Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Don't let Facebook cost you a job

The majority of us have been there- you receive a friend request on Facebook, you accept and then have a sneaky look on your new ‘friend’s’ profile- only to find an array of personal photographs.

Yes, pictures of people cuddling their pets or posing outside some tourist hot spot may be sweet or interesting, but it is when you scroll around and come across pictures showing what fun they had last Saturday, that social media sites start becoming dangerous.

It is known that a lot of potential employers do screen Google to see what comes up about candidates and if there are inappropriate and unprofessional pictures that can be easily found of you, then chances are that they would much rather see someone who, as a potential representative of their company, cannot easily be found downing tequila shots.

As great as social media is, it can have a very negative effect if not monitored properly and the basic rules apply to anyone who is
  • Applying for a job
  • Has a job and wants to keep it

Yes, just because you are employed, it doesn’t mean you are safe. It is often the simple slip ups that can often harm people in this situation- a comment from a friend about whether or not do you still hate your job, or the mention that you are looking to move away etc. It might sound simple but you would not believe the amount of people who lose their jobs due to slanderous posts they put up on Twitter and Facebook etc. Yes, we all have bad days at work, we are all human- but have a little moan to your spouse or best friend- do not spread the message on cyber space for all to see.

In the short space of time that I have been working, I have known of a couple of people at least who have lost their jobs because of such silly mistakes.

What one person finds to be acceptable can differ from another, and for this it can be hard to work out what you should and should not leave on your social media profiles, but Google your name now- make sure that there is nothing lurking around there that you don’t want to be seen, or something that others may find inappropriate.

A picture of you enjoying a nice meal out is fine...it’s just what happens when you are onto the third bar after that isn’t.

Internet Marketing Consultant

Exclusive: Recruitment & HR Consultancy
Newcastle, Leeds & Aberdeen

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The performance appraisal is dead, long live the performance appraisal

Are you still doing performance appraisals the way you did them five years ago? Do your people still treat it as a box-ticking exercise? Then stop. Stop right now, because you’re not only failing to engage employees in the performance management process, you’re creating resentment, and an image that you are both stuck in the past and in an ivory tower.
There was a survey carried out in the US recently which revealed that 98% of employees find annual performance reviews unnecessary. A quarter of them were HR professionals. Over here in the UK, half of public sector workers and one third of business leaders describe appraisals as “a box-ticking exercise”, and a recent report claimed that performance management is “an administrative procedure”.

So – on the one hand we talk about “getting rid of red tape” and we install Self Service to “reduce administration”, but we introduce complicated performance management procedures that are perceived as more administration, and therefore of no value whatsoever to our people. Are we not shooting ourselves in the feet?

How, then, can we revive the performance management process, and instil some excitement, some desire, some engagement with it? How can we take the initial aims of performance management (filling internal vacancies, aligning objectives to targets, motivating people) and actually ACHIEVE them? Well, let’s go back to the start.

What’s in it for me?

Think of this from an employee perspective: you have to spend time preparing for the performance management meeting, you have to fill in some forms, or go through an elaborate, complicated online process of filling in fields and approving this, that and the other. There’s an element of frustration, of confusion, and a feeling of “well, I could be doing something more valuable with my time, such as work!”

So what’s in it for me? The problem with performance management is that we’re not SELLING it. We’re not conveying why it’s worthwhile, and we’re not giving enough good reasons why we should be doing it. We’re putting it across as an administrative task, and there’s no value proposition involved here. Talk to Marketing, they know about these things. Get your marketing team involved and ask them how to better get this across.

The performance management process is there to help employees. It’s there to say “you have a career, we’re here to help you achieve that”. Performance management gives people milestones to achieve, and line managers are there to ensure that people achieve them. It doesn’t just need to be aligned to company values and objectives, it needs to be aligned to personal objectives and incentives. What’s in it for me? An incentive that, if I achieve x, y and z, I will receive a, b and c.

Who’s judging who?

Is performance management a judgement or an assessment? There is a feeling in many quarters that it is the former, not the latter, and this is wrong. Performance management should be principally about self assessment, and the line manager’s skill is in coaxing the employee to assess him or herself fairly.

Equally, the one-to-one aspect might work from a confidential point of view, but 360-degree feedback is often ignored, and can be of significant value. Peer-to-peer assessment could be the next big thing. We listen to our peers, we seek out their advice – why not build that into the performance management process and motivate people further?

How is this relevant to my life?

Why should performance management always be about the business? Why should everything be tied into company goals all the time? It makes performance management sound as if it’s an obligation, something that someone in an ivory tower dreamt up to keep everyone in line.

If we’re going to achieve buy-in to performance management, we have to loosen the reins a little and make it relevant to our employees’ lives. If someone in Finance really wants to improve their writing skills, why shouldn’t they be able to discuss this in performance management? If someone in sales wants to better understand how HR works, why not set out a programme of mentoring, buddying and learning so that they can achieve these personal goals? So what if they’re not tied directly to your company objectives and values.

How can integrate these processes into our day-to-day lives?

Too often, we limit performance management to pre-Christmas (or post-Christmas if we’re too busy, which is often the case), and forget about it for the rest of the year. We see it as a major event, one that has to be rolled out months in advance with detailed communications.

That’s lazy. We need to integrate it into every week and every month of our working lives. Even if it’s training a line manager to ask, in a one-to-one meeting, how everything is going, or to build performance management into everyday tools such as Outlook, it’s for us to decide, and for us to lead it.

Simplify it, make it personal, make it work, and measure it. Are you retaining more people? Are you increasing your share of internal promotions? If you can’t measure the success of performance management, how do you know how it’s performing?

This guest post has been written by Gareth Cartman 

Exclusive: Recruitment & HR Consultancy

Newcastle, Leeds & Aberdeen

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Carry on with the banter....at your own risk

So many of us laugh out loud at The Office or in the past Fawlty Towers because we can’t quite believe the political incorrectness that we have heard on the series, and the shock can make us laugh with fear at how wrong their office banter can be deemed! 

But who determines when office banter is right and when office banter is wrong?  That’s the million dollar question or in fact the question that could cost you an uncapped amount if you get the answer wrong and a discrimination claim is made successfully.

How many times have we all, yes me included, joined in with an office giggle whether it’s gossiping on what happened at the office Christmas party, or making remarks about the latest goings on at Coronation Street, or passing opinions about a news article read on the way to work?  How about an office giggle that is more direct and includes one liners such as ‘oh come on Grandad’ or perhaps ‘your time to make the tea junior’ or ‘you look nice today’ or emails which are a little too familiar in their content?!?!?

Our banter may not always be aimed at someone so directly but either way, another member of the team may perceive it that way and be made to feel that they have been subjected to unwelcomed and unwanted behaviour. 

The difficulty is to understand and recognise when such comments/jokes/opinions or ‘banter’ is deemed differently and damaging to another person and then reacting to their feelings.  It is not healthy for anyone to ignore it or brush it under the nearest floor tile hoping it will go away, as it won’t, it will linger and probably become worse bubbling away under the surface, so deal with it!

In my HR experience I have had to approach situations that have been potentially deemed as discrimination, whether this has been sex, race, disability, religious or sexual orientation discrimination.  These situations have needed to be addressed immediately, often with unwanted and uncomfortable conversations being held with all parties involved.  However this has usually meant that any potential issues have been nipped in the bud without any long term repercussions. 

So often things are said in jest but to defend these moments with ‘oh I didn’t mean it like that’ or ‘we were just joking around’ or ‘but that’s just part of our industry and its our usual banter’ is not an acceptable form of defence.

Defending these comments means that as an employer you need to protect your employees and yourselves from any unwanted comments and claims by making all staff aware of the;

  • Relevant company policies and procedures e.g. Handbook
  • The consequences of breaching these e.g. informal and formal proceedings
  • Offering training and refresher updates e.g. reissuing policies, independent seminars

And most of all driving forward a culture of support, fairness and equality to encourage all-round success. 

Good luck and be careful, make sure you think first!

Lead HR Consultant

Exclusive: Recruitment & HR Consultancy
Newcastle, Leeds & Aberdeen

Friday, 4 January 2013

Exclusive Opportunity

It has been a year since joining Exclusive and so much has changed – all for the positive.

Sitting down for a team meeting on 3rd January 2012, I don’t think any of the team could have foreseen the changes and expansion which have occurred over the last twelve months.

With additional Consultants across different sectors and geographical locations, as well as new offices and an ever increasing number of Clients and Candidates to look after, the role I applied for as Recruitment Administrator has completely changed!

Having played the numbers game and worked to over-important KPI targets for over a year in the often cut throat game of Education Recruitment, the opportunity at Exclusive was not one to miss. I loved recruitment and I particularly enjoyed assisting my former team members in their recruitment – it was team based targets, team based commission....which actually counted for nothing at the end of the day, as all it was really about was the number of phone calls and throwing enough of the proverbial brown stuff until something stuck.

With firsthand recruitment experience, I’ve been able to develop my role away from ‘just’ strengthening the administration and operational parameters of the initial job description. Confident in speaking with both Clients and Candidates, I have been able to provide a consistent level of service when Consultants have been out of the office or on annual leave. The job satisfaction obtained from this is immense, particularly because it has always been recognised by the individual consultants (something which doesn’t necessarily happen when you are in a large number bashing company).

Working with a team of individuals who genuinely have each other’s best interests at heart and want to help make sure that everything is going well is a far cry from the role I found myself in before, where it was every (wo)man for them self and it didn’t matter who trod on who.

So, I guess the question you’re asking yourself is why am I harping on about how fantastic Exclusive is to work for? Well, the reason is because I am looking to find an individual with the same values and experience to provide Maternity Cover for myself.

Working in a close-knit team, in a multi-faceted role will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it may be yours or possibly somebody you know? Due to upcoming projects and how I have expanded the role, the person needs to have recruitment experience as well as expecting high standards not only from the team around them, but of themselves at all times.

This really is a unique opportunity to join Exclusive as a pivotal role within the business.

So, what’s the next step? Simply click here for further information regarding the role and requirements and if it sounds like your ideal challenge, then why not apply via the website or send your CV and application direct to myself at victoria@exclusiveltd.co.uk detailing why you are particularly interested in this role and in working for Exclusive.

I shall look forward to hearing from you shortly.


Exclusive: Recruitment & HR Consultancy
Newcastle, Leeds & Aberdeen


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, it is that time of year again - new year, new beginnings and at the Exclusive office we are already back, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, working hard to make 2013 an even better year than 2012.

We strive to keep in contact as much as possible and do so on a daily basis through our Facebook and Twitter pages, so make sure to keep updated with Exclusive as we continue to grow this year.

We wish you all best for 2013.

Kind Regards,

The Exclusive Team

Exclusive: Recruitment & HR Consultancy
Newcastle, Leeds & Aberdeen