“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.
On my commute home from work, I overheard a woman say to her friend “I don’t want to leave my job, so I plan to get a job offer and that will make my current boss offer me more money”. I know I shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but surely people shouldn’t be applying for jobs with intention of using an offer to leverage more money in their current role? This really caught me by surprise. Do people really go through the rigmarole of job seeking just to use the offer to stay in their current job? I decided to investigate this further to see if it really is a feasible plan. What I discovered was 3 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t follow in that lady’s footsteps. 1. Wrong Attitude – Bad Start From the get go the idea of applying for jobs with the aim of using a job offer to leverage your current pay is just poor judgement at best. If you want more money, you should have an honest conversation with your superior and if the conversation doesn’t go the way you hoped, you should apply for jobs that will offer you the pay you desire (with the intention to accept the job and leave your current role). 2. Burning Bridges Receiving a job offer is significant. The company who offered you the role clearly like you. They’ve taken the time to meet you and learn about your abilities and skills. They want you (over everyone else they interviewed) to join their company and because you have been eager through the recruitment process, they assume you want to join their team as well. This is until you suddenly come back to tell them you have accepted a counter offer. Now they know that you were never interested in their company, you only cared about money. You’ve essentially burned your bridges with this company, which could be damaging later in your career. You never know when your paths may cross again, and it could cause all sorts of friction to your work, not to mention awkward tension. 3. Ending Up In The Wrong Job (Regardless Of Which Offer You Accept) There are two outcomes to this scenario, you accept the counter offer or you don’t get a counter offer, and you must accept the job you’ve been offered. Either way, both are the wrong job for you. Let’s start with the counter offer, your boss is now acutely aware of your interest to jump ship and work somewhere else. Your counter offer may have been your boss’s reaction to the shock of losing you and premeditating the stress of finding a replacement. Once this shock subsides however, your boss will only remember the fact you tried to leave and this could affect you in a number of ways. After realising you might leave, your boss will now focus more attention on developing junior staff, this way if you leave he/she will be more confident in your subordinates. Then when the next promotion comes up you won’t be considered and when there are cut backs, it’ll be you that will feel the brunt of it. The second scenario is that you don’t get a counter offer. After all the effort you made to get your job offer to approach your boss and negotiate more pay, your boss shakes your hand and wishes you the best of luck. I imagine this would be quite devastating, but what’s more devastating is starting a job you never really wanted in the first place. You were job hunting for all the wrong reasons and now you have to start a job that really doesn’t suit you. Essentially, it’s not wise to job hunt to seek a counter offer. It’ll make you look disloyal and money hungry to both your current boss and to the company you applied to. If you want more money from your employer, ask for a pay raise and if you are denied, consider searching for a new job, with the aim to accept an offer and leave. Your goal should never be to receive a counter offer. I just hope the woman I overheard on the train didn’t go through with her plan. It looks to me like this can only go badly. I’m sure it is possible however for a counter offer to work out but to apply for jobs to seek out a counter offer, is not the right approach for climbing your career ladder. Let us know if you have ever accepted a counter offer. Do you think it’s a good approach?
Industry & Commerce The strength of the Irish economy has so far withstood the lingering threat of Brexit along with other potential external fears. This has afforded businesses within the industry the opportunity to grow and expand, creating jobs within the sector. We have seen vacancies at all levels being created, with the most significant increase appearing in the €50-60k bracket. Following the trend of 2018, multinational companies have continued to fuel the increase in salaries as competition for talent intensifies. The tech industry has also contributed to growth within the industry as multinational tech firms continue to expand, particularly in Dublin. We expect the accounting industry to continue to expand into 2019 as the Irish economy maintains its steady year on year growth. Salaries For the foreseeable future, accountancy salaries will continue to steadily rise within all industry sectors following the trend of 2018. With most sub sectors benefiting from the growing economy, supply and demand issues will influence salaries at all levels with mid-level positions experiencing the highest rate of inflation. Furthermore, growing economies overseas has increased the demand for talent by creating more jobs attracting potential candidates abroad. This has contributed to the steady rise of salaries at all levels. Financial Services The Irish economy has played a part; however, it is BREXIT that has played the most significant role in job creation over the past 12 months with several large financial services companies growing their presence in Ireland, particularly within their regulatory and treasury teams. Whilst many of the domestic banks and established financial services companies in Ireland have not significantly grown in 2018, the confidence in the jobs market has resulted in opportunities in these institutions as a higher degree of staff turnover has transpired. Salaries Salaries in the financial services sector have risen over the past 12 months with the increased competition for talent coming mainly from the new jobs being created by BREXIT. The most notable increases have been in the mid and upper mid-levels (€50-75k). It is anticipated that salaries will continue to rise in 2019 as the additional accountancy jobs that have been introduced create ‘churn’ in the market and supply and demand factors play a role in ensuring that salary growth is a reality. Looking for an accountancy and finance job? Check out our latest jobs here
Winter has come and gone, and summer is finally upon us. With September typically being the busiest month in recruitment and an onslaught of new roles opening up for applications before autumn, many restless workers start thinking about initiating the job hunt over the summer months. It’s a daunting prospect to say the least, for many. Leaving a familiar workplace and steady salary for the unknown is never a sure bet. Luckily, our good friend Beyoncé is on hand to provide five sure-fire tips to ensure you get your job search off to the best possible start (and be in a good mood while you do so!). What’s It Gonna Be (DANGEROUSLY IN LOVE, 2003) The first question you should ask yourself is exactly what it is you’re looking for by searching for a new job. Is it a change in routine? A desire to try something new? A career change, perhaps? Whatever your reasons, make sure you know exactly what it is you’re looking to gain from the change, as this could well be a question you’re asked in an interview. It’s also important you’re aware of what you want so that you can streamline your applications and ask appropriate questions of your prospective employers to ensure that your move is as smooth and constructive as possible for your career. Hard to Say Goodbye (DREAMGIRLS, 2008) Most people’s first instinct is to immediately start looking for roles outside their current place of work. However, it is often worth considering that there may be opportunities worth exploring internally. If you enjoy working for your company but are looking for more out of your time there, perhaps consider asking around to see if there are any positions opening up in your office, or even other sites, if it’s a large organisation. You’ll find the transition much smoother while still undergoing significant changes in your day-to-day work life. As Queen B sings, it’s “hard to open up that door. You're not sure what you're going for…when you leave your current employer.” (Okay, maybe not that last bit). Upgrade U feat. Jay-Z (B’DAY, 2006) You’ve pinpointed what you want from your next job and that you want to move away from your current company – well done! The next step is to get back to basics and update your CV to suit the new roles you’re applying to. If you’ve been in the same job for a few years, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of doing this, so it might be worth brushing up on some of our top CV mistakes to avoid before you get started. It’s a great idea to revisit and brush up your LinkedIn profile too, particularly if you are applying to roles via the site. It’s easy to forget how important first impressions can be, no matter how experienced you are. So, remember to “Audemars Piguet” your CV and don’t bypass this step! Scared of Lonely (I AM…SASHA FIERCE, 2008) Job searching can be an unnerving experience when you’re doing it on your own. Never fear! You can meet with a consultant to help you through the process. At Sigmar, our consultants are experts in their field and will be ready to help you through the entire process, from application to offer. We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you, like Bey, are scared of being “the only shadow [you] see along the wall.” Best Thing I Never Had (4, 2011) Sometimes, blessings come in the form of disappointments. If you’re not successful in a job application, don’t be downhearted. The right job will come at the right time, even if it may not feel like it right now. The important thing is not to lose sight of your goals and keep your spirits high. Blast Beyoncé on repeat and never give up! So, these are some ways you can channel the Queen of R&B’s unrelenting energy and determination into your job hunt this summer. Bey herself once said “I am a human being…I don’t have control over every situation” – as mere mortals, how can we possibly expect to either? All you can do is follow the steps listed above, stay organised and motivated and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Make sure you enjoy the Summertime (feat. P-Diddy) and you’ll be Jumpin Jumpin for joy before you know it.
The fantasy medieval HBO series, Game of Thrones has become well known for its controversial themes. Kings, queens, knights and rebels all play a deadly game to gain control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and sit upon the Iron Throne. 8 years later and it's safe to say the series would be nothing without its leaders and just like the real world, these leaders come in all shapes and sizes. We have listed 7 different leadership styles portrayed in Game of Thrones. Are you any of these leaders? If not, maybe you’ve worked with one? Maybe you know a Cersei or a Jon Snow? Autocratic Leadership An autocratic leader is one who dictates all policies and procedures. Employees and team members have no say whatsoever in how things are done and are expected to follow the command and control of the leader. Cersei Lannister would be classed as this type of leader. She decides the rules and demands that everyone follow her ways. via GIPHY Democratic Leadership This type of leader is one that takes on board what other people have to say. A democratic leader allows and even encourages others to participate in decision making. Davos Seaworth is this kind of leader. He displays effective listening and sharing. He is also great at building teams which can be seen in his collaboration with Jon Snow (or Aegon Targaryen). via GIPHY Coaching Leadership This leadership style is about helping others to improve themselves and achieve their goals. They are there to provide guidance and counsel. This leadership style can only work if the follower is open to being advised. This style can be seen between Tyrion Lannister and his relationship with Daenerys Targaryen. He provides her with knowledge and guidance when she seeks it. He is well respected, and his advice is highly regarded. via GIPHY Charismatic Leadership A charismatic leader is one often adored by their followers. Their undoubtable charisma and personality may lead people to follow their every word. They can be sometimes viewed as manipulative because their intentions may be often self-focused. Jamie Lannister portrays this style of leadership. His family name automatically gave him status, however his charm, fighting ability and good looks made him a charismatic leader. via GIPHY Transformational Leadership Transformational leadership is where a leader works with teams to identify a change that is needed, creates a vision and then guides their followers by inspiring them. This can be no one other than Daenerys Targaryen. On her relentless mission to rule the seven kingdoms, she uprooted long standing and outdated traditions to achieve her vision of a just and fair world for all. She freed slaves in Astapor, Yunkai and Mareen, freeing all unsullied while gaining their allegiance. via GIPHY Laissez-Faire Leadership This leadership style gives employees complete free reign with little or no supervision. This is very like Sansa Stark’s leadership style in season 7 when she ruled the North in Jon Snow’s absence. Sansa was preoccupied with her reuniting her divided Stark family while keeping a close eye on the cunning Littlefinger. Sansa did very little of her own ruling, seeking refuge in John’s commands. via GIPHY Affiliative Leadership An affiliative leader promotes harmony among his or her followers and helps to resolve any conflict. This type of leader will also build teams and ensure their followers feel connected to one other. John Snow encapsulates this form of leadership. He created once unthinkable alliances putting himself in the firing line to ensure all conflict was resolved. John’s only concern is others and he does his best for everyone while ensuring everything is communicated correctly so everyone understands his rulings and makes sure they feel heard. via GIPHY Let us know what leaders you've come across in your working life.
If these steps are practised daily, they will improve your workplace wellbeing. Connect Find ways to get to know and connect with your colleagues, whether that’s an office pizza night or an opportunity to leave positive messages for your co-workers or just asking your colleagues would they like a tea or coffee. Engaging with the people around you, who you see every day will improve your wellbeing in the workplace. Be Active Get up from your desk and stretch your legs. You can even do this with your colleagues. Ask one person in your office to set an alarm every 40 mins to remind everyone to stand up and stretch. You could even ask some staff to do a lunch time walk with you. Keep Learning Always be proactive with your professional development. Learning new things and developing your skills in your role will keep you motivated and improve your wellbeing. Take Notice of How You Feel Pay attention to how they’re feeling throughout the day, and to take steps to look after your wellbeing. If you are becoming very stressed and overwhelmed activities such as using meditation or getting a plant for your desk could help relief stress. Give If your workplace doesn’t already do this, nominate a company charity of the year, allow staff to share their volunteering experiences and look for ways the company could donate their time to assist charities. To mark Workplace Wellbeing Day on the 12th April 2019, Sigmar Recruitment are doing the following: Staff step challenge - Most active staff member will win a Sports Direct voucher We will also be sharing workplace wellbeing emails to encourage staff to stretch their legs, go for walks and drink water during the day. All staff will be encouraged to take part in Cystic Fibrosis '65 Roses Day' and sell purple roses on behalf of the charity to raise money Mindfulness colouring docks in all the kitchens. Smoothies for all staff It's set to be a great day!
With the day that's in it, we decided to search the internet for examples of the funniest office April Fools pranks and we came up with these top ten pranks and practical jokes. 1. Airhorn Pranks 2. Desk Mess 3. “Free Doughnuts in the Canteen” 4. Team Meeting Prank 5. Occupied Toilet 6. Candied Onion 7. The Grudge in the Ceiling 8. New Office Technology 9. April Fools Birthday Prank 10. Levitating Desk Prank
In last week’s blog we looked at 5 Tips to Build Your Professional Network, this week we want to take a look at why networking is so important to your professional development. It can be a daunting task for those who wouldn’t consider themselves overly social, but the rewards to your professional and personal growth are endless. 1. Get Help and Be Helped One of the most significant parts of building a professional network is the opportunity it presents you to ask others for help when you need it and to help other people in your network. It happens to all of us at some point when we need an extra pair of hands to help us solve a problem. All jobs present bumps in the road and it’s great to have a professional network you can lean on in times of struggle and vice versa you can lend a helping hand when your network need help. 2. Be Inspired by Ideas Networking can be so beneficial to our creativity and inspire us to do more in our work. If you’re feeling a little lost or not as pumped about your job as you once were, go to a work event or conference and start talking to people! These people can have a similar role as you or a completely different role, or just work in the same industry. Don’t focus on what level they are either. Different levels of experience will bring you all kinds of different insights. It doesn’t matter what role they are in or what level they are, they will always share something new with you. It’s a great way to come back to the office with new and exciting ideas. 3. Build a Good Reputation Building your network will get you known among those in your industry. More visibility is a great way to build your reputation. Getting yourself out there and being noticed by your peers will help you make a name for yourself. Word of mouth can go very far and if you make enough good impressions a level of trust for you and what you do will follow. This will stand to you if you decide to apply for a new role. You may not know your interviewer directly, but they may have a connection to you through a mutual contact, who has nothing but positive things to say about you. 4. Grow your Confidence Career advancement isn’t the only benefit to networking. It can help with your personal growth as well. By continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, will help you to build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn. 5. Gain New Friendships The last benefit doesn’t impact your professional career, but it doesn’t make it any less significant. Spending time socialising and building your network will naturally lead you to making friends. Some of the strongest and long-standing friendships have started as work connections. The people you network with will be like-minded with similar aspirations and struggles as you so it’s not unlikely that a work relationship could develop into a friendship. We have heard it time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important to your career, but networking can benefit you personally just as much as it can professionally. Spending time networking will be very worthwhile and the best part is that it’s never too late to start investing in your network.
We have heard it being said time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important, but networking requires more than just sending connection requests on LinkedIn and swapping business cards. Networking is a skill and when mastered, can be very beneficial to your career progression. Here are some key ways to improve your networking skills. 1. Ask to be Introduced If you know of someone who you would like in your professional network, but are not sure how to approach them, start by seeking out a mutual relationship. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but not by sending them a connection request. View the persons profile and scan through your mutual connections. Ask one of your mutual connections to strategically introduce you. This can be done online via video chat or by them arranging a meeting. 2. Find Common Ground This is the best way to make a lasting impression on someone. Find out a bit about the person before your introduction or if your introduction isn’t pre-arranged and you don’t know them, ask questions to get to know them. Questions like “Did you travel far to get here?”, “Did you see the match last night?”, “Have you been away on holidays yet?” etc. to casually find out their interests. Usually one of their answers will strike a chord and you can go from there. The best way to really connect with someone is to find that common ground. 3. Never Start by Asking for Something If you’re starting off your relationship with this person by asking them what they can do for you, the relationship is destined to go nowhere. No one likes to be asked for a favour, especially by a stranger. Start by offering them something, a way you can help them. If you dive into a conversation asking for something the answer is more than likely going to be no but if you offer a way you would like to help them, they are more inclined to accept. 4. Don’t Collect Business Cards and LinkedIn Connections A lot of people assume that they have a good network based on the amount of business cards they have stuffed in a drawer or how many LinkedIn connections they have. With this, I would say it is quality not quantity. You will go a lot further and have more opportunities in your career having a very focused network. Carefully focus on building meaningful relationships and not just a bank of contacts. 5. Follow Up Probably the most important part of networking is to follow up afterwards. This is where a conversation with someone can become a meaningful relationship. After your initial meeting, call them up a day or two later and follow up on the chat you had or connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a message. It’s never too late to invest in your network. It can be daunting but it can be so worth while. As said by Deena Baikowitz - Chief Networking Officer at Fireball Network, "the worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all."