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4 Ways Contract Workers Can Help Your Start-up Thrive

contract workers

One of the key considerations for a budding entrepreneur must be the people he or she wants to bring on the journey with them. Global trends in employee engagement practices could provide just the solution to suit a start-up environment.

 

At present it is estimated that 20-30% of the American workforce is comprised of temporary and contract workers.  Some analysts predict that this figure will rise as high as 50% in coming years. While European norms may not exactly reflect the situation in the US it is reasonable to say that these trends tend to follow similar paths either side of the Atlantic. Ireland’s reliance on US Foreign Direct Investment means that US trends tend to be replicated more acutely here.

 

In the context of a start-up looking for talent there are a number of reasons why they may benefit from choosing a Temporary or Contract employee, namely:

 

1. Reduced overheads

If engaging a person on a full time basis there are associated employment costs of carrying this headcount on an on-going basis e.g. employers PRSI. As finances may be tight in the early stages of a fledgling venture the burden of these recurring costs may be problematical.

 

2. Flexible engagement model

Many hiring requirements nowadays are project based i.e. there is a need for example to develop a specific piece of code,  produce a particular piece of marketing collateral etc. Instead of the burden of carrying the full-time cost for these resources the start up could engage people on a project and time-specific basis and discontinue their services on completion.

 

3. Flexibility to scale

A further advantage is the ability to scale up and down quickly. The process of hiring people on a permanent basis is generally a more elongated process. The beauty of the contingent model is that many ‘career contractors’ are available on shorter notice periods and as they are being engaged for specific purpose work there is less of an onus on exploring the cultural fit and motivational fit than there would while hiring a permanent staff member. In many ways the key aspect is the competency fit and this can be assessed quite swiftly.

 

4. Best practice benefits

Career contractors by their very nature move from business to business quite often and in many cases they are compelled to keep up to date with the latest industry training so as to justify premium rates. The advantage to the entrepreneur can be twofold; firstly these resources often deliver projects in a shorter timeframe due to superior knowledge and secondly there is the retained benefit of knowledge transfer to any retained permanent staff.

 

The changing nature of how we hire people has resulted in a workforce that is much more comfortable with having a ’portfolio’ career and eschewing the values of the ‘job for life’ that previous generations aspired to. While companies will want to retain intellectual property and know-how in its permanent headcount, there is mounting evidence that we require a flexible, scalable and contingent workforce to adapt to challenges and opportunities in today’s marketplace. This model could be exactly what the next start-up needs in order to thrive.

 

 

Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 7 December 2017

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Sigmar Launches Emergency Jobs Initiative to Connect Displaced Workers with Employment Opportunities for a Faster Rebound

Sigmar Launches Emergency Jobs Initiative to Connect Displaced Workers with Employment Opportunities for a Faster Rebound

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people lose their job, both temporarily and permanently, Sigmar Recruitment is today launching an online platform to connect jobseekers with employment opportunities as well as offer upskilling opportunities for the restricted workforce to ensure a smoother return to the workplace once the isolation restrictions have eased. The initiative is online for ease of use by those at home. Jobseekers are invited to register on the website, so that employers can make direct contact for current opportunities. Jobseekers sign up for a daily email, which will inform them of companies that have immediate vacancies on either a permanent or temporary basis. Jobseekers can then apply directly to employers. The site also offers highly relevant jobseeker advice on how to compete in the current marketplace, on a range of workforce topics, including tips on: video interviewing online engagement social branding digital collaboration remote working COVID restriction employee rights societal consciousness remote onboarding and much more Furthermore, the website also directs jobseekers to free online training to support upskilling during down time. Employers can post immediate or short-term staffing requirements for free so Sigmar can keep supply chains running and redeploy Ireland’s workforce that have been affected by COVID-19. Employers can also “shop direct” for talent on the website. Commenting on the initiative, founder of the initiative and Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “www.covidresponsejobs.com was created by Sigmar Recruitment to support displaced workers and employers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our aim is to connect people who have been impacted by short-term business closures with employers who have seen rising demand for frontline staff, those in healthcare and those needed to keeping Ireland’s supply chains operating. “The economy has temporarily stalled and the traditional recruitment process is on its head. However, the current pandemic has created new positions especially in retail, distribution, manufacturing and the health sector, to include many administrative, customer support and back office roles. In addition, we are actively supporting many other organisations balance business continuity with sustainable employee flexibility throughout the crisis.” Commenting on the restricted workforce, Mac Giolla Phádraig adds: “With the introduction of the COVID 19 Wage Subsidy Scheme this week, a significant cohort of the workforce is now likely to be retained, but with restricted workload. We aim to support the restricted workforce through upskilling during downtime, to better equip our workforce to rebound from the crisis in the medium term. “At this time of national crisis, we all have a responsibility to play our part. At Sigmar, we have adopted a frontline first approach and will deploy all resources available to us to support the national interest. “ www.covidresponsejobs.com is created by Sigmar Recruitment, supported by Candidate Manager, The Irish Times and Communicorp

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Hire for human instinct in the digital era

Hire for human instinct in the digital era

In an age of big data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), relying on instinct, intuition or gut feel may seem like an inferior system when recruiting talent but it may just be the edge you need to recruit the best. We live in the digital era. Artificial intelligence (AI) guides our choices of restaurant, how we get there, and helps us get home later if we need a taxi. We talk about generations Y and Z as digital natives and organisations throughout the world are actively discussing their digital transformation strategies. It is also having a profound impact on the workplace where everything can be measured and reduced to a series of ones and zeros, and a growing number of activities and processes previously carried out by people are being automated in the drive to reduce costs and improve productivity. But the digital world is not necessarily a better one. Faster and less prone to error certainly, but better is open to question. And hiring people who will thrive in a given workplace is equally important, according to Sigmar head of European recruitment, Shaun O’Shea. The Sigmar recruitment framework addresses three dimensions, he explains, competency fit, motivational fit, and culture and values fit. It has been tried and tested and proven its worth in successful candidate selection over the years, but it also acts as an indicator for the limitations of technology in the recruitment process. “I have been in the recruitment business for eight years,” says O’Shea. “Eighteen months ago, we set up the largest tech-nology recruitment hub in Europe here in the middle of Kerry. We lean quite a lot on technology tools, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automa-tion. I recruit for the technology sector, so I am very pro-technology, but you’ve got to build in human intelligence as well.” Technology has its limitations, he explains. “When you hear people talking about new technologies, they say they are quicker, more accurate and better. They certainly can be quicker and more accurate but not necessarily better. They lack human instinct, that gut instinct. You can use technology quite a lot for the first two elements of our recruitment framework. You can search for competency matches and so on but there is no questionnaire, AI algorithm or chatbot which can tell if the candidate lives and breathes the values of your organisation.” That’s where the interview comes in, when people can interact with each other to tell what they are really like. “People want to know what will happen when your backs are up against the wall, when the organisation is in dire straits, is the candidate a person who can be relied on to live and breathe its values. Technology is important, of course and we use all the latest tools. But we are combining technology with human instinct. We are using it to complement our own capabilities.” No matter how advanced, technologies like AI and machine learning can be prone to the same errors as humans. “They are designed to do what a human or a group of humans will do but will never have human relationship skills and instincts”, he notes. But they can repeat the same mistakes as humans. In the US, when AI was used in an attempt to overcome unconscious bias in the recruitment process it was actually found to perpetuate it. This was because the algorithms use data on previously successful candidates to hire from the next bunch, thereby repeating and possibly amplifying the behaviour of its human predecessors. Indeed, in 2018, Amazon ceased using AI assessment of CVs after it was found that the software was biased against those which include the term “women’s”, such as in “women’s team captain”. Again, this was due to trends in the dataset of previously successful candidates. This is not the only reason to be cautious of an over-reliance on technology. Mistakes are costly, says O’Shea. “The Work Institute published research last year that showed that wrong hires are costing businesses around the world $600 million every year. The average employee in Europe now changes job every 12 months. We have to look at why people leave, and it’s usually because they are not a technical or motivational fit. It’s generally about culture.” “Every organisation needs to hire the right people for them,” he continues. “Every hiring process should be unique, not off the shelf. Technology should be used as an enabler. It can be used for creating a long list of candidates and identifying a large talent pool. You need human input for short-listing and interviewing. If the recruiter works for the company, they will already know the culture. If it is an external recruiter, they will need to learn the client’s culture. I recently spent three days in Stockholm with a client learning their culture. Before that I was in Berlin and Barcelona.” It’s not about organisations having a good or bad culture. “I explain to clients that their culture is their culture. They shouldn’t try to hide it or represent the organisation as something that it is not.” But culture can vary. “It can be different from country to country, office to office, and between sales and production and engineering. You have to understand it, if you are to hire candidates who will be the right cultural fit.” He concludes by pointing out that the human interaction at interview stage is now critically important to hiring the best people. “The economy is now at full employment and financial, accounting, and technology candidates can have five or six job offers at any one time. It’s a two way process now. Candidates are as much as interviewing the company as they are being interviewed. It’s now almost a question of them hiring the company.” Mac Giolla Phádraig adds: “You can take the human out of the stone-age, but you can’t take the stone-age out of the human. Certain instincts are hard wired in us all, some in our self-interest; survival, fight or flight, reproduction and others which are altruistic; compassion, tribal instinct and a societal instinct.” Intuition is when you trust your instinct, which is often perceived as being “fluffy” as a decision-making factor when used to recruit. “We should not pit data against intuition, rather we should use our intuition to develop a hypothesis about a candidate and test that with the data in a experiential way at interview. Afterall, instincts are the fundamental drivers of how we behave and how we feel. I for one, would love to see a new recruit display, compassion towards my customers, tribal instincts towards my team and societal instinct towards the world at large. Use your instinct to hire for human instinct.”

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How To Beat The January Blues

How To Beat The January Blues

Here are small, yet effective, measures you can take to improve your wellbeing in the workplace that can spread into your personal life in a positive, affirming way. Work/Life Balance Sir Ken Robinson noted in his keynote speech at Talent Summit 2018 that, although the invention of emails was promised to save us time, we have since found that, if anything, we are less and less able to leave work behind in the workplace. It is now part of most people’s routines to check their phones first thing in the morning and reply to work-related emails at all hours of the day, always thinking about what needs to be done. It’s important that you ‘work smart, not long.’ This means actively leaving work behind in the office, working efficiently during the day so you don’t feel compelled to continue with it after hours. If the quantity of work you are being expected to complete within working hours is too much to do so successfully, be sure to speak up and discuss the manageability of your workload with your supervisor. Communication is key – they’re going to keep piling on the work as long you stay quiet about how overwhelmed you are, so make sure you speak up and be heard before it becomes too much to handle. Employers won’t know where the pressure lies unless you tell them. If you’re unsure of how much your work life spills over into your personal life, why don’t you try keeping a log for a month? Jot down in a diary how many hours you work every day – not just when you’re sitting at your desk, but when you’re thinking about work at home, composing emails and returning calls out of hours. It may build a more objectively troubling picture than you can see currently from the inside. Make The Most Of Your Breaks Don’t be afraid to make the most of the breaks you are allotted at work. 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You’ll find this re-energises you for the rest of the day, as well as provide an invaluable opportunity to assess your current state of mind and mentally address any emotional concerns or anxieties. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how easily solutions pop into your head when you take just a few minutes to collect your thoughts. Communication This one works both ways for employers as well as employees. Communication is the key to destigmatising conversations about mental health. In his TEDx talk on workplace mental health, Tom Oxley says ‘you don’t make people unwell by talking about mental health – you give them the opportunity to speak out sooner’. There’s a flawed unspoken terror that speaking out about mental illness will somehow worsen the problem, as if it’s contagious or seem as if you conjured it up into existence within your own mind. 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The same can be said for your diet, avoid that pastry to go with your coffee and instead be sure to stock up your desk drawer with nutritious snacks rather than sugary ones, such as nuts, fruit and protein bars. Snacknation has published an extensive list of delicious office snack ideas if you’re dry on inspiration. These are just a few ways you can work to improve your mental wellbeing in the workplace, which will in turn hopefully boost your productivity, energy happiness and eliminate the possibility of coming down with the January blues. While mental health is something we can’t always necessarily control, we can impact the way in which we talk about it, breaking down the harmful social barriers that currently ruin constructive discussions on preventative measures.