Let’s Check In With Our Mental Health

As Mental Health Awareness Week approaches in New Zealand, the focus of many companies turns towards ensuring their teams are checking in with their mental health. 

This is now more important than ever! 

Sure, we are hopefully over the worst of the pandemic restrictions, but the ongoing repercussions are most definitely being felt. 

So, let’s explore what you can do to check in with your own mental health, as well as the mental health of your team. 

Let’s Check In With Our Mental Health 

Do You Have The Right Support? 

Many people have developed strong skills of resilience in the last few years. Resilience was a vital tool to help navigate the choppy waters of Covid and everything that the virus brought with it! 

Whilst resilience remains an essential skill, we cannot rely on this alone. There comes a time when everyone reaches their maximum point of resilience and it’s important to make sure the right additional resources are in place. 

Consider who you know that could provide key support. It could be a spouse, friend, family member or co-worker. If none of those are suitable, then there are plenty of other options for external support.  

Creating Healthy Habits 

A big part of maintaining good mental health is forming the right habits. Now, that doesn’t simply mean eating healthily and getting enough sleep. Whilst those things are certainly important, you also need to consider your mindset and working relationships.

Relationships in the Workplace

You have probably heard that you draw a lot of energy from the people that surround you. So, it is vital that the people you spend the most time with have a positive influence on you.

Of course, this is not always possible. You may find that you have someone in your team or workplace that you don’t see eye to eye with. Obviously, you can’t cut these people out – even though you might want to! Rather, mindfully manage the interactions you have with them using the following tips: 

  • Actively listen 
  • Stay calm 
  • Stick to the facts 
  • Keep the interactions positive
  • Show empathy – try and see things from their perspective
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Take a pause when you need to 
  • Focus on the result or end goal that you’re after

Mindset 

Mindset is another large component of good mental health. Having a positive state of mind can really help to improve wellbeing, productivity, and confidence. So, how do you create good mindset habits? Well, here are some of our favourite tips:  

  • Squash the negative self-talk and celebrate wins – no matter how big or small
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – accept yourself for who you are and recognise the value you add
  • Be mindful and appreciate the good things in life 
  • Recognise and accept your emotions to process them easily 
  • Only focus on what you can control
  • Learn from your mistakes 
  • Practice a ‘glass half full’ mentality

Building Workplace Mental Health Awareness 

Whilst it is great to recognise and celebrate good mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week, we really want to encourage workplace practices that last all year round. 

Here are some great ideas to consider: 

  • Introduce ME Days: everybody has days where they simply don’t have the energy to adult! A ME Day (or mental health day) is the perfect solution. It’s a day kept separate from annual leave, where your team members can take time off. A day to recharge the batteries, if you will! 
  • Wellbeing committee: show your team that you value wellbeing by setting up a committee dedicated towards it. This allows nominated staff and management to consult on wellbeing issues to create a positive environment for everyone in the workplace. 
  • Wellbeing programme: get serious about improving and maintaining good mental health at your workplace by establishing a formal wellbeing programme. The programme could include all the things your team value – flexible working hours and conditions, onsite fitness, healthy food options/education, assistance programmes… whatever works for your people. 
  • Five Ways to Wellbeing: The Mental Health Foundation of NZ has created plenty of useful 5 Ways to Wellbeing resources to download and implement within your workplace.
  • Workshops: The cool thing about professional development is that it doesn’t need to be role specific. There are plenty of types of training centred around resilience and psychological safety that can truly empower your team. 
  • Employee Assistance Programmes: Alongside traditional EAP Providers, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far check out the Xero Assistance Programme. This offers Kiwi small business owners, their employees and family members access to free and confidential counselling and support until the end of the year – regardless of whether you are a Xero customer, or not!  In addition Xero ,have a lot of useful free support resources for businesses – check them out!  

Supporting good mental health should be an essential focus for all NZ businesses. If you feel as though you need help developing or expanding your workplace wellbeing programme, then the Spice Gals are here to help. Get in touch with us today

 

How Employee Engagement Surveys Help You Listen To Your Team

To say that it has been an interesting couple of years in business is somewhat of an understatement!

Since 2020, we have had to transform the way we work.

The global workforce has had to adapt to a unique set of circumstances and working conditions.

And as we settle into a new kind of normal here in NZ, we realise how far we have managed to come in flexibility, adaptability and agile business practices.

So, how do your team feel about it all?

Are they coping with the working conditions, has their behaviour changed and how are their interactions?

A great way to discover the answers to these questions is via employee engagement surveys. Now, you may have been conducting these before the world descended into madness. And if you were, it’s time to check if your survey questions are still relevant.

Let’s explore the benefits of employee engagement surveys and how you can conduct valuable ones at your workplace.

How Employee Engagement Surveys Help You Listen To Your Team

What Are Employee Engagement Surveys?

Employee engagement surveys are essential to the health of any organisation. They allow your team to deliver anonymous input on how they’re feeling and get any frustrations out. Team members who are struggling with something can express their real opinions.

This channel allows for honest communication, providing a true measure of team engagement.

Engaged employees are your top performers. They set the tone for everyone else, work hard, and positively portray your brand and values to customers. Other employees gravitate towards them. On the flipside, team members who may be disengaged or dissatisfied can also affect your organisation – negatively. And the longer you let their dissatisfaction simmer, the worse things can get.

Conducting regular employee engagement surveys can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your team and gives you the opportunity to make timely changes as issues are identified.

Talking And Listening: Step It Up!

Surveys are one of the best ways for you to discover how your employees are feeling.

Most businesses perform annual surveys, often alongside performance reviews. This is a good start, but annual surveys alone may not be enough to measure employee engagement. Why hold out until your scheduled annual survey, when it may be too late to change by then?

Employees change roles frequently these days, and you can’t wait months to find out you have a team-wide problem or someone who’s deeply dissatisfied at work. It’s also valuable to know what is working well in your team and how you can develop that further.

Using short surveys to take the pulse of your team members on a more frequent basis reminds them regularly that their concerns matter and keeps you up to date on how engaged they are.

The Survey – And Beyond

So, how do you get your employee engagement surveys underway and ensure they are valuable?

Firstly, you need to get your team’s buy-in about how valuable this exercise can be. You want them to see this as a way to positively contribute to their work environment rather than a time-consuming exercise! Part of that is making sure you follow through on the feedback they provide by taking action and changing things that aren’t working as they should.

Secondly, you need to include pointed questions that will give you actionable responses. Asking something vague like, “how is your work environment” could draw any number of responses. But a more specific question like, “are you feeling supported in your work environment” will provide actual data you can work with.

Think about key questions that will help your employees give you the responses you need to develop a productive and positive workplace.

Reading The Responses

There are plenty of resources available that can guide you on what to ask your team – that’s the simple part. But it’s also worth thinking about how you’ll productively use the answers they come back with.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you review the survey responses that can help channel your survey into productive change where that’s needed.

As you’re considering your team’s feedback, ask yourself:

  • How has staff behaviour and interaction changed since the last survey?
  • What is your team’s wellbeing like?
  • Are they feeling supported, and do they have the right processes and tools in place to be successful?
  • Are we still communicating in the same ways?
  • Are there more people working remotely and how can we overcome disengagement in screen-based relationships?
  • Do we need more person-to-person time?
  • Do we have the right support, systems, processes, tools, and communication channels in place?

Adapting To A New Climate

Chances are the recent switch to more remote work and time off for isolation or illness may have had an impact on in-person time with your team and how you communicate. Review how this is working. Your staff may need more frequent face-to-face check ins. If that’s not possible, consider how you can step up your screen-based communications to avoid any disengagement.

Consider how to handle disputes or dissatisfactions that may have come to light via the survey. The most difficult conversations are much better done in person, so ensure you find a way to make that happen. If you need to give feedback on a negative survey response, get face to face with that employee.

Keep Talking – In The Way That Suits Your Employees Best

Open channels of communication and having opportunities to speak and be heard are essential to employee satisfaction. But everyone is different. Surveying your team can also help you to understand their different styles of communication and allow you to adapt this on an individual basis to get the best results.

Want some advice on conducting employee surveys – how, when and what to ask?

Ask the Spice Gals! We support small and medium businesses with friendly, helpful support on all things employment related. Give us a call today!

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

 Rollercoasters can be a lot of fun, but imagine if you were forced to ride one when you weren’t really in the mood for excitement.

You’d probably be more stressed than excited, but you’d tolerate it, dust yourself off and move on.

But what if someone forced you onto that rollercoaster again and again, never giving you time to prepare and never telling you how many times you’d have to go around the loop-de-loop before you were allowed to disembark.

Even a resilient lover of thrill rides would tire of that vicious cycle, becoming worn out, anxious, and just plain over it.

That’s where we’re at, folks. We’ve been riding the COVID rollercoaster for nearly two years. And even though New Zealand had a pretty decent break, we find ourselves thrust back onto the ride, whether we like it or not.

So, what can we do?

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

Prioritising What’s Important

Uncertainty takes a toll on our ability to work, parent or even just do what needs to be done around the home. That’s why mental wellbeing is more essential now than ever – and finding work life balance plays a significant role in our mental health.

Let’s talk about why it’s so important to switch off from work and how to separate home and work life.

We’ll also share some valuable mental wellbeing resources to help you and your team survive the COVID rollercoaster together.

Climb aboard and buckle up!

Why Finding The Work Life Balance Is More Important Than Ever

If your resilience and tolerance are wearing thin (or long gone), it’s understandable. The uncertainty of being in and out of lockdown, working from home, parenting from home, and living under social restrictions is stressful for everyone.

Work life balance has been a hot topic for years, but in the current pandemic climate, it’s a lot more complicated than it once was.

The lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. While that’s particularly true for those working from home, it’s still relevant for essential workers who need to leave the house.

Partners or flatmates may be working from home, changing the home environment completely, and if you have kids, the juggle struggle is real, regardless of whether you work from home or not.

On top of all this, we’re trying to cope with worries and fears about illness, sick friends and family, and an uncertain future – both personally and professionally.

That’s an awful lot to deal with.

The Mental Wellness Discussion

With everything that is currently going on, mental wellness has become a crucial conversation.

If we don’t prioritise work life balance and take care of our mental health, we’ll find it hard to cope with any aspect of life.

The ongoing stress can result in unproductivity, loss of motivation, depression, and anxiety. And if we don’t find ways to mitigate the demands of work and home, we’re likely to experience that stress physically, too, with fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, and long-term health issues.

Not only do we need to take responsibility for our own mental health, but we need to support those around us too – our friends, family, colleagues and employees.

It may have been said so much that it’s become something of a cheesy cliché, but we are all in this together!

How To Separate Home And Work When Working From Home

How’s the productivity going now that you’ve been working from home for a while? Should be a piece of cake, right? Do you have your routine sorted? Do you knock off on time every day? Are you more productive than ever?

If the answer is yes, then virtual high five for you – you’ve nailed the demands of WFH.

But for so many workers, the struggle continues. Working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it can be hard to separate home and work.

If that’s you, here are some tips to help you regain that work life balance.

Stick to a morning routine

Resist the temptation to get straight on the laptop to start work the minute you wake up. Try to stick to the same kind of routine you had before COVID. Maybe you’re a morning person and used to exercise and shower before heading to work. Or perhaps you grabbed a coffee at the gas station and sat in traffic every day.

Either way, create some kind of routine to separate your home life from your work life. Get up, get ready, walk around the block, then arrive in the “office” and get to work.

Create a dedicated workspace

If possible, devote an area of your home to your workspace. Resist working from the bed or couch – it’s too distracting (and horrendous for your back!). If you have a separate room to work in, fantastic! Set that area aside and only use it for work.

If not, make do with what you have, but make it your designated work area. You may have to work at the dining room table, but choose a special chair or cushion, and only use that for work and nothing else.

Leave the Office at the End of the Day

Create an end of work routine to separate your workday from home. Don’t sit and browse your laptop once you are finished. Instead, get up and leave – even if it’s just to walk around the garden!

Establish boundaries – and stick to them

Make sure you, your manager, your colleagues (or clients) are clear on your work hours. Agree that work emails or phone calls only happen between those times, and resist the temptation to fire off a “quick” email outside of those hours.

Don’t forget to set boundaries with your family or housemates too. Let them know that when you’re working, that’s work time, and you’re not available for chores or chats. The best way to get the time you need is to communicate that you need it.

Take breaks

Schedule a lunch break and stick to it. Don’t spend that lunch break on your computer – step away! Go outside and take some deep breaths, grab a book to read while you eat, or chat with the family. Take regular breaks away from your workspace during the day, too.

Ask your employer for support

If you’re struggling to cope, be open with your employer. The best organisations will have strategies to address health and wellness. Ask for resources to help you manage overwhelm.

Go easy on yourself

You know those people you see on social media who are nailing their careers, baking delicious meals, home schooling their kids and doing yoga every day? Forget about them.

Even if their posts accurately reflect their lives (and chances are, they don’t), you are not them. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. It’s ok just to cope. It’s ok if you’re not coping. Give yourself a break and focus on what you are achieving instead of what you’re not.

Take care of your physical health

Your physical health directly impacts your mental health, and vice versa. It’s important to prioritise habits and activities that improve both. That means finding time to exercise (even if it’s dancing around the house) and eat well.

Oh, and don’t forget to laugh! Find things that make you smile and forget about the rollercoaster for a while.

Health And Wellbeing Resources

Rather than you having to trawl the internet for resources that might be helpful, we have compiled a handy list:

Mentemia

App and Website – Tried and tested tools to help promote and manage well being. Free for general use, but with tailored options available to businesses.

Mental Health Foundation

Practical wellbeing tips and advice based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Working Well Guide

Resources for workplace wellbeing.

Getting Through Together

A pool of resources, tips and inspirational stories focused on health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

Working Well

A guide to mental health in the workplace.

Staying on Track

A free e-therapy course teaching you practical coping strategies for the COVID rollercoaster.

Small Steps

Digitally-based tools to help you maintain mental wellness.

Whakatui Mai – The Wellbeing Sessions

Free virtual community events aimed at supporting well being in real-time.

A Mental Health Guide for New Zealand Leaders

Comprehensive document aimed at leaders and managers to help them support the mental wellbeing of their teams.

And, of course, if you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed or unsure of how you can support your team with creating a good work life balance, then get in touch with the Spice Gals today. We can help you create a plan that supports your team remotely or in-person.

How To Build Resilience In The Workplace

The last few years have been pretty brutal for everyone. Many people and businesses have experienced a lot of loss due to the pandemic, and the long-term stress continues to take a toll.

But have you noticed that some people seem to be able to bounce back more easily than others?

While some individuals may be struggling to cope, others are able to learn from what’s happened, grow from it, and persevere.

What does it take to do this? How do they manage so well? What do they have in their personal and professional lives that enables them to get right back up and carry on?

The answer is resilience. This quality helps people adapt when faced with adversity, conflict, and trauma.

Resilient employees are an enormous asset to any organisation, so building resilience in the workplace should be a top priority for leaders.

But what is resilience in the workplace and why is it really important? And how can leaders encourage resilience among their workers? Let’s answer those questions now.

How To Build Resilience In The Workplace

What Is Resilience

Resilience is an individual’s ability to respond to the stresses and demands of life. The dictionary definition talks about concepts such as flexibility, durability, strength, and speed of recovery.

Basically, resilience is the capacity to respond to adversity and challenge throughout all aspects of life.

So, where does resilience come from? Is it in our DNA, or can it be nurtured and grown?

Interestingly, it’s likely to be a little bit of both.

Although some people seem to inherently be more resilient, it is possible to cultivate and nurture this quality to help people not only cope, but even thrive through challenging times.

Resilience is cultivated through healthy habits and a positive mindset. There are many small yet effective ways to build your own – and help boost those around you.

The Benefits Of A Resilient Workforce

Resilience is the foundation for many desirable workplace qualities. It improves general wellbeing, helps people be more flexible and adaptable to fast-paced environments or changing circumstances, and aids in effective communication.

Research has shown that resilience can help businesses stay competitive and profitable even during times of uncertainty.

Resilient workers contribute enormously to a positive workplace culture. They are more likely to be engaged, productive and innovative, even in high-pressure situations, and less likely to succumb to burnout.

Building Resilience In The Workplace – Where To Start

Leaders have a unique struggle on their hands. They need to somehow find a balance between striving for financial performance while addressing the mental wellbeing of their team.

One of the best ways to do this is by encouraging resilience in your workers. Here are some of the most effective methods for building resilience in the workplace.

Become a resilient leader

Your own resiliency impacts the way you lead, which trickles down to affect those who work with you. Use these tips to develop personal resilience:

  • Take steps to manage your own mental and physical wellbeing
  • Work on reframing threats as challenges
  • Pay attention to your thoughts and behaviours and work on cultivating a growth mindset
  • Create (and lean on) a social support network
  • Build mindfulness and self-awareness

Support the wellbeing of your workers

Emotional wellbeing is the foundation of resilience. We all cope better when we are well-rested, healthy, and have a manageable work-life balance. Consider implementing measures that support workplace wellbeing, such as flexible work arrangements.

Foster positive work relationships

Social interaction and support are essential in building resilience. Ensure you provide your employees with the chance to bond and socialise, even if you have remote workers. This can be through organised activities within the workplace, events held outside of working hours, or simply encouraging your team to connect with each other on a social level.

Don’t neglect performance and development

Self-reflection helps cultivate resilience. Don’t let challenging times derail your performance reviews. Your people still need feedback on how they are doing and the opportunity to reflect on their challenges and successes. Make sure you provide this in a formal review setting, but also on a regular, more casual basis.

Focus on the future

As part of your performance reviews, you should be helping your employees effectively set realistic, achievable, relevant goals. The right goals can motivate people and help them focus their energy on what’s ahead of them, instead of dwelling on what’s behind them. It also helps them to look beyond the current adversity to a time that may be calmer.

Provide resources

Even the most resilient people can struggle with tough times. Our resilience changes from day to day, and sometimes we may need support to manage. Ensure your workers have access to resources to help them cope, such as employee assistance programs, stress management coaching programs, or similar initiatives.

When you are the one who is expected to lead, sometimes it can be difficult to always demonstrate resilience. So, it can be helpful to call in the experts to assist.

If you want to build resilience in your workplace (and yourself), then reach out to us here at Spice HR. We help businesses tackle the tough times so they can be ready to capitalise on the good.

What The “New Normal” Means For The Wellbeing Of Your Team

Wellbeing in New Normal

With everything that’s happened in the last year, it’s safe to say that wellbeing, life – and work – as we know it has changed. Every month that passes shows us how unlikely it is that things will return to exactly the way they were.

Business looks different, work-life looks different, and these changes aren’t so temporary anymore. That means it’s time to progress out of survival mode and into thrive mode.

Organisations need to look at workplace trends and think seriously about where they should be investing their time and energy. We need to think about staff wellbeing in the context of the “new normal”, how we can retain a cohesive team environment in these times of change and uncertainty, and how to prepare for the “next normal”, whatever that may be.

We know it can be overwhelming, but keep reading for some guidance on where and how you might want to start focusing your attention.

Workplace Trends Post-COVID-19

We know the pandemic is still here, but the immediate shock of it is passing. Businesses and individuals have begun to accept how things have changed, and we have all had some time to sit down, breathe, and take stock of how much has happened in the past year.

So, what’s next?

Time to review how well your team and organisation have adapted to physical distancing/remote working, and look at the trends for 2021 and beyond. Here’s an overview.

Remote working has increased

Well, duh! Yes, clearly, any organisation with the capability to implement remote work has done so.

But what’s interesting to note is that many will continue to explore and experiment with hybrid work/remote work even once the pandemic is under control. The “office” as we knew it will probably never be quite the same again.

Increased data collection

More employers are making use of technology to monitor their employees. Everything from productivity and engagement to wellbeing and employee experience is being tracked and analysed to create safe, productive, and innovative workplaces.

Increase of contingent workers

Many organisations are reducing the number of full-time employees and hiring contingent (freelance/gig) workers instead. This allows them flexibility and helps save costs but may lead to confusion around performance management as well as a loss of team cohesion.

Emphasis on the employer’s role in wellbeing

The pandemic has seen employers playing a vital role in the health and wellbeing of their employees. The emphasis has been on the ability of businesses to provide sick leave, financial assistance, flexible hours, and support for the wider community.

A move from efficiency to resilience

Pre-pandemic, the big focus was on efficiency. Now, the emphasis is more on building resilience in processes and organisations. Systems must be responsive and flexible to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Employees must be adaptable and have diverse, cross-functional roles that can navigate change.

What Thinking Do We Need To Alter?

The trends reflect the changes that most organisations have experienced. That is a move away from traditional workspaces and systems, and an increasing emphasis on strong, resilient, flexible teams and processes.

This is a defining time for all of us: how we respond to the trials of the last year will impact the future. And while things have been challenging, this moment in time presents a range of opportunities for businesses.

  • Choose to be innovative. Strive for more resilient teams instead of trying to recreate what no longer works.
  • Embrace the possibilities provided by hybrid and remote work.
  • Introduce initiatives that bolster the wellbeing of your people.
  • Find new ways to create and control your corporate identity and employer brand post COVID-19.

 What Does Team Building Look Like Now?

When it comes to HR, one of your biggest challenges will be rethinking team building. With social distancing and hybrid work now par for the course, team bonding and culture development won’t happen quite so organically.

So, how can you provide spaces and opportunities for your team to bond away from the lunchroom and water cooler?

By behaving with intention and thinking outside the traditional office box.

Here are a few examples:

Host team huddles

Connect your entire team by having a regular online “huddle”. This could be for 15 minutes every morning to check-in and connect, or twice a week – whatever works for your organisation. This is not a formal meeting, but a time to chat, catch-up and check-in with one another.

Schedule virtual meet-ups

People need one-on-one time as well as group-bonding. One to one personal meetings are perfect for that. Facilitate online meet-ups for two people to chat and get to know each other better, or build on an existing established relationship.

Keep the game time going!

When our levels dictate that laser-tag or mini golf are a no-go, there are still plenty of games that can be played virtually by your team. Schedule some fun virtual activities that everyone can attend during a lockdown. Things like quizzes or online escape rooms are perfect.

Learn together

Successful teams learn new things together. Set up virtual workshops and webinars to promote professional development and facilitate online group learning.

Using Extended DISC To Get A More Informed Plan

A remote or hybrid team isn’t doomed when it comes to bonding or performance. In fact, research shows that remote teams can perform better than in-house teams if they are managed in the right way.

Extended DISC profiles can help managers understand the work style and personal preferences of their team members. They provide you with valuable insights into the best ways to manage individuals and bring them together.

You will learn how much support and contact each team member requires from you and what kind of work they respond well to.

If we have learned one thing from COVID-19, it’s the importance of a bonded, resilient team in navigating change. Challenges can bring people together or push them apart. The stronger your team is, the stronger your business is.

Regardless of what comes next, Spice HR is here to help you and your team navigate the new normal and prepare for what’s next. If you’d like advice or support about how to move forward, contact us for a chat today.

How To Become An Employer Of Choice And Showcase Your Business

How To Become An Employer Of Choice And Showcase Your Business

How To Become An Employer Of Choice And Showcase Your Business

A stellar employee (or two or three) can propel your business from average to outstanding. So naturally, you need to entice, intrigue, and retain high performers. But dangling a few carrots and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut it. These days, you must tailor your benefits and perks to the top talent and find ways to communicate why you are an employer of choice.

Not only will this help you attract high calibre employees to your business, it will also ensure you retain them long term.

Read on to find out what will give you the edge for today’s best candidates, and how to dazzle them during the interview stage.

Become An Employer Of Choice And Showcase Your Business

What’s On The Wishlist?

Most skilled professionals are looking beyond a fat salary. So don’t assume that as a smaller business with a lower budget, you can’t compete with larger organisations. Conversely, businesses with higher wages shouldn’t sit on their laurels and rely on numbers alone to attract the talent.

Here are the benefits and perks that today’s workforce value most:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Remote work opportunities
  • Generous paid time off
  • Family leave
  • Student loan assistance
  • Education and development
  • Wellness initiatives/work-life balance
  • Health insurance

Supporting Work-Life Balance

Even before 2020 hit us with work from home rules, flexible work hours and remote work opportunities were some of the top priorities for experienced candidates. And they continue to dominate.

With that in mind, how can your business support employees to find that work-life balance? A few of the options from the list above are a great place to start, including leave and paid time off, remote working, and flexible schedules.

Other simple yet valuable options might include day care, health and wellness programs, pet-friendly offices, and firm guidelines on no-after hours emails or phone calls. This is particularly essential for employees working from home, who may find it harder to separate work and home life.

Don’t forget that you still have H&S responsibilities even when your employees work from home. Ensure you develop policies to help them manage their health and safety effectively.

Flip Your Interview Strategy

Interviews of old have traditionally been rather one-sided. It’s all about what the candidate can offer you, rather than what your business has to offer them. But, things have shifted now. Remember, you are not the only business looking to hire the most qualified and experienced applicant. You may be facing stiff competition, so take the opportunity to showcase your employee value proposition during the interview.

What sets you apart and makes you a fantastic employer over and above anyone else? Once you know this, communicate it by giving each applicant a unique and engaging candidate experience – from your first job post to the final hiring process.

Instead of whipping out the old behavioural-based questions, think of how you can show your organisation’s personality. Focus on having a conversation with each candidate, and think about culture fit as well as skillsets.

When coming up with questions, frame them around the values and culture of your business, and attach your purpose and why. This will help candidates understand your culture and help both parties figure out if the fit is right.

Welcoming the ideal candidate into your business is only possible when you position yourself as an employer of choice. Think beyond dollars to carve out your unique employee value proposition, craft a compelling candidate experience, and you will find it much easier to be united with qualified and experienced applicants who are the perfect fit for you.

If you need help with crafting the employee value proposition then get in touch with the team here at Spice HR. We can help you nail all the aspects to become an employer of choice! Reach out to us today.

How To Handle Working From Home

How To Handle Working From Home

How To Handle Working From Home

Even before 2020 brought us a global pandemic that changed everything, an increasing amount of people and businesses were embracing remote work.

After all, there are many positives to working remotely. Working from home provides flexibility, can help improve productivity and provide a healthy work-life balance.

But it’s not all sitting around in your pyjamas tapping away on your laptop! Remote work brings a host of challenges. This is particularly true if businesses have needed to pivot rapidly to adjust to new restrictions.

Whether you are a remote working pro or new to this whole work from home gig, we’re here to provide insight on the benefits and challenges of working from home remotely, plus give you some tips on how to stay productive and help your team adapt.

The Benefits Of Remote Working

For employees, the benefits are numerous. No more jumping out of bed and skipping breakfast to sit in traffic every day. Life is just better when you have a little extra time. Instead of arriving at work frazzled, you can sit down fully-fed and raring to go!

Stress levels tend to be lower as the work-life balance improves. You have more control over your work environment and can make it as pristine or messy as you like. There’s the option to work outside your “office” set up in cafes or co-working spaces (or during times of restrictions, your deck or backyard!). And best of all, your schedule can work around your lifestyle.

Employers get benefits too, such as improved employee retention, access to a wider pool of applicants when hiring, lower costs in office space, and increased employee productivity and performance, according to a range of studies.

Things To Be Aware Of

It’s not all roses and rainbows, particularly for those not used to the remote work lifestyle.

If you are a people person, working out of the office environment can be a little lonely. More effort is often needed to build a sense of community, camaraderie and engagement. The lack of interaction and human connection can be difficult for some people.

Not to mention, there are a ton of distractions at home to contend with. For those that are not used to it, there’s likely to be an adjustment period needed. You may find you aren’t that productive for the first week or two, until you find your groove.

How To Stay Productive When Working From Home

It can be very tempting to be distracted by the fridge, the couch or the call of Netflix when you are working from home. But they are all going to impact your productivity. Stay on task by following these guidelines …

  • Set up a space. Yes, it’s tempting to work from bed, but this is a no-no. Set up a dedicated workspace – whether it’s a dedicated desk space in your spare room, a stand-up kitchen bench or a corner of the dining table or bedroom.
  • Get dressed! At least, change out of your night PJs into your day PJs!
  • Set a schedule and stick to it
  • Eliminate distractions: use apps to block social media for set periods, and do not watch “just one episode” on Netflix!
  • Take regular breaks, get some fresh air, and clock off at the end of the day – don’t be tempted to work all day every day.
  • Have allocated work time. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to follow the 9 to 5 grind. If you are an early riser, then get in a couple of hours before your household wakes up. Likewise, if you are a night owl, maximise those hours too.
  • As well as that allocated work time, have allocated family or rest time too. That way, you will have a nice balance to fill your week.
  • Have a list of three tasks that you must complete each day. This will keep you progressing on the most important things on your To Do List.

How To Manage Remote Workers Effectively

Managing a team remotely is not the same as managing one in the office. You can’t pop your head into someone’s office or drop by their desk for a quick chat.

But, it is possible to still manage them remotely…

  • Provide clear expectations for communication. Do you prefer staff to email, text, or chat? Will you communicate with the wider team through video calling or mix it up and also use online tools like Slack or Trello? How should they connect with others when something is urgent? Clarify these guidelines for everyone from the outset.
  • Keep up the one-on-ones. Group video calls are great to maintain team cohesion, but ensure you schedule regular one-on-one chats with each employee.
  • Use multiple channels to communicate. Tools such as Zoom, Slack, Trello, Google Suite, Facebook Teams and more are great for planning, delegating, and keeping in touch.
  • Trust your team. Keep in touch and be available, but avoid micro-managing. Using some of the above collaboration tools will help you keep tabs on the work being done without becoming overbearing.
  • Proactively facilitate socialising. Arrange after work video drinks, breakfast catch ups, or allow extra time at the beginning or end of group video chats to catch up and bond.

While there are many benefits to working from home remotely, it can be challenging if it is thrust on you without warning. This is the case for many of us in the current situation.

An important thing to remember is to stay in touch with your experts throughout this period (and beyond!). Even though this new working situation is uncharted territory for many businesses, you still need to ensure you are adhering to process and legalities.

If you have any questions, queries or concerns about how to provide the best environment for your people during these times, then get in touch with the Spice Gals. We are operating from home during the Level 4 lockdown period and are more than happy to help you navigate these uncertain waters.

How Is HR Different Today Than It Was In 2010?

How Is HR Different Today Than It Was In 2010?

How Is HR Different Today Than It Was In 2010?

Let’s ponder this: How is HR different today than it was a mere ten years ago. Even though it feels like the blink of an eye for many of us!

We have seen the meteoric rise of social media and the rapid advancement of technology. The millennials are well and truly grown up, and Generation Z is entering the workforce hot on their heels.

The way in which businesses manage and interact with their employees has had to transform to keep pace with this new culture. HR still deals with people, but the fundamental values and trends have evolved.

Let’s look into the key differences in how the approach to HR has changed in the last ten years.

A More Individual Focus

A decade ago, employee benefits tended to be “one-size-fits-all,”.  But, this has given way to a more individualised and flexible style today.

Not every employee wants or needs the same perk: while one person might value daycare facilities and family health insurance, another might prefer a remote work schedule or training and development incentives.

Employers know they need to understand individual employees’ needs if they want to earn their loyalty. So, they offer a more individualised approach to employee incentives.

More Informal Performance Reviews And Feedback

Performance reviews used to be a massive task that no one enjoyed. And they weren’t overly effective.

Thankfully, the annual, formal (and let’s face it, often tedious) performance review process is fading into obscurity. To replace it, companies are using a more flexible, frequent, and casual approach that values timely and useful performance-based conversations.

This allows both employer and employee to have open lines of communication, giving credit when it is due and addressing any issues as they arise – not 11 months down the track when they are no longer relevant!

The Rise Of The Gig Economy

In the days of the Boomer, the best way to get ahead in life was to stick with one company and work your way up the career ladder. You will see this less and less in the following generations. It is thanks, largely, to the rise of the gig economy.

Few people stay in one organisation for decades, and many even change fields several times throughout their working lives. Different experiences are more valuable to millennials than staying in one place for years.

HR has responded by providing remote positions or flexible work schedules – a trend that will only increase in the coming decade. To encourage employees to stick around longer rather than seeking new experiences elsewhere, businesses are providing purpose, variety, and growth opportunities within the existing job roles.

The Evolution Of “Culture Fit”

In the early 2010s, the buzz was all about culture fit: namely, how well an individual would slot into the company’s culture. There is less of an emphasis on this now. Businesses are more interested in a general alignment of values and intention.

It’s more about how a candidate can enhance a culture, rather than how they can fall in line with it.

A Focus On Employee Experience

Employee wellbeing is much more valued than it was ten years ago. Workplace wellbeing and employee wellness have a significant impact on productivity and profitability, which most organisations now recognise.

As technology makes it easier for us to communicate and work from anywhere, the lines between work and home have become increasingly blurred. This can lead to overwork, overwhelm and stress. Today’s HR departments acknowledge this transition and encourage work-life balance in a variety of ways.

Employee engagement is prioritised, and HR strives to ensure that employees have a positive experience within the company – from the onboarding process onwards.

In such a fast-paced world, it can be hard to keep up, particularly as technology advances in leaps and bounds. “Bots” can replace people, and AI can facilitate work processes, but there is still a need for compassion, adaptability, and understanding in the modern workforce. This is obviously an area where Human Resources can continue to shine.

If you want to shine a light on your practices and move with the current HR trends, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR.

Is There Such A Thing As Work Life Balance?

Work life balance is a concept that has been doing the rounds for decades. But as we all know, it’s easier said than done.

Advances in technology mean we are online and available 24/7. This often blurs the lines between work time and downtime. Plus, it’s really hard to shake off the “work harder and longer than everyone else” mentality of the baby boomer generation.

In spite of this, creating a work environment that supports and encourages work life balance is essential for keeping your employees – and your business – healthy.

Read on to find out why this balance is so important, and to get some ideas on how to achieve it for you and your team.

Is There Such A Thing As Work Life Balance?

Healthy Employees = Healthy Business

The people on your team need to be mentally and physically well to perform at their optimum level.

Overworked people are stressed, and stress can lead to a vast array of health issues. These can be both mental and physical. You are likely to see more absenteeism, lower morale – and overall, a drop in productivity and retention.

On the contrary, people who feel that health and wellness inside AND outside of work are not only supported but encouraged, come to work refreshed and engaged. They will be more loyal to your business because they feel understood and valued, becoming loyal brand ambassadors.

Enable Flexibility

Work life balance looks different for every individual. For some, it means being able to start or finish work at different times or work remotely. For others, it’s paid time off instead of traditional, segmented leave. For many, it’s merely being able to switch off once they have clocked out.

Creating a flexible work environment that caters to the widely varied needs of your team is critical. If your employees spend all their “life” time running around doing their off-work chores instead of truly relaxing, they are going to find it hard to focus on the job.

Enabling some flexibility during the workday to pop out for an appointment, make a phone call, or take care of their health can make a world of difference.

Foster Workplace Wellbeing

Balance isn’t just about giving people enough time away from work. It is equally important to make the workplace a positive place to be. Flexible hours and plenty of time off means nothing if your employees dread coming to work or head home feeling completely burned out every day.

Taking steps to build holistic wellbeing in the workplace will pay off in the long run. When looking at ways to improve your workplace wellbeing, remember to look to encompass the five essential elements of wellbeing – career, community, financial, physical and social. You will attract and retain top talent, and improve the bottom line of your business.

Here are some wellness in the workplace examples to consider:

  • Career pathways and opportunities – discussions and planning
  • Workplace massage
  • Healthy snacks
  • Team exercise initiatives or gym membership discounts
  • Free sessions on financial literacy
  • Quiet areas in the office for de-stressing
  • Workshops and training relevant to your team
  • Organised group activities to give back to your community
  • Social downtime as a team

Model Balance At All Levels

Make sure that managers walk the walk and lead by example!

It’s all very well for the message to filter down through the ranks that it’s okay for people to leave on time, not reply to emails after hours, and take their leave each year, but if CEO’s and managers are modelling the opposite (overworking) behaviour, THAT is the message that people will heed.

Instead of working yourself to the bone, implement good practices of delegation. Also, boost your productivity time by switching off your phone and having focused work time without interruption. If you can make the most of your hours at work, then tasks won’t have to creep over into your home life.

Looking to get better work life balance at your workplace? Then get in touch with the Spice Gals. We can help you implement great practices for the whole team so that everyone has the opportunity to strike the balance they need between work and downtime.