Energy efficiency in business

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Time is a valuable commodity. No one wants to waste their time, with nothing to show for the expense. But we all know that sometimes in business, you have to speculate to accumulate. If you’re tendering for work, there’s no guarantee you’ll win it, but the hours and effort must be spent pulling a proposal together. Taking the time to create something impressive can often be obvious in the finished product, when compared against work that has been pulled together quickly, with little thought or imagination. Job seeking too is often seen as a lot of effort, for little return – perhaps even more so at the moment, in the highly-competitive employment market.

Where to put your energies?

Whether through confidence or time constraints, many people avoid networking if they can. But did you know that 65% of new jobs come via networking, while 35% of new jobs come from speculative letters, job boards and agencies? The simple fact is people spend far too much time on the 35% and not enough on the 65% – hence the gulf in the two methods’ efficiency.

Networking without borders

It is important not to make assumptions about your network.  Even if a lot of your associates and contacts are not in your area (geographical or business sector), or you don’t think they will be useful, it’s not always the case. In the digital age, we don’t need to think quite so much about location – this much at least has been revealed by the lockdown and remote working – and sector knowledge is often transferable. Even if people you encounter in the course of networking may not seem an immediate fit for you and your sector, they may know someone who is, or they may know about an opportunity that can be conveyed remotely.

Natural communicators

For some people, networking comes naturally. They may be used to dealing with a wide range of people in their daily working lives – or at least they have become adept at appearing to be natural communicators. Either way, they can begin conversations in an organic, non-awkward fashion and be interested in what other people have to say, as well as getting their own messages across. Being able to do this is an enviable skill. However, networking may be daunting for people who are not used to the environment, whether it’s in person, or more prevalently at the moment, online.

A two-way process

Starting with the right approach is really important. If you have a contact or a lead that you would like to pursue, arrange to meet (virtually) for a coffee. Make the tone light, conversational. Don’t go out of your way to ‘sell’ yourself. It needs to be a two-way conversation and relaxed. They might not have a job offer for you, but they might have useful knowledge or recommendations to share, on a route into your next role. If you get something out of the meeting, or even if you don’t, it’s time and energy well spent – and practice for your next one.

In a changing landscape, what will restructuring look like?

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Business is getting back to normal for many of us, with offices beginning to encourage staff back to their desk, if ‘social distancing’ can be upheld. The world of work for many people, however, has changed and some companies are having to rethink their company structures. At any time, company restructures can be challenging – but in the present climate it is even more complicated. Redundancies and job losses cause untold upheaval and can cause stress and uncertainty for employees, who are unsure how the modifications will pan out.

Positive, constructive

It is obviously a difficult period for the whole company, but it can be doubly stressful for the HR professionals. Key members of the team will perhaps have to deal with the angst of employees throughout the organisation, while also having to deal with their own personal uncertainties too. It is worth considering the benefits of outsourcing some elements of the HR function during these transitional periods. By working with a business with a great deal of experience in helping and supporting the HR team during outplacement, managers can provide a strong foundation. In this way, challenges generated by the situation can be addressed in a positive, constructive way.

Professional support

Outplacement professionals can offer vast experience in managing these types of situations, but there are many other benefits to working with a third party too. One of these is the element of distance that your Consultant will have from the emotional turmoil that is potentially impacting on the internal team. Often affected employees find it easier to discuss how they feel and what their next steps might be with a relative stranger, rather than someone they are likely to run into in their everyday workplace or in meetings. Here a bit of distance can actually help find a resolution.

The heart of the process

Without the anchor of usual office life, restructuring has become more complicated, but also considerably more morale-sapping. The uncertainty of the lockdown, the uncertainty of furlough and of how busy businesses will be in the next few months is all uncharted territory. As well as supporting people exiting the business, a Consultant can work closely with the teams remaining to improve morale levels, address development needs and generally help throughout the transitional period. By keeping people at the heart of the process, you have the potential to turn a situation which could be damaging into something positive, both for the people who leave and the ones who remain.  Looking after your workforce in these uncertain times has never been more important.

Finding brilliance in resilience

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Since the beginning of lockdown, many aspects of our lives have been impacted by the effects of changes to our normal behaviour. Things like wearing masks in shops or on public transport, or working from home are starting to feel like they are the norm. How we deal with and adapt to these changes will depend upon how resilient we are.

Positive attitudes

Resilient people know bad things happen. They haven’t been singled out and they know the situation will eventually improve. When any business moves through a transitional period, managers throughout the company are tasked with dealing with the effects of these changes. Whether it’s having to tell someone their role is being made redundant, or addressing low workforce morale, it can be difficult for managers to remain resilient and stay positive. Having strong resilience to some of the emotions associated with change – and recognising their existence – can also positively impact on employees. Presenting a positive attitude will go a long way in helping to promote positive outcomes for everybody. This is especially important during these difficult times.

Bounce back to your best

Emerging stronger from a stressful experience – or an experience you don’t fully understand – can often be attributed to positive thinking. But this can be difficult to do in times of turmoil. Managers who can keep a positive attitude are likely to see the best outcomes, as their approach will encourage employees to channel that positivity and use it for their own personal and professional outcomes too. The term ‘bouncing back’ is often used to describe resilience and those with the most optimistic outlook and greater emotional strength will find it easiest to rebound from challenging times. Resilient people ask if what they are doing is helping or harming them. Recognising the impact negativity has on how we feel increases our powers of resilience.

Be an optimist

Resilient people are careful about what they choose to focus on. They see what they can change and accept what they cannot. Such optimistic, pragmatic approaches to management and communication will create a workforce that has strong good stamina and character. These are key to success in transitional periods. Resilience is based on the mindsets and relationships of the individuals in the team. Focusing on positives, or tuning into the ‘good’, makes us appreciate what we have already achieved.

A company with a positive vision provides employees with a strong forward drive. Managers with the optimism to guide employees will instil the business with a sense of direction. Working together during periods of transition allows everyone to feel valued and an important part of the company. If you help managers be resilient, the workforce will be too. Building resilience within your employees will lead to the workforce coming together to work in union, towards success.

Retaining and rebuilding confidence

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Confidence is needed, now more than ever. As the lockdown in some parts of the UK is eased, and the furlough scheme will soon be coming to an end, employers are having to make some difficult decisions about the future of their companies. The shape of business is changing. Offices will be very different spaces for the immediate future. Knowing that whatever you, your business and your sector face, you will be able to meet these myriad challenges head on, will make a big difference.

Stresses and strains

If the outcome for your firm is redundancy, it’s imperative for HR managers and professionals to help employees retain their confidence. Such changes can be a difficult, nerve-wracking time. Being made redundant is included in the ‘top 10’ most stressful events that could happen in a person’s life. Understandably it can knock someone’s confidence when it happens. However, on the flip-side, it can be seen as a very positive opportunity for those who acknowledge that change has many facets.

One step at a time

When an employee receives the news they are being made redundant, their emotional wellbeing must be considered. Managers should strive to keep their employees’ self-confidence buoyant. This includes supporting them at each stage of the redundancy process. Employees should be provided with someone to talk to and be supported in their search for a new career path and suitable replacement job. The jobs’ market is particularly competitive at the moment in many sectors – and will only become more so, as further restructuring takes place in certain sectors.

An emotional journey

Some people will have friends and family to emotionally support them. But for others redundancy can be a lonely, isolating time. This needs to be eased by providing as much support as possible. Their confidence must be considered and they must be kept informed in a sympathetic, positive way, which considers the impact it will have on them. A considered approach will also encourage employees to be confident and proactive in their new job search. We all know from experience, when someone finds themselves in a daunting situation, it can knock their confidence. Understanding the impact of the unknown will ensure they acknowledge they need to be as positive and confident as the situation demands. This is vital to the process.

Positive, confidence, next

Confidence can make a big difference to a person’s take on life. On how they are going to progress in the future to pursue their next set of challenges. A confident person is more likely to opt for the career path they have always wanted. It might entail some risks, but overall will be more rewarding in the long term. A person lacking in confidence may stay within their tried-and-tested comfort zone, and remain constrained by the parameters of ‘the safe option’. However, in the long-term this may lead to career dissatisfaction and general unhappiness.

Planning your next move

Good communication with an employee is effective in helping with their confidence. Outplacement experts such as Career Evolution can help anxious employees to cope with uncertainty. Having someone to talk to, to discuss their options, will allow them to gather their thoughts and understand what they really want from their career. This thought process alone can restore or instil confidence, and provide the employee with a more positive outlook as they prepare their next career move.

Managing to be successful

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Strong, defined leadership is vital to ensuring your team is onside and on-message.  When your team respects your decisions and your actions, it can make a huge difference overall to team morale. Management has had to adapt to some considerable, sudden changes to work in recent months. But the basics remain the same.

Our experts at Career Evolution have pulled together some informative tips, to help you become a more effective and respected manager, to take your team to the top.

Team spirit

Even in the era of widespread remote working, delegate wisely. Allowing members of the team to undertake and lead certain tasks or projects will not only enable you to focus on other things, but makes your team feel valued. Trust is a big part of working remotely for both employees and managers, so delegating tasks provides them with opportunities to develop and take on greater responsibility.

It’s also important to recognise and reward achievements. Always demonstrate recognition to any employee who has achieved something, whether in work or in their personal life. If it comes to your attention, then show your recognition and admiration.

Doing the right thing

Short-term solutions to work-related challenges may seem attractive, but usually are only a sticking plaster. Think about long-term problems that can be fixed permanently, ensuring that your employees know that you care about finding the right solution for them, for you and for the business as a whole.

It’s also well worth setting goals for employees and teams. Goals provide employees with direction and the motivation to achieve these targets. Incentivising them and rewarding them when they reach their goals is very effective – and even an informal verbal acknowledgement of achievement will be appreciated.

Make time to talk

Remember to communicate. Far too many managers communicate far too little, even in normal times in the office. At the moment, communication between managers and teams is more important than ever. However busy you are, make sure you have time set aside to communicate with your employees. Making sure they are kept in the loop on all matters in these uncertain times will ensure that they don’t feel like they are the ‘last to know’ and have their confidence undermined.

When it comes to employees, make time to show that you care about their opinions and ideas. Be open to speaking to them and understand their point of view.  This is especially important if they are having a difficult time and need someone to speak to.

Work is serious and important but learn to relax a bit too. Get to know your team on a social level and make sure that each one understands that you consider them to be an essential component of the team.

Thinking about these tips can help managers build strong relationships with their employees. This will allow them to feel valued and develop a strong work ethic embedded in the business.