“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake.”
For those who aren’t familiar with the existentialist cult film (a good watch, by the way), this is a quote from Fight Club. In recent years, it’s been used as a means to define the so-thought problem with millennials. The media has drummed up a lot of attention over the ‘snowflake generation’, nearly all of which is saturated with a distinctly negative tone. Words like ‘entitled’, ‘self-obsessed’ and ‘demanding’ are as rooted in millennial-targeted language as ‘social media’ and ‘avocado’.
Read the quote with these critical terms in mind and the verdict seems obvious: millennials swan around under the naïve impression that they’re as special, beautiful, and unique as a snowflake. But perhaps we’re looking at this from the wrong angle. Maybe they don’t believe this is what they are – but how they should be.
Consider this study on perfectionism that began in 1989 and finished in 2016. Over 40,000 university students from Britain, America, and Canada were tested for self-oriented perfectionism (excessively high personal expectations), socially prescribed perfectionism (excessively high social expectations), and other-oriented perfectionism (excessively high expectations of others). The final results revealed an increase in all three categories. In other words, the expectations that young people have for themselves and their companions are becoming more and more unattainable.
It was noted that the type which spiked the most significantly – at twice the rate of the other two, in fact – was socially prescribed perfectionism. Today’s younger generation have a mounting belief that others expect them to be perfect. Feasibly, the fact that more young people suffer from severe depression and anxiety than ever before is no coincidence. The pressure of living up to an impossible ideal has reached the point where it’s wreaking havoc on their mental health.
If you think about it, it makes sense – millennials have grown up in a world where comparison is second nature. Snapchat shows them the fun they aren’t having, LinkedIn shows them the dream jobs they haven’t yet secured, Instagram shows them the picture-perfect life they aren’t living. The illusion of perfection has never been so close to reality.
But of course, it is an illusion. Social media is a world of how things seem. It gives each individual the chance to craft how they want their life to appear. For those who’ve grown up with it as part of the fabric of their social existence, a sinister trend begins to unfold: everyone winds up feeling like a fraud. After all, a flawless selfie doesn’t disclose the hours frittered away in a desperate bid to get the image just right. A status update celebrating a promotion doesn’t mention the long weekends dedicated to working overtime to secure it. A slog of sun-kissed holiday photos says nothing about the mundane days spent saving up for them in-between.
My point, really, is that we should think about cutting millennials some slack. It’s easy to be disparaging about those growing up in an era we’ve never grown up in ourselves. And from the sound of things, they’re trying their best. Striving to be a snowflake can’t be easy – especially when it seems that everyone else is already there.
OK, let’s get this out the way: we can all concede that the role itself sounds a tad, well…made up. The rather whimsical title is a little iffy, and frankly not unlike something you’d expect to encounter on a tour of J.K. Rowling’s imagination. So go on, here’s a free pass. Allow yourself an eyeroll. But just a tiny one. And make it quick, because a glance at the facts suggests that appointing a Minister of Loneliness isn’t just a nice thing to do – it’s a smart move.
There’s a couple of assumptions that are easy to make about loneliness. The first is that it’s entirely exclusive to the elderly and, while there are over 1.9 million older people in the UK who say they often feel invisible, there’s a total of 9 million who feel lonely most or all of the time. Bereavement and retirement can certainly trigger it but so can separation, divorce, health or mobility changes, and even becoming a new mother. When you look at the people in your company, just about anyone can be at risk of loneliness at one stage or another.
Loneliness is an abstract, depressing concept. The idea of not just some, but millions of people spending every day imprisoned in their own thoughts seems too overwhelming to even begin to address. Once accepting the magnitude of the problem, it can be hard to understand how this could affect business. But it does, because we’re human, and businesses are (largely) made up of humans. When our intangible cluster of thoughts and feelings become too much, they inevitably spill out and start to influence our behaviour and decision-making. When it’s an epidemic, the consequences start to stack up.
As it stands, loneliness erodes productivity to the point of costing UK employers £665 million per year. If the loneliness worsens, people are driven to seek more social contact elsewhere, or give up altogether. They quit their jobs. This voluntary turnover is estimated to cost £1.62 billion per year.
The second assumption is that it’s a purely psychological problem. It may start out like that, but suffering alone has a knock-on effect on physical well-being. In fact, it can take the same toll on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. This is why loneliness is linked not only to depression, but also to strokes and coronary heart disease. The subsequent sickness absence is estimated to cost UK employers £20 million per year.
Perhaps this is why the government are looking to tackle the subject. They’ve done their fair share of trying to warn us about obesity, smoking, alcoholism and drug problems. Which is good: few enjoy battling addiction and its dark twin, poor health. But loneliness is different. No one suffering from it thinks, go on, I’ll sneak in one more cheeky hour of social isolation. It’s not the result of a compulsion that we just can’t resist. Loneliness isn’t an urge, or a choice, or escapism. It’s sad, it’s expensive – but worse than that, it’s needless.
So, let’s shelve our reservations over whoever coined the fancy title, and cast a proactive eye over this lose-lose situation. If we’re to learn anything from these statistics, reducing loneliness is everyone’s business. What can you do to help?
Unsure what goes where? Everything a bit of a mess? Worried others are doing it better? Everyone remembers their first time. Filling in a LinkedIn profile, that is. Forget your first kiss, first car and first dodgily-rolled fag on the way back from school: it’s LinkedIn that’s the true modern rite of passage.
In centuries gone by, daughters of aristocrats were presented as debutantes to a gathering of high society, overseen by the King or Queen. The young women ‘made their debut’ in order to be displayed to eligible bachelors and their families, guaranteeing that suitable matches would be arranged.
In a similar way, LinkedIn is the bridge between adolescence and adulthood, education and work. Debutants and bachelors have become young adults and employers. The middlemen at Court who used to identify matches and broker agreements are still around, of course. I’m one of them.
The double-edged sword of LinkedIn is that you’re in control of how you represent yourself. You get to determine the content, the tone, what to show and what to hide. You can choose whether you put up your Grade 2 Trumpet as much as you can choose to show your work experience or lifelong volunteering.
Why bother? Frankly, even an average LinkedIn profile will be viewed several times a day. Many of these views will be curious ex-schoolmates hoping you’re doing well or begrudged exes hoping you’re doing badly, but some will be recruiters and headhunters trying to find the right people for jobs. A good LinkedIn profile keeps these people looking; it holds their gaze, retains their attention for longer than the average profile, and makes contact more likely. A good LinkedIn profile might mean you get messaged immediately about a particular opportunity, or saved for later.
A polished turd is still a turd
The first thing I would advise any young people to do is very simple. Have things to write about. Much of this article and the next will help add polish to a profile, but no amount of clever structuring or good writing will save you from not having enough to write about. If you’re at school or University, make sure you’re picking up experiences and skills that will provide you with content for life. You want the challenge to be writing about things selectively, rather than making much of little. Speaking as a someone who has recently moved from student-ship to work, you’ll never have the time again.
Test your profile by playing buzzword bingo
If you can imagine a contestant on The Apprentice saying what you’ve typed, delete it. ‘Passionate’, ‘creative’, ‘specialised’ and ‘excellent’ are all wildly overused. Headhunters read these words countless times a day: pick different ones or, better, illustrate your passion and excellence with clear examples. ‘My enthusiasm for X lead me to doing Y’ is much more engaging than ‘I am passionate about X’.
Be open about what you like
You might have an impression of LinkedIn as humourless, po-faced, or just plain corporate. Its image goes with things like lanyards, Bluetooth headsets, boring suits and entry-level German saloons. But headhunters and recruiters are real people, and real people buy into real people. Cutting the buzzwords will help, but don’t be afraid to go further: display your interests and hobbies, and write about your work or education in a way that conveys your character. Niche interests, enthusiastically written about, are a great way of showing your personality.
Have things to click on
LinkedIn offers a considerable platform for showcasing multimedia content. You can link to online publications, newspaper websites, YouTube and can even upload images and documents. Remember – the longer someone is looking at your profile, the better. Include ‘clickables’ to retain their attention and develop their sense of who you are.
Plenty of people miss the opportunity to make their profile stand out by neglecting to include images. You want a clear profile picture in which you are preferably smiling, and a cover photo that is in some way aesthetically pleasing – a picture of your school or University might be a good idea. It looks best if your profile picture is one taken with LinkedIn in mind, a sort of more fun passport photo. Try to register your workplaces or schools where a photo comes up.
LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook. Part of its function is professional networking, and it is perfectly acceptable to connect with people you want to be connected with; imagine you’re all at a huge party and you take the opportunity to introduce yourself. You’re vastly more likely to be found in searches if you build your network (more in the next article), so for now, connect to everyone you know, and those you might want to know.
Losing your LinkedIn virginity will almost certainly be an uncomfortable and self-conscious experience. But confidence, and a bit of theory (this article) will go a long way to making it a little easier.
Look out for the follow-up, ‘How to be headhunted’.
Gleeson Recruitment Group – GDPR Statement – October 2017
This document details the actions and steps which Gleeson Recruitment Group are currently taking to ensure that we are fully compliant with the new GDPR regulations by their introduction in May 2018.
We are currently auditing our suppliers and third party providers and requesting that they pass on their statements around GDPR, and inform us of any anticipated major changes to their working practices. These include organisations such as job boards, LinkedIn, our CRM provider and our payroll bureau.
We have made some changes to our registration process and the data that we collect on individuals and are currently assessing our internal security, processes and practices. We are considering how we will respond to subject access requests and possible data breaches and this information will be on our website as soon as this is finalised.
We are also following advice from REC, APSCo and our legal team at Gowling WLG LLP.
For any further information please contact Nicola Ryder, Data Protection Supervisor, who can be contacted on 0121 631 1751 or at Nicola.email@example.com
After a successful first 5 weeks working at Gleeson, it’s made me reflect on my career as a recruitment consultant, as well as making me realise what I really want from a company and the direction I would like my career to take.
During my interview process, finding the right agency for me was critical and most of them spoke about the team and how they were like a family. I guess this is a great selling point for anyone looking to work in an environment they will feel comfortable in…
Well let me start by saying that I’ve never had a warmer welcome to any company before and I can honestly say that after just 3 weeks with Gleeson I feel fully integrated into the Gleeson family. It’s made me excited about being back in recruitment again! Everyone works so well together as a team, even across different divisions in the company, and I really believe it’s what makes the atmosphere in the office so good.
All consultants have previous experience in recruitment which has been great for me, as I know that even with 3 years’ experience myself, there’s always something new to learn from other people. I don’t think any consultant can say that they are the finished article and an absolute expert in everything to do with recruitment, so having a team with different levels of experience really helps. I enjoy the fact that the office has a mature approach to recruitment (although we obviously still have banter!) because it has made me take a step back and re-evaluate myself as a consultant. I’ve personally found that taking a consultative approach rather than a pushy sales technique has delivered far more success for me.
The team I work with are excellent; everyone has a completely different personality but it works really well as we bounce off each other. As I said previously, no matter how experienced you are, you can always learn something from someone else and Julie Smyth has been a great mentor for me so far. Her approach is always to be honest, direct and not to be afraid of asking a question. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know the answer! Richard Wooton too has so much experience in the industry and knows the interim market inside and out. He has become my ‘go to’ guy and probably hates the 1,000 questions I ask him every day – I wouldn’t be surprised if he asks to move desks soon! The rest of our team, both transactional and qualified, are a team I feel privileged to be part of and are excellent at what they do.
After taking 6 months to work in internal recruitment, I have found a new respect for the pressure internal recruiters have to go through. It was great for me to be able to see things on the other side, and I think having that experience has given me a good insight into the struggles of the internal HR process. This has made me a lot more patient and I feel I will be able to offer a much higher standard of service to my clients and candidates.
I know it’s early days but I couldn’t be happier with my new role and the company I’ve chosen to work with. For anyone looking for a role in recruitment, please just be aware that agencies will try to “sell you the dream” but until you start working there you’ll never know the reality. Luckily for me everything seems to be working out fantastically so far.
I will update you again after 6 months and hopefully, I’ll be just as positive!
‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do’ Steve Jobs.
Motivation is something that doesn’t last a long time and it’s important to constantly find ways to motivate your employees. A recent survey by Gallup has shown that nearly 70% of employees in the US feel unmotivated and disengaged in the workplace, rising to nearly 90% Globally. This is a shocking figure. As a manager, finding ways to motivate your employees is something that should be done regularly. So, what can you do to help?
Money really isn’t everything…
Of course, having money is nice but it isn’t a lasting motivating factor. People want to be recognised for the good work that they have done and feel like they have a sense of purpose at work. Based on research by Dan Pink, a career analyst turned author, he believes humans have 3 main motivating factors: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
Autonomy: ‘Having freedom or independence’
In a recent survey, it was found that job satisfaction was 10% higher for those employees who were given more choice while they were in the workplace. Employees like to feel as though they have freedom while they’re at work, so try and give your employees a chance to be as independent as possible. Ask your employees what tasks they would like to do and what their future goals are in terms of their career. If it is possible to accommodate them then it’s a win-win situation.
Talking to your employees about ways that they can develop themselves and about future opportunities can really give employees some extra motivation. Everyone likes to know where they’re going in life and about how they will progress up the career ladder. As a manager, if you show a genuine interest in where your employees’ careers are going it will really help them to stay engaged.
Mastery: ‘Being the best at what you already do’
If employees have certain skills that they want to improve then try and help them to develop these skills. This may mean paying for them to go on a course or allowing them to go to a networking event but long-term these new skills and connections will also benefit your business.
Allow your employees to experiment with different ways of doing things so that they can develop the skills that they want to and become the best that they possibly can be. As Albert Einstein said, ‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.’ So, let your employee try new things out and develop those all-important skills.
Purpose: ‘Being part of something bigger’
Research carried out by consultancy Global Tolerance found that in a survey of 2,000 people in the UK, 44% of people believed that doing work that was meaningful and helpful was more important than having a high salary. In the same survey, 62% of Millennials said that they would like to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world and would work harder if they knew that they were making a difference to others. This shows that employees aren’t solely motivated by how much profit a company makes but also by what the company is doing for the world around them.
If your employees want to take part in goodwill activities outside of work then it may be beneficial to support them as much as you can. The sense of doing good for the community will help employees feel like they have a bigger purpose. The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk pay for their employees to do 80 hours’ worth of charity work a year to help their employees feel a sense of purpose while they’re at work. They have applied a triple bottom line model and the senior director Diana Blankman explained that Novo Nordisk’s commitment to social responsibility and serving people in the community is at the heart of what they do. This has no doubt, also improved their employer brand.
A survey by Bupa found that nearly half of UK employees felt as though there was no point in going above and beyond at work because they would not get the recognition that they believed they deserved. This supports the notion that if employees feel more engaged and motivated, they will put the effort in to do the best work possible. In a survey by Forbes, a shocking 66% of employees said that they were prepared to leave their job if they felt under appreciated. The number then jumps to 76% for the Millennial generation.
Doing small things to help your employees feel recognised and motivated will really make the difference in productivity and your bottom line. If you fail to appreciate and motivate your talent, you may well find that a competitor will.
“Everyone shines, given the right lighting” – Susan Cain
People are generally classified into two different personality types, either introverts or extroverts. Introverts are generally quiet individuals who tend to enjoy alone time and can be shy. With extroverts being social butterflies, they tend to be very confident and love busy, social situations where they can talk a lot and get to know new people. But as Susan Cain said: “Everyone shines, given the right lighting.’’
The ways that introverts and extroverts behave in the workplace can really differ. It can be difficult to know how to manage both personality types, especially when they need to work closely together in a team.
Extroverts generally thrive and feel energised when they are working in a busy and loud environment. However, introverts enjoy the exact opposite; they love being in a quiet environment to get their work done. So, don’t be surprised if they want to go off and find a nice spot in the office to sit down and get on with their work – it’s where they will feel most comfortable and do their best work. If you have an employee who is a bit of an introvert then let them have their privacy every now and then. A lot of introverts are sensitive to external factors such as noise, which can mean they often find the loud office space draining and can find it hard to concentrate.
Research has shown that in meetings with six people, two people will tend to do more than 60% of the talking. Extroverts will happily speak up during a team meeting, as this is what comes naturally to them. They tend to feel most comfortable in meetings when they’re giving their opinion. On the other hand, introverts tend to keep quiet during meetings. This doesn’t mean they have nothing to say, usually it means they’re just taking in as much information as possible. They may need a prompt to give them a chance to speak up and voice their opinion.
Extroverts tend to respond quite well to changes, whether this is involving their work life or their personal life. They find it easy to adjust and adapt to new ways. Whereas introverts can find change terrifying due to not knowing what to expect and not wanting to feel awkward in certain situations. If you’ve recently hired someone who you may think is an introvert, then try and give them as much information as possible before they start the role. Or if you’re introducing a new system at work maybe give those who are introverts a bit more time to get used to the programme.
Introverts tend to be more reserved in social situations in the workplace especially when meeting new people. So, to help them, try and firstly introduce them to all of their
co-workers in the office and encourage them to sit with other people, as this will be a chance to get to know everyone. Extroverts, on the other hand, are quite happy and comfortable to introduce themselves to new people. They will have no difficulty in finding new friends at work and will quickly start opening up to them.
Is it fair to define the whole population by 2 different personality types however?
Well, the short answer is no. Those who can see themselves identifying with both personality types are known as the Ambiverts. We’re all humans at the end of the day and in some situations that shy introvert you see sitting on their own in the office could be the life and soul of a party. Equally the extrovert you see around the office may be completely different outside of work. Ambiverts tend to adjust depending on the situation they’re in. When they believe the time is right they will speak, but they also know when they need to sit back and listen to what’s going on.
Can introverts and extroverts work together well?
The answer is yes! As both personality types are opposites, and the strengths of an extrovert are usually the weaknesses of an introvert and vice versa. This means they can both be productive whilst they’re working together. The co-founders of ‘In Good Company’, a community business learning centre for women in New York, Adelaide Lancaster & Amy Abrams are an example of an extrovert – introvert team. In an article by Psychology Today, Lancaster explains that her co-worker Abrams can excel in areas that make her personally feel anxious, showing introvert – extrovert teams could be the way forward in bringing out the best in each other.
How can you manage them both?
Make introverts feel as though they are comfortable enough to speak up; at first this may mean asking their opinions on certain topics so that they feel like their opinion is valued within the company. This will mean that the next time they have a bright idea, they will feel like they can come to you and their opinion will be appreciated. However, also encourage the extroverts within your organisation to really listen to what the introverts are saying so that they can learn something new. After all, ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’
‘The future depends on what you do today.’
Starting a new job is an extremely daunting process, but one that almost everyone must go through during their life time. Although a new job is scary it can also be very rewarding and you should be excited to be starting this brand-new adventure. Of course, it’s normal to feel anxious before starting a new job. In fact, it’s perfectly normal and it shows that you care.
So how can you make your first day less terrifying and more exciting?
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Ring or email your boss and ask if there’s anything you can do before you start to help you prepare for your first day at work. Ask them what they’re expecting from you before you start your first day, this will help you feel more prepared and hopefully less anxious to start your new role.
Work out the logistics:
Make sure you know where you’re going and what time you need to leave. Starting a new job is stressful at the best of times, but the last thing you want is to be running late, not having a clue where you are going. It might help you if you do a test run before your first day so you are clear on where to go.
Ask for help:
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Of course, as a newbie there will be things you don’t understand and things you need to ask for help with. So just ask. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s better than being sat worrying at your desk not knowing what you’re doing.
Never think about the worst things that can happen. Before you leave to start your first day try and put yourself in the best mood possible. If this means listening to your 1980’s guilty pleasure pop music then go for it! Have your favourite breakfast! These little things will put you in a better mood and leave you feeling more enthusiastic and ready to start the day.
Arrive early, leave late and do not call in sick:
Turning up to work late on the first day is never an option. This will completely damage your reputation and will not give people the best first impression of you. If you do find yourself in a situation where being late is completely unavoidable then call your new employer as soon as possible.
Take opportunities to go to social events outside of work with your new colleagues. Seeing your peers outside of work can really help you to bond with them and get to know them a lot better. 66% of people have said that they would refuse a higher paying job if this meant not getting along with the potential colleagues working there.
I can’t imagine that anyone would have been shocked by last week’s revelations that the BBC has a gender pay gap – I certainly wasn’t. What was shocking was the extent of the problem and the vast differences in salaries between men and women doing the same role.
Clare Balding and Gary Lineker was one of the biggest gaps with Clare falling into the £150,000-£199,000 category and Gary coming second in all of the highest earners at a whopping £1.75-£1.79 million! Gary was a professional footballer and I am sure that football will be one of the BBC’s most watched sports so I do get it; but still……….that is such a huge difference! As I don’t stay up to watch Match of the Day, I hardly ever see Gary on telly anyway, whereas Clare has fronted Royal Ascot, six Olympics, and presented BBC Sports Personality of the Year – ironically with Gary!
Let’s also look at Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce. Both presenters have been at the BBC since the 1980’s and both have presented high profile and long running programmes. Yet Huw falls into the £550,000-£599,000 category and Fiona into the £350,000 – £399,000 category. Baffling!
The new laws on gender pay gap reporting are addressing the problem and increasing awareness – at least we hope that they will. There are currently no consequences for companies that don’t report, because Justine Greening states she would rather ‘work with businesses in partnership than force sanctions on them’ – an example of a woman being too soft perhaps? But we really do need to go much further.
One of the main reasons that women at the BBC, and in corporations across the globe, are paid less than the men is because they ask for less; and the BBC thought it was fine to continue to let this happen, I guess it’s only natural that you don’t try to pay someone more than what they ask for right? The reasons that women ask for less are complex, numerous and entrenched; one of these was highlighted by some casual sexism from the BBC’s Tom Chambers (Casualty actor) in his remarks that men earn higher salaries because they are the bread winners – you can really go off someone can’t you! There are millions of women out there who are the sole bread winners – should their families suffer and be worse off?
I think that many of the reasons that women ask for less are down to confidence and expectations. And these issues are deeply rooted and difficult to overcome. Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications but women only apply if they meet all of them (Tara Sophia Mohr, Harvard Business Review). A study by Wiebke Bleidorn, over eight years and analysing data from men and women across 48 countries found that regardless of country or culture, men have higher self-esteem that women. So can we ever close the gender pay gap?
A good place to start would be with our children and the increasingly ridiculous notions of what men and women should be. A quick look at the comic shelf with my son and daughter gives him options of adventure, exploration and activity while she is faced with fake make-up, plastic jewellery and hair accessories. The new Lego aimed at girls is pink and purple and has beauty salons, gymkhanas and princesses in castles – my sister and I were obsessed with Lego when we were growing up thirty years ago without any of these concessions to ‘girls’. To my horror my daughter’s class have been learning about Cinderella!! There is a woman without much ambition for herself! (Yes, I did complain and the school didn’t understand my concerns!).
The gender pay gap already exists at Apprenticeship level where women earn, on average £2000 less than men (Guardian, March 2017). We need to encourage more women into higher paid apprenticeships and away from the caring, cleaning and cashiering options – and also encourage employers to address the value of these professions and ensure pay is fair. We already have severe skills shortages in engineering and construction so by encouraging more girls to enter these professions we can address the gender pay gap and these deficits together.
Let’s address confidence and expectations with girls at school and get them speaking out and pushing themselves forward. When a girl is being assertive she can be labelled and chastised for “being bossy” a label not often attached to boys. This behaviour leads to a reticence to be assertive in later life – a key skill for negotiating salary perhaps??
And please….….let’s stop telling our girls they can be a Princess and focusing on how they look – there’s a big wide world out there for them to explore and make their own.
Millennials, also known as generation Y are those who were born between the years 1980 and 2000, making them 17-37. Millennials are the digital generation, that don’t know what life was like before phones and computers. Therefore, hiring a Millennial compared to a Post war baby boomer or somebody from generation X will have clear differences.
75,000,000 Millennials are preparing themselves to join the weird and wonderful world of work and by 2020 Millennials will make up 40% of the work force. As Millennials are the future generation of Managers, Lawyers and Accountants learning how to attract them to your company and keeping them happy is essential.
Give them opportunities for progression
61% of Millennials in the UK believe that career progression in a role is what makes an employer more attractive. Millennials are always asking themselves ‘So what’s next for me?’ ‘Where will I be in the next few years’. Millennials want to know where they are going and if they are heading in the right direction for where they want to be in life. A massive 71% of Millennials believe that their employers should make them fully aware of the potentially progression within their career. Millennials also want to be guided for further training and development opportunities in order to reach their goals.
So, what if it looks like there is no career progression within a current role? Well, Millennials will shamelessly job hob, it’s the norm now. On average, every 2 years Millennials are looking to grow within their career, gain a higher salary and potentially move location. I guess for Millennials 2 years is enough time to feel like you’ve gained enough experience to move on and are ready for the next steps in life.
Being able to use their best skills – nobody wants their talent to go to waste.
Research has shown that Millennials who have decided to stay with the same company for longer than 2 years have stayed because they have had the opportunity to use their best skills, they have had a chance to show off what they can really do. Of course, everyone loves doing what they enjoy and being praised for it at the same time. It shows your hard work over the years hasn’t gone to waste. As Steve Jobs said, ‘without passion any rational person would give up’
Having a mentor
Mentoring programmes can be a great way to attract Millennials. The mentor will be a role model for the Millennial and a chance for them to learn with someone who they will respect due to their higher status. Statistics show that 49% Millennials planning to leave their employer within 2 years were unhappy with the Mentor that they had. Compared to those planning on staying for 5 years in which 81% said they were happy with the mentor they had.
And what about reverse mentoring? What can a baby boomer or someone from Generation X possibly learn from a Millennial? Well… Social Media is the big thing at the minute and as they say, ‘If it isn’t on Instagram did it even happen’ Millennials can be a great way to bridge the gap and solve skill shortages; the Millennial generation are the generation who have never lived without computers after all. In article by the Birmingham post, 2 millennials highlighted the fact that there are digital jobs that exist now that would not have existed 20 years ago. So between now and 2050 who knows which jobs may exist?
Each morning on my commute to my work experience placement, I have been reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. Reading about her experience working at Google and Facebook, along with taking in the personal advice she gives on how women can excel within business, motivated me every morning to do my best during my time at Gleeson, along with finding my career path after my two weeks here.
In the book Sandberg discusses why women gaining leadership roles in the workplace has stalled over the past few years, and gives advice on how to progress as a woman in the business world. One such piece of advice is to always ask for help, regardless of your position within the company. She notes, if an employee does not understand how to perform a certain procedure, this does not mean they are a bad worker and should be fired. In truth, it reflects poorly on the employer for not seeing potential in their employee, wishing to develop their worker, and helping them grow within the business. As a result of this, Sandberg notes the importance of having a mentor within the workplace.
Working with Gemma as my line manager, and working alongside consultants with an average of 11 years’ experience, was extremely valuable; and I have seen them all as my mentors. They were enabling me to develop my knowledge on careers in recruitment and how to be the best possible candidate, or recruiter in the future. As a young Political Science student, I am always keen to learn new skills, grow my network, and experience different opportunities. With this in mind, I wanted to make the most of my time at Gleeson and learn from the experienced consultants. A key piece of knowledge I shall take with me from my time with the Gleeson consultants, is the importance of LinkedIn for a recruiter and candidate. After my time here, my LinkedIn profile should be perfect!
A real bugbear of mine, is the word ‘bossy’ and in 2014, Sandberg endorsed a campaign ‘ban bossy’; urging the term to be banned due to its negative affect on young girls. When male colleagues are called bossy, it seems to be a far more accepted characteristic than when a female colleague is described as bossy. The female is deemed difficult to work with, and too demanding. Sandberg, along with other popular female celebrities, such as Beyoncé, are keen to remove the stigma around this word for women, and so am I.
From a young age, I remember a teacher talking to my mum about a disagreement I had had with another girl at around 10 years old. The teacher looked at me, and said “You were being quite bossy, weren’t you Lucy?”. I remember for a fact that I was not being ‘bossy’, I was simply being assertive over how I felt our playground fun should be organised! Whilst this was all trivial, it made me feel embarrassed for being assertive and being adamant about getting my point across. Surely in the world of business, this is not a bad attribute to have? Whilst I disagree with the certain stigma around the term, after learning more about the recruitment world, I have learned that being ‘bossy’ is actually a great attribute to have. To ensure your candidates act correctly in interviews, turn up on time, and fit the criteria needed for the proposed role, it is vital for both male and female recruiters to get their point across and make the client happy. Women need to be more assertive in the workplace, and the women I have seen at Gleeson are assertive, strategic, and confident in meeting their targets and the desires of the client. My time at Gleeson shadowing women such as Jo Payne and Gemma Saunders has granted me a fantastic opportunity to witness assertive women excel at their jobs.
My morning train ride reading Lean In before entering a fast paced working environment has resulted in me gaining two very insightful weeks. I have learned a vast amount about recruitment, which has aided me in deciding what career path I wish to take once my university degree is finished; along with building an idea of the type of career woman I wish to be, and how I can stand out from my peers whilst on my career path. Being able to watch consultants delve through endless CVs and talk to candidates and clients has given me a valuable insight into what key attributes recruiters look for; be that on a CV or within the phone call. My two weeks at Gleeson have been more informative and enjoyable than I imagined, and with a LinkedIn network full of recruiters, I hope my future job prospects will be forthcoming!
A week isn’t a long time, but it was all the time I needed with Gleeson to fall in love with it. Within the first day, I really felt included, like part of a short-term family, and, as a self-proclaimed introvert, it took no time at all for me to come out of my shell. And seeing as my time here was so short, I think it would be best to share my best (and worst!) moments.
To give context here to the nature of this introversion I claim to harbour, since the day my dad dragged me suit shopping, and dropped me into a large grey jacket which made me look like I’d slid a brick onto both shoulders to square them, I’d been dreading going to a real office, let alone being expected to ‘work independently’ and be ‘self-motivated’. I’m not a people person unless provoked, and tapping away at a computer isn’t my personal idea of provocation, so in conjuncture constant social interaction isn’t exactly my cup of tea.
But as soon as I shakily stepped out of the elevator and took my first look at the Gleeson lobby I suddenly felt a kind of calm, possibly due to the friendly atmosphere and happy, colourful design; maybe also due to the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t quite sure about what was going on. Phil stood proud – and quite short – to greet me with the welcoming words, “Everything’s been a bit crazy here this morning.” And the crazy never stopped.
To start with, I shadowed Jack the apprentice, and I swear I’ve never before been intimidated by the speed with which someone formatted a CV, and I expect I never will be again. The awe wore off shadowing Phil for most of the rest of Monday, but I still managed to discover my talent for drawing cable connections to pass the time. To be pragmatic and spend my time well, I made sure to memorise the view from the window during my lunch break, which was surprisingly useful when on Tuesday I discovered that walking to the office from Harborne was faster than taking the bus, and I had to use the Birmingham Library and the East side of the BT Tower to triangulate both my position and the position of Edmund house.
Fun and educational? I guess I can say it helps with my geography skills, seeing as I have to write a 1000-word essay for school about how my time at Gleeson aided me in my knowledge of a school subject, now that I’ve spent my time here (I hope that I can get away with copying this entry and adding a couple of footnotes!). But why? I just don’t know.
Honestly, I’d prefer to just stay here and not have to go back to that life, to the land of exams and social pressures. I finished my GCSE’s two weeks ago and the time since has been the best of my life, both in my week with Gleeson and my week without. The people here are much nicer, don’t judge your mistakes, and the banter thrown around only victimises Phil, so isn’t a problem like it so often has been in my normal school environment.
Also, I had an epiphany, that the reason I don’t like school is mainly due to the rigorous structure with which I have to go from lesson to lesson, day after day, with a short lunch break, and very little flexibility. At Gleeson, to an extent, I was free. In my shadowing periods, I learnt about the systems and software, but if I wanted a coffee all I had to do is go and get one, and ask who else was wanting, out of courtesy (except for Phil of course). And, though I didn’t often use this freedom, preferring to learn what I could in my short week, and still being too shy to really do much without being asked, just the knowledge that I could was enough to make me feel more like part of a team, not the bottom rung of a ladder, which, pragmatically, I am.
Now for something completely different. My surname is not Howell, as absolutely every letter, email address, and username Gleeson has gifted me suggests. It’s Howl. It has a completely different etymological history, coming from the archaic Germanic/Scandinavian ‘Owl’, not from the classical Welsh ‘Howel’. Just to clear that up, the small population of us are owls, not wolves, and I’m rather defensive of that fact (We even have different family crests!).
Back to work. My first personal assignment wasn’t the most thrilling. Under the orders of Phil, I stapled 20 sets of sheets together. Riveting. At least I was making myself useful. More useful than Phil at least. Afterwards, Jack taught me about resourcing, so that morning had at least some value.
Later I had a meeting with Paul about engineering and manufacture, and procurement, and I felt very enlightened for something which I didn’t really understand. Luckily, Leah and Lucy both felt the same, so I wasn’t alone.
After that, during the latter part of my lunch break, I decided as per usual to do a quick sketch to focus my mind for future shadowing and such, and drew Tim, Tom, Paul, and Jamie, from a leaflet about the Engineering department. These received high praise from those around me (especially Tom’s), and I felt rather embarrassed, but appreciated, which, for someone who’s done little but shadowing and fetching a couple of drinks, is not something I’d really expected. I’m repeating myself, but I really feel special here, part of a supportive family. With Phil as that neighbour.
Most of the rest of my week was shadowing, learning, making fun of Phil, and carry vast quantities of water bottles across the office, but I’ve enjoyed it, having felt part of the workplace, though perhaps not the most key of members. Though, I felt rather key when I brought in cake on my last day! If I was to come out of university in six or so years’ time, and was looking for somewhere to work, if it were as welcoming and connected as Gleeson, then I’d be more than content. I’m really going to miss my time here with all of the great people I’ve come to know; I just hope my extra-long summer holiday will help to soften the blow!
To close off this tale, which I assume is much longer than needs be, I have a final message for someone who has been probably the most important person around me for this week.
Phil John Rees isn’t quite as bad as this entry has shown him to be. He’s funny, very helpful, and content with being the butt of the joke, as long as it’s a good one. In this short-term family I’ve referenced, he’s like a semi-cool stepdad who spends a lot of time cracking open a cold one with the boys, usually there, and always up for a discussion about life, the universe, everything, and the aggressive nature of operating systems. So, no matter how much you’ve been the target of all my jokes, the outcast in all my stories, you’re probably one of the best guys here. Thanks for everything.
– Marcus Howl
Attractive day rates, the ability to pick and choose when you work, a varied career and the opportunity to work within a range of sectors – these are just a few of the reasons that candidates make the move into becoming a career interim. I speak to many candidates that are currently working in permanent roles and considering crossing over to interim – there are common questions that are asked, so I wanted to share some of my observations of the market place from a procurement perspective that may be useful if you are considering an interim career.
Are you Available?
It is going to be difficult for an employer to consider you for an interim role if you are on a long notice period. You are more likely to secure a contract when you are on a short notice period (weeks rather than months) or immediately available. Therefore if you are in a permanent role you will have to take a leap of faith and hand your notice in – probably before you have a role to go to. This can be nerve wracking – especially if you are used to being in constant employment. Talk to your consultant and your network to help you decide when to do this. The timing of when you make yourself immediately available is vital. Christmas and January/February tend to be particularly quiet on the interim front, as are the summer months that coincide with school holidays.
If you are rigid on day rates and locations, you are automatically limiting the number of roles that you can be considered for and the chances of securing a role. By being prepared to travel a little further, or being open on day rate, you will be find so many more opportunities are presented to you. Once you’ve proven yourself as an interim you can absolutely work on improving your day rate!
Be Prepared & Don’t Panic
Be prepared that there may be a number of months where you are not working – these may not always be through your choosing. A contract may end and it can sometimes take a while before another suitable opportunity arises. Make sure that you’re in a position financially that you will be able to support yourself through some time out of work during the first year or two – it might not happen but it will help you sustain your decision to move into interim if you’re prepared.
It is a competitive market place. Make your CV stand out from the competition – make sure you demonstrate your achievements on there with facts and figures, and your involvement in projects. Meet your recruitment network face to face, build a strong working relationship with proven interim recruiters – they will understand your style, skills and motivations and be more effective in helping you secure a contract that works for you.
Loyalty is Key
It can be a very small world. If you become known as a candidate that constantly leaves contracts early for an increase in day rate, it can make prospective clients nervous about hiring you. Always leave a good handover, on good terms and with a great reference.
In summary, working as an interim can be incredibly rewarding, interesting and exciting. If you would like any more information or to discuss available positions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
A couple of years ago, we asked everyone in our business what was important to them about the firm and what values they felt the business represented. From this our company values were born, but as well as our core values there was one word that kept coming up – charity. Since then we’ve been involved in a range of fundraising as a business, supporting a range of charities close to our hearts.
I got involved with the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity through their association with Gleeson RG and immediately wanted to help – the passion and commitment of the charity was amazing, and I didn’t know that they receive no NHS funding for what is essentially an extension of our emergency services. I also didn’t know that it costs on average £2,500 to send a helicopter out so I quickly bought in to how much impact I could make to the charity as an individual.
In 2015 I joined 12 Gleeson colleagues on the 24-hour Bear Grylls Challenge on Dartmoor, an overnight survival challenge where we learned fundamental survival skills and spent a night sleeping out in the open. Little did I know that 12 months later I’d be getting ready to set off to Africa to join the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe…
To qualify for the trip to Zimbabwe each member of the team, made up of volunteers from various businesses across the West Midlands, was required to raise a minimum of £5,000 for the charity. We went about it in different ways – some organised quizzes, some ran bake sales, others badgered their suppliers for charitable donations. I’m not very organised and I can’t bake; but I also knew what would be most likely to inspire my friends and family to donate – a certain level of physical pain and suffering! So I went about finding a series of events I could commit to completing; the sort of thing that I knew people would be willing to sponsor me to complete:
January Dry January, no alcohol for a month March British Military Fitness Major Series, 12km obstacle course race May Great Birmingham Run, 10km road race June Wolfrun, 10km obstacle course race July Rat Race “The Crossing”, 200 miles coast to coast on a mountain bike August Yorkshire Three Peaks, 26 miles over Yorkshire’s highest three summits October Birmingham Half Marathon, 13.1 mile road race November The Bear Grylls Survival Academy, Zimbabwe
What a year! As someone who’s always been into team sports, learning to compete against myself both physically and mentally was a new experience, but something I’ve learned to love. The hardest race by far was The Crossing, traversing England on a mountain bike from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Scarborough in North Yorkshire – 27 hours in the saddle over three days! Fundraising for the deadline was tough but after completing the Birmingham Half Marathon in October, I’d raised £5,460 and could look forward to the adventure of a lifetime in Zimbabwe…
In November I met up with the Bear Grylls team; nervous and excited at the unknown nature of the challenge ahead. We knew that we would be learning survival skills and then putting them to the test in the wild, but we didn’t know how far it would push us physically or mentally.
On arrival in Victoria Falls the instructors looked (ok, they laughed) at our 20 kilos of luggage and handed us an overnight bag with the words “If you want to take it, you’ll be carrying it for the next five days.” 20 minutes later we left the compound with the clothes on our back, our cameras, essential healthcare & medical kit and our allocated gear – survival knife, flint, harness, helmet, water bottle and mess tin.
The next three days were a steep learning curve; equipping us with fundamental skills that could be used in a real survival situation – fire-lighting, filtering water, knife skills, bush foods, trapping, ropework, shelter building, tracking, emergency trauma care and astronavigation, amongst others.
On day four we set off for the challenge, with just a litre of water and the kit listed above. After hiking down to the Zambezi river, we rafted in 45-degree heat for 7 or 8 hours, stopping off to take on a couple of climbs on the way. Mid-afternoon we were dropped on a rocky beach and told to set ourselves up for the night; we’d be collected at 7:30am the following morning. A litre of water doesn’t go far in that heat so, dehydrated, we set about trying to organise ourselves – we needed to build shelter, start a fire, collect and boil enough water to rehydrate and fill our water bottles and, if possible, find what would be our only meal in 36 hours.
It was staggering just how badly the dehydration affected us all – the simplest of tasks was made incredibly difficult and a couple of hours later we’d made very little progress. Eventually we turned a corner with our water supply when one of the group pulled a Life Straw from his bag (a filter through which you can safely drink any water supply) that he’d decided would be worth carrying when we were told to strip our kit back. As we started to get on top of dehydration, everything else got easier. From 5pm to 12pm we essentially ran a production line; using our filter for drinking water while boiling water to refill our water bottles for the next day. With the Life Straw we went into the following day hungry but reasonably hydrated – without it, we might have struggled to make it to the end of the challenge.
On day 5 we were back in the raft before 8am travelling to our next stop, where we would be set the task of a climb and abseil. Relatively easy under normal conditions but, with low blood sugar and further dehydration, everyone in the group was starting to feel the effects and were struggling with the physical elements of the challenge. After the abseil was done and everyone was safely on the ground, it was back to the rafts and to the final physical element of the challenge, where we were dropped off at the bottom of the Zambezi gorge and given a deadline to reach our “extraction point” at the top of the gorge. Again, the physical toll on our bodies kicked in and a straightforward 45-minute hike in normal conditions turned out to be a punishing, lung-busting trek against the clock where every minute hurt.
On reaching the top we were told we had one final challenge – use our learned skills to light a signal fire to signal our helicopter pickup. Unpacking our hastily-packed overnight bags we struggled to find our fire lighting kit; eventually finding some wet tinder. After 10 minutes of weary effort, we got a fire going and the challenge was over!
After a celebratory beer at the gorge we travelled back to the reserve by helicopter, over the beautiful scenery of Zimbabwe and before long over Victoria Falls, one of the stunning 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
The journey I was on for those 5 days taught me more about the dynamics of a team, and the value offered by each and every member, than any team sport or training session had ever done before – and in all we’ve now raised nearly £100,000 for Midlands Air Ambulance, which has the potential to fund 40 life-saving missions across the region.
In celebration and recognition of International Women’s Day, we asked a selection of women in senior positions for the best career advice they have ever received.
Here are their thoughts:
‘Treat people as you would wish to be treated – be that a candidate, client, team member or your boss, because how you treat people and how you make them feel is what you will be remembered for’
Monique Myers, Recruitment Manager, University of Birmingham
‘ Go to work every day as if you are being interviewed or assessed for the role’
‘Enter the workday clear on the 3 things you need to achieve and what your unique purpose is and check off that what you are doing that day achieves those ends.’
‘Spend your time as you would spend your money – both are a finite resource so spend them well.’
Amanda Jones, HR Director, National Express
‘When looking at the year ahead try to do 6 big ticket items really well rather than trying to achieve over 20 moderately or not at all. Never underestimate the power of engaging people at all levels within your business all the time. Treat people well, with respect and with a smile. That way people will want to help you, be inspired by you and deliver for you.’
Jackie Dadge, Peoplepathe HR Consultancy.
‘Follow your passion and interest and be true to yourself as it’ll make you happier. Move out of your comfort zone to prove to yourself you can.’
Suzanna Prout, MD, Xenonex Ltd
‘Always leave a company with the same level of professionalism and commitment as when you started, no matter what the situation. Myself and about half a dozen others have now returned to tour organisation and it’s only because of the great relationships we had, and we’ve maintained, that the door was open for our warm and successful re-welcome!’
Sian Griffiths – Shiseido Group EMEA – HR Director UK & Ireland
‘1) Believe in yourself and don’t let your ‘inner critic’ talk you out of anything. If you doubt yourself, gather the evidence to refute it and gain the skill set required to do it.
2) Put your head above the parapet and get involved with high profile projects or apply for promotions you’re interested in, don’t wait to be asked!
3) Do something you love and are passionate about, life’s too short to spend your working life doing something that doesn’t fulfill you!
The best bit of career advice I ever got was:
– Get a mentor and sponsor. Definitely helped me to get the profile I needed internally and externally.’
Debbie Meehan, Executive and Professional Career Coach, Papillon Consulting
‘The best career advice I can give anyone is to not be afraid to try something new – as women we definitely hold ourselves back by thinking we aren’t good enough or don’t have the right experience to try something new but that just isn’t true. You don’t need to be defined by the career path you took when you were 21.’
‘The other advice I would give is to always ask for help or advice. If you have an interest in a different department at work then tell them and ask if you can find out more or spend the day with them. If you want to change careers and would like more information then ask for it – there is nothing wrong with approaching a friend of a friend or even someone on LinkedIn and asking for advice – just be polite and grateful and offer to buy that person a coffee and you’d be amazed by how much advice you will get. You just have to ask!’
‘Don’t just do what you are great at, do what you are passionate about; if you love what you do, you will always succeed.’
Sarah Fountain MCIPD, Director, odfconsulting Ltd.
‘In finance, your job will revolve around deadlines, but spreadsheets are no substitute for getting out into the business. Carve out time each month, on the factory floor, operational teams or sales teams, with the people that deliver the business. If there is one thing I did in early my career, it was taking risks and opportunities. Be bold in your choices. Try different roles and business sectors. Understand where your strengths lie, and what makes a job enjoyable for you. Poor managers focus on criticism, and women are particularly guilty of “doing good works quietly”. Own your successes, and others will recognise it too.’
Donna Hardie, Finance Director
‘As a senior female, and often the only one in the room, I’ve never let that be ‘the thing’. I am there because I have a role to play in some key strategic discussions, regardless of my gender, and I have a valuable contribution to make… I still wear pink shoes though!’
This year we took on our first ever Apprentice, Jack. We asked both Jack, and his manager Gemma, how they were getting on…
“Well, there’s so much to say about my time here at Gleeson, ever since I first started two months ago I was welcomed here with open arms, everyone is incredibly friendly and don’t treat me as ‘just the apprentice’ and treat me the same way they’d treat any other person that works here. It’s strange because it’s the first time I’ve worked and I genuinely look forward to getting to go to work to see everyone (except for Phil, nobody looks forward to seeing Phil).
I feel like I have built individual relationships with each of the consultants here, where I can have a bit of banter with Dean and Phil, or talking about ‘Suits’ with Tim, Jess and Charlie; everyone is extremely friendly and makes me feel part of the Gleeson family.
As I am the apprentice, everyone here allows me to work at my own pace and supports me where needed, while also pushing me to perform the best I can be; for example, Phil and Lucy will assist me and show me things I may have missed and how to improve them for next time and give me pointers to pick up on. I’m also never sat around doing nothing, as I’m always being given new tasks to do to help me develop any skills. They’re always offering new ways to train me up, such as giving me training for any software
They even allocated a budget for me to go clothes shopping with Phil to get me some nice work clothes and ‘Gleesonise’ me up where Phil took me out and got me some shirts and chinos. I always feel very involved with everyone here at Gleeson, as I feel I get along with everyone here, which is impressive for a company made up of over 50 employees, and they’re giving me the opportunity to work in a top tier recruitment firm and start me on the pathway to my career.
I feel like I have changed a lot since I have started, as I was quite shy and quiet in my first week compared to now, where I’m always having a laugh and a joke with people and quite frankly I don’t shut up, and I’ve even been told I’ve fit in quite well and that it feels like I’ve been here forever and I’m now officially “part of the furniture”.”
Jack Hawthorne – Administration Apprentice
“We definitely found it harder than I expected to find our first Apprentice! I am not sure what we really expected – and having worked in recruitment for over 16 years I have certainly interviewed a lot of people! We did like all the candidates that we met – but it was so hard to assess whether the candidates would fit our business and be able to do the work required. So, in the end we took a chance – and hired Jack based upon his work ethic and ambition.
Luckily for us, Jack has been a fantastic addition to our team! He is enthusiastic, hardworking and willing to take on anything that we throw at him. He has grown in confidence and now fits into the ‘banter’ and mickey-taking that is ingrained in most recruitment businesses. We are both getting to grips with the ‘academic’ work that Jack must do. I want to make sure that he has the time and support to complete this, but never having done this before, some of the work seems almost too simple. I am trying to remember that some Apprentices will probably be sixteen and will have no experience at all, whereas Jack is nearly nineteen and does already have experience of the workplace. It is also easy to forget what you didn’t know when you entered the workforce and the academic work is certainly giving Jack a good overview of all areas of business. I think that our Apprentice provider can definitely make some improvements in terms of the support they offer employers, especially employers that have never had an Apprentice; this will be an important point as more companies offer Apprenticeships to get the most from the incoming levy.
All in all we are really pleased that we made the decision to hire an Apprentice – Jack has fitted in seamlessly and hasn’t been a drain on people’s time, as some were concerned about this. Everyone has enjoyed the input they have with Jack and having an Apprentice has given others the opportunity to act as a Mentor and be involved in his development and training.”
Gemma Saunders – Associate Director
If you’re thinking of taking on your first Apprentice and aren’t sure what to expect, please feel free to get in touch with Gemma on: firstname.lastname@example.org
To measure happiness is about as easy as seeing oxygen in our air. However, individual’s reactions and attitudes at work, can sometimes be easy to see; and happiness at work is a key factor behind these outcomes.
Research suggests that there are three crucial human needs that must be satisfied for us to function well and be healthy psychologically. These being Autonomy, Mastery and Relatedness, which as human beings, we are driven to have these needs met. Autonomy being the need to have choice over our behaviour and actions, Mastery – the need to feel competent and Relatedness – the need to feel connected to and cared about by others. The extent of how satisfying our job is in supplementing these needs has a huge influence on how much we enjoy our work. What’s more, it’s said that work is a key factor in contributing to other elements of our happiness such as positive emotions, engagement, meaning, purpose and accomplishment. Considering the vast amount of time that we spend at work, it is not surprising that it can influence how happy we are overall.
So, expectedly happiness in the workplace is a constant talking point, even more so in recent years with the speed in which we receive news and as we’re that more socially aware online (which is a whole different story when looking at social media increasing anxiety and depression levels). But is it going too far? It seems that companies are striving to have the ‘coolest’ office (see Googles slides) and the most ‘out-there’ philosophies, but are they tackling the real drivers of happiness for their workforce? A recent study by the London School of Economics shows that the place we feel the most miserable is at work – with being sick in bed being the only unhappier circumstance. Apparently more than half of employees say they’re unhappy and 36% are seriously considering leaving their jobs, and in the UK, it is estimated that work-related anxiety and stress cost the economy £26 billion each year.
It appears that some companies are so insistent on making the office fun to encourage higher work rates, it’s almost causing a forced positivity; with negative effects. One piece of research conducted in UK supermarkets, suggests that their returns were actually more profitable when the employees were least satisfied. What’s more, it’s even suggested that happiness can be a liability in some job roles. For instance, people who were angry tended to get better outcomes during a negotiation than a happy person would. People in a good mood were also worse at noticing an act of deception than people in a bad mood. Now I’m not saying that you want a miserable workforce, but to me this does suggest there needs to be a balance.
Wanting your staff to be happy is fair enough, but forcing them is something troubling. If employers were genuinely interested in making their work force genuinely happy, this ‘corporate clowning’ is surely not the right way. Why not look at more evidential steps such as allowing flexible working? – where studies show a huge increase in job satisfaction.
So whilst creating a fun and interesting working environment is still great, it begs the question are employers using this as a way to mask real issues and important questions? Happiness is a convenient idea that looks good on paper, but it’s also an idea that helps us shy away from more serious issues at work, such as conflicts and workplace politics; does it not become a cop-out when needing to make controversial decisions? Luckily I work somewhere where this isn’t the case. Do you?
References: Deci and Ryan’s Self-determination theory
Generally, the idea of networking brings on that sudden dread and you’re overcome with that lovely clammy feeling; even for the most extrovert of us. But has someone ever told you it doesn’t have to be that way? Go about it the right way and you will never underestimate its potential again (well, maybe) …
Always set a reasonable expectation for yourself and have a little think about why you’re even wanting to attend the event in the first place; what you want to get out of it and what type of connections you would like to make. Don’t stretch yourself too thin and try to ‘work the room’ as you’re never going to get the most out of the situation. Spend time making a couple or few specific and significant connections.
A key point is to try and plan a few general questions that could be applied to any conversation, to get the rhythm of conversation going. You can then begin to ask genuine and relevant questions to get to know the person once the ice is broken. Try to allow the other person to speak more than you do; not only will they feel great about the conversation, but you’ll have gotten to know a lot about them.
A great way to start is to get to know more about the organisation and who is involved, to seek out the event organiser (you can even have pre-event stalk on LinkedIn) and introduce yourself. They could then even introduce you to other attendees to get the ball rolling. What’s more, you’ll also find that networking is a lot more fun when you become a regular. People will sing your praises to new attendees (this is always better than you doing it yourself) and you’ll see lots of familiar faces. So maybe it’s time you tackle those networking nerves…
Take notes! This will help you to be more specific with any follow-up. One thing that’s suggested is to write notes on each of the business cards you receive – eliminating you getting mixed up amongst your (hopefully) many notes.
Granted networking is not just face to face; with LinkedIn dominating the online professional networking market, it would be silly not to utilise the tool. Follow key influencers, join groups that interest you the most (and engage with them), build up your connections and share content. Be a person you would want to engage with, and people will engage with you. There’s also all sorts of online forums and webinars where you can join in the conversation and again meet new people.
Make sure you give something back too. Don’t just let them do the leg work. Keep in regular contact with these new connections and strive to build on the relationship as much as possible. If you’re prepared to share your contacts and resources, others will be more likely to help you. This way if you ever need something from them, it’s not going to feel so bad asking them. Make yourself available and become a connection they would want to rely on.
Last but really not least, in fact this is probably the most important thing I’ll say… BE YOURSELF! Don’t start a new relationship off with a lie, there is just no benefit there. Don’t try and be someone you think someone else wants to meet. Be genuine and you will make the right connections with the right intentions, for them and for you. Think about it, would you want the person you meet to be authentic?
Hopefully this advice will make the world of networking a lot easier and a lot less daunting for you.
There are so many blogs and articles about how to be a great leader, and most by people much more qualified than I am to write them…but that doesn’t stop a lot of people, so here’s my two pennies worth…
Being a leader isn’t easy, and all of the training in the world can’t fully prepare you for the complex mysteries that are other human beings, so it’s no wonder that there are so many different leadership styles out there. Over the years I’ve had kind managers, angry managers, strict managers, hands-off managers, micro-managers… pretty much every possible option. And what do I think the best style is? Well there isn’t one. I always think The Sims game got it spot on when it gave each individual a unique aspiration; for some it was money, for some family, for some popularity… people are largely the same. The best managers figure out what their employees react best to based on their personality and life goals and then tailor their approach.
There are, however, some overarching traits that I’ve always admired in good leaders:
Be a Genuine Role Model
Anyone with an ounce of emotional intelligence can spot lies or fakery, so don’t bother trying. People love to call out a hypocrite, so you better make sure you demonstrate the behaviours you want to see in a team. It will earn their respect, and it will also be far more effective at gaining their cooperation.
Be Present but not Smothering
The only thing worse than a micro-manager is one that is never around. Many of my friends have left jobs because their manager didn’t pay enough attention to coaching and nurturing their team, and who can blame them? Most people crave a complex balance of freedom and structure whilst working towards progression, so get those regular catch ups on objectives booked in and give them room to breathe in between.
Let me be clear; I’m not saying be a push over, but you can afford to manage with compassion. Maybe I’m a bit naïve in believing that most people are fundamentally good at heart, but when you allow people to occasionally juggle family commitments, healthcare appointments, or even just to have a moment where they aren’t at their best, you get their appreciation and their loyalty. Nobody wants to work in a draconian system and, as my colleague Kate Wass said in a previous blog, most companies are now offering flexible working, so remember your employees have options.
Always remember that once you become a manager; your success is down to the team, and their failure is your failure. If you’re doing well, remember to be thankful for their efforts and to praise their individual achievements. Too much self-praise is a sure fire route to mutiny.
Of course there isn’t a fool proof instruction manual on management style, and most just go with what works for them. As long as you are challenging yourself to get the best out of your team, and get the best results for the company, then you’re doing a pretty great job.
People often say that technology is speeding up the rate at which businesses change, but they never talk about how the people behind the jobs should deal with them.
Humans can be divided into those that embrace change, and those that are reluctant to change … and if you want to get scientific about it, there’s even research to show the genetic basis of the difference; even down to those that made the big migrations of history and who stayed behind (really interesting reading for those so inclined).
So down to the practical; how do you deal with change regardless of which camp you fall into? Here are our opinions…
Firstly know when to pick your battles; and this is probably the most difficult thing to do! Most of the time the change is out of your control, so use your experience to influence the parts that you can and accept the rest. It’s easy to take these matters personally and quite often it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees when someone else is seeking to change your day to day processes, but try and see the bigger picture – it may well be beneficial in the long run. You can rail against them all you want, but in the end you’ll probably just damage relationships and not achieve very much at all.
Once you’ve achieved this step, the rest are relatively easy!
Over time you will realise that not only are things constantly changing, but that things tend to go in big circles. What works for a business one day, may not be what works for it the next. As a result businesses can’t afford to stand still, and have to be vigilant to survive. That means that as an employee, you just have to learn to see the change coming and ride the wave. Accepting that things will always be changing means that you’re prepared for when they inevitably do.
Change the way you think about change. After you get past tips one and two, you can begin to see the process as a positive one. It’s an opportunity to refresh and to weigh up what does and does not work. I’ve been told many times over the years that people have greater job satisfaction if they can understand the point of what they do and how it impacts the business and the customer. Bring it back to that. Can you improve what you’re doing to give a better result for the business and its customers? They’ll all be happy, and you’ll get paid – win, win.
Communication is key. Share your constructive thoughts about the change, speak to others that are affected by it, build connections. Not only is it great to have a support network, but it also helps you to work more efficiently across divisions, and it builds bridges for your future career goals. You’re far more likely to be recommended for positions internally if you’re seen as a knowledgeable and positive asset.
Is it a personal opportunity for you? Can you harness the situation to gain new skills, or refresh old skills? Don’t forget to consider your soft skills in this; i.e. are you having to negotiate or persuade others more?
There are so many positives to change but they’re not always initially obvious. So whenever you hear that a change is coming, take a breathe, stay positive, and make it work.
Yes…it’s those dirty words ‘Flexible Working’….you immediately think of your employees…sat smugly on their sofas in their pyjamas, drinking coffee and being continually distracted by the mindless chatter of ‘Loose Women’….because after all, this is what flexible workers are doing, right?
Wrong….and what’s more, if this is your opinion of flexible workers and your company culture does not allow for a more agile working environment, you may well be about to lose your best talent!
An ILM study has found that more than half of employees would look to leave their role if the culture of their organisation didn’t change. 74% of staff surveyed wanted more freedom in their roles, with a third saying they were forced to work within overly controlled structures, with a lack of empowerment being the root cause of dissatisfaction in the workplace.
So who are these pesky employees wanting flexible working? It’s your community of working mothers, surely?
Wrong again…the bottom line is that now, all of your employees want flexible working. Moreover, flexible working is an expectation, not a benefit. Overly Authoritarian workplaces should be a thing of the past. John Yates, Group Director at ILM said ‘Organisations need to be flexible, allowing employees to pursue career ambitions and manage conflicting home life pressures – injecting passion and new ideas into the workplace’
70% of dads want to work flexibly and believe that inflexible employers mean many working dads are facing a ‘fatherhood penalty’ with 11% of the 2750 respondents saying their boss makes no allowances at all for family life, with nearly half saying they would rather downsize jobs or take a pay cut if it meant they had more family time.
And of course there’s the millennials, these tech-savvy, ‘glued-to-their-smart-phone’ individuals, who have grown up in a world of mobile and wireless connectivity and simply can’t comprehend the need to sit at a desk 9-5.
Over the past few years, many companies have been working towards a flexible working culture and there is a lot of noise being made around the benefits of flexible working and the impact on productivity and engagement – with studies showing it has it has in fact improved – dispelling the myth that flexible workers are lazy, uncommitted skivers who just want to while away their hours in Starbucks. (Other coffee shops are available)
There are currently over 8 million part-time workers and over 4.5 million who work full-time in a flexible working culture. Proving that flexible working does work and it works really well.
Flexible working is not ‘the future’ it’s the present. It’s happening right now, and whether we like it or not, the way we work has changed.
Flexible working is no longer about a work/life balance, managing the school run, being able to go for a beer on a sunny afternoon and catch up on work on a weekend – it’s about talent. Attracting the right talent – and keeping it.
What does your company do about flexible working? Do you feel that you have a flexible culture? We would love to hear your opinions….
A few weeks ago, our Julie Smyth took on an amazing challenge… to throw herself out of a plane, thousands of feet above the ground. We asked her to write about her experience and here it is:
“So it was 6am on a bright and sunny Sunday morning and 2nd time lucky as the first “Jump” had been cancelled due to bad weather. Nerves were in check and adrenaline was high. I got in the car and the first song to blast from the stereo was 80’s legend Seal with “Crazy” – no word of a lie. True to the lyrics that’s exactly how I felt as the 5 original “Jumpers” became just 1!
With over £1,100 raised for the Air Ambulance there was no turning back now. Off I sped in my little silver Mini to the Oxford countryside to meet up with the madness that is “The London Parachute School”. Not to be derogatory, but if you jump out of a plane for a living there has to be a little bit of madness in you as I quickly found out in my safety briefing.
All strapped in and ready to go with my extremely fit Instructor – this mission was suddenly becoming more appealing. As we made our way up through the clouds to 11,000 feet it all started to become real and surreal at the same time. My Instructor checked, double checked and even triple checked I was ready and of course I wasn’t.
The plane door slid open and out went 2 solo adrenaline junkies one after the other. Then it was my turn! No time to think, it was a quick smile for the camera man, trying my best to look chilled and out we went. What a moment it was. The feeling of free falling is not over rated especially on this clear and sunny day and that moment when the parachute is pulled and everything becomes silent and so peaceful – even me! What an experience and one I would love to repeat and soon. Who’s coming with me?”
We’re really proud of Julie for her effort, so we hope you’ll join us in saying WELL DONE!!!
You can still donate if you’d like to on the fundraising page:
A few weeks ago a friend of mine commented on his recent job change that he’d moved every 2 years on average, and that “job-hopping” was the new norm.
I thought about this on my way home; most of my friends have already moved a few times in their career, to the point where I’d consider myself one of the most stationary at almost 4 years with Gleeson. I know very few people of my generation who are looking at a job for life; and actually a substantial chunk of my wider Facebook connections work until they can afford to travel for a year and then repeat the process when their funds dry up.
I grew up being told at school that companies don’t like to see a lot of movement on your CV, so the concept of ‘job-hopping’ was definitely something I was always keen to avoid. This got me to thinking, if more and more people are moving jobs every few years how is it being perceived within business?
Luckily I have quite a few industry experts in close proximity to ask…
The general consensus is that yes; people are moving jobs more often than they used to. There were various potential reasons put forward as to why; a strong and confident economy (pre-Brexit), a generational attitude shift, skills demands and generally a more ambitious population.
Regardless of the reason, it looks to be an ever growing trend, and it seems that different sectors have adjusted to it more than others.
Within the IT sector for instance, where the strong interim market combines with ever-emerging technologies, it has long been the norm for candidates to switch jobs around every 2 years on average. For senior IT candidates it is more usual for them to stay in position for just double that time unless the Business is large enough to present them with fresh challenges.
More generally, in other disciplines, it seems to hold that nowadays 1-2 years is the average duration at the more junior end of the scale, with more senior candidates staying in position for 3-4 years on average. It certainly seems like the ‘job for life’ days of industry are behind us.
This, of course, isn’t prescriptive and time and time again the same point kept being suggested to me: progression. Don’t panic if you’ve stayed in your current company for more than this new proposed average, many people still do. As long as you can demonstrate that you’ve been involved in different areas of the business, different projects or different roles and achieved real results then it will be an extremely positive addition to your CV.
Likewise, don’t panic if you move companies more often. If this is due to temporary assignments, or interim cover then just make sure that you stipulate that on your CV. It’s surprising how often people don’t, which can raise concerns. Again, if you’re showing that you are gaining valuable experience through your choices of role then fantastic.
The overarching point that I gained from my colleagues is that it’s not one size fits all; it depends on your personal situation. As long as you are constantly pushing yourself, and building on your career to suit your individual circumstances then it will be beneficial; whether this is from sticking in companies for decades or single figures.
I started this blog with a question: Is job-hopping the new norm? I think the answer has to be yes… but is that a bad thing? Fresh talent, fresh ideas and new experiences can be a boost for both candidates and clients alike. The modern recruitment landscape has changed, but as long as you’re willing to put the work in you can make a success of it as ever.
If this article has made you think, and you’d like some impartial advice, then feel free to call us and we’ll give you an honest opinion on your career and your next steps. (No, we won’t start spamming you or harassing you with jobs you don’t want afterwards.) We’re genuinely happy to help.
Here at Gleeson, we are very much about supporting the local business industry. That being said, we decided at the beginning of the year to sign up for the Independent Birmingham card. For those that don’t know, the IB card is a discount membership, supporting local restaurants, bars, cafes and shops across the city. The outlets provide discounts and offers in turn for encouraged footfall. The featured participants are ever growing; and range from your small lesser known treasures, to the more visible restaurant, albeit some you may not have known to be independent. You can see the full list here: http://independent-birmingham.co.uk/
With our ‘Birmingham’ Feature Week in mind, I wanted to be able to combine the two for an instructive yet stimulating guide to your new ‘independent business meeting’. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, a quick coffee or swift tipple, here’s my recommendation on the revolution of the independent business pit stop…
Breakfast – Saint Kitchen
Address: 63 St Paul’s Square, Birmingham, B3 1QS
Saint Kitchen is a coffee house come deli, with a contemporary feel; situated in St. Paul’s square, this is naturally a beautiful setting. On a warm summers day, much like the day I visited Saint Kitchen, it was purely picturesque. Now it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea to sit outside for a meeting (much like those undertaking said meetings inside and resembling hot dogs in cars), but it was most definitely peaceful enough to do so. Nonetheless, the fact these meetings were taking place, was immediately a great sign for me and there is plenty of seating inside for the more reserved.
There is an extensive breakfast menu with plentiful delicious options for all kinds of breakfast lovers. From Peanut Butter on Toast to Eggs Benedict, you know you’re not tight for options here. I decided on the nutritious and substantial (with a full working day ahead in mind, food is fuel and all that…) option of Poached Eggs on Sourdough Toast with smashed Avocado, along with a summer drinks menu choice of Iced Caramel Latte. Both of which were flavoursome and fulfilling! They do specialise in all kinds of glorious caffeinated beverages, so with your morning meeting in mind, you really can’t go wrong! What’s more, the service was quick, the staff were polite, and all before 9am!
Overall, this is a great place for a breakfast meeting in mind! It’s a great location, spacious, sustenance varieties for all taste buds and there’s free Wi-Fi!
Food: Poached Eggs on Sourdough Toast with Smashed Avocado
This place is just perfect for lunch! Quick, helpful service, a tasty looking lunch menu and relaxing yet charming atmosphere! When you realise Marmalade was born from the people that brought you Island Bar and Bodega to the Jekyll and Hyde, its success and style soon correlates.
With an almost retro 1920’s, Hawaiian hybrid feel, it welcomes you with leather-bound chairs, a mix and match décor style, a classic playlist and homage to theatre (see location) with play/book script wallpaper seen throughout – a quintessential touch! It’s a very large space, so the more private of conversations are not a worry; it’s well-lit yet intimate, and looking out onto centenary square, my window seat was a delight!
The service was welcoming and attentive; all that you could ask for really. The menu has some great and intricate options, with a focus on homemade food, along with an abundance of veggie delights on their menu; something they pride themselves over. I decided to try the veggie option of the lunch menu that day, which was extremely yummy and consumed within minutes! (A nice little detail – their bread is sourced from local and fellow IB situates, Peel and Stone!)
What’s more, for the finer days, there is an outdoor terraced area, only adding to the hospitable ambiance!
Food: Cajun Vegetable Tortilla with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing and Fries
Drink: Ginger Beer
IB Offer: 15% off all food and drink (all week) and 25% off vegetarian dishes every Monday
Dinner – Buffalo Rye
Address: 11 Bennett’s Hill, Birmingham B2 5RS
Just to put it out there, if you’re a real ‘foodie’ and haven’t been to Buffalo and Rye yet, then you’re truly missing out. Following the Americana theme to be sweeping the nation, it accurately provides that speak easy, smoke house vibe, settling you in for a whiff of that American Dream… So if you’re a foodie AND looking for a new and captivating dinner spot, then you’ve just cashed in!
Now I did go for the most traditional burger you could think of, however sometimes the simplest options are the best, and in this case, that proved to be true! Other people amongst my company did go for rarer treats however, such as the black pudding burger and the beef brisket, all of which seemed to get the thumbs up. So it’s safe to say you aren’t stuck for choice here. The same goes for the drinks menu, where they have put copious amounts of effort into supplying you with the wackiest milkshakes and spectacular cocktails, with bourbon quite obviously being a common denominator.
The place itself is quite small, so I do recommend that you book in advance, but what it lacks in space, it makes up in atmosphere and aesthetics; and don’t worry, you won’t find yourself on your neighbours’ lap!
The staff help make this place what it is. They’ve obviously done a lot of research and spent a lot of time over their menus. You’ll be in good hands.
Food: House Cheese Burger
Drink: Kona Big Wave Golden Ale
IB Offer: 15% of your bill (Sunday – Thursday)
Disclaimer: all of the above are great venues for all times of day, just saying!
Coffee Stop – Java Lounge
As I live in Moseley, this choice might be slightly biased, but when I found out Java were opening a city centre house, it was perfect news! Now they’re on the IB card, it’s even more of a reason to shout about. Java import their coffee beans from a plantation in Yemen (insert Friends quote here), with their prize being single origin filter coffee. Now it’s not just for the coffee aficionados here, as you can still grab your tall flat white or skinny cappo! It bodes a large, well-lit seating area (unlike a lot of sombre coffee shops), along with free Wi-Fi; the perfect combination to deter from a mid-meeting slump.
IB Offer: Free refill on single origin filter coffee
A few tipples – Tilt
Now if it’s an after-work meeting you have in the diary, and fancy a couple of snifters with a twist, Tilt is your place; and for those that don’t dabble with alcohol, coffee is also something you can indulge in, where they have quite obviously done their research on their coffee offering. Accompanied with the largest retro pinball machine collection I have ever seen (I think the same would go for most people), and a speciality in local craft beers, Tilt will turn your rut of a ‘recurring reserved table at All Bar One’ meeting, into something just that little bit more ‘fun’. It’s light, it’s airy, it’s affable; it’s your city centre pinball mania meeting mecca!
IB Offer: 15% off coffee, tea and cakes
And a little extra pointer for a quick lunch (not on IB card… yet) – Jake’s Coffee Box
Situated in Eden Place, in between Starbucks and the Council House, Jake has renovated a British icon, the regal, red telephone box, into a tiny shop of wonders. Offering perhaps the best sausage rolls around, creamy latte’s and local delicious treats from Mrs Mills, along with his own, famous salted caramel brownie, it’s one not to be missed; especially when you’re compromised on time but not willing to be on taste!
If you were a fan of 90s television, then the name Neil Buchanan might make you think of fond memories. Getting home from school and sitting in front of the telly, or of putting your child in front of the telly and you sitting back for some peace and quiet. For those who don’t know him, Neil was the artist/TV presenter of the kid’s TV show ‘Art Attack’ from 1990 until its end in 2007. Why are you reading about a guy from the 90s you might be asking? Well, recently it emerged that Neil actually swapped the life of teaching children how to draw to…yes you’ve guessed it, create a heavy metal band!
The phrase ‘it’s never too late’ has never been more appropriate here as it just goes to show that no matter what your situation is, whether this be how far you are in your current career, what qualifications you currently possess, how old/young you are, etc., you can still change career direction. Neil Buchanan was, without a doubt, one of the legends of kid’s 90s television, yet he still followed his dreams and traded this in to focus on his music.
This can teach us an important lesson regarding our careers. Not everyone is lucky enough to get their dream job from the get-go then work their way up the same career ladder to the top before retiring. Most commonly, people change industries quite a bit before deciding on one general direction that will allow them to fulfill their dreams. The key point to take away with you is that if you aren’t currently happy in your role, or if the role you are in isn’t helping you get closer to that ‘dream’ job, then it’s not too late to stop and change.
That being said, don’t do anything drastic! Before you decide to tell your boss you’re quitting to become a full-time belly dancer, make sure that it is the right decision. Even though it is your dream job, if you haven’t had any experience in that field then it might be a better idea to first gain some work experience to get exposure to that area. You’d hate to show up to your first day as a belly dancer to find out that you can’t actually belly dance! Only when you know that the move is the right thing and you feel secure in your decision, should you go to explore it.
If you’re still not convinced, don’t forget it’s not just Neil who changed career either, look at the stone head from ‘Art Attack’! It went on to have a career as Alex Reid…or was it Christopher Maloney? We can’t decide who it looks like more.
So if you are currently feeling like Neil, daydreaming about singing in a metal band whilst painting a picture of a lighthouse, then make those steps to follow your dream! It may mean that you have to work a little harder in the beginning to gain that experience, but the outcome could be the greatest thing to ever happen to you! In the words of Neil’s Art Attack catchphrase – “try it yourself!”
When work experience comes up in conversation I immediately think back to my two weeks in a drab solicitor’s office aged 15; learning how to use the franking machine (the most enjoyable part of the entire experience), photocopying important documents for hours at a time and being taught how to smoke by two of the admin girls. I remember the whole fortnight in sepia tones and thankfully it’s poles apart from my current position!
I look back and always think how depressing it was, but recently I’ve realised that it did actually give me a valuable insight into the world of work that I never appreciated; namely it gave me a grounding and shifted my expectations down. Before my work experience placement, I’d only ever seen offices in the films, imagining everything to be cutting edge and people constantly racing from one exciting meeting to the next (normally with some office scandal occurring around the 50 minute mark every hour). As we have all realised by now I’m sure; real life isn’t quite like the Hollywood version. I’ve now seen dozens of office environments; some trendy and relaxed, some conventional and conservative, and some that should probably be condemned. We never know where we’ll end up working, so to give people a taste of reality is incredibly important, so that young adults can make informed decisions about their futures.
With this goal in mind, we had our second work experience student this month; the very lovely Sally, and we got her to write a blog about her time with us…
“As a first year politics student, recruitment is something I know very little about. However, after a week at Gleeson it’s something I like to think I have a fairly good understanding of and it very much exceeded my expectations. Going into this work experience, I had a vague understanding of recruitment as a relatively greedy sales-based industry. However, my week at Gleeson showed me quite the opposite. What I was lucky enough to experience was a collaborative and friendly environment where there are many things more important than the bottom line. The office has been a relaxed and friendly environment and from my first day this week I have been made to feel like an equal and respected member of the team, despite my young age and absolute lack of experience.
What stood out most to me was the mutual trust and respect between the senior members of the team and everyone else. On my second to last day, for example, we were able to take an hour and half out of our day to watch England in the Euros; something unthinkable in a working environment where the lack of respect and trust leads to constant and overbearing micro management. Yet it was something that massively contributed to the overall friendliness and fun of Gleeson as a place to work.
Furthermore, I was given the task of answering the phones, which due to a lack of confidence I was very nervous about. Thankfully everyone was super understanding and let me do it in my own time and by my second day my confidence had skyrocketed, I answered 41 calls compared to only 6 on the first day!
I was also lucky enough to be able to sit in various interviews, which allowed me to gain an insight into the various different industry areas covered by Gleeson and also helped me get my recruiter’s thinking hat on by starting to understand and get a feel for whether a candidate would fit into the role at hand. I found it particularly interesting to sit in two different interviews for the same role and to compare not only the CV’s and qualifications of each candidate and their suitability in that respect, but also to compare how and if their personalities fitted with what the client was looking for.
Overall, I have had a wonderful week here at Gleeson, it’s not only been incredibly insightful and fun but also helped me develop admin skills, increase my confidence and gain an insight into the industry as a whole. It’s been an extremely enjoyable and useful week and I look forward to returning at the next given opportunity!”
We hope to have many more work experience placements here at Gleeson, but generally it is still so important that there are a breadth of placements, across industries, available to young people.
From conducting mock interviews at a school recently, it became apparent that kids are fully aware of how demanding the criteria to get into work are. The issue is that they don’t always know how to fulfil them, or even what to expect when they get there.
With the country currently in a period of uncertainty, it’s of vital importance that we do all that we can to help new generations succeed.
Procurement & Supply Chain Consultant Interview – Simon Nicholas
Could you give us an overview of your career to date?
I started off in the world of Retail Auditing; reviewing operations, finance and legal compliance in store and warehousing / logistics environments – I was that guy the management team really didn’t want a visit from! I moved into recruitment back in 2007 after taking a little time out to travel. My first job in recruitment was to develop a senior interim offering within procurement in the West Midlands, no mean feat for someone who had no experience of either recruitment or procurement! I am pleased to say I was successful and have gone on to build my career in recruitment over the last 9 years, developing my knowledge of both the Procurement and Supply Chain & Logistics industries, managing teams and building strong networks with both my candidate base and clients. I joined Gleeson in October of last year with a remit to help drive the logistics offering, alongside building our presence in the Midlands procurement market.
What do you enjoy about recruiting into the Procurement & Supply Chain industry?
It’s a really varied industry, in terms of both the nature of businesses I deal with (ranging from Global Corporate Blue-Chips through to small 2nd or 3rd generation family run businesses) and the candidates I represent. I get to work with candidates that can individually make a significant impact on a business’ profitability and ability to grow – they add genuine value to the organisation they join and I take a lot of pride in that.
Do you think the Procurement & Supply Chain industry commands the profile it deserves in the UK economy?
Probably not. The UK Logistics sector alone is worth approximately £55bn and makes up around 5% of UK GDP, yet it is facing a major skills shortage in areas; from drivers through to future leaders – the industry is still hugely underrepresented in schools and colleges and I still don’t think it is generally promoted as an industry of choice, which is a shame as the career opportunities are varied and offer a very good level of earning potential.
I think the Procurement sector is in a better position judging by the number of professional qualifications and university courses on offer – I certainly see more procurement graduates than I do Logistics grads.
What advice would you give to candidates thinking of making a move at this time?
Make sure your CV is as strong as it can possibly be before sending it off – in all the years I have been doing this job it still amazes me how many people let their CV read more like a job spec than a record of achievement – the amount of CV’s that have no tangible achievements, no figures or percentages, no indication of how you have improved things during your time in a role, it is staggering! Always remember your CV is your initial shop window, it needs to draw the reader’s interest, demonstrate how successful you have been and offer enough detail to entice a client into inviting you in for an interview. Other advice I would give is to make sure you are completely clear on your reasons for wanting to make a change, clearly relay your expectations in terms of package and be realistic in terms of your worth in the market – if you are unsure you can always have a chat with your recruitment consultant as the good ones will be able to give you industry insight as well as help and advice.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
I would say the biggest challenge for me was, as is often the case for anyone coming into recruitment for the first time, establishing credibility early on, especially when I was dealing with senior level candidates. I had no experience of procurement and a limited understanding of how it worked and what made the difference between a good candidate and an excellent one. Thankfully after 8 years, countless processes, a genuine interest in the industry I work in and the ability to ask the right questions I no longer consider this a challenge!
What’s the funniest request you have had from a client?
I wouldn’t say I have had a particularly funny one, although I have had plenty of unusual ones; from a client who was looking specifically for a buyer of animal hides through to one that wanted every CV posted to their home address and refused to reply to emails – it wouldn’t have been that bad in the 80’s but this was in 2012!
With record employment levels the UK job market is without doubt candidate driven; in other words, there’s a shortage of talent. Within the Logistics & Supply Chain market we have found it’s commonplace for candidates to be pursuing multiple opportunities. How do they differentiate between them? Surprisingly, remuneration is rarely the deciding factor for candidates, finding a conducive business culture is typically a higher priority. But how do candidates gain sufficient understanding of an organisation’s culture during an interview process?
The only exposure most candidates have to a business prior to joining is during the recruitment process; it’s therefore vital this promotes the business in the best possible light if you are to compete for the best talent. The quality of the initial brief is key to attract interest. In the current market candidates expect to gain a comprehensive understanding of the company values and culture, the reason for the vacancy, along with some detail about the team environment. Anything less simply allows more committed businesses to swoop in for the best talent through better engagement. The days of emailing a job description and package details are long gone and in my experience a job description rarely corresponds to the verbal brief you obtain from the Recruiting Manager.
Similarly, a defined, concise interview process gains candidate buy-in and positions your business as focused, decisive and competitive. Candidates will feel the business is committed to making an appointment rather than simply gauging what the market has to offer. Communicating timescales at the outset, offering flexibility around interview slots and reacting to rival opportunities demonstrates commitment towards a candidate; this gives a good indication as to how they might be treated as an employee. Prompt interview feedback is also vital as this assures the candidate their time investment has been worthwhile and maintains their interest. All too often interview processes aren’t planned and inevitably run for weeks, which can send the wrong message to candidates about your business and provide competitors with a window of opportunity.
Offer management is the pivotal point in the process; the manner in which this is done really defines how your business conducts itself. In such a competitive market counter-offers and rival-offers are a major threat and if candidates don’t feel fully engaged you risk losing out. Most candidates are motivated to leave a business due to its culture, so differentiating your business throughout the recruitment process sends the right message at the right time.
Here at Gleeson Recruitment Group we are committed to partnering with our clients to deliver a high quality process that fully engages candidates from the outset, helping mitigate risk and ensuring we secure the best talent for their organisation. The recruitment process itself provides candidates with more insight into an organisation’s culture than you might think, and with increased choice it really does impact their decision making.
As we approach our 3rd birthday here in the Reading Office, I found myself reflecting on how the recruitment world has changed – not only in the last 3 years, but for me personally in my 17 years in the finance recruitment market. As we continue to grow our team here, I was explaining to our recent recruit Vicki Pinchbeck, about my first few weeks all those years ago.
I remember my first day in finance recruitment very well – it was 29th November 1999, and I was working for one of the largest recruitment businesses in the UK, and I couldn’t wait to start my career with them. Day 1 consisted of meeting my colleagues, learning how to use the phone (note – a desk phone, not mobile!) and being taught how to use the computer (that came with a massive monitor, and a huge base unit). We had no email, no internet, no mobile, just a mere fax machine to send your CVs to clients, and of course a land-line phone – to sell your CVs over the phone – I also remember one of our managers having a pager, and I thought how modern that was at the time!!
We sent job specs in the post, kept paper copies of every CV and registration form – and didn’t take copies of passports or NI numbers at all – and even our timesheets were carbonated pieces of paper and these had to be manually signed and faxed off too! Back in the late 1990s there was no shortage of candidates – clients were happy to offer the second choice candidate, if the first choice took another offer – and there was no LinkedIn, no job boards, no CV searching websites to find that perfect candidate – it was sheer grit, determination, long hours of phone work – and no working from home, no flexible hours, just very KPI driven, endless e-shots and mail-shots of course!
Along my recruitment journey – most of it extremely enjoyable and rewarding I might add – we’ve had various threats along the way to our recruitment world – from in-house recruiters, direct on-line advertising by companies, ‘free’ job boards for direct attraction, as well as managed service providers, and also a huge increase in other recruitment agencies, combined with an ever-decreasing shift in all rates, and a sheer war for talent across all markets.
We must never be complacent in this ever-changing recruitment world – we must continue to strive to deliver a first-class service to everyone we work with and we must embrace technology and be ahead of the game and use our expanding market knowledge to help everyone in our ever-expanding network.
We are so proud of what we have achieved in our 3 years here in Reading – from an original team of 3, we are now a very established, experienced, close-knit team of 8, supported by our Birmingham team of 40+, and it is a pleasure to work with our superb, loyal client and candidate network across the Thames Valley and London regions. I can’t wait to see what our 4th year will bring – and as I thank all of our loyal candidates, clients, colleagues, managers and directors, I thought I would leave the last word to our latest recruit, Vicki Pinchbeck, to give us an overview of her experience of joining us, and to her first week with us here in the Gleeson family…
From the moment that I received a LinkedIn message from the lovely JB, to posting my first Practice job earlier today, I have felt exceedingly confident in my decision to pursue the opportunity to join the Gleeson crew. I have been informed that the 3rd June marks the 3rd anniversary for the Reading office – the team are, as they should be, very proud of the hat-trick! I can only say that I look forward to celebrating many more years with a fantastic bunch of people who have already made me feel so very welcome.
Last week I spent four days in the Brummie office, meeting the delightful Midlanders to whom I must say a massive thanks. Hailing from Derbyshire, myself, it was great to spend some time in Birmingham. Getting to know different members of the team, enjoying the beautiful office space, and having the opportunity to spend time with a whole host of personalities in such a brilliant environment was a fabulous introduction to the ‘Gleeson family’!
It is clear that everyone at Gleeson is very much invested in the company, creating a fun and friendly atmosphere from the offset. What has struck me most about both offices has to be how open everyone has been, making my transition incredibly easy and enjoyable. The innate professionalism and hard work put in by the team is clear, and I am so happy to be joining at this exciting time. Here’s to the next year and beyond!
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a paramedic? What about one that works for one of the busiest and most vital ambulance services in the country?
Ian Roberts, on behalf of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “I know first-hand just how beautiful the Midlands landscape is, as a flight paramedic for Midlands Air Ambulance I get to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the county on a daily basis. Unfortunately the reason I get to take advantage of such picturesque views is because we’re responding to trauma and medical emergencies within the area.”
“We undertake a broad range of missions across the six Midlands counties we cover, from road traffic accidents, which make up a third of all our call outs in the county, to sporting injuries and falls.”
“In addition, we commonly attend horse riding accidents in the summer months as it’s a region rich in equestrian heritage.”
“Because of the county’s typically rural landscape, even though some accidents aren’t life threatening, we attend a great deal of incidents that land ambulances simply can’t get to.”
“As we’re able to fly the aircraft directly to the location of the accident, no matter how remote, we can airlift and transfer the patient to hospital within a matter of minutes.”
“On the flip side, where someone has been severely injured, it’s imperative we get them to a major trauma centre as quickly as possible.”
“You may have heard of the ‘Golden Hour’, which basically means if a patient reaches hospital within 60 minutes of the accident, their chances of survival are dramatically increased. This is often the case for many of our missions, and as we’re able to take patients into the regional trauma network where their subsequent treatment plan is tailored to their injuries, thus hopefully resulting in better outcomes.”
“It’s fair to say that no two days are ever the same and neither is the nature of each of the incidents.”
“I greatly enjoy working for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and would like to thank everyone across the region for their donations which help to keep our service in the skies.”
For further information about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, visit midlandsairambulance.com or call the team on 0800 840 2040.
I’ll be honest, when I first saw in the news that there was going to be a vote on whether or not we should leave the EU I panicked. I panicked even though I didn’t really understand the situation, but the thought of leaving a union just seemed scary (and the fact that leaving means we wouldn’t be able to do the Euromillions also scared me, you’ve got to be in it to win it after all). Since that moment I decided that I should probably read into the subject so that I don’t just go into the polling booth and pick the option with the best name. So looking back now, was I right to be scared for a Brexit?
The answer? Yes and no. The main thing I learnt when looking into the debate was that the repercussions of us leaving are mostly ‘what-if’s. If we decide to leave will it be harder for us to trade within the EU? Maybe, don’t know. Will leaving mean that we will lose our EU workers? Potentially, but also maybe not. The list goes on. It seems that leaving the EU is basically a massive gamble – we could be better off or we could also lose a lot of the benefits we have already got.
The biggest risk in terms of recruitment lies in whether visas would become even more restricted, meaning that any EU workers wanting to gain employment in the UK would have more obstacles to overcome. In a similar vein, any existing EU workers in the UK (around 2 million) would potentially be ineligible to continue working straight after a Brexit and also have to apply for the correct visa to be able to continue their employment. This restriction could also create skill shortages as some EU countries have a higher number of employees with different skills than what the UK generally has, so leaving might mean that we lose talent.
Would leaving mean that companies outside of the UK cease trading with us? In reality, probably not. As much as we rely on trading within the EU, it also relies on our trade too so if we did decide to Brexit, a deal would most likely be struck allowing this to continue. Similarly, a big push for some people’s decision to want to leave the EU is to stop immigration, however it is likely that in order for us to continue trading with the EU’s single market, this deal would also mean that we would have set amount of immigrants to take.
The pros with leaving? We’d potentially save money as we would no longer have to contribute to the EU budget. However, by making this contribution currently, we gain access to new jobs, opportunities and a higher level of economic security so surely this gain far outweighs the cost we pay? Another argument for a Brexit is that we would have a higher level of security on our borders meaning that we would be less at risk for a terrorist attack. However, being part of the EU actually means that we can exchange criminal records from other countries allowing us to work together on counter-terrorism.
Overall it seems that leaving the EU would not really give us any clear benefits, especially not immediately. But what leaving does guarantee is a long period of uncertainty, risk and potential economic disruption, whereas choosing to ‘bremain’ means that we just continue as we do now, with no risks. I realise that I’ve used the words ‘maybe’ and ‘potentially’ a lot during this blog when talking about leaving the EU, which just emphasises that no-one really knows what would happen.
I’ve recruited into the manufacturing industry for a decade now and the only thing that’s been consistent in that time has been change. A couple of good years, followed by five or six very tough years and finally back to a buoyant market, but in a very different way.
Demand for good people across the Midlands manufacturing industry has never been higher and you’d imagine that would be a license to print money for a recruitment company specialising in the manufacturing industry. The reality is pretty different! There is a huge amount of work out there with existing and potential clients, but our ability to deliver is scrutinised more than ever and our commitment to consistent results is being tested every day.
What does that mean for us in our day job? My team and I are incredibly lucky to work in a business that focuses on relationships and sets absolutely no targets for sales calls, new business development or CV submissions. That gives us the capacity to spend our time on activities that offer value for our clients, our candidates and ourselves – this includes generating candidates, building relationships with our clients, promoting our brand to new candidates and developing our online presence.
What does this mean for you? We’re focusing on the candidate and client relationships more than ever, and 6 months ago we implemented a candidate charter and quarterly candidate survey to make sure we’re getting it right. It’s a work in progress and we hope that you’re able to view your relationship with us as a partnership – if we don’t call you, please make sure you call us!
As a candidate in the current market you still need to work hard to develop relationships with key recruitment firms. It’s important that you trust the recruiters working on your behalf and invest time to make sure they know you inside out. Don’t be complacent because the market is buoyant, but you can afford to be selective – there’s no need to register with every recruitment firm.
We’ve recently updated our salary guides but we’re happy to give individual, personal advice to anyone who wants it – just get in touch and we’ll set you up with a conversation with the relevant expert for your industry and job type.
In summary – the market’s busy and it’s a great time to be looking for a new role if you work in the manufacturing industry. Work hard on your CV, develop your recruiter relationships and, of course, talk to Glee.
As part of our Engineering & Manufacturing Feature Week, our very own Paul Strachan (Ops Director, MEng & probably a few scout badges), has written a few pointers on how to write a great Engineering & Manufacturing CV.
We know as technical beings you like tables and you love spreadsheets – so do we! But your CV isn’t the appropriate place to showcase your software skills. Keep it simple using paragraphs and bullet points, be concise and clear, and think about the person reading it at the other end.
Start with a summary of your most recent role first, and work backwards from there. Give more detail for the last 5-10 years than the time before that – it’s a selling point that you are apprentice-trained, but you can probably get away with leaving out the details of all of your departmental rotations.
Graphics & Imagery
As an engineering or manufacturing professional, you might be used to presenting work or performance using graphics and imagery. This information is important, but find a way to represent it in text, or take your fancy graphics with you to your interview.
Make sure to include tangible achievements rather than simply a summary of your responsibilities. Whatever job you’re applying for, you will be incurring a cost to your new employer – show them right from the start what the return on their investment will be.
Product & Process Experience
You might be a presswork specialist, or you might have spent 20 years developing soft trim for the automotive industry. Make your specialist experience very clear, but if you’re open minded or interested in other sectors then think laterally – the demand for engineers is high and the opportunity to switch product groups has never been more opportune. Make your transferable skills obvious on your CV!
You should be proud if you’ve pushed yourself with continual development, but don’t devalue the most important training by letting it get lost in a long list of internal courses. If you’re a Prince2 qualified Project Manager, make sure it’s easier to see than the day-release Health & Safety training you were forced on in 1997.
Good luck with your job hunts and remember that we’re here for guidance, support, and to help you find the right position.
You might have seen in the news or on social media that Wentworth Miller was recently pictured carrying a couple of extra pounds compared to how we were used to seeing him during ‘Prison Break’. Cue the internet. Memes (or pictures with ‘humorous’ captions for those less social media savvy amongst us) were instantly created mocking Wentworth’s weight gain including one stating that he was abusing the McDonald’s monopoly. What is it with the attention that weight and healthy eating seems to attract?
In the media weight gain seems to be highly sensationalised. A celebrity can gain a couple of pounds, instantly be deemed ‘overweight’ and then proceed to be slated for their almost immediate weight gain. Fitness and healthy eating have become cash-cows in their own rights becoming huge industries for profit. Celebrities are even now ‘putting on’ weight just to lose it again so that they can then release endless workout DVD’s and recipe books showing you just how they did it. TV has become full of celebrity dieticians such as ‘The Bodycoach’ and ‘The Hemsley Sisters’ who are out to tell you exactly what to eat in order to remain healthy.
This obsession about what we eat can be seen in blogs, newspapers and magazines too. Articles have been written where the author has been challenging themselves to eat a certain way, for example, by only eating fast-food every day for a month or by cutting out sugar and fatty foods altogether. These usually end with them being hospitalised and for what cause?
With the media so focused on your health and how you look, it’s easy to see why this whole ‘trend’ is now gaining speed in the public realm as there suddenly seems to be a lot of pressure these days with what exactly you should, and shouldn’t, be eating. Walking in to your office after lunch carrying a salad produces a response of ‘Oooh you’re being healthy!’, but walk in with a McDonalds and you get shouts of ‘Oh look what you’ve got today!’ and ‘Do you ever eat anything green?’ Should there really be this pressure from society on what you eat?
Whilst I’m not badmouthing the notion of healthy eating, I am merely stating that it doesn’t need to be so overly pushed onto our lives. We all know that if we spend every day eating McDonalds then we are not exactly going to be in the best shape of our lives. What we don’t need is to be constantly told that we are not healthy or that we should instead be worshipping an avocado (even though it is, admittedly, pretty amazing).
It’s very easy these days to be influenced by television and the media, and to be drawn into this healthy eating/fitness trend. The fact is that everyone should be healthy and keep fit, but only within reason. If you currently aren’t happy with your health, then obviously take steps to improve that whether that be by going on a diet or by exercising more. But if you are simply taking strides to be healthier just because ‘all the cool kids’ are doing it then stop. No-one should live their life counting the calories and never letting a piece of chocolate touch their lips because, let’s face it, if chocolate and avocado got into a fight, chocolate would win!
The beginning of 2016 has been marked by the death of many celebrities, more than normal it seems. I’m sure there are many out there that mourned the passing of Bowie, Rickman, Wogan and Glen Frey, and just recently, amongst the great and the good, we now have to add Sir George Martin. I’m sure we all thought in our own way that they changed or influenced our lives. Just recently a man called Ray Tomlinson died and possibly, as I did, you’re saying who? But this man really did change my life and I know, millions more. Ray Tomlinson was the man way back in 1971 who sent the very first email! When I heard about his death I started to think about the many changes that I have witnessed in the day-to-day running of a working office.
I first started work in the mid-seventies, within a solicitor’s office, just as ‘the revolution’ began. I started out with an adding machine that was bigger than a lot of laptops are these days. This was then phased out in favour of the calculator, and now, instead of that, we just use the calculators preloaded onto our phones and computers. No-one had ever heard of Excel and online spreadsheets, instead, everything was entered into the ledger we used, Kalamazoo. A process that used to take hours to handwrite can now be completed with a few key presses on the keyboard.
I was expected to hand-deliver post (post, you know, the stuff in an envelope), whereas now, how much post actually gets sent out from an office these days? Instead of waiting 5 days for a letter to arrive, it can be with you in seconds on email. I wrote out cheques, no online banking to easily transfer the money across to a client in the space of a few minutes. I dialled numbers manually on a telephone and worked a dolls eye switch board compared to the technical systems today that dial for you and hold and forward calls. The photocopier was the size of a living room, no printers with integrated copiers and back when I started, we even had a fax machine! I remember the senior secretary receiving a golf ball typewriter which we all queued up to look at and have a go with, yet now, there are so many laptops that come out each year that do the same thing.
I could go on and on, and my long-suffering colleagues would testify that I often do, but it is amazing to think of all the changes that have happened in such a relatively short period of time. New inventions and processes are created every day to try and improve and enhance the working office environment, which is a trend that is likely to continue as things can always be improved.
Bring on the technology, bring on the changes, embrace them but just remember, life still has some constants that will never change; I still write with a pen and paper and I still have a pencil, just as I did when I began my working career.
Are you finding it difficult to attract the right person for your role?
Do you feel salary is less of a driver in the recruiting process?
As recruiters in the HR industry, we are constantly speaking to HR professionals and recent research is showing that our candidates are now looking at much broader factors when deciding whether to make that job move. Our clients are now really having to think outside the box to attract the highest calibre of candidates.
It appears that salary is no longer the key driver when considering job moves and offers with other influences being key when making this type of decision. Benefits are now just as important as the take home pay and other elements being taken into consideration include:
Flexible Benefits i.e. Buying and Selling Holiday
Child Care Vouchers
Variable Hours and Compressed Hours
Sabbaticals and Career Breaks
Staggered Start and End Times
Training and Development
As a job seeker, how important are these benefits to you? Or is it just about money? When it comes to attracting the best talent, are you willing to listen to individual needs about remuneration? Are you finding that the above benefits are being discussed as well the salary?
What we’ve seen in the market where employers have shown this flexibility, is that they have been successful in attracting the best person for the job. Other clients who have been slightly more conservative with their offerings, have significantly missed out on talent from the get go.
The changes in employer’s flexibility reflects the changes in the modern working environment, around increased complexity, improved technology and changing demographics.
Some of the advantages in these changes around flexibility are:
Increased Employee Productivity
Our position in the market has enabled us to see this shift in terms of the skills being recruited. This incorporates more focus around employee engagement, talent management, succession, learning and development and reward and remuneration roles.
It’ll be interesting to see how these changes affect the market over the next few years.
Do you wake up at 4am on a Monday morning dreading the thought of work?
Do you feel tense, anxious or wound-up, even at the weekend?
Do you feel tired all the time, but still can’t sleep?
For one in four of us, the answer is yes.
By the end of the year, a quarter of the people you work with will have experienced some form of mental health problem. Mental health difficulties are now the major cause of sickness absence in the workplace – responsible for 40% of all time lost from sickness absence.
One of the most effective ways that employers can improve employee engagement, reduce sickness absence, and improve workplace performance is by proactively addressing the issue of mental well-being at work. So, what can employers do?
Firstly, be sensitive and recognise the early warning signs of a mental health problem. Has there been a noticeable change in one of your colleague’s behaviour, appearance, or mood? If you do notice something, ask them about it in a simple, straightforward and compassionate way. Ask them if everything is all right. If you’re not sure what to say, just describe the behaviour you have observed and say you’re concerned.
Secondly, recognise that there are a lot of barriers when talking about mental health issues at work. These barriers include lack of confidence and knowledge (“I did once say the wrong thing or make things worse.”), stigma, where the sufferer themselves feels embarrassed or ashamed of their problem, and, unconscious biases (bystander effect) that result in us turning a blind eye when someone is suffering.
Thirdly, once you have recognised that there is a problem, do something – act to try and support the person. So often, people with mental health difficulties don’t get the help they need until there’s a crisis or they have already gone off sick.
Finally, remember that if you approach the person with a mixture of common sense and compassion, you are very unlikely to make things worse – but you are likely to significantly help that individual. Remember, we are all suffering human beings and one day you might be the person who needs the help and support.
By the time David Bowie was my age, he had already released 6 studio albums including his latest, Aladdin Sane; Terry Wogan was already on the radio waves; Lemmy was in a chart hitting band; Alan Rickman was featuring in television shows & many people you know, would’ve already made great waves in theirs and your lives…
Today is World Cancer Day, a day that undeniably evokes such contemplation and rumination across the world. To this end, I wanted to write a piece to reflect on recent stories and how these stories can affect us, for good or bad!
It’s safe to say that Cancer has been a prominent news story of late, perhaps more so than usual. With such stories being so frequent, it only highlights the severity and vastness of this disease. Around 160,000 people in the UK sadly die from cancer every year (2013), however, the number of cancer survivors in the UK is projected to increase by approximately one million per decade from 2010 to 2040 (Macmillan), and it is on that breath that I wish to take route…
Back in 2011, I lost my friend Josh to Testicular Cancer. Although as you can imagine he was severely ill, even till the day he passed, he was one of the most optimistic, up-beat and courageous people I have ever known; he would even check himself out of hospital to be able to spend time on trips with friends and family and continually live his life, truly to the fullest. He really did change the lives of those he surrounded. He was vivacious, kind-hearted and most definitely indomitable, traits that I’m sure many of you can relate to in people you may have lost. Josh’s determination now lives on through the Josh Carrick Foundation, which has been set up to raise awareness of testicular cancer and the tell tale signs that you guys should be looking out for. Yesterday the Metro released a great article on the foundation, which you can read here. Cancer survival rates are on the increase, but it’s only with resilience from yourselves that this will endure. Through Josh’s story, and through many others, people are standing up to Cancer, and will continue to fight the epidemic.
What’s more, it only goes to show that disabilities do not have to be disabling. For instance, a hugely popular band within the rock scene, The Ghost Inside, were involved in a horrific and fatal bus crash back in November, whereby their bus driver and the driver of another vehicle were sadly killed (A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help TGI and their families during this difficult time. There is also a separate GoFundMe to benefit the family of TGI’s deceased bus driver, Greg Hoke). The band themselves have been in comas until recently and are now starting their road to recovery. Their singer is having to learn to walk again after a back operation and their drummer of all people has lost a leg, but is this hindering their spirit? Inconceivably no! Videos have been released not only revealing their incredible optimism and resilience on dealing with rehab and walking again, but their determination to get back on the road, to play their music and see their fans again! It’s truly inspiring.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, life is precious (without sounding too preachy) and we should follow the spirit of these courageous people. These sad losses only remind us of our immortality and how short life is, so why waste it?
For a lot of these people, they have/had the pleasure of their passion being their work, and fortunately the same goes for a lot of us. Nevertheless, this surely drums home the importance of work-life balance. Even those of you with the busiest of work roles are human you know! We’ve noticed a growing trend that more and more companies are offering a flexible working environment, allowing more time to be spent with family and friends whilst enabling you to progress in your career. We hope that this is a trend that continues to grow.
Let’s not waste life and let’s not forget the preciousness of it and take that for granted.
For more information, please click on the links below:
As recruiters we know that many of you candidates out there really dislike us. In fact there have been several articles on LinkedIn recently on this very topic! Here at Gleeson we would like to do something about the fact that you think we don’t return your calls, are secretive about the clients that we are working with and we never give you any feedback. We also know that many of you think that we are great – and have been very pleased with the service that you have received from a recruitment business, whether you have received a new job offer via an agency or not.
We know that many of these are pretty common and well-known gripes about our sector. So we decided to be brave. We wanted to ask our candidates how they do feel about the service that they have received from us, so that we can make some improvements if needed, and enhance our candidate management structure if required. After all, we don’t enjoy being pilloried as an industry for bad service. In fact it really upsets us and we want to prove that this isn’t how we operate! Whilst we do pride ourselves on building relationships, taking an honest approach and being as transparent with candidates as we can, we were pretty nervous about what our candidates would say about us and it was with baited breath that I awaited the results coming through.
The survey was designed to identify the particular issues that candidates might have with the service they received and what improvements we can make, as well as what we might have done well and should continue to do.
And, to my surprise and delight, we didn’t do that badly! We have made ‘Candidates’ our focus for 2016, and at our 2015 Christmas Conference the aim was to go through the results of the survey, give Consultants a pat on the back where deserved, but also address some of the more negative feedback and make a plan around what we can do to address these issues. We are really passionate about customer service and genuinely do want to stand out from the crowd in terms of how we deal with our candidates, so we involved everyone from our administrators to our Directors in the brain-storming about improvements that we can make. These ideas are going to form the basis of a new structure around how we manage and deal with our candidates – as you guys are the most important part of our job!
We are keen to hear from you – what gripes do you have about recruitment companies (no names please!), how can we improve the services that we offer you – and most importantly, how can we stand out from the crowd in terms of the customer service that we offer?
Gleeson hires again and again and again, we’re gonna need a bigger boat. Oh wait, we’re getting one!
We are very happy to announce 4 appointments made in the last 4 weeks and welcome Matt Taylor, Simon Nicholas, Jamie Carter and Stephen Fletcher to the Gleeson Family.
Jamie, who joined us on 9th November, has 10 years’ experience in recruitment and will be focussed on Financial Services where he brings a wealth of relationships.
Jamie has relocated from London to live in the lovely town of Royal Leamington Spa with his wife and daughter.
Simon joins us with not only 6 ½ years’ experience in Supply Chain and Procurement recruitment but also another 6 years of working directly in the market he recruits for.
His knowledge of the sector, his personal relationships and his strong ethical background make him a perfect addition to the Procurement and Supply chain team. He joins Chris Madine and Phil Birch in their mission to build the highest quality team in this space.
Matt has joined our Accountancy and Finance team to help us keep up with the increasing demands on our qualified division. His focus will be qualified accountants in the Northwest of the Midlands.
Matt has hit the ground running thanks to both his own hard work and a highly experienced team around him.
He is, however, going to be disappearing for a while around Valentine’s Day next year – not on a romantic mission, but on parental leave as his partner gives birth to their first child!
And finally Stephen! Stephen joins us with 8 ½ years’ experience in the IT recruitment arena. I’m sure his wife and daughter will be missing him after a month’s gardening leave at home, but their loss is our gain. Stephen joins us to support Cassidy Bishop in our mission to expand our offering to clients and candidates.
We started this business just 4 years ago and we’re very proud to have grown from 6 to 51 staff and can boast the most experienced professional recruitment team in the Midlands. Our mission to build a business that is a true consultancy and recruitment partner to our clients and candidates has been realised.
We are just in the process of moving to bigger premises; we can’t wait to show you our state of the art offices and new business lounge, which we welcome our clients to use when they’re in Birmingham, with time to kill and in need of good Wi-Fi (and a nice coffee).
We are very proud of this growth and welcome experienced consultants with integrity around the West Midlands and Thames Valley to approach us and find out why this is such a great place to work.
The trust we have placed in giving our consultants a family-friendly, flexible and truly empowered environment has paid off tenfold.
Well, we’ve all got to die from something and now processed meats are going to kill us!
The WHO (World Health Organisation) would have us believe that processed meats are a real threat to our health but what are the facts??
Apparently if we eat up to 6 rashers of bacon a day or a similar content of processed meats such as ham or roasted beef, our chances of getting Colorectal cancer are increased by a whopping 18%.
Now, we’ve always known that processed meats aren’t health food and bacon butties haven’t made many appearances on diet plans so we’ve not exactly been duped!
However, there are certain areas of the press that are taking this friendly warning/infomercial from the WHO and blowing it out of proportion purporting that bacon is the new tobacco!
Well let’s just compare the two shall we?
In 2012 1.8m people were diagnosed globally with lung cancer with a mortality rate of 87%.
Approximately 86% of lung cancer victims are directly attributable to smoking. This means that smoking may have been responsible for 1.4m deaths that year.
Now let’s turn our attention to processed meats and Colorectal (bowel) cancer. According to a study published by Time magazine by the University of Southern California, Processed meat is attributed to 34,000 out of 700,000 colorectal cancer deaths annually. This equates to less than 5%.
Bearing in mind that survival rates globally of this form of cancer are close to 50% (higher in developed countries) and lung cancer survival rates are between 5 and 12%, you can see that smoking and eating bacon butties don’t compare!
Let’s face it, Fat was the enemy last decade, now it’s sugar. If we gorge ourselves on too much of anything it’s not going to be a pretty picture – especially if it’s fibre!
The terrible thing is that the type of sensationalist reporting we have seen this week is going to have a disproportionally negative impact on the processed meat food supply chain. Especially when non processed meats still increase cancer risks if they’ve been cooked at high temperatures.
My advice is that people read the recent Time Magazine article, as it’s broken down quite simply and is easy to understand. Make sensible food choices based on real, reliable information and not sensationalist media coverage.
Fact: you are 352 times more likely to become a millionaire than you are to get Colorectal cancer from processed meat.
I am now tucking into a lovely bacon sandwich with tomato Ketchup. Mmmmmmm!
“New York, New York, what a wonderful…” oh wait, we’re not in America, Birmingham just happens to have its own, shiny, brand new Grand Central!
After the first half of the new station opened in April 2013, the £150 million project to transform the old Birmingham New Street into ‘Grand Central’ has now been fully completed. The station has transformed from an area that was considered dark and glum to a bright and airy place that not only encourages you to stay but actually makes you want to stay.
The biggest addition to the station is the arrival of one of the largest John Lewis stores in the country. Featuring as the main attraction of Grand Central, the store is guaranteed to succeed and be a key attraction for locals and tourists alike.
Alongside John Lewis, other stores include Cath Kidston, Yo Sushi!, MAC, Jeff Bains, plus another 50+ stores guaranteed to help you find what you need. Amongst these changes, the station now offers a better way to navigate around its floors and platforms with extra lifts and escalators helping to make travelling (and shopping) that little bit easier. It’s clear to see that as a first port of call for new visitors to Birmingham the station will create a positive impression.
Grand Central joins the ranks alongside the Mailbox, the Bullring and the Birmingham high street as a retail hotspot helping to cement the idea that Birmingham is ‘the second city’ after London. In the last few years Birmingham’s retail scene has seen major changes including Selfridges’ £20 million pound overhaul and a £50 million pound redevelopment of the Mailbox.
With the Birmingham Pavilions also set to receive a major revamp next year as the new home of a four-storey Primark store, the City of Birmingham is on a major high!
Whilst periodically checking LinkedIn the other day, as I am prone to do as a marketer, I came across a post from Mind, the mental health charity. Firstly it made me laugh, but then it made me think. It was the following:
15% percent of us check our work emails whilst on the loo. As gross and as funny as that is, I’m actually shocked that it’s that low. I know lots of people that do it (I promise you my conversations with friends are usually much more high-brow … ish).
This led me to actually think about the bigger picture. I check my emails on my way into work. I check my emails on my way home from work. I’ll generally check my emails in the evening when I’m home. I’ve even checked my emails on holidays and weekends. How many of you can say the same?
My organisation wouldn’t even demand that of me, so why do I inflict it upon myself? Well firstly, I’m lucky in that I love my job, and am pretty dedicated to it, but also modern technology allows this obsession! And I am going to go all out and call it an obsession. What else would cause people to check their emails in the middle of the most inappropriate moments?
Obviously checking work emails on the go is extremely useful and has led to even more successes, but let’s face it… people managed for donkey’s years without it. Having the competitive edge is important, but where are we heading?
We are now more connected than ever before, and it’s wonderful! We can video chat with our relatives in Australia, share constantly evolving to do lists with our colleagues in Canada and now even use wifi for telephone calls when we don’t have signal. But what is the hidden cost? Are we ever allowing ourselves to switch off?
Only half of the respondents in Mind’s survey stated that their manager respected that they had a life outside of work. Half… ?! No wonder workplace stress is such an issue. As much as I want people to enjoy and be engaged with their job, you also have to enjoy your life!
Machines need to be shut down every so often to cool down, carry out repair work and update their systems. What makes us think that humans, as living creatures, need less than that?
I’ve just come back from a week of annual leave, and I’d challenged myself to finish this blog by the time I came back. Then I checked myself. I was guilty of the very habit I was writing about!
So how much work did I do whilst I was off? None.
How do I feel? Absolutely 100% recharged and ready to go! Coincidence? Probably not.
I am passionate about mental health, and for that reason I urge all of you to leave your phones on your desks the next time you go to the loo. Everyone deserves some moments to be disconnected.
Ten years ago today London experienced one of the worst attacks on record. Four suicide bombers detonated their explosives on the London underground and a double-decker bus injuring hundreds of people and murdering 52. Ten years later, what have the repercussions been? How have we grown as a country?
The changes that have made been made in response to the bombings are apparent. In the same way that the 9/11 attacks brought in higher standards of airport security to prevent such attempts, the 7/7 bombings made the country realise that certain things needed to improve. The government has made big improvements, such as bringing in digital data gathering and more training for the emergency services, which are designed to prevent this from happening in the future.
This year so far has been BUSY. Busy in a good way.
Our business has expanded dramatically and we are absolutely thrilled to have a lot of new smiley faces in our family. We want to shout about them, so we asked them all ‘Why did you join Gleeson?’
Here are their candid answers…
Nicola Deary– Accountancy & Finance
Years in Recruitment: 3.5
Why did you join Gleeson?
I joined Gleeson in February of this year, following a redundancy from my previous employer. After being made redundant and having done 3 years recruitment prior to that, I was not sure if recruitment was going to be my next career move or if I fancied a new challenge?! I enjoyed recruitment and it had always served me well but was being made redundant fate?
I had been to a couple of interviews and nothing really gripped me…until I met Andy Hunt and Matthew Wicks. I can’t depict in words exactly the feeling I had about the company but they were the opposite of stereotypical ‘used car sales’ recruiters. I had the chance to meet the rest of the Reading team, and Directors and it made me realise that even if I had any doubts / apprehensions about recruitment being for me, I knew Gleeson was definitely for me.
It wasn’t only the amount of knowledge and experience the team had that impressed me, but the level of honesty, integrity and friendliness that everyone oozed. They didn’t work to call times, KPI’s, churning out CV’s for the sake of numbers…each individual had their own objectives but worked towards a common goal, by listening to clients and candidates and giving true, honest consultative advice.
The opportunity intrigued me enough to not let it slip by and I joined the team! My first day consisted of dressing up as a banana, running through Reading and flipping pancakes in a charity race with the Directors; I’m not sure many people have experienced a first day like that before…
I am now 4 months in, to what I hope will be a long and happy career, working with the best bunch of knowledgeable, friendly and trustworthy consultants in Reading…albeit slightly crazy!
Email address: email@example.com
Julie Smyth – Accountancy & Finance
Years in Recruitment: 18
Why did you join Gleeson?
I joined Gleeson quite simply because I liked them. Not a bad reason to commence employment with a new business. This important feature coupled with the very well connected and credible name they have in the market place made me think from the outset that I had made the right decision. It was mainly “gut instinct” and given I’m in the business of finding people new career opportunities “gut instinct” tends to be one of the main motivators for candidates taking the plunge.
Since joining 3 months ago I am starting to feel like part of the furniture. Although on day 1 it felt like I had been working at Gleeson for months. After close to 2 decades in Recruitment I was tired of the rigid KPI’s and red tape that seemed to be at the core of the large corporates. At Gleeson I am able to do what I’m best at without the meaningless admin that slows you down.
Email address: Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Britton – Accountancy & Finance
Years in Recruitment: 2.5
Why did you join Gleeson?
When I decided on moving to Birmingham, I knew I needed an organisation that would offer me continuous development, flexibility and had a strong foothold in the local market.
I found all my expectations and more could be achieved when speaking to the team at Gleeson. I really enjoy that we are all rowing in the same direction and there is less emphasis on individual success.
Email address: email@example.com
Jamie Stevenson – Engineering & Manufacturing
Years in Recruitment: 8
Why did you join Gleeson?
Gleeson delivered on everything I was looking for; a mature and professional, yet fun and flexible, business who recruit market leading specialist recruiters. The business has grown at a phenomenal rate and the future opportunities within the business are huge!
Email address: Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Birch – Procurement & Supply Chain
Years in Recruitment: 5
Why did you join Gleeson?
One of the main reasons for me joining Gleeson Recruitment Group was the professionalism shown by everyone within the company, from the first meeting with Paul Strachan it was obvious to me that the company was forward thinking & it was something that I wanted to be part of.
The idea of working within a new sector with the autonomy to grow it as much as possible obviously appealed, not being micro managed whilst working was also a big selling point. The company recruits people with experience within their respective industry and treats them like adults; we know what we need to do to get results and the company gives you the freedom to do that.
I find it a refreshing change to other environments I have worked in and it was most definitely one of the key reasons behind me accepting a position.
Email address: email@example.com
Philippa Templeton – Accountancy & Finance
Years in Recruitment: 12
Why did you join Gleeson?
I decided to join Gleeson Recruitment Group having worked in the PLC world of recruitment for 10+ years. My lifestyle & career had changed in that I now have a very young family, and was returning to the workplace following on from my 2nd maternity leave.
My main priority was to go back to work with a business that would enable me to juggle both employment and family life fairly. I have known the Directors at Gleeson for a long time (whether having worked with them previously, or having competed against them commercially) and I respected their approach, their ethics and their values from a business point of view. Some of the Directors also have young families so understand the need for flexibility & trust. They also had an outstanding reputation externally with clients and candidates alike, having all operated within the finance market for a very long time.
They were very accepting of my desire for part-time hours, and have related my targets to this, which is very refreshing. I was also very attracted to Gleeson as they mainly employ experienced recruiters (therefore my time would be spent purely billing rather than training up new starters), and they understand my current desire to be purely operational, rather than climb (or get pushed) up the corporate career ladder. There is a true belief here at Gleeson that business is relationship-driven rather than purely profit driven, and gone are the days of aggressively hammering down doors at month end to push through a fee, here you hardly notice the date.
Email address: Philippa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane England – Human Resources
Years in Recruitment: 18
Why did you join Gleeson?
Firstly it has a proper commission structure – rather than a “discretionary” bonus– which is prone to the whims of Directors!!
Secondly – on meeting both Jasons and Tony it was so refreshing to meet Directors where you felt they actually cared about their employees, and wanted them to enjoy being at work – also the approach of Gleeson around promoting long-term relationships with clients and candidates and having a more personal approach than the larger agencies suits me better.
Thirdly – The opportunity to work with Emma Wright and Gemma Saunders again – as I had worked with both of them previously – was also really important to me.
Lastly the flexibility they offer around balancing work and family including working from home etc.
Email address: email@example.com
Toby Smithers – Accountancy & Finance
Years in Recruitment: 1
Why did you join Gleeson?
The thing that really inspired me to join Gleeson was literally the amazing support that was offered to me throughout the whole business. I have experience in recruitment, but the training and support the managers and colleagues offered was superb. Gleeson is like a big happy family, where everyone has smiles when they come to work, and I could see myself really fitting in to this type of environment.
Everything that was described to me about the job and culture is actually true; I haven’t had a single bad experience in being here.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Wright – Human Resources
Years in Recruitment: 13
Why did you join Gleeson?
It was very much about the people as well as the culture. I believed in all 3 Directors and their vision for the business.
It is so refreshing to join a company full of so many experienced consultants in an adult environment, and with a culture that is supportive, flexible and honest but also, FUN!
Email address: email@example.com
Chris Madine – Procurement & Supply Chain
Years in Recruitment: 12
Why did you join Gleeson?
The business is made up of proven, experienced sector experts and the culture reflects this; offering real autonomy and flexibility. The Directors are all operational with values that appeal to my own, this made Gleeson Recruitment Group really stand out as a supportive, mature and fast growing environment in which I could develop my career further.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sasha Booth – Accountancy & Finance
Years in Recruitment: 2.5
Why did you join Gleeson?
When I first met with Matt and Andy to discuss a job I was unsure that I actually wanted to continue in recruitment. After speaking with them I realised that actually I loved being a consultant but hadn’t been working in the right business. Both of them having backgrounds working in large companies, they understood how I had been feeling and told me how different it was at Gleeson. The emphasis on relationship building, offering a consultative service and being treated like an adult embodied what I was looking for in a new job, not to mention working with such genuine, lovely people. Meeting Tony confirmed everything that I had been told so far and the fact that he cares so much about his ‘family’ of staff has left me with no doubts that I have made the right decision to move to Gleeson.
Email address: email@example.com
We couldn’t be happier with our growing family, and are very excited for what the second half of the year has in store! There are some big plans in the pipeline and we can’t wait to share them with you.
As I sit here on the 07.45 train from Reading to Birmingham, to spend the day working with my colleagues up there, I sit and reflect on what has been an amazing 2 years for our Reading Office.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing our 1 year birthday blog – just the three of us on day one, on 3rd June 2013; with just 3 mobiles, 3 laptops, working from 3 desks and with a vision to create and grow our Thames Valley Accountancy & Finance team for Gleeson Recruitment Group (already 2 years old in Birmingham by then). Our aim was to bring together our 30+ years of experience, to business partner with the finance community. We wanted to enable inspirational & talented finance candidates of all levels to find their perfect jobs with our client base, and to build long-lasting business relationships throughout our network. Our ethos was simple (and still is) – to use our experience, network and industry knowledge and to work with trust, transparency and integrity; without the need for the KPIs, the e-shots and the mail shots. The majority of our business is done face to face (with some emails along the way!!!)… and most of the time offsite; meeting in coffee shops, having lunches and maybe having a drink or two in bars, as well as holding various client events. We like to have fun in our work and we genuinely enjoy what we do – that’s why our clients and candidates will recommend us to their contacts, which drives our business, and we couldn’t be happier.
So where are we now I hear you say?!
Well, 2 years on, we are growing each month with our placements, temp numbers, and office headcount of course. Through creating this vision, we are now making great inroads and are well known for our service, hard work, determination, passion and reputation; and with this combination we are able to attract new opportunities for experienced (and trainee) consultants and grow further as a business.
We are so very excited about the future – and are now a strong, close-knit team of 8 and all genuinely love our jobs. We continue to work with a variety of different clients; from start-ups and SME’s through to established multi-site organisations, right up to the FTSE50 International businesses.
Every day is different – every client is different – and every candidate is different – and the recruitment world is not as easy as it looks. However it continues to give us the opportunity to change people’s lives in giving our candidate base a platform and network, to meet and interview with some amazing business personnel to further their finance careers. What a great job we have here – and a huge thanks to all of our candidates, clients, colleagues, directors and network that have enabled us to get to where we want to be.
What will next year hold I wonder?! Watch this space…
If you would like to meet the team or utilise our experience and knowledge for either your job search or to source your next inspiring finance candidate, please do get in contact with us – we’d love to assist you!
Last week was Christian Aid week, and many local churches will have been focusing on raising funds to help those in need.
Our very own director Jason Granger got involved at his local church, St Peter’s in Harborne to see how he could help.
The church is working with local schools on a ‘Mooove over, poverty!’ campaign, where funds are raised to purchase cows for starving families in Ethiopia.
A cow can make a massive difference, and in more ways than you may think. Owning a cow gives an individual status and means they’re able to speak out and make decisions in the community. This right is traditionally restricted to a select few, with the vast majority being older men. By gifting a cow to a younger woman, for example, the system becomes more equal and more diverse opinions are taken into account. This of course leads to positive change, not just for the individual, but for their family and for their entire wider community.
Since joining Gleeson over a year ago, it has been obvious to me that the Directors want our organisation to stand out – to be different and to make a difference. We had done bits and bobs of charity work but not with any real focus or aim. We realised that we have a lot of skills within the company that could really help young people when going out into the job market – we would be a lot more useful doing this than building a dry stone wall in the Yorkshire Dales for the National Trust. After all, our DIY skills leave a lot to be desired! I was led to the Inspiring the Future website where local schools post requests for assistance with a variety of activities such as Practice Interview Days, Careers Talks, Guess My Job Activities and Employer Fayres.
Since registering late last year, we have been lucky enough to attend events at four schools in the Birmingham and Thames Valley areas, and have several more planned. Each school has been so different to the last, and all schools have changed so much since I last attended one! The range and variety of facilities was huge; with some newer academies looking like something from outer space with ICT lounges, various common rooms, break out areas and mixed toilet facilities, to a school with an ‘outstanding’ OFSTED rating which cannot have had the buildings updated since the 1960’s. I was greeted at one Careers Talk by a group of 6th Formers (or should I say Year 12 now?) drinking tea and eating biscuits – so I will definitely be back at that school soon!
We have been meeting with kids aged from 14 to 17, with such a huge variety of backgrounds – what fantastically multicultural cities we live in, populated by people with such interesting childhoods and experiences! Some of the children have travelled and lived all over the world, experiencing a multitude of cultures, whereas others have obviously never had the opportunity to venture outside their boroughs or meet people outside of their immediate family and school network.
Although the teachers and careers advisors I have met are so enthusiastic and full of ideas and passion for these kids and their futures, it seems to me like the system is definitely still failing some of them. Confidence does seem to be a big issue for some of our inner city kids, and, although they may have travelled to visit family abroad, other than that they seem to have led some very sheltered lives. They haven’t met many different types of people and don’t know how to interact with people who might be slightly different to them. Some feel they may stand out, or be at a disadvantage because of their accent and others have no aspirations to do anything other than what their parents have done. One teacher brought it home to me when she said that things were totally different in the Grammar School at which she had completed her teacher training – the kids there are totally different, they are just more up for it, want to do more, want to get more involved and are full of confidence.
Worryingly these issues don’t seem to be high on the agenda for any of the big political parties. Their education policies focus on the existence or expansion of the free schools programme and the leadership of schools, as well as tuition fees. These are all important issues, and I haven’t read the manifestos in detail, but there is certainly no mention of careers advice and prospects for school age children.
So, it looks like it is going to be down to businesses and schools to address these issues. We, at Gleeson, are hoping to build some long term relationships with a couple of schools in our area. We want to bring some of the young people in, show them what their city has to offer, introduce them to inspirational people in our business, and get them practicing asking questions and talking to different people – maybe even doing some work experience and presenting back to their peers. We need more organisations to be doing the same and not to let these young people fall through the gap, because most of them have the desire and ability to be amazing – they just don’t know how.
Our guys in Reading recently attended the Little Heath School careers
& higher education fair in Reading to give advice and support on CVs, job interviews and heading into the workforce.
Our Associate Director Andy Hunt, joined by Consultant Nicola Deary, spent the evening talking to students and parents about entering the job market for the first time and offering advice on how to plan their careers.
This is something that we, as a Group, feel very passionately about. Careers advice is something that we pride ourselves on and we will now be making much more frequent visits to schools to give as much industry advice as we can, whether that be at careers fairs or independently.
If you have connections with schools and are looking for careers support, feel free to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org