Hilary Green
Hilary Green

Leaders share insights on how to make a better working world

In partnership with Yahoo Finance Australia, Talent has released ‘Leaders Building a Better World of Work’. This is a list of leaders providing insights on what they are doing to make a better working world.

The list includes leaders such as Jennie Rogerson from Canva, Mary Haddock-Staniland from Timely, Vanessa Sorenson from Microsoft NZ, and Paul Sigaloff from Yahoo!.

The list looks at the thought-provoking side of leadership and provides an overview of what businesses are experiencing in this post-pandemic.  Their insights and actions should provide leaders with strategies to take into the new world of work.

Mark Nielsen, Global CEO, Talent, commented: “True leadership is forged through times of crisis and if there is one thing we have all experienced in the past two years is that the way we thought we did business has been turned on its head. The responsibility and demands from leaders have also changed dramatically, and a one-size-fits-all approach to work just doesn’t cut it. Work-life balance, clarity of purpose, a supportive manager, and inclusion are core focuses to team members. To remain competitive, leaders and businesses need to adapt to this new norm.”

Some of the insights from leaders included:

Stuart Hughes, Chief Information & Digital Officer, Rolls-Royce advised: “People are looking for companies that will engage with them on a personal level, with greater flexibility and work-life balance. Some call this ‘hybrid working’, but I like to refer to it as a ‘borderless office’. If you have a framework that’s very rigid i.e., you have to be in the office two days a week, specifically Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you’re just restricting your teams’ behaviour. Is that really the best way?”

Fiona Thompson, Group Executive, People, Culture & Advocacy, Suncorp said:  “A challenge and opportunity for companies is evolving leadership styles, rituals, and behaviours to enable businesses to transform into their future selves. Leaders will play a pivotal role in creating and reinforcing organisational culture, developing our people, and ensuring talent pools are identified and available.”

Nicole Reid, People Experience, Xero suggested: “For over two years, we’ve been dealing with the impact that living through a pandemic, social justice turning points and other factors have on how employees approach work each day. Companies that are proactive – inviting discussion, initiating events and programs, and providing other support – will enable their teams to not only feel safe to talk about things that in the past were not common practice in the workplace but to feel encouraged and welcomed to speak up.”

Deborah Choi, Managing Director, Founderland commented: “A better world of work acknowledges that there is no ‘one size fits all’ that truly fits all. To be inclusive at work, is to be fundamentally flexible and dynamic, because that is also at the essence what we all are.”

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Half of workers dismiss jobs that do not offer hybrid working

According to new research by IWG, hybrid working is now the most sought-after benefit for job seekers. The research showed large numbers of office workers out flexible working alongside other benefits such as health insurance and group income protection (88%), life insurance (84%), unlimited vacation (76%), and extended parental leave (71%) as important benefits in a new role.

The survey was conducted among 2,000 office workers to understand better the key factors driving jobseekers’ decision-making.

The jobs website Indeed revealed that ‘hybrid’ is one of the fastest-growing search terms, having increased by 6,531% in the last 12 months. In addition, according to IWG’s research, half of workers would immediately dismiss jobs that do not offer hybrid working.

Job seekers also highly value the opportunity to work remotely. Searches for remote work have also risen by 666% and now account for 2.3% of all searches. Sixty percent of respondents stated they would like to work within 15 minutes of their home.

According to the research, office workers’ top five considerations when applying for a new role are:

  • Hybrid working (43%)
  • New colleagues (32%)
  • Potential for progression (30 %)
  • Company culture (27%)
  • Equity and bonuses (27%)

Half of office workers (49%) said they would immediately rule out jobs that didn’t offer hybrid working. Sixty-seven percent said it improved work/life balance. A further 37% mentioned improved mental health and wellbeing as a benefit. Reduction in commuting load was another benefit (36%). Thirty-one percent said it enhanced productivity.

IWG also provided data that indicates how the popularity of hybrid working is increasing the demand for suburban and rural office space. Demand for rural and suburban office space increased by 29% in 2021. Locations such as Bromsgrove (+52%), Beaconsfield (+33%), and Tewkesbury (+22%) rose in popularity.

Bruce Daisley, Author of The Joy of Work and former EMEA Vice-President of Twitter, said: “We’re right at the start of the biggest transformation in the way we work that we’ve ever witnessed. The biggest danger for firms is thinking that we’re the end of the change; we’re just at the start and companies need to prepare themselves.”

Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG, commented: “With a buoyant job market after a challenging couple of years, workers are demanding more of their employers and their roles. Gone are the days when salary was the only factor when considering a job offer, and nothing better demonstrates this than the rise of hybrid working.”

“Daily commuting is an expensive and unnecessary practice, and it’s clear to see that workers around the UK are taking back control of this time. Employers who don’t offer hybrid working are going to miss out on the best talent. Not only do employees benefit from a dramatically improved work-life balance, but by switching to a hybrid model, businesses can expect to save an average of more than £8,000 per employee, all while minimising their carbon footprint.”

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Thirteen industries represented on the list

A new report by Glassdoor has revealed the UK’s top 25 companies for senior leadership and red flags for toxic management.

Based on anonymous voluntary feedback from tens of thousands of employees, the list highlights the companies whose senior leaders have stood out in navigating the last year’s challenges and support of their workforce.

The UK’s top 10 companies for senior leadership are:

  • VetPartners Limited (4.7 rating out of 5)
  • GTB (4.6)
  • ServiceNow (4.6)
  • Awin (4.5)
  • Taboola (4.5)
  • Robert Walters (4.5)
  • MongoDB (4.5)
  • Randstad Sourceright (4.5)
  • Softcat (4.5)
  • Octopus Energy (4.5)

Great leadership can be found across the board. The complete list includes employers across 13 different industries, with tech being the most represented industry on the list. Other sectors on the list include utilities, construction, and hospitality.

Among the 2.2 million employers reviewed on Glassdoor, the average rating for Senior Leadership is 3.4.

According to the Glassdoor Economics Research team, good senior leadership ranks above salary, work-life balance, and career opportunities as a driver of employee satisfaction. However, the research also showed that employees are twice as likely to speak negatively about the failings of management than be complimentary.

The research showed that 44% of employee reviews with low ratings for senior leadership mention ‘management’. On the other hand, only 15% of employee reviews with high ratings for senior leadership mention ‘management’ in their reviews.

Looking at the reviews of nearly 370,000 employees, the research revealed that workers describe strong senior leadership as being:

  • Supportive
  • Friendly
  • Approachable
  • Flexible

Employees revealed the following traits of weak leadership:

  • Bullying
  • Micro-management
  • Rudeness
  • Neglectful
  • Unappreciative
  • Directionless
  • Disconnection

Lauren Thomas, Glassdoor EMEA Economist, commented: “COVID-19 tore up the traditional rules of management, and it is the companies that embraced the changes this offered and focused on employee experience that are recognised on Glassdoor’s Top UK Companies for Senior Leadership list.”

“Inspirational senior leadership is a sign of a united company with an engaged, motivated and satisfied workforce. The companies on our list share a transparent approach to management and offer strong culture and values.”

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Suppliers still blaming poor customer service on pandemic

A new study of small business owners has shown that eight in 10 small businesses are concerned that they face a ‘cost-of-working crisis’, threatening the business’s viability. In addition, many say that poor customer service from suppliers is affecting their ability to focus on rising costs and inflation.

According to the connectivity provider TalkTalk Business research, 67% of small business owners say they work with a supplier that has blamed poor customer service on the pandemic, even though the last set of COVID-19 restrictions were done away with six months ago.

With SMEs spending an average of 16 hours a month on the phone with supplier customer service teams, 62% believe this issue takes attention from their core business. In addition, they believe that better customer service from suppliers will allow them to focus on overcoming their current financial challenges.

The most common customer service issues that SMEs face are:

  • Being on hold (55%)
  • Being passed between customers service agents (48%)
  • Not having issues dealt with in one call (44%)

Only 40% of respondents say that the customer service they receive has improved since the pandemic. A further 64% agree that poor customer service from their suppliers is affecting their bottom line.

Improvements in the customer service support that SMEs would like to see include:

  • Having issues dealt with efficiently (59%)
  • Speaking to a human customer service representative instead of an automated system (54%)
  • Dealing with one agent throughout (41%)
  • Receiving friendly service (37%)
  • Speaking to an agent who understands their business (36%)

Yifat Castle, a TalkTalk Business customer, and Owner of Artisan Gelato and Sorbet Company, said:“As a business that sells a luxury product, we’re apprehensive of what’s to come in the next few months despite a strong start to the year. Our factory is energy intensive, so we know that unfortunately we’re going to be paying higher bills.”

“Good customer service from my suppliers is imperative, so it’s reassuring to know I have it with TalkTalk Business. Speaking to a human to resolve issues quickly is the absolute priority, as it allows me to focus on the things that matter for my customers.”

TalkTalk Business and The Growth Company have partnered to help small businesses secure better customer service from their supplier.

Jonathan Kini, Managing Director, Direct Consumer and B2B, commented: “The past two years have been incredibly challenging for small businesses, who are the beating heart of our economy. We’re proud to partner with The Growth Company to provide advice to small businesses on how they can secure the best customer support to enable them to focus on the issues that matter.”

“TalkTalk Business strives to offer its small business customers the best value packages on the market, combining fast, reliable connectivity with industry-leading customer service.”

Richard Jeffery, National Director of The Growth Company, said: “In these challenging times, it is critical business leaders are able to devote their full time and attention to the core issues surrounding their organisation. This report shows the impact of poor customer service, and the amount of time SMEs spend dealing with it, time which would be better spent focused on their business.”

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Is this perk the answer to stress and burnout?

Investment bank Goldman Sachs announced in April that they were moving their senior employees onto a ‘flexible vacation’ policy, allowing for time off when needed instead of fixed maximum days per annum. Junior staff will still receive the statutory leave requirements.

The new policy requires all employees to take at least 15 days off, this in an attempt to change a culture that has previously left bankers depleted and exhausted.

This move can be a powerful recruiting tool. A recent Fortune and Harris Poll survey showed that half of employees preferred the idea of having unlimited paid time off to a higher salary.

For the most part, this move is applauded by employees and observers, especially in light of an increasingly burnt-out workforce.

The question is whether this is the great benefit everyone expects it to be and whether it will change the culture in a competitive environment such as Goldman Sachs?

Kiki Stannard, Managing Director at ZEDRA, commented: “It’s well known that employers are determined to keep their best and brightest employees, particularly those who work the hardest and contribute the most. With 24/7 connectivity nearly everywhere globally, finding time away from the demands of a stressful job are becoming more and more difficult. It is often a challenge for those in the highest demand to get a decent amount of time off to rest and recuperate properly –  both physically and mentally –  never more so than in the world of financial services.

It may have come as a surprise to many to read that internationally renowned investment bank, Goldman Sachs, announced that senior staff are being moved to a ‘flexible vacation’ policy which will permit time off when needed and not adhering to fixed maximum days per annum.

Having been hailed as progressive for the industry and designed to encourage a decent amount of time off to support health and wellbeing (there will be a minimum level of time off for junior staff which aligns with the statutory requirement in any event), will there really be any change in culture or attitude at Goldman Sachs – often viewed as fiercely competitive?

In the US, the tech sector has actually been offering unlimited vacation for many years which might sound like a significant benefit where vacation is around ten days plus public holidays.

The reality however can be quite different.

  • The unlimited vacation is only on the basis that the employee’s work is done, or the break will not disrupt the business, often leading to employees logging on regularly whilst they are away
  • Confusion can arise around the use of the policy and different interpretations as to exactly what amount is acceptable as ‘unlimited’ according to who your line manager happens to be
  • There can be an inclination to cancel a day’s leave when something urgent comes up at work
  • Blurring of the lines can be seen where there is a performance issue requiring careful management or additional employee support
  • Does unlimited vacation just mask real sick days?
  • Does unlimited vacation result in a duvet day for anyone who is just not that motivated?
  • How can you shake that Monday morning feeling when you know that not turning up today is ok?

Unlimited holidays can work for some businesses and sectors, but this type of policy won’t work for every company. In today’s environment it might act as a great benefit to entice new, often younger, starters to join a company. It’s always important to engage with staff and key stakeholders to get a better idea of the appetite for such a policy before committing and if there is desire, prepare thoroughly to avoid any negative ramifications to individual staff and company morale.”

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Lack of well-being benefits for SME works 

A recent survey revealed that 65% of SME employees are hesitant to take sick leave when working from home.

The survey, conducted by HR Software provider Breathe, looked at the current state of well-being among SME employees. The survey was conducted across 1,264 UK SME employees, and the respondents were asked a series of questions regarding sick leave, mental health, and remote working. The goal of the survey was to establish whether the pandemic had a lasting effect on the working world and the impact of hybrid working.

According to the data, there is an ongoing pattern of presenteeism, with 65% of respondents saying they are less likely to take sick leave when working remotely and 42% of respondents feeling the need to prove their productivity while working remotely.

Of the workers who didn’t take sick leave, despite feeling unwell:

  • 32% could not financially afford to take time off work
  • 25% were too busy to do to take time off
  • 21% didn’t want to let their colleagues down
  • 20% felt pressured to work through it

The data suggests a lack of benefits aimed at employee well-being. Seventy-two percent of SMEs do not offer well-being days despite 35% of workers feeling that well-being days would be helpful.

The survey also found that only half of SMEs offer flexible working, even though 67% of the respondents believe that WFH supports work-life balance and overall well-being

Another finding was that 54% of SME employees work overtime when WFH. Forty-four percent of employees struggle with feeling ‘seen’ by their employers. A further 47% said they were less inclined to take a lunch break when working from home.

The survey also found that:

  • 41% of workers felt that their symptoms weren’t severe enough to take sick leave
  • 36% of SME workers reported mental health issues in the past three months
  • 12% of workers have taken sick leave for mental health reasons
  • 67% of SME workers say working from home improves their work-life balance, but 54% report they are still more likely to work longer hours than usual
  • 48% of SME employees are offered flexible working whereas 27% are not offered it but would find it the most useful benefit

Balancing a company culture in a hybrid working world is a challenge, and SME leaders need to address toxic traits in their existing culture, like overworking and presenteeism, to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Rachel King, UK General Manager, Breathe, commented: “The benefits for mental and physical well-being that come from a flexible approach to work patterns have been widely discussed but are still so important. Flexible working can positively impact physical, mental and financial well-being. That said, working from home has proven effective for many people, but crucially not for all. It’s often the case that people find themselves working longer hours and taking less sick leave, under pressure to be seen as super productive when working remotely. Employers should look for ways to tackle the ‘always-on’ ethos and habits that have crept into remote working culture. Focusing on creating a culture that supports flexible working as standard can benefit teams and improve productivity if handled intentionally.”

Lizzie Benton, Company Culture Coach & Founder at Liberty Mind, added: “As a business, your attitudes, behaviour, and beliefs will all ultimately present to people what you truly think about employee well-being. If people are feeling unseen and pressured to work through illness, that’s really not a good sign. Now is not the time to ignore your culture and the true ripple effect it has on your people. After two years of momentous life changes, employees across the UK are considering whether where they work is adding to their life or taking something away. That’s why it’s important to put your people first when making decisions that impact them both personally and professionally. Creating a positive healthy company culture is ongoing work and it’s a choice that will benefit your business in the long run.”

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Search engines combine forces to accelerate Adzuna’s growth in the US

On Tuesday, 14 June, Adzuna announced their acquisition of the US job search engine Getwork.

The Getwork team, under the leadership of Brad Squibb, will be working alongside the Adzuna team, intending to accelerate Adzuna’s growth in North America.

Getwork links job seekers with vacant roles at North American companies by indexing millions of verified jobs daily directly from tens of thousands of employer career sites.

Adzuna, with headquarters in London, UK, Indianapolis, IN, and Sydney, AU, uses AI-powered technology to match people to jobs. The company has recently launched in Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and Mexico. Their operations now cover 20 markets globally.

The two companies will operate as independent brands with their own established communities.

Doug Monro, CEO, and Co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Adzuna acquiring Getwork will help us supercharge our growth in North America. The Getwork team’s stellar reputation for great service and delivery has led them to be trusted by an impressive roster of household name companies in the US. It’s also a great fit as their team and mission are so aligned with ours. The US enterprise market is crying out for strong alternatives to existing offerings and we’re looking forward to combining Adzuna’s marketing expertise, global footprint and programmatic job matching technology with Getwork’s deep industry knowledge and reputation to deliver even better for our customers. The US is the fastest-growing part of our business and this acquisition will accelerate our profitable growth trajectory.”

Brad Squibb, President of Getwork, comments: “Adzuna is a truly global business, operating across 20 countries, which creates an exciting opportunity for us to scale into new markets with the help of a brand that has already paved the way for international expansion. We can’t wait to join Doug and the team on this journey.”

 

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Salary increases on the rise but workers feel they deserve more

Although salary increases are rising, only 33% of Australian employees are happy with their current benefits. This is according to recruitment company, Hays.

Hays believes that benefits can help bridge the salary expectation gap and aid staff attraction. According to their latest Salary Guide, 35% of employers have improved benefits and working practices to entice more staff.

The data also showed that allowing more than 20 days’ annual leave is one of the most sought-after employee benefits. This year’s data shows that the benefit is desired by 55% of job seekers, compared to 30% last year. The most desired benefit, according to Hays, is training, at 57%. Interestingly, while 87% of employers offer training as a benefit, only 23% provide more than the minimum legal requirement for leave.

Next on the list of top five benefits are:

  • ongoing learning & development (53%)
  • mental and physical health and wellbeing programs (38%)
  • formal career paths (38%)

Flexible working is not on the list of highly prized benefits, likely because although it was a top benefit pre-pandemic, it is now the expected norm.

Professionals are advised to consider the complete value exchange – even if salaries are not meeting expectations, workers should consider whether the benefits they receive enhance the complete value exchange they receive for their skills and experience.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, commented: “With a salary expectation gap evident, offering the benefits employees value can help reward and retain top talent in a competitive labour market.”

“The pandemic prompted many people to prioritise their work-life balance and mental health, to care for their health and wellbeing they now want a job that offers more than customary annual leave.”

“If a person’s time is as valuable as money, additional annual leave can add significantly to their overall package.”

“For employers looking to modernise their benefits portfolio to attract, reward and retain staff, it’s important to reconcile your offering with what employees’ value, training and additional annual leave are obvious improvement points. So is the provision of formal career paths, which 38% of employees want but only 20% of employers offer.”

“For jobs that can be performed outside a central workplace, skilled professionals expect to work in a hybrid arrangement,” he said. “After more than two years of hybrid working, it’s no longer considered a benefit that can attract and engage staff but rather a minimum ordinary entitlement.”

“If your salary increase falls short of expectations, consider what else you can ask for. In particular, think of your long-term career objectives. Additional benefits such as training, formal career paths and mental and physical health and wellbeing programs, for instance, could lead to a promotion and higher compensation long-term than a small raise here and now.”

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Jobs board focuses on roles at companies that ‘do good’

Last week member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreed on new plans to create more jobs in sustainable industries.

The new jobs website, Jobs For Good,  is aimed at people who want to find jobs in sustainability industries where they can make a social impact. There are already 1,200 roles live on the website.

According to PWC’s latest reports, one in five people are looking to change jobs, with 68% of these wanting a more fulfilling job. Further, with over 70% of millennials wanting employers with a strong environmental agenda and 10% of workers saying that they would take a pay cut to work at an environmentally responsible company, it’s clear that there is a growing demand for jobs in companies that are ‘for good’.

In the UK, the ‘impact industry’ is worth £50 billion, employs 35,000 people, and has grown 127% since 2018.

The new jobs board only features jobs in companies that “do good” in that they positively impact people or the planet and are run responsibly. These can be in areas such as renewable energy, food production, health and wellbeing solutions, etc.

On the site, job seekers can search by job type and impact area without needing to sign in. They can then read about the companies’ ‘do good’ credentials before applying for the job online.

Job sectors include IT, marketing, product, sales, and admin roles, and companies are vetted for their ‘For Good’ credentials before they can add jobs to the website.

Olivia Spaethe, CEO of Jobs For Good, commented:  ‘Originally we built Jobs For Good in response the ‘Great Resignation’ and people looking for more fulfilling roles in sustainable companies. We’re really encouraged to see the UK Government and OECD agreeing to invest and focus more on this area too. We’re here to plug an important gap between sustainable start-ups looking for new workers, and those workers looking for the right do-good company to work for.’

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Twice as many job seekers in the city compared to same time last year

According to job seeker data from job aggregator, ClickJobs.io, 35.4% of all job seekers in the last month were applying for roles in the capital, putting London in the lead for job applications in the UK.

Year on year, these figures show a huge spike. During the same period last year, 19.7% of applications were for jobs in London. The next city on the list, Birmingham, only accounted for 3.7% of applications. Manchester and Leeds followed at only 2%.

The spike comes as no surprise as offices reopen post-pandemic and people begin to return to the city. While this is good news for London-based businesses, it could negatively impact hiring employers in other cities and regions.

Joe Boll, CEO at ClickJobs.io, commented: “At CilckJobs.io we believe it is essential to understand how job seekers are applying for the latest jobs across our portfolio of websites to ensure we can offer the very best solution to mirror these trends. This new data shows a huge increase in demand for jobs in London which is good news for the capital but could impact other regions looking to attract talent.

We manage millions of jobs every week which means we can quickly see how the market is changing and what key trends are happening across employment in the UK.”

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