent role. So many of our temp jobs end up in permanent employment, it really is a great strategy when looking for work. Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, said ‘Temping keeps people in work when firms are uncertain about the future path of the economy – it is a huge UK success story.’

There is opportunity out there.

The UK job market is facing some challenges in the short term, but there are still opportunities for businesses and job seekers who are prepared to adapt. Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, commented in the report ‘Hiring overall is still at a good level, and some sectors remain under pressure from significant labour shortages, including hospitality and construction – so there is opportunity out there for job seekers.’

Finding the right people for the right jobs.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make your recruitment outlook sunnier in the current job market.

 

 

Source: The REC Report on Jobs Market

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Embracing “overqualified” candidates

Embracing overqualified candidates: Unlock the hidden potential in your team.

Today, I want to address a topic that often sparks debate among employers: overqualified candidates. It’s a phrase we frequently encounter during our team meetings, where we discuss potential candidates for your job vacancies. Many times, I’ve heard comments like, ‘I sent this person over for the role, they are a superb candidate but were rejected because they are overqualified.’

This got me thinking: ‘How can a candidate be overqualified?’

Why am I getting overqualified applicants?

In a candidate-driven market, that has persisted for quite some time now, job hunters have an abundance of opportunities to choose from. Recently, I came across a newsletter from ALP (Association of Labour Providers) authored by Gillian Haythornthwaite, and it surprised me to learn that there is an average of two job vacancies for every unemployed person. Candidates have the upper hand in the current market, and are likely invited to interview for more than just your job vacancy. This statistic begs the question: Are employers missing an opportunity by dismissing overqualified applicants out of hand?

When it comes to considering overqualified candidates, there are two sides to the coin. You’ve probably come across this yourself – CVs showcasing an impressive array of qualifications and experiences that far exceed the requirements for the role you’re hiring for. Naturally, this raises questions. Will the candidate only stay for a short time? How motivated will they be? How will they feel being managed by staff with less experience? Will their salary and promotion expectations be too high?

It’s understandable that these concerns arise, but instead of immediately dismissing overqualified candidates, think about how you could benefit from their skills and experience.

How can I find out if they’re the right fit for my vacancy?

At Octopus Personnel, we frequently encounter candidates who apply for positions they are clearly “overqualified” for. During our registrations and catch-ups, I use my time with them to really find out what their motivations are. Here are some of the questions I’ve used to find out more, and you can use them too!

  • ‘What has caught your eye about this role, when there are more senior roles out there that you could apply for?’ The answers I receive are often surprising and sometimes quite poignant. Life can take unexpected turns, and there are instances when people yearn to be part of a team that values them, to wake up in the morning and genuinely enjoy going to work. Their motivation isn’t solely driven by financial gain but rather by the desire to feel like they can make a difference, feel valued, and come home without a huge weight on their shoulders.

 

  • ‘How would you feel about being managed by someone with less experience than you?’ By and large, the response is positive, and when it’s not, we’ll know whether they’re going to be a good fit for your team. It’s crucial to remember that in a candidate-driven market, individuals apply for roles because they genuinely want them, not because they couldn’t secure a higher-level position elsewhere.

 

  • ‘Do you see this role as a stopgap?’ At the moment, people have a lot of options open to them – they don’t need to settle for less, so it’s more than likely your vacancy is really what they’re looking for long term. However, it’s worth noting that people do experience burnout and believe that a lower position is the solution. Should we dismiss a candidate based on a preconceived idea? There may be more to their story than meets the eye.

 

  • ‘What are your long-term plans?’ Don’t be afraid of responses like: ‘I want to go to work, do a good job, and go home without the baggage and worry’. The days of staying in one job your entire career have long gone. Workers now switch jobs several times, so the likelihood is, whatever the answer to this question, you’ll have to recruit again no matter how over or under qualified your new employee is. Why not get some extra skills within your team in the meantime?

Food for thought.

So, here’s some food for thought: If we send over a candidate who initially seems “way too qualified” for your requirements, I urge you to read the profile we have attached to their CV (we might even send you a video on why we think they’d be perfect!). It will shed light on why we believe the candidate is an excellent match for your team and why you should, at the very least, meet with them – we’ve already asked the hard questions for you!

Consider the advantages: they can hit the ground running, require less training, and bring valuable skills and experiences to your team. Remember, statistically candidates have at least two jobs to choose from, and they’re interested in yours!

Embracing overqualified candidates may just be the key to unlocking hidden potential within your team. Don’t let preconceived notions or concerns hold you back from discovering exceptional talent. Give them a chance to prove themselves, and you might be overjoyed by the positive impact they can make.

Stay open-minded, stay curious, and never underestimate the potential of a candidate, even if they appear to be “overqualified.”

 

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Does a 4-day week work?

The world’s largest 4-day week trial is complete, and they’ve just released their report.

61 UK companies participated in the trial by reducing their employees’ working hours for 6 months without any loss of pay. The report is now out with interesting results for the future of work. Ninety-two percent of participating companies have said they will continue with the new working pattern, at least for now.

What is a 4-day week?

The 4-day week trial was the brainchild of 4 Day Week Global in partnership with Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at the University of Cambridge and Boston College. 61 companies participated in the 6-month UK pilot, with participating companies operating in a wide range of industries including professional and financial services, housing, online retail, food and beverage and hospitality, digital marketing and sustainable homecare.

Think tank, Autonomy and top academics from the University of Cambridge and Boston College have released a much-anticipated report on the trial.

Highlights from the report include:

  • 56 of the 61 participating companies have said they are continuing with the 4-day week for employees.
  • 18 of these companies have already committed to making this a permanent change, with the others continuing with the trial to monitor longer term results.
  • Most companies are satisfied that productivity has been maintained, despite employees working fewer hours.
  • 71% of employees reported lower levels of burnout.
  • There was a 65% reduction in sick days.
  • Companies’ revenue stayed broadly the same, rising by 1.4% on average.
  • There was a substantial decline (57%) in the likelihood that an employee would quit, dramatically improving job retention.

Source: 4dayweek pilot programme

Would a 4-day week work for my business?

 Offering a 4-day week to your staff can have several potential benefits for both your employees and your business.

  • Improved work-life balance: Employees have more time to focus on their personal lives or pursue other interests, which can lead to reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being.
  • Increased productivity: Workers have fewer outside distractions and can better focus on their work during their working hours, leading to a more productive time at work.
  • Enhanced employee retention and recruitment: Offering a 4-day week can send a powerful message that you value employees’ wellbeing and can be a huge tick on the pro list when recruiting for people who value work-life balance and flexibility.
  • Cost savings: Depending on your business model, a 4-day week could potentially lead to cost savings on things like office costs and other overhead expenses.
  • Positive impact on the environment: A 4-day week could also help reduce your company’s carbon footprint by reducing the number of commutes your employees need to make each week. Another big tick for you not only with potential employees but with your customers as well.

Ok, I’ll take a look, what should I do first?

Change is often a thorny field, particularly in the world of work. A 4-day week will not be feasible or appropriate for every business, and it may require some adjustments to workloads, schedules, and expectations.

For those who want to consider how it could work in their business, think about some initial changes you can make first.

  • Do you really need that meeting? – Who hasn’t been in an unproductive meeting at some point? Before setting a meeting, think about what you want to get out of it and create an agenda. Set a time limit and don’t forget to nominate someone to follow up on the action points.
  • Can your email be dealt with on a phone call or message? Reading through emails can take a large chunk of someone’s working day, particularly if its part of a lengthy email chain. A quick phone call can often get the answer you need immediately or consider using communication software such as Teams or Slack for instant messaging.
  • Encourage your staff to use focused time. Go on DND for a set amount of time to crack on with a project or answer communications without unnecessary distractions.
  • Review your job descriptions to focus on outcomes, not tasks. Give employees the freedom to achieve outcomes in the most efficient way rather than following a possibly outdated and time-consuming process.

​For businesses that can make it work, offering a 4-day week can be a powerful way to attract and retain top talent while also improving productivity, reducing costs, and promoting employee well-being. However, there are lessons that all businesses can learn from watching the trial with interest and continually reviewing its ways of working. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more results.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

7 Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers

What are the Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers to meet the challenges of the new normal?

As businesses begin to push forward into the new normal, flexible resourcing and ensuring your team are optimised to quickly respond to new challenges is key.  Using temporary workers can help meet many of these challenges.  Here are seven key benefits of using temporary workers which can immediately give your business a boost.

 

  1. Scale up your workforce quickly

    Using temporary workers is a fast and efficient way of scaling up your workforce at short notice.  Rapid growth can be extremely exciting, but you need the right people with the right skills to ensure success.  When a company needs to expand quickly in response to change in demand, temporary workers can help to add the capacity and skills necessary to scale quickly.

  2. Fast-track hiring

    Recruitment agencies keep pools of pre-assessed workers with verified skills who want to temp.  We personally interview every candidate, face-to-face or online, to understand their experience, skill set and aspirations.  This means you will only see temporary workers who meet your specified selection criteria and who we believe will gel with your existing team and ethos.

  3. Quickly reduce stress and pressure

    Increased workload can hamper productivity within your existing team. Temporary workers can help reduce strain, ensuring you can adjust with your existing trained and experienced staff and maintain maximum productivity.

  4. Increase adaptability and responsiveness

    Flexibility is key to rising to the new challenges in this climate.  Temps are adaptable and can switch roles with ease according to your business needs.  Temps are focused on opportunities, often more confident to navigate change and learn new skills.

  5. Try before you buy

    Using temporary members of staff is a bit like a working interview, you can see their skills and experience in action, see the impact they make on the business and decide if you need them as a permanent member of the team – with no risk!

  6. Bring in fresh skills to respond to new challenges

    Temporary staff bring new, valuable skills, new perspectives to existing processes and ideas from different companies and experiences.  Breathe some fresh air into your business with a different kind of employee, embrace the new ideas they carry with them and enthuse your team. You may well find your next team member or future leader!

  7. Control your costs

    Temporary workers allow you to add staff without increasing your permanent headcount and costs.  You can hire multiple temps to cover spikes in demand, with no long-term commitment should demand or workload decrease.  Temp staff are provided at an hourly rate which includes pay, National Insurance, holiday and pension so there are no hidden costs.

Experts in Temporary Recruitment

From urgent cover to planned project work, Octopus Personnel are a great choice for reliable, skilled, flexible workers.  We have a pre-screened workforce ready to cover your staffing needs and the dedicated back office staff to manage all aspects of administration and payroll with efficiency, allowing you to focus on driving your business forward.  We are committed to building a valued and diverse temporary workforce, enabling us to find the best candidates for you.

 

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you.  From helping you explore the key benefits of using temporary workers for your business to finding the right temporary staff, to fully briefing them on health & safety and procedures for your company, to ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation, even as it evolves, we are here at the end of the phone to help you utilise flexible resourcing and maintain your key services.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Anna Wiklinska

About the author

I’m on hand for our industrial and hospitality recruitment here at Octopus – think warehousing, production, construction, kitchen and technical type jobs. I also run our seasonal event work – this is a great option for those wanting to earn some extra money without commitment.

I really enjoy meeting our job hunters and helping them to find work. It’s been lovely to talk to local people and find out what matters to them.

Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

We’re in this together

Despite the news continuing to report challenges for individuals, families and companies alike, successful recruitment during the pandemic is still possible.  We are working with our candidates and clients closely to safeguard the health and safety of all.  We take our responsibility to support our communities, those who are vulnerable, and the healthcare providers who are on the front lines of this pandemic extremely seriously.

Following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, people living in England will be asked to work from home where possible and pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm each night under a series of new restrictions. Under these new rules, the requirement to wear face masks has now been extended.  If you need to attend the office for any reason, please make sure you wear a face covering at all times.

Successful Recruitment in the Pandemic

Moving forwards

We have initiated some changes to ensure we remain one step ahead and that we continue to do the right thing for our team, candidates and clients.

The Octopus office will remain open, but we will be offering virtual appointments only for the time being.  You can still meet with us in lots of different ways: using #Zoom#Facetime or #WhatsApp.  Our policies and provision for ensuring we help reduce the spread of Coronavirus have proved effective so far and we will continue to liaise with our clients to ensure we prove the best support and advice to our candidates.

If a virtual appointment does not suit you, we are, as always, on the phones (01747 825568) ready to discuss alternative arrangements with you.

Digital Innovation: Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

Exciting Announcements

This year has changed the focus of many businesses and allowed us as a recruitment company to bring forward our digital plans. Our commitment to meeting with each candidate at the start of their journey remains at the heart of what we do, so we are very excited to share with you that we have now integrated the latest video software into our recruitment process!

We have already found this gives clients a better insight into the team and cultural fit of a candidate, whilst reducing the time to hire and supporting an accurate first stage screening process. For candidates, it provides a great platform to sell themselves within a matter of seconds, getting your personality, experience and USP across, bringing your CV alive!

So keep an eye out on our social media and website, where we will be revealing all over the next course of the next month!!

The Octopus Team: Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

Here for you

As mentioned, we are at the end of the phone to support you in any way we can.

For job seekers, our website offers a wide range of resources to help you efficiently navigate the job search, advice on redundancy, making sure your CV and interview skills are up to date, improving your LinkedIn Profile and much more.

For clients, we have the latest advice on recruitment, from flexible resourcing with temporary workers to benefitting from the switch to an employer driven market.

Recruitment during Pandemic

Do you have symptoms of COVID 19?

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following;

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange.  Please see all the latest guidance here.

If you are experiencing any symptoms whilst working for Octopus Personnel you must notify us immediately.

Further Information

Further information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.

Advice from the NHS on when to self-isolate is here:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Advice from the Government to Employer, Employees and Business can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Advice on travel and returning from travel is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus and from the Foreign Office Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice You should notify Octopus Personnel if you have been abroad in the last month.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public provides further information, including symptoms and the latest advice.

Whatever your needs, we are here to help! You can contact us via phone on 01747 825568, drop us an email or contact us so we can answer any questions you may have.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

8 Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers now

What are the Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers to meet the challenges of the new normal?

As businesses begin to push forward into the new normal, flexible resourcing and ensuring your team are optimised to quickly respond to new challenges is key.  Using temporary workers can help meet many of these challenges.  Here are eight key benefits of using temporary workers which can immediately give your business a boost.

8 Key Benefits to using Temporary Workers Octopus Personnel InfographicScale up your workforce quickly

Using temporary staff is a fast and efficient way of scaling up your workforce at short notice.  Rapid growth can be extremely exciting, but you need the right people with the right skills to ensure success.  When a company needs to expand quickly in response to change in demand, temporary workers can help to add the capacity and skills necessary to scale quickly.

Fast-track hiring

We have a pool of pre-assessed candidates with verified skills who are raring to go.  We personally interview every candidate, face-to-face or online, to understand their experience, skill set and aspirations.  This means you will only see candidates who meet your specified selection criteria and who we believe will gel with your existing team and ethos.

Quickly reduce stress and pressure

Increased workload can hamper productivity within your existing team. Temporary staff can help reduce strain, ensuring you retain your existing trained and experienced staff and maintain maximum productivity.

Increase adaptability and responsiveness

Flexibility is key to rising to the new challenges in this climate.  Temps are adaptable and can switch roles with ease according to your business needs.  Temps are focused on opportunities, often more confident to navigate change and learn new skills.

Try before you buy

Using temporary members of staff is a bit like a working interview, you can see their skills and experience in action, see the impact they make on the business and decide if you need them as a permanent member of the team – with no risk!

Discover future leaders for your business!

36% of managers started in companies as temporary workers.  What a great way of find someone who could become pivotal in your company!

Bring in fresh skills to respond to new challenges

Temporary staff bring new, valuable skills, new perspectives to existing processes and ideas from different companies and experiences.  Breathe some fresh air into your business with a different kind of employee, embrace the new ideas they carry with them and enthuse your team!

Control your costs

Temporary workers allow you to add staff without increasing your permanent headcount and costs.  You can hire multiple temps to cover spikes in demand, with no long-term commitment should demand or workload decrease.  Temp staff are provided at an hourly rate which includes pay, National Insurance, holiday and pension so there are no hidden costs.

Experts in Temporary Recruitment

From urgent cover to planned project work, Octopus Personnel are the South West’s first choice for reliable, skilled, flexible workers.  We have a pre-screened workforce ready to cover your staffing needs and the dedicated back office staff to manage all aspects of administration and payroll with efficiency, allowing you to focus on driving your business forward.  We are committed to building a valued and diverse temporary workforce, enabling us to find the best candidates for you.

What our clients say about us

Client Testimonials Octopus Personnel (1)

Client Testimonials Octopus Personnel (2)

What our candidates say about us

Candidate Testimonials Octopus Personnel (2)

Candidate Testimonials Octopus Personnel (1)

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you.  From helping you explore the key benefits of using temporary workers for your business to finding the right temporary staff, to fully briefing them on health & safety and procedures for your company, to ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation, even as it evolves, we are here at the end of the phone to help you utilise flexible resourcing and maintain your key services.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

A practical guide to wellbeing

Wellbeing in the Workplace

Our update this week focuses on how we have continued to maintain productivity and support well-being within the team.  Here is our practical guide to wellbeing in the workplace.

Whilst there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach, what works for one business might not work for another, it is about finding what works for you and your employees and then finding the time to share those experiences and achievements.

Making wellbeing a priority in your business is not only good for each individual but can also lead to increased productivity and improved staff performance.

So what are we doing?

Letting staff know their passions are important and valued

Just as we used to enjoy the bake-offs, team events and other fun office antics before lockdown, now we are focusing more on our own achievements – our passions.  This is so motivating and that opportunity to share what makes people tick strengthens the team bonds which can be so vital.

So what are the team doing?

Sandra's going out with the dogs - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Woman’s best friends

Scruff and Molly will be familiar faces to any of you who know us or follow our social media, and they are normally the heart and soul of the office.  Getting out and exercising the dogs each day has given Sandra structured breaks to her day which keep her productivity up.  An early morning walk down by the beach as the sun is coming up is good for the soul.

Donna's being in nature - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Natural inspiration

Donna and her family love to be exploring outside.  Sharing what the children have discovered with us, and her family in Cornwall keeps her feeling connected and inspired.  We live in such a beautiful place!

Lucie's doing Yoga - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Yoga can’t beat it

Via Zoom, Lucie has been able to keep up with her Yoga and meditation classes, with her teacher all the way in Cornwall.  Making time for those classes, alongside the dedication to her practice has kept Lucie focused and grounded during this time.

Rae's writing - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Noteworthy

Following on from her Octopus birthday present, Rae has been journaling.  Each day that involves; setting mindful targets, drinking more water and tracking her running total which is almost up to 200km during the lockdown period!  This period of reflection at the beginning and end of the day is helping Rae move toward her goals and recognise each step she takes towards them.  And who doesn’t love a chart to colour in?

Alice's running - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Couch to 5K

Having adopted a lovely little dog, Alice has been using this time to work on her running.  Using the couch to 5K app, Alice has become a runner!  Setting herself a new challenge and getting out in the fresh air has kept Alice focused and productive.

Thank you so much for the responses last week about ensuring the safety of staff and we hope you find our practical guide to wellbeing useful!

We would like to hear from you again and ask: ‘How are you supporting team productivity?’ and ‘what is your practical approach to wellbeing in the workplace?’  Click here to let us know.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Comms are key

Comms are key

Through social media and emails, we have worked hard during this time to keep all of you, our clients, and our candidates up to speed.   This has allowed us to maintain a high level of engagement for the business from clients and candidates, and has ensured we are constantly registering new high-calibre candidates and able to respond to the changing needs of our clients.

Comms are Key: Visit the Octopus Personnel Blog for the latest Recruitment News

We have and will continue to go above and beyond, offering the same high quality support and guidance, whilst starting to work more flexibly. We are now taking forward the lessons we have learnt over these past months, to continue to offer a comprehensive package of online support as well as operating a physical presence in the office, and comms will remain key.

Repurposing the Office Space

With the business running successfully remotely, we are now stretching forward into our 42 day plan and repurposing the office for the return.  This week, the Octopus space has been completely redesigned with the protection of candidates and the team at the heart of every choice.  Gone are the seating area, computers, extra desks, visible paperwork or anything which could hamper the thorough and regular cleaning of the office.  Now, clear signage and robust procedures, which ensure the safety of all.  Using clearly outlined policies and procedures which all staff members have contributed to, we have tried to plan and prepare for all eventualities.

Image of the front window of Octopus Personnel - Our plan for returning to the Octopus Personnel Office

Our online window

Over the past few months changes to online behaviour has accelerated in pace, with other large-scale changes and, like any other business, it was vital we were able to keep up and meet demand.  The launch of the new Octopus website came at the perfect time for the business.  Although we couldn’t celebrate the launch as we had planned, the website has been the centrepiece of keeping the office running remotely.  From candidate needs (remote registration, job application, timesheet submission etc.) to client needs (registering a vacancy, requesting a callback, or quickly updating the team about ongoing demands) the website has allowed us to continue to broaden our mentoring and personal on-boarding service.

Looking for staff? Visit the Octopus Personnel Website

 

Thank you for the feedback we received last week about returning to the office – the lessons learnt and shared make us all stronger.

We would like to hear from you again and ask: “What has been vital in ensuring the safety of your staff?”

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Approaching the new work normal

The whole country is now exploring what the new work normal looks like for their business.  Octopus Personnel, as a team, are now working hard to implement steps for us to start safely returning to the office and we wanted to share our approach with you.

There are so many competing challenges for businesses at the moment and it can, at times, be hard to see the wood for the trees.  To help us, we have moved our focus to a 42 day rolling plan, which is constantly updated by the whole team, and we have used ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ to make sure all aspects of the team’s welfare is being considered.

A mountain showing Maslows Hierarchy of Needs - the new work normal

A practical approach

Physiological needs are the easiest to meet, but have, in their own right, needed consideration when returning to the office.  Making sure that everyone is able to do their job safely has been the first priority.  From who is using the kettle to how the desks are positioned, everything within the office is being considered to ensure these needs can be met.  We are ensuring that we have a good working environment for all, alongside the right tools to safely perform our roles.

Safety: our biggest concern

Safety is obviously of paramount concern during this time.  Screens, sanitiser, floor markings, routes in and out of the office are all being addressed, but perhaps most importantly all members of the team have access to the plan and can raise any issues they are concerned about.  A Health & Safety inspection is also booked to ensure that every aspect of provision has been thought through.  Everyone’s opinion has been treated with respect, allowing all ideas to be put forward and the best ones developed.

Our continued passion

Belonging is perhaps one of the easiest needs for the Octopus family to meet, as we had such a strong underlying team ethos.  Weekly Zoom meetings help us remain connected and as mentioned, every member of the team is a stakeholder in the return to the office, whether they will be office based or not.  The team dynamic has never been stronger and that is most certainly down to the quality of communication we share.  The same vision for the business continues to be held by all.

Picture of the Octopus Team Business - Team Spirit - the new work normal

 Feeling valued

The challenges, which businesses have faced already and continue to face, are not to be underestimated.  Using Microsoft Teams, we have made sure that each member of the team is recognised for their contribution each day.  Goals have become much shorter focused, as we push the business forward day by day and all successes are shared and celebrated.  From placing temps to completing payroll, every task is being shared and recognised by all to maintain transparency and inclusion.

 Dream big…

This all means that the Octopus team is here and ready to ‘think big’.  Everyone has had the opportunity to be creative, to have a vision for the future, to reinvent, and provide direct input to senior leadership. Creative solutions, the application of technology and a lot of hard work have helped Octopus navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic so far and means we are ready and raring to go as we push the business forward again into the new normal.

It would be great to hear how you have been and how you are approaching the return to the new world of work? Drop us an email to enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or request a call back here.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Navigating the change to an Employer Driven Market

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, explains how COVID19 has flipped the candidate driven market on its back, and what the implications are for candidates and employers as we approach recruitment post lockdown in an employer driven market.

For the last couple of years, with unemployment at record lows, we have been operating in a candidate driven market.  Put simply, this meant that high calibre candidates were often receiving multiple job offers, as well as their current employers trying to offer more for them to stay on as their employee.

The focus was on the whole package: more competitive salaries, flexible working patterns, stronger study support and a full career development plan. If a client couldn’t offer what a candidate was looking for, a competitor was.  Clients had to invest heavily in the packages they were offering, but also in selling their culture, brand and reputation to attract top talent.

Thanks to the unprecedented challenges which the business world has met during the Coronavirus pandemic, suddenly the market has become saturated with candidates again, and, make no mistake, many are extremely high-calibre talent. However, during March, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that as a result of the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus crisis, confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by 21 percentage points compared with the previous month.

So how does this affect recruitment?  How can you position yourself as an employer to benefit from this situation, attracting these high-quality candidates to your business, what effect will this have on those people seeking employment now, and how can recruitment agencies work to best serve both and ensure the right people are hired for the right jobs?

Image shows connected people icons - Strategic Recruitment in an Employer Driven Market

Strategic Recruitment for an Employer Driven Market

In a employer driven market, it is the companies who call the shots. They hire at their own pace, can focus wholly on their needs, and face little or no competition from peers in the industry.  Due to the COVID19 impact, there are many high-calibre people seeking employment right now and, for those companies who are able to, recruiting now may bring many dividends.

Now, more than ever, we are working closely with our clients to understand how they are managing the crisis, and their strategic operations and workforce planning for the future.  We are there to advise on successful recruitment strategies in practice and the flexibility of different types of recruitment.

We have continued to register high-quality candidates throughout this time to ensure we will be able to present the best qualified candidates, who we believe will dovetail with the company’s culture and vision, ready for virtual interviewing and, where required, digital onboarding to enable our clients to move swiftly and decisively.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice to clients

Now isn’t the time to abandon all your hard work on culture, brand and reputation, but it is a perfect opportunity to find the right person with a depth of experience and drive who can fully fulfil your role.   Be clear about the job role so candidates can visualise what a typical day at work might be like. Break responsibilities into short, clear job duties.  Be clear about KPIs and decide which qualifications and experience you need.  Think about the teams which this role works within and needs to gel with.  All this information will help your recruitment consultant work hard, better, faster for you in finding the right person.

Image of a star on the floor - How to secure the best talent in an Employer Driven Market

Working with the best talent

For candidates seeking employment, this is the toughest the employment market has been in a long time; it’s going to involve a lot of hard work, rejections and perseverance.  But an employer driven market is not without hope.

As a recruitment agency, this is where we go above and beyond for every one of our candidates.  We are there for the journey, not only talking them through roles, but advising them on changes in the market and how to most effectively self market through CVs and interviews.  As many of our candidates are currently at home, or working from home, we are taking this opportunity to work even more closely with them, coaching them through the job hunt, helping them improve their CVs and keeping them focused and motivated.  These quality relationships mean we are better able to advise our clients about the suitability of our candidates.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice for candidates

Whilst the market is tough, there are still plenty of things you can do to make yourself as attractive as possible to a new employer.

Be ready

Work with your recruitment consultant to improve your CV, and make sure you tailor it to each application.

Be active

Spend this time learning new skills, becoming part of professional discussions on LinkedIn and networking.

Be bold

Your recruitment consultant can advise you on the challenges of the current market.  This could mean you may need a new direction, be ready to work on a short term contract or explore temping to find that perfect fit.  Be open to new suggestions.

Be resilient

The challenges of this market will mean many candidates, even those exceptionally well-qualified and experienced, are going to experience some nos.  That’s ok.  Ask for feedback, learn what you can and move on.  It will be a yes soon!

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you as you navigate these challenges.  Whether you are looking for work or looking for workers, we are here at the end of the phone to help you.  Call us on 01747 825568.  Visit the website to request a call back or click on the send CV button to register with us.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.