Laura Taylor

The efficiencies of remote working

Recruiting Expert Laura Taylor on CGTN Watch our Technology recruiting expert, Laura Taylor who appeared on the China Global Television Network recently, talking about the efficiencies of remote working in Singapore. As a global recruiting business, we have seen firsthand the transition of the hiring process as it adapts to the new virtual world of work.While many of us are becoming accustomed to video calls with colleagues, video interviewing can still be a daunting prospect. So, if you’re interviewing, now or in the future, read Laura’s blog to discover some top tips to ensure your video interview is a success. 

IDEAS on being and becoming inclusive - part 5


In previous instalments of this blog series we brought you expert insight from Paul Anderson-Walsh, Co-Founder of the Centre for Inclusive Leadership, where he explained the I.D.E.A.S © model on being and becoming more inclusive. This framework enables organisations to better understand where they need to focus their efforts if they are to develop and sustain an inclusive environment in which everyone can be their best self and do their best work. Part one explained the difference and importance of integrating new hires into an organisation rather than inducting them, part two explained the importance of developing employees rather than letting their value depreciate, part three looked at enabling managers rather than expecting them to know how to lead and part four discussed how to align talent rather than forcing people to assimilate. This week we take a look at the final element in the model, sustaining the shift to a culture or inclusion, rather than superficially ticking boxes. Paul Anderson-Walsh Sustaining the shift to a culture of inclusion The alchemic power of inclusion has been lost in the (critically important, but critically different) Equal Opportunity and Diversity agenda. Many of the initiatives that have been offered have produced superficial rather than sustained change. They have produced a change that failed to produce change.  For instance, well intended or not one might reasonably ask how much lasting change Starbucks gained from shutting 8,000 stores for four hours recently to conduct racial bias training for its employees.  Inclusion is aiming at something more sustainable. It is aiming at driving high performance through culture change.  Charles Handy defined culture as “the way we do things around here”. Ultimately, it is how we do things that determines whether any change sticks and becomes a new habit. To sustain the behaviours consistent with an inclusive culture (one in which there is integration rather than induction; development rather than depreciation; managers being enabled rather than expected to know how; and where there is alignment rather than assimilation) leader-managers must be the embodiment of new habitual ways of being. They need to be able to lead in such a way that they inspire those who work for (and indeed with) them so that they are motivated to learn, grow and develop and become more adept at managing inclusion – their own and that of others. There are many barriers to inclusion, bias (in favour of, as well as against) being chief amongst them. Bias, as a result of stereotyping, assumptions and prejudgements is often the major cause of a shift to a more inclusive organisation culture not being sustained. We have developed a model that can enable individuals to embed new ways of “doing things around here” and thus support and sustain the organisation shift to inclusion by deliberately seeking to become bias interrupters. This is achieved when the organisation H.E.A.R.S. ™ An organisation that H.E.A.R.S. can be identified by the way in which all its staff interact with one another, with their clients, customers and other stakeholders.  H.E.A.R.S. Top tips for sustaining the shift to inclusion Being our best selves & doing our best work Change entails new ways of thinking, being and doing, consequently, for change of any nature to be sustained it must be anchored in the culture. In order to do that we believe that you need to be intentional about inclusion so as to foster an environment where your people feel comfortable reaching out to all their colleagues to gain greater awareness of each other's experiences and perspectives.  You need to have ongoing dialogue but without tolerating any incongruence between behaviours and your inclusion values. You need to build trust encouraging compassion and open-mindedness and reinforcing our commitment to a culture of inclusion. For information about the Centre for Inclusive Leadership’s Inclusive Leadership Programmes, please get in touch.  Share your insights We’d love to hear from leaders on how you are adapting, implementing and assessing your workforce engagement and inclusion strategies as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Please get in touch to share your insights. 


How to balance your productivity and wellbeing when working from home

The potential for better work-life balance This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week falls during unprecedented times. Many of us have been working from home for many weeks now and have gone through many ups, downs and adjustments along the way. There can be no doubt that it will be even harder for those already struggling with their mental health.There are of course many benefits to remote working, not least the absence of the daily commute and the potential now to have more of a work-life balance.One finance leader I spoke to recently said, “With no commute I start work at 7am but I dedicate the time between 5pm and 7pm to spend with my family and play football or basketball with my two sons.”I say potential however, as I am acutely aware that maintaining a healthy work-life balance may in fact be harder in these difficult times. It is of course different depending on individual circumstances. Some of us will be dealing will ill health, financial worries, isolation or caring for children or vulnerable relatives. These pressures all add layers of complexity, anxiety and stress to the remote working scenario most of us now find ourselves in.   Take burnout seriously And while it can seem like a huge perk to roll out of bed and begin our workday, working from home, particularly in these challenging times, requires more planning and a different type of focus than most of us are used to. When the lines become blurred between our day-to-day and working lives it becomes easier to end up working longer hours and never really switching off. Over a sustained period, this can become damaging to our mental health, leading us to become overwhelmed and ‘burning out.’According to NordVPN, there is evidence that employee working hours have increased sharply since the outbreak of Covid-19. In the UK, workdays have typically increased by an average of two hours – and for many, it may well be more. Home working that works for youTo stay productive, we each need to test and learn what works for us and what does not, creating our own working structures, habits and routines - and these do not necessarily need to look anything like our old working schedules. What they must be, is sustainable and work for our own personal circumstances. In my job I have the privilege of being able to speak to an array of talented and insightful employers and jobseekers across a variety of different industries every day. The one thing they all agree on when it comes to staying productive is the importance of instilling healthy remote working habits and looking after their mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some of the best tips to follow to ensure you don’t ‘burn out’… 8 healthy remote working habits  1. Don’t neglect normal daily routinesSet a routine for working from home and don’t neglect normal daily routines. It is important to get up and get started. No matter how tempting avoid working in your pajamas all day – getting ‘ready for work’ will change your mindset and get you in the right frame of mind.2. Dedicate a space just for workWhile it might seem like you could work just fine from your sofa, having a separate space where you can work without any distractions not only benefits your levels of focus and productivity, but importantly for your mental health, it helps separate your day-to-day life from your work.If you have difficulties in doing this speak to you employer, they may be able to help with practical solutions. Likewise ensure you have comfortable furniture and an ergonomic set up. You wouldn’t put up with a sore back from an uncomfortable workspace at work, so don’t do it at home.3. Prioritise Try and set clear tasks for your day. To-do lists can help identify which tasks are a priority but one great tip to help you prioritise is to create a WEB list. W - what you want to achieve, E – What you expect to achieve, B – What you had better achieve that day. 4. Time blockIf you’re not time blocking your schedule, you may be wasting a lot of time. Time blocking consists of dividing your daily schedule into several sections based on priority. For example, you can work on replying to emails in the morning and meetings in the afternoon. This could also be done every week. The important thing is that you stick to your schedule and don’t get distracted, otherwise it won’t work. If you are home-schooling whilst trying to work, have a conversation with your employer about these realities. Try and set a routine which time blocks and clearly separates the two, trying to do both at once will leave both suffering. 5. Take proper breaks Even though you will want to achieve several goals during the day and be efficient, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about your mental or physical health. Since there’s no one to tell you when to start and when to finish and no one is coming up to your desk to distract you, it can be easy to forget to take regular screen breaks. Take regular breaks from your desk, including a proper lunch break.6. ExerciseTry and get outside and get some natural sunlight, if you can do so safely and try and get some exercise, again within guidelines on social distancing. Personally, I have been going out on my bike four or five times a week, often before work. I have found that this has really helped set me up for the day and I’ve seen a huge increase in my productivity and personal wellbeing.  7. Support your colleaguesWe should all be mindful that there will be further challenges ahead and whether you manage a team or not, colleagues will need to support each other and share their resilience. Maintain the relationships you had at the workplace and let your colleagues know you’re there to help if they need.8. Enjoy the perks Remember to enjoy the perks of working remotely – work during your most productive hours and tend to your personal and family needs when necessary. There’s no point to all of your hard work and increased efficiency if you don’t make time to enjoy it!Establishing a good routine is likely to involve a lot of trial and error, but if you stick to healthy working habits you will enhance your productivity, improve your mental health and wellbeing and enjoy a better work-life balance.  Finally, here is a really helpful guide to working from home from Career Karma, with more ideas to help keep you on track.Stay safe and well. 



In parts one, two and three of this blog series we brought you expert insight from Paul Anderson-Walsh, Co-Founder of the Centre for Inclusive Leadership, where he explained the I.D.E.A.S © model on being and becoming more inclusive. This framework enables organisations to better understand where they need to focus their efforts if they are to develop and sustain an inclusive environment in which everyone can be their best self and do their best work. Part one explained the difference and importance of integrating new hires into an organisation rather than inducting them, part two explained the importance of developing employees rather than letting their value depreciate and part three looked at enabling managers rather than expecting them to know how to lead. This week he looks at how to align talent rather than forcing people to assimilate.  Paul Anderson-Walsh Aligning your talent, rather than forcing them to assimilate One of the primary reasons that organisations, even those who really value diversity, don’t get value from diversity is that their culture is designed to assimilate people rather than align them. When people are assimilated they lose their essential identity. Their difference is homogenised. Over time the uniqueness of the individual (which goes way beyond their ethnic and gender identification differences) is lost as people ruthlessly edit themselves to adapt to the new culture. Where there is a dominant prevailing culture, assimilation, a one-way process, is the order of the day. The newbie adopts the majority culture and when fully adapted he or she becomes virtually indistinguishable from the dominant group.  Quite apart from the tragic loss of individuality, assimilation creates the perfect conditions for groupthink to flourish. When that occurs all hope of creativity is lost as individual thought bows the knee to the most powerful person in the room as people set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group. Would-be detractors remain silent rather than disrupt the uniformity of the crowd.Aligning the talent to the organisation, and the organisation to the talent is an important building block of an inclusive organisation. Whilst it is vitally important, it isn’t easy. Alignment requires a high level of commitment to generating value from diversity as well as a willingness to flex and be supple in order to get that value. We often talk about aligning our talent to the organisation but we don’t so readily think about how the organisation could benefit from aligning itself to its talent. Consider for a moment how the English language, once a minor Germanic dialect has raised to the position it enjoys today as a, if not the, global language. How was that achieved? Well one reason, among many, is that it is a language that allows it to be infiltrated by other tongues and cultures (popular culture included). It embraces new words and consequently has an ever-expanding, ever-relevant vocabulary. The inclusion-savvy organisation knows only too well the value of “clean-eyes.” The management commentator Peter Drucker once remarked that ‘ignorance is the most important component for helping others to solve any problem in any industry.” And so, it is. Yet so keen are we to get people to see the world through the lens of our corporate spectacles that we miss the opportunity to see what they see, with clean eyes.Organisations where the talent is aligned to the organisation and the organisation is aligned to the talent, produce a very coherent signal to their customers.  Top tips for aligning your talent 1. Think fitting together and not fitting in  2. Remember that it is about all of them not some of them  3. Value difference  4. Don't allow any disconnect between beliefs (values) and behaviour  5. Foster an environment where people feel comfortable reaching out to their colleagues to gain greater awareness of each other's experiences and perspectives.  For information about the Centre for Inclusive Leadership’s Inclusive Leadership Programmes, please get in touch. Look out for my final blog in this series where I explain the last element of the I.D.E.A.S.© model ‘sustaining’.Share your insightsWe’d love to hear from leaders on how you are adapting, implementing and assessing your workforce engagement and inclusion strategies as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Please get in touch to share your insights. 


Supporting your workforce to become more resilient

The importance of resilienceHave you ever wondered how some people appear to bounce through life, seemingly without ever showing distress or anxiety regardless of the situation that they find themselves in? Are you one of those people but can't put your finger on why? Or would you like to help yourself and others to build greater resilience and change the way that you respond to challenging situations?There can be no doubt that those who are more resilient in character will be better able to cope with pressures and move forward through adversity, perhaps even to flourish through it.  So, to learn what it means to be resilient and to discover some top resilience building tips to support your workforce, download our insight paper. Download Coaching support for you  There has never been a better time to equip your leaders with the skills and knowledge to share and build resilience in their teams.  Our Chief People Officer, Caroline Lansbury is offering a complimentary mini programme of two virtual resilience coaching workshops for Stanton House clients:1. Coaching for resilience: 2-hour virtual workshop2. Conducting coaching conversations: 2-hour virtual workshopIf you would like to book Caroline to deliver and facilitate either or both workshops (remotely), or to learn more please get in touch.E:   M: 07811344238 About Caroline Caroline is the Chief People Officer at Stanton House and is part of the Operating Board. She has a professional coaching Diploma from the Academy of Executive Coaching and is committed to continuous self-development as an Executive Coach and facilitator. She is passionate about supporting people to increase their Emotional Intelligence to guide their conscious choices in both their careers and within the context of the environments in which they operate.Business ExpertiseAs an experienced Senior Manager of large teams, Caroline understands the challenges facing today’s leaders in the fast-paced, challenging and constantly evolving private sector and tailors her approach in response. She brings experience from a career spanning over 20 years in the recruitment sector, this underpins her commercially aware approach to Leadership development. Caroline has spent the past 7 years writing and facilitating Leadership Development programmes and provides significant coaching provision internally for Stanton House as well as for a select number of our customers’ Senior Leaders. Caroline is also accredited to facilitate the LeaderShape Global LEIPA 360 tool, a Leadership Emotional Intelligence performance accelerator.



In part one and two of this blog series we brought you expert insight from Paul Anderson-Walsh, Co-Founder of the Centre for Inclusive Leadership, where he introduced the first two elements in the I.D.E.A.S © model on being and becoming more inclusive. This framework enables organisations to better understand where they need to focus their efforts if they are to develop and sustain an inclusive environment in which everyone can be their best self and do their best work. Part one explained the difference and importance of integrating new hires into an organisation rather than inducting them and part two explained the importance of developing your employees rather than letting their value depreciate. This week we turn to the next crucial element enabling your managers rather than expecting them to know how to lead. Paul Anderson-Walsh Enabling your managersFar from being a confirmative short step, the transition from being an individual contributor (or producer) to a manager (or reproducer) is a journey. What makes people successful as individual contributors is different from that which makes them successful as leaders. The individual contributor (by and large) succeeds through his or her own efforts.  Managers on the other hand succeed through the efforts of others. Being a manager calls for a different skill set. As well as maintaining their own performance, they must now focus on the development of others and the creation of an environment in which they can nurture and grow a high-performing team. In today’s complex, diverse and currently indefinitely  home-based workforce  that is a sophisticated ask which requires, agility, acuity and adaptability.  My experience is that managers (often) feel ill-equipped to be able to support the learning growth and development of all their people.  Sometimes, struggling with their own feelings of inadequacy, which can show up in, for example, the form of imposter syndrome and sometimes feeling inadequate because they did not have the benefit of seeing development modelled for them by their line manager and therefore despite wanting to develop others, they simply don’t know how to.    The manager population tend to be the most under-resourced and under-invested-in cohort in the business. The number of managers I encounter who ‘make it up as they go along’ is concerning. At a minimum, managers must be helped to understand why inclusion matters; how to delegate; how to coach; how to have difficult conversations; how to manage change; how to give feedback and how to manage teams; how to manage conflict; how to manage up and how to carry-out mid-year and end-of-year reviews. This is a necessary investment for any organisation, seeking to get more from more of their people, more of the time.Organisations know that it is their leader-manager population who are the engine that drives the culture. Knowing this, inclusive organisations strategically and systematically invest in their enablement to ensure that they, the managers are fuelled to make sure the business is powered by inclusion. The leader-manager role can look different in different organisations. In some, they are expected to give up their individual production target/responsibility and are measured against the results of their team. For these managers the transition is from producer to leader-manager. (Model A).  For others the leader-manager adds rather than sheds responsibility. They are still expected to produce whilst adding the leader-manager function to their list of responsibilities (Model B).  In Model A the manager needs to be a Mentor, whilst in Model B the key feature of their role is to model the organisational values, behaviours and best-practice.  Inclusive organisations don’t expect that good producers will automatically be good leader-managers.. Consequently, organisations may need to reimagine the support they need to offer their leader-manager population to enable them to be able to lead their organisation toward achieving its goals. The popularisation of Emotional Intelligence has shone a light on the fact that there is a link between self-awareness and empathy. For your leader-managers to develop and empower others you will need to invest in them to enable them to address the things that disempower them.The shape and form of the investment you will need to make in your leader-managers will differ depending on circumstances, but your reimagining may be helped if you ask yourself how your manager population is distributed across these possibilities: A) Leader-manager promoted from within B) Leader-manager hired externally C) Leader-manager/producer hired externally D) Leader-manager/producer promoted from within    Whilst there will be development needs that are common to all your leader-managers, there will be needs that are particular to different groups. New hires will have different needs and opportunities to those internally promoted, in the same way, leader-managers will have different-needs and opportunities from leader-manager/producers. The more forensic you are in determining an individual’s particular needs the more likely you are to enable all your leader-managers to lead and support all your people. Top tips for enabling your managers 1. Role model inclusive leadership to them  2. Tailor an inclusive leadership programme to their needs 3. Provide them with a coach  4. Provide them with a mentor  5. Provide them with a learning resource including moment-of-need resources For information about the Centre for Inclusive Leadership’s Inclusive Leadership Programmes, please get in touch. Look out for my next blog where I explain the next element of the I.D.E.A.S.© model ‘Aligning’.Share your insights We’d love to hear from leaders on how you are adapting, implementing and assessing your workforce engagement and inclusion strategies as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Please get in touch to share your insights. 


2020 IIM Interim Management Survey

Add your voice to market leading research  Our thoughts are, as ever with those who have been impacted by Covid-19. Throughout these difficult times, we remain committed to our purpose of creating exceptional customer experiences and sharing meaningful market insight and expertise. We’d like to encourage our Interim network to participate in this year’s Institute of Interim Management (IIM) Survey, which provides comprehensive insight into the UK executive interim market. We believe this research to be invaluable in benchmarking the significant economic and interim management industry impacts caused by Covid-19.To add your voice to the survey please click here. Participant criteria This survey closes on Sunday 31st Many and is only for professional interim managers and executives (defined as an independent professional operating at board or near board level), who are 'normally' on day rates of £500+.


The Changing Recruitment Landscape

We are all adapting to the ‘new norm’Covid-19 has completely disrupted the way we live and work. Businesses are facing new strategic challenges and adapting their people, processes and systems to function in the ‘new norm’. The recruitment industry is no exception. Having worked in accountancy and finance recruitment for over four years, I can say that working through this pandemic has been one of the toughest personal challenges I have ever faced. There’s been an awful lot to adapt to quickly but ensuring that I continue to provide the right insight, guidance and support to my customers has remained my number one priority.I truly feel for those that have lost their jobs, had income reduced or had job offers pulled at the last minute and I understand that remaining positive amidst so much uncertainty can be extremely difficult. I was, however, happy to see that IR35 reforms have been delayed for a year, giving much needed relief to contractors given the economic challenges that lie ahead. There are also more opportunities on the horizon and currently recruitment has by no means come to a halt. Demand for finance professionals with financial modelling expertise In the current circumstances, recruitment has of course slowed as hiring new staff has sunk down the priority list for many employers. However, there are pockets of activity where specific expertise is required to ensure business continuity or to deliver critical projects and programmes. It’s imperative that businesses engage with scenario modelling at the moment and as such, we have seen increased demand for interim finance professionals with financial modelling expertise. Additionally, we are currently seeing demand for those with FP&A, Business Partnering, Financial Analysis and Reporting expertise. How can we help?If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from your sofa, there are lots of things we can help you with to prepare.We have plenty of career advice guides we can share with you. Everything from CV tips, to developing your personal online brand and video interviewing advice. If you feel like having a practice video interview to brush up on your interviewing skills, we are more than happy to set this up and provide you with feedback. Lockdown is teaching me valuable things personally and professionally and we are all trying our best to keep up with the rapidly changing recruitment landscape. Thank you to those who have also checked in on me, stay safe and keep well, we really are all in this together. The market may be uncertain, but I am certain we will get through this!If you would like any of our career advice guides, or a practice interview please do not hesitate to get on touch, even just for a chat.



In part one of this blog series we brought you expert insight from Paul Anderson-Walsh, Co-Founder of the Centre for Inclusive Leadership, where he introduced the I.D.E.A.S model on being and becoming more inclusive. This framework enables organisations to better understand where they need to focus their efforts if they are to develop and sustain an inclusive environment in which everyone can be their best self and do their best work. Part one explained the difference and importance of integrating new hires into an organisation rather than inducting them. This week we turn to the next crucial element the development of your people. Paul Anderson-Walsh Developing all the peopleAttracting the world’s best talent is one thing, retaining it is another. In a previous article  I spoke about the democratisation of quality customer treatment. Rather than treating everyone the same or, worse, discriminating against some based on their (perceived) lack of spending power, democratisation means treating everyone equally well; esteeming and honouring their self-worth not their net worth.  In much the same way, when it comes to people development, treating everyone equally well is a key issue. In an inclusive environment there is a commitment to developing all of the people rather than ensuring that we are not discriminating against some of them. The goal is that everyone has the opportunity to be and become their best self and do their best work.   Some call it the diversity cliff, others call it the diversity ceiling but whatever term they give it, the issue they are almost always focussed on is increasing diversity. However, the issue is managing inclusion because it is only when all our people feel included that they are able to be their authentic selves and organisations are able to benefit from their best work. All of us are unique and complex, so understanding who we are working with, why they are the way they are and why they respond the way they do, is key. If understanding this difference is important at the attraction stage, it becomes critical at the engagement, promotion, and succession planning stages.It might help us if we pursued the metaphor of talent as an asset. Assets can depreciate over time (some get written down all together) and other assets increase in value. Depreciation is an accountancy term and it refers to a reduction in the value of an asset over time, due in particular to wear and tear (think emotional well-being i.e. being worn out). When it comes to human capital, managing your people portfolio takes care and whilst each individual asset has its own performance profile, there are some interesting trends that we can point to which suggest what might contribute to a talent asset depreciating in value in an organisation.  There is a saying that claims that people don’t leave their job, they leave their boss. That is a truism.  Poor management is one of the main reasons people leave their jobs. However, they also leave because they plateau and find the work boring. Following closely behind is the fact that a lot of people leave their jobs because they either have poor relationships or no relationships with their co-workers. Some feel they’re not being stretched or challenged; they don’t get a chance to use, let alone develop, their skills; they are micro-managed, disempowered, and don’t have any autonomy; they don’t see how what they do, contributes to what the organisation is trying to do and their work is not appreciated. In an inclusive environment talent assets are more likely to increase over time because their managers coach them and take the time to frame their career journey with them based on three interconnecting needs:  Organisational - What competencies has the business identified as critical to its future success: The What and the How; Career - What does each employee need to be have and do in order to be successful in their current role? And Motivational - What is each employee passionate about? What values, interests and goals are most important to him or her?  Top tips for developing talent 1. Make it personal – Be a coach2. Make it meaningful to them3. Make sure you empower them by delegating, and giving feedback4. Make sure you treat them all equally well5. Make sure they have a sponsor  Is your talent a flight risk? • In 2018 27% of employees voluntarily left their jobs• Voluntary turnover costs exceed $600 billion• Businesses lose productivity with $300 billion annually due to disengaged workers• By 2023 25% of employees will leave their jobs each year to go and work somewhere else• As many as 22 out of 100 employees left their jobs for career development• And 3 in 4 employees who quit their jobs could have been retained by their employers To find out about our about our NeuroTech® Tool, The TCFIL Retention Assessment, please get in touch. Look out for my next blog where I explain the next element of the I.D.E.A.S. model ‘Enable’.Share your insights We’d love to hear from leaders on how you are adapting, implementing and assessing your workforce engagement and inclusion strategies as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Please get in touch to share your insights. 


The new face of finance: moving to the new normal

Navigating through the current crisis I read an interesting PwC article recently: “For years the discussion has raged about the pros and cons of flexible working – and now, suddenly, we’ve been dropped into a real-life field test. Covid-19 has forced employers out of their comfort zones and into a virtual working model at breakneck speed.”This got me thinking about the new challenges so many of the CFOs and FDs I speak to are having to get to grips with right now. Even without the commute, there is still a huge amount for any leader to think about when it comes to managing themselves and their team in lockdown. Many have been juggling parenting, home schooling and caring for elderly or vulnerable family relatives, as well as the added responsibility of leading a team from the front in this new virtual world. How easy is it to join a virtual PE Lesson with Joe wicks dressed as Spider man, then jump back to a Zoom board meeting to discuss cash flow analysis?So, how are leaders managing all of this and moving forward with the day-to-day of ensuring business continuity and motivating those reporting into them remotely? Insight from top CFOs and FDsTo get ‘real’ insight into this topic, I hosted our first virtual roundtable where we invited a small group of our top Media and Technology finance leaders to discuss the challenges they are currently facing when it comes to engaging with their teams remotely. Discussion quickly turned to the best ways of effectively collaborating to ensure productivity continues. Similar challenges and solutions were echoed around the virtual table, here are the key takeaways:  3 key insights from our virtual roundtable  1. Structured communication helps productivity In some cases, being isolated is leading to uncertainty about who to talk to on specific issues and when. This is causing team members to feel anxious and is affecting their productivity, leading to hold-ups and delays.Our roundtable participants are finding that providing a clear structure to their team meetings is helping to alleviate this. For example, many have set up a team video call at the beginning and at the end of each day to provide certainty about when and how their teams can communicate. On top of this many hold weekly or twice weekly company-wide video calls where, as senior leaders, they contribute and share top level messages to the whole company. One finance leader said, “Planning and structuring communication has been crucial in ensuring teams are working effectively. I find our morning and evening team video meetings help to keep productivity high. It’s also really clear from these who is less engaged, for example some don’t turn their cameras on or contribute to the conversations and some don’t even turn up. The challenge is how to address this remotely.”Many that are effectively planning and structuring company-wide communication are finding increased levels of staff engagement. One customer told me last week that they held their annual company meeting via Webex and that it had the highest attendance level they have ever had. Many of the finance leaders I speak to are sharing similar stories where they are finding employee engagement has in fact increased since lockdown. This may not only be because employees are keener than ever to know how they as individuals, teams or as an organisation are performing, but also because “there’s not much else to do”, “no dinner plans”, “no rushing home for child care”. Virtual company calls have evidently taken down several barriers. A CFO at our virtual roundtable said, “Our CEO now gives two half hour updates via video conference each week at the same time, company-wide and I think it’s the most engaged our staff have been with his updates ever.” 2. The importance of remaining humanIts easy to want to get straight down to business on calls but in these isolating times it more important than ever for employee engagement to remain human and make space for social activities and fun. It’s also important to remember that different personality types will behave differently through this situation and nothing should be assumed, for example you might find it’s the extroverts of the physical office who are now becoming more disengaged and vice versa.  Our finance leaders agreed that taking the time to talk about things that are not always work related can help them understand how people are coping and what support they might need. Many are implementing social activities such as weekly virtual quizzes and coffee breaks where anyone can drop in and talk about anything non-work related.One leader of a shared service centre said, ‘We start the day off with a ten-question quiz to build comradery and add a fun element to our day before kicking in with the serious stuff.” 3. Choosing the right communication platform Choosing the right communication platform is also a concern for these finance leaders, many are using multiple platforms to communicate with their teams and they are conscious that there may be too many channels for employees to engage with. They are using everything from standard email through to text message, WhatsApp, Slack, Hangout, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.The group agreed that remote communication can distort the normal pace of our conversations as well as the intended delivery and interpretation of message. Therefore, choosing the right platform for their message is of great importance. Most agreed that they are still testing and learning which platforms work best for their different meetings and types of communication. One participant said, “I tend to jump onto Hangout rather than sending emails all the time to stay connected with my accounts payable team. But I’m still trying to work out the best channel as we also use Slack and I don’t want to overload people with information across multiple platforms all of the time.” I think a quote that sums up these insights perfectly comes from Mercer's 2020 Global Talent Trends study, “Balance empathy with economics”. Remaining human, managing communication and embracing technology is key.Like most, I’m interested to know what the new normal be in a week, a month and a years’ time. Will productivity of workforces remain high? Will annual meetings be held virtually? Will we continue with virtual quizzes and ‘hangouts’? Might some organisations adapt to working from home almost completely going forward? I’d like to thank our participants for such a fantastic debate and I look forward to hosting our next virtual round table very soon. If you’d like to join our next finance leader event please get in touch. 


Diversity & Inclusion: Why it should remain at the centre of your talent management strategies

What are the impacts of Covid-19 on diversity and inclusion at work?There can be no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing our political, economic, social and work structures at great pace. Along with wider adoption of remote working, the world-of-work is likely to be very different post Covid-19 and it is likely to transform in ways we might not yet fully appreciate.One important aspect to consider is the lasting impact on diversity and inclusion at work. What are the positive and negative impacts of Covid-19 and the increases in remote working, likely to be? Will the attraction and retention of diverse talent fall down employers’ priority lists? Will individuals from all backgrounds have greater or fewer opportunities for work and career progression after this is all over?We regularly partner with diversity and inclusion experts to bring our customers insight, advice and guidance. This week we interviewed Jenny Hinde, Executive Director of the Clear Company to explore these questions.   Jenny Hinde, Executive Director of the Clear Company How is the current crisis affecting employers’ consideration of their diversity and inclusion agenda? “In the current circumstances, attracting and recruiting diverse talent may sink down the priority list. For some, there might be a need to recruit quickly to meet demand, for others, there may not be a necessity to recruit at all as business slows down. This rapidly changing crisis may lead to more reactive decision making and a neglect to considering the diversity agenda. For employers recruiting remotely, it is more important than ever to put diversity and inclusion at the top of the agenda.”  Why is it dangerous to neglect commitments to diversity and inclusion?“Your decisions now will have a lasting impact on your business – for example, what will your Gender Pay Gap data say about this period next year?” “Equally, your decisions in this period will affect your future employer brand once we resume business as usual. Be sure to ask yourself, how do we ensure we continue to make inclusive consumer decisions that support our brand and not make rash decisions under pressure that cause damage?”“It is important for leaders to be thinking of the post pandemic impact. If inclusion has not been managed effectively during this period, there will be a significant amount of remedial work to do.” How might employers make the best of this situation? “Flexible and remote working is now being practiced across the country when it was once said to be ‘impossible’. Employers have now proven that it is possible and can now offer these adjustments to groups that may benefit from it such as disabled and neurodiverse people, and parents/carers, for example. These opportunities can also be rolled out into future recruitment practices to attract and retain more diverse talent.” How is remote working impacting on employers’ ability to ensure equal opportunities for career progression?“As the world around us rapidly changes, working life goes on and your employees will continue to look to the future, as you should to. It might not be at the top of the agenda at the moment but your employees will still be considering the impact this situation may have on their career progression in one year, two years or ten years time. Now is an opportunity to consider how diversity and inclusion intertwines with career progression.”“It may have seemed radical months ago to reshape your organisation to promote fairer opportunities for all, but that step has already been taken out of your control as flexible and remote working is enforced nationwide. Now, we have levelled the playing field and individuals who may not have had the same access to the steps on the career ladder are given a glimpse of hope that they can take the same steps as their colleagues.”Can you provide examples of specific groups whose careers may be positively impacted?“Parents, and statistically more likely to be women, with children who have taken significant career breaks and still need time at home to look after their children are now less likely to be scrutinised for working flexibly.”“Individuals who can’t get into work everyday because of accessibility barriers, mental health problems or personal challenge due to neurodiverse conditions, are now being given the flexibility to work around their routines and needs.”What one piece of advice would you give to employers right now?“With all this change going on around you, now is the time to make a change internally. Review your performance targets and promotion structures to cater for individuals whose needs are different, but when given the opportunity have every chance of success along with their colleagues.”About the Clear Company Continuously refined over 15 years of practice, the Clear Company is a diversity and inclusion consultancy which brings a balance of expertise, insight and a roadmap of actions to our clients. All supported by training and online products that enable them to drive meaningful, measurable change as they make D&I part of their everyday. For access to our online Covid-19 tool kit please get in touch.Share your insightsWe’d love to hear from leaders on how you are adapting, implementing and assessing your diversity and inclusion strategies as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Please get in touch to share your insights. 


Now is the time to build your personal and professional online brand

Time is always of the essence when a new role presents itself and you don’t want to be scrabbling to get your CV or LinkedIn profile updated at the very last minute. So, if you’re searching for new opportunities in these difficult times, and potentially job hunting from your sofa, make sure you use this time wisely and get prepared now.This should include the development of your personal and professional online brand. Ensuring that your social media profiles and interactions online reflect your professional skills and experience, will increase your chances of being contacted by a prospective employer or recruiter.  What is your online brand?In short, it’s your reputation online. Each interaction you have with others online has the opportunity to create a memorable experience, teaching them what they can expect from you. When you’re consistent in delivering those experiences, you build a strong reputation. Delivering your brand clearly and consistently across a wide audience helps open doors to new opportunities. Employers will look at both your social and professional profiles Your personal brand is how you show yourself to your friends, while your professional brand is how your employers and colleagues see you. Be aware that potential employers are likely to look at both your social and professional profiles and your interactions online to get a reflection of you. Always be careful about what you post or share, and make sure you’re always presenting your best side. Are your online interactions a positive and accurate reflection of your professional skills and experience? Have you done a Google search of yourself lately? What does it reveal to potential employers and what does it say about you? If what comes up doesn’t back up your professional expertise or show you in the best light, you will need to do something about it. Optimise your LinkedIn profile LinkedIn has become by far the most useful tool for building your professional brand online. It is the place to be seen when it comes to jobs and new careers. However, there are more than 562 million professionals on LinkedIn, so you must ensure that your profile is visible and that you stand out, before you can even think about leveraging your connections to find a new role.   Did you know that a person with a fully complete LinkedIn profile is 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities via LinkedIn? The main reason to complete your profile is to ensure that you appear in LinkedIn search results. To ensure your profile has the best chance of being visible and to get an ‘All Star’ rating be sure to include:1. Industry & location2. Skills (min of 3)3. Profile photo4. Current position (with description) 5. Two past positions6. Education7. 50+ connectionsLeverage your LinkedIn connectionsOnce fully complete and up to date, your profile on LinkedIn provides the perfect platform to engage with new contacts and re-establish old connections. Doing this will grow your professional network and can help with your job search. Start by sending friendly, private messages to your connections asking if they might know of anyone in their network who might need your expertise. You may feel apprehensive about reaching out to ex-colleagues when starting a new job search but so long as you left on good terms, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Most like-minded professionals take great pride from being well-connected and don’t mind being approached or helping out ex-colleagues in this way. For our full recommendations and a step-by-step guide to optimising your profile and using LinkedIn effectively, please get in touch.  

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