Does Anxiety or Stress take over your day?

Managing stress and anxiety can have a major impact in the workplace.  Employees may decline a promotion or other development opportunities because it drives them out of their comfort zone. It affects people in different ways, but common behaviours include work colleagues struggling to meet deadlines, feeling uncomfortable attending meetings, no longer enjoying “perks of the job” like business travel and they will often make excuses to decline social events with co-workers.

A recent CIPD study highlighted the impact that stress/mental health can have on organisations. The findings were;

  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate
  • 62% take longer to do tasks
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

(The study also found that stress is the major cause of long-term absence.)

Feeling stressed at work affects everyone so the first point to accept it is a normal emotion. However, it is very important to keep your work life balance in check.  Stress that is persistent, irrational, and overwhelming and starts to impair daily functioning may indicate an anxiety disorder.

Sometimes simple strategies are the best….

  • Practise time management – make a to do list and prioritise your work
  • Be realistic – don’t over commit or take on work you don’t have time to complete
  • Ask for help – if your feeling overwhelmed, ask a co-worker for help
  • Try to stay organised
  • Take breaks – everyone needs time away from their desk to reflect and clear their head
  • Set boundaries – try not to take work home
  • Savour success – take time to celebrate your successes at work
  • Be healthy – get enough sleep (tiredness can fuel anxiety), eat healthily, limit caffeine, try to exercise regularly

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Grow Your Own Talent!

Graduate schemes have been popular for university leavers for years and due to changes in the legal requirements on education in early 2017, apprenticeships are also becoming a popular choice amongst school leavers looking for that step into employment. However, statistics show that in 2016/2017, 46% of newly started apprentices were aged 25 and over. This demonstrates that apprenticeships benefit not only those coming out of education but also those looking to begin a new career or gain additional skills.

With the UK’s financial recovery creating a candidate led market, organisations are finding it harder to attract the best talent with more competition than ever. This is why many are implementing and promoting graduate and apprenticeship schemes to “grow their own talent”.

These programmes are the perfect way to develop a workforce that is able to align itself and understand the company values, aims and goals, teaching them the skills they need to become productive more quickly.

Added benefits are the opportunity to implement internal training and development for existing employees. Investing in your team to ensure continued growth and development which will in turn provide you with a happier and committed team.

If you are looking to implement a scheme within your business, the CIPD are hosting an event next year, more information can be found here.

(2016/17 apprenticeship statistics sourced from

Relocating for a job? You can do this!

Relocating for a new job doesn’t have to be daunting, it can reveal lots of opportunities both professionally and personally. For me, it has been a fulfilling and a worthwhile adventure.

A whopping 71 % of candidates surveyed said that relocating to take a new job allowed them to enjoy new experiences, whether at work or outside the office.

Do you want to be part of that statistic? There are many things to consider……

Ask yourself 4 questions and you’ll be well on your way to deciding whether to pursue this opportunity.

How will a move impact your family? If you are single, then there is little to mull over. But for those with families, you need to consider, uprooting your children/spouse, new schools and neighbourhood?

Can you afford it? You know how much salary you earn, your transport costs, and what you normally spend on utilities and food. Relocating can mean these figures could change and you must be sure that you can afford it. Do your research and find out how much it will really cost to relocate.

What are you leaving behind? If you love living where you are, you’re encircled by good friends, a nice property, you should take that into consideration when relocating. If your ties are movable and you’re purely looking forward to the future, it will make your choice a lot easier.

What does your gut tell you? This is one situation where you may want to trust your instincts. Are you ready to relocate, or is there something inside telling you it’s just, not right? It’s completely normal to have some uncertainties but differentiate between cold feet and genuine dismay.

Moving for your career is a big commitment but remember: Nothing is irreversible you create your own opportunities! If things don’t work out the way you have planned, you can either head back home, or to a whole new destination, that’s the beauty of relocation!

Source – and—-and-when-it-doesn’t

Psychometric Power – 3 Key Advantages to Utilising Psychometrics within your Recruitment Process

Many of us have been in an interview process that has required a psychometric test, and we have sat there looking at the options, some instantly fall in line with our personality, some not, and others we spend a little more time thinking how on earth do choose between these choices. But for HR and Talent leaders these are vital tools which allow an insight into a candidate’s personality strengths and development areas.

However, this is not just limited to the interview process, as often these tools are revisited during onboarding to really set the tone for future success of that individual and grasp how an employee’s areas of strength can benefit the development of other team members.

As a growing number of businesses now utilise psychometrics, you may still be unclear about the advantages of psychometric profiling, and whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

So here are 3 Key Advantages for you to consider:

  1. Save Time and Money

There are huge cost implications to getting talent acquisition wrong. It has reported a bad hire costs a business 40% of that person’s annual salary, made time time again then the costs soon add up. By adding psychometric assessments to the recruitment process, companies can reduce the money and time spent on unsuitable candidates.

  1. Cultural Fit

Psychometric assessments offer a solution to safeguarding that the individual is suited to the business culture, adding another element to the interview process to ensure the candidate is a right fit for the business, and vice-versa. It is a chance for the business to objectively see an individual’s personality and drivers, to engage whether they truly are aligned in terms of best fit culturally for the business.

  1. Increased Retention and Engagement

Put simply, by ensuring that an individual is suitable to the business by using psychometric tests, there is a strong correlation in the increase of employee engagement, and in turn the creation higher levels of employee retention as the company is built with right individuals within the team.


Is testing candidates before they apply the future of recruitment?

Are your employees Happy, Healthy and Hardworking?

This generation are more aware than ever of their working environment and how it can have an impact on their well being. This can be from what we are eating, to how we set up our workstation or how we are taking our lunch break. The workplace is somewhere we spend 8 hours a day or more! And now with society, use of mobile phones and portable laptops we find it difficult to switch off and find a balance!

Stress, mental health and unhealthy eating are now today’s leading cause of sickness and days off and it is estimated over 90% of illness can be stress related. Most of us spend over 60% of our waking hours in an office working environment, and so much of our work Is done sitting down. So how are you encouraging your employees to ensure you are promoting a healthy working environment that can help with stress levels, a clear and focused mind and a happy workplace?  Here are a few ideas that could help your office environment.

Healthy eating – Working with local food companies providing a fruit bowl, healthy snacks and nutritious lunch menu’s. Providing a fridge and somewhere to heat up their lunches, encouraging employees to make lunches of there own choice. Provide fresh drinking water, fruit juices ..move the fizzy drinks machine out!

Exercise – Encourage employees to take their lunch break with a walk outside, lunchtime yoga or even a group boot camp once a week, this ensures employees are taking time away from their desk and leaving work to one side for an hour of there day.

Mindfulness – Create a peaceful chill out relaxation quiet area where employees can take 10 minutes out of there time to relax and refocus their minds and unwind before during there busy day.

Just by making these small and simple changes you can make a positive impact on not only how your employees feel but also increase productivity and impact on your ROI! Think about when you next step into your office, what can you change, how well do you know your employees?

The importance of saying “thank you”

People feel truly engaged when they are part of a culture that values and inspires its employees. The key to employee engagement is to create the kind of culture that makes the work day better, that provides support to people’s everyday lives, and that gives a little bit more.

Over 90% of employees feel employee recognition is important at work according to the National Employee Research survey and 72% of UK-wide employees stating that they would work harder if they were appreciated, employers need to embrace available recognition and reward technologies which are proven to ensure employees feel valued.

The importance of saying thank you, just like our parents told us. When your people succeed, say thanks. Recognise their achievements because when people feel appreciated by their employer, it makes all the difference to the way they work.

Recognition should be built into the very fabric of your organisation. Appreciating a job well-done drives positive behaviours – after all, no one likes to feel unappreciated at work, and creating a culture where achievement and success are central is essential for becoming an employer people really want to work for. A positive culture impacts everything, making the everyday experience of work that little bit better. Because that’s what you should be giving your employees: an experience. One that’s memorable, that connects people to your company values, and inspires them to perform at their best.

How to Recognise Success in Your Organisation?

Fostering a great culture that connects everyone to the values, goals, and behaviours of your business is the big one.

But it’s not just about the flashy stuff or just money – Money is only a motivator until it reaches the point where people feel they are getting a fair reward for the job. Once that need has been met, other factors come into play – attention from the leadership team and praise from a line manager being among the top two motivators cited by employees, remember that a simple “thank you” for a job well done can be one of the most effective ways of recognising people, because it creates a company culture that cares, and that people will want to see succeed.

When you consider the costs of putting a recognition strategy in place, they are minimal in comparison to the benefits you and your employees will gain in the long term.

Why Avoid Common Interview Questions?

After many years in the talent/recruitment space, I have interviewed hundreds of candidates and would admit to asking many of the “common interview questions.” Although the intention is to ask them to make a decision about their suitability for a role, many of these questions are listed on the internet and therefore their answers to these questions are endlessly rehearsed by candidates.

By asking the question in a different way you may get the insight needed to make a good hiring decision. So, what are the most common interview questions?

“What is your biggest weakness?”

What you should ask instead: What skill do you feel like you’re still missing?

You want to find someone who embraces continuous learning, who is innately curious, and who is self-aware enough to understand that there are still valuable things she doesn’t know how to do.

“Tell me a little about yourself.”

What you should ask instead: Which values of your current or previous employer most align with your own values?

This is a much better way to find out more about the person you are speaking with. Look for candidates who are excited about their values and love to go deep on them. Watch out for people who struggle to identify their own values let alone those of their company.

“Why should I hire you?”

What you should ask instead: Tell me something about your experience, education, or personality that can help us.

This gives candidates a non-hypothetical question that allows them to show their understanding of what your role is and to demonstrate their relevant background or experience.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

What you should ask instead: What business would you love to start?

“What would your last boss say about you?”

What you should ask instead: What was the best working relationship you’ve had with a manager and why did it work so well?

A thoughtful answer to this question could reveal a lot about a candidate’s values and what kind of company culture she would thrive in. And, if you were to hire the candidate, it would give you a leg up on successfully managing her.

“What would you bring to our department?”

What you should ask instead: What was the biggest achievement you had at your last job and what was your role in it?

Now you can see what your candidates value and how willing they are to share credit. Listen to hear if they mention how their accomplishment helped the company—or is it all about them?

LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 says the embrace of new interviewing tools—online assessments of soft skills, job auditions, and meetings in casual settings—is one of the trends driving today’s talent acquisition.


Instructor-Led Training is a NO for Millennials?

Although we have all seen huge changes in the workplace, some organisations are still relying heavily on instructor-led training, which seems to be counter-intuitive for the modern learner, and this, in turn, can dilute the importance of the Managers role in the learning process.

How do organisations approach this differently?

  • Offer more flexible and accessible learning opportunities – Today’s learners require a more agile solution that can be accessed easily and can be completed at a pace that suits the employee.
  • Provide the solution at the point of need – Employees will be far more open and susceptible to learning when it’s highly relevant to their current situation.
  • Ensure transfer-ability into the workplace – Instead of theory learning that includes a strong practical application helps to embed skills and provides lots of social evidence about its value.
  • Measure commercial results – When employees can explain the results of what they have learned in hard, commercial terms they are more likely to receive recognition from others and repeat the behaviours that have been successful.
  • Change the nature of the manager-employee relationship – Managers can help employees learn by empowering them, giving them ownership, including them in action planning, problem-solving and other activities that help the employee to learn and grow.

Organisations that offer revolutionary modes of learning, will be better equipped to satisfy the needs of a multi-generational workforce; what is just as important.

We know that millennial’s view career development as more than just money and title. It’s not just about being promoted but taking on new projects or learning new skills.

A Gallup Report on “What Millennial’s Want from Work and Life,” 87% of Millennial’s said professional development was important to their job. This is the same for Generation Z, according to a recent survey by LaSalle Network, they also rate “opportunities to grow” as their number one priority.

Source – and

What support mechanism is available in your business?

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week*

*(Figures provided by – This does not include patients in hospitals and prisons etc)

These statistics alone illustrate the grand issue that employers might face, particularly if they are failing to implement strategies to support their employees.

HR & Talent professionals are working hard to implement solutions;

  • 36% reported reviewing individual workloads
  • 20% implement (where possible) flexible working options
  • 20% issued support in the form of counselling
  • 18% invested in better training to help senior staff offer support to their employees.

Over the last five years, the rates of absence due to the most common forms of mental health, including anxiety and depression, which have consistently grown year on year. The strain and challenges associated with working can have a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of some employees.

Failing to provide the appropriate support can be very costly to businesses in terms of employee absence and wellbeing but I accept as an HR/Talent professional that all of this requires time and money. Prevention and intervention are key and there are health and wellbeing services, that employers engage to do exactly that.  In addition, internal workshops to impact on wellbeing, stress and anxiety can make a big difference to an individual.

  • Developing personal resilience
  • Self-management techniques
  • Time management
  • Managing upwards
  • Relaxation classes e.g. yoga etc

The reality is we only have so many hours in a day, but what else can you do to make employees aware that your business is supporting this illness that affects 1 in 4 people a year?

Source –

Global HR functions should feel proud

Organisations across the board should be proud of the leaps and bounds we have made in the use of technology in the HR function. We operate in a global business landscape, facilitated by technology. Most businesses are investing in enterprise technology and cloud software that drives their global business agendas forward and helps them make money. According to Gartner, worldwide IT spend was set to increase 2.4 percent in 2017, with the enterprise software market projected to grow by 7.6 percent.

Over the last seven years, we have seen significant innovation and adoption of HR tech. Recent research by Bersin found that the highest performing HR organisations are revitalising the HR function by focussing heavily on internal development and investing in technology, analytics, artificial intelligence and data security.

Research found that when organisations implement both an HR shared service (HRSS) centre and a technology solution to run their benefits programs, they are more likely to achieve success against their global benefits objectives. Without technology and the data, it provides, it’s impossible for you to have accurate visibility of spend and outcomes, and therefore ROI on your investment. You’ll also have no idea how you’re progressing against your strategy.

Then there’s the question of sensitive data, including employee health information. Ensuring that your data is encrypted, secure, and correctly handled will only prove more important with the arrival of GDPR. When processes aren’t standardised globally (considering local regulations), there’s a risk that local HR teams will store and transfer employee data to providers via spreadsheets over email – unencrypted. This is a disaster waiting to happen and poses a significant cyber security risk. You need to make sure you’re sufficiently compliant or else face huge fines.

Any value gained from this progress can be lost, however, if some functions remain offline and paper-based. We need to ask ourselves: are we doing enough to connect these digital dots across all our functions and lifting up all areas of the business? If we achieve this, and make sure technology is applied effectively across the board, then we’ll soon see a more engaged, more committed, and more productive workforce.

Source – HR Grapevine