As businesses remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 2 million people have filed for unemployment during the past month. And with more layoffs expected, the job market will only continue to get more competitive.
The simple truth is that most job seekers won’t get hired right away, which is why it’s important to know which industries are hiring and be diligent in submitting applications. But that’s not the only thing you should be doing. As an experience recruiter, the biggest mistake I see people making when job hunting, especially during times of desperation, is limiting their strategy to only sending out as many resumes as possible — and not taking a few minutes out of their day to focus on networking.
Don’t overlook the power of networking
According to research, 70% jobs are found through networking. So if you want to boost your chances of getting hired, you need to put yourself on the radar of those who can really help you land an interview.
The pandemic certainly makes the job of finding a job even more stressful. But the good news is that if there was ever a perfect time to network, this is it. The work-from-home experience has created a captive audience for networking. People aren’t traveling for business or going to conferences. Instead, many are staying put and working from home, meaning they’re likely to be available and pay attention when you reach out (via a simple email or call).
The wrong way to network
Networking poorly is worse than not networking at all. For example, reaching out to someone you haven’t had any contact with for years and blatantly asking for help is huge turnoff.
Lead with your ‘give’ before you seek to ‘get’
Right now, think of a person in your network who could help with your job search. Who can make an introduction or connect you with someone at a company you’d like to work at? Who can help you brainstorm or provide you with perspective from their own career journey?
Then, write down a list of things you can do for them. Even if it’s a minor gesture, it can still jump-start your networking — as long as the act is genuinely meaningful to them.
...never underestimate the power of simply being a sounding board for someone going through a tough time — or having a laugh with them to help ease their worries.
What information or assistance can you offer?
Maybe you heard they need help with a project or initiative. Look at their Twitter, Facebook, blog or website. Are they or their company supporting charitable causes (i.e., making face masks for frontline workers, donating food to homeless shelters) that you can help with?
In these turbulent times, offering an extra set of hands is a great way to lead with your “give” and develop a reputation for going the extra mile. Also, never underestimate the power of simply being a sounding board for someone going through a tough time — or having a laugh with them to help ease their worries.
Rishi Sunak’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been designed to minimise the number of redundancies over the next few months.
However, despite the measures put in place, many will still sadly lose their jobs. In this blog, we take a look at the correct procedures to follow when turning a period of furloughed leave into a redundancy.
What happens after furlough ends?
According to a survey conducted in April, 70% of private UK companies had furloughed staff already, affecting some 8.4 million workers. With many companies facing an uncertain future, there are bound to be difficult decisions regarding what to do when employees are due to return to work.
At the moment, companies are faced with four different options:
Given the current situation, it is unfortunately the last of these points that many companies will choose to do. However, when doing so, they must be sure to respect all of the complex rules and regulations that govern redundancies.
Turning furloughed leave into a redundancy
Turning furloughed leave to redundancy is not the ideal outcome and is not what the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was designed for. Nevertheless, the current situation has backed many employers into a corner. As a result, a significant number of those who have been furloughed will inevitably end up out of work and, while these may be unprecedented times, employment law continues to apply.
Therefore, it is important that employers follow the correct procedures when making an employee redundant, particularly as there is likely to be increased scrutiny of the way they handle the process.
The correct redundancy procedures
If you want to expand your knowledge during lockdown but aren’t sure what to learn, our courses are the perfect source of education inspiration.
As the COVID-19 lockdown continues, many of us find ourselves with more free time than usual. We’ve already outlined some ideas for how to find a new hobby in lockdown, but for those who’d specifically like to study, we’ve put together some further suggestions to help you get started.
What do you want to achieve with your learning?
Before we delve into the details of what to learn during lockdown, let’s first take a look at what your aims might be. There’s never a bad time to learn something new, but having a goal in mind before you start can help you on your journey. Here are some popular learning outcomes to help you choose a goal.
Boost your employability
Although the world of work seems a little chaotic for many of us right now, things won’t always be so up in the air. When you’re considering what to learn during lockdown, you may want to improve your professional skills, ready for when the world reopens. With new technologies and processes being created at a fast pace, closing the skills gap can give you a significant advantage in your career. Whether you’re learning a totally new skill or improving on an existing one, it’s the kind of thing that can make you stand out from the crowd.
Expand your horizons
You don’t have to delve deep when you first start on your learning adventure. By taking an introductory course or studying the basics of a new subject, you can get a feel of whether it’s the right fit.
There are all kinds of hard and soft skills that you can start learning about. Even a small amount of study can support your existing knowledge and broaden your horizons. From there, you can think about the types of areas that will be most beneficial or interesting to you.
Build better relationships
If you’re not quite sure what to learn during lockdown, it’s worth giving some thought to improving your relationships. Emotional intelligence is an invaluable skill that can positively impact all areas of your life. Similarly, improving your communication skills can help in your personal and professional relationships.
Taking the time to work on your own wellbeing can bring significant improvements to your everyday interactions with the important people in your life. At this time of uncertainty, it could be just the thing you need.
Learn for pleasure
Of course, you may just want to study something purely for the joy of learning. There’s a lot to be said for picking a topic you don’t know much about and getting to know some of the basics. Lifelong learning is something that can bring benefits to all areas of your life, and you never know where it may take you.
To borrow from Dr Seuss, ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’
So, you hopefully now have a goal or two in mind for your lockdown learning. The next thing to do is to actually choose a subject to begin studying, but where to start?
Our list of free online course help – make sure they align with all of the main goals we’ve outlined.
Workplace bias takes many forms, but the result is always the same: parts of the workforce are unfairly excluded from experiences and opportunities for which they are qualified.
The most common type of bias in the workplace is implicit, or unconscious. It operates at a level below more obvious, conscious prejudice, and affects our decisions in a much more subtle way.
Confronting this type of bias requires a careful approach, because most people are not aware of it. Recognizing that the bias exists is the key to reducing its influence.
What is Unconscious Bias?
You can think of unconscious bias as the cognitive equivalent of muscle memory, coming into play when we are faced with gaps in our own personal experience. Due to the human brain’s tendency to create shortcuts, everyone has unconscious biases. The human mind is fantastic at creating connections and grouping things together for easy access. When faced with unfamiliar or infrequent circumstances, it disproportionately pulls from widely applicable (and misinformed) associations, like stereotypes. Combined with its preference for what is familiar, we can make prejudiced decisions while still consciously believing that prejudice is wrong.
What Does Unconscious Bias Look Like?
When a group of researchers investigated on-the-job performance among cashiers in a French grocery chain, they started by measuring each manager’s unconscious bias with the Implicit Association Test (a common test for this type of bias).
They found that when minority cashiers worked under managers with a high degree of unconscious bias, they underperformed: taking more time between customers, scanning items more slowly, and almost never working late. When those same cashiers worked with unbiased managers, they were actually 9% faster and more efficient than their co-workers. There are hundreds of other examples of unconscious bias at work. Women and minorities are consistently given lower performance ratings for the same quality of work. They are underrepresented in management roles. Older workers are assumed to be technically challenged. The list goes on.
The five-step process for mitigating bias in the workplace below can help make positive progress:
Step 1: Set Expectations & Gather Feedback
Step 2: Encourage Elective Participation
Step 3: Build Bias Awareness
Step 4: Reduce Opportunities for Bias Through Structure
Step 5: Measure & Experiment
Remember that your organization is unique. Inspirational anecdotes from another firm’s success can only provide so much guidance.