In light of COVID-19, many companies have unexpectedly asked a large cohort of their employees to work from home. Without time to prepare for this, leaders, whose teams normally share an office and who now have been thrown into working from home, have been presented with a host of new challenges. How can one lead effectively when employees are greeting each other with instant messages than face to face interactions? When meetings are held via Microsoft Teams rather than in-person? Read on for our advice for managing a remote workforce. Clarity of goals, expectations, guidelines First and foremost, leaders need to prioritise the setting of clear boundaries and guidelines. At its most basic this involves setting clear expectations for work hours, availability, communication methods, meetings, key projects and deadlines, and responding to emails. For example, “We use video conferencing for our daily check-in meetings, but we use instant messenger/chat when something is urgent”. After this you need to convey what is success. Don’t worry so much about what is being done, concentrate on what is being accomplished. If we are meeting goals, great! If not, then we need to look further into what is being done. Everyone has a different idea of what doing something “quickly” or “well” means. Whether showing examples of what you expect to be done, an overview of how you schedule your day etc. make sure you set clear expectations from those you work with. And finally, use this time as an opportunity to re-clarify the basics in order to ensure everyone understands their role and how each person contributes to team objectives. Clarifying and re-clarifying goals will help people understand what is expected of them. Over communicate While communication is always essential for leaders, it becomes even more essential when your team is working remotely. A challenge experienced by many when transitioning from in-office work to remote work is the feeling of disconnection and isolation which hinders an employee’s engagement and productivity. Given the current environment and people’s anxiety surrounding COVID-19, this feeling of disconnect and loneliness is probably heightened. Therefore, it is important that you over-communicate with your employees. Your staff members are probably used to talking to you every day so make sure you regularly check-in. This could be a daily series of one-on-one video calls if your employees work more independently of each other or a team video call if their work is collaborative, or a mix of both. The important aspect is that these calls are a regular feature and that employees know that they have an opportunity to discuss any concerns or ask questions. Embrace video conferencing and have regular team meetings and continue to foster team morale by taking the time at the start of each meeting for general chat such as asking about people’s weekends, how they are feeling etc. Trust Being thrust into a remote working environment, as a manger it can be tempting to micromanage. However, doing so will only make your employees feel like you don’t trust them and impact their engagement and productivity. After you have set clear expectations, you must have faith in the employee that they will get the job done. Being trusted to get things done is a big motivator for people. Finally, as it’s been an abrupt shift to remote work for many, it is important for managers to acknowledge that this transition might be difficult for employees. Listen to your employees’ anxieties and concerns and offer them encouragement and support.
With the majority of our teams now working remotely, the challenges of creating and maintaining company culture are evident. Technology can’t replace what the workplace provides: community, camaraderie and shared purpose. Now, more than ever, maintaining culture matters. Here are some ideas on instilling company culture across remote employees: 1. Connect Back to Your Values & Purpose For many of our staff currently, working remotely has been unexpected and in the face of a global health crisis, many are at a loss for what to do. For some work may feel insignificant now, so as their manager this is your time to help employees find meaning and reconnect back to your company’s values and purpose. While you may not be a company at the frontline, you still have a positive impact on people’s lives. Remind your employees of how their contributions add up to something much bigger and that we are all in this together! 2. Communication is Key Communication within divisions, one to one, social gatherings, company updates, all need to be consistent. This maintains relationships and promotes inclusivity. Create an open and transparent communication policy. This allows people to be themselves and feel comfortable reaching out via online chat platforms. Set expectations on communication methods. Where do meetings take place? What tool is for social sharing? Finally, you need to put an emphasis on positivity in your written communication. With the absence of face to face interactions in virtual conversations, it is easy for tone to be interpreted negatively so you need to be extra careful to be positive. 3. Mimic the Water Cooler Effect As mentioned, many of our staff are currently missing the day-to-day work interactions they have with their colleagues. Therefore, assign a platform where team members can live chat, share files, post photos and collaborate throughout the day to mimic everyday office life. This can be where some of the best ideas and knowledge can be shared yet at the same time promotes inclusivity and the sense of “team”. 4. Trust In a remote team, there aren't any silly rules about being in your seat during certain hours of the day. This means at the end of the week you either have something to show for your week or not. This means you trust that your teammates are getting something done. But also, that your teammates trust you. To earn that trust you want to make sure you have something to show for your work each week. 5. Focus on Health & Wellbeing In the midst of a global pandemic, now is not the time to forget about your wellness programme when stress and anxiety is elevated. Make sure to check in with remote employees that they are taking breaks, finishing on time, and are maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Make online workouts available to your employees allowing them to take part in physical activity. Perhaps set a company challenge such as a step challenge to get employees engaged in physical activity and as a plus networking with colleagues. For those struggling with sleep or anxiety, provide access to meditation or breathing courses. And to look after financial wellbeing consider organising webinars on topics such as managing a household budget, how your pension works, setting financial goals etc. 6. Rituals and Traditions Creating traditions with your team members, regardless of how often they happen, helps keep teams cohesive and encourages open communication and trust. Before you were thrown into the digital remote working world, undoubtedly you had traditions in place for how promotions, achievements and even birthdays were recognised. To keep spirits up, it’s crucial you keep celebrating these milestones. 7. Ask for Feedback Finally, the introduction to remote working has been unprecedented for many of us. Therefore, ask employees for honest feedback and suggestions. Use a pulse survey to get real data on this. "You don’t need everyone physically together to create a strong culture. The best cultures derive from actions people actually take.” Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Authors of Remote
Rossa Mullally spoke to Jennifer Zamperelli on 2FM recently to share his tips and advice for video interviews...
With the number of companies around the globe asking their employees to stay safe and work from home increasingly every day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person interviews are being replaced with video interviews via platforms such as Hinterview, Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc. For some this is a new experience so here are our top 5 tips to help you get prepared. 1. Check Your Tech As mentioned, there are a variety of video interview platforms, many of which you may be familiar with such as Google Hangouts or Skype. While you might think you are adept at using such platforms, don’t rest on your laurels. When you receive the link for the platform from your potential employer - test it out! Familiarise yourself with the platform and do a test call with a family member or friend in advance. Make sure you have a strong internet connection so there are no delays and that your camera and microphone are working perfectly. Finally make sure you are plugged into a power source; interviews can overrun so don’t be relying on the battery to see you through. 2. Set the Scene You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again but finding a suitable environment is so important in preparing for your video interview. Find a quiet, private space to do the interview, somewhere you can control the noise pollution and keep it to a minimum. After that choose, your backdrop wisely. You don’t want potential employers to see your cluttered bedroom and dirty washing in the background, especially after listing ‘organisational skills’ as one of your top skills on your CV. Lighting is key and is often forgotten about until the time of the interview. For the best lighting, sit facing an open window, similar to how you would face the light source or sun for photgraphs. If there is no natural light available to you at the time, use floor and desk lamps to brighten up your environment and ensure your interviewer can see you clearly. 3. Dress to Impress Although your employer won’t see you face to face, it is still important to dress appropriately. It is always a good idea to investigate the company’s dress code and go from there. You should wear professional, interview-appropriate clothes that you feel comfortable in. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it will help you stay relaxed and at ease during your interview. Avoid plaids and stripes as these can cause distractions on the camera and make sure you avoid wearing the same colour as your chosen background. 4. Body Language Speaks A Thousand Words It’s important to have good eye-contact in any interview you attend, this is no different for a video interview. To maintain good eye contact during your interview, place your laptop, webcam or device at eye level. If your camera is too low or too high, it can appear to your employer that you are looking down or away. It is also important to look into the camera when speaking. Putting a coloured sticker or something noticeable beside the camera might help remind you to speak into the camera instead of the screen. Some gestures that often go unnoticed in face to face interviews, can be more eye-catching through video, for example twirling hair, touching your face or fidgeting with your fingers. Practicing interviews and video calls with friends or family will help you identify any nervous habits you may have. During the interview, it is important to sit upright with your back straight. Although the interviewer cannot see your lower body, it’s important to have two feet flat on the floor in order to maintain an upright position. Crossing your legs can lead to slouching and can mess with your on-camera framing. 5. Prepare to Win You want to make a great first impression, leaving the interviewer with the desire to move you to the next round or hire you and the key to achieving this is to be prepared. From software to attire, eye contact to setting, it’s essential to prepare in every aspect for your interview. Have a copy of your CV nearby, but do not get caught reading off it during your interview, keep it nearby as a reference for yourself. Have a pen and paper at your desk should you need it to avoid any disruptions during the interview. And don’t forget to nod, smile and engage with your interviewer - you might not be sitting across from each other, but they can still see you! Finally, be patient with the recruitment process. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, recruitment processes may take longer than normal. You may find there will be more rounds in a process and/or it may take longer to receive feedback. If you would like to discuss anything in this article, or have a confidential career chat, please get in touch on 01 4744600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As reported in The Sunday Business Post (10th March 2019) Sigmar Recruitment/ EY Talent Survey Takeaways · Companies remain bullish with 87% expecting little or no impact of impending Brexit. · Irish companies benefitting internationally from Brexit uncertainty with Sigmar Recruitment attracting French investment in 2018 that otherwise would have gone to London. · US companies considering investing in Ireland more concerned about costs, housing, property and ease of doing business. · Irish industry-led FDI delegation Ireland: Gateway to Europe to travel to Boston and Chicago in April to attract investment. · 75% of non-banking jobs come from US multinationals With the Brexit deadline looming, a survey of over 300 international companies, carried out by Sigmar Recruitment in association with EY, found that 87% of companies expect no impact due to Brexit. Whilst most business commentary on employment in Ireland tends to concentrate on Brexit, the steady positive growth in US investment continues to be the major contributor to jobs in Ireland. Says Adrian McGennis, CEO Sigmar Recruitment & Founder Ireland: Gateway to Europe: “Demand for talent in Ireland is at an all-time high and US investment is still the main contributor. We all feel for Irish companies facing the challenges that Brexit/currency uncertainty brings but overall the employment situation is very positive. Ireland: Gateway to Europe is an annual privately funded FDI mission that travels to the US to showcase Ireland as a choice location of investment in Europe. The Irish delegation of industry leaders will visit Boston and Chicago in April, meeting over 400 US CEOs including the CEOs of some major companies who are currently in Ireland. “When we survey about the topics they want to discuss, Brexit barely features. They are asking about talent, property, costs and ease of doing business, as they have been for the last ten years. This gives us the opportunity to share the success stories of the many companies who have set up operations in Ireland,” continues McGennis. “In 28 years, I have never seen such a strong pipeline of new jobs coming from existing and new US companies. 75% of non-banking jobs at Sigmar come from US multinationals. Last year we travelled to Washington and Boston, well prepared on what we thought were the topical issues such as Brexit, the Euro, even GDPR. Instead they were all focussed on their needs to set up in Ireland.” The Ireland Gateway to Europe group comprises banks, property specialists, recruiters, tax advisors, auditors, HR advisors and other professional services and we work collaboratively to get Ireland’s positive message by case studies and data. Says McGennis: It’s great to have specialists who can credibly answer any specific queries these CEOs may have. We have competitors in most sectors but have always worked as a team to get the Irish message across. Indeed, we are very inclusive and always welcome new participants to the group. “In particular, the relationships that we’ve developed with Boston College and Notre Dame University have been incredible in getting access to CEOs, ministers, congressmen and high-profile business leaders. The upcoming American Football games in Dublin in 2020 will give opportunities to further develop these relationships.” www.gatewaytoeurope.org About the Survey: The largest survey of its kind, 302 talent leaders from across Ireland took part in the survey, which focused on key talent themes and priorities for the year ahead. The respondents comprised of senior executives responsible for talent decision making within their respective organisations, ranging from CHROs, CEOs, HR Directors to Heads of HR functions such as L&D, Recruitment, Organisational Development and Performance Management. This is the third year this survey has been conducted.
In last week’s blog we looked at How to Recognise a Toxic Boss. We know the perfect boss doesn’t exist, just like the perfect employee doesn’t, so you shouldn’t be too hard on your boss. However, once you are sure your manager is toxic, it’s important to know what to do Try Not Take It Personally Whatever is going on with your boss, it has nothing to do with you. If this is their managing style they more than likely have treated people like this before and will probably continue to treat people like this in future. Try to remind yourself of this as often as you can so your self-confidence doesn’t become affected by your toxic boss. Know That You Don’t Need Them To Succeed Your boss may make you feel like they are the reason you have a job and you would be useless to another company, they’re wrong! You are more than capable of being successful in your career and that has nothing to do with your boss. Karma This is always a sweet little reminder when your boss is treating you badly. Things come back around on people and the same goes for you. You’re having a hard time now, but things will improve for you and as for your boss, they will probably get what is coming to them sooner or later. Write Down How You Feel This is a great way to get things off your chest. Write it all down. Everything! It can even be as inappropriate as you like, ‘cause your boss will never see it. That’s the beauty of it! Say everything you need to and destroy the evidence. I can guarantee you’ll feel a lot better after it. Keep Records Try to document as much as you can. If your boss is treating you unfairly, it’s best to have documents to prove it. Even if your interaction with them is mostly face to face, ask them to follow up in an email. A lot of the misbehaviour of a toxic boss is going back on their word. For instance, they tell you to do something but then deny it or grant you permission to do something, like take annual leave and then they deny ever being asked. The best thing to do is always follow up on verbal conversations with an email and to keep a diary. Write everything your boss asks you to do in a diary and if they ever accuse you of not doing something you can check back in your diary afterwards. Arrange A Meeting With Your Boss Sometimes just sitting down with your boss and explaining that you feel they are unhappy with you can really make a difference. Having a face to face conversation about the issues you have could solve things. It might not be the case but it’s the first step before approaching HR. Speak to HR If you have approached your boss or have at least tried to but felt it was unsuccessful, the next step is to speak to HR. After you have prepared your records and can explain your bosses misconduct clearly and accurately you should have a strong case for your HR department. Know When to Leave Sometimes the only thing you can do to fix the situation is to find a new job. Life is too short to sit in a job with a boss who makes you miserable. If HR couldn’t solve the issue and you couldn’t move departments, you may wish to start applying for new jobs.
Every company will have to face the reality of losing top staff at some point or another. This is just an inevitable part of the working world. While it is disappointing to receive that letter of resignation from a talented employee, don’t despair; it’s not the end of the world. There are a number of things that you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible for you, your soon-to be-former employee and your team. Don’t overreact While it’s not the news you want to hear, there’s no point in flying off the handle when you receive word of a trusted employee’s intention to leave. It’s not the end of the world. These things happen and you now need to focus on moving forward without the employee. Face to face meeting Sit down with the employee and try to find out as much as possible about their reasons for seeking a move. Maybe there are only a few minor issues, which can be ironed out. A lot can be learned from such a meeting. If there are specific aspects of their role that they are unhappy with then it is useful to know about them so you can implement changes if necessary. More often than not though, people change jobs as they feel that the new position represents a better career opportunity. You may not agree with them but you should always wish them well and move on. Remain on good terms An important employee handing in their notice can come as a bolt from the blue. However it’s better for everyone if you accept it gracefully and wish them well in their future career. This will reflect well on you not only with the employee in question but with the rest of your staff also. If a star member leaves on good terms he/she should at the very least speak well of you and who knows, may even come back to the company one day. Assess how you’ll replace departing staff The temptation with many companies is to get the soon to be vacant position advertised ASAP. This can be a mistake however. Don’t rush into it. Reassess the original job specification. Has the position changed in the time that the outgoing employee held it? Discuss this with the employee and make sure you have a clear picture of the ideal candidate to fill the role. This should give you every chance of getting the best person for the job. Oversee a transition phase When the employee leaves, you will more than likely have other staff picking up extra duties and filling in for them until the position is filled with a new hire. It’s vital that the outgoing employee sits down with the person or people who will be doing this and goes through all the tasks and responsibilities that the role entails. You do not want a situation where an employee leaves, taking valuable know how and expertise with them. This needs to be transferred to staff that will be covering the role before it’s permanently filled. Counter-offers You can only judge each situation on its merits but be wary of making counter-offers to employees in the hope of getting them to stay. Generally people want to go because they see the other job as providing new opportunities and challenges. Offering more money or extra responsibility may not be enough to appease someone who wants a change. Even if they do accept, will their heart really be in the job and will they be looking for a move again a few months down the line. Also, if they do accept, how will their improved terms go down with their colleagues? Losing a top employee is not something that any organisation wants to be faced with. Although undesirable it is not necessarily a disaster. People move on and so do companies. If the situation is handled correctly the departure shouldn’t affect the organisation too much in the long run. Good staff will usually work out their notice period in a professional and productive manner and if they leave on good terms they might even return in the future.
More and more we are seeing a shift away the annual appraisal system. It can be a costly and timely exercise. Where they are done due to process, employees can end up feeling dissatisfied rather than more engaged. Performance management is increasingly deemed to be an ongoing process and not an annual event. An employee can easily go on the defensive when something is brought up at their annual review that was never mentioned to them before. Likewise the employee could highlight issues to the manager, which if given the opportunity could have been discussed and resolved months earlier. Performance management can only truly be effective when it becomes part of an organisation’s and its employee’s daily actions. The new method of performance management is to foster an ongoing culture of informal and spontaneous performance reviews through ongoing feedback, coaching, support and guidance. This can be done in conjunction with a more formal process which will avoid any bombshells dropped by either party at an annual review. It is now rather a continuation of an already ongoing conversation. Pre-requisites of ongoing performance management: Establish clear goals. This should happen at induction and be repeated on an ongoing basis. Coach along the way, identify weaknesses and areas for development, recognise success and encourage conversation. Golden rules of giving feedback: Constructive feedback is always more effective the closer it is to the event. The risk of waiting for a formal review is the possibility of the employee resenting that they were not told earlier and given the opportunity to improve. They could also continue with the ‘wrong behaviour’ in blissful ignorance. Equally positive feedback can reinforce the right behaviour and really motivate staff. Give specific feedback, don’t be vague. Explain the consequences both positive and negative, of doing the job correctly or incorrectly. Is this the right setting, do you risk embarrassing the employee if it is in front of others? Would a private setting be better? The employee needs to know that feedback is provided to develop them, not to punish them. Are they listening? Do they know what is expected of them going forward? Why not check by asking them to tell you what they will do from here on going forward and see if their answer is in line with what you had in mind. If it differs do you need to adapt? Collaboration – Listen Listen Listen! Why does the employee feel there has been poor performance? What suggestions do they have for improvement? Benefits of effective performance management to an organisation include: Hold on to your top talent! Employees including your highest performers are less likely to leave. Employees are incentivised to perform at a high level. Empowered Employees! A culture of employee accountability is fostered. As the employee becomes more independent, learns more skills and takes on greater responsibility the management job becomes easier. Identify problem areas quicker. Poor performance can be identified and improved. Your customer will have a better experience. Employees will be more motivated when they have been coached and received feedback. No matter what terms are used to describe it: coaching, feedback, goal setting, measuring performance, development etc., the common trend is that companies are striving to make performance management ingrained in the daily culture of the organisation and the actions of its employees and management. This may or may not be coupled with a formal annual appraisal system, with or without a ratings system. Either way increased two-way ongoing communication should lead to a more open and honest relationship between a manager and their employee, a workforce that are motivated and understand their role within the larger organisation as well as a more productive and effective performance by the individual, the team and the company. More and more we are seeing a shift away the annual appraisal system. It can be a costly and timely exercise. Where they are done due to process, employees can end up feeling dissatisfied rather than more engaged. Performance management is increasingly deemed to be an ongoing process and not an annual event. An employee can easily go on the defensive when something is brought up at their annual review that was never mentioned to them before. Likewise the employee could highlight issues to the manager, which if given the opportunity could have been discussed and resolved months earlier. Performance management can only truly be effective when it becomes part of an organisation’s and its employee’s daily actions. The new method of performance management is to foster an ongoing culture of informal and spontaneous performance reviews through ongoing feedback, coaching, support and guidance. This can be done in conjunction with a more formal process which will avoid any bombshells dropped by either party at an annual review. It is now rather a continuation of an already ongoing conversation. Pre-requisites of ongoing performance management: Establish clear goals. This should happen at induction and be repeated on an ongoing basis. Coach along the way, identify weaknesses and areas for development, recognise success and encourage conversation. Golden rules of giving feedback: Constructive feedback is always more effective the closer it is to the event. The risk of waiting for a formal review is the possibility of the employee resenting that they were not told earlier and given the opportunity to improve. They could also continue with the ‘wrong behaviour’ in blissful ignorance. Equally positive feedback can reinforce the right behaviour and really motivate staff. Give specific feedback, don’t be vague. Explain the consequences both positive and negative, of doing the job correctly or incorrectly. Is this the right setting, do you risk embarrassing the employee if it is in front of others? Would a private setting be better? The employee needs to know that feedback is provided to develop them, not to punish them. Are they listening? Do they know what is expected of them going forward? Why not check by asking them to tell you what they will do from here on going forward and see if their answer is in line with what you had in mind. If it differs do you need to adapt? Collaboration – Listen Listen Listen! Why does the employee feel there has been poor performance? What suggestions do they have for improvement? Benefits of effective performance management to an organisation include: Hold on to your top talent! Employees including your highest performers are less likely to leave. Employees are incentivised to perform at a high level. Empowered Employees! A culture of employee accountability is fostered. As the employee becomes more independent, learns more skills and takes on greater responsibility the management job becomes easier. Identify problem areas quicker. Poor performance can be identified and improved. Your customer will have a better experience. Employees will be more motivated when they have been coached and received feedback. No matter what terms are used to describe it: coaching, feedback, goal setting, measuring performance, development etc., the common trend is that companies are striving to make performance management ingrained in the daily culture of the organisation and the actions of its employees and management. This may or may not be coupled with a formal annual appraisal system, with or without a ratings system. Either way increased two-way ongoing communication should lead to a more open and honest relationship between a manager and their employee, a workforce that are motivated and understand their role within the larger organisation as well as a more productive and effective performance by the individual, the team and the company.
A salary guide is great for candidates to benchmark their current position in the marketplace but it can also be great for employers and hiring managers when recruiting for open positions in their business. Four reasons for this include: Salary Guidelines Our consultants recruit for numerous roles throughout the year in vastly different industries and areas across Ireland. We use their experiences to pull together realistic salary guideline to help candidates and clients manage their expectations. These figures can be used by clients to help them understand their industry and competitors which will result in hiring valuable employees whose earnings equal the cost of their labour. Identify Trends That Can Effect A Person’s Application For changing industries like IT and the digital sphere where different skills and languages are constantly coming online there is the requirement to understand what is valuable to positions that you are looking to recruit for. Salary guides are great because consultants provide commentary on each industry offering an overview of the marketplace for the reader which will help them when hiring for new positions. Benchmark Against Previous Years No two years are the same and it is the same for salaries and trends. For new companies, or companies entering new territory, salary surveys can be of vital importance when making decisions and preparing hiring and budget processes. Your talent is the most important element of your company so getting this right is your most critical action. It Can Help With Salary Negotiations Knowing the value of a new hire is very important but at some stage an existing employee will come to you asking for a raise and salary guides can help you understand the market value of the skills and abilities that your talent possesses, as well as underlining what added value employees can gain through upskilling into new and improving areas of their trade.