3 reasons it pays to help employees unplug

Technology has empower the world to connect in ways our grandparents couldn’t have dreamed. The way we work and live has changed immensely as a result of technological advancements but are all these changes for the better? Empirical evidence would suggest not. Academics researching the psychological impact of excessive technology and internet use have denoted significant negative consequences, including technostress and social anxiety.  As organisations strive to tackle the growing issue of occupational stress there is much merit to enabling a workforce to unplug and power down.

Here’s three solid reasons why businesses should review their policies and practices to help each individual limit unnecessary technology stimulation outside of working hours:

  1. Brain Recovery: In their study which analysed  multiple determinants of psychological detachment the Kansas State University identified that downtime after work is essential for stress recover. The findings suggest that “segmenting work and nonwork roles can help employees detach and recover from work demands”. By continuing to communicate with colleagues about work issues outside of office hours not employees only increases stress but diminishes the time allowed for the brain to recover.
  2. Better Focus Leads to Better Output: We’ve all been guilty of working on a spreadsheet or answering emails while trying to help a child with homework or chat with a friend. But multi-tasking doesn’t work. A 2013 study revealed those people who have a great tendency to multi task are actually less skilled at it than those who multi task infrequently. Putting policies in place that allow for employees to sperate work and home and will inevitable result a more focused and productive workforce.
  3. Technology use affects sleep and mental health: it is well documented that blue light from screens can inhibit sleep and the impact of sleep deprived workforces is gaining increasing attention from academics. Furthermore, Forbes cited a study which demonstrated a connection between technology use and psychological disorders. While personal habits may mean screen exposure before bed, organisations can regulate the work related stimulation that might spike adrenaline late at night.

Author: Sara Glynn, Marketing & Customer Success Manager @ Wrkit

References:

https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.dcu.idm.oclc.org/doi/epdf/10.1002/job.760

Q&A: How to create a winning candidate experience

Following on from our previous smart recruitment Q&A with recruitment software company BidRecruit where we spoke on the latest recruitment trends and tips for HR & Hiring managers considering investing in HR software, we caught up once again with Susan Comyn, Marketing Manager of BidRecruit.

Today’s Q&A focuses on one of the biggest trends in recruitment, Candidate Experience, and it’s importance during the recruitment process and beyond.

Question 1: What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience is defined as how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ processes during the hiring journey, including initial exposure to your employer brand to the interview process regardless of the outcome. As we spoke about previously, it has become an increasingly important trend due to review platforms like Glassdoor becoming more widely used and regarded. In fact, a LinkedIn survey found 72% of candidates have shared their experience on online employer review sites, therefore companies have to ensure candidates have a positive experience irrespective of their hiring success. According to Career Builder, 78% say the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people. What’s worth remembering is, while people might talk about good candidate experiences, they will more likely talk about negative candidate experiences. So it’s worthwhile investing in processes and best practice to create a great candidate experience for all.

Question 2: Where is the best place to start when improving candidate experience?

We would first suggest reviewing your job descriptions and application process. According to Recruiting Brief, 60% of job seekers report they have quit an application due to its length or complexity. Take the time to speak with the department hiring manager to properly establish what is required and the skills, both hard and soft, they are looking to add to their team. Make sure to relay company culture and values in the job description to help attract the right culture fit, something that is key to employee engagement and retention. Next, review your application process and the number of steps needed to apply. Having to create an extensive profile and answer numerous questions that don’t relate to the position will inevitably result in drop-offs. This shouldn’t be seen as a lack of intent by candidates, in fact, candidates will see this as a lack of investment by the company to find the right candidates by creating a time-intensive process and a negative candidate experience. No two jobs are the same and the application process should reflect this, making it as straight forward as possible for candidates to apply.

Question 3: So you’ve improved your application process and you have a huge stack of CVs, what’s next?

The biggest issue surrounding candidate experience is a lack of communication during the process, with 65% of job seekers saying they never or rarely receive notice of their application status, according to Lever. As we stated previously, HR Managers state that recruitment is 25% of their job but takes up 95% of their time. When you are recruiting for numerous positions and receiving numerous CVs for each position, it’s understandable that you can’t get back to every individual with individual emails, you are only human! That’s why technology and automation is the best solution to overcome this and improve the candidate experience. Automation software allows you to communicate quickly and easily to groups of people with relevant feedback. Automation software also allows you to streamline and bring candidates through the process efficiently with constant communication, allowing you to focus on the human element of the candidate experience, the interviewing stages.

Question 4: What are your tops tips for the interview stages to improve candidate experience?

With 74% of employers saying they hired the wrong person for a position, according to a recent Career Builder survey, preparation is key. Read the candidate’s CV, research them online, prepare job description & company relevant questions along with questions directly relating to the candidate and their experience. With an increased focus on company culture and employee engagement, candidates now more than ever want an interview that is a two-way street. In an interview, both the interviewer and candidate are trying to sell each other. While the candidates are selling their skills, experience and personal fit, the interviewer needs to be actively selling the company. Finally, remember that the little things go a long away when interviewing; informing reception of incoming candidates for an interview so they receive a warm welcome, offering a drink upon arrival and establishing a relaxed atmosphere can differentiate you from the competition in terms of candidate experience.

Make sure to check out the BidRecruit blog for more tips and advice on ways to improve the candidate experience and all things smart recruitment. Join us next time where we will discuss why companies need to embrace social media when recruiting and tips on making the most of this to attract talent.

Interviewee:  

Susan Comyn, Marketing Manager @ BidRecruit

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancomyn

About BidRecruit:

BidRecruit is A.I. driven recruitment software for HR & Hiring Managers to help you hire smarter.

More info:

www.bidrecruit.io

Connect:

LinkedIn

Facebook

International Women’s Day

March 8th marks international women’s day, an annual celebration to commemorate women’s strength, achievements and legacies. The theme of this year’s celebrations is Balance for Better, promoting gender balance and equality across the world and different industries. While diversity and inclusion initiatives are top priorities in most organisations these days there still remains a significant gender gap at C-level with less than 5% of CEO positions in Europe and the US held by women.

Top level female representation is not merely a question of ethics but rather about business success. Research demonstrates that organisations with diverse leadership teams outperform those that do not. In fact one study conducted by Boston Consulting Group found that organisations with leadership diversity generate up to 19% more revenue.

Fostering an environment where everyone can achieve their full potential is no easy feat however there are practices which help women and men progress in their career, while maintaining a balanced life.

  1. Bias training – unconscious bias exists in many forms within the workplace. Providing bias training will help raise awareness of the issue and ensure adequate measures are in place to help overcome the challenge.
  2. Change the long term hours norm – in a recent article about resilience training I touched on the mounting evidence that long days should become a thing of the past. Changing the attitude toward long days will open up greater opportunity for career driven parents and provide better work life balance for mothers and fathers.
  3. Offer paid paternity leave… and enforce it – Gender equality works both ways. Offering and enforcing paid paternity leave encourages better work life integration for male employees. It also helps to close the gap which is often opened when mothers take time off to rear children.  
  4. Focus on inclusive leadership programmes and sponsorship – having a diverse pipeline is half the battle. Encourage female participation in leadership development programmes and ensure that the right people are sponsoring female candidates (sponsors with influence).  
  5. Celebrate female achievements – share the stories and experiences of your female high fliers to inspire others. Celebrate their journey and achievements and leverage their role model image to attract new female candidates to aspire to C-level.

Increasingly, employees are expecting organisations to have truly diverse and inclusive cultures. As the war for talent heightens those who are slow to change will lose.

Author: Sara Glynn, Marketing & Customer Success Manager@ Wrkit

References:

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
https://www.ft.com/content/1090105c-fb7b-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521
https://www.bcg.com/en-us/publications/2018/how-diverse-leadership-teams-boost-innovation.aspx
https://wrkit.com/blog/2019/02/13/resilience-training-reducing-stress-or-masking-the-problem/
https://hbr.org/2007/09/women-and-the-labyrinth-of-leadership
https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/human-capital/hc-2017-global-human-capital-trends-us.pdf
https://hbr.org/2010/09/why-men-still-get-more-promotions-than-women

4 ways to optimise benefit communication

Good benefits are something every employee wants, however not all employees want to spend time reading about benefits or tracking down the information they need. This challenge regularly presents a dilemma for HR professionals with poor employee uptake inevitably creating an issue when it comes to justifying the budget for services which aren’t being used. Getting benefit communication right will not only make budget conversations easier but might also increase employee tenure.

At its heart, benefit communication is simply internal marketing and so the same approach should be taken to communicate with your employee audience as your prospects. Here’s our expert tips to help you optimise employe.

  1. Use the skills of your workforce – first and foremost, draw on the skills of your marketing team. So often we speak with HR professionals who are sending out ad hoc email updates without recognising there are talented professionals who understand marketing strategy available to help them. Allocate the role of internal communications to the department where it will have a dedicated resource.
  2. Plan a long-term strategy – with your marketing experts, draw up a 12-month calendar, plan in key calendar events which will complement your benefit comms. For example, if you have an employee discounts platform use days like Valentine’s day to trigger action.
  3. Use multiple channels – email fatigue is a major issue, make sure to build out a strategy which leverages multiple channels. Include canteen screens (or posters if you don’t have screens), intranet, IM, social media, company apps, Forbes.com even suggests using old school post to get your message in front of people. Word of mouth is an invaluable method of communication, identify champions, engage them in regular trainings and update meetings to keep them up to speed with what’s on offer, where to find the info and how to redeem/register for available benefits.
  4. Apply the rule of seven – The rule of seven is an age-old marketing concept which says your audience should hear or see your message seven times before they will take action. The same can be said for your workforce. Over communicating will guarantee employees know about every benefit on offer to them.

Effective benefit communication is essential to make a strong business case for existing and future initiatives. Take the time plan out your goals and how you plan to achieve them applying the above tips.  

Author: Sara Glynn – Marketing & Customer Success Manager @ Wrkit.

Wrkit specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments. Our platform connects global, remote and local teams through five modules; Surveys, Recognition, POWR, Learning and Savings. Speak to an Engagement Specialist today – info@wrkit.com

Resilience training: reducing stress or masking the problem?

The topic of resilience at work is one which in recent years has received a lot of air time. Alarming figures demonstrate that workplace stress continues to rise, bringing with it a myriad of problems for businesses and individuals. Absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace are costing the global economy billions of dollars each year, while employees are presented with the long-term health risk associated with stress and burnout.

It is perhaps not surprising that resilience training is becoming increasingly popular as an aspect of employee development. According to Organisational Psychologist Yseult Freeney, the business rational for investing in resilience training is to empower employees to over come work stress, to persevere in the face of adversity and have bounce back ability. Undoubtably there are benefits to resilience training, however conflicting opinions question the authenticity of this “benefit”. One argument posits that companies investing in resilience training are merely masking the underlying issues of work intensification. This being the case, resilience training is not a long-term solution.

Tackling workplace stress needs to start with the root cause: how we work. A major contributing factor to burn-out is the perception that long working days equal productive working days. This mentality fuels the growing issue of presenteeism. Employees feel obliged to be present out of fear they will fall behind, or they might miss out on promotion opportunities if they don’t work late as their colleagues do. Add into the mix working weekends and the late-night emails, and burn-out is inevitable not matter how resilient the person.

Without doubt, companies should continue to offer a mix of wellbeing supports including resilience training, but for those organisations which promote and praise long days, a shift in culture is required. Research demonstrating that even in an 8-hour day, people have just a few productive hours. Furthermore, a recent trial of a 4-day week by a New Zealand company demonstrated that with improved processes employees could perform more efficiently in a shorter week, with decreased stress and increased work-life satisfaction. Hence a change in mentality will result in a more productive and happier workforce.

Getting work-life balance right is an imperative for employer branding. Exploring efficiencies and processes which might alleviate the intensity of work will contribute to reducing employee stress. Email policies too should be reviewed ensuring out of hours communication from managers is limited (if not completely eradicated). Most importantly, key influencers should drive the shift in attitude by demonstrating healthy work-life balance themselves.

Author: Sara Glynn – Marketing & Customer Success Manager @ Wrkit.

Wrkit specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments. Our platform connects global, remote and local teams through five modules; Surveys, Recognition, POWR, Learning and Savings. Speak to an Engagement Specialist today – info@wrkit.com

Keeping cohesion among a remote workforce.

As organisations strive to attract and retain talent, there is a critical need to differentiate through employer branding, offering something distinct from the competition. No longer do the millennial perks of table tennis and treats meet the ever-changing expectations of a modern workforce. 21st century benefits are about flexibility and facilitating work -life balance. A movement embracing remote and telecommuting workforce’s is well underway with many organisations including Dell, embracing a blended approach (part remote, part present). With new specialist recruitment services such as Abodoo offering platforms to match remote workers with employers seeking talent, it seems inevitable that remote workforce’s will become increasingly popular.

This new structure brings significant benefits to employers, employees and local communities. In Ireland, for example, the team behind Grow Remote are working with rural communities to create employment opportunities with remote employers. An initiative which will inevitably rejuvenate the economy within these smaller communities.

Beyond the benefit of work-life balance, individuals who work remotely can gain financially by living outside of cities without incurring commuting cost. Businesses too can make financial gains by embracing remote teams, reducing fixed costs associated with property rental and decreasing environmental impact costs. Additional support for the remote workforce business case can be found in the figures reported in a 2017 inc.com article which suggested that collaborative open plan offices are hampering concentration and productivity of employees.

Without doubt, there are significant arguments for a remote workforce. However, a remote model isn’t one which will work for every business or employee. Situational factors such as technology infrastructure will influence how cohesive and effective a remote team can be.

At a very basic level, technological infrastructure within a region must be in place to facilitate the possibility of remote working. For a team to work cohesively however, the required technology infrastructure of an organisation must be comprehensive, designed to connect and engage people, provide easy access to information and deliver the same employee experience to remote, telecommuting and onsite workers.

Instant messaging and video conferencing software are essential for effective collaboration. New VR and AR innovations are striving to replicate the in-person meeting experience. Further to facilitating the cohesive execution of tasks, technology also plays an essential role in keeping remote workers engaged with the company mission and facilitating workplace friendships. For example, recognition platforms allow for global, remote and even gig teams to give and receive praise, keeping the entire workforce up to date via a digital newsfeed, instilling a sense of pride and purpose.

One concern which often arises in the remote working dialogue is employee mental health. It’s difficult to notice those subtle changes in demeanour when a colleague is not physically present. So how can an organisation leverage technology to support an individual from afar? Firstly, surveys provide a method of gathering regular feedback, bite size pieces of information can generate all the information you need. Workday for example, have feedback Fridays an approach which is sensitive to the busy schedules of employees, therefore asking just one or two  different questions each week. This regular feedback provides a gauge for a variety of metrics related to job satisfaction and engagement, an approach which can be easily tailored to gather wellbeing related feedback. Further support can be found in digital wellbeing tools such as POWR, which empower employees to self-manage their own wellbeing while providing management with insights pertaining to company-wide wellbeing.

While technology alone will not result in high performing remote teams, it is one of the foundational building blocks which supports managers and teams to work at their best. Platforms provide a central point of reference where all employees can connect with peers, find information and stay up to date, streamlining the everyday experience.

Author: Sara Glynn – Marketing & Customer Success Manager @ Wrkit.

Wrkit specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments. Our platform connects global, remote and local teams through five modules; Surveys, Recognition, POWR, Learning and Savings. Speak to an Engagement Specialist today – info@wrkit.com

Cultivating Purpose Through Recognition

Having a sense of purpose at work is a fundamental driver of motivation. Purpose (or lack thereof) has a direct and significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of employees. Furthermore, the millennial workforce is putting an increasing emphasis on their desire for meaningful work, with a recent Harvard Business Review article stating that 9 out of 10 employees would be willing to earn less money for more meaningful work. As the war for talent heightens, satisfying the personal objectives of talent by facilitating meaningful work will be key to business success across all industries. A challenge however, lies in the variance of perceived purpose associated with different jobs. For example, due to the nature of their work, a medical professional saving lives will likely have a greater internalised sense of purpose that an assembly line worker.  

For organisations, there is a need to develop comprehensive programmes which increase the meaningfulness of work for employees at every level. When the task itself does not inspire purpose, it is important to cultivate a sense of meaning through company practices and policies. One way to do this is through effectively utilising recognition programmes, coupling company values with peer and manager recognitions. Typically, employees who say they feel appreciated have greater job satisfaction and are less likely to leave their job than those who do not. Moreover, industry research has shown that companies which foster a culture of recognition outperform those that do not. Showing appreciation for individual contributions can help increase the perceived social worth among peers, enhancing the meaningfulness and value of work for employees.

There are certain criteria a recognition programme should satisfy in order to have the highest impact.  

  1. Leadership backing – this is a standard requirement for the success of any new programmes. Company leaders need to embody the behaviour they want to see, making a point of recognising contributions throughout the organisation. The culture needs to be right for a recognition programme to enhance the meaningfulness of work and this should be driven by senior management.
  2. Connect to company values – recognising behaviours which align to company values helps reinforce the overall business objective, reaffirming for employees how they should seek to contribute to the company.
  3. Make it personal and meaningful – relevance promotes interest and motivation. Provide guidelines for delivering meaningful recognitions. For example, Wrkit Recognition allows the recogniser to choose from a list of pre-set company values as determined by the organisation, choose the type of recognition i.e. well done or great job (these are also set by the organisation) and write a personal note to the person they are recognising.
  4. Publicise praise – sharing stories of success increases the affect on social worth, further allowing peers to verbally congratulate and recognise one another. Recognition software often includes a newsfeed style notice board which is great for global or remote teams.
  5. Socialise your celebrations –create social occasions to celebrate major business achievements. It is rare that business achievements are accomplished by one individual, make sure that all contributors or contributing departments are named and celebrated.

There are of course several internal and external factors which influence how meaningful an individual perceives their work to be. Beyond organisational level practices, managers play a key role in cultivating a sense of purpose within their team. By ensuring every employee knows precisely how their contributions impact the overall outcomes of the business (and/or positively impact society), by offering regular feedback, and by mentoring individuals to achieve their career goals managers can engender greater meaning for others.

Author: Sara Glynn – Marketing & Customer Success Manager @Wrkit

Wrkit specialise in the creation of better healthier working environments. The Wrkit platform connects global, remote and local teams through five modules; Surveys, Recognition, POWR, Learning and Savings.

Speak to an Engagement Specialist today – info@wrkit.com

References

https://hbr.org/2018/11/9-out-of-10-people-are-willing-to-earn-less-money-to-do-more-meaningful-work

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2012/06/13/new-research-unlocks-the-secret-of-employee-recognition/#5946d4985276

Adam M. Grant. (2008). The Significance of Task Significance: Job Performance Effects, Relational, Mechanisms, and Boundary Conditions. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 93, 108-124

Combating presenteeism in the workplace

Presenteeism is the phenomenon of employees coming into work when they are sick or injured, instead of staying at home. It has also been termed “sickness presence”, and it is thought that workers in ill-health are likely to be ineffective and unproductive, which can result in increased financial costs and stress-related absenteeism in the long run – it is estimated that presenteeism costs the UK economy up to £15.1 billion annually.

Therefore, addressing presenteeism in the workplace is something that should be taken seriously. There is some preliminary but promising evidence that workplace health promotion may be effective in improving presenteeism. By promoting a healthy workplace, and by being conscious of the factors that may contribute to presenteeism, organisations can target this phenomenon, enhance productivity, and improve overall employee well-being in the workplace.

Organisational policies

Certain organisational policies may play a role in presenteeism. Policies regarding sick leave, sick pay, and attendance may lead to employees feeling like they cannot be absent from work. In particular, a lack of paid sick leave and disciplinary “trigger points” with regards to absent episodes are thought to foster presenteeism. It is important that employers review such policies to ensure that sickness presence is not encouraged over legitimate sick leave.

Job design

Job design features may also stimulate presenteeism. Employees in high-demand jobs may wish to maintain high levels of performance and may therefore engage in presenteeism when they are unwell. Job demands include the physical, cognitive, and social features of a role that require sustained physical and psychological effort – it is therefore imperative that the demands of a job are not so high that an employee feels under pressure to meet all of these demands, even when they are unwell.

Ease of replacement is another feature which impacts on presenteeism – if employees feel that sick leave will result in their work piling up, this will also trigger presenteeism. Reasons why other employees may not be able to assist with sick colleagues’ workloads include lean staffing, high specialisation, and a lack of cross-training. Furthermore, employees may be inclined to be present when they are unwell if they feel that it is unfair for colleagues to have to take on more work. All of these features influence whether or not an individual engages in presenteeism, and so management should provide opportunities for cross-training and should encourage communication among all staff regarding what is considered fair and reasonable with regards to the replacement of work.

Presenteeism cultures

Some studies have found that presenteeism cultures may contribute to sickness presence. In certain organisations, employees can experience presenteeism pressures, particularly when there exists “competitive presenteeism” cultures. Such cultures can demand long work hours, the foregoing of recuperation time after business trips, and working while sick. Management should ensure that competitive presenteeism is not encouraged.

Individual risk factors

It is also important to consider the individual factors which may put individuals at greater risk of presenteeism. It is thought that potential risk factors include a poor diet, a lack of exercise, high stress, certain health conditions, and poor relations with peers and management. It is therefore important that employers address these factors, by encouraging healthy food options, activity in the workplace, and open communication with all staff, as well as by educating employees on the importance of looking after their personal health and their workplace relationships.

Measuring presenteeism

Organisations face a challenge when it comes to actually measuring presenteeism, as there is currently no universal agreement on the most appropriate method for measuring the concept. However, several self-report measures have been developed, which may prove useful for organisations. These instruments require employees answering various questions with regards to the degree to which they believe that health issues hinder them in performing the tasks required of their roles. Examples of some of these measures which could be incorporated include the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI), and the Stanford Presenteeism Scale (SPS).

A positive work environment

It is thought that creating a positive work environment can help to reduce health risks and improve productivity in the workplace. While being aware of the organisational and individual factors which may contribute to presenteeism is important, it is just as vital to encourage a healthy and positive work environment, to defend against sickness presence. Workplace health promotion can have a variety of benefits for employers and employees alike, such as increased satisfaction and productivity, improved morale, reduced costs and turnover, and improved company profile. Some examples of workplace health promotion activities include:

  • Measures to improve the working environment, such as assessments and audits on manual handling, display screens, and stress
  • Organisational policies that encourage a work-life balance and that discourage sickness presence
  • Education for employees on health-related topics such as exercise, healthy eating, alcohol, smoking, stress, heart disease, and cancer
  • Health screenings for employees
  • Providing free or subsidised healthy food options
  • Encouraging employees to engage in physical activity throughout the day, e.g. during their lunch break
  • Providing health insurance and GP visits

Guest Author, Jennifer Fennell, Counseling Psychologist

Sources:

https://www.robertsoncooper.com/blog/entry/five-ways-to-reduce-presenteeism-in-the-workplace

https://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2013/11000/Health_Risk_Factors_Associated_With_Presenteeism.10.aspx

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-11-395

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/job.630

The Importance of soft skills

In the workplace, soft skills are just as important as hard skills. Hard skills are the job-specific skills, knowledge, and abilities that one needs to perform a job, such as computer programming or machine operation. Soft skills are more intangible and harder to define or measure than hard skills. So what exactly are soft skills, and why are they so important in the workplace? And what can an organisation do to nurture and develop its workforce’s soft skills?

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are generally the interpersonal or people skills that help employees successfully interact with others in the workplace. Soft skills are less specialised and less rooted in specific vocations, and are more aligned with the general personality of the individual, than hard skills. It is thought that many of the core competencies for soft skills have a foundation in emotional intelligence, which is the learned ability to identify, experience, understand, and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways.

Some of the soft skills that are considered important and valuable in the workplace include:

  • A positive attitude: not only is it pleasant to be around someone who has a positive attitude, research has shown that negative attitudes in the workplace may lead to workplace accidents and stress-related diseases, which in turn can incur huge financial costs
  • Communication skills: this is vital for almost any role, and includes articulating oneself well, being a good listener, and using appropriate body language
  • Teamwork: being a team player means not only being co-operative, but also displaying strong leadership skills when required
  • Adaptability: it is incredibly important to be able to be flexible when problems arise, and to be able to adapt to situations that don’t go as planned
  • Problem-solving: being able to take action and think on your feet when faced with a problem or crisis situation is incredibly important in the workplace
  • Self-motivation: a self-motivated employee demonstrates reliability, dependability, and commitment, and does not require constant oversight or supervision
  • Conflict resolution: an employee who is able to resolve issues with co-workers effectively is someone who is going to be able to maintain positive relationships with peers and management alike

Why do soft skills matter?

Soft skills enable employees to successfully interact and communicate with everyone that they may encounter as part of their role – this includes colleagues, management, supervisees, and customers. And unlike some hard skills, soft skills are transferable skills that can be used regardless of what role a person is in.

How can employers develop the soft skills of their employees?

Emotional intelligence skills form the base of core competencies that all soft skills are built upon, and because emotional intelligence is a learned ability, soft skills can be developed and nurtured.

  • Employers can educate their workforce on the importance of soft skills, by highlighting the transferable nature of such skills, as well as the relational and interpersonal benefits of being able to interact and deal with other people effectively
  • Employers can focus on nurturing positive attitudes among their workforce, as a positive attitude is thought to be one of the most important soft skills. Positive attitudes can be cultivated, once some basic social and emotional competencies, as well as some specific attitude competencies, are learned and developed. The core emotional intelligence competencies include empathy, self-esteem, self-control, self-improvement, self-management, and interpersonal awareness. Once these skills are honed, the specific positive attitude competencies can be learned and nurtured, and these include keeping one’s focus, doing one’s best, responding to guidance, controlling one’s emotions, and being flexible
  • Workshops, talks, or seminars on soft skills and emotional intelligence can be provided to employees to encourage the development of some of the soft skills that have been mentioned above, as well as some of the other core characteristics and behaviours of emotionally intelligent people – these include: not giving in to negative self-talk; having genuine curiosity about other people; being appropriately assertive when handling conflict; and having a robust emotional vocabulary

Guest Author: Jennifer Fennell, Counseling Psychologist

Sources

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-are-soft-skills-2060852

https://www.wikijob.co.uk/content/interview-advice/competencies/soft-skills

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-soft-skills-2063721

http://www.nationalsoftskills.org/soft-skills-and-emotional-intelligence/

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/soft-skills-you-need

http://www.careerizma.com/blog/positive-attitude/

Employee engagement – where do I start!?

The term “employee engagement” appears in leadership and HR literature the world over. It is a topic which comes up in every one of our client conversations, however the term seems to hold a very different meaning from one organisation to the next.

A Google search for employee engagement will yield a myriad of definitions, for example UK voluntary movement Engage for Success, defines employee engagement as “a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.” While other definitions might vary from this, the overarching theme is an emotional connection between an employee and their employer organisation.

When addressing employee engagement, an organisation should aim to strategically implement sustainable programmes, initiatives and tools which will result in an employee having a sense of purpose and belonging. Something which will challenge the success of even the most holistic engagement strategy, is a lack of definition around company values and purpose. Engagement is intrinsically connected to the values of an organisation, so when considering engagement, the first place an organisation should start is with their own values.: the glue which will keep people invested (long-term) in the overall business mission.

With clear values and purpose, tools such as an employee survey can be leveraged to gain insights into the culture and mindset of a workforce. The eNPS (employee net promoter score) will provide a very basic understanding of engagement; how likely your workforce is to recommend your organisation as a place to work. Detailed survey questions assessing; workplace inclusion, wellbeing, communication, recognition and career development will provide a greater understanding of an organisation’s needs.

For organisations of all sizes and industries effectively administered surveys will help guide better business decisions. Utilising the feedback, an organisation can determine clear engagement objectives and a strategic approach to boost employee satisfaction. While the prospect of an employee engagement strategy might be daunting at first, with the right building blocks in place the planning process becomes easier and more systematic.

At Wrkit we specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments using our online suite of data driven employee engagement and retention tools – Surveys, Recognition, Wellbeing (POWR), Learning and Lifestyle Savings. Headquartered in Dublin (Ireland), with offices in London and Boston, we serve local and multi-national companies around the globe. Let our experience guide your next steps, get in touch today info@wrkit.com.

 

Author: Sara Glynn, Marketing Manager, Wrkit