Personality traits are NOT an excuse for poor behaviour!

Here in the HR Revolution office we have just undergone the DISC profile training, which is a modern interpretation of Dr. William Marston’s behavioral dimensions; a personal strengths profiling exercise that uncovers four quadrants of behaviour. Once you understand your natural behavioral patterns, it is said that you will find it easier to recognize the right opportunities to achieve the results you desire. These for quadrants are:

D – Dominance  I – Influence  S – Steadiness  C – Compliance

What I personally think the great thing about DISC is, it highlights other people’s personality traits, so you can understand better why they work the way they do, for example why one person might like to have all the facts and figures, while others are just, let’s just get on and worry about the details later…. It turns out we have both in our office which is actually a really good thing as we all fulfill different roles.

Anyway, DISC is a lot more in depth than I can offer in this blog and not the reason for me writing today, but it got me thinking… why is it that people tend to use their personality traits as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour?

How many times have you said “ignore him, you know what he’s like” or “don’t let her get to you, it’s just the way she is” or “why does everything have to revert back to them” and whilst this is true, does it make it ok?? I don’t think so.

I personally like to think that no one person is just one personality type and we are intelligent enough to know how to behave and adapt our styles towards other people.

Here is just one adjective describing a personality trait from each of the above groups: D: direct, I: emotionless, S: easily distracted and C: retreating, and I don’t think any of them are particularly positive (obviously there are lots of happy ones too!). But just because they are ‘part’ of our personality does that mean that’s how we should act? For example just because you are ‘direct’ naturally, does that mean you can use absolutely no tact whatsoever when communicating with colleagues? OR just because you tend to be ‘retreating’ does that mean you should get out of doing the things you are not comfortable with? Of course the answer is absolutely no.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, if we know what we are predominately like rather than using that behaviour as an excuse, why don’t we all try to bring through some of our other personality traits, or just take time to think about how we are being perceived by the recipient… be less blunt, show empathy or be bolder, whatever you feel would work best in that given situation.

Personality traits should be used to benefit you and others, not as an excuse to make people cry or be lazy!  Trust me, I know how difficult it is to adapt your natural behaviour to suit the needs of the situation, as my profile is DS the two most polar opposites!

If you are interested in learning more about DISC or any other personality testing within your business, please get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, it may be what you need to get your team working more cohesively together.

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Should I change career?

After trying my hand at several things after finishing University, and my thirties getting ever closer, I had that scary thought … where am I going in my life, my career??

At that moment in time, I was working in the recruitment business and had been for three years and it started to dawn on me that this was not the career for me.

After considering my strengths, values and what I enjoy, I decided HR would be an interesting option, I had a recruitment base and as a ‘people person’ I felt it could be the right match!

Further research into this confirmed to me that this could be it, so I braced myself for the inevitable salary hit and started applying enthusiastically for junior HR roles. This career change which I thought would be an easy transition…. No way – my hopes of this change being easy were quickly dashed as the rejection emails came flooding in because I had no previous experience.

However, despite this set back, I didn’t give up, ok so I may not have the experience, so I decided to get qualified and enrolled to study for my CIPD Level 3. This was tough – studying every evening and weekends alongside working full time, not to mention the financial element as it was self-funded!

I am pleased to say though my efforts paid off…  after many applications and job interviews later, I landed myself my perfect role at HR Revolution, giving me the chance to gain the HR experience I was looking for, with the added bonus of being able to work with a variety of clients across a range of industries.

I feel a change in career takes courage, flexibility and motivation to deal with the tough times it can bring, however the rewards once you succeed are certainly worth it!  I’m 7 months into my new role in HR Consultancy, CIPD qualified and love it…

If you need any help or advice with changing career, why not give HR Revolution a call, maybe we have the job for you…

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Friday fun… 6 fun ways to show your employees you care…

I know, we all sometimes get too busy and caught up with deadlines, meetings, the list goes on and on, and after a while this can translate into an employer not caring enough to notice the hard work of their employees.

Wouldn’t it be a great idea, and we like to do this for the employees of HR Revolution, random acts of appreciation, a little reminder to staff that you do recognise all they do…

Here are a six simple and more importantly low-cost ideas to try, who knows they could catch on in your workplace:

  1. Send a “well done” email and cc the “big” boss.  It’s one thing to say that an employee did a good job, but another to let more senior people know.  I know this would be much appreciated by me!! (sorry that sounded like I was dropping a hint he he he).

2. After finishing an important deadline, why not let employees leave a little early, or start a little later the following day.  Who wouldn’t appreciate a little work-life balance, not to mention a lie in on a work day… blissful!

3. Offer a casual dress-down day, even if you have a workplace dress code policy, letting people wear jeans once in a while won’t hurt.

4. Treat an employee to a surprise coffee (or tea!), or maybe croissants or doughnuts, just because.  It just shows a little thought.

5. Tie a fun balloon to an employees desk chair, this way everyone in the office will see.  People will come and ask why and offer their congratulations, a great way to foster team spirit.

6. What about a card of thanks with a small gift card enclosed, for cinema tickets or an iTunes voucher.  It might not make up for not being able to giving a payrise, but it still shows the employee their efforts are being noticed.

None of the ideas above take much effort, but they could have long lasting effects on employees morale and motivation.  What could be better than your employees or colleagues feeling part of a team that helps and supports each other?

If your company does something to make their staff feel amazing that we could try, we’d love to hear about it, so please share in the comments section below.

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Engage in a little small talk with your colleagues…

It’s easy to stop and moan about work or discuss a work related project but how often to you ever stop and just have a little chit chat with your work colleagues on a more personal level?

At HR Rev we like having a bit of office banter, finding out what our colleagues did during their holidays or at the weekend, we think it’s important to remember that we all have interesting lives outside the workplace.  Establishing a conversational comfort level with your colleagues will allow you to talk to them about anything and make it easier to share your ideas.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be the first to speak. It doesn’t pay to be shy, so just go ahead and ask a question to get the conversation started. They might be pleased that someone has stopped to talk to them.

It’s ok to be nosy, sorry I mean inquisitive! People generally like being asked about themselves, just don’t get too personal or sound like you’re trying to get the dirt, you’re supposed to be having a light hearted conversation.

Be positive. Again it’s meant  to be light hearted so don’t drone on about a miserable experience, focus on something good, like a new fantastic restaurant you’ve tried, maybe a new box set that has you hooked (if you’re like me, I love a box set, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead to name but a few!), this will definitely get them interacting.

Remember to listen in return. If you plan too hard what you are going to say they won’t get a word in edgeways, and next time they won’t bother engaging with you at all. Besides they might have some great ideas you can use too.

Be discreet. They may also be “inquisitive” about you but they don’t really want to know the in’s and out’s of your life’s back story and remember you do have to work with these people so keep somethings to yourself!

Know when to draw the conversation to an end. Remember this was a quick chit chat, and shouldn’t detract from your working day, but make sure you end it on a high, maybe with a “we’ll talk about that next time”! which also the lends itself to be an inner for the next one.

I hope this helps and encourages you to talk to each other, communication is key factor in good relationships and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

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Dealing with negativity in the workplace, take our advice.

In the workplace, negativity can spread like wildfire. So how exactly should you approach the situation if you have one employee who’s bringing down the rest of your workforce? Here, we share practical hints and considerations.

Listen!

Sometimes, people simply need a sounding board for their frustrations and concerns. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that things will fix themselves is very rarely a sensible strategy. Instead of just paying lip service to the concept of having an open door policy, make sure that you live by it.

Get to know your employees. Work out what makes them tick. Find the real issues that are at play. This is what makes the difference between a manager and a leader.

Challenge negative thinking

There are always external influences that you and your business can have no control over. No one’s expecting you to solve the worlds problems.  However, if comments are being made about internal issues, you need to tackle them.

If they’re true, take the time to explain the reason why things are the way they are, and how employees can play a part in improving the situation. If false statements are being shared, speak up immediately and put the record straight. Sometimes, a little strong leadership is what’s needed to get things back on the right track.

Recognise the difference between a bit of negativity and serious mental health problems

Most of us are guilty of letting negative feelings take over now and again. Some might say that it’s all part and parcel of living in the modern world. As a leader though, you have a responsibility to know the difference between this, and mental health issues amongst your employees.

If you suspect that there are more serious problems at play, you have a responsibility to ensure that your staff are supported and given the professional assistance that they might need. In this situation, your first port of call should be to speak with an expert. Remember that discretion is key, and you absolutely must honour the confidentiality of your employees.

The feeling and mood in many workplaces goes through peaks and troughs. It’s your job to make sure that your employees are motivated and productive.

If you’re experiencing problems, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with us about your challenges. Get in touch today www.hrrevolution.co.uk | info@hrrevolution.co.uk | 0203 538 5311

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Summer break left you wanting a sabbatical…

Well if the answer to this is yes, then there is good news, as the number of London companies offering sabbaticals is increasing and even better if you work in one of the following sectors, the Government, the public sector and the finance and insurance sector, as they are apparently best for offering them.  Not particularly surprising given the increased pressures these areas have faced in recent times.

So what is a sabbatical?  Well it could be described as a grownup gap year, but essentially it is unpaid extended leave from work and taken with a purpose i.e. to travel, write a book or achieve some other life goal.

There are some fantastic benefits to taking a sabbatical, such as it being a great opportunity to enhance your work/life balance and truly give yourself the chance to achieve a real life goal.

From an employer’s perspective there are benefits to be had for them too. They are able to retain some great talent that they have spent time and money nurturing and knowing that upon their return they will have an employee who is possibly better educated about life or indeed themselves. There are also salary cost savings, especially if they do not need to cover the absence.

We do have some advice for those of you thinking about taking a sabbatical…

Firstly, remember it is unpaid leave, so plan ahead to ensure you can cover the costs, and if you do, the reward in exchange for your salary will be complete clear headspace, revitalisation and the potential to see life, including your job, in a whole new light.

Secondly, make sure you have a clear purpose for taking the sabbatical, it could be easy to lose sight of what you are doing, so put a time limit on it and set goals that you need to reach allowing you to accomplish what you set out to do.

Lastly, you will need support from friends, your employer and most importantly your family, as they will be embarking along this journey with you, even if not in the physical sense.

Employers, don’t be afraid to offer sabbaticals as a perk, it can attract the talent you want and help retain them. Being fully supportive and helping them get back into work will be rewarded with an employee that is willing to give it their all with a fresh new approach.

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Are you the Employer they WANT to work for…

Now I’m not an employer branding specialist and I don’t have training in how employer brands should be put together or any methodologies that are used.  What I do know is though that having started a couple of businesses myself in the past that it is so important to get your branding right, it says everything about you and the business you are promoting… and has a huge impact on the people that REALLY want to work for you and the products and services you are promoting.

As business owners we all have a mission… to make a success of our business! For each of us though that success will be different; revenue, size, growth, reputation, global domination but we all have the same mission… to be successful.

To achieve this there are many key objectives to focus on; ensuring your products and services are right for the market, driving profits, hiring the right team, finding the best suppliers for quality, cost and delivery.   To get this all right you must focus on your brand message… the message that people (people being, potential customers, suppliers or employees!!) see you are giving off to the business world!

Think of a business that you would love to emulate, a business that if you were a potential employee, you would love to work for.  What attracts you to them? In the beginning it will be the brand that got you interested in the first place. Think Apple, Nike, IBM, Google, Adidas, Victoria Secret, Ralph Lauren, Porsche, VW… their brands are all very well defined and have an air of trend about them that makes you want to belong to their club!  Just like being back at school!  As human beings we naturally want to belong, to be part of a tribe, and that’s how the branding process works… learn how to build your own club/tribe and you’re half way there.

How do you know what your ‘club’ or ‘tribe’ should be?

Well that depends on what your culture is… at the centre of your brand, is the beating heart of your culture… once you have worked out exactly what that is and can put that down on paper – hey presto! your employer brand begins…

  • What are the things that make your best employees tick?
  • What is the ethos of the business?
  • What is important to you as a business owner, your morals, your ethics in business?
  • What do you expect from your teams?
  • Every brand has a promise… what is your promise to potential employees?

These are just some of the starting questions to ask yourself.

Now all you need to do is build your employee offering around that… create your job expectations, training manuals and induction and orientation programmes.  Design and tailor your appraisal and review processes and your employee handbooks to mirror and echo this brand promise and expectation and your people processes are and ready to roll.

And before you know it, you ARE an Employer of choice!

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Invited to an interview? 8 tips on what NOT to do!

Has anyone been watching “The job interview” on Channel 4? No… well if you are looking for a job, you should, it is a fantastic guide on what NOT to do in an interview!  Ok, I’m being a little unfair as there have been a couple of people who came across very genuine and likeable, even if a little out of practice at interviewing. There are some though, that seriously just need to a) get some manners and b) use a bit of common sense!

We have blogged before with interview tips and do’s and don’ts, but for those that missed it, here are our top tips on what not to do if you want to land your dream job.

  1. Don’t be late – We shouldn’t really need to tell you this as everyone knows this is probably one of the worst things you can do;  first impressions and all that.  So do whatever it takes to arrive in plenty of time, even if that means being ridiculously early and going and grabbing a coffee somewhere to prepare. That leads me on to the next point…
  1. Not being prepared! There really is no excuse for this, the internet is a wonderful thing and there is literally nothing you can’t find on it, company size, organisation charts, company turnover and most importantly a companies ethos. Remember they will ask you questions based on it, so do your homework.  And please, please, please, remember the name of who is interviewing you!  Sound silly, well in one episode of the above mentioned programme the interviewer asked “what’s my name” to which the interviewee replied “err, ooh I’m sure I know it, I’m not very good and retaining information”… Really!!!
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of body language – after all it is telling the interviewer a story of its very own! I bet your mum told you to sit up straight and not swing on your chair, and she was right! You need to look interested and engaged not lazy and uninterested. Enter with a smile, a firm (but not aggressive) handshake and maintain steady eye contact, and watch for how they are reacting to you, as they are giving off signals too.
  1. Don’t tell porkies! Of course you want to showcase yourself, but remember to do this based on the skills you have and not those you don’t. For example, don’t tell them you are fluent in French when really you scraped a C in your GCSE, how embarrassing would it be when they strike up a conversation and all you can manage is Oui Oui mon petit fleur! The chances are if you land the job you will be asked to demonstrate these wonderful skills and if they aren’t quite as true as you have said, well you’re going to look a bit silly aren’t you?!?!
  1. Don’t go on and on and on and … oh you get the picture. Keep your answers short and relevant and know the point you are trying to make, if you just ramble on for the sake of saying something, the interviewer will quickly switch off and you will forget what you were answering in the first place. Preparation before the interview will help you have some answers ready prepared, allowing you to speak clearly with confidence.
  1. Don’t be rude… Like I tell my kids, pay attention when someone is talking to you! Checking your watch or your phone constantly is just not acceptable behaviour. And just think about the way you are talking and how it is coming across; don’t interrupt and be argumentative if you don’t agree with something just listen and formulate your response appropriately.
  1. Don’t insult or criticise your current employer. It really is not professional to talk about how rubbish your boss is, what they do wrong or why you hate them so just don’t do it. If they ask you why you are looking to move jobs, talk about the positives of the new position or career progression, not about how you can’t wait to get out where you are “cos it does your head in!”.
  1. Not asking any questions – Please, whatever you do, don’t make “what is the salary and holiday allowance” the first one!  Interviews are as much for you to decide whether you want to work for that company, as it is for them to see if you are right for the role.  So again be prepared and have some well thought out questions ready; some examples might be asking what they are looking for in the new hire, or how do you see the company growing and how will this role contribute to that? They show that you are genuinely interested in being part of and contributing to a growing business.

Lastly I would say, be yourself, if you get the job surely you want to know that was partly down to them liking you as a person as well as your skills, try and be a bit more confident in the interview and show some of your winning personality.

And a parting note, make sure you follow up. I’m not suggesting you start becoming their stalker but an email to thank them for their time, reiterate that you are the right candidate for the job and you’re happy to answer any further questions… Just don’t come across too desperate.

We hope the above tips are helpful, so good luck and go nail that interview!

Why not download below our FREE guide “21 commonly asked interview questions” and be as prepared as you possibly can.

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Now lets get you a winning CV…

So you have decided that you are going to go out into the big wide world of work and you’ve got your online presence looking tickity boo (we hope you read our blog, Finished full time education, what next?) so what now? Well, as we’ve said competition is fierce, particularly among graduates and that first impressions are extremely important.  So now it’s time to concentrate on your CV, and you need to make sure it is looking great and really jumps out of the pile, for all the right reasons of course!

We see lots of CV’s here at HR Revolution, for all sorts of job positions, but whether you are going for intern position or the top spot of CEO all CV’s should follow some basic rules.

Here are our top 5 things which should play a part in your CV:

  1. How does your CV look?

It’s not just about the content; it’s about how you have presented it! You want it to look clean cut and professional. A CV that’s crowded with text doesn’t look attractive. These days, CV’s are initiated through email so make sure the format is easy to read on screen. No funky text formats, stick to Arial or Times New Roman. No funky, floral borders and keep your text a readable colour!

  1. Long profiles

Now we’re all about profiles, a paragraph giving the employer a taster to what your personality is like, your job role, what you are looking for next etc… But… people don’t need your life story! Keep it short and sweet, a paragraph is more than enough! Put as much personality in as you can (keeping it professional!); give the employer a view as to who you are and what would attract them to bringing you in for an interview.

  1. Grammar and spelling

This is a real bugbear; there is nothing worse than getting a CV through with mistake after mistake. The actual experience is good, but the spelling and grammar just puts you off… Double/triple check; get your friends/family to check that there are no spelling/grammatical errors in your CV!

  1. Irrelevant information

Potential employs don’t need to know how many children you have, your wife/husbands name, how much you weigh… you may also be proud you won the village pub quiz of the year… your potential employer may not be so engrossed! Keep the CV about your career history, educational background and personality.

  1. Unexplained employment gaps

Were you travelling? Looking for work? On maternity leave? Save yourself and give an explanation! It can be a real put off seeing unexplained gaps on your CV – it makes people nervous so be sure to outline the reasons why.

The important thing to remember, is what is your USP (unique selling point)? Why are you the best person for the job?  Now think about how to market yourself. If you’re looking to break into a very competitive market, what have you done that could support that…. Voluntary work, organising events for local groups, these additions will help you shine, just remember to keep it relevant, there should be a reason behind why you are telling them.

And there you have my guide to getting it right!

We hope our CV tips help you put together a winning document!  Why not get ahead of the game and download our FREE First Impressions guide so you’re fully prepared when that interview invitation drops in your inbox!

Psst… why not let us help you with your CV??  We’re giving 15% off our CV template pack, with code CVP15 so head over to our HR Revolution Shop now… Just Click HERE … no one needs to know you had help with your fab new CV!

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Finished full time education, now what…

So your time of learning has come to an end, whether that’s school, college or university you now have some big decisions to make.

Trying to work out what to do with your life can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are a fantastic amount of choices available to young people now, so jump on board and don’t miss out on the many opportunities you have.

The thing to also remember is if you didn’t get the grades you wanted or go to university, there is still so much, for example did you know that to be an air traffic controller you don’t need a degree and that’s quite a cool job!

Apprenticeships are a brilliant way to get into the industry you want and better still, you get paid while you learn, which for many may be a much better alternative to an expensive university education to gain a qualification that you don’t use.

Then there are plans for ground-breaking reforms to technical and professional education (TPE), which will set England’s system on a par with the best in the world.  The reforms will focus on simplifying the currently over-complex system, working in direct partnership with employers to ensure the new system provides the skills most needed for the 21st-century economy. Vocational routes into work are no longer seen as second best.

http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk is a great website for help and guidance on apprenticeships and other routes available if you are unsure which path to take.

Whatever you decide on, you will be up against some fierce competition, so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Your online presence needs to be top notch, so take a look at all of your social media accounts and get them looking less “free, single and ready to mingle” and more “career path ready!”.

Remember LinkedIn, is the Facebook of the corporate world, so this should be your first port of call, as it will be for potential employers.  Your profile needs to be so much more than your name and schooling information, it needs to be “all star”.

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