Blog: Life is Short, Work Somewhere Awesome

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By Shaúna McGuire

By Shaúna McGuire

HR Manager

Life is Short, Work Somewhere Awesome

If we were to look at our life in numbers, the average human spends approx. 79 years or 28,835 days on earth – after sleep, work is the biggest time consumer. Whether we’re going through the motions or working in our ‘dream’ job, it takes up a lot of our time……working out at an average of 13 years (not including any overtime that may be worked!). (Huffington Post) 

Huffingtonpost image
Huffingtonpost infographic

Infographic by dreams.co.uk 

With these figures in mind, it really highlights the need for a person to work in an organisation where they feel fulfilled, supported, respected, challenged and feel they can grow and develop their skills. It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure they foster a positive working environment that provides engagement for their employees and allows them to succeed.  

There are many ways an organisation can approach this 

*Have a robust, clear and transparent recruitment process 

*Understand that an employee’s engagement is not only driven by the Human Resources department but also by their Manager and Team 

*Provide employees with the room to grow and develop their skills whilst ensuring a clear career path is identified  

*Promote a culture of continuous learning, knowledge sharing and professional development – driven by the organisation alongside the employee 

*Have a clear structure and reporting lines in place 

*Ensure there is a competent and fully skilled management team in place that not only utilise their job/industry knowledge but are capable of leading and motivating a team 

*Ensure Managers do not underestimate the power of showing appreciation and acknowledging a job well done – the power of a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way 

*Promote and follow an ‘open door’ environment/policy  

*Ensure there is a clear and transparent communication policy and practice 

*Ensure that employees have the right support available to them from both a work and personal perspective  

Supporting an employee’s development ensures they’ll be more engaged, more productive, and better skilled at what they do.

An organisation needs to appreciate and understand the importance of making a positive first impression on prospective employee which will follow suit into their working life with the organisation. This is achieved by ensuring you have a robust, clear and transparent recruitment process where there is open and regular communication. Once an applicant is hired, this positive impression should follow via a clear and structured induction into the organisation. 

It is highly important that when a new employee joins an organisation that they obtain an introduction to the organisation as a whole and not purely focused on the area in which they will be working. This approach ensures that an employee has a clear understanding of the organisationits values, goals, work practices and can see how their role contributes to the overall success and growth of the organisation. This approach also provides an employee the opportunity to have a clear understanding as to where they are now within the organisation but also where they can be in the future. 

The importance of this is reinforced by a study completed by BambooHR where they surveyed 1,000 currently employed individuals and found that nearly a third of them, 31%, reported to have left a job before reaching the six-month mark. According to the research participants, the main reasons for leaving, were a poor onboarding experience, a lack of clarity surrounding their job duties and/or expectations, or a less than stellar boss. 

Organisations need to ensure they have an effective, competent, experienced and skilled Management team in place. It is not enough to have an appropriately experienced or skilled professional in a Management role, soft skills are just as important. An effective Manager needs to have the appropriate experience, but they also need to know how to motivate and get the best out of their team by displaying a genuine interest in their direct reports – not only from a work perspective but also on a personal level. Another important aspect of an effective Manager is ensuring they display professionalism, remain unbiased/neutral and not allow personal opinions to cloud their judgement.

According to a recent publication by Access Perks where global survey results were collated regarding 2018 Employee Engagement & Loyalty Statistics, the following show the importance and impact that a Manager can have on an organisation’s workforce; 

*Employees who give their managers a low rating are four times more likely to be interviewing for other jobs than their peers (TINYpulse) 

*Of employees who rate their boss unfavourable, 40% interviewed for a new job in the past three months vs. 10% who rated their manager highly (TINYpulse) 

*21.5% of workers who don’t feel recognised for doing great work have interviewed for a job in the past three months vs. 12.4% who do feel recognised (TINYpulse)

*Nearly half of employees said they’ve quit a job because of a bad manager, 56% think managers are promoted prematurely, and 60% think managers need managerial training (Udemy) 

I quite my job

An organisation needs to ensure they foster an environment where learning, knowledge sharing, and continuous development is at the forefront not only for Human Resource departments but also Line Management. According to a Willis Towers Watson study, more than 70% of high-retention-risk employees, employees who possess critical skills and are top performers, say they’ll have to leave their organisation to advance their career. 

An employee’s growth and development are vital elements of what an organisation can offer, and the benefits extend in every direction. Supporting an employee’s development ensures they’ll be more engaged, more productive, and better skilled at what they do.  

Again, according to the same publication by Access Perks, the following statistics confirm the importance of employee development; 

 *Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position (Bridge) 

*51% of employees would quit their job if training was not offered (Udemy) 

*If a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position (Bridge) 

*42% of L&D professionals who indicated their employees were highly engaged in learning were also highly engaged overall at the organisation (Findcourses.com) 

*70% of employees believe training could help them become more focused on the job and better at managing their time, but 66% have never asked their managers for such training (Udemy) 

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ― Benjamin Franklin 

Trainning.

Finally, but by no means least, organisations need to be aware that the mental wellbeing of an employee is extremely important and that support mechanisms need to be in place to address this.  

Many organisations may assume, for example; poor results, absenteeism or missed deadlines are signs that an employee isn’t right for the job. While it can be hard at times to identify the root cause of performance issues, it’s crucial for organisations to consider a factor that has, until recent times, been discountedemployee wellbeing. 

  

The issues and stresses that employees are bringing with them to the workplace could be affecting their overall morale and productivity. 

This year, Colonial Life released survey results that analysed 1,506 consumers working full-time January 29th to February 1st that revealed: 

*More than 70% of employees spend valuable work time worrying 

*More than 20% of full-time workers responded that they spend more than five hours thinking about what makes them stressed 

*An additional 50% said they lost at least an hour of work per week due to stress 

There are practical ways in which an organisation can address this; 

*Normalise the conversation around mental health and remove the any stigma associated with same 

*Implement strong and clear policies/procedures to address and support healthy mental wellbeing in the workplace 

*Tailor employee benefits to ensure they support a healthy mental wellbeing e.g. Employee Assistance Programme 

Following a recent survey commissioned by Friends First, it highlighted some concerning statistics regarding mental wellbeing and its impact on the workplace; 

*Mental health issues are the most common illnesses in the workplace 

*Almost two in five workers say they are suffering from stress and anxiety 

*38% of workers say they are under stress 

*Nearly half of millennials in the workforce say that they have experienced mental illness 

*Almost half of under-35’s say they have taken extended sick leave of a week or more due to stress or anxiety 

Karen Gallagher, Protection Director of Friends First, said the research showed mental health issues had the potential to affect us all and the effects of stress and anxiety knew no boundaries when it came to age, gender or profession. 

 

About OpenSky 

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

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About The Author

Prior to commencing my career in HR, I worked in different sectors within different roles such as Customer Service, Accounts, Payroll, Administration and Office Management…

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OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion

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OpenSky Press Release - 16th May 2019

OpenSky Press Release - 16th May 2019

OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion 

OpenSky, Ireland’s only GovTech transformation specialist which provides process automated solutions to public sector bodies, is proud to announce that it has invested €2.5 million in its own expansion and will create 80 jobs over the next two years.

The company’s employee numbers are set to reach 160 by the end of 2021. New roles will include digital transformation consultants, software engineers, sales and marketing executives, and project and team leaders.

OpenSky is an IT and consultancy solutions company, based in Naas in Co Kildare, that provides innovative solutions and managed services to public sector bodies. The team has successfully delivered major projects for 50 organisations in the sector, impacting 2.5 million people every day. Their systems manage more than 100 million digital transactions per month between Ireland and the UK.

Over the last two years, OpenSky has achieved continued growth, with revenue increasing 30% year-on-year. As well as investing in new additions to the team, 10% of revenue is put towards research and development activities.

The company’s success has been driven not only by the increasing demand among government agencies and public bodies for digital transformation, but OpenSky’s extensive range of services which now includes Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Information Intelligence.

 

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

Furthermore, the business is planning to expand further in international markets, including the UK and the US. OpenSky’s customer base has grown in recent years with both international and Irish customers including the Health Service Executive, the National Transport Authority, the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, North London Waste and Surrey County Council.

Michael Cronin, Managing Director, OpenSky, said: “More and more public service agencies and government organisations realise how important it is for them to be able to boost productivity, deliver services and support citizens as directly and efficiently as possible.

By transforming, they can not only streamline their own processes and optimise resources, but also enhance the citizen experience and create a digital government that works. In order to meet this increasing and evolving demand, we have invested in expanding our team and adding new services.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

Check out Vacancies at OpenSky

 

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About OpenSky Data Systems

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

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Blog: A Day in The Life of a Data Scientist

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By Joanna Waszak

By Joanna Waszak

Business Intelligence & Analytics Consultant

A Day in The Life of a Data Scientist

I remember that when most of my friends were trying to do everything in their power to avoid maths, I always believed it was one of the most creative and interesting subjects for me to develop. My love of numbers lead me first to accountancy, and ultimately into data science and machine learning.  I like to think that my strong understanding of financial numbers and business gave me a competitive advantage when switching careers. The best thing about being a data scientist is that I work on a variety of projects, using different tools and facing new challenges every day with a certainty that I will be crunching into numbers at some point of the day. Data science is used as a buzzword for analytics these days, but generally, it is associated with machine learning, artificial intelligence and data visualisations. 

My working day usually starts at 9:30am, checking my meeting schedule for the day while drinking coffee!  Most days we have team daily planning meeting call at around 10am. One of the things I learned very quickly in my role with OpenSky, is that communication is one of the major success factors in any project. As a data scientist, I not only interact with my ‘data’ team members (who are incredible people by the way 😊), but I also collaborate on projects and tasks across multiple departments. Analytics is more than just coding and data modelling – it combines the human element of knowledge and science.  

That’s why I usually spend 20% of my time analysing the project objectives and requirements from a business perspective, creating documentation, conducting a series of interviews with stakeholders, and finally transforming this knowledge into a plan. Armed with business knowledge, a plan and caffeine, I am ready for the next phase: data understanding. To begin with, I start gathering the data. It usually comes from multiple sources and in various shapes. Early data discovery helps me to find key insights and links, but most importantly it tells me whether the data I am looking at is representative of the business problem I am trying to solve.   

“Analytics is more than just coding, and data modelling. It combines the human element of knowledge and science.”

Shortly after this, one thing that I am constantly faced with is that the data I am reviewing, is not in the best shape and usually far from perfect. Finding and cleansing dirty, noisy or missing data, takes around 60-80% of my time each day. After following multiple steps preparing data, can finally start building and evaluating the models. I repeat the steps until I am happy with the results and the model can be deployed. This will keep me busy for the rest of the day.  

On a daily basis, I use T-SQL to fetch and analyse the data, RStudio for data cleansing and profiling, PySpark to create a data models and SQL Server Integration Services for data extraction, transformation and loading. I develop SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports and create cubes from scratch using Analysis Services. I use Azure Cognitive Services to build intelligent algorithms into apps and bots and Power BI for data visualisation which brings the data to life. 

At OpenSky Data Systems I am always challenged with interesting projects and encouraged to generate and develop ideas. By finding meaning and value to data and enabling users to interact with it, I can support a wide range of evidence-based decisions which need to be taken. Depending on the needs of our clients my goal is always to make data more understandable, useful and accessible. I think that nowadays we are all suffering from information overload and the same applies to businesses. By visualising data, I can find and concentrate on information that needs attention. I can tell the story and bring everyone’s attention to the important patterns and connections between numbers that could be scattered across multiple reports.  

If you consider a career in Data Science, I believe Andrew Ng is among one of the most influential people in the field and his Machine Learning course on Coursera is a fantastic introduction to the topic https://www.coursera.org/learn/machine-learning. If you are interested in data visualisation, I would recommend “Visualize This: The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics” by Nathan Yau which offers insight into a practical guide on real-world examples. 

 

About OpenSky 

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

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About The Author

Business Intelligence & Analytics Consultant, with a passion for finding meaning and value to data. With the ability to analyze large sets of structured and unstructured data– I can also support a wide range of business decisions using data mining and predictive modeling. 

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About Us Opensky
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Joanna Waszak

A Day in The Life of a Data Scientist

I remember that when most of my friends were trying to do everything in their power to avoid maths, I always believed it was one of the most creative and interesting subjects for me to develop. My love of numbers lead me first to accountancy, and ultimately into data science and machine learning.

Read More »