Professor Sir Cary Cooper: How to build a culture of employee wellbeing - YouTube
Here’s what a culture of employee wellbeing
Sushi at your desk
Ping pong tables
So what exactly is a culture of employee
If anybody is qualified to answer this question, it is Professor Sir Cary Cooper. As “the media’s first choice for comment on workplace issues”, he hardly needs any introduction.
Hit play to learn his favourite tips on enhancing employee wellbeing. And if you enjoy this video, you might enjoy reading Professor Cooper’s more detailed thoughts on why you should stop sending emails after hours.
Public health laws in the UK say that enclosed workplaces and public places must be smoke free. But beyond this, there’s not much written in law that stops your employees from stepping outside, and lighting a cigarette. But should you let them, or should you try to create a totally smoke free workplace?
Dr David Roomes is the Chief Medical Officer at engineering company Rolls-Royce, employing over 55,000 people. Rolls-Royce takes employee wellbeing very seriously. And creating a smoke free workplace is exactly what Dr Roomes did, in an effort to promote better health and wellbeing for his employees.
Health and wellbeing is best when it is simple
“People overcomplicate health and
wellbeing” says Dr Roomes, “but actually, the four things you can do to make
the biggest difference, are simple.”
Dr Roomes says that the key to better
health and wellbeing, are:
As an ex-smoker, that last point got my
brain ticking. How the hell do you stop employees from smoking? Is it a
personal freedom you should put up with, or should you be taking matters into
your own hands, for the greater good?
Going smoke free across the board
“At Rolls-Royce, we have taken the approach
of going globally smoke free” Dr Roomes tells me. “What that means is not just
not smoking in buildings, but not smoking on any real-estate that we own or
Dr Roomes recognises that people have the
right to smoke, but says that does not mean they should have the right to smoke
on company premises.
“What we previously had was smoking
shelters” he says. “But while we recognise that they are not doing anything
‘wrong’ by smoking – it is perfectly legal – we decided that they should be
doing it on their own time, and away from our premises.”
Why pay to promote self harm?
But if the company had previously provided
smoking shelters, I wondered why the change of heart? Dr Roomes told me that he
doesn’t believe it is right for a company to collude with self harm.
“It’s harmful” he says, fully aware that
this is not news to anybody. “Yet companies spend thousands putting up a
smoking shelter – you’re investing thousands of pounds to enable smoking!
You’re actually paying to help people self-harm.”
Thinking I was being clever, I asked Dr Roomes
if it is not the same as providing free chocolate. He laughed – he’d heard this
“Well, there is a safe amount of chocolate
you can eat” he says. “There is no health benefit to cigarette smoking.”
Don’t just pull the rug out from under their feet
While I fully support measures that improve
health and wellbeing in the workplace, I couldn’t help but feel as if a sudden
smoke free workplace might be too much of a shock to the system. After all, if
we took this back a couple of years, and somebody suddenly told me that I
wasn’t allowed to smoke on company premises anymore, it’s safe to say I would
be pretty pissed off.
“We did not pull the rug out from under
anybody’s feet” Dr Roomes reassures me. “We put a two-year lead time into
introducing the policy, and we put into place smoking cessation support
programmes for those people who wanted to quit.”
Dr Roomes says that as well as being a
personal freedom, smoking is an addiction – you can’t just deal with the
problem by pretending it’s not there. So if you plan to introduce a smoke free
workplace yourself, then make sure you give employees plenty of notice, and put
the support programme into place to help them quit if they want to.
Encourage employees to quit smoking for a healthier
You can’t – and shouldn’t – try to force
employees to quit smoking. But if you can successfully encourage them to make
this big life change, you and they will reap the rewards.
“There are so many benefits to stopping
smoking” says Dr Roomes “and they’re not just physical. Stopping smoking
improves bloodflow to the brain, which supports better mental health.”
If you think mental health in the workplace
is just another fad, think again. We’re becoming a nation of tech junkies, and
according to leading neuroscientist, Baroness Susan Greenfield, our brains are
physically changing as a result.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution you can
use, which will help employees to physically reverse the damage caused by
addiction to technology, and the demand for instant gratification.
Plasticity separates humans from machines – so why don’t
we know what it is?
The biggest difference between human brains
and artificial brains, is that human brains physically grow and shrink, to
adapt to the tasks we are asking it to do. This is something called ‘plasticity’,
and when Baroness Greenfield explained it to me at UNLEASH London 2019, it was
the first time I’d ever heard of it.
“It’s been a known phenomenon for a very
long time” she told me over coffee, “but not many people are aware of it. The
brain is understandable by everyone, but the sad fact is that it’s not taught
Greenfield says that just like physical exercise increases muscle strength, the parts of our brain that we exercise the most, will also become our strongest. It’s why London taxi drivers have an enlarged hippocampus, for example. But what does this have to do with mental health in the workplace?
Addiction is a form of
Plasticity doesn’t just apply to positive things, such as skilful navigation. It also applies to negative, self-destructive behaviours. And experts such as Marina Wolf, professor of behavioural neuroscience, tend to agree that addiction is simply another form of neural plasticity.
According to Greenfield, a brain scan of a
gambling addict will likely show growth in the areas that handle dopamine
production and delivery. And actually, this is not exclusive to gamblers – it
is true of addiction in general. Including addiction to technology.
And this is where this all circles back to
mental health in the workplace – and how it’s not just a fad, but a problem
that is literally, physically growing.
Technology is turning your workforce into a mob of
reckless thrill seekers
We are in the middle of the 4th
industrial revolution, and with it comes opportunity. But with it also comes
danger – in the form of flashing lights and glowing screens.
From Candy Crush to World of Warcraft, as a
species we have perfected the art of in-the-moment, hyper sensational pleasure.
We have figured out the precise ingredients needed to stimulate our senses in
the here and now, and to keep ourselves hooked to our own inventions.
“More people than ever are craving instant
feedback and immediate gratification” says Baroness Greenfield. “There is
research that tells us people would prefer to be electrocuted, than to feel
nothing at all. We are actually addicted to fast, furious stimulation.”
Greenfield says that concepts such as
gamification are causing a glassy-eyed nation of tech junkies, who are
constantly seeking their next fix, their next achievement, their next thrill.
She also says that if you scan the brain of a tech addict, it will look
disturbingly similar to the brain of a gambling addict, a food addict or a drug
Technology addiction is not harmless
You might be thinking that “technology
addiction” is a relatively harmless phrase. After all, it’s not like the other
You’re not handing your salary to the
casino bosses. You’re not eating your way to a heart attack. And you’re
certainly not screwing your vital organs up by putting harmful chemicals into
But actually, Greenfield tells me that just
like any addiction, technology addiction is harmful. And not just because it
can swallow months of your life, demanding you to complete pointless tasks in
an attempt to harvest your data.
“It changes the way we behave” she says.
“Addicts have short attention spans, and display more reckless behaviour with
less awareness of risk.”
There is a difference between reckless
behaviour, and calculated risk-taking. One is generally good for business, the
other generally isn’t. And Greenfield says that a workforce of addicts is far
more likely to lean towards reckless behaviours, with poor risk calculation, in
an attempt to find that next dopamine hit.
Technology should be delivering an enriched version of the
So is the solution to a workforce full of
addicts with short attention spans, to simply remove technology from the equation?
Probably not. And actually, technology does
an awful lot for us. And besides, if you throw a smoker’s cigarettes away, it’s
not going to take away their addiction.
Baroness Greenfield says that instead, we
should be looking at how we design, build, promote, and use technology.
“Technology is helpful to a lot of people
in a lot of ways” she says. “But instead of replacing our lives with a new
virtual world, we should be using tech to deliver an enriched version of the
You can help repair tech-addicted brains by telling more
Throughout my entire conversation with
Baroness Greenfield, I had one burning question on my lips: If we are
physically destroying our brains with addiction, then how can we start to
repair the damage? How can we encourage employees to reduce the need for
instant gratification, and how can we use this knowledge to improve mental
health in the workplace?
The answer, says Greenfield, is narrative.
Telling more stories, and engaging in more activities with a clear beginning,
middle and end.
“You can give people back their identity,
by giving them a better sense of past, present and future” she explains. “The
current world is dependent on the moment. The screen is popular because it is
hypersensational, faster, brighter, noisier… more extreme. And the way you beat
that, is by giving people back a life story, a frame of past present and
future, and a sense of time passing.”
Story-based activities to encourage in the workplace
Here are a list of suggested activities for
employees, which Baroness Greenfield says could help reduce the need for
instant gratification, and improve mental health in the workplace.
“These are all activities that require you
to pace your time” she explains. “They also have a clear beginning, middle and
end. Besides, you can’t get on the phone while you’re serving at tennis, can
She also adds that in our personal lives,
we should be giving more hugs, picking more flowers, and climbing more trees.
Why? Because you’re making these decisions, you’re in control, and the smells,
the colours and the sensations that these sorts of activities deliver, have a
wonderful impact on wellbeing.
About Baroness Susan Greenfield
Baroness Greenfield is a leading
neuroscientist, who holds 32 honorary degrees from UK and foreign universities.
Her life work focuses on finding a cure for
Alzheimer’s, and she has written many books which have helped people to
understand the brain better, and even inspired many others to become
When Google’s Chief Decision Scientist, Cassie Kozyrkov, took the stage at UNLEASH London 2019, I knew we were in for a treat. And the presentation she delivered, on mastering business intelligence, did not disappoint. In fact, it got me thinking about the future of artificial intelligence and HR.
Cassie’s presentation at UNLEASH London
helped me further articulate some of my thoughts in this area. In particular, how
artificial intelligence and HR will influence each other, in the years to come
– and how we must be careful not to see AI as a lazy solution to our human
Let’s explore in more detail.
AI is just another tool
When I use the phrase “artificial
intelligence and HR working together”, perhaps it conjures up an image of two
different entities, a robot and a human, each with different skills, different
abilities, and different thoughts and feelings, working together. But, spoiler
alert, it turns out that we don’t actually “work together with robots”. Well,
at least no more than we “work together with hammers”.
People often talk about AI and robots, as
if they are living, conscious beings. But according to Kozyrkov, although it
might feel like robots are scarily close to becoming our equals – or even our
superiors – artificial intelligence is still just another tool.
Google’s Cassie Kozyrkov breaks down big data, AI and Machine Learning at UNLEASH 2019
“Tools we choose to use are always better
than humans at something” she explains. “We use them to let ourselves do more.
AI is just another tool, and the way you use it is up to you.”
Kozyrkov uses the example that we don’t
work together witha hammer. We use a hammer to help us do a job.
Because, let’s face it, hitting nails in with bare fists isn’t a particularly
And AI is no different. Just like a hammer,
AI is better at doing things for us, such as crunching lots of data in a short
space of time. Just like a hammer, AI is just another tool we have invented, to
help us do a job we are not very good at.
The skill of the decision maker determines the results
But while AI is good for crunching data,
finding patterns, and predicting future behaviours, it is still very much
limited by the skill of the decision maker. And if you’re wondering who the
decision maker is in this context, it is the person who programmed the AI.
“Unreliable workers can be better workers,
if they have bad decision makers as managers” says Kozyrkov. “This is because
when they are given bad instructions, they don’t execute them reliably! Put a
reliable worker under a bad manager, and you’ll get a reliable execution of bad
decisions. And if you put AI in the hands of a bad instruction giver, you will
get the most reliable worker of all – and you will have a super reliable,
scaled-up version of those bad decisions!”
In other words, while AI is very good at
executing commands, you have to be certain that the commands being given, are
good. Otherwise, AI can end up actually hindering your success.
Predicting an employee’s
ability to meet key performance indicators
Executing repetitive HR admin
tasks with no human error
But while this all sounds very positive,
it’s not always as clear cut as it sounds. Why? Because not only is this all
influenced by the way the AI has been programmed, but it is also influenced by
the people in charge of collecting and producing the data the AI is processing.
Data is still just a biased text book
“Why do we give Data a capital D!?”
Kozyrkov asked the room at UNLEASH London. “Data is just another biased text
book, written by humans. And if you want to reach the right conclusion, you
need to have different text books, written by different groups, with different biases.”
Simply using AI to process data will not do
magical things. You won’t instantly remove bias from the recruitment process,
simply by using AI. You have to feed the right datasets into the right
“You need diversity of data” says Kozyrkov.
“Even with big data, diversity is still super important. If you’re not careful,
you will end up with nothing more than an echo chamber, replicating the
thoughts and biases of the people who put the dataset together.”
AI won’t solve HR’s problems, but you can still use it as
Just because we now have the programming
skills, the computing power, and the quantities of data to use machine
learning, doesn’t mean that we are suddenly going to solve all of our HR
issues. Our datasets are still full of bias that we can’t even see, and our
robots are still restricted by the people giving them their instructions.
But if you blindly trust AI and big data to
solve your HR issues, then you’re probably setting yourself up for
Or maybe you’re not. After all, if you create
an echo chamber of bias, then the results you’re getting will feel right, because
they align with your own beliefs. And you’re therefore probably not going to
notice that there is anything wrong.
Top performers are the future leaders of your company, and it is
advisable to start mentoring them as early in their careers as possible.
But how do you approach this?
Will flying your team to Germany to
attend some kind of conference make them stay with your company longer?
What you can do instead is ask your people how
they want to develop and how you
could support them in their pursuit.
At Zety, each and every employee has
access to a personal development fund.
This allows our people to spend a
certain amount of money on any personal development opportunities that they
For example, it could be attending a local marketing conference, hosting
a Google Analytics workshop, etc.
When your people know you genuinely
care about them and their professional growth, they reciprocate allowing for a
Pro Tip: Consider using Individual Development
Plan (IDP), which is a great tool to assist employees in their both
professional and personal development.
Outline career advancement
A job is attractive as long as it
allows a person to develop professionally. That is why your people should have
a clear idea of their career opportunities within the company.
Even taking into account such factors as remuneration, position, and industry, a study run by Glassdoor showed that employees who filled the same position for too long are much more likely to switch to another company for further career growth.
One large company listed on Glassdoor
solved the problem. Here is how they did it.
The high-performance employees were
given access to private forums headed by the CEO, who discussed the most
pressing issues facing the company.
The employees shared their thoughts
and offered their solutions to the problems, which not only increased the
transparency and the level of engagement
but also allowed the top management to communicate with the rising stars.
At Zety, we developed a clear policy
for landing a promotion within the company.
So what criteria do we keep in mind
when promoting our employees? There are several of them, actually.
Professional experience within the
Topnotch performance backed up by 2
performance reviews (we tend to avoid
promoting employees based on recent wins no matter how major they might be).
as well as leadership/managerial skills that would match the minimum
requirements to fill in the position.
Importantly, we do not tolerate
promotions based on the subjective opinions of line managers. This is unfair
toward the rest of the employees and is detrimental to our culture.
So if you want to retain your best
specialists, you need to provide them with clear-cut career advancement
opportunities and position them as future leaders as early in their careers as
Max Woolf is a writer. He is passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and travelling to European countries. You can find him on LinkedIn.
When business is steady going, HR data is
steady flowing. But business is not always steady going – and sometimes, there’s
an influx of HR data. And whether that’s because of a recruitment drive, an
acquisition, or just a change of systems… dealing with large quantities of new
HR data is something you just have to do sometimes.
Why you need to mitigate the risks of missing data
When it comes to HR admin, human error is one of the costliest mistakes. But when you get a sudden influx of HR data, it can be easy to miss important details. Especially if you’re trying to input each line of data manually.
“As an employment attorney I am constantly
amazed at the lack of quality record keeping when it comes to employees” says
employment lawyer Richard Celler. “During an employment case, the discovery
process typically reveals missing records and incomplete forms. This is a sure
fire way to increase settlement amounts and lose employment lawsuits.”
But it’s not just the legal side that should drive you to keep accurate
records. Most of the HR data you hold, is probably held for a good reason – if
you’re missing things like address details, bank details, or next of kin
information, then you’re setting yourself up for potential disaster.
Digitalise the inbound flow of HR data
According to Nate Masterson, HR Manager for Maple Holistics, the first step to dealing with a mass influx of HR data, is making sure it all arrives in one consistent, digital format.
“It’s the best way to organise everything
and save space and resources” he explains. “It also makes it easy to sort
through. It’s common to receive an influx of HR data if your company is in the
process of recruiting, but if you only accept emailed resumes for example, it
will help simplify your system.”
During an acquisition, it’s OK to maintain separate
systems for a while
Acquisitions can be a lot to handle for HR.
One reason is because HR ends up scrambling to merge all HR data into one
uniform system. But while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the long run,
it’s not always the right answer immediately.
“Sudden and abrupt change can disrupt workflows” says Tammy Cohen, founder of InfoMart. “For HR departments dealing with a flood of data, particularly due to mergers or acquisitions, consolidating technology systems is simpler in the long run. But leaders should consider the needs of each business unit within their organisation, and allow them to maintain their current environment for a period of time.”
You have a lot to deal with already when a
merger or an acquisition is on its way. No need to further complicate this by
taking people out of the environments and systems they’re used to – at least,
not until the dust has settled.
Adding an influx of data requires a consistent process
Whether it’s a merger, an acquisition, a
recruitment drive, or something else completely, you need a consistent process
if you want to mitigate the risks of missing data. Now, depending on your HR
system will depend on how you do this.
Entering each line of data bit
Performing a bulk data upload
Requesting the service from
your HR software provider
You probably want to avoid entering each
line of data bit by bit, as this will require a dedicated data entry professional,
and runs you a greater risk of missing data. Of course, if you use a
paper-based HR system, or spreadsheets, then this may be your only option.
Paid service VS bulk data upload
If you are trying to add an influx of HR
data to a digital HR system, then the company supplying the software will most
likely offer a data load, normally as a paid extra service. This is because in
the background, your software provider will have a data specialist working on
transferring your data from one format to another.
But if you don’t want to pay for this kind
of service, or wait for your service provider to tell you it’s ready, then you
may want to enquire about the option of a bulk data upload that you can do
The way this works requires a bit of groundwork,
but not much. Generally, you just need to add your bulk data to a pre-prepared
spreadsheet template, and then check all fields match up. If done correctly,
this template should then correspond perfectly with the fields in your HR
system – as long as the template has been supplied by your software provider.
If you’ve created it yourself, this might not work so well!
So if you don’t want to risk making
mistakes with slow, manual data entry, and you don’t want to wait for a
professional to migrate your data for you, then ask for a data load template.
Not all HR software suppliers will offer this, but it won’t hurt to ask.
If you’re still debating whether it’s a
good or bad thing, then read that article. Today, I’m going to assume that
instead of trying to ‘beat’ the smartphone addiction at work, you’re trying to
take advantage of it.
Quicker compliance & a better audit trail
Have you ever felt like getting key company
documents signed is a constant game of cat and mouse? The trouble is not that
people don’t see the policies or documents… it’s that they are far too busy
doing their work, to remember to sign them, and return them to HR.
If you have an online HR system, then you’re one step ahead of the game already – employees can electronically sign documents once they’ve read them. But why stop at just desktop and laptop computers?
If your HR
system has the capability for eSigning documents, then encouraging employees to
do this from their mobile phone, will help you keep your response rate high –
and the auditors happy!
Plus, you may be
able to edit and upload your own HR documents from your own mobile phone.
Remember, you probably use your smartphone just as much as your employees do.
Tracking time and attendance is one of the most understated benefits of smartphones, as far as HR is concerned. There are so many ways to clock in and out. But why don’t more HR professionals consider the advantages of using smartphones?
I mean, seriously. It’s easy to forget a
punch code. It’s easy to forget to add a name to a spreadsheet. It’s very easy
to leave an ID card at home. But how often have you gone to work without your
mobile phone, or forgotten the pin code to unlock it?
We are so attached to our smartphones, that
we are almost literally becoming a nation of cyborgs. And research from 2014
says that even if you do forget your mobile phone, 3 in 10 people would go back
home to get it, no matter how far they
were from the house.
HR can use this obsession of never leaving
a phone behind, by utilising this pocket computer to support clocking in and
out. For example:
Geofencing can clock employees in
and out when they enter a particular geographic area
Proximity beacons can
automatically clock employees in when they are close enough to the beacon
QR scanners on phones can scan
codes to prove particular locations have been visited
Allowing smartphones encourages a more honest, open way of
Natalie Lynch is a solicitor. And she says that if HR fails to embrace the working style of the era, then they are mandating a workplace that has incentive to sneak or become unmarketable. In other words, stopping employees using their phones just encourages them to go behind your back – which is more of an issue.
“Smartphones can be locked down in ways
that make sense to each employer, according to their security issues” she
reassures. “By embracing smartphones, HR is acknowledging the acceleration of
business, research and integration.”
Lynch says that even employers operating in
locked down free trade zones find ways to utilise phones to keep their
employees relevant and efficient, while safeguarding company data.
Other advantages of encouraging smartphones in the
Smartphones at work encourage transparency
and honesty. They can offer HR innovative new ways to track time and
attendance, and they can get more key documents signed, faster. Here are a few
other ways HR can embrace smartphone addiction:
Engagement. Using smartphones as a way to engage employees is a great way of taking advantage of the fact that they probably have their phone with them at all times. Sending “thanks” notifications to recognise and appreciate is one idea. Some companies also use HR apps to notify employees of exciting company events.
Secure chat. Some HR departments like to use mobile phones as a way to engage in secure chat with employees. For example, the People® app offers auditable chat functionality between team members and their manager – meaning you can have confidential HR discussions with employees, wherever they are.
Tracking team time. A good way HR can encourage smartphone use, is by helping employees see when their team members are working, or when they are away. With a team calendar synched to a mobile phone, there’s no need to go hunting for somebody who isn’t there.
If you are a People® customer, you can use our smartphone app for Android and IOS, completely free of charge. Just download from the app store here:
Presenteeism describes an employee who works, when perhaps they shouldn’t. For example, by clocking in at the office, despite being sick. Wikipedia says that “presenteeism, or working while sick, can cause productivity loss, poor health, exhaustion and workplace epidemics.”
On the surface, it’s easy to conclude that
presenteeism is the logical solution to absenteeism. After all, you want more
bottoms on seats. Less sick days? Hell yeah! But actually, the reality isn’t
quite so rosy.
Let’s look at a quick experiment I did last
I asked our illustrator to work with an injured hand
Now, earlier this month, Richard had an
operation on his hand. The hand he draws with. He had to take time off work,
because his hand didn’t work properly.
But for the sake of science, I asked him if
he would mind drawing us a picture, before his hand fully healed. To see what
happened when we ‘made’ him work before he was well enough to work. He obliged,
and the result is at the top of this article. So what’s the problem?
You’ll get results – but they might not be the results you
As you can see, the picture Richard drew
for us, is a good picture. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s a great picture –
I’m a big fan of artists like Quentin Blake, and their deliberately ‘messy’
But the lines are rough, the colour spills
over the edge, and it probably wasn’t the most enjoyable experience for
Richard. So despite actually liking the cover picture for this article, I’m not
convinced that we should be encouraging employees to work through their
sickness at all!
You don’t want payroll doing a
‘deliberately messy’ pay run one month. And I doubt a customer in a cake shop
would be happy with an ‘artistic impression’ of the specific cake they had
But presenteeism can impact more than just
the work your employees produce. And it isn’t always a visible illness your
employee might be struggling with.
When an invisible illness reaches breaking point
“We recently had an issue with a mentally ill employee” says Matthew Ross, co-owner of The Slumber Yard. “This particular employee was having some issues at home, and started to show some signs of stress. My business partner and I just assumed it was temporary and that it would pass.”
Unfortunately for Ross, the issues were a
lot deeper than he realised. When Ross called the sick employee to check on his
workload one evening, it sent him over the edge. Instead of locking up as
normal, the employee smashed the glass door entrance to the office.
“I arrived at the office the next morning,
to discover that homeless people had been sleeping there” recalls Ross. “They
didn’t steal much, only some food and a laptop. But we had about $100k worth of
inventory in the back!”
Ross and his business partner have since
taken action, urging the employee to get help dealing with his stress. But they
reflect that if they had taken action earlier, and recognised ‘presenteeism’,
this could have been far more beneficial for everybody involved.
79% of employees force themselves to work while sick
The issue of presenteeism spreads far and
wide. Our latest research found that 79% of employees are too afraid to call in
Illnesses that people most commonly force
themselves to work through include:
Colds and flu
Back and joint pains
Stress or emotional crises
This is bad for the individual, and bad for
your organisation. Whether it’s a mental illness causing a breakdown, a broken
leg causing an accident, or a common cold causing an epidemic. As employers,
are we putting too much pressure on employees to come into work when they are
not fit to do so?
By Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job
Are you planning to hire more people this year? Well, you’re not alone. According to CV-Library’s latest research, 72.2% of UK organisations say their level of recruitment is set to increase in 2019.
But, while this is a positive sign that the
UK economy is growing, it also means that more companies are battling it out
for the very best workers. As such, there’s more pressure on organisations to
stay ahead of the game and remain competitive in the current market.
So, if you’re looking to boost your
recruitment efforts in 2019, read on for our top tips on how to do so.
1. Develop your employer brand
According to our study, 54.5% of companies will focus on developing their employer brand this year and this strategy can certainly pay off. Today’s job hunters know what they want and certainly won’t settle for anything but the best opportunities, with the top employers.
With this in mind, you need to put yourself
in the shoes of your candidate. What would you think of your company if you
looked it up on Google? What does your website say about you? What tone are you
using on your social media accounts? What will they find out on company review
Taking control of your employer brand means
owning the messaging that’s out there about your organisation. Essentially, you
want to show that you have a great company culture and that you’re an employer
that cares about your staff. So, make sure you’re shouting about key perks and
any great employee stories online.
2. Target passive candidates
Unemployment is currently at its lowest rate for over 40 years, which means less people are actively looking for work. Because of this, it’s no longer enough to sit back in hope that job hunters will apply for your roles. Instead, you need to take a proactive approach to engaging with passive candidates.
Note that this isn’t necessarily the same
as head-hunting. Your ultimate goal is to get people interested in your brand
and you can achieve this through social media and by publishing eye-catching
What’s more, consider the types of events
your target audience are attending. By building relationships with passive
candidates, you’ll ultimately be building a talent pool for the future.
3. Focus on candidate experience
As mentioned earlier, candidates hold the power in the current market. Therefore, if you want to boost your recruitment efforts in 2019, you’ll need to focus on creating a great candidate experience.
This starts from the moment they look at
your job advert, right through to when they come in and meet you for an
interview. Consider key factors such as how long you’re taking to get back to
applicants and how effective your interview process is. After all, if the
entire process feels tedious for candidates, they’re likely to start exploring
other opportunities, elsewhere.
Alongside this, think about the impression
they’ll have of your company when they come into your office. Is someone there
to greet them at the door? Are the interviewers polite and fair? In today’s
climate, you can’t afford to put individuals off your roles by making small
4. Streamline your application process
Further to the above, a massive part of the
candidate experience is your application process. According to our research,
58.6% of hiring professionals understand that candidates don’t want to spend
hours completing application forms.
What’s more, 60.7% of hiring professionals
don’t think application forms are necessary these days, with 55.7% stating that
a CV and cover letter provides enough information.
If you do require candidates to fill in an
application form, try to make it as short and simple as possible to avoid any
drop-offs and increase the amount of applications you receive.
5. Invest in the right technology
A huge part of boosting your recruitment efforts is about investing in the right tools to help you. Whether it’s a job board, Applicant Tracking System, or other HR technology, 89.5% of firms are planning on using technologies within their recruitment process in the next 12 months.
In particular, we’ve found that more
companies are planning to invest in Artificial Intelligence, with 38.7% believing
that it can help to speed up the time to hire and 27.4% that it can help to
screen candidates effectively.
Consider what elements of the hiring
process are taking up the majority of your time and think about which tools can
help to boost your recruitment efforts as a result.
6. Measure success
Finally, it’s extremely important to set
benchmarks and understand what success looks. After all, it’s all very well
investing in all of the above, but if you don’t know whether it’s working or
not, then how can you expect to boost your recruitment efforts?
Points to consider might include the
average time to hire, the amount of clicks on your job adverts that convert
into applications and the amount of offers you make that convert to hires.
In doing so, you should be able to pick out
key areas of your hiring process that may not be working effectively, giving
you the opportunity to fix them before it becomes a bigger problem.
Boost your recruitment efforts in 2019
Overall, if you want to attract, recruit
and retain the very best workers in 2019, it’s important to put the time and
effort into boosting your recruitment process.
So, take the above insights on board and
consider what you can do to stand out from the competition and make the right
hires this year.
Have you ever found yourself questioning whether or not an employee really is sick? If so, then you may be contributing to a national problem. You see, the number of employees too afraid to take a sick day is growing – and that’s not good for their wellbeing, or for your business.
To mark National Sickie Day 2019, we surveyed over 2,000 adults across the UK. We discovered that 79% go to work while sick. For many people, this is because they fear judgement, or feel pressure from their boss.
We hope that our research sheds some light on the pressing need to give employees time to rest and recover if they are physically or mentally unwell.
Why 79% of UK employees are too afraid to take a sick day
Our research revealed that 79% of UK employees admit going to work while physically or mentally unwell. And even when they don’t force themselves to go in, 67% of UK employees feel guilty about taking time off work due to health-related issues.
The reasons people forced themselves to work despite being ill, included:
Worried about falling behind on workload (40%)
Pressure from their boss (24%)
Wanting to be seen in the office (22%)
22% of respondents said they had also forced themselves to go to work because they don’t get sick pay. It’s also interesting to note that 30% of respondents were too scared to talk to their bosses about needing time off, and 40% of respondents felt their bosses didn’t believe that they were genuinely ill when they actually rang in sick.
These are the most common illnesses that people come to work with
In our survey, we asked what kinds of illnesses people were suffering from, when they had forced themselves to go to work anyway. Here are some of the most common:
Colds and flu (66%)
Back and joint pains (28%)
Stomach ailments (24%)
Stress or emotional crises (22%)
As an employer, it is normal for you to want your employees to come to work. But if you’re not careful, you can facilitate ‘presenteeism’ – where employees are physically present, but not really fit to be working.
“Companies who encourage people to rest when they are physically or mentally unwell, benefit from lower staff turnover and better productivity” said Sat Sindhar, Managing Director at People HR. “Besides, is it really responsible to let an ill person serve food, operate dangerous machinery, or run payroll?”
The difference between men and women
As you might expect, we found a significant difference when we compared male and female responses. While both genders were well-represented in being afraid to take a sick day, their reasons for turning up to work differed somewhat.
One big difference, was that men were more concerned with missing out on work opportunities (16% vs 10%), while women were more concerned with being judged by other colleagues (16% vs 10%).
Overall, women were slightly more likely to go into work despite needing time off (82% vs 77%). This could be linked to the fact that they were more likely to feel that their boss didn’t believe them when they were genuinely ill (42% vs 38%).
32% of women were nervous about approaching their boss about taking a sick day, whereas only 27% of men shared the same concern.
This is what you can do to improve your employees’ wellbeing
We asked UK employees what they would want from their employer, in order to improve their wellbeing and do a better job. The 10 most popular selections were:
An extra day off for your birthday (33%)
Free breakfast (30%)
Unlimited holiday (29%)
Fruit provided (27%)
Allocated ‘duvet days’ (25%)
Health insurance (25%)
A work ‘nap room’ (23%)
Free massages at work (22%)
Free yoga classes during work hours (19%)
Discounted membership at nearby gyms (17%)
Despite the fact that giving employees an extra day off on their birthday was the most popular benefit, only 7% of respondents said that their company actually offered this.
About this research
This research was commissioned by People HR, and carried out by Atomik Research. The data was collected via an online survey of 2,002 UK adults aged 18+, which took place on 10th-15th January 2019. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researches and abides to MRS code.
Please feel free to use the figures published in this article to support your own content. When doing so, please attribute the research to People HR, and include a link back to this page.