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Blog: Life is Short, Work Somewhere Awesome

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By Shaúna McGuire Mackey

By Shaúna McGuire Mackey

HR Business Partner

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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