What a fantastic year 2018 was for Sigmar Recruitment. We achieved a lot and had some fun along the way. Here's a look back at our year..
In January we brought all our staff from our Dublin, Cork, Galway and Tralee offices together for our annual company meeting. It was great to get everyone together to discuss company developments and psych ourselves up for the year ahead.
February was a really exciting month for us in Sigmar. Firstly, we were announced as one of the Best Medium Workplaces at the Great Place to Work Awards.
Followed by the news of our strategic partnership with French staffing giant Groupe Adéquat.
And finally, we held Ireland’s largest HR conference, Talent Summit in Dublin’s Convention Centre. Talent Summit has grown year on year with over 650 HR leaders in attendance, showcasing the latest thinking on talent topics from around the world. We were honoured to have the most viewed TEDTalk speaker of all time, Sir Ken Robinson headline the event.
We can’t speak about March without mentioning the snow. The whole country came to a standstill and we were compelled to close our offices.That didn't stop our Galway team from achievening their best month ever (since opening in 2005).
April was another busy month. We hosted our Gateway to Europe events in Boston and Washington to provide practical information for US corporates who are interested in establishing operations in Ireland and the EU.
We also held a pub quiz in aid of our charity partner Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
In May a brave group of Sigmar staff, including our CEO, Adie McGennis took part in the Malin 2 Mizen cycle for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. They cycled the entire length of Ireland on behalf of the charity - a phenomenal achievement!
Talent Summit Cork also took place in May in the Clayton Hotel, Cork.
In June we held our second regional Talent Summit in Galway in the g Hotel.
A group of Sigmar ladies took part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon on behalf of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
We held our Summer BBQ in Opium, Dublin. All our offices came together to enjoy the good weather and some tasty BBQ food and beers.
In August we announced our new “European Talent Hub” Sigmar IT International in Tralee, Co Kerry. We launched the office offering 50 jobs to candidates from “all backgrounds” regardless of experience and education, to fill the positions.
"40 Kilometres, 48,000 steps, hamstring gone, shin splints, hips need replacement! Just over 6 and a half hours!!............totally worth it!!" - Tom Deane.
Tom Deane once again pushed himself to his physical limits in the name of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland taking part in the Head 2 Head walk from Howth to Bray!
In October the Boston College Ireland Business Council hosted their Global Leadership Symposium in City Hall in Dublin. This exclusive event welcomed 150 leaders from the Irish business, political community as well as a c-level delegation travelling over from Boston.
The 12th annual National Recruitment Federation Awards took place in the Shelbourne Hotel on Friday November 30th. Sigmar were delighted to attend and to come away with not one but two awards on the night, Best in Practice Technical, IT & Telecoms and NRF Cert RP Graduate of the Year: Julie Valentine.
We finished off the year with a bang, sending 88 of our staff to Belgium to enjoy two nights in the beautful Bruges and our Tralee IT International team were treated to two nights in Alicante. For those who couldn’t attend either were given a lunch in Dublin and Cork. Celebrations all around!
Posted by Clare Reynolds on 21 December 2018
The Benefits of Allowing Dogs in the Workplace
The Benefits of Allowing Dogs in the Workplace
We are a dog loving nation with over 450,000 people in Ireland having one or more pet dogs. With all those furry friends running around, it’s no wonder more workplaces are adding dog friendly benefits and jobseekers are looking for dog friendly employers. But what is the value of having dogs in the workplace? Stress Buster Werewolf Food co-founder and dog trainer, Chris Hanlon said in an Irish Times article that dogs can decrease workplace stress. “Let’s face it, the office can be a very stressful environment with client deadlines and colleague tensions bubbling from time to time but the presence of a dog, the petting of it and the cuddles instantly lowers blood pressure and acts as a coping mechanism lowering negative atmospheres.” Social Aid It’s no surprise that dogs are excellent ice breakers and sometimes in an office environment that’s exactly what you need. Tensions can run high and we can get very wrapped up in our day to day tasks, but a dog can help us to take a step back from that and talk to the people around us. Chris says “For starters, dogs are excellent social lubricants that instantly bring employees together, bettering the bond amongst colleagues and improving the way the team works together. All good news for a business’s bottom line.” Giving Employees Personal Help Lots of things can happen in an employee’s life and sometimes dog sitters can let you down and what happens when it’s 9pm on a Sunday and you have no one to look after your dog the next day? It’s not always ideal to take annual leave every time life happens and you have no one to look after your furry friend. It can be a huge weight off an employee’s shoulders knowing that they can bring their dog to work when they need to. In Sigmar we are happy to say that we allow bring your dog to work options, which has meant we have seen all three of these benefits first hand and how they can really give positive change to the workplace. On this International Dog Day we want to highlight these benefits and encourage small changes like Pawternity packages, bring your dog to work Fridays or reforming an outdoor area for dogs and see the positive impact it can make to your workplace. Here's some pictures of our Sigmar dog Daisy enjoying her office perks
How to Look After Your Mental Health in the Workplace
How to Look After Your Mental Health in the Workplace
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increase the burden: It is easier to say "My tooth is aching" than to say "My heart is broken".” – C.S. Lewis The month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month around the world – a time for highlighting the key battles we have yet to fight in the war against the stigmatisation of mental health issues. A recent study by VHI revealed that almost 70% of Irish corporate employees admit to needing to look after their mental wellness more effectively, and 1 in 5 have missed work due to anxiety, depression or stress in the past year. It is always advisable to seek the advice of a professional if you have concerns about your mental health. However, there 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 Sigmar’s 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 before leaving home, always thinking about what needs to be done that day. 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. Once you’re on a roll, it’s tempting to power through lunchtime and eat at your desk, one eye always on your computer screen. Try and avoid doing this when you can. Take a walk, practise mindfulness or meditation, experience new places to eat, socialise with co-workers or friends who work nearby. “But I don’t have time to meditate!” I hear you exclaim. Yes, you do! ‘Meditation’ is not always synonymous with pulling on yoga pants, lighting up a stick of incense and adopting the lotus position. You can meditate absolutely anywhere – in a local park, at a café…even sitting at your desk! If you’re not confident leading your own meditation, you can find five-minute guided sessions free online, like this one here. There are also some great customisable apps you can get on your phone, such as Timer and Headspace. It is impossible to overvalue the importance of taking time to relax, clear your head and focus on your own wellbeing. You’ll find this re-energises you for the day ahead, 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 something you can conjure up into existence within your own mind. The reality is that many sufferers don’t feel able to speak up due to the prejudice surrounding their condition, and the fear that their workplace would not be supportive of them if they did so. The best way an employer can foster an atmosphere of positivity, health and wellbeing is to ensure that their workers know that they are free to talk openly about any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and won’t face indirect penalisation for doing so. The first reaction of many employers is to offer a struggling staff member limited time off to recover, then expect them to return to work and continue as usual. While time off may be a solution for some employees, bosses should also consider the advantages of offering flexible working hours to affected workers. Tom Oxley strongly advocates for good communication practices between employers and employees to ensure that no one ever feels alienated from their place of work, and that anxieties don’t build up over time into uncontrollable crises. In turn, employees should communicate to their employers about their feelings on mental health in the workplace, as far as they feel comfortable to do so. Being transparent about how you’re feeling and what you need from your job to help you recover will give your boss the tools to help you in the way that’s most beneficial for you. If you are worried that taking time off would only serve to isolate you from the company, voice that concern. Your employer should want to get the very best out of you – they hired you for a reason. It’s in their interest to give you the support you need. Create a healthy routine Studies have consistently proven a strong link between mental health and physical health, and specialists are adamant that one of the best ways to maintain good mental wellbeing is to look after your physical welfare. Your job may be intellectually demanding, with long hours and difficult tasks you have to tackle each day, taking a toll on your mental health. This also likely means your job is sedentary. Indeed, scientists have connected the rise in global obesity to the increasing number of jobs that don’t require any form of physical activity. You may be hard pressed to find the time to exercise during a busy work week, but it’s important you look after your body – it will only beneficially impact your mental wellbeing. Take a stroll during your lunchbreak, do 30 mins of yoga before work, or even try training for a half marathon over the course of a few months. 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 ensure your mental wellbeing in the workplace, which will in turn hopefully boost your productivity, energy and, ultimately, happiness. 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 thwart constructive discussions on preventative measures.
Engineering Week 2019: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering
Engineering Week 2019: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering
A polarizing topic and a polarizing question, who wins in the battle of the sexes? The topic of equality in the workplace and lack of transparency has come to the forefront of many internal and external discussions. According to the Society of Women’s Engineers, in 2003 only 20% of new graduates from an engineering discipline were female in the United States. Compare that to a recent study in 2018 by Roberta Rincon, PH.D., Manager of Research at the SWE, where only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering are still working in that profession 20 years later and only 13% of engineers are women in the USA. However, there was a 54% increase in women being awarded engineering and computer science degree between 2011 and 2016. If we bring this closer to home, just 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce were female in 2017, a 2% increase since 2015. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineers in the EU, under 10% where the likes of Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have nearly 30%. One step closer again and we are in Ireland where less than 25% of the people working in STEM related professions are women. Accenture conducted a survey which conveyed that there are negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers. Certainly, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality, it is a highly important issue. Yet, how about we move away slightly from representation and focus on pure achievement and contribution when discussing women and men in engineering? We provide the engineering icons and their achievements, and you decide who wins in a casual five-a-side match up! Let’s start at a time when engineering was starting to make waves across the whole of society and specifically focus in on electrical engineering, our first match up is Nikola Tesla and Edith Clarke. Edith Clarke First Female Electrical Engineer and First Female Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University, teaching for 10 years. Invented the calculator while working as a Supervisor in GE. Also invented Clarke Transformation and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame Two of her papers in mathematics won awards from the AIEE, best regional paper in 1932 and best national paper in 1941. Nikola Tesla The famous Croatian began working in Edison Machine Works, troubleshooting installations and improving generators patented over 300 inventions but is most well known for the Tesla Coil and oscillator. Advised on the electrical system for Niagara Falls. Invented a radio remote control boat, dubbing it “teleautomation” but the general public considered it magic or even made the outlandish claim a small monkey was driving it. This would later go into mass use in World War I for torpedoes with Tesla getting little acclaim. Effectively dying bankrupt, he was well known for his eccentric behaviour, working everyday from 9am to 6pm, walking at least 8 miles every day and possessing an eidetic memory. So, who was the bright spark who outshone the other between this duo of electrical engineers? Next up we have the Civil Engineers who paved the way in their fields, Gustave Eiffel and Emily Warren Roebling. Emily Warren Roebling Contributed massively to the completion of the Brooklyn bridge. After her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, contracted Caisson Disease and became bed-ridden, she developed an extensive knowledge of Materials, Stress Analysis and Cable Construction. She also became the only person to relay instruction to his assistants and aided in the plans for completion of the bridge itself. She took over a lot of the chief engineer duties and jointly planned the bridges completion and was the first to cross the bridge by carriage. Campaigned for women’s rights and against discriminatory practices targeted at women, winning wide acclaim and awards for her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities”. Gustave Eiffel Most famous for the Eiffel Tower but also contributed to the liberty statue and also designed the Garabit Viaduct. The Eiffel Bridge, and Gustave’s first major work, which is in Bordeaux has been protected as a French Historical Monument. Even though he was only a contractor for the Panama Bridge project he was implicated in the financial and political scandal. Contributed massively to aerodynamics and civil engineering, he died on 27 December 1923 while listening to Beethovens 5th Symphony The Brooklyn Bridge vs the Eiffel Tower, who built more of a legacy, Gustave or Emily? Both certainly had their issues to overcome but left a lasting legacy behind them but who made the bigger impression on the civil engineering world? Following on from Civil Engineering, we have a match up between a physicist and a chemist who both revolutionized their own respective fields and the world as we know it. Stephanie Kwolek Offered a position at the DuPont facility in New York, the vacancy arose as the majority of men were overseas in World War II but developed a career spanning 40 years, becoming the only female employee in 2015 to receive the Lavoisier Medal for outstanding achievement. She became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame after creating Kevlar and had an illustrious career in working with polymers. Stephanie never profited from the discovery as she signed it over to DuPont, but Kevlar is used in hundreds of different products that we use daily such as mobile phones and cables. She won a publication award for her Nylon Rope Trick which created Nylon from a beaker at room temperature but also received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists and an award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry awards scientists the ‘Stephanie L Kwolek Award’ to exceptional contributions to the area of materials chemistry outside of the UK. John Bardeen Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics twice, first in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and secondly in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory. His development of the transistor helped with almost all modern technology such as telephones and computers, effectively bringing in the information age. In 1990, John was included in Life Magazines 100 most Influential Americans of the Century. Worked on magnetic mines and torpedoes during World War II. Sony have created a John Bardeen Professional Chair post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bursar of $3 million. With both inventors and engineers leaving a massive legacy behind them both in academia and in real life application of science, it is a hard-won battle about who comes out on top between this pair. Now to look at more of a celebrity type of engineer and inventor with a flair for the limelight. Hedy Lamarr An Austrian born, inventor and actress who both helped develop a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes and starred in the likes of Algiers, Boom Town and Samson and Delilah. With no formal training, she created improved traffic stoplights, torpedoes that could resist frequency jamming and advised Howard Hughes on changing the design of his aeroplanes to sleeker, streamlined versions. In 1939, she was awarded the “most promising new actress” and has a Hollywood walk of Fame star. She became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundations Pioneer Award and also was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has had her fair share of controversy with her film Ecstasy being banned in numerous countries for its content, being convicted of shoplifting twice and a few other scandals. Elon Musk The South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla with other massive companies such as The Boring Company which cover infrastructure and construction to Neuralink, a neurotechnology company. He founded X.com which later became PayPal and was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion and also Zip2 who were later acquired by Compaq for $340 million. Elon has stated that the goals if SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity are humanitarian in reducing the effect of global warming by increasing the use of sustainable energy and even found a colony on mars. He has been ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Business Insider named him in the top ten of business visionaries creating value for the world. Who has the bigger wow factor, the movie star who escaped Nazi occupation to become a massive film star and inventor or the modern-day entrepreneurial engineer changing the landscape of the world? Up next are two engineers who have represented two of the biggest companies in the world with very different backgrounds but still inspirational stories. Ann Kelleher Born in Macroom, Co. Cork who was one of 5 women in a class of 55 studying engineering in UCC. She continued her studies achieving a master’s in electrical engineering and became the first ever female to receive a PHD from the NMRC. She began her career as a process engineer in Intel Ireland later progressing to factory manager, eventually site managing Intel’s New Mexico plant. She became the first woman in Intel’s history to be named Vice President, later becoming senior vice-president. In 2018 she became one of 25 women to be recognised in “Ireland’s Most Powerful Women Award” and was even tipped by Forbes as a good candidate to replace Elon Musk at Tesla. She is a huge advocate for women working in engineering and has called for more girls to study engineering and that more women should be applying for senior management roles. Steve Wozniak Electronics engineer who co-founded Apple who is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the personal computer revolution. After a traumatic plane crash, he suffered from amnesia using Apple II computer games to regain his memory but later leaving apple to invent and patent a universal controller. He has a long line of philanthropic programs he works on, ranging form founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sponsoring the Tech Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and provided the entirety of the budget for the technical program for his local school district in Los Gatos. In 2014 he was induced into the Manufacturing Wall of Fame while also acting as the Innovator in Residence at High Point University and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Museum of Natural History. As well as holding an electrical engineering degree from the University of California, he has 10 honorary degrees from American, English, Canadian and Spanish degrees. Is it the Cork native with her extremely impressive CV who comes out smiling or is it Woz with his contribution to Apple and personal computers? Overall this is not to split opinion or be divisive, it is an insight into the major engineering feat’s that have been achieved by men and women. Despite low female representation in the engineering sphere, female leaders such as Hey Lamarr and Ann Kelliher still emerged changing the world for the better. These female leaders went against the grain in spectacular fashion portraying that we can do more to further the conversation on diversity in engineering.
7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company
7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company
Changing the way that employees understand and interact with culture can significantly increase engagement in the workplace. We’ve listed 7 ways to increase engagement among employees through cultural realignment: 1. Talk About Culture Management need to communicate the culture of the company to all stakeholders in order for everyone else to understand what the company believes in. Buy-in from management is essential. 2. Energise Existing Jobs Offer job rotation, job sharing and combine tasks so that staff are not doing the same thing every day. Introducing a new task which will improve abilities or push employees to learn new skills will motivate staff to improve in their role. Forming self-directed teams can help employees feel like they are in control of their jobs and have a say in the company. 3. Hire for Fit When hiring for new staff it is important that companies don’t just hire people with the right skills, without judging if they will fit in with the company culture. An introverted project manager can be detrimental to an IT project so knowing your culture and the culture of the job role you are advertising is paramount. If outsourcing the hiring process to a recruitment company, it is important that the company understands the culture that you are portraying. In a climate where new recruits are hard to keep and are constantly changing jobs for a better company fit, knowing both the culture of the company and the role can save a company time and money 4. Leverage Manager/Employee Relationship Employee satisfaction relies quite closely on the affiliation they have with their manager. Frequent praise and recognition will empower employees to keep up the good work but if managers are too busy to take notice of their team or to spend time talking with them this bond will turn stale, leading to eroded trust and confidence on both sides of the relationship. Taking the time to schedule meetings with team members and keeping note of the work that your team is doing will leverage this relationship allowing a confiding and open connection. 5. Upward Mentoring Mentoring does not always have to be downward. For employees that have been in the company for a longer period of time and understand the inner working of the company they can provide valuable insight that managers may not have thought of before. Fresh eyes can alert companies to newer technologies and more efficient ways of doing jobs so do not discount something until you have tried it 6. Job Referral Bounties Offering rewards for employees finding and placing workers in your company that suit your culture can prove a successful recruitment strategy. Presenting long-term bounties are even better as employees are motivated to help others progress through impromptu coaching and team working. 7. Measure Improvements Send out surveys every two to three months to measure key performance indicators to see if the culture is changing for the better and if people are becoming more engaged. Measuring the profit and productivity levels in the company overtime can also highlight how successful the project is. Conducting six monthly reviews where employee satisfaction rates are measured and bench-marked can show if some employees are lacking culture fit. Having a programme in place to help these employees find their feet can further increase engagement in the company as you are showing staff that you value them.