Tag Archives: recruitment

It doesn’t have to be like this

I’ve just got back from a weeks skiing in France.

We flew out of Bristol with Easy Jet.  Our flight was at 0700 and that meant a very early start. When we booked we didn’t realise the clocks went back the night before – that made it a really, really early start!

We arrived on time, checked in and went in search of breakfast. It was quite busy but we found a place to eat and joined the queue. It took some time but we made it to the front of the queue behind the till and waited to be served.

We must have been waiting there, patiently, for 10 minutes. OK maybe 5. Not one member of staff acknowledged or approached us. Finally we caught someones eye;

‘Excuse me… we’ve been waiting here for about 10 minutes’

‘Why’

That was it. That was the response. It was so shocking it was funny. He simply said ‘why’ and told us to join the end of the adjacent queue. He didn’t care one jot what we did. Even worse not one of his colleagues batted an eye – that’s obviously just how they do business. That’s how they treat their staff and how their staff treat their customers.

I like to think it was because of sleep deprivation however  (muttering under our breath) we joined the other queue.

bad service

We may have looked complacent at the time but in true British fashion and like 89% of other people who experience bad service we won’t go there again. We will also tell at least 10 other people about our experience – with 4 Adults in our party that’s at least 40 people. If like David Carroll however I use  you tube (United Breaks Guitars) to share my displeasure I could get my message to 500,000 people in only 3 days!

In this technological age it could take just one bad experience to wreck your reputation and your business.

That was the only instance of bad service we had ( considering we were in France and at the end of the season, that was actually very surprising!).

We had a wonderful time and returned with the usual stories of falling off lifts and wipe-outs. We also have an interesting couple of food related tales to do with a cheese fondue and profiteroles!

Snow and sun were plentiful but what made the holiday special was the people looking after us.

This was our first skiing holiday for a few years and we chose to go with a company called Ski Bonjour who promise the ‘ultimate chalet experience’. They delivered.

Hannah and Lou,  our ‘Chalet Girls’ were a delight.  Very welcoming, attentive, confident and good company. Nothing was too much trouble for them. One of our party is on a gluten free diet – every day gluten free cakes/biscuits were on offer after skiing and every meal was adapted.

They told us that they were well looked after by their Employer, Ski Bonjour, and it showed. Nothing appeared regimented or forced (although there were clearly some well established standards and routines).  And because they were happy so were we.

Next time I want something whether it’s a holiday, book or a cup of tea I’m going to buy it from the person with the smiliest face, or the smiliest voice. And like 86% of the population I’m prepared to pay extra for the service that goes with that smile.

For more evidence that happy engaged employees deliver better service take a look at engage for success. Then ask yourself if your employees make your customers feel the way you want them to?

…and if you need some help to find out just ask.

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The worst job you ever had?

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What made that job so bad?

Apparently most people leave their jobs for at least one of the following reasons;

  • Poor relationship with Manager
  • No opportunity to grow or progress
  • Work life balance

When did you last feel like that?

Now, and be honest, how was your performance affected? I bet you weren’t doing your best – may be leaving work a little earlier, putting in less effort, making a few more mistakes and perhaps missing some deadlines.
It’s the New Year – traditionally the time people return to work with resolutions like getting a new job! So perhaps now is the time to ask how your employees are feeling about their jobs
  • Will the Christmas break have made them think they want to spend more time with their families?
  • Are they getting the training they need or want?
  • Are they doing the kind of work they want to do?
  • What do they think of their manager (and their colleagues)
  • Would they be willing to come in early, or leave late, just to make sure that job got finished?

What would it be like if they ‘loved’ their job and they were proud of what they did? They certainly wouldn’t be thinking of leaving would they?

What’s more scary – asking your people how they feel or watching them leave (and seeing the impact that has on your business)?

It’s not too late to find out what your people think. It’s not too late to encourage them to stay.

For further information on using 3Ease to ask what your people think talk to michelle@3ease.com / 01635 246214 / http://www.3ease.com

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Once a disengaged employee always a disengaged employee?

I read this blog on recruitment and this bit (below) got me thinking…

It suits recruiters (agency and corporate) to perpetuate the belief that everyone is either active or open to looking but it isn’t the case.

Its a really interesting blog with links to some Jobsite research too. I agree with what Mervyn Dinnen says and thought I’d add my perspective to support what he says (Mervyn talks about active candidates as active job hunters and passive candidates as ones not looking but open to ‘offers’).

In line with the proposition that  ‘past performance is a predictor of future performance’  (most commonly applied to aid both recruitment and investment decisions) it makes sense to target the top performers when recruiting.

Looking at this with an engagement hat on I am bound to say therefore that you want to recruit engaged employees; all the research shows engaged employees deliver better results and profits (higher sales, greater productivity, better customer service, more creative, less wastage, fewer sick days – I’m only stopping here because I don’t want to repeat my adjectives!).

No?

The blog suggests that recruiters find it hard to reach those top performers and I wonder if they are wasting their time by even trying to do so. Truly engaged employees demonstrate a high level of commitment and loyalty to their employer, colleagues and customers. They don’t want to move. A strategy focusing on them could mean they’re not only wasting time but also missing a huge opportunity.

First past performance is only one indicator of future performance. In my opinion you can only rely on past performance to ‘predict’ future performance where everything remains the same, nothing changes. The same market conditions, the same products and customers. The same culture, leadership style, values and objectives. The same team, working conditions and working practices. That’s just not going to happen.

Most active job hunters (or people open to being headhunted) are those I would describe as passively engaged. That doesn’t automatically make them bad performers or bad candidates. It’s just as likely (more likely if I’m honest) that their current/last employer for whatever reason was not able, or did not understand how,  to create the  ‘conditions’ to engage and tap in to their full potential. Give them the right opportunity, environment and conditions and they will thrive.

Secondly I’d be wary of spending (or wasting) time trying to entice people who are currently engaged; they are going to be very exacting because they already have everything that they want. As an Employer can you replicate, match and exceed the conditions that have enabled them to be engaged? How confident are you that you will be able to keep them engaged, meet their expectations and win their loyalty?

So next time you’re recruiting let past performance take a back seat. Don’t discount it completely but put an emphasis on engagement and select the people who will ‘fit’ with the way you work, your values, your objectives and your existing workforce.

To find out how to attract and retain the right people to keep your organisation performing its best then just ask3ease for more information or michelle@3ease.com

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Employee Absence does not make the heart grow fonder!

Sickness, holidays, sickness absence…this topic has been all over the news so I thought it would be useful to offer some practical advice and say don’t despair it’s not as bad as it seems.

The recent European ruling in ANGED v FASGA and others held that workers who fall ill during their holiday may take this time as sick leave and reschedule their holiday to another time.

To minimise the risk of this I suggest you consider updating your sickness procedure to include the following:

  1. Require that people provide a sickness/fit note, at their own expense, to cover each day of pre-booked holiday that they are off sick for
  2. To qualify it should be clear that their sickness has actually made them unfit for work i.e. an ear infection may stop someone swimming while on holiday but does not mean that they cannot do their job!
  3. Clarify in your policy that this does not apply to any additional leave provided at the discretion of the company/in excess of the working time regulations.
  4. Remember that unless you have a company sick pay scheme employees will only qualify for Statutory Sick Pay and this is not payable for the first 3 days of sickness absence.
  5. If you have a company sick pay scheme you may find it beneficial to make payments under the scheme discretionary rather than contractual; this may not be possible for existing staff but should be a consideration for new employees.

Another important case NHS V Larner means that employees on long term sick leave can continue to accrue annual leave and are automatically allowed to carry it forward. Most organisations don’t let their employees carry over leave from one year to the next but this case means that people returning to work after sickness can!

What is perhaps worse is the implication that employees on long term absence whose employment is terminated can claim payment for all the holiday they have accrued during the period of their absence: so someone who has been off sick for 2 years would be entitled to be paid for 8 weeks holiday. There is no guidance, yet, on how far back employees can claim.

So what can you do?

  1. Make it clear in your contracts that only statutory holiday entitlement may be carried over.
  2. Consider compelling employees to take annual leave while on sick leave, and pay them accordingly: this will at least spread the cost however it is not yet clear whether this would be allowable under the ruling.
  3. Act promptly in respect of long term sickness issues: take appropriate and reasonable action to minimise the accrual of annual leave from one year to the next.

Of course this isn’t all you should be thinking about.

Prevention is better than cure and research shows that employee engagement is one remedy you can’t afford to ignore.

Did you know Employers lost about 131 million working days as a result of sickness in 2011: that’s 4.5 days per person. 57% of people say they take time when they are not actually ill; 23% report sick due to relationship issues, 25% because they just want a day off and 6% to avoid a problem at work.

Do you know what the average number of days sickness is in your organisation?  Most SME’s don’t.

Did you know that organisations with a higher proportion of engaged employees suffer 50% less sickness absence than organisations with more disengaged employees?

To find out how to create an environment that drives performance (and attendance) then just ask3ease for more information or michelle@3ease.com

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Is it OK to be emotional at work?

Please don’t tell me you’ve never got annoyed by something or someone at work… I wouldn’t believe you. We all get like that at some point.

Depending on the strength of feeling some of us will have a grumble to a colleague to get it off our chest: someone who shares the same values as us and will understand how we feel. And, when we look back, we’ll often justify our emotions by saying things like ‘I wouldn’t feel like that if I didn’t care’. This is quite normal on an occasional basis and doesn’t affect how we perform or how we feel about our jobs and the work we do.

But imagine if we didn’t have someone to talk to. What if we got annoyed or frustrated by something, or someone at work on a more frequent basis? What affect would that have on our work? How would it affect other people?

Emotion isn’t really acceptable in the workplace is it? People who show their emotions are often seen as negative, weak and unable to handle pressure. We all have to deal with negative emotions sometimes and most of us have found ways of controlling them so they don’t ‘get the better of us’: it’s an unwritten rule that ‘professionals’ control their emotions  in meetings, phone-calls and emails.

Of course some emotions are more acceptable e.g. excitement, optimism. When ‘controlled’ and ‘professionally’ managed  these emotions are considered to be positive attributes in the workplace.

Passion is an emotion admired in business. It conjures up a picture of someone successful, a person with energy and drive.

Passion:  “strong and barely controllable emotion”

Passionate:  “having, showing, or caused by strong feelings or beliefs”

Oxford Dictionary

Employers want to employ people with passion. Passionate people are more innovative, more committed, apply greater effort and perform better. Passion at work is used to describe positive emotions.

Of course just because you’re passionate you’re not automatically better at relationships, more honest, skilled or talented. Passion is an emotion just like the others and passionate people can behave just as well, or as badly, as any other ’emotional’ people – the purpose and intent behind the emotion remains key.

As an Employer you can’t simply demand passion, or expect it: employee passion describes a positive emotion that, like employee engagement, results from how people feel about things like the work they do, relationships with their colleagues and manager and opportunities for learning.

Anyway there you have it  – it’s OK to be passionate at work. Passion is an emotional state in demand by employers (because passionate people are better performers).

So are your people emotional or passionate?

If you want to find out how to attract passionate people to work with you and if you’d like to know how to create an environment where passion (and therefore performance) will flourish then the simplest way to find out is ask: 3ease for more information or michelle@3ease.com

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When only the best will do

Deciding to recruit a new employee is a big decision and most of us would agree it’s important to get it right. Choosing the wrong person would be a waste of time, effort and money and impact on business performance.

Would you employ someone who

  • turned up late for interview?
  • argued with you during their interview?
  • couldn’t remember what job they had applied for?
  • looked like they had just crawled out of bed?
  • didn’t convince you they could do the job (or that they wanted to learn)?
  • wouldn’t get on with your other staff?
  • bad mouthed their last employer?

Why is that so many people do?

Time and time again I’ve seen managers justify these very decisions because they ‘don’t have time to wait’.

These are the kinds of behaviours we associate with disengaged employees. Disengaged employees make mistakes, miss deadlines, let down their colleagues and customers and don’t care. Believe me you have time to wait!

So if you’re thinking about recruiting do yourself, your business and your team a favour, don’t compromise.

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