Businesses have been transformed one way or another by the disruption of Covid-19 and senior finance professionals will have had varying challenges and priorities to contend with over the last year, depending on the industry sector they operate in. But what is clear from our conversations with CFOs and FD’s across the board, is that they’ve had to reimagine financial plans and processes to steady operations in the near term (that many would argue remained unquestioned or unchanged prior to the Covid-19 crisis) and guide decision making for the future. Senior finance jobs in demand So, as finance teams re-set priorities amidst ongoing economic uncertainty in 2021 – what roles, expertise and skills do employers need and want from senior finance professionals this year? 1. Financial Modelling, and Financial Planning & Analysis Finance leaders continue to engage in scenario modelling and are building flexibility into their planning and forecasting cycles. Planning and review cycles at the peak of the pandemic in 2020 were sped up out of necessity and for many finance functions that pace has now become habit. Finance teams continue to shift toward quarterly (or more often, if needed) planning and review cycles. We have seen this imperative translated to increased demand for finance professionals with Financial Modelling, FP&A, Business Partnering, Financial Analysis and Reporting expertise. Financial modelling along with the accurate analysis and interpretation of business-wide internal, and macroeconomic external data, is essential for providing the foresight needed to inform strategic decision-making in these unprecedented times. As such, the improvement of performance reporting is an on-going focus for finance leaders as they seek to accelerate and help C-Suite decision-making. To this end, we have heard more talk of finance teams using ‘data rooms’. These cloud-based data analytics systems sit on an ERP and provide self-serve tools, for the analysis of internal and external data, to help inform strategic decision-making. As such, senior finance professionals with analytical and business partnering skills will remain in high demand throughout 2021. 1 2. Cost control & business case analysis Cashflow is of course vital for any organisation to be able to sustain itself however, where businesses have seen a significant decline in revenues cash isn’t just king - it’s critical for survival. Actions to preserve cash have included making redundancies, taking advantage of Government schemes, placing staff on furlough, introducing temporary hiring freezes, salary reductions and cuts on discretionary spending. As such, cashflow modelling, minimising old debt and cash preservation will remain priorities for finance teams as the world around us continues to evolve in 2021. Although cashflow modelling is still very much a key focus for many, others that have experienced growth throughout the pandemic (online retailers for example) have had to be careful not to overtrade or make bad investment decisions that may only result in short-term gains. As such, senior finance professionals with expertise in cost control, business case modelling and banking stakeholder management will continue to be highly sought after this year. 3. Digital transformation & process improvement There has been an increase in discussions within our senior finance network of project work being driven by the need and desire to adopt intelligent automation. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become increasingly prevalent in the Finance Transformation space as an effective way of optimising repetitive processes and enhancing finance functions by unlocking true ‘human value'. For example, using ‘bots’ on a finance system for invoice matching. As such, there will be less demand for transactional BAU finance roles and more for system implementation roles, project-based roles and business partners who can make the finance department more efficient and effective in the year ahead. Top 5 accountancy & finance jobs 2021 Here’s our list of the top five, in demand, senior accountancy and finance jobs for 2021:1. Financial Controller 2. FP&A Manager 3. Financial Modeller/Analyst 4. Management Accountant 5. Finance Business Partner Who’s hiring permanent & interim finance professionals? Unsurprisingly, hiring intentions across all sectors are far more muted this year with the number of applications to every role advertised significantly on the rise. A result brought about by more candidates on the market and the removal of geographical/logistical limitations due to increased remote working. However, businesses that did well and experienced growth last year, such as online retailers and consulting firms, are continuing to hire permanent finance professionals in preparation for yet more growth. Employers are increasingly having to make hiring decisions and onboard talent 100% remotely. As such, they've been much more risk adverse and focused on securing outstanding references - although overall time to hire has actually reduced. We are now seeing the end-to-end recruitment process taking over a week less than it did in the first half of 2020 when the first impacts of the pandemic were felt. Additionally, interims already on assignment are increasingly being pulled into project work which often leads to contract extension - a trend likely to continue this year. Candidate expectations The exceptional senior finance candidates we speak to expect their safety, wellbeing and work-life balance to be taken seriously by prospective employers. Some candidates are not happy with how their employers have handled the Covid-19 crisis and don’t feel they’ve been supported in the right way. As such, many will only consider new roles where employers can offer job security and demonstrate that have been able to keep staff morale, engagement and productivity high in a remote working environment. Candidates are keen to understand how sensitive a prospective employer has been to their workforce throughout the pandemic and what the ‘getting back to the office’ message is. They expect flexible working, excellent virtual communication technology and good communication practices from senior leadership. We expect more movement in 2021 as senior finance professionals, who were biding their time throughout the initial uncertainty of the pandemic, once again look for new permanent opportunities to progress their careers. How can we help? If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from home, 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 would like any of our career advice guides, or want to discuss any of our current interim or permanent senior finance opportunities with a recruiting expert please do not hesitate to get in touch.
18 Jan 2021
UK labour market transformed 2020 was a year like no other. Every business had to adapt and evolve their operating model to survive and grow in the ‘new norm’. The UK labour market was transformed by the disruption of Covid-19, while some sectors grew as a result of changing consumer habits, many others faced declining revenues, heavy job losses and widening skills gaps. The December 2020 report from the Office of National Statistics paints a gloomy picture. It shows that from February to December 2020, the number of payroll employees fell by 819,000 - although the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus pandemic - and the period of August through to October saw redundancies reach record highs.Unsurprisingly, the Bank of England November 2020 Monetary Policy report highlights, that redundancies in 2020 were predominantly in sectors that were hit hardest by lockdown including hospitality, retail, travel, leisure, automotive and aviation. New hope for 2021 Although we start 2021, with a newly agreed Brexit deal which governs bilateral trade worth more than £650bn and we have the hope brought by new Covid-19 vaccines, it remains clear that we still have huge economic challenges ahead, with a long road to recovery. The ongoing impacts of Covid-19, particularly the recent increase in infection numbers and subsequent national lockdown, making sense of Brexit and the upcoming IR35 tax reforms (for the private sector) all present challenges for UK business. This uncertainly doesn’t make for very pleasant, uplifting New Year reading! However, unlike any other economic downturn or crisis, it is important to remember that this pandemic has forced innovation, business wide transformation and prompted organisations to adopt new ways of working - all of which may have positive long-term effects.There are also areas where employers have ongoing or even increased demand for specific skills and expertise - especially when it comes to driving their digital transformation agenda and ensuring their organisational structure is fit for purpose in this new era of work. We are also working with a (significant) minority of organisations that see the current volatility as an opportunity to invest, grow and seize market share. Well capitalized, forward looking organisations are pressing hard on the accelerator and we remain optimistic about the prospects for new opportunities in 2021.Find out if your skills are in demand in 2021, check back here soon to read our specialism market updates and top senior roles in demand this year. Our first specialism update, ready to read now is for Senior Finance. IR35 impacts to contractor market 2020 saw Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay announce that IR35 tax reforms to the private sector would be deferred to 6th April 2021. The decision was announced among a £330bn financial package to protect the UK economy from the coronavirus outbreak and helped to alleviate one aspect of uncertainty for a large proportion of UK contractors.Although this was supposed to give private sector businesses crucial extra time to review and refine their interim hiring strategies - organisations needed to prioritise cashflow preservation, business continuity and their survival last year.As such, what we saw was an immediate shift to many organisations dramatically reducing Interim / Contractor resources and hiring flexible labour on an inside IR35 basis only. Indeed, many businesses made the decision to institute a blanket ban of personal service companies (PSCs) rather than contend with the perceived risk of potential financial liability for tax, should contractors later be deemed in scope of IR35. We started to see that these blanket ban, risk-averse reactions to IR35 were depriving some companies of their competitive edge and ultimately, their ability to attract the best interim talent. We saw other companies take a more measured response, engaging with third parties to apply IR35 determinations for each role, such that they could continue to benefit from the breadth of the interim labour market. That said, as Covid-19 continued to put increasing pressure on the cost-base for many businesses last year, we saw a swing from the use of LTD contractors to umbrella companies, fixed-term contracts and Statement of Work consulting delivery to resource transformation programmes and projects.So now, with the clock ticking to April 6th 2021, we are likely to see a revival of day rate contract roles as businesses continue to review and amend their processes to ensure business-critical projects stay properly resourced in 2021. As such, we anticipate much more of a balance this year between permanent, fixed-term contract and both inside and outside IR35 contract roles as the level of understanding of how to apply the IR35 rules in a compliant, yet pragmatic manner increases. Contact us to learn how our solutions for individual IR35 determinations and Managed Solutions can help deliver a compliant and cost-effective answer to flexible labour demands in 2021. Brexit hinders access to flexible labour market The UK now implements a points-based immigration system, similar to the one already in effect in Australia. Under the new rules, the vast majority of foreign nationals trying to work, live and study in Britain will have to apply and pay for an online visa. For many, these new visa requirements are now a pre-requisite for working in the UK. There are extra checks and implications that employers need to be on top of; and risks if they are not. There are fines and criminal sanctions if business employ people unlawfully. This increased level of bureaucracy and the subsequent compliance implications for UK employers is likely to hinder and slow access to the flexible labour market across Europe. As such, ‘visa ready’ candidates will have a competitive advantage as employers won’t need to go through all the extra checks. Under the immigration system, points are awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English and being paid a minimum salary. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.Applicants will have to reach a mandatory threshold of 50 points before they are considered for immigration to the UK. Mandatory criteria from the Home Office says migrants will need to have a job offer in the UK from a licensed sponsor (20 points), the job must be at or above the “minimum skill level” (20 points), and the person applying must be able to speak English “to an acceptable standard”, (10 points).There are, however, special rules for individuals who are already working in the UK. If they’ve been a resident here for 5 years or more, they will be granted ‘Settled Status’. If they’ve been in continuous residence for a shorter time period they will be awarded ‘Pre-Settled Status’. However, even if an individual has the existing right to work in the UK under one of these statuses, they must still apply to stay lawfully employed. If you are an employer or candidate and unsure if or how these changes affect you, please contact us. We are happy to help and point you to the right resources.
11 Jan 2021
At Stanton House, we are driven by the belief that diversity and inclusion is inextricably linked to business performance and employee engagement and retention. We are passionate about unlocking potential at the individual, team and leadership levels to drive high performance through inclusive practices. We regularly partner with Diversity and Inclusion experts to bring our customers insight, advice and guidance. This week we bring you expert insight from our guest blog author, Liz Johnson. Liz Johnson, Founder, The Ability People & Podium Liz Johnson is a Paralympic gold medallist and disability campaigner. She is the founder of two organisations which aim to close the disability employment gap. The Ability People is the first disability-led employment consultancy, which works with companies to change their outlook on disability and transform their operations to be authentically inclusive. And recently, Liz has launched Podium, the first jobs marketplace for disabled freelancers. The new platform empowers disabled people to access meaningful remote work which meets their needs, and enables employers to access diverse talent across any sector and from any part of the world. Implement policy, don't just pay lip service The benefits of diverse workforces are as multifarious as the people which make them up. Different backgrounds and experiences lead to new insights, which in turn foster stronger decision making, better innovation and ultimately more revenue. So how can employers reap the rewards of a diverse workforce? Firstly, employers must not treat diversity as a box-ticking exercise. They must also ensure that diverse hiring translates into true inclusion in the workplace.Events of late have put diversity back on many businesses’ agenda, and rightly so. Businesses have an important role to play in empowering minority groups to access equal opportunities. But there is a risk that their support will be limited to lip service unless they implement inclusive policies, too.For companies to be truly inclusive, they must not only recognise that value lies in people’s differences, but also the ways in which these differences impact their needs at work. Crucially, they must proactively put in place processes to accommodate these needs. Team members with disabilities are a good example of this, and incidentally are one of the groups who are routinely overlooked by employers. People with disabilities often rely on remote work; but until working from home became the norm just recently, few employers took action to accommodate the flexible working needs of disabled colleagues.Prior to the pandemic, staff had to ask and were often denied permission to work from home. One of the few positives to come out of COVID is that we’ve debunked the idea that remote work is a ‘perk’, and paved the way for more inclusive policies on a permanent basis. But the reopening of offices now threatens progress for disabled staff. For those who continue to work from home, the renewed emphasis on office culture threatens to exclude them. For disabled staff who return, working around structures designed for able-bodied people will increase the physical and mental demands of going to work, making it harder for them to do their jobs effectively. Whether COVID remains a threat or not, flexible working policies are necessary for many disabled people to work comfortably and safely. And for companies to be inclusive of this group, remote work and flexitime need to be a prerequisite.Of course, this is all assuming disabled people are able to work at all.Remove accessibility barriersBarriers to access and failure to address them mean that disabled people in the UK are twice as likely to be unemployed. This is a tragedy; not least because a wealth of talent and skills is going unnurtured and underutilised.Workers with disabilities have so much to offer employers. Flexible contracts often suit their needs better, meaning disabled people are ideally placed to support companies who depend on freelancers to plug gaps in knowledge and skills. Workers with disabilities could also play a crucial role in ‘new normal’ business models, as offices downsize and teams restructure in response to the pandemic.But the benefits of employing workers with disabilities goes beyond contractual convenience. Since they have to overcome obstacles every day - which their able-bodied colleagues simply need not consider - people with disabilities offer a unique perspective, as well as resilience and resourcefulness by the bucketload. That is, only for employers who are prepared to support and empower them. And this goes beyond facilitating remote work. Accessibility is also key. Just as coronavirus has demonstrated that working from home is feasible, the redesign of workplaces in line with COVID-secure guidelines has highlighted how it’s possible to make physical adaptations to office spaces quickly. There’s no reason why we cannot make accessibility changes just as fast; whether this means providing access to wheelchair ramps, or introducing equipment with speech-to-text software. True inclusivity also depends on equal involvement in company life; wherever staff are based. For those outside the office to feel connected to the wider team, managers will have to make a special effort to maintain communication and extend opportunities. Wellbeing support and access to HR resources will also become central.Provisions such as these are the difference between a workplace which meets the needs of a member of staff, and one which enables that person to thrive. It means setting employees up for success. But, whatever their needs, the onus for this should not be on the individual.Those with needs which are not considered the norm shouldn't have to fight to access what others have as standard. Employers and managers need to take responsibility. And the buck doesn’t stop there; inclusivity is everyone’s responsibility and should be treated as such.Ingrain inclusivity into your company culture Workshops and training can promote a better understanding of diversity and inclusion for all members of staff. Carefully considered sessions should offer minority groups a platform to share their experiences and assert their needs, as well as make it the collective responsibility of the team surrounding them to support them. Only when inclusivity is ingrained in a company’s culture at every level can employers hope to facilitate the honest conversations and trust required for all staff to feel truly included. So, whilst inclusive policies lay the groundwork to attract and retain diverse workforces, a culture of inclusivity is key in order for everyone to reach their full potential. For more information about The Ability People or Podium please get in touch with Liz. Share your insights Stanton House would also love to hear from leaders on how you are adapting, implementing and assessing your workforce inclusion strategies in this new era of work. Please get in touch to share your insights.
23 Sep 2020
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.
22 May 2020
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: email@example.com 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.
14 May 2020
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.
30 Apr 2020
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.
28 Apr 2020
Before we start For many businesses at the moment, we appreciate that hiring new colleagues in the near future is not in the plan. In fact, surviving for months inside this economic tumble dryer, whilst retaining your most talented colleagues when we get through to the other side is taking all of your time. However, we do have clients who are experiencing increased demand as a result of the impact of COVID-19, and they are hiring and on-boarding new staff, either permanent employees, or contract resources – and finding a way to overcome the practical challenges of doing so. This short piece is intended to give some encouragement to those companies who want and need to hire, but might be daunted by the practical barriers. One of our clients in particular (an ISP) is experiencing huge demand and they intend to onboard 700 new colleagues over the next 3 months! It can be done. This article is not about selection, but it is worth noting how critical it is to apply an extremely thorough selection process for both technical capabilities and culture fit through your VC interview process. Once they start in the role, you won’t be able to keep a close eye or ear to what they are doing day to day, therefore making sure the new hire exemplifies your Company values is so important for peace of mind. Finally, now is the time – before you offer the job to the candidate, to check if they have access to a suitable work from home environment and a strong broadband connection in their home. It might not be a dealbreaker for you, but you want to know about it before you offer if they live in the middle of a national park with no internet connectivity! How to onboard new hires remotely: Checklist for hiring managersYou only get one chance to make a good first impression. Onboarding new hires remotely requires just as much preparation and even more structure as onboarding in person. Many of the same principles remain the same, such as ensuring that you keep new hires engaged during their notice period, but execution considerations differ.A key factor for success is always to ensure that you and your team remain communicative with and supportive of your new hires and you put every effort into welcoming them to your organisation. During their notice periodIn this current climate, it is imperative that you instil a sense of security and belonging well before new remote workers join your organisation. Be mindful that they may feel anxious about not getting to meet you or their team in person, possibly for some months to come. Do everything you can to ensure that they don’t feel isolated from the rest of their team. Consider the following actions during their notice period:Diarise one-to-one video calls with yourself and key managers Diarise virtual coffee break check-ins with their peers Enter them into a team or group WhatsApp and encourage discussionInclude them in team / department update emailsSet up a virtual team meeting, make it fun and informal so they can all get to know each otherIntroduce them to their work ‘buddy’ and ensure they catch up before day 1 Preparation before they startTechnologySend new hires IT hardware and manuals. Order computers and other hardware remote workers need well ahead of their start date. Confirm they have received all necessary equipment for their work and ask your IT department to assist them with setup, if necessary. Get them set up on video, phone, instant messaging apps and any other tools your company uses and ensure you have user guides for them all. Making this aspect of their integration with the team as seamless as possible is really important. HRHelp new remote employees to complete their HR paperwork. Having your new hires sign employment contracts and other legal documents can be time-consuming if they need to print, scan and email all copies. Consider using an e-signature tool, like DocuSign, so that employees can add their signatures digitally and share contracts with you in a secure environment.Schedule calls with HR so your new hires know who to reach out to with any questions around HR, policies, procedures and paperwork. Schedule Your new remote workers should be given a schedule when they start, so they know what they will be doing and when. Plan out their first two weeks as a minimum, and include; introductory video calls with stakeholders, daily/weekly virtual team meetings, virtual training sessions, dedicated time with you etc.Welcome packageHelp your new hires feel like a part of the team by sending them a welcome package that arrives on their first day. You can include:Branded merchandise, like stationary or a coffee mug A welcome letter from their team and/or your CEO Personalised gifts they’re likely to enjoy (like headphones, a book or gift card)Company cultureRemote employees are integral to your culture, despite not being in the office. To help them understand your culture:Ensure that the behavioural expectations of your Values are explicit throughout the selection process Share your employee handbook in digital formatShare most appropriate presentations or literature on your company valuesPictures and videos from team, department or company meetings Day 1Set them up The very first thing that needs to happen, is to get your new hires fully set-up and logged in. Designate a time first thing on day 1, for IT support to walk them through logging into their systems and show them where they can find the files and folders they need. Remote workers should also get familiar with: File-sharing applications and cloud backup software (like Google Drive, Dropbox)Computer security (for example, how to lock laptops and install anti-virus software)Password management and data encryption tools to protect their devicesEnable communicationEnsure new remote hires understand how to use your communication tools. Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology. Provide basic training and user guides for video conferencing software and group messaging tools. Be clear on expectationsOnce set up, have your first one-to-one virtual meeting. Provide them with their schedule for their first two weeks and clearly set their immediate priorities and your expectations over the next few months. We advise that you consider the following;Ask them what their expectations are of you as a boss? What management style has generated the best performance from them in the past?Share your own expectations of how you expect our direct reports to communicate with you and what is acceptable regarding delivery on agreed actions etc.What, specifically, do you expect to be delivered and by when? How often and in what format do you require progress updates? Enquire how they are feeling about remote working – is it a new experience? Have they any trepidation or practical concerns regarding access to a quiet workspace etc.After their first two weeks consider: Developing and sharing a task calendar Defining short-term and long-term goals in more detailScheduling weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress and resolve potential issues Weeks 1 - 2Connect them to their team and direct reports Set up video meetings with their team members and other key employees. These meetings could be one-on-one and/or group calls. During their first days, remote employees should meet with:Their co-workersTheir manager and direct reportsEmployees from other departments they’ll work closely withArrange role-specific trainingProvide your new hires with the schedule of training that will be required and how it will be conducted. Consider the following:Use interactive training courses that are user-friendlyRecord product demos to better explain features through videoRecord role plays with customersFollow up after each training session to answer questionsStay connected, get feedbackSchedule video calls after their first day, week, month and quarter to check in and answer any questions they may have. Ask them to compile a list of questions for you. These calls will help you learn more about the individuals, understand if they’re facing any difficulties and discover whether they’ve settled into their roles. On-going Following the two-week induction for your new hires, your checklist should include:Embed company culture: Create opportunities for virtual coffee breaks, group chats or virtual happy hours Create personal development plans: Let your new hires know what success looks like • Keep communication channels open: Provide opportunities for honest and open two-way feedback Providing learning and development: Ensure your training programmes can be delivered virtually Look after their wellbeing: It’s a stressful experience moving jobs, especially in the current climate. Tell them about any wellbeing programme and be open for a chat anytime. We hope this insight was of practical benefit. Please get in touch for hiring and onboarding advice in these turbulent times. We are here to support our customers and we can help recruit and onboard your strategic hires at the point you are ready to build your team.
07 Apr 2020
Social and travel restrictions as a result of Covid-19 are likely to last for some months. Although you and your workforce may now be working remotely, you still have critical projects to deliver, systems and processes to adapt and transform, new communications to get out to your customers and skills gaps to address. But hiring new staff amidst the pandemic is somewhat of a mental hurdle.How do you interview, select and onboard new team members when you and the rest of the team have never met them in person? Here are some key considerations…Change your mindsetHiring in this climate can absolutely be done, we have the technology and expertise, it’s about changing your mindset. This is a new challenge for all of us but don’t let it stop you in your tracks. Start-ups and organisations with international operations have been successfully hiring and on-boarding staff remotely for many years.Now more than ever, is a time when employers should be looking at the skills of their current and future workforce, to ensure business continuity and capitalise on new opportunities as they arise.Don’t forget about your long-term goalsYou will be making changes to your hiring right now which is a sensible response to the current situation. But remember that skills shortages are still very real, and you will need the same and perhaps new expertise to re-build and grow once the Covid-19 crisis is over. These challenging times present an opportunity for you to build networks and meet fantastic people (virtually), solidify plans for the year ahead and ensure you are ready to move quickly once any freezes or immobility gets lifted. Make strategic hires nowIf you have found a fantastic candidate with highly sought after expertise, but need immediate help with tasks that weren’t on the initial job description discussed with them, it may be worth testing the waters to see if they will flex their focus in the short-term and make them an offer now. Please get in touch for hiring advice in these turbulent times. We are here to support our customers and can help with workforce planning and strategic hiring.
03 Apr 2020
Employers must be agile in these unprecedented times, but remain forward looking to meet business growth objectivesTechnological acceleration, economic challenges and most recently the global impact of Covid-19 contributes to a constantly changing business landscape. It seems like a tiresome narrative by now, but organisations must continuously evolve, remain adaptable to market (or pandemic) conditions and ‘pivot’ organisational structures to accommodate disruptive technology change – all whilst being highly responsive to a demanding customer.In this ever-changing landscape, People functions are being asked to ‘move the dial’ on multiple fronts – starting with a People Strategy that underpins the strategic business objectives of the organisation. That itself can manifest in multiple different ways, as there is no such thing as one size fits all.However, there are key strategic HR priorities that will still be a focus for forward-thinking organisations, even in these unprecedented times.HR priorities organisations will need to tackle decisively: HR Data: Effectively managing HR/People data and leveraging insights People Operations: Getting the basics of HR Operations and Joiners-Movers-Leavers processes correct, using it as a launching pad for a ‘heightened’ employee experience, integration with the payroll function and the future use of automation and AI Culture: Establishing an ‘anti-fragile’ culture that embraces change with all People-related functions, focused on solving business challenges through a ‘people-lens’ Diversity & Inclusion: Expanding the ‘human’ focus and engagement across the employee population by driving Inclusion, Diversity and ongoing employee engagement initiatives Top 10, most in demand HR jobs:Forward looking organisations, are looking to hire: HR Data, MI & Analytics Manager Head of HR Systems, Data & Insights Director/Head of People Operations Director/Head of Employee Experience HR Services Delivery optimisation Consultant Culture Change Director Learning Transformation Director Head of Diversity & Inclusion Chief Inclusion Officer Head of Wellbeing Please get in touch if you need help hiring across any of these areas. Equally if you are a permanent or interim HR professional with experience in any of these high demand areas, we are here to support your job search in these troubled times.
30 Mar 2020
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay has announced that IR35 tax reforms will be pushed back to the 6th April 2021.The decision was announced among a £330bn financial package to protect the UK economy from the coronavirus outbreak.Given the economic challenges that lie ahead, and at time when the contracting market is already on its knees, I am relieved and certainly welcome this decision. This decision will play some part in alleviating one aspect of uncertainty for a large proportion of UK contractors, many of whom are bracing themselves for the worst in these difficult times.What matters now is that businesses use this time wisely Although a very welcome move, the government has confirmed that this decision is a deferral and not a cancellation. This now gives private sector businesses crucial extra time to review and refine their interim hiring strategies.For example, many organisations have already made decisions to institute a blanket ban of personal service companies (PSCs) rather than risk any potential financially liability for tax, should contractors later be deemed in scope of IR35.We had started to see that these risk-averse reactions to IR35 were depriving some companies of their competitive edge, and ultimately, their ability to attract the best interim talent. So, what matters now is that businesses are able to use this valuable time to get things right and successfully implement and amend their processes, whilst avoiding large scale talent drain from business-critical projects and activities. How are we helping our customers now? Over the next few days and weeks, we will be taking the time to speak with all of our clients and contractors to ensure the best course of action for each role and individual is followed.Whether you are a business that engages contractors or a contractor yourself, please do get in touch for guidance in these turbulent times. We are here to support you. Stay safe and stay healthy.
18 Mar 2020
“Open to opportunities” is the phrase we often here coined in a conversation geared towards millennials. A message to the rebellious and the restless looking to rent a patch of greener grass, often on a four-day a week basis. But, increasingly I’m having the same conversation with an entirely different demographic altogether. Senior, established professionals in permanent positions are progressively ‘open to new opportunities’ despite being very content in their current roles. I met a Finance Director today who had this exact mentality. Despite being very happy in his role – valued, recognised and rewarded – he is keen to explore other opportunities. If he was unhappy in his role I would understand. If there was a lack of flexibility or mobility then of course my response would be to find him a new adventure but more and more I’m seeing settled professionals flirt with the idea of change and I can’t understand why. Are we simply taking the ‘grass is greener’ approach into the Board room or are we taking a short-term view to employment? For me, the logical thing to do would be to stay in one company, learn, develop and self-promote until you’re ready for the next step up. Surely if you are truly passionate about your career and development, you should concentrate on your current role instead of looking on the market for other things. But then I borrowed another perspective. Are people actively looking for change out of curiosity or are people genuinely working in fear of what’s around the corner. With Brexit looming on the horizon and a climate of uncertainty clouding every business decision we make, are we just settling with the idea that nothing is currently certain? I would really like to hear your opinions on the matter. Is the grass seemingly greener or are we scared to find out what’s around the corner?
26 Jul 2019