How to Bounce Back After Making an Uncharacteristic and Costly Mistake at Work.

How to Bounce Back After Making an Uncharacteristic and Costly Mistake at Work.Question: I am a marketing manager of a pharmaceutical company and really enjoy my job. Normally I receive nothing but praise from the owners of the company and have always felt confident in my role. But a few weeks ago, I made a major mistake that cost our company an important client. My boss was clearly disappointed and he had to explain the situation to the owners. I feel that since it has happened, I have been sidelined and my confidence has been seriously knocked. How can I express my regret, earn respect and build my confidence again? Answer: It is almost inevitable that occasionally in our working lives mistakes occur. We have to own up to them, fix them if possible and then move on. Unfortunately, your mistake seems to be continuing to impact on how you feel about the organisation, your work and your relationship with your team. You have to take some action to ensure that it doesn’t continue to impact on your work. Here are some steps that might help to move forward. 1 Forgive yourself Although this sounds like a cliche, thinking through your error, accepting your mistake, and moving on personally will impact on how you can move on. It appears that your error in judgement has impacted your confidence negatively and this will affect your work. However, you have said that your record previously was exceptional, you were well received by your team and often acknowledged for this success. You need to try to focus on these positive reflections of yourself, rather than negatives. Take the time to consciously forgive yourself for the mistake. 2 Accept responsibility Be very clear with your manager that you realise the impact of your error and accept responsibility. Request a meeting specifically to discuss the issue. Approach this professionally and keep the tone serious with a focus on the future, rather than apologetic without clear direction. Prepare thoroughly by investigating the root cause of the issue and take care to outline key learnings before you go into the meeting. It is important that you strike a balance that acknowledges your error and the impact this has had on the business but also analyses potential improvements to the process. 3 Prevent a repeat The most important element of accepting responsibility, and therefore preventing an ongoing impact of your error, is developing a mechanism to prevent re-occurrences. In investigating and thoroughly understanding the incident, you should also look for the points of weakness in your process. Could checks and balances be put in place to alert you to danger prior to a major mistake being made? Could a backup plan be developed to repair any damage prior to the customer removing their business? Is there any remedy for the situation with the customer? Could there be a way to win the business back – or at least mend bridges? Implementing improvements in how you do your work will prove to management and your colleagues that you are still capable in your role. But, just as importantly, it will also help to rebuild your own confidence. 4 Challenge yourself Continue to build your confidence by setting slightly stretching targets or participating in new projects. The start of a new year is a good time to set goals or targets for the year – or for the first half or quarter of the year. Set your usual goals but then set a stretch goal, which is an additional goal in case you exceed your initial goal. This will show initiative. However, because of your recent experience, try to minimise the risk level of your tasks or projects during this period. This is because your anxiety levels are likely heightened and it could result in you making further mistakes, which would only prove to damage your confidence further. Achieving these goals, or completing a new project, will help you to feel competent in your role again, as well as proving your worth to your colleagues. Setting achievable ongoing targets will also reinforce a more positive impression of your own ability as a whole.           Caroline Ward HR Services Manager Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was first published in the business section of The Sunday Independent, on January 14th, and the original version can be read...

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10 Tips for Landing Your Dream Job in 2018

It’s January and most people’s thoughts are on the things they want to change in their lives in the New Year. One of the biggest alterations a person can make is taking a new direction in their career so, every year, “finding the dream job” is usually high up on many people’s New Year’s resolutions list. However, by the end of January, many of the changes that were so urgent and important at the end of December, have gone by the wayside as we slip back into the comfort of our old workplace and familiar routine. Moving jobs or changing careers can be a scary prospect and sometimes people think that it is easier for them to stay where they are — even if they are unhappy — rather than make a fresh start. But there is no reason why landing your dream job cannot become a reality for you in 2018. What you need is a plan; a roadmap that will give you the structure you need to stay disciplined in pursuit of your goals. If your New Year’s resolution is to progress your career, you can’t afford to be casual in the way you pursue it. Most people think that all they have to do is update their CV, send it out to a few agencies, and sit back and wait for the job offers to come in. They are wrong. If you are serious about developing your career in 2018, here are 10 things you can do to make it a reality:   Set your goal. You can’t progress your career if you don’t know what you want to do....

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Cork is Proving to be a Magnet for Tech Workers in Search of Better Career Opportunities, Work-life Balance and Quality of Life

Seven in ten tech professionals move to Cork for career opportunities – new survey shows 80% of respondents say work/life balance has improved Disposable income has increased for 72% of respondents A new survey has found that highly-skilled tech professionals from all over the world are moving to Cork for a better quality of life, career opportunities, shorter commutes and lower living costs. The Cork Tech Talent Relocation Survey, released today (Wednesday, December 13) was carried out by National Recruitment & HR Services Group Collins McNicholas in conjunction with Cork Chamber, IDA Ireland and Cork City Council. The report included responses from workers of 27 different nationalities with two-thirds having relocated to Cork during the last two years. Respondents relocated from countries such as China, the US, South Africa, France, Egypt and the Netherlands. Fast becoming an international high-tech hub, Cork is attracting a large number of foreign and indigenous tech start-ups – 84% of respondents to the survey currently work in the city’s buoyant IT sector. More than 85% of those surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their relocation.  And 80% say they now have a better balance between their work and home lives. Some 85% now have a commute to work of less than 40 minutes and 78% said they did not consider it difficult to find a job in Cork. Interestingly, while 27% of those who moved back were originally from Ireland, some 73% relocated from outside of Ireland. When asked about the factors which influenced their move to Cork, 73% cited a better quality of life while 72% referenced a reduced cost...

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I don’t know how to tell my supervisor I’m overworked in my busy public relations firm

Question: I’ve been working as a manager in a PR agency for five years and have really enjoyed my job until recently. In the past three months my workload – and that of my team – has dramatically increased and I am unable to get everything successfully completed. To try and finish my work, I limit breaks and frequently avoid lunch. We have gained a new contract, so I know we will all be working even harder. How can I gently bring my concerns to my supervisor? Answer: While it is positive that the PR agency you work for is busy, being chronically overstretched can quickly lead to burnout, which will negatively impact your work and your personal life. You need to develop tactics to cope with your workload in the short term, while also developing a long-term strategy to better resource your department to cope with the increased workload. Take your breaks: Research has consistently proven that those who take regular breaks away from their work are more productive in the long run. Creating some mental space from a problem can give a new perspective, remove the tension from a situation, and give you a chance to replenish your energy. The quality of the time spent at your desk is far more important than the quantity. Work smarter: Take some time as a group to list your daily tasks and examine how they are shared among your team. This exercise can highlight areas of duplication and inefficiency. For example, two people generating a very similar report but for a different purpose. Asking one person to generate a report, which serves the...

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Can Encouraging People to Take Initiative Actually be Harmful?

As organizations face uncertainty and rapid change, taking initiative or being proactive is increasingly encouraged. In the main, being proactive is beneficial for both individual employee performance as well as for organisational performance. There is one circumstance when taking initiative has a negative effect on well-being for employees – when employees are motivated by a sense of pressure and coercion at work (termed controlled motivation) without any sense of interest or identification with their work (termed autonomous motivation). This was demonstrated in a recent article by Karoline Strauss (ESSEC, France), Sharon Parker (UWA, Australia) and Deirdre O’Shea (UL, Ireland), published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior. Proactivity at work involves self-initiating change or ‘making things happen’. It requires effort and thus drains employees energy, one of the reasons why it is associated with impaired well-being.  This research demonstrated that proactive work behaviour was positively related to job strain when controlled motivation was high and autonomous motivation was also low. Under all other conditions, there was no effect of proactive behaviour on job strain. Thus, proactive behaviour has costs for employee well-being when employees experience a sense of pressure and obligation in their work in the absence of any compensating interest or identification with their work. Under these circumstances, engaging in proactive behaviour is unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term, and it could result in more extreme forms of well-being impairments such as burnout, sickness absence and turnover. There is increasing pressure on individuals to engage in proactive behaviour in order to meet the expectations of the organization. It would be wise for organisational leaders and managers to take...

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Disciplinary Procedures & Employer Liability

For the purpose of today’s article, I will briefly focus on disciplinary procedures as this is an area in which employers most often come into difficulty and furthermore is the area where there is the greatest potential liability from an employer’s perspective. Also, this is a topic in which some serious considerations were raised for employers following the Judgement in Lyons v Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board [2017] IEHC 272. The background to the abovementioned case is that an external investigator was appointed by Mr Lyons employer to investigate a bullying complaint which had been made against him. The High Court noted that the process implemented during the investigation (separate meetings and the taking of statements without cross examination) is one which is routinely adopted by many companies but went on to state that “the exclusion of solicitors and counsel, and the refusal to allow cross examination … is a breach of the Constitutional right to fair procedures.” This represented a departure from previous case law in that it apparently extended the right to legal representation to investigation meetings and further it extended rights to cross examine witnesses. In essence, on the face of it the Decision in Lyons means that once an employer engaged in an investigation of a serious matter that could ultimately lead to a dismissal, then every employee involved would be entitled to bring a lawyer to each investigation meeting and, not only that, the lawyer must have the opportunity to cross-examine each witness who is saying something about his/her client. As alluded to above, the decision in the Lyons Case represented a departure...

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Collins McNicholas Wins Sligo Business of The Year 2017

On Friday last, December 1st, Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group were winners of The Sligo Business of The Year at the annual Sligo Chamber of Commerce dinner. This award was humbling & honouring as we know of so many fantastic businesses in Sligo at the moment. When I think back to 1998 and we were operating with an Apple Mac and the Golden Pages phone book in a single office, it is clear to see how far we have come. We had youth and naivety on our side, it can be a great combination. From that point on we have grown the business with great support from the business community in Sligo and the North West Region. Just over two years ago Michelle Murphy, Antoinette O’Flaherty and myself completed an MBO to take over the business. We now employ over 50 people across six offices, 15 of whom are based in Sligo including our recruitment, finance and marketing teams. We have ambitions to grow the business in the coming years. We have had a lot of help and support along the way. I would like to thank our customers, suppliers and partners locally who have supported our journey over the past 19 years in Sligo and 27 years as the group – thank you all for your support and loyalty. We have been blessed with some loyal customers whom we have had the pleasure of building real partnerships with. On the night, a number of other extremely talented Sligo business people were also acknowledged. EJ’s Menswear – an incredible example of innovation and brilliant marketing. They are a...

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One Region, One Vision Event – What 2018 Holds for The West of Ireland

On Tuesday last, September 28th, the Salthill Hotel in Galway was host to a spectacular event on the prospects of 2018 for The West of Ireland. Organised by The North-West Regional Assembly, the event attracted a huge crowd and had to be moved to larger room in the venue in order to cater for all guests. Speaking along with myself were many talented entrepreneurs acting as role models for ambitious business people in The West of Ireland, namely Harry Hughes (Portwest), Adrian Weckler (Independent Newspapers), Dr. John Breslin (NUIG) and Mary Rodgers (Portershed), and each guest offered unique experiences, views and ideas. Reflecting on the afternoon and remembering what each speaker had to say I noted a number of key points that stuck with me. Here are my top takeaways from the event: The West is a very excellent showcase of wonderful entrepreneurs e.g. Harry Hughes, Pat McDonagh, Evelyn O’Toole, Barry O’Sullivan and many others – so there is so much to learn from the start-ups that have been successful in the region. Collaboration of all the support organisations is so important to encourage entrepreneurship in the regions – this was echoed by so many of the participants on the day. Our colleges are playing a major part in listening to what the companies need regarding skills and are devising courses to grow talent in these areas – much work done but more work is needed as the jobs of tomorrow are changing rapidly. The encouragement of entrepreneurship should be encouraged at an early age and nurtured during secondary schools so students are well versed about the possibility of...

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How do I cope with the gaps left by staff going sick at short notice in my small team?

Question: I manage a small team in an accountancy firm. As you can imagine, this is a busy time of the year for us, but it is the time when people end up going off sick, with flu and other illnesses. It can be devastating to a small team, especially when someone phones in sick in the morning. Can you give me advice on getting cover at short notice and on how to plan for this in the future? Answer: Absence can be disruptive at work, particularly when a team is already stretched. It is important to consider both the solutions and the underlying causes in the short, medium and long term, from a tactical and strategic perspective. Analyse the data While it comes naturally to you to analyse data in your day-to-day role, perhaps you have not done the same regarding this issue. Based on the attendance data for last year, it may be possible to identify days when absences are most likely. For example, is there an increased level of absence on certain days of the week, or following particularly busy periods? Having access to this information may allow you to take a more strategic approach to your contingency worker solutions. Improve reporting At a tactical level, it may be useful to review the process by which employees notify you of an absence. The sooner you are aware of an issue, the better equipped you are to deal with the gap. Requesting employees to contact HR or their manager prior to the commencement of the working day is unlikely to have a negative impact upon the ill...

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Preparing Your Team to Cope While You Take Extended Paternity Leave

Question: I am a senior manager at an engineering firm heading a team of six. My wife is due to give birth to our first baby and I want to take time off when the baby comes. However, I’m worried about missing too much time at work and not being around to support my junior team members. How can I prepare them to work efficiently and confidently while I take extended paternity leave? Answer: Firstly, congratulations on the impending arrival of the new addition to your family – an exciting time for you. You do need to be able to have confidence that your team will continue to work effectively while you are away. Employees need guidance but also need to be empowered to make the decisions necessary to be productive, and carry out their duties, when their manager is not present. This is what you need to work on now. Managers will say they want to empower their employees, but few actually do. This can be the result of a lack of trust on behalf of the manager who may think that the employees will not perform equally as well when they are not there or fear that employees will become too independent. Some managers fear that if they let the power go, then they may not be required any longer. On the other hand, many employees are afraid to take on added responsibility and be held accountable for their decisions. Empowering employees requires a great deal of trust by a manager – they must be willing to hand over the decision-making process, and elements of a task or...

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