Consideration, Compassion, Connection and Commitment

Although a lot has been written about the mental health and wellbeing of employees and staff during these last unusual weeks, not an awful lot has been written about the major multitasking that all staff are now facing into. Due to the social isolation strategy most nations have adopted, there are many, many parents now working two jobs from home, with most of their normal supports no longer available.

Employees have not only had to adapt to a new working environment, they now must juggle these multiple roles and structures at once. With World Health Day this week, it is a very good time to pause and reflect on how well employees are managing and adapting to this shift in expectations and to show support and celebrate their resilience.

It is also very impressive how many company cultures have shone through by showing understanding and appreciation of the new challenges their people are facing. One influential organisation very early on communicated a simple message to their work force to help them prioritise their time and energy and it was ‘family first’.

As the weeks are blending into each other and a new norm is settling in and staff are making the best of the situation, it is helpful to look at some ongoing healthy approaches to adopt and keep in mind when connecting with staff remotely.

Consideration:

It is important when connecting with staff that a moment is taken to be mindful of what they are being asked to do each day and the time they now have to give to their other roles at home such as child minder, educator and home maker. It is good to ask them now and again how they are finding the juggling of demands and how you as their manager or colleague can help.

Compassion:

With a lot of energy and attention being diverted, it is important to show compassion for the situation teams now finds themselves in and it is likely that over time performance will drop as energy begins to wane due to the multiple demands. This will be most apparent for parents of multiple young children needing care, attention and structured time to learn and be engaged with.

Connection:

For all team members connection is vitally important at this time, not just to cover off business but to be social and have an outlet. This is vital for staff who are not with family and are isolating alone. For these staff it is very important to consider how in a short space of time they have lost a lot of daily personal connecting and energy from others.

Commitment:

There will be ongoing competing demands for employees’ time and energy now and over the next number of months. Staff may not be able to show the level of time commitment that they normally would be able to provide. In the long run, as per the aforementioned company message ‘family first’, managers who are showing consideration and compassion will ensure greater commitment from their employees when normal routines return, and we are back in the workplace once again.

Mental Skills for Mental Health – Goal Setting

This is the second in the series of posts focused on the continuing mental impact of the COVID-19 virus, which all businesses are now reacting to. One of the most challenging impacts has been how employees can best continue in their roles with the effect of social distancing and remote working. This blog and the next 4 in this series will focus on the mental health and wellbeing of staff and managers, as they navigate the impact of this temporary new way of working.

As a psychotherapist, leadership and mental skills coach with nearly three decades of experience, I have worked with hundreds of people and businesses facing into challenging and uncertain times. My early training was as an emergency service first responder and trainer, so I understand how a fast onset of unusual and unexpected changes can impact people emotionally and psychologically. In my first blog from this series I wrote about some things to be expected over the coming weeks. In this blog I will be looking at an essential skill for staff to focus on and one which managers and leaders can promote. This is the key skill of planning and goal setting, for personal health and wellbeing.

The mental skill of goal setting is often undervalued as it seems so straight forward and something that we already are good at. It is however a vital first step in driving wellness and ensuring our mental health stays healthy. It is also one of the first things that is challenged and undermined when we feel unwell, as our energy drops, and we begin to feel demotivated and disengaged.

In sports psychology, one of the key plans of action for an athlete is first and foremost to have a plan. Have a plan for when it gets tough, when athletes feel demotivated, when the situation feels overly pressurised and when focus begins to wander. A key element of preparation is to revert to focused goal setting – remembering their training, going back to basics, back to what they know and create a go-to plan that is ‘ready to go’ for when it gets tough. 

Goal setting is a skill we call on all the time, going through our daily routines – making breakfast, sticking to a timetable, working to deadlines. It is a skill we know well, and we mostly do it unconsciously, however what many people are not aware of are what are known as ‘process goals’.

Process goals are particularly good to have for when times are tough, when people are distressed and when there is a lot of uncertainty. Process goals help bring what feels out of control, back into control – starting with ourselves and our control over how we think, how we feel and how we can influence the inherent energy of our body. We use process goals to feel more confident and clear headed. Examples of ways to do this, are grounding and centring which are often referred to as ‘anchoring’ techniques. These techniques anchor the person to something they know works for them; gaining some control over the situation and helping them feel better, quickly. 

At the moment staff and colleagues are feeling various levels of uncertainty, which is a natural reaction and not one to be overly concerned about. Everyone is feeling it and as leaders it is something we should be empathising with. Here we can encourage staff to goal set in order to maintain, where possible, the same working routine, as they would if COVID-19 didn’t exist. This will help normalise what is going on and help foster engagement and daily structure. Encourage the same starting time, finishing time and usual breaks as well as suggesting some extra structured time each day to support others, such as children and partners working from home also. Acknowledging that this is a team effort and we all need to set some goals to help with daily household routines, childcare and exercise.

Regarding work processes, look at any impending deadlines and goal set by negotiating new timelines; realistically integrating the new COVID-19 factors. Encourage staff to goal set some wellbeing strategies, by inviting them to explore what has worked before and reminding them to keep practicing these regularly. Check in with them to see what weekly goals they are setting – work related and wellbeing related, to help ensure they do not take on too much and invite them to create some goals if they are lacking some ion certain areas.

Explain ‘process goal’ setting and how it can be achieved by with various breathing techniques, short meditations or having a go-to set of encouraging and reassuring words or phrases. This is a good strategy for staff to start working on straight away. Talk openly about how at times it will be tough and it will feel scary or frustrating over the coming months; start to plan now for these times with some process goals strategies. Give them some examples of process goals – such as thinking about something they do that helps them feel better in the moment, to calm and sooth themselves. Avoiding negative and worrisome future predicting and instead focusing on constructive here and now planning immediate next steps planning.

Remind them that these are the same mental skills that all top athletes and military personnel practise to perform well and to manage their own wellbeing under major pressure. Reassure them that these techniques work, they are easy to practise, and they achieve results. All of this starts with the simple ability to goal set and to keep on goal setting – each day, especially when it gets tough.

Coping with BIG Changes

Recent international events have brought home to everyone how much of a global village we really are. This can be feel a little scary at times, but thankfully just about all countries are now responding to the challenges that COVID-19 is producing.

The Coronavirus is something that we can all individually tackle with some simple measures such as washing our hands routinely and keeping an adequate distance from one another. However, these and more extreme changes like imposed travel restrictions will impact us psychologically and emotionally over time. In response to these significant challenges, the team at Wrkit will be posting a set of 6 blogs to help you deal with the psychological changes that will occur in the coming weeks and months.

Our first post from our series of 6 is on the topic of Change and the common effects big change can have on our lives and while we know a lot more about how naturally occurring events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and pandemics can impact us, we still go through a common psychological process when confronted by these events.

Having previously lived in Wellington New Zealand for many years and having experienced hundreds of earthquakes, when the big ones hit and movement was restricted it was always very disconcerting and concern about ourselves, our friends, our family and the future quickly set in.

For starters, initially there is usually a shocked response related to what is happening to us and this can become a re-occurring experience as more events unfold, a little like a series of aftershocks. With this shock we can also experience denial and disbelief. This can often present as a lack of interest towards the situation or a downgrading of its importance in our life, kind of a ‘don’t care so much’ reaction. This is very common and a natural early response, which will gradually give way to a fuller understanding of the situation. Feelings of powerlessness and a sense of injustice or unfairness are also common, especially if our regular routines are affected as we gradually work to assimilate and understand what has happened.

A desire for control can play out then, and frustration or worry overtime can build into anger and fear/panic unless we are able to work these emotions through. It is simply our body trying to exert control over what is happening (motivation), not realising that what is happening is much bigger than ourselves, with way too many things out of our control. Our body can then react by making us feel low – sad, upset and down (demotivation), as it tries to slow us down, urging us to think clearly and not just react.  Action rather than just reaction is important, and the good news is that there are lots of actions we can take mentally to help us overcome changes whether they are big, small or even global.

Over the next number of weeks, we will be looking at ‘Mental Skills for Mental health’ and covering psychological techniques such as Goal Setting, Eustress, Reframing, Perspective Thinking, Self-Talk, and of course Resilience. For now, let’s look at some simple ways to help ourselves to process through some of what is going on around us at this early stage.

Each day take some time to write out answers to the below questions:

  • How am I feeling today?
  • How intense are these feelings – from 1 to 50 – (50 being extremely intense)?
  • What can I do to influence these feeling today?
  • How will I factor this into my plan for the day/ week/ month?

Remember that whatever you are feeling is ok, all feelings are ok – it is what we do with them that is important, as some behaviours are not ok! If for example you are angry or afraid the best ways to tackle these feelings is to channel this energy and take back some power. As a first step take this action:

  • Take a moment to breath in and out a number of times
  • Slow your breathing to slow your heartrate
  • Clear your head by focusing on your breathe  
  • Slowly count to 10 in your head as take longer breaths in and out

Plan a helpful healthy physical outlet such as running, cycling, HIIT challenges; be physical in some goal-oriented way to focus your energy.

At home set goals such as spring cleaning, gardening, DIY projects which are all great for some physical output and to have a distracting challenge.

Make a daily action plan. What will you do today that will help you to accomplish your goals? Create some deadlines and achieve some results. Create some small to medium goals to get some wins on the board which will make you feel better and more in control of what is going on and within your influence.

The importance of assertiveness in our overall wellbeing

Following on from the recent world Mental Health Day, Wellbeing & Leadership Manager @ Wrkit, Jason Brennan, explains that it is important to take time out to reflect on our overall mental health and wellness and what might be contributing to ongoing areas of unwellness.

One key area of wellness is healthy communication and the ability to confidently speak out about what is important to us, what is affecting us emotionally and psychologically and what might be contributing to our not being heard. This is the important skill of assertiveness.

Assertiveness is defined as:

  • Someone who is being assertive behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or believe
  • Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s thoughts, feelings or rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passive in behaviour

Assertiveness is standing up for ourselves and our personal rights by expressing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way. By being assertive we need always to respect the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of other people and in so doing we are promoting an I’m OK, You’re OK philosophy – respecting the worth, value and dignity of ourselves and others.

Being able to communicate effectively means

  • Slowing down
  • Figuring out how we feel
  • Exploring why we feel this way
  • Understanding what relates to me and what relates to not me (others or external situation)
  • Think about how to influence the external
  • Create a plan to execute
  • Consider context for contact (where and when to talk)

Part of our plan might be to communicate and explain to others what is happening for us and how they might be contributing to this and to work on a plan to change and improve the situation.

Some tips to being assertive are –

REFLECTION:

  • Understand how we feel and why we feel this way
  • Manage our emotions with clear thoughts
  • Maintain self-control in how we want to share these insights

EXPRESSION:

  • Express ourselves through this reflective understanding
  • Choose to speak out and be heard considerately and appropriately (avoid blame)
  • Encourage two-way openness
  • Ok to disagree, assertiveness is about self-expression

CONGRUENCY:

  • Listen and respond to others point of view appropriately
  • Admit to mistakes and apologise if appropriate and helpful
  • Treat others as equal – I’m ok, You’re ok
  • Feel good about having activated the skill of assertiveness and understanding

Author: Jason Brennan, Wellbeing & Leadership Manager @ Wrkit

The workplace culture equation

Culture = Commitment + Convenience + Communication

It seems like such a simple equation, right? And the truth is, that maintaining a positive workplace culture really does come down to this simple equation. Putting it in place, however, is a different matter.

Researching and setting your goals, and then implementing a strategy to achieve your goals will require buy-in from literally everyone in your organisation. After all, the word culture is defined as ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular group of people’. In other words, a culture only exists because of the actions and attitudes of the people who create it.

Let’s look at the constituent parts of the culture equation individually;

Commitment

Commitment is not achieved at board level, although that is essential to the outcome. It simply begins there, where the directors and leaders of your organisation understand the value of a strong positive company culture and are prepared to invest in achieving it. Like all achievements though, it will take effort and persistence to make it happen;

Have a clear plan – a well-researched plan, with achievable goals is an absolute must. You will need to completely understand your existing organisational culture, warts and all. To create a thriving positive culture, you will first need to eliminate any negative elements, and that means finding them and acknowledging their existence. When it comes to planning something as complex as an entire culture, an ‘honesty first’ approach will serve you well.

Understand the elements of employee engagement – to truly create an environment where all employees are fully engaged, you must first embrace the elements that make up ‘engagement’. The five core elements that you will need to commit to are as follows;

  • Recognition of your employees’ achievements – make sure they know their roles and congratulate them for performing their role well. Do it often. Encourage employees to recognise each other. Make sure to remind everyone that this is an expected pat of their role
  • Professional & Personal Growth – almost all people want to know how they can develop, not only in their jobs, but also in their lives in general. Companies that provide the tools that allow this to happen will improve employee contentment. Put something in place for them.
  • Wellness (physical, mental & emotional) – it goes without saying that someone needs to be well enough to do their job. We are not talking about being ironman fit, or achieving spiritual zen, but we are talking about providing opportunities for employees to improve their physical, mental and emotional states, and encouraging them to take those opportunities. Everyone wins when they do.
  • Financial stability – employees need it. Just like your organisation needs to constantly balance the books to stay afloat, so do your employees. The problem is, very few people are trained to do so. So, train them. It seems obvious, right? The bottom line (no pun intended) is that your employees will feel pretty good when they are not in financial difficulty. Give them the tools and knowledge to help them achieve it.
  • Having a voice – so many people feel ignored at work. They believe, right or wrong, that they do not have a voice in their organisation. It simply makes them feel bad. Give them that voice. Find ways that they can contribute to the company, to the culture, to the business. Whether it is open sessions, meetings, surveys, or one to one feedback, show them know that their opinion is important.

And this is the most important thing to remember. You need to address all five core elements. Put it this way; imagine buying a gym membership and only working on your biceps. Sure, you might be able to lift heavy things, but you wouldn’t get fit by doing it.

A top-down approach is key – this part is simple. The leaders and senior management in your company must set the example in order to prove to everyone else that the company culture is precious to the organisation. Not only do they need to be actively participating in events organised, social nights, wellness days, or fitness initiatives, but they also need to constantly (and I do mean constantly) encourage others to participate. Your company culture will take time to mature, but it will require constant nurturing for it to thrive.

Convenience

Here are some interesting statistics;

  • 60% of employees do not use company sponsored benefits because they cannot find them.
    (Harvard Business Review)
  • 60% of employees will stay long term with an employer that shows an interest in their health
    (Irish Times)
  • Only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work
    (Gallup)

If the first statistic above improved, the second two would follow suit.

You absolutely must make any employee benefits, perks, information, or policies regarding your company culture available 24 / 7 / 365. Add them to your intranet, put posters up, distribute flyers, and send carrier pigeons if necessary. Just make sure absolutely every single person in your organisation knows where to find them.

Communication

Over-communicate the message. Tell your employees over and over about your company culture, how proud everyone in your organisation is to be creating a special place to work, about the tools you want them to use to help in that development, and about their role in maintaining and contributing to that culture.

Ask your marketing team about the ‘rule of seven’. They know that in order or your message to be absorbed, your customers need to see it seven times. The message about your company culture that gets delivered to your employees is no different.

The culture of your organisation will be built by your employees, and that message needs to be clear in everyone’s minds.

Your company culture is like a garden. It needs to be designed, planned and constructed. Most importantly though, it needs to be nurtured. If it is neglected, it will die. If it is nourished, it will blossom. If everyone understands the goals and everyone understands their roles, the workplace culture equation is easily understood too.

Author: Tom O’Driscoll, Founder, Product & Solutions Director @ Wrkit

Onboarding for success

The experience an employee has with an organisation during the onboarding phase can determine both their success in the role, and their attitude toward and engagement with the organisation in the long term. In a recent article Harvard Business Review cited research which has shown that by adopting a systematic approach to onboarding, managers can help bring employees up to speed 50% faster and position them to make positive contribution sooner. As the war for talent heightens, companies can no longer risk losing new hires just to an ineffective onboarding process.

The time between a candidate accepting the role and starting their job can be somewhat precarious, however it does present an opportunity for organisations to inspire engagement. Providing information snippets about the culture and values of the organisation, and what to expect from day one can help put a new hire at ease and generate excitement. Of course the onboarding basics of documentation, health and safety, technology etc. should be covered in the first days of an employee joining the company. After that, managers become an integral part of integrating new hires and are fundamentally become the drivers of successful onboarding.

While every organisational culture, manager and new hire is unique, there are certain things managers can do which will ultimately increase the engagement of new hires.

  • Be Empathetic: Joining a new organisation can be overwhelming for people. Trying to learn the new cultural norms, establish relationships and learn about the business and the industry can be challenging, even for the most experienced professionals. Research has shown that challenges which arise from lack of cultural fit and relationships are actually the most significant drivers of new hire turnover. Ensuring that new hires feel comfortable to ask questions as part of their learning journey will help to alleviate any level of uncertainty. Put yourself in their shoes, make sure you have an open door policy and connect your recent hire with other team members who might have insights and advice to offer.
  • Provide direction: goal setting is an important driver of performance for any employee (established or new). It is imperative that a new hire knows what they need to do, how they should go about doing it, and why they are doing it (how their job contributes to the overall company and team objectives). These aspects of the role will likely have been discussed during the interview process, but the likelihood is that the conversation could have occurred 4-6 weeks before the candidate begins the role, so it is extremely important to re-open this conversation in week one.
  • Seek out early wins: working with the new hire to focus on the core aspects of their new role can help guide them toward an early win and avoid the trap of taking on too much in order to prove themselves. Provide clarity on what constitutes a win. Recognising these contributions can help build the individuals confidence and credibility among their team members.
  • Coach rather than manage: the traditional manager role has evolved and the most successful teams are now led by those individuals who strive to empower their team for success through mentoring and coaching. Managers can help team members to recognise their strengths and opportunities for development, thus providing the necessary guidance to perform the roll to their best ability.
  • Include the new hire in everything: The odds are that any new hire will be working as part of a team, so it is important that they feel included. Make sure that new hires are quickly included in all of the normal day-to-day events in the organisation such as coffee breaks, lunch routines, post-work socialising, etc. The sooner a new hire feels comfortable in all aspects of their new environment, the better.

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

Why annual leave is good for business.

Summer is just around the corner and undoubtedly there will be many of your colleagues who have booked time off to enjoy holidays abroad or downtime at home throughout the year. However each year 40% of workers don’t take their full allocation of annual leave and over 30% will work while on holidays. There is an abundance of reasons why employees don’t use their well-earned days off but there are negative consequences to this pattern of behaviour.

For the individual, untaken leave equates to an increased risk of burnout. Time away from work, unplugged from the ecosystem of always on emailing and IM chatter is vital to allow the mind to recuperate. Just like labourers or professional athletes, thinking workers need an “off season” to rest and recharge. When the boundaries are pushed by long stints of time without a break, it results in increased stress, decreased morale, cynicism and disengagement, which translates into organisational level challenges including absenteeism and presenteeism.

Research has found that employees who take breaks in general (lunch breaks, walking breaks etc.) are more engaged and committed to their place of employment, with 81% of respondents having a strong desire to be an active member in their organisation. Holiday breaks yield a similar positive result. In a 2016 study of its own workforce, Ernest & Young  found that for every additional 10 hours of holidays taken by employees, performance metrics went up an average of 8%. 

While taking breaks can yield a more relaxed, creative and productive workforce there are often apprehensive employees who will worry about accumulated workload or the stress of planning a holiday. Organisations can help address these issues by providing services to assist in the holiday planning stages and by ensuring comprehensive policies and practices are in place to manage the holidaying employee’s workload in their absence. It can be beneficial to incentivise full use of annual leave days too.  For example, GE Healthcare give a fifth week of leave in the year following an employee using their full allocation of leave the previous year.  

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

From Annual Survey to Pulse: Are you ready for the switch?

Employee engagement is dynamic and difficult to influence. Historically, the annual survey has played an important role within organisations, helping mangers and leaders to understand the mood of their workforce from one year to the next. However, administering an annual survey to the entire workforce has its drawbacks. Due to the time and human resources required to analyse responses, compile legible reports and distribute insights, it can be such that by the time insights have been shared, the core engagement issues have changed. The lengthy process inevitably limits however much change HR and managers can influence.  

By embracing more frequent dialogue through Pulse surveys, HR can overcome many of the challenges associated with the annual survey. Frequent snapshots of the company mood give a deep understanding of the core engagement drivers and enable managers to more effectively influence change. Before making the switch from annual surveys to more frequent dialogue it is important to ask yourself the following:

  1. Is my company open to frequent and honest feedback?
  2. Is my company ready to strive for continuous improvement?
  3. What are my organisations core engagement drivers?
  4. Does my leadership team fully support the need for frequent dialogue?

Beginning the journey of change with these questions will help ensure an organisation is culturally ready for the new approach. Should there be one area where the answer is not a ‘yes’ then prioritise addressing this as a first step. For example, if your leadership team is hesitant to increase frequency, plan an in-depth education session. Present the facts and supporting evidence, pre-empt any issues and propose solutions. Use the sessions as an opportunity to identify your champions and leverage their influence to get those who are less convinced onboard and enthusiastic.


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

References:

https://hbr.org/2018/03/employee-surveys-are-still-one-of-the-best-ways-to-measure-engagement

Q&A: Social media recruiting


Welcome back to the third instalment of our Q&A with BidRecruit, the A.I. and automation driven recruitment software. In our earlier conversations we covered the latest recruitment trends, and the importance of candidate experience.

In this week’s chat with Susan Comyn, Marketing Manager of BidRecruit, we discuss the growing trend of companies using social media to recruit, its advantages and the importance of it for employer branding.

Q1. Why has social media recruitment become so popular?

Well, while 98% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, according to a Global Report by social talent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all job seekers are on LinkedIn. In fact, as companies move toward hiring a younger generation into their workforce, they need to be present and active where that workforce is, social media. This is not to take away from the importance of LinkedIn for employers, as according to the same Social Talent report it is still the top resource to source candidates. However, when creating a recruitment strategy other social media platforms should not be overlooked, particularly when considering the recruitment of passive candidates.

Q2. What are some of the benefits of social media recruitment?

Social media recruitment is an incredibly cost-effective way to get in front of the right audience: passive and active, in fact, a 2015 SHRM study found social recruiting to be 55% less expensive than other recruiting methods. By building up a positive employer brand on social media (more on that later), companies can leverage social channels for free, and with the addition of low cost, highly-targeted ads, there is a great opportunity to reach a large and relevant audience. Additionally, some other benefits include; candidate screening and reduced time-to-hire. Social networks can be used to screen a candidate depending on the channel you are using i.e. LinkedIn for experience & skillset, along with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for culture fit. HR teams can also communicate with candidates instantaneously, quickly establishing a candidate’s interest and availability, therefore potentially reducing time-to-hire significantly.

Q3. Ok, we’re sold on using social media to recruit, where do we start?

There are actually a few steps before you can utilise social media to recruit, and it doesn’t take place on social media! The first step is to create a company culture that not only your employees will love, but one that can be promoted on social media. We have lots of advice in our recent blog on ‘how to create a great company culture’. As we mention in the blog, 85% of employees say they are more likely to take initiative when they are happy at work, so outside of using company culture to attract candidates through social media, culture is a critical business investment.

Once you have established a great culture, a careers page should follow to positively demonstrate life within your organisation. According to LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Talent Trends report, 59% of job seekers go to a company’s website before applying for an open position (irrespective of where the position is posted), so be sure that the cultural message is accurately reflected on your website . The best way to achieve this is utilising your current employees. As Glassdoor reports, 90% of job seekers rely on the perspective of current employees when learning about an employer, so they are your best promotional asset. Ask employees to submit testimonials on their positive experiences working with your company, or go one better and film them speaking about the company and the culture, along with footage of a ‘day in the life’. All of this can then be directly promoted your careers page as well as social media.

Q4. Are there any other areas that you would recommend a company to focus on when promoting themselves on social media?

Focus on company values and aligning them to what your ideal candidates want from the company they are working for. Take wellness as an example, research by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation found that 60% of employees were more likely to stay at their job long-term if their employer showed concern for their wellness, while almost 50% said that they would leave a job if their employer did not. In a changing workforce pay packages aren’t enough, candidates want to know the company they will be working for has a genuine interest in them, both in and outside of working hours. Promote specific wellness benefits and post pictures of company wellness events on social media to demonstrate the organisations commitment to employee wellbeing. This will appeal to prospective candidates and give you the competitive edge over other companies.

The final piece of advice on the use of social media is that it is an ongoing commitment. Though it’s not a full time job, posting up a few pictures and leaving it idle or just posting up new positions can do more harm than good. There is a need to constantly engage with prospective candidates through content they will want to engage with. It pays to invest in social media to attract top talent.

BidRecruit offer lots of advice on smart recruiting, including more tips on utilising social media. Find out more on their blog or sign up for their monthly HR industry insights.

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

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