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Confidence in the market at a three-year high

According to the Hays Emiratisation Salary Guide 2022, UAE nationals are feeling optimistic about their salary prospects this year with the majority expecting their pay to increase over the next 12 months.

In the survey, respondents were asked what they expected to happen to their salary this year with 50% of Emiratis saying they anticipated an increase – up from 43% who said the same last year while 48% anticipate their salary to remain the same as in 2021. A mere 2% said they expected a decrease.

Grace Eldridge, Business Manager of Hays Emiratisation division commented: “This is the first time since running our annual salary survey that we have seen expectations for salary increases outweigh those expecting their salary to remain the same year-on-year within the Emirati community.”

“While professionals’ expectations are always slightly inflated above actual market trends, we do think these expectations are relatively realistic. Confidence in the market is at a three-year high, with business activity generally above and beyond pre-pandemic levels in the UAE. As a result, we expect a higher number of salary increases to be awarded this year than the past two years,” adds Grace.

Results from the report found that 74% of employers in the UAE plan to increase salaries in 2022, compared to 36% who did in 2021.

How much are salaries likely to increase?

The report found that 32% of Emiratis received a pay increase last year, which was lower than the 44% of expats who were also given pay increases. However, the average uplift in pay was higher for the Emirati community, who were mostly awarded an increase of between 5 and 10%, compared with the expat community, where the most common was an uplift of less than 5%.

According to Hays, in 2022, of those UAE nationals who expect a pay rise, the majority will again anticipate an increase of between 5 and 10%, while the majority of employers are planning to increase salaries by less than 5%.

Grace added: “When we refer to pay rises and trends, it’s important to note that these are not typically awarded on a company-wide basis. Instead, as our report shows, pay rises are more commonly offered on an individual basis as a result of a professional either ‘starting a new job with a new company’ or an ‘individual performance related pay increase’ and we expect the same again this year.”

“Our advice to professionals who believe they are deserved of a pay rise, is to be prepared to ask for one. They must manage their negotiation formally and sensibly; in light of the value they bring to the organisation. Those who sit and wait from a pay rise may be disappointed,” concluded Grace.

 

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Emails are most monitored form of communication
A recent study by Instant Offices revealed that there are a number of different employee monitoring trends happening in the new hybrid workplace.

According to the study, new hybrid working models have led to an increased need for employee surveillance software, with demand for the software skyrocketing in 2020 by almost 60%.

Similarly, according to Google Trends, worldwide searches for ‘employee monitoring software’ increased by 35% in 2020 compared with the year before. Key findings from the survey revealed that 78% of companies have reported using employee monitoring software to track worker performance and online activity; 73% say they have stored the recording of calls, emails and messages and these have affected team members’ performance reviews. Frightening findings have revealed that over 50% of employers have implemented non-traditional monitoring techniques and 94% of employers track emails.

The business areas using surveillance tools include financial, legal, retail, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and government sectors.

Common surveillance methods and practices include:

Keylogger software on company equipment (alerts supervisors when workers use devices for personal activities); webcams to track biometric data; screen monitoring and screenshots to gauge productivity and stress levels and employer-provided smartphones equipped with geolocation software to track employees’ whereabouts.

The only way to successfully implement these tools is through complete transparency. More than half of workers feel anxious about their companies surveillant communications. Still, when the employer explains the reasons for the monitoring, over 50% of employees say they are more at ease with it.

 Mark Turner, Chief Technology Officer at the Instant Group commented: “The rise in remote working and an influx of new technology means monitoring has ramped up. When used strategically, this tracking benefits all– businesses can identify resourcing issues, streamline processes and identify gaps, while employees can use the data to prioritize, manage workloads and track productivity. The key to using monitoring tools successfully is transparency and communication. If you can show your teams that using a piece of tracking technology not only benefits the business, but them too, then you’re on the right track.

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35% of employees leave for more money

Energy business Gazprom Marketing and Trading released the results of its recent survey which have enabled the company to create a profile of the average UK job hunter, discover the most common reasons for moving job, and determined how important company reputation really is.

Findings stated that 60% of respondents look for a new job because they want new challenges and better progression which a bigger motivator than more money (24%). Despite this, the biggest factor for workers accepting their current role was revealed to be an attractive salary (35%). With culture being the third reason employees seek out new roles.

Three quarters of candidates said a company’s reputation is important when looking for a job, which emphasises the importance of employer branding. A staggering 84% of job seekers find a new role within the first six months of beginning their search with almost half (49%) finding one in the first three months.

We’ve heard time and again that the onboarding process is key to retaining staff and the survey revealed that 95% of applicants attend fewer than five interviews during the selection process before securing a new role, while only 5% attend six or more. Employers need to ask themselves if five interviews are too many interviews because remember, while you’re interviewing a potential candidate, so are other employers.

Interestingly, more jobseekers use employer websites directly (57%) than job posting sites (54%), with only 12% working directly with recruiters. Professional networks (40%) and social media (26%) also play a role.

A Resourcing Partner at GM&T commented: “If a business effectively builds its reputation, their dream candidates will soon start knocking on their door. And while this takes time, it’s a worthwhile investment that will ensure relevant, high-quality candidates, while helping to lower an organisation’s recruitment overheads in the long-term too.”

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Workers’ health and wellbeing were last year’s biggest challenge
According to analysis conducted by HIVE360, a specialist in outsourced PAYE payroll, employee benefits and engagement, two thirds of UK workers actively sought help and support with their mental and physical health last year.

HIVE360 analysed 2021 data usage of its mobile employee pay and benefits app called Engage and it was revealed that 60% of requests for support via the app’s services were health related. User requests focussed on access to employee assistance services, counselling services, health and fitness advice, GP and doctor support services, and carer support and guidance for those workers also looking after an ill or elderly relative or friend at home.

David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360 commented: “Obviously, 2021 presented its own unique challenges thanks to the pandemic and the restrictions on people as a result of it. Analysis of the Engage user data confirms this, and that one of the knock-on effects on workers was a profound, negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing throughout the last 12 months.

David continued: “Providing the tools and benefits that support employees’ happiness and wellbeing must be at the heart of a company’s culture, and not considered a token gesture,” says David. “The key is creating an employee benefits programme and portfolio that is in-tune with what they want, when they want it.”

 

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Is the four-day week the way to solve attrition?

MRL Consulting Group, a UK recruitment firm, has seen an incredible 95% retention rate and productivity levels increasing by 25% since introducing a four-day work week. Improvements in employee wellness also reportedly improved.

Almost 90% of employees in the company reported improvement in their mental health and a marked reduction in workplace stress while a further 95% reported that they feel more rested after having a three-day weekend. Short-term absence was reported to have reduced by almost 40%.

The six-month trial implemented for all employees is now a permanent fixture within the company due to the huge success.

David Stone, Chief Executive Officer at MRL, commented: “We are driven by results, rather than the amount of time people spend at their desks. I trusted my staff to have enough self-motivation and discipline to be able to manage their time in order to fit five days of work into four. The results generated during the six-month trial have led us to implement a four-day week working model on a permanent basis.”

Kelly Robertson, Operations Director at MRL also weighed in: “During the trial, and since implementing the four-day working week, everyone has really ramped up their activity, and people feel a lot more prepared for the week ahead after having three days to rest at the weekend.  Now, the team has more time to spend on themselves, on their mental and physical health and with their families and you can really see the difference in the mood in the office.

“I can’t think of any reason why other businesses wouldn’t want to invest in its employees’ wellbeing, as there are so many positive outcomes. If you’re an output-based organisation and you are realistic about what you want your team to achieve in the given timeframe, there’s no reason you can’t have a four-day week.”

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Pandemic has exacerbated gender inequality

A detailed report, produced by Sharon Peake, founder and CEO at Shape Talent, has exposed why women in the workplace across Britain and Europe have been so severely impacted by COVID-19.

Sharon Peake, founder and CEO at Shape Talent, said: “The fact is: pre-existing gender inequalities have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and many of the hard-earned gains in women’s equality in the workplace, particularly at leadership levels, have been eroded. Women, the world over, are exhausted by the impact of gender bias.”

Predictions by The World Economic Forum expect that the gender pay gap is not going to close for another 136 years, as a direct impact of the pandemic. This is an increase of 36 years on the previous Global Gender Gap Report, which predicted 99.5 years.

Peake explained: “Since time began, gender equality has been viewed as a women’s issue and the focus has been on how to ‘fix’ women. This report does not exist to tell us how unacceptable this is – it is here to provide business leaders with the insight that can focus their strategies on sustainable change and ultimately accelerate gender equality.”

The paper outlines the three barriers that are summarised below:

  • Societal barriers: Subtle and often unspoken cultural cues and messages that reinforce the ways that men and women ‘ought’ to think, behave and feel
  • Organisational barriers: The hurdles experienced in the workplace and a combination of systemic obstacles, cultures and norms which disadvantage women
  • Personal barriers: A diverse range of hindrances, including how women present in the workplace and how they manage the work-family interface.

The paper lists eight guiding principles companies can adopt to counteract the barriers; these are:

  1. Link inclusion and diversity to business strategy
  2. Set the tone from the top
  3. Make inclusion part of cultural change programme
  4. Take an evidence-based approach
  5. Engage men
  6. Build and accelerate the pipeline
  7. Enable a level playing field
  8. Narrow the focus
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Side hustles are a priority for the next generation

According to new data by business finance lender, Sonovate, flexible work culture is a key consideration for most young workers when choosing a job, with over half (53%) of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming that talented young people won’t join companies that don’t champion flexible working.

The data also suggested that portfolio careers will become increasingly popular among younger workers in the next decade with 59% of 18 to 34-year-olds agreeing and 54% of the same age demographic saying that having a portfolio career will be important to them at some stage in their career.

The majority (57%) of young respondents don’t believe they need to be in an office full time to learn what they need, and feel they are well equipped to do it all virtually. The survey indicates that young workers see the benefits of freelance work, giving them the flexibility to experiment with different career routes (57%) and to have a family or pursue their interests (50%).

Over a third (36%) of 18 to 34-year-olds have made a career change in order to work more flexibly during the pandemic and the report suggested that the pandemic prompted a shift in attitudes towards jobs among the younger working generation with 44% of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming they don’t want to work the way they did before the pandemic. This is why and over half (54%) of this demographic feel that a shift towards more freelance working is a good thing for graduates, school leavers and new entrants into the world of work.

Richard Prime, co-founder and co-CEO at Sonovate commented: “As the pandemic caused a significant proportion of the UK’s younger employees to lose jobs or go on furlough, young workers had more time than ever to consider what they want from their careers. Younger people’s preferences toward portfolio careers and multiple side-gigs are rooted in a desire for a better work/life balance and to make an income from what they are passionate about. Now, these preferences are being heard more loudly than ever, with people and companies learning to juggle accordingly.”

Lotanna Ezeike, founder and CEO at XPO, a platform that helps social media influencers get paid on time, also weighed in: “For young people today, the concept of what a ‘career’ should look like is a lot more malleable than for any past generation. A central priority for many is finding flexibility. But the idea of working on a contract or freelance basis isn’t, to them, just about being flexible to work less or hang out more. Instead, a more contract or part-time work life supports their desire for greater ownership over what they do and how they spend their working lives. Many creators and influencers want to work but it’s important to them to ‘own’ their time and retain their freedom to choose how they spend it doing things they love.”

Managing Director of TALiNT Partners, Ken Brotherston has been outspoken when it comes to the notion of the side hustle. He commented: “While the scenario of a portfolio of work holds true for a certain percentage of the working population, this isn’t so for large part of it. There is a significant portion of the workforce who aren’t influencers and need the certainty of a permanent job, as well as the need to supplement their income to pay bills. This scenario isn’t choosing a portfolio of work because it’s cool and flexible, they do it out of necessity.”

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Skills shortages reported in the Kingdom

A recent report by Hays, the global recruiting experts, has revealed that Saudi Arabia’s construction and real estate market is showing signs of recovery and growth following a period of subdued activity in response to COVID-19.

Lockdown measures and travel restrictions have limited workforce capabilities and drastically reduced the global demand for oil forced the government to make budget cutbacks resulting in many construction and real estate projects being put on hold. Eighteen months on however, the economy has bounced back.

Since the beginning of 2021, there have been positive signs of growth with statistics from Reuters showing that the economy grew by 1.5% year-on-year as of Q3, with the non-oil revenue sector returning to pre-pandemic levels, growing by 10.1%. These figures, together with the high vaccine rollout and easing of travel restrictions, have provoked much optimism in the Kingdom. It remains to be seen how the discovery of Omicron will affect global economic recovery in the coming months.

Like the rest of the globe, hiring activity is back to pre-pandemic level and this is no different in the Kingdom while the next 12 months set to surge far beyond these levels. The local unemployment rate has hit a new 10-year low of 11.7% and is on track to reach the government’s target of 7% by 2030, although it seems the skills shortage is a global phenomenon.

Skills in demand

Saudi has not been immune to skills shortages. In line with the Kingdom’s vision to become a global leader within investment, tourism and trade, demand for the world’s very best talent is high. Hays has reported a demand for large-scale project experience in the following sectors:

  1. Design / Pre-construction
  2. Project delivery
  3. Digital technology

 

What candidates want

Talent attraction is key and Hays has reported that candidates are looking for competitive salaries with good benefits packages; job security; and efficient onboarding processes.

What employers want

Hiring trends in Saudi reflect its ambitious 2030 vision, with highly driven, highly skilled professionals being the most in demand. Employers look for candidates who have worked on major, multi-billion US$ projects which are similar in nature and end-use to those they will be working on.

According to Hays, candidates must also have experience working with innovative tech, demonstrate a track record of delivering projects / phases from inception to completion, and a proven success in senior leadership positions.

Hays says that being able to showcase this experience in a meaningful way is incredibly important too and they advise candidates to highlight how their skills and experiences align to the role they are applying for.

Aaron Fletcher, Business Manager – Saudi Arabia, Hays commented: “In line with the Kingdom’s vision to become a global leader within investment, tourism and trade, demand for the world’s very best talent is high and there is typically a shortage of supply of such talent in the region. As such, benefits paid in addition to salary are typically most generous in Saudi Arabia compared to the rest of the Gulf region. Relocation, housing and education allowances are offered as part of a standard employment package in Saudi Arabia.”

 

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12% of employees believe HR doesn’t champion DE&I

New research from Cezanne HR has revealed that a staggering number of employees don’t trust their HR departments with 58% of respondents agreeing that their HR team champions DE&I, which evidenced strong HR leadership in this area. The same 58% also indicated better performance for HR when asked if they trusted their HR team more or less than before COVID-19. It was perceived that there is less favouritism by HR towards senior or junior staff in the business.

The industry is seeing the benefits that conscious DE&I brings to businesses when it comes to talent attraction and retention, but it seems most HR professionals and organisation leaders may not realise its ripple effects with almost a third of respondents (30%) didn’t know if their HR team champions DE&I, and 12% said their HR team didn’t.

For Cezanne HR’s new report, The Psychology of HR Relationship Building: Trust, visibility, and respect, 1,000 people across the UK and Ireland were asked about different factors that might influence HR’s relationships with the workforce.

For the last 18 months HR departments have grappled with how COVID-19 has affected the workforce and there’s been a definite increased focus on DE&I due to world events. The survey revealed that those HR professionals who are motivated and invested in DE&I showed a higher percentage of people who trusted them more before the pandemic (40% versus 32% for all respondents) than they do following the pandemic.

Shandel McAuliffe, Head of Content for Cezanne HR commented: “At a time when many employees are re-evaluating their career options, the relationship HR has with the wider workforce is critical. Trust is key to that. Employees that trust HR to help them grow with their current employer and create an environment that is fair and inclusive, are going to think twice before jumping ship.”

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Mobile makes up 80% of the working population, says Bersin Report

Research and advisory group, The Josh Bersin Company, has revealed that 80% of the current working population is “deskless”, this according to its latest report called The Big Reset Playbook: Deskless Workers.

This latest report is based on insights from the company’s ongoing Big Reset executive working groups. The report focuses on the recommended practices needed to create optimal work experiences for “deskless” employees in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, transportation, and other sectors.

The report also revealed that based on current research by multiple sources, it’s in fact hourly workers who take the lead in resignation statistics.

Josh Bersin commented: “Because so little attention has been given to the working and personal needs of deskless employees, companies are now seeing mass resignations, unionisation efforts, and scores of unfilled jobs.”

The seven critical components of deskless work according to The Big Reset Playbook are:

  1. Promote and enable human connections and time for creativity. Deskless workers are the closest to the customer, but a mere 6% of manufacturing companies and 7% of consumer companies design jobs to allow people time to rest, reinvent, and innovate, compared to 21% of technology firms and 29% of professional services companies.
  2. Train managers to better coach deskless workers. Many companies fail to adequately support managers in the training and development of their people. Just 11% of hospitality companies invest in developing leaders at all levels, compared to 75% of pharmaceutical companies.
  3. Make the commute easy and establish belonging at work. Because remote work is not feasible for deskless workers, they need extra support with easy and safe commutes. A sense of belonging is especially important in light of the current resignation trends and skills shortages. Leaders need to demonstrate that they are actively listening to employees and taking actions as appropriate.
  4. Support the deskless worker’s entire life. Work flexibility is often not an option for deskless workers, so they need backup for taking care of families and support for balancing finances. The vast majority live paycheck to paycheck, and only 13% of the 2.7 billion deskless workers worldwide have paid sick leave.
  5. Help deskless workers build fulfilling careers. Deskless workers – especially those who may be in jobs ripe for automation – need pathways to future-proof careers.
  6. Create a deskless-first culture. A sense of belonging and community is critically important for deskless workers, yet many are often disconnected from the overall corporate mission and values when communication channels are designed for deskbound employees.
  7. Provide tools and services geared for mobile. Deskless workers are often left behind with no access to communication, tools, or resources. Mobile-first or adaptable approaches should be implemented.

Josh Bersin, global HR trends analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, commented on the findings: “As we go into the second winter season of the pandemic, hybrid work continues to be especially important, and much work remains to be done to design a new paradigm. In parallel, we must not forget the 80% of employees around the world have a work reality that is drastically different from their managers. Work strategies must keep in mind the needs of shop floor employees, restaurant servers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, teachers, truck drivers, and warehouse workers.

“Many things have changed since March 2020, and deskless workers are at the receiving end of many of the most difficult work challenges. In some industries such as transportation or hospitality, large numbers of people were furloughed or laid off. Healthcare employees had to face extreme health risk in coming to work. Designing a new work reality for these deskless workers is a lesson in empathy, listening, learning, and communication.”

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Talent Solutions

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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Despite efforts there is still massive room for improvement in UK management and reporting

In research released today, findings reveal a lack of focus on progressing diversity in the workplace. In the study conducted by SD Worx, it was found that while 68% of UK companies are committed to removing unconscious bias in the recruitment process, many have failed to implement a reporting system to track progress on meeting ED&I objectives.

The survey revealed that only 26% of UK companies evaluate managerial commitment to achieving ED&I-related objectives. A further 32% admitted having no systems allowing employees to report discrimination.

The UK ranked third in its commitment to removing unconscious bias at 68% when it comes to ranking. Ireland ranked first at 74%, with Belgium coming in second, at 69%.

As far as rankings for equal access to training, the UK is slightly lower than other countries, with 64% of companies investing in equal access to training and development. Ireland (72%), Belgium (71%), and Poland (69%) topped the list.

While 64% of UK companies include transparency about ED&I goals and actions to attract a diverse workforce in their mission statement and corporate values, only 60% of the UK companies surveyed said that they promote ED&I in job advertisements, social media, and their websites.

The survey also revealed that countries vary in their level of focus concerning educating and involving managers in their ED&I policies. For example, in the UK, 60% of companies stated that they actively involve their managers in ED&I policies, and 60% provide internal training on the topic.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead at SD Worx commented: “It’s no longer enough for businesses to say they prioritise diversity and inclusion. Instead, they must prove their commitment to achieving a more diverse workforce, both internally within their business and externally to attract talent.”

“There is more awareness than ever before regarding diversity in the workplace and it’s a deciding factor for many when it comes to searching for a role or staying with a business. A diverse workforce brings new experiences and perspectives and an inclusive environment allows individuals to thrive. If businesses aren’t already putting ED&I as a top priority, it’s essential they act now to do so.”

Jurgen Dejonghe, Portfolio Manager SD Worx Insights, added: “It’s important that companies start investing in an active reporting system about their actions concerning diversity, equality and inclusion. On the one hand, that data offers a strong basis for optimising the diversity policy with concrete and consciously controlled actions. On the other hand, such a system also provides clear evidence whether companies are effectively putting their money where their mouth is and not making false promises to (future) employees.”

For ED&I initiatives to be successful, change needs to come from the top, with proper rollouts and reporting system to track their progress.

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TALiNT Partners has announced the finalists for the 2022 TIARA Talent Solutions Awards with 22 of the United States’ best Talent Solutions, MSP & RPO firms shortlisted across eight award categories.

The finalists for the 2022 Talent Solutions Awards US, which spotlight MSP, RPO and Talent Solutions providers delivering excellence in recruitment and talent acquisition across the US, are the top of the crop and represent the very best in providers in the industry.

Ken Brotherston, Chief Executive of TALiNT Partners made comment: “Following the inaugural TIARA Talent Solutions Awards US last year, I am delighted to see many of our 2021 finalists return to celebrate their achievements, as well as a number of new entrants this year. The 2022 Awards are a true celebration across the market, from the large global players to newer entrants and niche RPO organizations, all demonstrating excellence in their impact for employers and their own employees.”

“The TIARAs are distinguished by the rigor of its judging process and the quality of its judging panel,” he added. “Entries will be assessed by our esteemed judges through six key metrics: excellence in delivery; innovation; DE&I impact; sustainable value; business growth; and purpose.”

What sets the TIARAs apart from other awards programs is their independent panel of expert judges and individual feedback given back to each finalist.

The judges for this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards are drawn from the HR and Talent Acquisition community are:

  • Sachin Jain, Senior Director – Global Talent Management, PepsiCo
  • Andrew Brown, Director RPO and Recruiting, Cornerstone
  • Russell Griffiths, General Manager, Coleman Research
  • Rich Genovese, Global Head – Talent Identification & Discovery, Jazz Pharmaceuticals
  • Gregg Schneider, Senior Manager – Procurement Plus, Global Talent Marketplace and Innovation Lead, Accenture
  • Justin Brown, Talent Acquisition Project Manager, Gallagher
  • Chris Farmer, Global Program Owner, Salesforce
  • Kerri Arman, Former VP Global Head of Talent, American Express Global Business Travel
  • Saleem Khaja, COO and Co-Founder, WorkLLama
  • Fitzgerald Ventura, CEO, 1099Policy
  • Mike Wilczak, Chief Product Officer, iCIMS

Judges will convene in May to debate and decide the winner of each category Award as well as an overall Talent Solutions Provider of the Year. All winners will be announced at an exclusive virtual awards ceremony on Thursday June 9th, 18:00 EDT.

Winners will also be profiled in a special TIARA Awards supplement published with TALiNT International.

The TIARA 2022 campaign is supported by our headline partner Cornerstone, and sponsored by WorkLLama, 1099Policy, and iCIMS.

The full list of TIARA 2022 Talent Solutions Finalists can be viewed here.

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Trials indicate increased productivity and employee wellbeing
Approximately 30 British companies will be taking part in a four-day work week trial has been launched in the UK as part of a global pilot organised by governments, think tanks, and the organisation ‘4 Day Week Global’. During the pilot, it’s said that employees will be offered 100% of their usual pay, for 80% of their time, yet maintaining 100% productivity. Studies have shown that the four-day week can boost productivity and employee wellbeing.
Harriet Calver, Senior Associate at Winckworth Sherwood, says that the four-day work week is not a new phenomenon. Many employees in the UK already work a four-day week, however, this is typically agreed on a case-by-case basis between employee and employer following a flexible working request. It tends to be accompanied by a corresponding reduction in pay, except in the case of “compressed hours” in which case the employee is simply squeezing the same number of hours into a shorter week.

BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS 

Gill Tanner, Senior Behavioural Scientist at CoachHub, believes that one of the key advantages is that employees would benefit from a better work/life balance and an extra day on the weekend would mean staff would have the opportunity to realise other ambitions outside of work and spend more meaningful time with family and friends, engage in more exercise or find a new hobby – all of which result in improved mental and physical health and higher levels of happiness. And this will result in less burnout and reduced levels of stress.

But in what ways could the reduced working week benefit employers? Improving employee happiness and well-being has many potential commercial benefits for employers such as increased performance and productivity, reduced absenteeism, recruitment and retention; and it could have a positive effect DE&I.

POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS

Gill Tanner believes that completing five days’ worth of work in just four days could be more stressful for some. Employees will need more focus and have much less time for lower productivity activities.  Additionally, some employers and businesses may find the four-day week detrimental to operations. For example, a decline in levels of customer support on days staff aren’t in the office. So, careful thought needs to be given to how this might be executed.

According to Harriet Calver, if an organisation is asking for 100% productivity from employees in consideration for a reduction in working hours, it is going to be critical to have the right support, technology and workplace culture in place to enable this.

Although the success of the four-day working week model relies on employees doing fewer hours, there is a danger that there may not be enough hours in those four days to complete the work. Therefore, working hours could creep up to previous levels if the workload is the same, resulting in longer and more stressful days for these employees.

In customer facing businesses, a potential pitfall of the four-day working week is not being able to properly service customers leading to poor customer satisfaction. For example, if an organisation shuts its office on the fifth day, when it was previously open, customers may complain they cannot access services when they want to, or previously could. Whilst this could be a potential issue for some organisations, it should be overcome fairly easily by most simply by keeping the business open for five days a week but staggering the days which employees do their four days so the entire week is still covered.

According to Gill Tanner, employers should consider the following before implementing a four-day week:

  1. What are your reasons for implementing a four-day week?
  2. Consult with employees and other stakeholders regarding a four-day week. What are their thoughts? How might it work?
  3. Provide clarity regarding what is expected in terms working hours, performance levels, days off, remuneration, ways of working etc.
  4. Ensure there is sufficient coverage to run the business as is required and to have continuity.
  5. Think about the situation from the customer/client perspective (and other stakeholders) and how they might be affected
  6. Consider the communication plan: who needs to be communicated to and by when?
  7. Reflect on your current company culture.  Is it one of trust and ownership, values that are key to this kind of working? If not, is it the right time to implement such a big transition?  Are there other steps you need to take first?
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