Connecting Our Excellence: How Workr Prioritise Team Wellbeing

Workr Group’s approach has always been engaging with clients at all levels. Whether that’s a director or junior member of staff, we make sure everybody understands changes in employment and how to minimise administrative burdens.

Without this uniform understanding, the support we offer can fail to make a lasting difference. But to offer such a comprehensive service, we need a workforce that operates in complete harmony while simultaneously being fully invested in the future of Workr. Here, Group Sales Director of Workr Group Mike Lee, explains how we make that possible.

Rallying the remote workforce

The wellbeing of our team has always been important to us. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, it brought mental and physical health into much greater focus. It also presented a challenge.

First, we had to overcome the stumbling block of synchronising a workforce that was largely working from home. To do this, we organised group activities and exercises so that everyone felt a part of the wider community at all times.

When it was decided by the group to re-enter the workforce, we brought all our internal experts together. Remote working technology taught us how to streamline certain tasks, but in order for us to help each other, agencies, contractors and clients, we still believe in the power of physical connections. It’s just the nature of our industry and something we take as seriously internally as we do externally. Connecting our excellence helps guide our attitudes, actions, decisions and relationships and is something that’s made easier when we’re all together.

A cause for celebration

Thanks to our eventual reintroduction, we were delighted to hold our inaugural Summer(ish) Social at the end of last month – the ‘ish’ being a point of contention as others in the office were convinced September didn’t still count as the summer!

Instead of our typical company conference, the social was designed to be a ‘thank you’ to the Workr Group family. We wanted to reward the mammoth efforts each and every person has put in over the last 18 months, especially when our way of life was turned on its head. We wanted it to be a celebration of reconnecting.

As well as a whole host of other activities, the main event was held at the notoriously challenging Crystal Maze where our teams took on the Crystal Dome competing for bragging rights.

Leading from the front

My fellow directors and I didn’t get away lightly either as we were all the subject of an interactive quiz. I think everyone got a little more than they bargained for by the end! Yet that was the point of the day: to acclimatise to that social interaction many of us missed.

The day was particularly significant for our colleagues at Easypay, a business that joined the Workr Group during the pandemic. It was the first time the majority of their Leeds-based business had met their Workr counterparts from the Manchester and London offices, and we were delighted to officially welcome them. 

We saw off the evening in Albert’s Schloss. Here we celebrated the fact that, despite the past 18 months, we had just delivered our most successful year.

A director’s takeaway

One thing I’ve picked up from the pandemic is the importance of not only being able to identify change but also being agile enough to adapt to it. This has been key to our continued success – a success that I believe we owe to having such a connected community – and why we continue to invest in physical events to bring them together. 

If the last 18 months have taught us anything it is that five-year plans are long gone. Having a better-connected team allows us to spread the responsibility for detecting, interpreting and translating patterns, then exploring the implications for our business so we are better prepared for whatever may be around the corner.

Mike Lee, Group Sales Director

If you’d like to see more news from us, please check out the blog section of our website for all updates and announcements.

How customer care will win the talent wars

From admin assistant to senior sales director, Ashley McClure has seen almost every aspect of a recruitment business. But it’s in her current role as account director that she makes the biggest difference to Workr clients. Whether that’s through plugging skills gaps or ensuring contractors are paid deserving wages, her work delivers realistic solutions to those who need them.

With the landscape shifting closer to a global workforce, the challenges facing construction businesses (and almost all other industries) are growing.

That’s why we asked Ashley to tell us about her recruitment journey so far, and weigh in on some of the sector’s biggest issues.

How did you get into recruitment?

I fell into recruitment through an admin role. From there, I went to resourcing and gradually moved up into actual recruitment.

Today, I’m an account director. My day to day includes bringing in new accounts, managing teams and advising clients on the options available. That could be clients from all industries, but I specialise in construction, rail and engineering. In fact, it’s thanks to this niche that I was able to secure positions with a well known rail company.

What aspect of recruitment do you handle?

Generally, I deal with the contracting population and keep abreast of what projects people are involved with. Anything from navigating PAYE alternatives, advising on SDC work and supporting end clients with skills gaps. 

Because of this approach, we’re seeing over 700 referrals a week. Only by asking questions and actually understanding what contractors are working on can we offer a solution.

I do the same level of outreach with our current accounts, ensuring there’s a happy balance between incoming and retained business. Complacency will lose you clients. We designate our resources to be hands-on with every consultant we work with.

What are the challenges for you?

In the current climate, a lot of my clients can’t fill the roles. Brexit, COVID-19 and the skills gap mean that vacancies are staying open for much longer. As a result, organisations are losing weeks, despite completion dates staying the same.

With enormous infrastructure projects such as the ones I deal with, it’s difficult to find alternative solutions when the talent simply isn’t there. Yet the demands of the work are growing by the day.

Even in the instances where you have contractors, they’re often so motivated by their rate of pay that clients lose them to local competitors for the slightest increase. This makes it difficult for organisations to hold onto the talent they do acquire.

How do you help clients overcome the challenges in that niche?

It’s a case of understanding their specific needs. For example, it could be as straightforward as their location. A lot of contractors won’t travel beyond their means for a role when there’s a similar vacancy close by with a competitor.

By looking at the average tenure of our contractors, we’re able to protect our clients from losing talent at a moment’s notice. Recently, we had a number of contractors consider leaving an end client because of auto-enrolment and pension contributions.

We’d previously mentioned that they’d need to ring customer care and opt-out, but the message had been lost, and the deduction in take-home pay was a surprise. Fortunately, we overcame those challenges by ringing the contractors directly. It’s this personalised service that gives the client more time to focus on projects and filling positions.

What do you predict will be the next big change in recruitment

More international business roles are coming up. There’s a dramatic increase in people willing to work further afield, not just for money, but for job security too.

This, combined with the factors already straining the market, means we’re likely to see an even greater skills gap for end clients – especially if they aren’t paying more money. There’s only so long we’ll see organisations able to afford missing deadlines. Instead, they’ll have to increase the budget for talent acquisition, and be more flexible with completion dates.
Until then, Workr are here to help agencies access untapped talent and enhance their service to clients. So, if you’re interested in leveraging our expertise, get in touch on ashleym@workrgroup.com.

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Get access to global talent without the headache of payroll

With over 13 years experience, working in and around the recruitment industry, Adam Mommsen has helped lead the charge in encouraging agencies to tap into the international market. His finger firmly on the industry’s pulse, Workr’s head of sales for London has collaborated with businesses to support the handling of all manner of trends, from temporary staff to umbrella solutions.

But now, with IR35 reform, Brexit and work-from-home policies reshaping employment as we know it, it’s never been more important to consider overseas recruitment.

So we’ve asked Adam to walk us through his experience, and explain how it led him to offer support to agencies looking for a bigger audience.

What’s been the biggest change over the past 10 years?

Time, people seem to have less of it these days. You’d think maybe IR35 reform or Brexit, caused this shift, but it actually came with the introduction of online platforms such as LinkedIn.

Today, candidates are less likely to interact over the phone. The practice of recruiters working late to cold call is slowly dying out. Instead, they focus on contacting people where it suits them.

As a result, the reputation of recruitment is changing, and with it, the kinds of clients and candidates we work with. This is leading to an explosion of small niche agencies offering a 360-degree service, where the owners understand the market and place individuals in temporary or long-term roles around the world.

Why international recruitment?

During the pandemic, UK recruitment became one of the most competitive spaces for roles. Limiting your support to talent and positions nationwide meant missing out on a wealth of opportunities in the likes of the US, Europe and, for jobs in energy, locations like the North Sea.

Clients value the service as it allows them to widen their talent pool and navigate around inflated UK salaries. And with home working being adopted internationally, it makes no difference whether their team is based locally or in another country. For the contractor, not only are they rewarded with a new culture, they also won’t be charged the payroll costs of working a temporary position in the UK.

From my perspective, after many years focusing on the UK, the crossover to the international market has been refreshing. I don’t understand why more agencies don’t place globally. If you can recruit individuals in London, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for New York.

What are the challenges?

If a contractor is working for a business abroad, they’ll need to be paid according to their new employer’s tax laws. This means the recruiter who places them will have to decipher these new laws in order to be compliant.

Of course, if you’re an agency with a substantial number of contractors working for you, you could have a whole host of placements under different taxation laws.

For agencies just branching out into international recruitment, this level of accounting is impossible. But there is another way…

How do you help agencies overcome these challenges?

At Workr, our accountants excel in breaking down the tax law of other countries and simplifying your payment processes.

Supporting clients in over 100 countries, our payroll service takes the burden of staying compliant off your shoulders. This way, you enrich your service, while we handle everything concerning your contractors’ pay.

What do you predict will be the next big change in recruitment?

Working from home is currently advantageous to a number of contractors, but it’ll soon level the playing field in terms of salary. Those working from home in London are exceptionally more expensive than the same level of skilled candidates in South Africa.

As more agencies embrace international recruitment, it’ll be harder to justify paying higher wages to staff simply because they live locally to the business. How this relationship plays out in both permanent and temporary work will set the tone for the phase of recruitment.

Similarly, I think we’ll continue to see a rise in small niche agencies. Especially as city centre office space is no longer a requirement for a recruitment firm. What’s more, many functions of the business like payroll, compliance, HR, and credit control can now be outsourced, negating the assault start-up costs some companies have experienced in the past.

In the meantime, Workr are here to help agencies access untapped talent and enhance their service to clients. So if you’re interested in leveraging our expertise, get in touch on adamm@workrgroup.com.

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December Office Hours 2020

As ever, we’ll be available throughout the December period but please check the following holiday hours which apply to Workr Accounting, Workr International, and Workr Umbrella:

Wednesday 23rd December9:00 to 17:30
Thursday 24th December9:00 to 15:00
Friday 25th DecemberClosed
Monday 28th DecemberClosed
Tuesday 29th December9:00 to 17:30
Wednesday 30th December9:00 to 17:30
Thursday 31st December9:00 to 16:30
Friday 1st JanuaryClosed
Monday 4th January9:00 to 17:30

All the very best in this festive season and in the year ahead.