• Can shorter hours boost our working and well-being? One UK firm wants to put the theory to the test, by introducing a four-day week.
• Are we acquiring enough new skills at work? It’s something that we all apparently know we should do. But fewer of us are making the effort than perhaps we should.
• An online troll has been leaving fake reviews of recruitment firms. How did one agency’s recruitment software help solve the mystery?
Can four-day week solve UK productivity crisis?
A Northants call centre will test a four-day working week in an attempt to boost hourly output. We see how big data analytics and reporting have helped the firm
Do long hours lead to a slump in productivity? It is a question that is rarely far from the recruitment news headlines. But could a change in workplace culture help individuals to perform better for their companies? One insurance firm is trialling a four-day working week, to test whether shorter hours means greater profitability in the long-term.
Simply Business, which sells insurance to landlords and SMEs, employs more than 500 operatives in its Northampton call centre. But, beginning in September, the company will test whether shorter working patterns mean higher personal productivity. The trial will see around half of its team working just four days each week – with no reduction in pay. The move see affected staff moving to a 30 hour week, instead of 37.5 hours.
Call centre manager at Simply Business, Debs Holland said: “Working in our contact centre is really hard. You have very little autonomy. In the rest of the business, people have significant flexibility. I believe we should create a world where they have the advantage we have.”
Big Data enables change to shorter working week
The programme will gauge whether the shorter working hours will indeed boost performance. The key benchmark for the firm will be a 20 per cent increase in personal hourly productivity. That is the break-even point, where the increased hourly costs are out-performed by improving worker output.
The firm states that improving CRM technology (customer relationship management) plus data analytics tools have made the change possible.
Increasing volumes of call centre requests are moving to email and web-based chat facilities. It means that the core nature of the job is changing. This is a situation that many recruiters will recognise from their own working life. As our technological solutions provide greater scope for efficiencies and productivity, it is the individual who may be the net beneficiary.
The test could therefore provide an interesting case study for the hotly debated topic of work-life balance. As we have previously reported, several close EU neighbouring countries – including Ireland and Denmark – have higher productivity despite working fewer hours.
Upskilling Australia: why candidates cannot afford to fall behind
New data from Hays Australia finds that employers expect candidates to regularly update their digital know-how
If you have ever felt like your professional life is on a technological treadmill, relax: you are not alone. New polling data compiled by Hays Australia has found that employers prioritise candidates who independently up-skill their digital expertise.
Of the 951 employers surveyed, more than three quarters (77 per cent) wanted candidates that showed evidence of regular upskilling. Respondents agreed that individuals that improved their understanding of digital technology were more likely to receive an interview request. A dedication to self improvement, genuine interest in the field, and willingness to remain current were some of the reasons given for the value of upskilling.
However, while candidates are aware of the value of self-learning, it seems few are willing to put in the hours.
Of the 1,253 Australian professionals surveyed by Hays, virtually all (96 per cent) saw upskilling as important. However, fewer than half (48 per cent) said that they learned one one new skill each year.
Just one in three (35 per cent) claimed to be up to date with the latest digital trends and professional technology.
Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays Australia and New Zealand said that digital skills are no longer viewed as “nice-to-haves”.
“[Digital skills] won’t help you stand out from the crowd any more. Today, they’re considered standard requirements. Any candidate that hasn’t made upskilling a regular component of their weekly or monthly schedule will be at a serious disadvantage when looking for their next job.”
A commonly-cited explanation for not taking up new skills is the cost barrier. However, with various online training portals offering free training for recruitment and software skills, excuses are increasingly difficult to justify.
Recruitment GDPR software catches phony reviewer
An internet troll who posted phony negative reviews of recruiting firms has been caught out by the GDPR-compliant recruitment CRM of one of the agencies that they targeted.
We all understand the value of a strong brand image. The reputational cache of online reviews and endorsements is extremely valuable to any growing business. It is perhaps unsurprising then, that unscrupulous actors will try to game the system for their own advantage.
That was the case last week, when a phony reviewer began posting highly critical reviews of rec-to-rec agencies in the North West of England.
Negative Google reviews began to appear under the user name ‘Ryan Ellis’. Among the firms targeted were STAR recruitment, Ashley James Consulting, Qui Recruitment, and SW6 Associates.
Reviews focused on a negative customer experience, and unprofessionalism from staff. A recurring complaint was that consultants were pressurising the reviewer into taking unsuitable positions.
How recruitment technology help detect the hoax
The accusations were naturally refuted by the agencies which have been targeted. However, one business owner went one step further, and was able to identify the poster as a fraud.
Lysha Holmes of Qui Recruitment was able to use recruitment software to identify the hoax. And, thanks to recent tightening of rules over personal data due to GDPR, her business could demonstrate it had no dealings with the individual in question. Ms Holmes said: “We have a CRM system. If someone responds to one of our adverts it creates a profile immediately. It’s GDPR compliant. There is no record of this person; he’s not real.”
We have seen several use cases for automated reporting and data collection since GDPR came into effect. However, this is perhaps the first instance where a company’s recruitment CRM and GDPR software has helped to prevent reputation damage to its online profile. If web trolls know that automated profiling can help catch them out, then perhaps they will think twice in future.