Ireland’s unemployment rate of 5.3% has certainly dramatically improved from near 16% in 2012. More people are working in Ireland than ever, which is very positive. The drive to get more business into the regions and outside the main cities is on-going and working. Pressure on housing relative to other major cities, may be overstated but it is in everyone’s interest to balance employment in regional areas. Salary inflation has been increasing in specific areas (IT, legal/compliance, data security, life sciences, banking) and in many cases experienced double digit percentage increases. Ireland is still relatively attractive to mobile European talent, but there has been pressure on salaries because of unprecedented demand. Benefits are increasingly a consideration for applicants, particularly in the technology world where flexible working is becoming the expected norm rather than a differentiating factor. There is no question that the employers who are winning “talent battles” are really looking at their employee experience and also their applicant experience more closely than ever. Effective employer branding was a novelty a few years ago, but now essential in attracting top talent. The good news is that successful employer branding works and ensures salary inflation is not excessive and hiring new talent is controllable Overall, 2019 looks likely to be an interesting year, but as long as we stay competitive and offer some flexibility, Ireland has every reason to believe we can continue to outperform other countries in the war for talent! 2019 Salary Guides for each discipline: Accountancy & Finance Banking & Financial Services Construction & Property Services HR Insurance IT Legal & Compliance Manufacturing & Engineering Marketing Multilingual Office Support Sales Software Sales Science & Pharma Supply Chain
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.
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.
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.
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.
The HR market in Ireland is experiencing increased growth and movement and competition for top talent is still as fierce as ever. The HR Team in Sigmar have compiled a list of themes and questions relating to them that we have seen coming up in HR interviews over the past year which you may find useful. Culture It’s the hot topic on every employer’s lips. Everyone’s company has a unique culture and every company wants theirs to be a point of differentiation in the market. Culture comes from everyone in an organisation but generally it comes down to HR to communicate and drive the company’s strategy around culture. Here are some of the questions to consider: How do you ensure local and international new hires will be a good cultural fit in your organisation? What traits do you feel would suit your organisation the best and why? What are 3 initiatives you have created to improve employee experience and togetherness? Technology This year saw a huge increase in the emphasis on big data and analytics to understand employee interactions and productivity. HR teams can now use technology to identify areas for improvement and for streamlining workflows which can be used for management reporting, performance reviews and identifying inefficiencies. Asking questions like these below can help identify how future focused candidates are: What improvements have you seen from using HR data and analytics in your company? How has HR data and analytics affected HR strategy in your current organisation? How has HR software influenced how HR communicates rewards and benefits information? Attraction and Retention As the market continues to grow, competition for talent is becoming more and more complex. Once the recruitment process is complete Employee Engagement begins and will be very much the focus of many MNC and SME companies in 2016. Questions to consider for interviews: What innovative or creative talent acquisition processes have you developed and what were the results? What methods have you put in place to engage a very diverse workforce including millennials and older generations on a local and global scale? What unique benefit offerings have you introduced to your company? Performance Management (HPWOs) Having a Performance Management process in place is key to the overall strategy of the company. It increases employee satisfaction and is a predictor of the success of future operational goals. As HR in most cases is aligned with the overall corporate strategy, this is a critical function to get right. That being said it is an evolving process with more companies looking at different ways of monitoring performance. What is your idea of an ideal Performance Management process for a large global MNC? Describe if you ever reviewed or implemented a cloud based solution for Performance Management? What were the pros and cons? What has typically been the biggest barriers to building a collaborative culture that supports engagement, satisfaction and performance to ensure sustainable growth? Market Knowledge Generally candidates will always have questions relating to Stakeholder Management, Cost Savings and how you would see their role developing over the first 3, 6 and 12 months in the job. In addition to this these are a couple of typical questions we are seeing being asked at all levels: What type of candidates do you feel will be most sought after over the next 3 years and how would you attract them? What financial and non-financial rewards do you see as the most valuable in the market at the moment and why? What is your thoughts and experience on recruiting through Social Media?
There’s been a lot of talk from government quarters of additional supports for parents. With less than three months to go until the government delivers a pre-election budget, there’s a lot of speculation already on what’s likely to feature in the package of tax and spending measures. To put some context on the financial challenge that parents face, consider this: it costs more than €105,000 to raise a child until their 21st birthday, and parents are forking out more than €4,000 per year on childcare, according to a study published by Laya Life earlier this month. The report, which was prepared by an interdepartmental group established by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, recommended the introduction of paid parental leave for parents of children under one as an extension to existing maternity benefit provision. “There was a desire for extended paid maternity leave and the introduction of shared parental leave,” the report said, in reference to the consultation that framed its findings. It added that a large number of respondents had proposed that “maternity leave be extended to the recommended minimum standard of 12 months. Likewise, greater provision of paternity leave was desired by many”. As a result, the report recommended that additional paid parental leave, which can be taken by either parent, be introduced to immediately follow the existing period of paid maternity leave. How employers deal with working parents comes down to company policy, but in some sectors, where finding staff is hard, better benefits can be used as a bargaining chip. According to Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, director of Sigmar Recruitment, employers in certain areas are fighting with rivals to attract skilled staff. Mac Giolla Phádraig said that in certain sectors were skilled employees were in high demand – such as specific niches of the tech sector – companies were keen to get it right on benefits to attract staff. “What makes a company competitive? That’s key when it comes to benefits,” he said. “Some of the US tech companies, for example, come to Ireland to scale, with money to spend and the acquisition of talent is key to that strategy.” Given the competitive landscape, companies are looking to “go above and beyond” when devising a benefits package for staff. “The free canteen, the gym membership and so on: to an extent that is all expected now in certain sectors,” he said.“Now you hear of companies offering onsite dentists and healthcare, subsidised hairdressers and so on.” Mac Giolla Phádraig said that some companies are now looking to align their benefits with what employees value, giving rise to an increased focus on work-life balance and family friendly policies. The issue of benefits such as paternity leave is a tricky one, according to Mac Giolla Phádraig. “It’s a matter of company policy,” he said. “Some companies will give two days of paid paternity leave, others will give two weeks. Two weeks would be seen as attractive.” Fathers in Ireland do not – for now – have a statutory entitlement to paternity leave. However, as Mac Giolla Phádraig indicated, some employers will provide for a number of days of paid paternity leave for staff on the birth of their child.
Businesses exert a lot of time and resources in sourcing and appointing the right people. Having excellent staff is great but you cannot rest on your laurels. Competitors are always ready to prise them away with lucrative offers. How do you ensure that your best and brightest remain happy in their jobs and committed to your company? Create a nice atmosphere If your workplace is a pleasant place to work, your staff will feel more comfortable and have less reason to seek a move. Good rapport can be fostered by organising occasional staff outings, parties and collective participation in charity events. The investment in morale boosting activities can be crucial to staff retention in the long run. Keep the lines of communication open The phrase ‘my door is always open’ may be a cliché, but every manager should operate an open door policy. Look for employees input at meetings and ask for feedback when introducing new measures or projects and consider implementing suggestions they might have. This openness and transparency generates positivity amongst staff as they feel that you trust them and value their input and opinions. Keep staff challenged The best talent in any organisation want to be challenged in their role. If they are not stimulated by their work they may consider looking for pastures new. Vary tasks where possible. Assign staff to testing projects where they can put their skill set to use in different areas of the company. This will help invigorate staff and make them feel that every day at work represents a new challenge. Reward excellence Hard work and great results need to be acknowledged by management. Few things are more disheartening in the workplace than top class work not being appreciated. Acknowledgement can take the form of bonuses and generous commission rates or staff outings and parties. If employers feel their efforts are going unnoticed they can feel undervalued and begin to look at other organisations where they may receive more recognition and rewards. Allow for work/life balance Companies that recognise that employees have lives outside of the workplace generally have higher staff retention rates. If at all possible, offer schemes that allow for flexi time and even working from home. For example I’m currently working remotely from Canada for Sigmar in Ireland as I really wanted to go travelling for a few months without having to look for a job, so my boss has let me do that. Ensure that you have adequate sick leave in place and provide sufficient holiday time. If employees don’t feel that they are receiving good perks or are unhappy with their work/life balance they could think about making a move. Provide a platform for continued learning Assertive employees want to learn and grow within an organisation. Allow them to attend seminars and training courses and sit internal exams if feasible. Staff will be grateful for the chance to upskill and increase their knowledge base. Opportunity for progression Every ambitious employee has the desire to progress their career as much as possible. It’s vital that structures are in place to allow progression. Hiring from within the organisation can have a really positive effect. Staff can see that there is a chance of advancement within the company. If talented members of the organisation see senior roles being filled by outside candidates, they can feel undervalued and become disheartened. This may lead to them seeking a move to another company where they feel they may receive the opportunities they deserve. Conclusion We hear time and again that employees are an organisations most valuable resource. Keeping them feeling valued and satisfied should be one of your main priorities. Staff leaving can be bad for company spirit and hinder productivity, while finding replacements can be difficult. Happy employees who are comfortable in their post are a lot less likely to leave. The onus is on you as a company to ensure that your employees are content and fulfilled in the job.