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
“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.
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.
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.. January 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 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. March 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). After the snow storm passed we had a couple a nights of celebration as we were announced as winner of the HR Supplier of the Year award and Deloitte Best Managed Company award. April 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. May 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. June 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. July 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. August 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. September "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! October 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. November 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. December 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!
This may come as a shock, no one expects you to be perfect and know everything, even your boss! Sometimes you may feel like you’re not good enough and worry that you can’t impress your manager, but it is actually easier than you think and you’re probably doing some of these things already… 1. Dress to Impress Make sure your personal hygiene is impeccable. One of the worst office offences is bad body odour. Once you have your personal hygiene in check, dress smart. Dressing well will impress your superiors and your fellow colleagues. It will also give a little extra confidence while you do your day to day tasks. via GIPHY 2. Timekeeping Traffic, public transport, school runs, they can be a nightmare in the mornings and we’ve all been there, but it’s no excuse to be late for work constantly. Want to make a good impression? Be on time! Even if it means you have to leave earlier in the morning. If you want to impress your boss, you have to make real effort and show you are reliable. Bad time-keeping is a pet hate for managers. Remember: When you are late, show you understand that time-keeping and attendance matters and always inform your manager that you’re late. A quick text or phone call can really make all the difference. via GIPHY 3. Socialise If you want to impress at work, get involved in social events with your colleagues. It’s important for managers to see you gel with the rest of the staff and integrate with the culture of the business. If there isn’t a social scene in work why not try to organise something yourself? You could suggest after work drinks, a running club, a book club? Getting involved is impressive to a boss, but if you can organise your own social activity, that will definitely get your managers attention. via GIPHY 4. Share Ideas Don’t be afraid to tell your boss about ideas you have. Managers appreciate someone who takes their own initiative and wants to help improve things. It’s a great way for your boss to know you care about your role and the company and that you want to make it even better by putting your stamp on things. via GIPHY 5. Be Prepared Always be prepared to work. When you come in in the morning be ready to hit the ground running. When you attend meetings have all the relevant information and documents needed. Remember, you’ve been appointed this role and if your boss sees you struggling in it, it’s not going to impress him/her. Always being prepared and showing your boss you can manage your task will impress your boss and even increase your opportunity for a promotion. via GIPHY It’s always good to remember, not everyone is perfect, and your boss doesn’t expect you to be. Trying your best should always be enough to impress your boss. All a boss wants is an employee who’s working hard and is happy in the company and with the work they do.
Are you in a recruitment process for a new job? If so, it's important to know what employers look for in a good candidate. Of course, things like qualifications, skills and experience are important but that’s not all employers want. If you've already been asked to interview, chances are your CV has already shown that you have the right qualifications, which is why you are being considered. Now, during the interview stage of the process, the hiring manager will be looking for a little more. Employers need to make sure that you will fit in at their organisation, match their company values and essentially be a part of their team. If you're feeling nervous about a job interview, it's good to remember these 5 things employers look for in an employee... 1. Positive Attitude Being upbeat and positive can make a huge difference. If you are a happy and positive person, a hiring manger will be confident that you will make friends easily and you will enjoy the work you do and even motivate others with your positivity. Being positive can make you approachable and make people want to work with you. 2. Dependable Employers seek someone who is trustworthy and reliable. It’s a crucial character trait in the workplace. Being on time for work and trusted to complete important tasks is what an employer expects from all their employees. 3. Enthusiastic About Learning A person who is eager to work and learn is very attractive to an employer. Showing you have a strong work ethic and are interested in upskilling and improving is exactly what any hiring manger wants. If you're interested in the company and want to invest in learning, your employer will be just as eager to invest in you too. 4. Quick Thinking A person who can react well when things go wrong is very useful to an employer. Having the ability to think on your feet in difficult situations can be of great benefit to any team/company. 5. Works Well In Teams Getting along with people is a huge plus. Maintaining good working relationships and working well with others shows you are a team player and fit with a company’s culture.
Most people think they are better at stuff than they actually are: driving, singing, telling jokes. Most companies suffer the same problem with their interview process. When a company and a candidate both think they are great and cannot be improved, you get the usual awkward interview where the candidate pretends to be somebody they’re not and the interviewer pretends they work for a different company. There are three elements that can help change that: interviews should ‘engage’ with candidates, they should be quick and they should fully reflect your company’s brand. With that in mind, these are my tips to make your interview process more efficient: Sell something meaningful Candidates are easier to find these days but harder to engage. There’s a lot of competition on the jobs market. When you’re recruiting a new hire, your company will be one of many that are looking for top talent. Nobody wants mediocre workers. Similarly, you’re not the only firm a candidate might consider. If they’re active in the marketplace, they’ll be applying for loads of jobs. If you’re a small firm, you might not have the fat salaries or free food that multinationals can offer, but you can sell something more meaningful in the interview. For example, you might have a really great training programme that’s respected in your industry. Tell candidates about it and what it could do for their careers. If you sell the genuine opportunities of working with your organisation, you’ll get a much better response and interviewees will compete harder for the role. Free food, gyms and bars on-site are great extras, but no one will join a company on these benefits alone – they want to do work that’s worthwhile. Meaningful work is the best motivator. Companies need to realise that they can stress that in their recruitment process and beat the big boys. ‘Creative’ questions Once the opportunity has been sold and the candidate is interested, you’d be amazed at how many firms miss obvious questions and ask things in interviews that have little to do with the role on offer. Say you have a job in advertising sales, you’ll have a lot of companies asking general questions around a candidate’s experience or set interview questions they think should be asked such as asking about their biggest failure. Instead, companies should be asking very practical questions about the candidate’s ability to do the job, like how good they are at selling ads. Ask them about what targets they achieved in their previous role, who they sold ads to, that kind of thing. Specific questions will allow candidates to showcase their skills, and they’ll be much more enthusiastic about answering them. I had a client recently who went for a job at a well-known e-commerce business. Both the attitude and the timing of their questions was all wrong. For about two hours, they asked him fairly negative questions about things like the times he had failed, but they didn’t give him much of an opportunity to show off his past experience. It didn’t reflect the brand they were selling. They came across as very stiff and not a very nice place to work. Needless to say, he lost interest pretty quickly. Candidates should always see the point behind your line of questioning.The tech sector in particular is prone to asking ‘creative’ questions like: How many red cars do you think there are in Ireland? The idea is to see how candidates deal with a problem they’ve never encountered and have no frame of reference for. That’s fine, but you need to earn the right to ask those types of questions. If a potential hire comes through the door and is bombarded with really weird questions without context or reason, you will get a weak response. Again, if you have shown the opportunity on offer and given an explanation as to why you are asking the strange questions people will see it as a challenge and give it their all. Quick turnaround The longer people are left in the recruitment process, the longer they’re open to new opportunities. If you like a candidate, you’d better be quick. Don’t let time make the decision for you. Arrange interviews 24 hours after you’ve closed applications. When you interview somebody, get back to them within a week with the next stage, whatever it is. Either bring them in for a follow-up or get them out of the process. There’s nothing worse than going for an interview and hearing nothing. If candidates don’t hear from you, they’ll lose interest and start looking elsewhere. Think of it from your point of view. If a candidate didn’t get back to you for ages when you offered them a second interview, you’d see it as a red flag that they weren’t interested. The whole process should take two or three weeks. That’s ideal. Double standards There can be lots of double standards like that in the interview process. For example, if you arrange an interview with somebody at 10am, don’t have them waiting around for 15 minutes. Tardiness wouldn’t be tolerated at the company so don’t tolerate it from yourself. I also think if you expect somebody to wear business attire to the interview, you should wear it yourself. It’s gas, you’ll see the coolest companies in the world where everybody wears sandals and T-shirts, but if someone shows up to an interview without a tie, they turn their noses up at them. If you can only offer a six-month contract, be prepared to look at people who might have had a lot of different jobs. They might have worked a lot of six-month contracts like the one you’re offering, so there’s no point ruling them if they’ve moved around a lot. Finally, I’d say that if you’re serious about finding top talent, you should be flexible about when you can arrange interviews. A prized candidate is probably busy being successful between nine and five, so be prepared to interview them outside normal working hours or on weekends. It doesn’t make sense if you’re pitching your brand as laid back, but you have a very strict interview schedule.
Launching an employer branding strategy can expend a substantial amount of time, effort and resources. To ensure you get value for your efforts you need to ensure you have a measurable return on investment (ROI). The ROI is dependent on what you are looking to deliver with your employer branding strategy. To do this set measurable objectives that you want to achieve before you promote your employer brand. You can then measure these at regular intervals to see if your employer branding strategy is working. These objectives should include: Retention rate Look at your retention rate for the last two years. Use these figures to measure against your retention rates going forward and hopefully you will see a significant improvement. Employee satisfaction This can be measured by conducting a survey at fairly regular intervals, say every six months, to see if employees are reporting increased satisfaction. If they are not you need to focus on issues raised by their feedback and tweak your employer brand accordingly. Rise in quantity and quality As a result of a successful branding strategy you should see a steady increase in the number of high calibre applicants for roles within your company. This is a really good indicator of ROI. If you are not seeing an increase in the quantity and quality of applicants your employer branding strategy may require re-assessment. Referral rates A good way to gauge ROI is by monitoring your referral rates. Satisfied staff will often recommend vacancies in their companies to friends and acquaintances. They will promote their company as a good place to work. If, after implementing an employer branding strategy, there is a rise in applicants who have been referred to the roles by current staff, you have a clear indication of success. This shows that your staff appreciate their jobs and are happy in their work. They recognise the value of your EVP. Improvement of referral rates is always something to strive for. Not only does it mean that current staff are content, it saves HR time and resources in terms of sourcing new recruits. Online Reputation Monitor sites such as Glassdoor to see what kind of reviews current and former staff are leaving about your company. As each reviewer must leave a score for their employer out of a maximum of 5, it will be very clear to see any improvements in your overall score after implementing an employer branding strategy. Contact Us For a confidential discussion on how we can assist you with your staffing and recruitment needs, please contact Kate McGuinness on +353 1 4744609 or email email@example.com.
In the words of the Culture Code guru Patty McCord (author of the Netflix Culture Code), Culture Codes are written to give “companies the courage and the permission to not accept that business culture is a given, but something to create.” Patty served as Chief Talent Officer of Netflix for 12 years and co-authored the Netflix Culture Deck, a presentation that has been viewed more than fourteen million times. So what is a culture code? A culture code is a document that gives clarity to what is important for the success of a company, it outlines what the employer expects from their staff and highlights how the company will operate. There are three main points of reference in this definition that are important to stress in an organisation: What Is Important To The Success Of Your Company What is your company’s strategy going forward? Steve Jobs did a companywide meeting annually to highlight Apple’s strategy so that staff knew where the company was headed and knew how to help achieve this. This meant that everyone worked towards a common goal and felt like they contributed to the success of the company. By having complete buy in to the company’s strategy departments operated smoothly and staff had certainty in their roles. You can do the same by believing in your staff and trusting them with your strategy. Outline What You Expect From Your Staff Setting achievable objectives for each staff member and department is important to the success of the company. Having clear objectives and setting a career progression path for all staff leads to a better understanding of people’s roles and the direction of the company over the long term. With this people are more motivated and help towards the company strategy. Highlight How Your Company Will Operate How are issues handled? What is your training procedures? All this information should be known by your staff in order for them to carry out their roles efficiently. Volunteering this information to employees as they enter the business will lead to trust and confidence between staff and the organisation. This can be as easy as publishing short articles on the intranet around company procedures, an open door policy in HR or regular times where HR are accessible to answer questions in a confidential environment. Culture from Reed Hastings Patty McCord spoke at National Employment Week’s 2016 Talent Summit in the Mansion House on the 2nd of March.