HR teams admit fault for why most new hires aren’t working out

Most human resource departments across the planet are feeling deep buyer’s remorse, according to new research.

Thomas International, a talent assessment platform provider, surveyed 900 HR professionals globally and found nearly two-thirds (60%) of new hires are not working out. And the majority of respondents blamed themselves for effectively taking shortcuts that turned out to be dead ends.

Nearly half (49%) of hiring managers said recruits were unsuccessful because of a “poor fit between the candidate and the role,” and 74% admitted to compromising candidate quality due to time pressures in response to the Great Resignation and a tight labor market.

It seems that this post-job-move remorse hasn’t just been a burden on HR teams, but the new hires themselves. “We see a higher level of regretted choices because things have not worked out the way the candidate had hoped,” said Piers Hudson, senior director of Gartner’s HR functional strategy and management research team, referencing trends his organization’s proprietary data has highlighted.

However, he added that overall, there has been an “elevation in expectations,” particularly among younger generations, that employers are finding it difficult to live up to.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in November 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Cost-of-living worries prompt workers to seek higher-paid jobs

Sorry kids, Santa’s sack might not be so full this year. According to new research, an alarming 88% of U.K. workers are unsure whether their current role can sustain them financially during this economically uncertain period.

Further, productivity platform ClickUp’s study, published in late November, calculated that 26% of Britain-based employees are planning to switch jobs because of the cost-of-living crisis — inflation hit 11.1% in October, a 41-year high — and the desperate need to earn more money.

“With the highest inflation rate among the G7 countries [consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K and the U.S.], there’s no doubt almost every working family in the U.K. is feeling the pinch,” said Alan Bradstock, a senior insolvency practitioner at Accura Accountants in London. “Many have no choice but to seek higher paid work.”

Citizens Advice, a U.K. charity, said the number of employed people seeking crisis support between July and September jumped 150% compared to the same three-month span two years ago. “Every day, our advisers hear stories of people skipping meals, going without essentials, and then coming to us when they simply can’t cut back anymore,” said Morgan Wild, the charity’s head of policy. “This cannot continue.”

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in November 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

‘It’s a future that’s upon us’: Will robots ever have the top jobs?

How would you feel about having a robot boss? And not just a line manager but the head honcho of the company.

You might think this is an idle, hypothetical question. Indeed, back in 2017, then-Alibaba CEO Jack Ma stated we are mere decades from having robots at the helm of organizations. He predicted that by 2047, a robot CEO would make the cover of Time magazine.

And yet, those provocative guesstimates from five years ago now look generous. In late August, the world’s first artificial intelligence-powered, humanoid robot CEO, called Mika, was appointed to the top job at Dictador, a luxury rum company.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How fair are employers really being about pay raises during the cost-of-living crisis?

You’d think the resignation of U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss would have sent shockwaves of relief across the country. Perhaps it did in some ways, but the scorched earth she left behind, as a result of her cabinet’s hasty economic decisions, has U.K. public morale at an all-time low.

With inflation at a 40-year high and employees mired in a cost-of-living crisis that looks set to deepen, financial anxiety is sky-high. The worries pile up — including that some may not be able to afford their mortgage this time next year, due to the latest changes made by the Bank of England in response to the disastrous “mini budget. It’s clear we’re in for a shaky recovery.

A new Indeed and YouGov survey of 2,500 U.K. workers reaffirmed this. It showed 52% don’t think they are currently being paid enough to weather the current cost-of-living crisis. And that has a direct correlation to employees feeling undervalued, found the same report. Notably, healthcare and medical staff were most likely to feel underpaid (64%). Next on the list of unhappy workers were those who work in hospitality and leisure (61%) and legal (58%) industries.

To boost bank balances, 13% of those surveyed asked their employers for a pay raise. However, despite the real-earning squeeze, 61% of those who requested an increase either received less than they wanted or nothing at all. Little wonder that overall, 9% had applied for a new role, while others have resorted to taking on additional jobs.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Time to break the stereotypes about Gen Z attitudes to work

Organizations are over-relying on stereotypes to try and understand what makes them tick in the scramble to attract and retain the best young talent.

Sure, Generation Zers have unique perspectives on careers and how to succeed in the workforce that differs from previous generations, but in the race to better understand an entire generation, important details are falling through the cracks.

For instance, Gen Z bore the brunt of the criticism for harboring so-called lazy work ethics like “quiet quitting.” But that falls short of the full truth, talent execs have asserted.

Meanwhile, new research has emerged that disproves another myth: that Gen Zers don’t want to work in an office, ever. It turns out a large proportion does want to experience in-person workplace environments. Indeed, 72% of 4,000 U.K. Gen Zers said they want to be in the office between three and five days a week, according to research published in September by Bright Network, a graduate careers and employment firm.

The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Is long-term employee retention a losing battle?

Is the concept of a job for life dead?

The mass reassessment of careers people have undergone over the past few years – described by many as the Great Resignation, by others as the Great Reshufffle – is showing no signs of calming down. In fact, in the U.K., the trend seems to be accelerating.

More than 6.5 million people (20% of the U.K. workforce) are expected to quit their job in the next 12 months, according to estimates from the Charted Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which published the data in June after surveying more than 6,000 workers. That’s up from 2021, when 16% of the U.K. workforce said they plan to quit within a year, according to the CIPD. Meanwhile, in March Microsoft’s global Work Trend Index found that 52% of Gen Zers and Millennials — the two generations that represent the vast majority of the workforce — were likely to consider changing jobs within the following year.

Tania Garrett, chief people officer at Unit4, a global cloud software provider for services companies, argued that it is time for organizations to get real — they are no longer recruiting people for the long term. Instead, they should embrace this reality, and stop creating rewards that encourage more extended service from employees. 

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Amid economic turmoil, HR budgets are under threat

As the specter of a global financial crash looms, businesses are pruning budgets, and human resources departments are first in line for the chop, according to new research by HR software company Personio.

More than half (55%) of HR managers have either had their budgets slashed already, or expect them to be cut in the coming months, according to the report, which surveyed 500 HR professionals and 1,000 workers in the U.K. and Ireland. Fifty-two percent of the respondents said they’re used to their department’s budget being the first to get trimmed when businesses tighten their belts.

But this approach is wrongheaded and will have lasting ramifications, argued Ross Seychell, Personio’s chief people officer. “HR should be even more of a priority now, not less,” he said.

That’s because areas typically within the HR remit — like company culture and employee experience — are more important than ever, as organizations continue to battle to get people into the office and ensure the experience is worthwhile when they do. All at a time when talent retention is just as vital.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in October 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How to ask for a raise amid a cost-of-living crisis

Asking the boss for a raise can be awkward at the best of times.

As the cost-of-living crisis deepens in the U.K. and U.S. and company purse strings are pulled tight, it’s arguably even more difficult. However, given the perilous state of the economy, it’s critical to pluck up the courage to discuss a pay bump.

The temptation might be to blunder into an informal chat, but that could come across as desperate. Instead, a better strategy is to prepare well to effectively make your business case.

Below are some tried and tested expert tips to help those seeking a raise seal the deal.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in July 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

How companies are attempting to tackle diversity ‘blind spots’ at the hiring stage

In an attempt to root out all biases – conscious or unconscious – at the hiring stage, more organizations are overhauling their recruitment processes.

For many, that’s meant stripping their recruitment methods to the bare bones and examining everything from how language in job ads can influence who applies, to improving interview questions so they focus on a person’s aptitude and skill, rather than background and experience.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in July 2022 – to read the complete piece please click HERE.

Boomerang employees trend continues to grow, but is a returning worker a good idea long-term?

According to LinkedIn, boomerang employees accounted for 5% – 1.4 million people – of all new hires in 2021 in the U.K., a record high. The professional social media platform also contributed to this trend, with nearly 150 returning employees between September 2021 and February 2022.

It is a good idea for businesses to take a supportive and pragmatic approach, believes James Lloyd-Townshend, CEO and chairman of Frank Recruitment Group. Mainly because the workforce “is far more fluid now” compared to a decade ago, and the average length of service has reduced.

“There’s also far less of an ‘us’ and ‘them’ relationship between employer and employee today,” he said. “The dream scenario as an organization is for everyone leaving you to be welcome back at any stage in their career, and boomerang hires are just evidence of that attitude translating into practice.”

Glassdoor research published in 2020 calculated that the average U.K. employer spends around £3,000 ($3,688) per new hire, and the process takes approximately 28 days.

The price to pay for a wrong candidate is significantly higher, though. The U.S Department of Labor warns that a misfit will cost the business up to 30% of the employee’s wages for the first year. Others argue that the figure is significantly higher when training and supervision are factored in.

A Harris Poll research, published by USA Today in March, indicates the Great Resignation triggered during the pandemic has proved to be not so great for a high majority of movers. Indeed, just 26% of job switchers quizzed say they like their new position enough to stay.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in June 2022 – to read the complete piece please click HERE.

Why more companies are sending new hires straight to the metaverse for improved onboarding

What will you learn on your first day at work in the metaverse? 

This year, some 150,000 joiners will begin their careers at Accenture in the company’s virtual campus, called the Nth Floor, according to Allison Horn, the company’s executive director of global talent, based in Washington DC.

The Nth Floor is where new hires and existing Accenture staff “can have a more immersive experience for learning and networking,” said Jon Ayres, U.K. managing director for talent and organization at the company. It is one of a growing list of examples showcasing how employers are using pioneering technology to attract and retain top talent. 

Given the tussle for top talent and the need for greater connection with colleagues in the age of hybrid working, Ayres predicts that companies will “experiment with new technology so employees can collaborate in a more meaningful way, which will advance the virtual working tools used widely today.” His statement is supported by new McKinsey research, published mid-June, which calculates metaverse spending will hit $5 trillion by 2030.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in June 2022 – to read the complete piece please click HERE.

Flexibility is key to recruitment – and keeping your staff

Fallout from Brexit and the pandemic has led to more vacancies than applicants, but paying extra is not a long-term option

When the Office for National Statistics published its latest job vacancies data this week, it exposed the post-pandemic recruitment challenges facing most businesses. The number of unfilled positions in the UK increased by 20,000 between March and May to a record 1.3 million, while in the three months from February to April the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 per cent, the lowest since 1974.

“For the first time since records began there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies,” said Jack Kennedy, a UK economist at the job-listing platform Indeed. “That marks a dramatic turnaround from last summer when there were four unemployed people per vacancy. It also highlights the extreme tightness of the labour market, which has been fuelling hiring difficulties across many sectors.”

Cleaning, construction, warehouse, manufacturing and hospitality roles are all receiving lower interest levels on average than before the pandemic, he added. Brexit is exacerbating the challenges for sectors that relied on workers from the European Union.

The lack of flexible working in these roles, in comparison with desk-based jobs, is another factor, as is the number of people opting for early retirement.

The pandemic “put the brakes on decades of improvement” in employment rates among those in their fifties and sixties, said Ian Nicholas, the global managing director at the employment agency Reed. “The number of people in this age group who are not even looking for work has risen by 228,000,” he said, adding that companies should encourage older staff to stay in work to share knowledge and engage with younger members of the workforce.

This article was first published in The Times in June 2022 – to read the complete piece please click HERE (note: it is behind a paywall).

How switching to a 4-day week solved challenger bank Atom’s talent shortage

Six months ago, challenger bank Atom was in a tight spot: its growth tear was being stunted by a major talent shortage.

The company had 70 unfilled job vacancies and, in a tight labor market, was struggling to find the best talent to fill them.

To boost its visibility as a great place to work and attract top talent, Atom’s U.K.-based leadership decided to take the plunge and trial a four-day week, to see if it boosted the volume of candidates applying.

It worked. The company had a 500% increase in applications for open roles, according to Atom’s chief people officer Anne-Marie Lister.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in June 2022 – to read the complete piece please click HERE.

Why the U.K. is becoming a forerunner for a ‘worrying recruitment trend’

While all countries have to deal with the pandemic-induced change in the job market, Ian Nicholas, global managing director at employment agency Reed, believes that Brexit is an aggravating factor and means that the U.K. is a forerunner of a worrying recruitment trend. 

The break from the European Union has led to an “exodus” of lower-paid workers, with many industries – including construction, cleaning, manufacturing and hospitality – struggling to fill the vacancies, he added.

The deepening cost-of-living crisis is likely to make recruitment even more challenging. And it might mean organizations move abroad, Nicholas argues. “There must be a danger that some companies could relocate if they feel that they cannot attract and retain talent within the U.K. at remuneration levels that maintain their commercial competitiveness,” he said. 

While business relocation is probably not currently front of mind for most leaders in the U.K., there are signs that other less extreme contingency plans and innovative recruitment schemes are on the agenda.

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in June 2022 – to read the complete piece please click HERE.

Insurance shakes off its ‘boring uncle’ persona

Technological innovation is the driving force behind the insurance sector’s need to transform its lacklustre reputation, with digital know-how and empathy now topping the list of skills staff need to better serve customers

Unfairly or not, the insurance industry has long endured a reputation for being dull. And it has – so the sneering logic goes – attracted similarly uninspiring people. A 2016 Spectator article, in which it was labelled “the boring uncle of the financial services family”, encapsulated the general attitude. 

In the six years since its publication, though, the insurance industry has been forced to undergo a seismic transformation. As a result, it appears to be breaking free from its avuncular cocoon.

The insurance market has been heavily disrupted following decades – if not centuries – of sticking to the same old business model and broadly similar products. The threats posed to traditional approaches by innovative insurtechs (technology innovators within the insurance sector), allied with the need to provide cover for a rapidly expanding range of emerging tech-related risks, has shaken the boring uncle from his lethargy. 

Growing risks faced by the industry include cybercrime, autonomous vehicles and data privacy. Lob in a potential Third World War, climate change, Brexit and coronavirus, and suddenly, insurance is a hugely topical and exciting industry in which to work. 

Many acknowledge, however, that Matrix-style speed-learning may be necessary to keep pace with the change.

Indeed, 30% of 975 Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) members admit that, in 2022, “gaining the right skills and knowledge to best serve customers is the biggest challenge they face”. 

Chief customer officer Gill White says CII research, published in late January, found that insurance professionals “recognise they need a combination of technical knowledge, skills and behaviour to secure the trust of the customer and help them improve their financial resilience”. 

Insurance staff require specialist knowledge and empathy 

Those looking to excel in an insurance career require “a comprehensive understanding of our sector: its fundamental principles, its market and products, and the laws and regulations that govern it,” she advises. 

And more than ever, leading candidates “need specialist knowledge to provide expertise, especially when technology is reducing the administrative burden, speeding up processing, and freeing up time to focus on more holistic advice and support”.

White adds: “Our challenge, as insurance professionals, is not just to understand the risk – and how products and services can transfer, mitigate or manage it – but to apply the right behavioural skill set to innovate quickly and apply the right solutions.”

The ability to think as if you are a customer and put their needs at the forefront of every decision you make is crucial to our success

And that’s the crucial point: acute situations require empathy. Those armed with compassion, knowledge and the technical ability to use real-time data to offer insights and the best deals will put the customer at ease.

To stand out in an increasingly crowded insurance market, Cardiff-based Admiral Group, founded in 1993, recruits staff who can follow its “customer-first” philosophy, be sensitive to their needs and use technology to inform interactions.

“As an insurer, we deal with serious incidents and distressing circumstances, so our agents, empowered by the data at their fingertips, provide exceptional customer service,” says UK chief information officer Alan Patefield-Smith. “It’s not about the system or the data; there has to be a human element to understand the customer need.”

In insurance, trust is a must

The events of the past two years have altered what customers prioritise from insurers, he says, with trust now “the number-one facet, above price, for the first time”. 

Patefield-Smith identifies a “holy trinity” that can help to foster customer trust. “It’s about surfacing the right data, then presenting the data to the agent at the right time and the agent having the right philosophy.”

Notably, Admiral Group, which has more than 11,000 employees, is the only company to have been named one of the Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For every year since the list began in 2001. With 87% of staff reporting that it’s a “great place to work”, the company has few issues attracting top talent. But to retain workers, investment has been poured into development programmes to build career paths “with mobility at the core”.

Traditional insurers, such as Admiral Group, must compete for talent with innovative insurtechs seeking to scale at speed, and with a start-up approach that may appeal to younger generations. Anthony Beilin, co-founder and CEO of Collective Benefits, an insurtech company launched in 2019 to build a safety net of cover for freelancers and gig-economy operators, says he wants to employ “creative problem solvers”.

“The ability to think as if you are a customer and put their needs at the forefront of every decision you make is crucial to our success,” he says. “Ultimately, this requires a blend of a smart, forward-thinking mindset and compassion – skills you may not originally consider when applying for a job in the insurance sector. These softer skills, as well as a firm grasp of the fundamentals of insurance, are vital for career success.”

Seeking creative problem solvers

Beilin urges traditional and insurtech employers to “use the evolution of customer needs and changing markets to think out of the box” in terms of insurance products and developing skills. “It is time to accept that the tried-and-tested methods are not an effective way to attract emerging talents or to close the widening knowledge gap,” he continues.

“For instance, we’d like to see more companies avoid the standard ritual of sending employees on a traditional training course and explore new learning avenues – such as internships with tech companies and trialling new courses to increase understanding of digital-user experiences.” 

Encouraging employees to extend their understanding of how non-traditional sectors create modernised user experiences enables them to develop new skills and gain technical knowledge of the industry, he adds. 

White agrees. To those considering a career in the industry, she says: “If you want to make a massive difference to people’s lives, enter the insurance profession. By deepening your knowledge and enhancing your skill set, you can build a highly rewarding career shaped around your talents and pursue an extensive range of paths throughout your working life.”

Boring uncles need not apply. 

This article was first published in Raconteur’s Future of Insurance report in March 2022

The war for talent is raging: Here’s how to make your LinkedIn profile sparkle

Some call it the Great Resignation. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with almost 800 million users, labels it the Great Reshuffle. Whichever phrase you use, it’s clear: the war for talent is raging like never before. More people than ever, spurred by the coronavirus crisis, are seeking to change their course of life, which translates to curriculum vitae in Latin, fittingly.

“We are experiencing unprecedented change when it comes to work,” Charlotte Davies, careers expert at LinkedIn, told WorkLife. “The coronavirus crisis has driven people to consider what they truly want from work and life. Because of this, companies are rethinking their entire working models, culture, and values.”

While employers must do more to attract and retain skilled workers, employees should update and polish their resumés. That said — perhaps it’s more worthwhile to buff one’s LinkedIn profile, given that research from last April suggests a person is hired via the platform every 15 seconds. 

This article was first published on DigiDay’s WorkLife platform in January 2022 – to continue reading please click here.

Meet Homeboy Industries: the California not-for-profit providing jobs to former gang members and incarcerated people

Jose Guevara — aka Manny — has been incarcerated five times and in all, has served about 25 years. However, in recent years, Guevara, now 62, has steered clear of trouble, which he credits to his employer, Homeboy Electronics Recycling, where he works as a long-haul driver. 

“I’m the main driver of the big truck,” he says with a grin. “I’ve been to Utah, San Francisco, and Sacramento, and I love that this company trusts me with its truck and merchandise. We are growing, and I’m so proud to be part of it. Without my work here, there is a high chance I would be back in prison right now.”

This article was first published on DigiDay’s WorkLife platform in December 2021 – to continue reading please click here.

‘There are now a lot more boxes a role needs to tick’: Recruiters share how post-pandemic job expectations have changed

The coronavirus crisis has triggered the so-called “great resignation,” with workers ditching and shifting their jobs in record numbers. But as the war for top talent rages on, spare a thought for the recruiters, and human resources professionals tasked with attracting and retaining the best in the business — all remotely.  

It’s been a transformative 20 months for everyone, and recruiters have had an arduous time matching employees’ newfound job expectations with the right employer, amid skills shortages.

In the U.K., recent research from HR tech firm Employment Hero revealed 77% of millennials are actively looking for fresh starts and predicts that 2.5 million executives and managers will quit within the next six months. Replacing them collectively cost businesses £34 billion ($47 billion), according to the same report.

Meanwhile, 63% of U.K. business leaders are struggling with recruitment as candidates lack specialist skills and experience, particularly in digital and tech, according to The Open University’s annual Business Barometer 2021 report, published in October. And 24% of employers said this skills shortage will be the biggest challenge facing businesses in the next five years.

“On the plus side, we are also seeing optimism around the potential for remote working to fill skills gaps and an appreciation of the role of apprenticeships to train tomorrow’s workers,” said Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, co-publishers of the study.

Dropbox’s director of international HR, Laura Ryan, also focuses on the positive changes sparked by the pandemic fallout. “A huge benefit of remote work is the ability to widen your talent pool by being able to recruit the right people regardless of their location,” she said. “The time delay of scheduling and completing our onsite interviews has reduced by 70% since running the processes virtually.” 

On the eve of the pandemic, in December 2019, customer relationship management company HubSpot was crowned Glassdoor’s Best Place to Work in the U.S. However, the organization has not lounged on its laurels. In 2020 it was one of the first businesses to overhaul its approach and go fully remote and has committed to a long-term plan to improve staff well-being. 

Benefits offered in the hope that employees stay happy, and avoid burnout, include three months working anywhere in the world HubSpot is based, unlimited vacation and financial contributions to continue education.

Becky McCullough, HubSpot’s vp of global recruiting, who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, notes the shift to remote working has significantly diversified the talent pool and urges recruiters to dive in — particularly those in the tech space. 

“Candidate location played a huge part in the hiring process before the pandemic, with the technology industry being largely dominated by big cities globally,” she said, noting that just five urban areas accounted for 90% of all U.S. high-tech job growth between 2005 and 2017. “This not only contributed to income inequality, but it made opportunities for talent from smaller, more rural communities much harder to source.”

This insight chimes with Zoë Morris, president of Frank Recruitment Group, which operates in over 20 offices worldwide and snares talent for technology giants including Microsoft, Salesforce and Amazon Web Services. “The most prominent way that recruitment has changed is that recruiters now have to focus on a number of new priorities to match their clients with the perfect role,” she said. “This makes recruitment much trickier as there are now a lot more boxes a role needs to tick, particularly in relation to flexible working and perks being offered.”

Granted, the balance of power has swung away from the employer and towards the employee, but various studies —including from management consultancy McKinsey—indicate the highest bidder no longer triumphs, with increasingly more workers favoring purpose and aligned values over a bump in cold, hard cash.

Therefore, those in charge of businesses have a pivotal role. “Empathy and authenticity are now essential characteristics for leaders who want to create true community and a more inclusive culture — and in doing so attract and retain talent,” said Nazir Ul-Ghani, head of Workplace from Facebook in EMEA. He points to his company’s research that shows 58% of U.K. employees would consider walking away from their jobs if they felt unsupported.  

McCullough believes mobility alongside diversity, inclusion and belonging have become critical to attracting and retaining talent and enriching culture. The recruitment firms that can be adaptable and flexible will be the winners in this post-pandemic world, she believes.

“Whether it’s exploring hybrid work setups, sourcing into new talent pools, or overhauling the interview process, recruitment teams are truly challenging conventional thinking on what makes a great candidate experience and how to ensure the culture and the mission comes to life in the process,” she added.

This article was first published by Digiday as part of its Future of Work series in October 2021