Wellbeing in the workplace

Wellbeing in the workplace is fast becoming just as important, if not more so, than salary or career progression. One issue at the forefront of this is mental health in the workplace. We are all aware of the importance of wellbeing, but could we be doing more?


Surveys over recent years have shown the true impact of poor mental health:

  • 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%
  • Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
  • Deloitte says poor mental health in the workplace is equivalent to almost 2% of UK GDP (in 2016).
  • 89% of workers with mental health problems report an impact on their working life.
  • Just 13% of employees would be comfortable talking about mental illness at work.
  • Last year, poor employee mental health cost UK employers £42bn.
  • The return on investment of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive, with an average ROI of 4:1.

Last month our Thursday Brunch event was on ‘Mental health strategies for a crazy world!’ looking at the stats above and speaking to our guests about what we can do to help our own mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

We found that: 

  • Kindness and wellbeing have a significant impact on culture and the engagement of colleagues.
  • Our brain is our most powerful tool, yet we are not taught how we can manage it to get the best out of it. This needs to change. 
  • The fear of failure and constantly striving for perfection are massive contributors to poor mental health – but is in our control if we are aware of it.

So what can an employer do to support an employee with mental health issues?

Discuss
Ensure that you create an environment that is open, that encourages staff to discuss their challenges and problems. Have a culture of openness that allows you to go beyond a person’s workload, instead, it delves deeper into their role responsibilities and the opportunities that they would like to see appear. We know that 13% of employers would feel comfortable talking about their mental health and that percentage needs to be much higher!

Educate
Know what to do if a mental health problem arises within your workplace, such as where to direct the employees if they require specialist help. Also, educate yourself and staff on various mental health problems, so you can see the trigger. Always remember to be sensitive.

Be clear
The groundwork can be set from the minute a new recruit starts, just by letting them know that if any problem arises, big or small, that they can discuss it. It doesn’t take much to make an employee feel supported or to create a culture of openness, especially if it means it decreases the chances of mental health problems in the workplace. You could create a wellbeing policy with relevant support links and contact details, which is always available to employees. 

We have recently become a ‘Mindful Employer’ – we recognise that in the UK, people experiencing mental ill-health continue to report stigma and discrimination at work. Having signed the ‘Charter for Employers Positive about Mental Health’, we are committed to creating a supportive and open culture, where colleagues feel able to talk about mental health confidently, and aspire to appropriately support the mental wellbeing of all staff.


As an employer, we have made an on-going commitment to:

  • Provide non-judgemental and proactive support to staff experiencing mental ill-health.
  • Not make assumptions about a person with a mental health condition and their ability to work.
  • Be positive and enabling all employees and job applicants with a mental health condition.
  • Support line managers in managing mental health in the workplace.
  • Ensure we are fair in the recruitment of new staff in accordance with the Equality Act (2010).
  • Make it clear that people who have experienced mental ill-health will not be discriminated against, and that disclosure of a mental health problem will enable both the employee and employer to assess and provide the right level of support or adjustment.

If you’re struggling with your mental health at work or in general – mental health charity MIND can offer lots of help and support. Here are tips for staying well at work. 


If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

So, what’s with all the cow puns?

So what the hell do cows (and cow puns!) have to do with recruitment? I often get asked what the deal is with re:find and cows – you may have been wanting to ask yourself if you’ve ever visited our website.

Well, unbeknown to most people, my family are Scottish dairy farmers! My family continue to run a few farms up on the West Coast. So, you could say it’s in the blood. But even though working in recruitment is a far cry from the fields of Scotland, I’ve never fully left behind my admiration for these fantastic animals.

Even my favourite artist is cow-themed…a lady called Caroline Shotton, you can check out her work here.

So, hopefully, that explains all the cows.

To discuss anything recruitment or cow-related you can email me at James@refind.co.uk.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

HR consultants – how do you beat stress?

HR consultants - how do you beat stress?
Beverly Hills 90210, Fox Broadcasting Company

Ahh, stress. It’s something that unites us all regardless of occupation or lifestyle. For HR consultants, life can be very busy and things happen which totally change your plan for the day.

 

One bad email can be all that it takes to set it off, and then next thing you know you’re awake at 3AM unable to sleep. We can’t always avoid stress, but we can work on improving how we respond to it. The good news here is that just as we have a stress response; we also have useful relaxation responses that we can call to action at any sign of trouble – perfect for all busy HR consultants.

 

Go for a walk

Getting away from your desk and moving around can help clear your head, and thanks to something called ‘involuntary attention’, walking around a green open space can actually put your body into a state of meditation. Meaning that when you return back to work, you’ve been able to reflect on your day and see everything with a fresh pair of eyes.

 

Eat a snack

Stress eating isn’t all bad – it just depends on what you reach for in the fridge! Pick something that will fill you up and not just give you a sugar rush for an hour, as feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment can actually contribute to a feeling of stress. Whilst it’s tempting to reach for Redbull and a Mars Bar, these foods can be counter-productive! Foods great for concentration include avocados, nuts, complex carbs such as brown rice and sweet potato and dark chocolate are great options

 

Put a record on

Or a Spotify playlist, depending on what’s available to you in your office. Classical music may seem like the most obvious option for destressing, however, any music that you love will have the same effect and flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals. My personal favourites are Kisstory or an 80’s playlist.

 

Chew some gum

Not only does this ensure minty-fresh breath, but studies have also shown that chewing gum can actually relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress when multitasking – a win-win for anyone that loves gum as much as I do.

 

Have a nap

Another technique that is popular with companies such as Google and Nike is the power nap. Research has shown that when people are able to take a power nap at work, they encounter fewer feelings of stress, have better cognitive response rates and improved memory.

 

As a HR consultant, do you have any tips on how to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments below.

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here.

Can you get fun accountants?

Can you get fun accountants?
Can you get fun accountants?

Whenever someone is introduced as an accountant, whether this is at a party or a networking event, quite often you see the rest of the group’s eyes glaze over and images of grey, boring suits flash in their mind.

 

If I asked you to picture an accountant right now, in fact, that’s probably the exact image that you would think up.

 

Whilst there may well be accountants that do fit this description, there are also plenty that don’t!

 

Accountancy, believe it or not, can actually be kind of exciting…

Working as an accountant, each work day has the potential to be dramatically different from the next. Accountancy provides the flexibility to avoid boredom, as it is essentially a function of any business so there’s the opportunity to work in a variety of different business settings.

 

Accounting has changed over the years. Gone are the days where you are perceived to be sitting behind your desk, crunching numbers all day on Excel and being antisocial and systematic. Companies are utilising their finance teams and allowing them to work more operationally with other departments.

 

As a result, there is a real demand for management accountants who, in addition to the core finance and accounting skills, can offer strategic thinking and commercial insight, combined with influencing and, ideally, leadership skills.

 

Emerging technologies are changing the way in which finance works too. Many companies now use cloud-based systems, analytic solutions and newer digital tools such as robotic process automation that can take out some of the more mundane tasks of accounting, and free up more time for forward thinking and driving business performance.

 

Being an accountant opens up the door to be able to understand all operations of a business, as when it comes down to a business making important decisions, the money involved becomes a major part of the process. Working in accounting puts you in a great spot to be able to contribute to the success of the business by helping leaders make smart financial decisions.

 

For more information on exciting opportunities in finance and being a fun accountant, email me at sam@refind.co.uk

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here

Workplace flexibility: Is it worth implementing?

Workplace flexibility

Many companies have integrated flexibility into their employees working life, but there are also companies that have not. This begs the question as to whether it is worth implementing flexible schedules or are more hassle then they are worth?

Flexible working is a working arrangement that gives an employee a way of working that suits their needs. This could be working from home or even having flexible start and finish times.

It has been brought to the forefront recently, that men have been given more ‘workplace flexibility’ than women. In an article recently published by HR Magazine, research showed that men are able to work six hours per week flexibly, whilst women are just getting three hours.

Given the rise of Generation Y and their desire to work to live (rather than living to work) it makes us question why more employers have not implemented flexible working?

Here are some of the arguments for and against:

Benefits of Flexible Working
More productive
Increase of morale
Enjoyment of work
Control over schedule
Reduction of tardiness
Increases employee loyalty
Reduces employee turnover
Reduction of employee burnout
Allows for a good work/life balance
Reduction of fuel costs and commuting time & stress
Reduces fixed office costs

Setbacks of Flexible Working
May not suit everyone
Managers may find it hard to adjust
No separation between work and home
Difficult to tell if someone is actually working or not
Some people may take advantage of the working arrangement
Are business systems capable of managing a remote workforce

As you can see from the two lists above, at face value, the benefits may seem to outweigh the drawbacks, which is why many businesses have already implemented this type of working practice.

However, in reality, it is still a big change for many employers who have not yet seen the benefits of this or for those who are change resistant and adopt more traditional working practices.

In our view, this will undoubtedly change with time, as one generation leaves the workforce and another takes prominence. The businesses that succeed in the new ‘gig economy’ will likely be the employers who get this quickly as they will become employers of choice and will win the war for talent – in what will be an interesting market for businesses and its employees alike!

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Can you give a bad reference?

Everyone dreams of being the boss one day or of obtaining that dream job. One part of this dream, that you don’t always think about, is having a team and having to give references. But what if you have a bad employee? Can you give a bad reference? Will you get sued if you do? Could you just give them a “neutral” reference?

A “neutral” reference is one where only the dates of service and title are given. Many businesses have now implemented a policy of only giving “neutral” references. It is a policy that is backed legally and allows a business to avoid being sued. It seems to be especially useful to give this kind of reference for bad employees. From the perspective of a recruiter, this type of reference could be the difference between you and another candidate getting a job. However, there appears to be a way of being honest and still remaining on the good side of legality, below we have listed five ways to do just that.

1. If you cannot honestly recommend an employee for a new role then it would be best to let them know. This allows them time to ask someone else or forewarns them of what is going to happen.

2. If the employee in question worked for you for more than a couple years ago, then you can decline, on the basis that they worked for you so long ago. Thus, you cannot remember what work they did for you and that your reference will then be invalid.

3. You may decide to still give a “neutral” reference but be ready for a reference checker to ask whether this is the policy of the company or just for this candidate.

4. You may sympathise with the manager and decide to be honest. However, ensure that you remain factual and objective.

5. Lastly, ensure that your employees know where you stand on their work. This will give them a good indicator of what to expect from your reference.

References can be a minefield at times but, if you stick to these simple methods, you can ensure that everyone remains happy and informed.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Pension stats

Pension stats

The thought of one day cashing in your pension and retiring is what keeps some people motivated and happy in the workplace. But with the state pension age rising in November 2018 to 65 and then in 2028, to 67, will workers feel the same? Will the percentage of those that leave work before their state pension begins increase? Only time will tell.

What are your thoughts?

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.