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!

 

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!

 

Mental Health Awareness: Being ‘Mindful’ at Work

This is a Mental Health Awareness Week with a difference.  With the unprecedented levels of change and anxiety about the impact of Coronavirus on our loved ones, on the economy and country as a whole, Lucie, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, describes 4 ways to promote good mental health during this time and to use mindfulness to support your team.

You and your team have probably faced significant adjustments to your working environment, whether you are now working from home or following social distancing rules in the workplace.  Although there are emotional and practical challenges to handle with both of these scenarios, your whole team can benefit from a mindful approach to work and this week is a great time to reconnect with your team members to make sure everyone is connected and managing the ‘new normal’.

1. Be mindful of your time

Without the normal signals of the day, such as face-to-face meetings, lunch outings, making a cup of tea for everyone in the office, the day can seem to blur into one long slog.  It is very tempting to start answering your work emails on your phone from the moment you wake up, and hard to ‘finish’ at the end of the day, meaning many are working longer, but not necessarily more productive hours.

Without these rhythmic breaks to the day, many of us can feel fatigued and burnt-out.  So how can we bring mental health awareness to the forefront and use mindfulness to help us adjust to this ‘new normal’?

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment. This awareness of ourselves and the world around us can improve our mental wellbeing. Slowing down can feel against common sense, but in some ways, it’s the kind of recharging you need most to get even more done. Mindful employees are well employees!  Taking breaks throughout the day is key to being productive, and you can help shape your team’s day to embed these habits.

Image showing an alarm clock - Be mindful of time - Mental Health Awareness at Work

If you want your employees to be mindful and take breaks, you can use your schedule to show it’s a priority. Allocate slots for ‘taking lunch’, making sure people are stepping away from their work.  Book zoom lunches were your team can socialise.  Encourage them to take a walk or go into the garden to have a little quiet time to regroup.  Be firm about start and finish times and thank your team for their hard work and make sure they sign off.  Open up a discussion about what works to help them switch off.

Lead by example and help normalise taking breaks from work or getting outside for short strolls: during lunch breaks, in the morning before checking emails, or even while on calls.  Productivity will increase.  When getting outside isn’t feasible for all of your team, share some movement and exercise videos to get short bursts of movement throughout the day.  Get them moving with Joe Wicks in the morning – hilarious if you do it as a team over Zoom.   Ask everyone to track how far the walk/run in a week and add it all together to see where in the world the team could have reached this week.

Wherever possible, offer flexible working.  Use Project Management tools, such Microsoft Teams or Basecamp, to provide real-time solutions for team members working remotely. Allowing team members to adapt their hours, making employees feel valued and, in turn, produce even better work. As a parent during this pandemic, your childcare duties don’t stop when you sit down at your desk for work in the morning. A family-friendly work approach is vital to get the best from your employees.  Listen carefully to their needs, understand the challenges faced by working parents, be open to their solutions which balance business needs and their childcare demands.

2.  Stay connected: being together whilst apart

Whether social distancing in the workplace, or working from home, one of the biggest challenges facing us in the ‘new normal’ is the feeling of isolation, a definite focus for mental health awareness.  There has never been a more important time to work on team bonding, despite the social distance.  “No work talk” social hangouts, Friday team drinks, quizzes and find me a picture of you (when you were six, of you walking outside, of your favourite hobby…) can promote easy discussion, help your team bond and help them connect to times and activities which brought them pleasure before.  Get to know everyone properly and you’ll get the best from them.

Image of a man outside on a conference call on a laptop - Stay connected - Mental Health Awareness at Work

Be curious and open up discussions about how this new situation is working for everyone.  Review the approach you have taken so far and listen carefully to comments and suggestions from your team.  Listening to your employees is vital. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.  Listening to your employees is at the forefront of ensuring equality and inclusiveness in the workplace – and getting the best from everyone!

We do our best work when our mind and body are at ease.  When it’s your turn to share, show your mental health awareness  and keep the mindful focus with educational resources such as mindfulness apps to download, share your tips on creating the right environment for the right work mode and use little prompt cards/notes you can share remotely on quick mindful exercises. Empower your employees with my 5 Simple Ways to improve your Well-being, reduce Work Stress and increase Productivity blog here.  Encourage your team to find a couple of places that provide comfortable working space if they are working from home.  Changing where you are working during the day is a simple way of resetting your mind.

3. Recognition matters: get creative

Perhaps even more vital than before, recognition for hard work and effort is vital in these times.  Feedback and recognition should always tie back to a company’s core values and mission. Employees want to be reminded that their work has purpose and meaning – making a difference makes you happy!

You are already probably excellent at recognising your team’s effort, but make sure your praise is specific and public. Praise them, nominate them for awards and publicly say that you’re grateful for their work. It motivates them to do more great work and will pay off in the company’s success.  This is no less true now.  Use the praise function on teams.  Make it specific, genuine and talk about impact.  Share larger gains on your company’s social media.  Recognise those individuals with foresight who are driving the company forward.

Image of a smiling face icon in a frame - Recognition matters - Mental Health Awareness at Work

4. Be a role model: engage and lead

Finally, model the right thing! If you want your team to keep their focus on mental health awareness, you need to make sure you are making those healthy choices too! It’s really important to encourage employees to be self-aware about their own personalities and tendencies, as some people are more prone to imbalances and stress than others. Through your words, actions, and example, emphasise the need to continually assess one’s goals to determine what brings satisfaction, inner peace, and balance. Empowering your employees to take control over their work and home lives can have a profound impact on their job satisfaction and performance, enabling you to do what’s best and most effective for your company.

Image of Dorset Coastline - Be a role model - Mental Health Awareness at Work

Show how much you value your team and re-energise and engage them through CPD. Investing in the team in this way during this time gives you a more dynamic and cohesive team for the challenges ahead, ensures they remain invested in the business and provides a change in pace which often helps employees see their work, and find their motivation, in new ways.  Be their coach.  Develop their strengths and help them improve with weaknesses.

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

Infographic showing 4 Business Benefits of Recruiting through Octopus Personnel

At Octopus Personnel, we take the well-being of our staff and candidates seriously. Years of industry expertise, a healthy dose of mindfulness and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Explore our services here or call the office on 01747 825568 to find out how we can support your staffing needs, be they temporary or permanent.

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!

 

New skills for the new normal

This week, the Octopus team has been focusing on setting and achieving personal goals and learning new skills – keeping ourselves motivated, well and productive.  Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, explains how developing new skills, online training, real time support and screen sharing in Teams, and a bit of fun is at the heart of the Octopus approach.

It’s the new normal – get learning!

Online training - New skills for the new normal - Octopus Personnel

Upskilling to provide flexibility and a more adaptable, cohesive team is most definitely the new normal and we’ve gone for this at Octopus in a big way!  From webinars to online courses, the whole team is driving forward!

Sandra is now (almost) full trained to take over payroll should it be needed (watch out Donna!); Rae is loving having the opportunity to support candidates over the phone and Alice is perfecting her blogs on the website.  The opportunity to learn from each other and support in different roles is proving so valuable – just a shame we all still have to make our own cups of tea!

There's no-one to make tea when you are remote working - Octopus Personnel

Jack of all trades; masters we will become

As each of us becomes ‘Jack of all trades’, there is a real opportunity for innovation and collaboration.  From conference calls to Teams meetings and chat, the opportunity to support each other in real time remotely and to pool knowledge and understanding is helping the whole team to be more responsive and prepare for the future.

Furloughed staff can still undertake training

Furloughed staff can still undertake training - Octopus Personnel

Whilst furloughed employees cannot do any work for employers, they can do volunteer work, or training if this does not provide services to or for the employer, or generate revenue for the employer.

Upskilling your team members who are furloughed not only builds flexibility and strength into your team moving forwards, it’s also a great way to ensure all team members remain engaged and see how they can contribute towards the future success of the company.  There is some government support out there for online CPD, and this is money well spent investing in the future of the business.

If we can offer support in any way, in terms of staffing, training or other advice, please do call us 01747 825568, email us enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or visit the website and request a call back at your convenience.

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.

Reduce employee turnover – the mounting costs of Recruitment

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, explains how to reduce employee turnover and recruit efficiently to attract and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, it is incredibly rare for an employee to work for the same company for their whole career, retiring after 50 years with a good pension and a golden watch. Redundancy is a permanent feature of the modern economy and employees all too often find it too expensive to be committed to one employer for years on end. Wage increases are minimal, hovering at 3 percent on average, while jumping to a new job might mean a significant pay increase. The result is that staying at the same place for too long could cost workers thousands of pounds with little reward in terms of job security. So how can you reduce employee turnover?

Four office workers having a discussion - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

What are the costs of losing an employee?

According to research by Oxford Economics and Unum, the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614. That means if you replace three employees on this wage in one year, the cost of employee turnover will be close to £92,000.

Therefore, it is no surprise that employee turnover is a big concern for many businesses. The investment and the cost to replace workers can often be overwhelming. So how can you make sure that you are attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry?

Employees are an investment

From the second you invite them to interview, the costs for an employee start accruing. Training, equipment, payroll are contributing to the mounting costs and are carried out under the presumption that the time spent will ultimately generate value for your business. When your company has a high turnover of employees the repetition of this process, plus the cost of recruiting a replacement, costs your company significantly – spending an average of £5,433 on the process of finding a replacement employee, according to Oxford Economics and Unum.

Why is reducing employee turnover important?

The long-term implications of turnover don’t just affect the company’s profits; it reduces the level of experience within the company, leading to decreased productivity and, often, a reduction in quality, ultimately having a negative impact on the reputation of the company.

While you’re busy advertising, interviewing, finding a replacement and getting them up to speed, other employees can become stressed, unhappy and overworked. The potential for others to leave as well increases, and to have to pay overtime. To be precise, Oxford Economics and Unum say that, on average, it takes 28 weeks and it’ll cost you £25,182 for loss of productivity.

So the benefits of reducing employee turnover are clear. So what can be done?

Multiple hands all placed on top of each other - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

Establish genuine communication

It may sound obvious, but this is often the most important tools in retaining staff: encourage genuine communication. People leave or stay for their managers, not jobs or companies. This idea is supported by the Gallup report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, which found that the 61% of millennial workers who feel they can talk to their managers about anything expect to still be with their employers one year from now. Many aspects of any business can be improved through internal communication, as well as ensuring employees feel heard and valued.

So how can you encourage ‘staff voice?’

You can use engagement tools to keep your employees talking to you. These can include a satisfaction survey administered by a third party, clearly defined training opportunities and/or committee creation for certain aspects of your firm. You can even ask for feedback and opinions on a relevant matter to help reinforce the channel of communication, and establish their position as an active participant.

Anything that adds value to an individual’s experience as an employee will help reduce employee turnover. Even the smallest gestures and rewards help to improve the work environment.

Staffing provider, LaSalle Network, surveyed 6,000 recent graduates about the most important factors they consider when evaluating a company to work for. And while 69% ranked remuneration as the number one factor, a surprising 61% listed company culture as the second most important factor.

Once you determine fair pay for a role, you’ll improve your odds of attracting the best talent and keeping the great talent you already have by promoting and refining “positive culture and values” within your business.

Women working at a large table in an office - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

How does training help to reduce employee turnover?

According to the Gallup report, 87 percent of respondents said development opportunities are an important job feature. Additionally, the LaSalle survey found that 71 percent of respondents said opportunity for growth was the number one factor when considering a new role.

Training your employees is investing in them as people – and can help to improve employee satisfaction. Training shows that you see them as part of a long term strategy for your business, and gives them the encouragement and tools to improve in line with the direction of the company.

Not all employee turnover is negative

If your talented individuals are getting itchy feet, then it can be a good idea to consider moving them within your business. This can help you to retain the most talented individuals, while helping to quench their desire for a change of scenery.

A woman sitting at a desk looking out of the window on a phone - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent – those individuals that can drive your business forwards and boost the bottom line, but HR departments face a tricky task when it comes to ensuring a flow of continual talent into the business, and making sure they hire individuals who are suited to the job and the culture of the organisation. In the current buoyant jobs market, where employers are competing with one another for the most skilled and experienced staff, this becomes even more difficult.

Using Octopus Personnel to identify and attract talent, and negotiate terms, can relieve a huge amount of pressure. We can help you find the right people to drive your business forwards, bring them to interview, and secure their services within budget.

The trick is making sure that a candidate’s skills, qualifications and personality match your requirements; this match making ability is our key strength. As a consequence, we are one of the fastest growing recruitment and employment agencies in the South West of England.

What makes the Octopus difference?

We personally interview each and every candidate to assess their suitability. This isn’t just in terms of skills and experience, but also in terms of career development and personality. It is this attention to detail that ensures you will only see candidates that not only meet your specified selection criteria, but who you can be confident will gel with your team and achieve within your business culture.

To save you time, we include a resume and synopsis of every CV we send you, providing you with information fundamental to the selection process. We assess our candidates’ skills using a range of tools and provide this information to assist your shortlisting process.

To ensure that perfect match, we get to know your business and the requirements of the role like the back of our hands. We know about the challenges of the role, the Health & Safety requirements of your site, the rhythm of the work and we fully brief all our candidates prior to interview. Knowing exactly what the jobs entails prior to interview means you are not faced with ill-informed applicants who subsequently withdraw because of the ‘surprise elements’ of the role they discover during the interview.

Infographic of how Octopus Personnel can help you recruitInfographic of how Octopus Personnel can help you recruit

Excellent value for money and a money-back guarantee

Where other agencies use a system of scaled percentages, which increase costs dramatically in line with high value candidates’ starting salary, instead we offer a flat rate of 10% of starting salary across all permanent placements. We are dedicated to providing a first class service and we are so confident in our abilities that we offer a unique 100% money back guarantee if our candidates don’t meet your expectations.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Sandra Smart - Director of Octopus Personnel

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. We are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Call the office on 01747 825568 to discuss how we can help you or click here to register.

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.

Creating an Age-Positive Work Culture to Benefit Your Business

With more organisations than ever before facing the challenges of an older workforce, Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, outlines how to build an Age-Positive work culture to benefit all and drive your business forward.

Woman interviewing older man - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

One in 25 of the UK workforce is now aged 65 and over, new figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest. It is the first time since comparable records began that the proportion of the workforce aged 65 and over has passed 4%. With even more over 50s likely to be in work than those under 30 in the next decade, employers need to act now to attract talented, experienced older workers to their organisations or they are likely to miss out.

The business case is for being an age-friendly employer is quite simple. Society is not homogenous. Most organisations recognise the value of having a diverse workforce, bringing together neuro-diverse employees with different life experiences, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and thinking styles. Age is no different. However, to benefit from these changes in the composition in the workforce, recruiting talent and experience rather than struggling to fill roles, employers need to proactively prepare to adapt to and support an older workforce.

How can you build an Age-Positive work culture which values and supports an older workforce?

Woman sitting on the beach - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

Older workers should be understood as an invaluable resource

The commitment, knowledge and experience an older workforce can bring to a workplace is not something to be underestimated. It’s not enough to have age friendly policies; it’s about building a living, working age-friendly approach to all aspects of the workplace that really enhances the working experience of older employees. Whilst they may feel daunting, there are some simple things you can put into place to prepare your organisation.

Man operating a saw - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

1. Flexible working is the future

Gone are the days of 9 to 5 working and everyone being in the same building at the same time. Now technology is enabling employers to think smarter and build a more agile, flexible workforce. Flexible working is often high on the agenda for people of all ages, and although certain age groups’ reasons for wanting it might differ, the principles are the same.

Implementing policies which support an older workforce in this way can be very well received. For example, a robust carer’s policy can benefit employees who find themselves having to provide care and support for a family member, whilst protecting the demands of the organisation.

2. Create a culture of lifelong learning

Business Titan James Cash Penney was onto something when he said, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” A culture of lifelong learning is a powerful force for growth in any business.

Constant “upskilling” is no longer just a buzzword; it’s the new normal. Employees who constantly evolve their skill sets are able to take advantage of the latest technologies. This translates to better productivity and innovation. When you provide continuous training for employees, you also improve their loyalty by valuing their individual growth.

Taking advantage of the experience and skills of older workers can bring offers an inexpensive, accessible and often innovative approach to skill development. Many older workers are keen contribute to others’ development through mentoring programmes or expert sessions, and it is an excellent way to ensure they feel valued and respected within the workplace.

That culture, in turn, means that older employees will be keener to develop their own skills and to collaborate with younger members of staff to the benefit of all – especially the business! Therefore, everyone can improve their skills and drive the organisation forward; innovation, upskilling and technology are for all.

Woman in office drinking a cup of tea - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

3. Invest in and value staff wellbeing

With the media focusing intently on work-life balance and wellbeing, most employees are seeking an employer who takes their responsibility to support and enhance workforce wellbeing seriously.

Wellbeing at work is a complex concept covering all aspects of people’s experience of working life. Physical, psychological, social and financial wellbeing at work collectively allow employees to feel safe and healthy, able to thrive and maximise their potential, be they an older workforce or not.

A well-implemented wellbeing policy is a key retention tool for all members of staff and creating a healthy work environment forms a vital part of any people strategy. When employees feel healthy, included and motivated, they will deliver the very best outcomes.

A Healthy Work Environment

Maintaining a safe and comfortable work environment, both internally and externally, is a basic but hugely important requirement for employee wellbeing. As musculoskeletal (‘bad backs’) and mental health problems represent two massive work-related health issues, encouraging healthy behaviours and lifestyles – physically and psychologically – can help avoid huge costs from absenteeism, turnover and lowered productivity.

Chef making chocolates - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

Organisational Communication

Internal communication within the organisation, co-operation and teamwork, and all internal relationships that employees form with close colleagues – and indeed their line managers – are at the heart of wellbeing. The evolution and development of close relationships is common. Therefore, the best employers recognise people’s natural emotional need to bond and build quality relationships with the people around them, and know that company loyalty can be strengthened by such relationships. Staff outings, events and groups build morale – and build an Age-Positive work culture where everyone is valued! Workshops on areas which inform particular groups of staff, such as financial health, carers etc., are extremely valuable. Inviting local charities and employees themselves to present to the workforce can all build a culture of wellbeing.

Family-Friendly

Truly family-friendly organisations can also proactively support family and personal lives through work-family enrichment, by involving families in work-related social events and communications.

4. Create an age friendly culture

Clear policies and equality and diversity training, of which age-positive practice is very much a part, are vital for building an age friendly workplace. Run workshops for your managers on managing an older workforce. Ensure all managers attend recruitment training. You could also consider inviting all staff to take part in Dementia Friends training.

Man drinking coffee - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent. Young or old, those individuals that can drive your business forwards and boost the bottom line, but HR departments face a tricky task when it comes to ensuring a flow of continual talent into the business, and making sure they hire individuals who are suited to the job and the culture of the organisation. In the current buoyant jobs market, where employers are competing with one another for the most skilled and experienced staff, this becomes even more difficult.

Using Octopus Personnel to identify and attract talent, and negotiate terms, can relieve a huge amount of pressure. We can help you find the right people to drive your business forwards, bring them to interview, and secure their services within budget.

Recruiting to build an Age-Positive Work Culture

We have a robust approach to actively ensuring diversity, including in terms of age, in our recruitment processes. For example, we ensure imagery and videos for job advertisements represent a wide range of ages and ethnicities. The wording of our advertisements focus on skills required, not unconsciously implying a specific age of workers, e.g. we won’t seek digital natives; we are specific about proficiency in certain digital skills or a proven track record adopting and mastering new tools.

An older workforce brings industry and business knowledge and a wealth of experience that helps them strategise and solve problems. We know they can mentor younger workers, often technically, but also in valuable interpersonal skills and teamwork. Older workers bring the equivalent of wisdom capital to a job, and we use our one-to-one candidate interviews to explore these skills so we can find that perfect match to drive your business forward and help you build an Age-Positive work culture.

Infographic - How can Octopus Personnel help you recruit

Infographic - How can Octopus Personnel help you recruit

Excellent value for money and a money-back guarantee

Other agencies use a system of scaled percentages, which increase costs dramatically in line with high value candidates’ starting salary. We offer a flat rate of 10% of starting salary across all permanent placements. We are dedicated to providing a first class service and we are so confident in our abilities that we offer a unique 100% money back guarantee if our candidates don’t meet your expectations.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Sandra Smart, Director of Octopus Personnel

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. We are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Call the office on 01747 825568 or explore here to find out how we can help you.

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.

Working like a Dog: 5 key reasons to embrace Office Dogs

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, lists five reasons why your company should introduce office dogs, explaining how a dog can boost staff wellbeing and productivity. Is it time your company supported ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ Day?

Across the UK, this Friday, 21st June 2019, Managers are being encouraged to allow their staff to bring their dogs to work. The hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkDay will be trending, with photos of dogs sitting on office chairs, having a quick cuppa and at workplace receptions. The intention of making the workplace a more relaxed, productive, enjoyable place through canine companions is a fantastic and proven formula.

The Science behind having a dog-friendly workplace

So what are the benefits of having office dogs? Initial impressions might be of indulging sentimental pet owners, but there is a strong rationale for a dog friendly attitude in the workplace. The body of research evaluating the positives impact of having animals in the office is growing and the benefits appear to be multi-fold. From improving health to strengthening bonds between colleagues, pets can add so much.

Office Dogs Significantly Reduce Stress

In a study from Virginia Commonwealth University, employees who brought their dog to the workplace felt less stressed than employees who left them at home.[1] Dogs also motivate office workers to leave their desks and go outside for a walk. The health benefits of exercise are well documented and, once again, reduce stress.[2] That quick walk at lunchtime allows the brain to reset, and a refreshed mind is much more creative, less stressed and more productive.[3]

Petting a dog has been proven to reduce stress, whether or not you own the office dog. The process of patting and stroking a dog reduces the blood pressure, changes your physiological state into a more relaxed mode, and makes you feel better. So office dogs could help lessen the overall stress of the workplace environment. This is particularly evident in the Octopus office when candidates arrive. Greeted by Molly, they are quickly put at ease, performing better in interviews and quickly gelling with our consultants.

Reduction in Sick Days

Pet ownership generally has been shown to have a number of positive health benefits, including fewer visits to the doctor, lower cholesterol and improved heart health. If you encourage pet ownership amongst your employees by letting them bring their dogs to work, you’re likely to be rewarded by a healthier workforce with fewer sick days. Aren’t office dogs fantastic?

Office Dogs Boost Morale

Findings from a Banfield Pet Hospital survey[4] reveal that workplace dogs are a key to a happy office. “Overwhelmingly, responses indicate that pet-friendly workplaces are viewed as highly positive, boosting morale, contributing to talent retention and providing employers with a competitive edge in the recruitment process,” reads the Banfield Pet Hospital report.

“Survey respondents even report that they believe more people would adopt pets if their companies offered pet-friendly office policies.”

Indeed, Dog Owners who could bring their dog to work report a higher perceived organisational support: the feeling that their employer cares about their development.[5]

Office Dogs Make You the Perfect Employer

‘A Dogs at Work’ policy is often viewed by employees as a valuable employment perk. A recent study showed that over two fifths (43%) of employees would like to see pets allowed in the office, 39% felt that pets at work would increase their productivity, 50% believed it would increase their happiness, and a significant proportion of workers would be prepared to stay at work for longer if pets were allowed to be there with them. A low-cost (or even zero cost) solution to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

Some HR directors will invest thousands of dollars a year in training, corporate retreats, or free snacks in the break room to keep employees engaged and onboard. But allowing employees to bring their dogs and cats to work could have the same positive effect as these other pricey perks, but with little to no cost. In fact, 53 percent of employees who worked in pet-free environments said they’d be more likely to stay if they could bring their pets to work.

Office Dogs Improve Communication within the Office

Having an office dog around can trigger social interactions amongst colleagues[6] and a study at Central Michigan University found that dogs improve satisfaction, trust and interaction amongst team members, providing an easy topic of conversation upon which to build. At the dog-friendly New York based office of Etsy, employees say that dogs keep spirits high and help create a better sense of community and connection.[7]

It’s no different in the Octopus Office. Molly is excellent at greeting candidates and clients alike. She is always to be found near the desk of any colleague who is particularly working hard, and brings a calming, sometimes comical, atmosphere to the office which we all enjoy.

Molly is such a big part of our company culture, and the best engagement we get on Social Media always involves Molly. She is just a dog everyone loves![8]

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

There are obviously cons to having an office dog, and a clear Pet Policy, demarcated pet-free zones and well-behaved pets are vital, but the health, well-being and productivity benefits are clear. If you are looking to make a career move, be that to an office with Pets or not, then consider Octopus Personnel.

We have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

[1] Barker, Randolph (2012). Preliminary investigation of employee’s dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions

[2] Smith, Jordan (2014). Why you should be Pro Puppy in the Workplace (Hint: Cuteness isn’t the only factor)

[3] Smith, Jordan (2014). Why you should be Pro Puppy in the Workplace (Hint: Cuteness isn’t the only factor)

[4] (2016) Banfield Shares Data on the Positive Impact of Pets in the Workplace 

[5] Biro, Meghan (2017). Who Let the Dogs in? The Benefits of Allowing Pets in the Workplace

[6] McDermott, John (2012) Study: Office Dogs can Reduce Work-Related Stress

[7] Smith, Jordan (2014). Why you should be Pro Puppy in the Workplace (Hint: Cuteness isn’t the only factor)

[8] Popick, Janine (2013). Is your Business going to the Dogs? 

Scruff

About the author

As soon as you come through the door, it’s my job to meet and greet you and welcome you to the Octopus Office. My specialist skills are relationship building, candidate assessment and fetching. If you are a DTD (Dog Treat Dispenser), you’ll be extremely welcome here! Why not check out my blog to learn more about the benefits of an Office Dog and how to upgrade your DTD skills?