Collins McNicholas

How to Change Culture, Deliver an ‘Out of Office’ Message and Reclaim Time For Yourself

How to Change Culture, Deliver an ‘Out of Office’ Message and Reclaim Time For YourselfQuestion: I am a manager in a high-paced media company. While I enjoy my job, the pressure is relentless. There are just not enough hours in the day to get all the work done and even when I get home, there is the pressure to be ‘always on’ and answer emails right up to bedtime. There is never a chance to recharge the batteries and I am in danger of burning out. How can I carve out some ‘me time’ without coming across to my bosses as being unavailable?   Answer: We will spend a third of our life working and that does not include the extra hours we clock up between overtime, skipped lunches and answering emails after hours. Many employees feel compelled to put in that extra time to impress their employers, while others feel their company culture encourages working outside of office hours so the pressure is there to be ‘switched on’ constantly. In this fast-living environment many feel there are just not enough hours in the day for ‘me time’. It is very easy for the needs of the business to spill over into your personal time and you end up prioritising work over other parts of your life. Many organisations may overload employees, contacting them outside of business hours and making last-minute requests. Often the employees and managers feel the need to put in the extra hours to deal with these demands – arrive early, stay late, come in at the weekends and have the mobile and laptop ready to respond 24/7. But the reality is you cannot be available 24/7 and you should not be always on call. It is important to remember that company culture is instilled from the top down, so employers and leaders should be conscious of this when they send emails or messages outside of work hours. If there is a culture of extra-hours demands from your workplace then you as a manager should be taking the lead to ensure this is changed before you and your team reach the ‘burn-out’ stage. This does not mean you are less committed to your job, but it does mean you are taking a proactive approach to health. Certain people will believe they need to be available night and day to get their work done or to be noticed for future promotions. This mindset is difficult to change, however, you must consider certain steps to ensure that you – and your team – achieve the downtime you deserve in order to recharge and be ready for the next challenging project. Here are a few things you can do yourself to ensure you are getting the downtime you deserve: Don’t add work to your phone: How often do you justifiably receive emails outside office hours that require urgent attention? If you are waiting on something urgent, surely you can log-in at home for that one rare occasion? Put on your ‘out of office’ in the evening: This may be difficult to do at first but if you are adamant you want this to work then let those who do email you know that you are gone for the evening and will be back at your desk in the morning. Be consistent with it as you want to set a definite trend and people will get used to the idea. Use ‘do not disturb’: Good practice is to mute your emails so you don’t jump up to review every email that hits your inbox. Do not take phone calls outside office hours: If you’re not expected to work beyond your office hours, don’t feel obligated to answer. The person calling can leave a message or you can return the call in the morning. Keep work discussion at home to a minimum: You need to be able to switch off once you leave the office so refrain from long discussions at home about work. You are effectively reliving the situation and adding to the stress levels. Develop an evening routine: If you are serious about ‘me time’ then ensure that you have something to look forward to in that time – take up a new hobby, a new class or discover a new exercise. This is always a great way to ensure that you leave the office on time to fit in your new regime. You, as a manager and leader, can start to change the mindset by practising these techniques and advising the company to make a firm commitment to avoid excessive workloads and unpredictable hours so employees can plan other non-work activities in their lives.             Michelle Murphy Director Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was originally published in the Business section of the Sunday Independent, July 23rd, 2017. The original article can be...

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Half-Way Point Shows Positive Employment Trends for 2017

Collins McNicholas has seen a 6% growth in registered job vacancies in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of 2016. The number of candidates registered with Collins McNicholas is up by 24% in the same period. The growth in jobs shows a buoyant job market with candidates willing to switch jobs to take advantage of more promising opportunities. Collins McNicholas opened its Limerick office in February this year and that has partly contributed to the increase in candidates. However, candidates have more confidence in the job market now and they are seeing lots of opportunities out there. The unemployment rate for June 2017 was 6.3%, down from 6.7% in January 2017 and down from 8.3% in June 2016. The government expects the unemployment rate to fall below 5% next year. Brexit offers both a challenge and an opportunity with more companies in the UK considering relocating to Ireland. Foreign investment has continued to grow and IDA Ireland has reported a comparable financial investment from FDI as in 2016 but with a greater number of jobs being created. Job announcements from FDI approvals have risen from 9,000 in the first half of 2016 to 11,000 in 2017. Announcements from Microsoft of 600 jobs, and Zendesk of 500, show the demand for technology professionals is still growing strong. Financial services and life sciences continue to perform well – Northern trust announced 400 jobs for its Limerick office and MSD announced 330 jobs for its Carlow and Cork sites. Niall Murray, Managing Director of Collins McNicholas, commented on the labour market by saying, ‘it has been a very...

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I Need a Plan of Action to Help Boost Morale and Enthusiasm Among My Flagging Team

  Question: I am a manager in a software company and feel that the team is lacking in morale and general enthusiasm. I want to motivate them and am thinking I need to spend more time planning career development options for the team. Do you have any tips for me that I can put in place in order to focus on career plans for the team and rebuild the morale?   Answer: Motivation is a constant juggling act for managers and company leaders – your team may have the expertise you need but if they are not motivated, you are not going to get the best from them. When the team is motivated, there is a flow in the work process, there is positivity in the air and people look forward to coming into work. Motivated people are highly adaptable, open to change and always project a positive attitude at work. They speak highly of the organisation, which builds the brand and reputation, have less absenteeism, work with a sense of urgency and really want to increase their performance to ensure the organisation reaches their objectives. There is a difference between extrinsic motivation (salary, bonuses, time off) and intrinsic motivation (personal desire to achieve, career development, promotion opportunities, challenging projects, etc.) Sometimes companies feel the extrinsic motivators are the key drivers when more often than not intrinsic motivators are more important. Every team member will be different so it is important to get to know your people. Your team needs to know you are investing in their careers so a review of company policy on career development is imperative....

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Career opportunities, a better quality of life and lower cost of living is attracting top talent to the Mid-West

              Half of all professionals move to Mid-West for career opportunities – new survey shows 93% of respondents happy with their relocation Seven out of ten have a quicker commute  – with almost two-thirds under 20 minutes A better quality of life, career opportunities, shorter commutes, less traffic, and lower property prices and living costs – these are the main reasons why highly-skilled professionals say they have made the move to the Mid-West. The Mid-West Relocation Survey, which is being launched in Limerick this morning, reveals that the Mid-West is fast becoming a destination of choice for top talent. The survey was carried out by National Recruitment & HR Services Group Collins McNicholas, in conjunction with Limerick Chamber. Collins McNicholas opened a Limerick office to service the Mid-West region in February of this year. More than 93% of those surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their relocation.  Almost three-quarters (72%) say they now have a better balance between their working and home lives. Some 70% now have a quicker commute to work since relocating to the Mid-West – with nine out of ten people having a commute that is less than 40 minutes. Some 61% now have a commute of less than 20 minutes. Interestingly while 45% of those who moved back were originally from the Mid-West region, some 42% relocated from outside of Ireland. When asked about the factors which influenced their move to the Mid-West, 88% cited a better quality of life while two-thirds referenced a reduced cost of living. The other main reasons given were: lower property...

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I have to fire an employee – how do I approach this situation with confidence?

Question: I have been a manager of a software company for a number of years. I have successfully dealt with a number of issues, such as confronting people on their performance, etc. However, a more serious issue has arisen with one employee. We have gone through all the internal steps (including a series of warnings, etc) with this individual and the final conclusion is that we need to terminate their employment. I have never done this and the idea of having the conversation is making me feel uncomfortable. How do I approach this situation with confidence? Answer: This is a difficult situation for any manager. It’s never easy and can be stressful for all involved. It can be difficult to draw a line in the sand as emotions can run high. Some employees may have convinced themselves that they will never get terminated as they believe they have been trying to improve and that you may accept this extra effort. However, if performance has not improved dramatically or a situation has disimproved you have to deal with it. My feeling is that many companies wait too long to deliver the bad news, as managers feel they want to give the benefit of the doubt to the person. But often a false hope sets in on the part of the employee, so do not procrastinate. There are a number of steps I’d recommend: Gather all facts: Always document any problems and the company’s responses, such as discussions, verbal warnings, etc. Keep a log that includes dates, times and relevant details – it is not a crime to be specific and factual....

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What’s the best way to manage a colleague who is also a friend, now I have been promoted?

Q. I have moved into a senior position in the medtech company where I have worked for seven years. My new role sees me managing people I have worked alongside for many years. I am confident there should be no issues with the majority. However, I have already identified that I will have an issue with one person. While I have a good personal relationship with them, their work practices need a lot of improvement. I feel I need to confront them on a number of performance issues – such as their timekeeping and productivity. How do I do this without losing the personal relationship we have? A. A workplace promotion is to be commended, so you should feel empowered and confident about your capabilities to lead, and direct a team. As a manager you are expected to know and administer company policies and procedures in order to build your credibility with your team and other members of the management team. The rules cannot be bent for certain co-workers, so this must be made clear from the outset. You need to become an authentic role model to gain loyalty and respect from your new team. Set the parameters immediately through individual conversations in order to acknowledge the recent change. The relationship has changed on both sides, so it is just as awkward for them. If you have an emotional connection you will have a hard time setting those feelings aside when needed. Friendship shouldn’t influence decisions on performance, pay or dealing out assignments. Nip the situation in the bud. You might be tempted to put off the awkward chat...

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Experience, not age, is the factor that helps older candidates stand out in job interviews

Q: I am a senior manager in a telecommunications business and have decided to take the plunge and move careers. I am excited but a bit nervous. My last interview was 20 years ago, as I was headhunted for my current position. I am concerned that – as a person in my late 40s – I am going to stand out among the younger candidates for the role. Do you have any advice on how I should prepare? A: I agree that you could stand out at interviews, as employers might consider you too experienced or expensive – even a little out of touch. However, don’t lose sight of the things you do have that others might not – including excellent work experience, a valuable skill set, a strong network of contacts and a solid track record. The secret is to be prepared for all those issues that might be considered weaknesses and could be brought up during the interview process. You are experienced enough to know how to create a good business case for yourself and highlight how you can move your skill set. Demonstrate your willingness to learn, to keep growing and take risks. Many candidates I meet have the same fear about their age – but I always say age should never be a factor. Focus on your strengths around your work experience and qualifications. Ask yourself truthfully ‘What value can I bring to this new role’ and ‘Can I sell myself as an expert’? Will they think I have less energy? We all slow down as we age. However, in the workplace, sometimes the less-experienced person...

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How to successfully resolve conflict between staff members before it poisons morale

Question: I hold a senior role in a large software company and manage a team of 20 software developers. Managing a growing team can be a challenge but I enjoy it most of the time. However, I have a situation where two of my more senior team leaders do not get on. This has been obvious since the most recent hire joined the team. While neither has done anything that would cause me to discipline them, the morale of the team has definitely been affected by the tension between them. How do I resolve this? Answer: Conflict resolution is an issue a lot of managers have to face and it can be unsettling for everyone. You need to take the right approach as early as possible to ensure it doesn’t grow out of proportion. Conflict can cause a toxic environment within the workplace so you need to totally understand the situation and act responsibly. Management is not about popularity or avoiding a negative reputation but about ensuring you act in the best interest of the team and the organisation in an ethical manner. All managers and leaders must expect to have to deal with a conflict situation at some point so here are some pointers to consider. Timing is key Avoiding the situation or putting it off until another day will not wash. You need to take action where you have evidence that there is a situation, which is negatively impacting others – and that there is a pattern to it. Striking too early without proper information will lead to possible confrontation. But the other team members need to see that...

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Data Protection – The General Data Protection Regulation

The long awaited General Data Protection Regulation is now set to be implemented on the 25th May 2018 across the European Union. The GDPR shall replace the existing Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC which has been in place since 1995 and will have a significant impact for all organisations doing business in Ireland and the EU. The aim of the aforementioned Regulation is to harmonise data protection across Europe and to make businesses more accountable for data privacy compliance. The GDPR will apply to both data controllers and data processors. The implementation of the GDPR introduces new elements and significant enhancements to European Data Protection law which will require detailed consideration by all organisations involved in processing personal data as there will be significant financial penalties for non-compliance. Some of the key changes introduced are as follows:- Consent There will be much stronger rules on consent. The GDPR will require a data subject’s consent to the processing of their personal data to be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Reliance on silence, inactivity, or pre-ticked boxes will no longer be sufficient to constitute consent. It is also the case that data subjects will be permitted to withdraw their consent at any time.   Broader Definition of Personal Data The definition of ‘personal data’ is now broadened to include online identifiers, location data, and IP addresses. Also, the term ‘sensitive personal data’ has been broadened to include genetic and biometric data.   Reporting of Data Breaches The GDPR will bring in mandatory breach notifications. All breaches must be reported to the local data protection authority unless the breach is unlikely to...

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I’m in my 50s and desperate to quietly upskill to keep up with my tech-savvy younger staff

I am a female in my late 50s and am enjoying my work at my job in the media sector. There are a lot of younger employees coming into the workplace with IT skills that are far superior to my own. While I am their manager, sometimes I feel like my lack of tech skills is putting me at a disadvantage. I wonder are there ways in which I can quietly upskill, without drawing too much attention to my own lack of knowledge to newer employees and bosses? It is important to be aware of the area you are working in, as many sectors change rapidly – information technology in particular. This requires employees not only to keep their skills updated, but also learn new ones. Upskilling is a personal endeavour, as everyone has unique interests and talents that align with certain skills. Tackle one skill or skill set at a time, instead of trying to build several skills in one go. Although many employers offer on-the-job training and the chance to take more formal qualifications, it’s still up to you to keep your skills sharp. This is particularly true for a manager or leader, as by keeping up to speed your team can see how committed you are to your role and the company will see you as a leader and expert. By refining and updating your expertise, you can ensure that you always stay relevant. It puts you in a more competitive position in your industry, makes you more valuable to your company, provides job security, and highlights your desire to learn and grow, illustrating a great...

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