Work hard, but not too hard… how trying too hard can actually damage your career

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Many people believe that the harder you work, the quicker you’ll climb the career ladder quicker, resulting in more money and a greater sense of achievement. WRONG!

Researchers from City University have collected information from over 500,000 people in 30 different European countries, and considered the effects of long working hours hours, verses the effort put into an individual’s job against measures of wellbeing, and have linked this to career outcomes.

The research is a painful read, especially for those who put in the hours in a bid to increase their prospects.  The study revealed a connection between an increased work volumes and reduced wellbeing. The results also highlight the negative effects of working too hard such as increased stress levels and increased risk of burnout, this is shown to outweigh the reward for demonstrating commitment and going the extra mile.

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Life is a rollercoaster…

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As the summer days starts to drift away and welcome back autumn,  now couldn’t be a better time to get focused and get back into my studies. From a personal perspective, I have had a lot of life changing things such as buying a house, having my step children for the summer and welcoming a French Bulldog into the Ellis household! Bron is absolutely adorable and he’s settling in really well, so plenty of new things to get used to! Now that everything is settling down, I can now realign my focus and concentrate on my work and studies. This should explain my absence from social media for a short time!

Over the coming weeks, there are going to be lots of things coming up on the blog such as my recruitment collaboration with Lee Lam, the build up to this years CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition, the CIPD Midlands Area Partnership Conference and updates on my CIPD Level 7 study journey with ICS (not long left now!) I will also be rejoining my team on the CIPD Northants committee, I cannot wait to be back in the swing of things.

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First module of my CIPD Level 7 Diploma – Done! #ICSRealStories

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Wowsers what a few weeks it has been! Apologies for the quiet time, but I quickly realised that I am nearly halfway through my CIPD Level 7 Diploma and everything has started to happen at once, both in my personal and professional life. This has lead me to take some tough decisions such as not participating within my local CIPD branch as much as I’d like, I’m also not exercising as much as I’d like or reading as much as I usually do; but I’m keeping in mind how important this is to me and why all the hard will be worth it in the end.

I’m not going to lie, these past few weeks have really tested my ability to juggle everything and I needed to take some time to re-proritise my extensive list so I have set myself a deadline, to complete my Level 7 Diploma by October; that’s one research project and two exams to complete; three modules in total. I can do this!

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Mind the gap… Can HR fix the gender pay gap?

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This week’s HR Hour was all about the gender pay gap and how can HR effectively “fix” it?

It’s no secret that women are paid less than men, even when roles are consistent and irrespective of  pay or skill level, the gap remains obvious.  It’s important to highlight that Gender Pay Gap reporting is not just about equal pay as suggested; it presents a complex and challenging problem in which organisation figureheads shrug their shoulders and say “well how do we get around this then?”. In some cases has only emphasised the historical hurdles women have had to overcome in order to be seen equally.

Whilst Gender Pay Gap reporting is designed to highlight the difference in pay; is there anything actually being done to close the gap?

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Are employees really at the heart of the business?

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This weeks’ HR Hour on Twitter was certainly an interesting one!

The first question this week was “we often hear ‘people are our most important asset’ and similar statements. But is that essence really true in todays workplace?”. As you can imagine, this caused quite a discussion.

People should be the most important asset but it often gets forgotten, it is usually centred around the objectives/results with little regard on how they are achieved. A lot of people agreed with this, but the general consensus was that we generally need to be better with people related stuff.

@CIProjectsUK said “Organisations that live & breathe this ethos are the ones striving in today’s world – it’s all about people! You can launch whatever marketing campaign, implement whatever “efficient” process or introduce a shiny system – but without happy & valued people you have nothing”.

It is easy to state that employees are a company’s greatest asset but we have all witnessed, and continue to witness companies that claim to have their people at the heart of their business, but in reality do not actually treat their employees well. To actually practice what you preach, is easier said than done.

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February’s recommended read: Legacy by James Kerr

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After an incredible start to this years’ Six Nations this weekend, I thought that this month’s read was incredibly apt, given that it is all about what the New Zealand All Blacks team can teach us about leadership and sustaining success.

This unique and inspiring book was recommended to me at the CIPD MAP conference last year by Matthew Crawford who spoke at the conference about the future of work from an educational (and children’s!) perspective.

This book will suit everyone, for those looking for a “how to” approach, techniques for professional standards, and practical lessons for effective leadership. It also encourages the development of leadership qualities such as accountability and ownership.

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Appraisals, the dinosaur framework of performance reviews

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For too long HR and Management have relied on the good old framework known as the annual appraisal; a tool that was designed for good by our HR ancestors but is being  likened to household chores, unfulfilling, stressful and not fit for purpose.

I got rid of them completely in a previous role, I found them too rigid, impersonal and artificial. I simply used check in meetings with my team to create an open and ongoing dialogue. There’s absolutely no point waiting all year for my team to tell me that they needed support, the moment has gone by then and demotivation sets in quickly!

This week’s HR Hour widely debated if there is a place in the current world of work; most participants said absolutely not.

In some cases it seems that it is a framework which is highly misunderstood and is used as a tick box exercise, form is completed, sent back to HR and nothing of value is done with it. I maintain that a tool like this can only be beneficial if it is clearly defined and that managers have a thorough understanding on how it should be used, without this, you might as well forget it. It can also be used as an opportunity not to have regular communication with employees, using it as something to hide behind “save it for your appraisal” is a phrase we’ve all overheard in our HR careers.

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