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 job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, 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!

 

Tomorrow will be a good day – Inspiring from the front

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel’s Director, explains how managers and leaders can inspire during #lockdown2020 and build their teams with the resilience, creativity and strength to navigate coming challenges.

This week the nations hearts have been captured by Captain Tom Moore walking 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the NHS and raising over £17m!  His resilience, determination and humble approach have inspired and comforted many that everyone doing their part can make a difference.

How can we inspire our teams to get the best out of them too?  How can we ensure that, in Captain Tom’s words, ‘Tomorrow will be a better day?’

Tomorrow will be a good day - Inspiring a team with Octopus Personnel

How can we be inspiring for our teams?

Especially working remotely, what do we need to do differently as managers?  How can we get the best out of our staff and lead through challenges?  Here are my ten top tips:

  1. Heighten communication – mini catch ups throughout the day keep everyone on board and focused on the targets for the day.
  2. Simple focus for the day – short sharp tasks and realistic goals which can be reviewed quickly
  3. Use your team – play to people’s strengths and innate abilities, be flexible
  4. Define success – short, sharp, focused, fulfilling tasks
  5. Praise, praise, praise – make sure people know they are valued and how they can contribute, then they will!
  6. Coach, don’t criticise
  7. Look after your people. Remember the details they share with you and the challenges they are balancing.
  8. Show the strength, resilience and good humour you need from them
  9. Constantly talk about your future vision – now is the time to innovate so make sure everyone is on board.
  10. Stay upbeat and reach out to other leaders, build a powerful network for the future.

So we are reaching out to you.  Let’s build this network of leaders together.  What’s inspiring you? How can we help?  What do you need right now?  Let’s chat  on 01747 825568, email us enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or visit the website and request a call back at your convenience.

Together we are stronger.  If you would like to donate to Captain Tom’s Just Giving page, please click here.

 

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.

Resourcing and Recruitment during COVID 19

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, outlines how flexible resourcing will be a vital part of business strategy whilst navigating the challenges presented by COVID 19.

As each day presents new challenges caused by business disruption due to COVID 19, many companies are reviewing their contingency plans daily to try and channel vital employees and resources toward key services.  How can you strategically plan to address workforce issues to ensure your business remains operational?

Flexible resourcing strategies

As part of your contingency plan, introducing more flexible resourcing strategies to maintain essential services or production in case of staffing shortages due to people becoming ill and/or self-isolating is vital. If roles can’t be performed at home and are essential, consider more innovative resourcing solutions that may need to be deployed, such as split shifts to cover essential operations or services.

Identify the level of skill needed for each role.  Could deploying a temporary member of staff here reduce the strain on skilled employees who may need to be deployed in multiple roles?  Having a flexible team that you can allocate and deploy differently as people need to self-isolate is vital.

Use technology to bridge the gap

Maximise the use of technology to facilitate remote contact, for example, video conferencing to facilitate remote meetings. Use Microsoft Teams or other online software to facilitate communication between departments or shifts, reducing the need for face to face communication wherever possible.  This allows personnel switching between departments to quickly get up to speed on issues they will be facing, or contribute ideas to challenges which others may be facing in a role they have previously undertaken.  Create an online knowledge ‘pool’ that all team members can access.

Utilise Technology - Recruitment and Resourcing during COVID 19

 

Manage transitions between staff

Carry out a resourcing risk assessment of the organisation, identifying essential areas of the business where few employees have the required skills. Training additional employees in these skills should be considered. Ensure that procedures are developed to ensure smooth handovers for employees who are filling in for colleagues in unfamiliar roles.

It may be necessary to provide additional training and a risk assessment if individuals are moving to roles where there may be a healthy and safety risk.  Create an induction pack for new temporary workers with key information, health and safety briefings and risk assessments.  These can be shared with temporary staff before they come onsite to ensure they are safe and quickly familiar with key procedures.

Managing Transitions between staff - Flexible Team Management- Recruitment and Resourcing during COVID 19

 

Evaluate current projects and create clear priorities

Develop plans to enable your organisation to operate on a skeleton staff if necessary. Identify key services and roles that are essential and can’t be put on hold, as well as projects or roles that could be temporarily stood down.  This will allow you to funnel your workforce to the key areas to maintain service.

Identify those individuals and managers who have transferrable skills, who can fulfil more than one function and could be allocated to more essential roles.  This can allow you to identify roles which can either temporarily be suspended or filled with temporary workers – using flexible resourcing to drive the business forward.

Legislation Compliance

If you have daily briefings with your contingency team to ensure all preparations are still fit for purpose and have completed the induction and risk assessments highlighted above, you should already be making excellent provision to safeguard your workforce.  One other area to bear in mind is ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation.  For example, increased sickness absence may create a need for other employees, if willing, to work longer hours to keep your business going. If this happens, you will need to comply with the Working Time Regulations 1998 to ensure appropriate length of daytime working hours, night shifts and rest breaks.

Legislation compliance - Recruitment and Resourcing during COVID 19

 

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you as you navigate these challenges.  From 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 at this time.

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.

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.

Happiness at Work: 4 routes to building a happy and productive work culture

For International Week of Happiness at Work 2019, Lucie, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, describes 4 ways to build a culture of happiness and fulfilment at work.

It’s widely known that a happy workplace improves employees’ outcomes. When the atmosphere is friendly, work is no longer just a necessity but a pleasure. Perhaps most importantly for many businesses, a happy workplace boosts productivity. And it works both ways. High productivity creates a happy workplace. So employee happiness is a rising priority for many organisations, large and small. So how can we make employees happy? Check out these four possible routes to employee happiness and productivity…

People laughing around computers - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

1. Build it and they will come; a mindful workspace

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. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace. 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 happy employees!

Infographic - 70% of employers have improved physical environments at work - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

If you want your employees to be mindful, you can use the workplace to show it’s a priority. Allocate spaces in the office that can become quiet zones. These are the places people can go to recharge, do deep work, concentrate on the task at hand or simply switch off for a few minutes. Fitting out these spaces with soft furnishings – sofas, cushions, rugs, blankets and plants – can help to create a cozy, warm and relaxing environment.

Sunshine on a worker's back - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

Keep the mindful focus with educational resources such as mindfulness apps to download, tips on finding the right environment for the right work mode and books or prompt cards on quick mindful exercises. You could even provide noise-cancelling headphones and a tablet with relaxing playlists or guided meditation apps. Empower your employees with my 5 Simple Ways to improve your Well-being, reduce Work Stress and increase Productivity blog here.

2. Recognition matters: listen carefully and value effort

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. As this Salesforce report finds, ensuring that employees’ voices are heard needs to be part of a larger push for equality and inclusiveness in the workplace.

Companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity consistently outperform the competition. They more accurately reflect the diversity of society and reach more potential customers, and they incorporate a broader range of perspectives into their decision-making and strategy. Inviting more people to the table, and ensuring their voices are heard, is a win-win for everyone. So make sure you are giving those opportunities for your team members to volunteer ideas, be they about streamlining processes, marketing, new aspects of the business or strengthening the team.

Inforgaphic - recognition inspires people - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

As part of this dialogue, ongoing feedback is absolutely vital for employee happiness at work. Forbes argues that recognition is the number one thing employees say their manager could give them to inspire them to produce great work. Global studies prove that when it comes to inspiring people to be their best at work, nothing else comes close—not even higher pay, promotion, autonomy or training. 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, give bonuses, and publically 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.

Woman writing at a desk - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

3. Training and Investment

There’s nothing worse than working with something you don’t feel good at. It makes people feel like they’re being tortured and their productivity falls dramatically. Improving your employees’ skills is the best thing you can do for them and for your business. A disenchanted employee who dislikes their role can be re-energised and engaged through CPD, feeling valued and heard at work. Send them to training, hire a coach or provide someone who would help them develop their strengths and improve with weaknesses.

Infographic 96% of employees believe empathy increases retention - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

4. Work/Life Balance

Fostering a work-life balance for your employees requires a little creativity and discipline, but the results are overwhelming positive. Making this a priority can increase employee satisfaction, productivity and company image. But how can you balance productivity and happiness at work?

Flexible working, wherever possible, in combination with Project Management tools, such as instant messaging, can provide real-time solutions when team members work remotely. Allowing team members to adapt their hours and work locations means employees feel valued and, in turn, produce even better work. As a parent, childcare duties don’t always stop when you leave for work in the morning. A family-friendly work environment has proven to benefit both employers and employees in a variety of different industries. Understanding the challenges faced by working parents and having realistic communication which allows them to present solutions which balance business needs and their childcare demands.

Man with a post-it saying Be Happy on his forehead - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management and are able to leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and management.

Finally, model the right thing! If you want your team to keep a work/life balance, 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, emphasize 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.

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

Infographic showing 4 Business Benefits of using Octopus Personnel to Recruit

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 job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, 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!

 

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.

4 ways to Speak Out against Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace Effectively

Following the events which unfolded in Sofia at the European qualifier on Monday, the Bulgarian prime minister has called for the head of the country’s football association to resign after England players were racially abused. Whether you are the leader of a country, an organisation, a team or a small business, you must be prepared to confront racism and discrimination wherever you find it. Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, outlines how to speak out against racism and discrimination within the workplace.

Two women talking - Octopus Personnel Speak Out against Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace

You may have already faced racism and discrimination within your career or your own life and whether you encounter racism, antisemitism, unwanted sexual advances, or misunderstandings about LGBTQ lifestyles, marginalising others is, quite simply, poisonous for your business.

Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination can manifest in a number of ways in the workplace. For example, being assigned less desirable projects or tasks or be denied the training or mentorship that could help employees move up in the organisation. Other examples include lower salaries, denial of job perks, and fewer promotions.

In addition to these outright discriminatory practices, employees also often face micro-aggressions. These are defined as brief comments or behaviour that communicates negative attitudes towards a person’s ethnicity, sexuality, age, disability or gender identity. A micro-aggression can be intentional or unintentional. They may take the form of avoiding someone, excluding them from conversations or events.

Last night’s events were most certainly intentional, with targeted inappropriate language and gestures designed to malign and upset the players. As the world speaks out and condemns these actions, it is important to think about how you communicate around discrimination. Here are four ways you can speak out against racism and discrimination in your workplace.

Racism or Discrimination in any form is not welcome here

As a leader, you set the tone for your team. Do you have a clearly stated zero tolerance policy against racism, sexual misconduct and discrimination? Have all members of the team had time to review the policy? Is it clearly displayed within the workplace? Do your team understand why you are passionate about eradicating discrimination?

A poster showing all people are welcome - Octopus Personnel Speak Out against Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace

Teamwork and ensuring all members of the team are valued comes with clear guidance from the top. Build a work environment which values everyone, driving productivity through support. Let no-one be unclear about your intentions and expectations.

Speak Up against racism and discrimination

End the silence. If someone makes an inappropriate comment, be that at work, a company function or event, you need to think how you will respond. Thinking through your response before you are challenged when the actions of a group or an individual are racist, sexist or hurtful will mean you will feel more confident, calm and measured and ensure the right message is conveyed. When faced with inappropriate behaviour, the time for action is immediate: don’t let inaction condone discrimination.

A man man staring out across a staircase - Octopus Personnel Speak Out against Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace

Free Speech Doesn’t Mean Free Reign

Discrimination is a difficult topic, but explaining why something is offensive clearly is important and will put you on the path to resolving issues and changing behaviour, rather than a simple reprimand. As a manager, when talking to someone about recent racist comments, sexist remarks or unwanted sexual advances, a private leadership conversation is needed. A calm atmosphere and use of the first person “When I heard what you said…” or “When I saw what you did…” will help to ensure the situation doesn’t incite anger. Explain what the individual’s actions or comments meant to you in a way that’s clear and even-handed.

Depending on the circumstances, and your role, ask for support and discuss your approach and tone beforehand. Consider who could (and should) join you for this dialogue. The conversation must be a dispassionate retelling of the facts, followed by a first-person discussion of the impact. The conversation isn’t a debate, but an understanding that actions have consequences. Without becoming upset, own and explain your own feelings and, if possible, the feelings of the team. Were you hurt? Disappointed? Take a careful look at the impact of divisiveness—and ask for others to do the same. Ask for greater understanding around collaboration: because we are all better when we work together, without fear of harassment.

A team discussion in an office - Octopus Personnel Speak Out against Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace

Align dialogue and actions

I am not suggesting that confronting racism is not a difficult dialogue and that there aren’t many opportunities for disagreement. This is why it’s important to choose the right time, environment and to shut the door. Consider carefully the scope of your conversation. It is unlikely that you can convert or change the thinking of a racially insensitive person: a more realistic goal might be developing understanding about this issue and encouraging new behaviour. Understanding how words (and actions) can do harm—even unintentionally—can shed a non-confrontational light on unwanted actions. Whilst you can’t tell your team what to think, you can stop inappropriate comments or behaviour.

Beyond the moral implications of racism, racist remarks foster a hostile and offensive work environment. You need the advice of HR as you must be prepared to take disciplinary action where appropriate. Clearly state your expectations within the conversation, inviting appropriate action – or an appropriate departure, if needed. As a leader, you must speak out, , like the Bulgarian prime minister, and make it clear that offensive remarks are counter-productive. And you should take swift action when others feel otherwise.

Four people collaborating around a laptop - Octopus Personnel Speak Out against Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent. Those unique and diverse 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.

Robust and Ethical Recruitment

We have a robust approach to actively ensuring diversity, including in terms of age, ethnicity and sexuality, 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.

A diverse workforce brings industry and business knowledge and a wealth of experience that helps your team to strategise and solve problems. We know that companies with women on the boards perform better, and that having an effective approach to equality in the business delivers financial benefits.

Infographic showing 4 Business benefits to using Octopus Personnel to enhance your recruitment

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.

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 find out more about our services.

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.

Why you should let an agency handle the recruitment process

Why should you use an agency to find new talent and handle the recruitment process?

Talent acquisition is tough enough. Often exhausting and frustrating, the recruitment process can take key members of staff away from their role, hampering your business. Don’t let poor marketing, old-school approaches and lack of proper on-boarding hurt your business. If your recruitment process is not attracting the right applicants, it is time to look for a cost-effective, time saving strategy and improve the long term retention of quality talent to drive your business forward. So why should you let Octopus Personnel help you to recruit new talent?

Special relationships

As a team of highly trained professionals, we have built our success through our knowledge and special relationships forged with the businesses within the communities that we serve. We know instinctively what many of our clients require because of our wide range of experience. Octopus Personnel are in a position to act immediately to fill vacancies, regardless of whether they are temporary or permanent positions. Handling the recruitment process from beginning to end, a dedicated member of the team will work closely with you to ensure we fully understand your requirements. We can then seek out exceptional candidates who fit with the ethos of your company.

A first class service

We are dedicated to providing a first class service and the infographic below outlines our key values and how we can help you to turn the recruitment process into a talent funnel.Header - Octopus Personnel - why should you use agency to handle the recruitment process Octopus Personnel Values for the Recruitment Process How Octopus Personnel can help you with the Recruitment Process How Octopus Personnel can help you with the Recruitment Process

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.

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. Explore how we can help you, pick up the phone and call 01747 825568, or send us an email, to arrange a meeting and we can discuss your requirements.

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.