In the first few weeks companies were caught up in the flurry of activity, but as things have started to settle, many employers are beginning to question what impact remote working will have on employee engagement. Most organisations have likely brought their daily stand up meetings into the virtual space but there’s much more that can be done. The following tips will help companies engage their remote employees by creating a positive working culture that not only works during the pandemic, but also in the post-coronavirus world.
Create a distinction between home and workBuffer’s State of Remote Work report also shows that 22% of remote workers struggle with switching off from work, making it the top problem these employees face. Employers must help their team maintain good mental health by creating a separation between work and leisure time.
Take inspiration from others: Good-Loop has offered each employee £50 to spend on their home office, inspiring them to create a space that helps them to concentrate. Meanwhile, advertising agency Merkle has sent out printable artwork for their employees to bring some life to their virtual background. This is also helpful for managers who want to conduct a video interview for maximum impact.
RecognitionAccording to O.C Tanner’s 2020 Global Culture Report, company leaders see an 83% boost in engagement when they recognise their employees. For recognition to be effective, leaders must ensure they celebrate those big achievements whilst also showing appreciation for the small wins.
A learning cultureIsaac Newton achieved some of his greatest mathematical breakthroughs whilst in quarantine and the modern-day workforce also has the opportunity to unlock their stores of creativity during times of limited social interaction. Virtual classrooms and content co-creation tools like online whiteboards are just two options for boosting workplace learning during Covid-19. Here are some other methods:
- Initiate a ‘learning from home’ hour
- Internal learning sessions
- Involve external thought leaders
Use surveys and questionnairesThis is a dynamic way for organisations to engage their team because it empowers the employees to generate fresh ideas, mention pain points and state what helps them feel more involved in their work. This method receives bonus points because it saves companies the time of trialling and testing engagement practices that have worked for other organisations and skip right to applying practices that are personally suggested by their team.
It’s important to remember that what works for one employee or team may not for the next. Employee engagement organisation, Effectory, began surveying employees since the outbreak of coronavirus to gain insight into the new working pattern and what it means for productivity and wellbeing. The results show that 66% of the workforce are able to do their job effectively from home and though this is a majority it still leaves one in three people struggling with the new working culture.
Effectory have created a free Covid-19 Workforce Pulse survey which enables organisations to gain fast feedback on their employees’ engagement levels during the pandemic. The aggregated data from the survey shows that the top-performing companies all have one thing in common – they actively involve their employees.
Use values to cultivate a sense of communityInvolving employees in the decision-making process through questionnaires also creates a sense of community. To nurture this environment, employers should seek more ways of helping their teams feel connected, something that’s particularly important for remote workers with limited social interaction. Emphasising the company values will ensure that employees working remotely feel as though they are marching to the beat of the same drum whilst encouraging camaraderie.
To ensure their team feel connected and engaged, GitLab is hosting virtual coffee mornings. Boasting the world’s largest remote workforce, GitLab understands the importance of bringing colleagues together and promoting a shared sense of purpose. From e-birthday cards to online quizzes, there’s a lot that organisations can do to create a positive and inclusive virtual office culture.
Are you looking for advice that’s relevant and timely?Since our advent in 1988, Marks Sattin have gained the expertise and knowledge that enables us to source the very best talent for businesses at every level, from start-ups to global organisations. Our recruitment consultants are committed to staying on top of trends in their specialist markets meaning they're able to provide our clients with the most relevant advice. Contact us to find out how we can help you recruit the top talent in your industry or register a vacancy now.
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The past few months – and indeed, years – have demonstrated just how important diversity and inclusion are in modern society. Through the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, a light has been shone on the inequality and injustice that persists, not just in our day to day lives, but also in the workplace. We can no longer ignore how important diversity and inclusion are to businesses, nor can we expect things to get better without actively working to improve conditions and outcomes for everyone. And while promoting diversity and inclusion is absolutely the right thing to do for employees, there are also business benefits to doing so. What is diversity and inclusion? Diversity and inclusion aren’t just a priority for HR departments – it should be a key business strategy for all organisations. Workplace diversity can be defined as the understanding, acceptance and promotion of differences between people. This includes those of different genders, races, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities and religions, as well as people who have different educational, socioeconomic and experiential backgrounds. Meanwhile, inclusion is about creating a supportive and respectful work environment that values collaboration and participation of all employees, helping everyone to feel included. Together, diversity and inclusion make companies more welcoming, accessible and harmonious for everyone, not to mention more profitable and competitive. Why is diversity and inclusion important? First and foremost, diversity and inclusion are essential to make workplaces better for everyone. Purely from a compassionate perspective, it’s the right thing for employers to create environments where people feel comfortable to be themselves and can succeed without limitation. Commercially, diversity and inclusion have a significant number of benefits. Firstly, a strong focus on D&I can significantly widen the candidate talent pool , giving you access to more candidates who may be excluded by non-diverse hiring strategies. With 70% of job seekers looking for a company’s commitment to diversity when applying for new roles, it’s clear that you may be missing out on top talent if you neglect to address D&I in your organisation. On top of that, diverse organisations have better business results, higher employee satisfaction and are more innovative, according to Business in the Community . McKinsey research shows that executive teams in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those companies who perform poorly in terms of executive-level gender diversity. This figure jumps to 36% when analysing teams with ethnic diversity. Diverse teams have also been proven to be more innovative, solve problems faster and have more engaged employees. Small steps to move the dial on D&I in your organisation The current emphasis on working from home presents a key opportunity for employers to rethink their D&I hiring strategies, with current conditions potentially opening up more flexible, part-time opportunities for those who may not have otherwise been able to commit to a 9-5 office job. To welcome more working parents and caregivers, disabled people and those with neurodiversity requirements, consider whether vacancies could be flexible, remote working or on part-time hours. Now is the perfect time to rethink your workspace and how it can be made more accessible to more people. A dedicated diversity and inclusion policy, taskforce or officer can help to highlight its importance within your business. You could perform a D&I audit, examining the levels of diversity that exist within the company and specifically at the executive level, and set goals to achieve a more balanced, inclusive environment within a certain time period. Have open conversations with your team members about D&I and ask them what would make them – and new team members – feel more welcomed. It’s also important to acknowledge the diversity that already exists in your company, such as by celebrating different cultural and religious events, greeting bilingual employees in their mother tongue or inviting families into work. Finally, while diversity and inclusion should be championed at the very highest levels of your business, it’s crucial that every single team member feels safe to contribute to these discussions and voice their opinions and stories. Prepare to tackle some difficult topics and be questioned. While subjects like the gender pay gap, lack of executive-level diversity and opportunities for progression can feel difficult to address, they are important conversations that need to be had in the process of making real change. Marks Sattin can help to diversify your talent pool. By partnering with a specialist recruitment agency which has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion , you’ll benefit from having access to more candidates and guidance on how to actively recruit from diverse talent pools. At Marks Sattin, we can help you identify, attract and retain exceptional people across financial services, technology, change management and more. Contact us here to have a chat about how we can work together.
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Employees in the United Kingdom can be categorised as full-time, part-time, casual, freelance and contract workers, with the self-employed bracket now making up 15% of the entire working population. The number of self-employed workers jumped from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, with a corresponding fall in the unemployment rate showing the overall boost in jobs growth from the rise in self-employment. However, the attractive market for freelancers and contractors has been hit with some uncertainty in recent times, thanks largely to the 2018 Autumn Budget’s announcement of IR35 tax reforms. Here’s what the new IR35 rules could mean for you and your business: What is IR35? IR35 is a piece of legislation originally introduced to the UK in 1999. Its purpose is to differentiate between those workers who operate as genuine contractors and those who work as ‘disguised’ employees to avoid paying tax. It came about to challenge contractors who were taking advantage of the tax efficiencies of working through a limited company, with the aim of defending both the Exchequer from lost taxes and protecting workers’ rights from unscrupulous employees. However, the IR35 has proven to be ambiguous for many, with some contractors taking advantage of loopholes and a lack of clarity. Hence, the new IR35 rules aim to tighten up the contractor market and ensure tax avoidance loopholes are closed. How does IR35 work? There are three principles that can help to determine employment status and whether a contractor falls inside or outside IR35: Control (the degree of control the client has over the work a contractor does and how and when they do it) Substitution (whether the worker needs to do the work themselves or if they could send a substitute in their place) Mutuality of obligation (whether the employer is obliged to offer work and the contractor is obliged to accept it). Additionally, the contract type, provision of equipment and whether a worker is “part and parcel” of a business can all help to determine whether someone falls inside or outside IR35. The change in IR35 rules shifts the responsibility to determine tax status away from the contractor and onto the business that takes them on. Until now, contractors have been able to self-determine their status, however as of April 2020, when the new rules come into effect for the private sector, companies will risk being fined if they don’t make the correct assessment. How will IR35 impact contract workers? It’s anticipated that many contract workers who have been enjoying the tax benefits of working outside IR35 will fall under the legislation when employers are tasked with determining their status. This will see more contractors having tax and National Insurance contributions deducted from their pay. However, if you operate as a legitimate small business and are determined to work outside of IR35, you will not be affected by the rule changes. How will IR35 impact employers? The major change for businesses is that they will now be responsible for determining the IR35 status of any contractor working for the company. The new rules will only apply to medium and large sized businesses, so contractors who work for small businesses can continue to set their own IR35 statuses. Those businesses that the IR35 rule changes do apply to will face paying back taxes and fines should they be found to be noncompliant. What should I do to prepare for IR35? Contractors may wish to speak to an accountant or personal finance expert to determine whether IR35 will impact them and if a move to permanent work may prove to be more beneficial after the rules come into effect. For many, contracting will remain appealing regardless of increased tax responsibilities, however it’s important to factor in any change in income that IR35 may bring about. Businesses are being warned not to make blanket assessments that cover all their contractors, as this can leave workers without a fair assessment and risk them paying unnecessary taxes without equivalent employment rights. Instead, businesses should consider IR35 status on a case-by-case basis or they may risk losing out on top talent. The HMRC has released a consultation document for businesses to prepare for the IR35 changes, recommending identifying and reviewing current contract workforce status and putting processes in place for taking on new workers. At Marks Sattin, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of all industry legislation, updates and changes that affect our candidates and clients. Speak with us about how we can help you. References: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44887623 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/trendsinselfemploymentintheuk/2018-02-07 https://www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/what_is_ir35.aspx https://www.axa.co.uk/business-insurance/business-guardian-angel/how-ir35-changes-will-affect-freelancers-and-self-employed-contractors/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ir35-rules/new-contractor-tax/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ir35-rules/how-will-new-rules-impact-business/ HMRC consultation document
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Restructuring, rebuilding and transforming are high on everyone’s agenda and will continue to be, especially when considering further lockdown restrictions being put in place across the UK and Ireland. The current crisis has put extreme pressure on cash flow, workflow and staffing, pushing decision makers to make tough calls to plan for the future. While some organisations may be able to restructure and redeploy teams to other areas of the business, there are lots that will need to become more lean in order to weather the storm and arise from this challenge in a strong position. It’s crucial that any employee transition is managed in the right way so you can minimise business disruption, ensure employees leave with dignity and respect and re-assure remaining employees, helping you protect your employer brand and reputation and put you in a strong position for when you are looking to hire again in the future. . On this note, our sister company, Intoo UK and Ireland specialise in outplacement solutions and can offer advice and support. They have produced a guide called ‘Supporting your organisation through change and redundancy’, which provides useful information and support to HR or managerial teams responsible for leading change and managing the redundancy process. It works as a roadmap for employers to implement change in a way that minimises business disruption and, most importantly, protects employee wellbeing. You can download Intoo’s guide here. The guide covers:Assessing the need for redundanciesCommunicating changeThe redundancy process (including; preparation, evaluation criteria, consultation and legislation)Career transition support