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Millennials are a double-edged sword for HR: The most common and the hardest employees to engage!

It’s predicted that, by 2020, millennials will make up 35 percent of the global workforce. Clearly, they are an important demographic for businesses to recruit, motivate, engage and retain. But according to the “Technology’s Role in Managing & Retaining Employees” research study released by Speakap, millennials are a double-edged sword for HR professionals – they are the most common and the hardest generation of employees to engage. In fact, 48 percent of the surveyed HR professionals in the US and UK reported that millennials make up the majority of their non-desk workforces. On top of that, 32 percent said millennials are the hardest group of employees to engage – more so than Gen Z, Gen X and baby boomers.

As a generation, millennials value meaningful experiences over products. are more idealistic than pragmatic, are continuously in search of personal fulfilment (rather than ‘just another job’) and aren’t tolerant of subpar experiences – whether it’s the customer experience delivered by brands or the employee experience delivered by employers.

According to Erwin Van Der Vlist, Co-Founder & CEO of Speakap, there are specific ways companies can better communicate and engage with these younger generations of employees. “First and foremost, companies should tap into millennials’ intrinsic desire for personal fulfilment and a sense of purpose. A smart and secure way to do this is to take advantage of the socially intuitive experience (and user interface) provided by enterprise social networks and use these platforms to provide ongoing learning and development content. This will help your millennial workforce not only improve their job-related skills, productivity and performance, but it will also make them feel personally fulfilled in their roles and more satisfied with the company.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Technology-enabled HR is the rule, not the exception. Nearly three-fourths (69 percent) of the survey respondents said that their organizations currently implement technology-driven HR initiatives. Plus, 48 percent said that 16-45 percent of their total HR budget is allotted to technology designed for internal/employee communications.
  • High employee turnover is a problem that cannot be ignored. 75 percent of the surveyed HR professionals said they experience an average turnover rate of up to 30 percent each year. This is further supported by the fact that 15 percent of the respondents said their employees only stay for a duration of 1-2 years, while another 8 percent said the average duration of employment for their workers is less than one year.
  • Real-time feedback, socially engaging experiences and mobile access influence engagement with millennial and Gen Z workers. 46 percent of the respondents said that their millennial and Gen Z workers want an employee communications platform with a similar functionality and experience to social media. Plus, 47 percent said their millennial and Gen Z workers prefer to have questions answered in real-time.
  • Improving employee-manager relationships and reducing turnover are bigger HR priorities with Gen Z workers than millennials and baby boomers. When asked to cite their top HR priority for managing Gen Z employees in 2019, 18 percent of the respondents cited ‘keeping employees engaged long-term’ and 13 percent cited ‘improving employee-manager relationships.’ 
  • When it comes to engaging baby boomers, mobile access and tech-enabled HR initiatives are less important. 45 percent of the surveyed HR professionals said their baby boomer workers rarely use social media/mobile apps, while 57 percent said this generation of employees are more likely to disconnect after working hours.
  • Inefficient, delayed feedback loop creates a black hole in employee communications. 39 percent of the surveyed respondents admitted to using paper surveys and 49 percent said they use the company intranet as a means of collecting employee feedback.

Erwin Van Der Vlist concluded, “A key takeaway from our research study is that HR departments should modify their employee communications based on the demographics of their employees. Given that millennials, Gen Z and baby boomers all have different tech skills, mobile adoption rates and expectations for the employee experience, this should be a no-brainer. I would recommend that organisations apply a buyer persona approach to their HR communications to better understand where their employees are searching for information online, what content employees are consuming most often and what content has the greatest influence in persuading them to take an action. This will prove tremendously valuable if organisations – and their HR departments – want to make a meaningful connection with these workers and keep them engaged long-term.”

March 21st, 2019|

Scottish businesses face Brexit skills time bomb, experts warn

With just over two weeks until the UK leaves the EU, immigration law and recruitment experts have warned that Scottish businesses face a Brexit ‘skills time bomb’ as the supply of skilled labour from European countries is cut off.

Jamie Kerr, a partner and specialist in immigration law at Burness Paull, said that not enough businesses are taking steps to address the potential medium-to long-term consequences of Britain’s departure from the EU. 

Despite Brexit being a matter of weeks away, Jamie warned that too many businesses were adopting a ‘wait and see’ mentality because of a perceived lack of information. However, he said that immigration was one of areas within Brexit for which there was a rough direction of travel to follow, which made taking action imperative. 

His comments were echoed by Paul Steven, a director at independent consultancy HRC Recruitment, who urged companies to identify the key roles within their organisations likely to be affected by skills shortages. 

In January 2019, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that unemployment in Scotland had fallen below the 100,000 mark for the first time. This meant the jobless rate fell to a record low of 3.6%, underlining the challenges many businesses already face in attracting candidates. 

Jamie said: “Saying ‘we’ll just wait and see because we’re all in the same boat’ is the wrong approach for businesses to take on Brexit. By doing nothing they face a skills time bomb, as the talent pool dries up. The truth is that we already know quite a lot about what immigration will look like when the UK leaves the EU and, broadly speaking, there are two aspects to it.

“In the short-term, there are issues around existing staff. EU nationals in the UK will have to register with the government and, while it’s incumbent on the individual to do that now, that will flip from either December 2020 or June 2021, when employers will become responsible for checking whether staff have the right to work in the UK. Then, there are considerations for businesses with British nationals living in Europe and even those which have employees with partners from the EU.

“More importantly, businesses need to be looking ahead five years and start forward planning. If you tie Brexit into more traditional immigration issues, then there will be an in inevitable restriction for skilled workers. If the threshold for employee sponsorship is set at £30,000 per year, for example, then what does that mean for businesses who already struggle to get the right skills for a yearly salary of £25,000? They will need to look at the bigger picture and how they can ensure access to the staff they need. Some businesses are aware of this issue, but they’re not really looking at it in detail and taking action.”

Paul added: “Organisations of all shapes and sizes need to identify the likely areas for skills shortage within their businesses – there will undoubtedly be some key roles which are affected. From there, they will need to build long-term strategies for how they will address that gap – it might mean looking at succession planning or putting in place internal development programmes. If they are likely to need external recruitment, it’s quite possible that Brexit will mean longer lead times for the right staff. They may also need to look at temporary resources to deal with any interim challenges.

“All of this will inevitably lead to higher competition for the best talent on the market – regardless of sector. This could see wages rise, as firms try to entice skilled labour from the continent to meet any new sponsorship thresholds and compete in diminished UK talent pool. They will need to think very carefully and strategically about how they attract the individuals they need for their companies, in terms of benefits packages and revised job roles.”

March 14th, 2019|

NEW ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ award category introduced as 2019 Nominations OPEN today!!









Nominations for this year’s hugely anticipated Hr NETWORK National Awards 2019 are NOW OPEN and this is your chance to RECOGNISE, ACKNOWLEDGE and REWARD your HR champions.

Established in 2007, the Hr NETWORK National Awards are regarded by many as the most prestigious people awards in the UK attracting a sell-out audience of 800 top HR and ‘people’ industry professionals.

With eighteen categories in 2019, following the introduction of two categories, HR Project of the Year and the hugely anticipated Diversity & Inclusion Award of the Year, the Awards process will determine the top performing HR people, teams, projects and organisations for their contribution to strategy within organisations from all sectors in Scotland.

Following the initial online nominations, which include an interview process for all shortlisted finalists, the winners of the Hr NETWORK Awards 2019 will be announced at the annual glittering Gala Dinner being held once again at the hugely impressive Glasgow Hilton on Thursday 14th November 2019.

Award Nomination Categories for 2019 are:

  • Learning and Development Award of the Year
  • HR Assistant/Officer of the Year
  • Employee Engagement Award of the Year
  • HR Graduate of the Year
  • HR Specialist of the Year
  • Health and Wellbeing Award of the Year
  • Organisational Development Award of the Year
  • HR Manager/Advisor of the Year
  • Best Employer/Workplace of the Year
  • NEW CATEGORY: Diversity & Inclusion Award of the Year
  • HR Business Partner of the Year
  • Corporate Responsibility Award of the Year
  • NEW CATEGORY: HR Project of the Year
  • HR Team of the Year
  • Attraction & Resourcing Award of the Year
  • Chief Executive of the Year
  • HR Director of the Year
  • Outstanding Contribution to Scottish HR

The awards categories are judged in two sections, People categories and Project categories:

These categories focus on individuals (except for the HR Team category). Judges are looking for exceptional individuals who MUST demonstrate that they are at the top in their respective role.

These categories focus on projects/specific initiatives that have had a measurable impact in the organisation.

The ‘Nominations Intention’ scheme registers a note of interest from those intending to nominate and provides a view on the criteria for preferred categories and an insight in to what the judges are looking for and on-going updates on all the categories during the nominations process, running from 1st March to 31st May 2019.

Table sales for this year’s awards are in extremely high demand as anticipated and organisations wishing to host a table of 10, are strongly advised to secure their table as soon as possible. There are also a number of sponsorship opportunities for this year’s Awards and for further details, contact the Awards Planning Team.

To register your interest in the Nominations and for further category details, Tel: 0131 625 3267 or email:

The full list of categories and criteria is available by visiting:

March 1st, 2019|

Smart Culture conference sessions confirmed and delegates can still SAVE £40 by booking before FRIDAY!

The Hr NETWORK ‘SMART CULTURE’ Conference & Exhibition 2019, will take place at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Edinburgh on Thursday 9th May and the planning team are very excited to confirm details today for this year’s breakout session topics. With session topics including: Smart Culture; Employee Experience; Transforming Talent; Strategic People Planning; Diversity & Inclusion and much more, this years Conference is proving to be extremely popular.

A number of leading HR and people professionals from a variety of organisations including: Arnold Clark Group; Westjet (Canada); Tennent’s; Scottish Rugby; SSE; Nucleus Financial and many more, will provide an insight in to the intriguing topic of SMART CULTURE and the organisers are certain that delegates will leave the Conference with a greater understanding of how best to apply the smart culture techniques and processes within their own organisations.

Due to the high demand for delegate places for the Conference, the events planning team are urging delegates to book their delegate place as soon as possible. Please complete the booking form, which can be found by clicking the link below and the conference planning team, will take care of the rest!

– Event: Hr NETWORK Conference & Exhibition 2019

– Date: Thursday 9th May 2019

– Venue: Grosvenor Street, Haymarket, Edinburgh, EH12 5EF

– Registration 8.30am to 9.15m

– Conference Start: 9.30am

– Lunch 1pm to 1.45pm

– Refreshments: Includes morning & afternoon refreshments and lunch

– Conference Close: 4.50pm




Stream 1

Session 1 – Employee Experience: Delighting your employees the same way as your customers

Session 2 – Smart Culture, Smart Workplaces, Smart Conversations…Smart Employment Law

Session 3 – Transformational HR: How HR can thrive in a world of disruption

Stream 2

Session 4 – Talent Foundations: Transforming talent at Tennent’s

Session 5 – Transforming CYBG and Virgin Money – Creating high performance through purpose and culture

Session 6 – Reward & Recognition: Creating a rewarding culture for all

Stream 3

Session 7 – From Employee Engagement to People Experience: How taking a joined up approach delivers business performance

Session 8 – Learning & Development: Creating a leadership led approach to workforce development

Session 9 – Strategic People Planning at Scottish Rugby: Transitioning from changing room to boardroom

Stream 4

Session 10 – Culture Masterclass: Understanding people & change

Session 11 – A Diverse Workforce: Embedding diversity & inclusion in the culture of the organisation

Session 12 – Agile Working: The real impact on engagement and talent attraction

To book your delegate place, click the Delegate Booking Form link:

The cost for attending the Conference on 9th  May 2019 is:

*HR Practitioner £125+VAT
*Non-practitioner £165+VAT

*Please note that these costs are valid until Thursday 28th February 2019. From  Friday 1st March the costs will increase to:

HR Practitioner £165+VAT
Non-practitioner £215+VAT

Pay by Bacs:
If you wish to pay by Bacs payment – please select this on the booking form and an invoice will be sent to you directly. The bank account number is: 06475944 sort code 80-22-60. Please use your name as the payment reference. A receipt will be provided when full payment has been received.

Pay by Credit Card:
If you would like to pay by Credit Card – please select this on the booking form and a member of the conference planning team will contact you soon to obtain your details for payment.

Joining instructions for the Hr NETWORK Conference and Exhibition 2019 will be emailed to you when full payment has been received.

If you have any enquiries with reference to the Conference, please contact the Conference Planning Team on Tel: 0131 625 3267 or email:


February 25th, 2019|

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Supporting working carers in Scotland Seminar

Carer Positive and the Scottish Business Pledge Seminar

Date: Wednesday 6th March 2019
Location: University of Strathclyde, The Technology and Innovation Centre, 99 George Street, Glasgow G1 1RD
Time: 8.45am – 10.30am

Do you have staff with caring responsibilities and find it challenging to know how to support without losing them? Do you want to hear from others about how they have gone some way to get the balance right – helping both the employees and the business benefit?

By 2030 it is estimated that there will only be 63% of the population who are of working age, putting pressure on availability of skilled labour. That means we need to support those we currently have to stay in work, despite increasing caring demands on workers as the population continues to age.

Almost 395,000 people in work in Scotland are estimated to have caring responsibilities, equating to 1 in 7 of all workers. As the population ages, this figure will continue to rise. This is why it is so important to get the right workplace support and flexibility, employees who might otherwise have given up work to care are enabled to continue working, with employers retaining valuable skills and experience.

You are invited to this free seminar to learn about the Scottish Government’s Carer Positive recognition scheme, and to understand the business benefits of supporting staff who may be caring for older, sick, or disabled relatives.

Carer Positive supports employers to develop carer friendly and inclusive workplaces which contribute to improved employee wellbeing and retention. In fact, Centrica, one of Carer Positive’s Exemplary employers, found that they saved around £1.8 million per annum through the application of its carer policies for unplanned absences and presenteeism and a further £1.3 million per annum in retention savings.

The event will provide an overview of Carer Positive and the case for supporting working carers. It will also showcase best practice examples from a number of Carer Positive recognised employers including Centrica/Scottish Gas.

The Scottish Business Pledge encourages a range of Fair Work practices to help employers support their employees to, for example work flexibly and to achieve a good work/life balance, recognising that a balance of work and personal commitments offers a more engaged and productive team

Hosted by the University of Strathclyde, which is both a Carer Positive and Business Pledge employer, the event will give delegates the chance to discuss their own experiences of carer employees in their organisations and challenges they may have faced in supporting and retaining these staff members.


8:45 – Coffee/tea & pastries

9:15 – Welcome and introduction: Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Strathclyde

9:20 – Carer Positive and the business case

9:30 – Best practice case studies from Carer Positive employers

9:50 – Links to the Scottish Business Pledge

10:00 – Table discussions

10.20 – Open discussion/Q&A

10.30 – Seminar close

For further information and to book your place directly with the Carer Positive Team,
click the link:

February 18th, 2019|

Silent strain on UK businesses as financial stress distracts a quarter of UK workers

Research from Hastee Pay has found that 25% of UK workers have suffered from a lack of concentration at work due to worry over their personal finances showing productivity could be improved if workers had more control over their earned pay.

Of 1,000 workers surveyed, 25% say they have suffered from a lack of concentration at work while thinking about managing their finances and 19% believe this has diminished their performance.  The research reveals that financial stress has impacted 21% of people in average level roles, yet this rises to 30% for people in higher paid roles, indicating that financial stress is not limited to those with lower incomes.

More than a fifth (21%) of workers admit to managing debt repayments during working hours while just under a third (32%) have missed work because they have not had enough available funds to pay for their travel costs to work.

The survey also highlights a growing disconnect between traditional pay cycles and the ability for UK workers to live comfortably within their means. 78% of workers rely on finance options to source money quickly between pay days.  Since the demise of the payday loan company Wonga people have been looking at alternative ways to source funds to help ease the burden.

“In the age of portfolio careers, employers should note that 44% of respondents are interested in being handed control of their own pay and 45% are more likely to stay with an employer that can provide flexible payment. It’s clear that traditional pay cycles don’t fit with modern financial demands; flexible payment is the key to motivating and retaining a happy, productive and engaged workforce,” says James Herbert, CEO of Hastee Pay.

When it comes to employers offering financial support, only 12% offer face-to-face financial advice and 16% offer financial wellbeing programmes. These findings suggest that employers lack awareness of the financial challenges of their employees as well as the associated impact on business productivity.

“Employers must begin to acknowledge and understand the silent strain that financial stress is having on their workforce,” Herbert concludes. “As part of the growing trend of businesses demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility, employers should consider a financial wellbeing strategy that offers guidance which also empowers workers to reach out and ask for help, both confidently and discreetly.”

February 13th, 2019|