We are delighted to be a part of the UK Recruiter conference which takes place on 2nd November in central London.
This event is for everyone involved in the recruitment industry, including recruitment agencies, employers, publishers and job boards. There is a fabulous line up of speakers, presenting across 12 informal sessions so you can pick which topics are most relevant to you. Small group sessions will also be running throughout the day on AWR and social media tools and techniques.
Ticket prices are only £40, so click here to reserve your tickets now recnet2nov.eventbrite.com
Very small businesses can profit hugely by employing staff on flexible contracts and allowing their hours to grow as the company develops, says the winner of Workingmums.co.uk's Top Employer Award for SMEs with one to 25 employees.
Hireserve is a growing IT firm which “wholeheartedly supports the flexible working movement”, according to co-director Karen Ovenden. “It allows us to work very efficiently and very professionally,” she says. “We have every base covered very professionally. Some small companies think they can't afford a marketing or a key finance person, but you can get that professionalism if you allow experienced staff to work flexibly. Flexible work is a wonderful thing to offer staff, but it's also very sensible.”
Before the company Karen recalls how she was about to hand in her notice at a job which she found difficult to balance around her family life. Her boss asked her what she wanted to make it work and she says “I have never forgotten that and I want to give our employees the same consideration”.
For that reason she says she was “really excited” to win the Workingmums' award. “When the announcement was made it was like everything had all gone into slow motion,” she says.
She adds that the way Hireserve works is by trusting staff, which means that recruiting the right people is crucial.
Karen says the company is very open about welcoming flexible workers at interview, but it also makes the point that flexibility is not a one-way thing. In return for granting flexible working, the company expects a bit of give and take, for instance, if there is a busy period it expects that the team will pull together and put in extra hours.
She says that by asking the right questions at interview she can find out if people are going to stick rigidly to their hours or whether they are adaptable and are “on the same wavelength”. “It's about asking open-ended questions about what they are looking for,” she says.
Once staff are hired, Hireserve goes out of its way to keep them and this often works in the business' favour.
Ovenden says roles have adapted and expanded as the company's growth has resulted in an increased workload and families have grown older, enabling part-time employees to increase their hours or adapt their role to reflect their increased availability.
PR manager Emma Johnson started working mainly from home when her children were very young. As her role grew, her children started school and preschool and she could take on more hours. Recently she has changed to term-time working to enable her to work longer hours during term time and very reduced hours during school holidays or quieter times of year when doing a big PR launch doesn't make sense.
Another way the company has adapted in order to retain valued staff is through creating new support roles. Melanie Cantle, the finance manager, was the second Hireserve employee and her role has grown hugely over the four and a half years she has been with the firm.
To enable her to continue to work to suit her family responsibilities but take on the additional work due to the company's growth, Karen says her role was reviewed and it was decided that aspects of it could be re-assigned into creating a new "assistant" role. The company advertised locally and recruited a person who comes in twice a week to assist Melanie. “Felicity is a mother of three girls and is a real asset to the finance team and enables Melanie to concentrate on managing the finance function within Hireserve whilst still able to do this within her family friendly working hours despite her role having expanded,” says Karen.
She adds that staff know that they can come and talk to her or her husband Jeremy if they need to adapt their working schedule to help them balance family responsibilities. This does not just mean children. One senior manager had caring responsibilities for his elderly parents and also helped his daughter with childcare. At one point he had to move in with his parents and he worked remotely using web conferencing and instant messaging for a couple of weeks. “He worked as and when he could and it was not an issue,” says Karen. “We felt the last thing he needed at that time was to be worried about work.”
The Berkshire-based company has a low staff turnover which is a real business benefit, says Karen. “They are very confident in their role and in what the company's aims are. They know the business inside out. It's a very stable environment for clients. They deal with the same names all the time.”
She believes that it is easier for small firms to offer this kind of individual flexibility than larger ones. “There are not so many issues and potential effects on other staff and the operation of the business in a small firm,” she says.
“We like to think that we consider everyone as individuals. This benefits the business hugely as people like doing their jobs and enjoy being part of the team.” Click here for more.
Hireserve provides easier access to the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s volunteering opportunities!
We have chosen to support the MNDA in helping to streamline volunteer recruitment processes and recruit vital volunteers and were absolutely delighted when the MNDA volunteer portal, powered by iCams, went live last month.
Claire Ayling, Volunteer Liaison Co-ordinator at the MNDA said: “Since iCams has been implemented we have had a good number of prospective volunteers applying through our website. The registering process is now straight-forward, user friendly and most importantly engaging. We look forward to utilising iCams to build our volunteer database and assist us in ensuring the application process is just the start of a volunteer’s long involvement with the association.”
The MNDA is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that funds and promotes global research into the disease and provides support for people affected by MND. The Association, formed in 1979 by a group of volunteers, now has 3,000 volunteers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Karen Ovenden, Director at Hireserve said, "I know from personal experience how vital volunteers are to people living with MND. The work of all volunteers is of huge benefit and makes a real difference but the support, care and dedication provided by much needed Association Visitors is quite extraordinary both to people with MND but also their carers and families. I am so pleased we can help the Association in this way."
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones which leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. To find out more about the MND and the Association's work please click here.
We were delighted to receive the workingmums.co.uk Top Employer award for SMEs at a ceremony held on the 5th October in London. The annual awards recognise employers who are progressive in their flexible working practices and proactive in seeking to assist working parents combine successful careers with being a parent.
The judging panel praised Hireserve for clearly demonstrating the business case for adopting flexible working. In addition, we were recognised for the way in which we communicate our working environment and that part time colleagues are considered to be key members of the team with career progression fully open to them.
Karen Ovenden said: “We are thrilled to win this award and extremely proud of our flexible working policies which have enabled us to build a really strong team. Employing staff that work flexibly has been of immense benefit to Hireserve as we have been able to attract and retain a talented and resourceful team. This has resulted in low staff turnover and absenteeism and a focussed and motivated workforce who are incredibly loyal and dedicated.”
Click here to read more about the awards.