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A healthy workplace benefits everyone. From senior to junior, board to graduate, everyone has an important role to play. In this blog, we discuss the importance of health and wellbeing at work and explore the key roles that managers and employees have in creating and maintaining a healthy work environment. What is a healthy workplace and why does it matter? A healthy workplace is one that safeguards the mental health and physical wellbeing of all individuals within it. They have strong internal cultures where people feel included and inspired to want to come to work each day. They have strategies and tactics in place to help manage and minimise the anxieties that individuals uniquely experience. They are supportive environments for all employees irrespective of seniority and individual differences. A healthy workplace is good for everyone. For individuals, it positively correlates with improved health, happiness, productivity, motivation, job satisfaction and performance. For companies, it boosts team morale, talent attraction and retention, internal engagement and bottom-line performance. According to PWC research, every dollar spent on creating a healthy workplace can, on average, result in a positive return of 2.3 times. Not only this, but the more that organisations do to promote health and wellbeing has a positive snowball effect in the broader community. The Role of Managers Managers wield the power and influence that shapes the experience, health and wellbeing of employees. They create the policies, drive the strategies and make the decisions that affect how employees think, feel and behave. At it's core, management is about supporting people to be their best in their respective role. This is very difficult to achieve outside of a healthy workplace.  Consequently, commitment and buy-in from senior managers is crucial to any successful corporate health and wellbeing strategy Small changes can make a big difference when trying to create a healthy workplace. A discounted gym membership, nutritious snacks, vivacious plants, natural lighting, an informal conversation or a more collaborative workspace can all elicit a healthier workplace. In most cases, these are decisions that can only be made by a manager. Take a step further and managers have the power to develop specific training, adjust work models (flexibility and work-life balance) and provide access to professional support (internal or external) in a concentrated effort to boost employee health and wellbeing. Research by AIM highlights just how important open and effective management is. 72% of Australian workers have left a job due to poor leadership, citing poor communication and emotional intelligence as key reasons for their departure. Why? Because such inadequacies impact the mental health and physical wellbeing of employees. When this is compromised, employment at a particular company quickly becomes untenable. The Role of Employees Employees also have an important role to play in a healthy workplace. After all, they make up the components that allows the machine to run. When these components aren’t working correctly the machine tends to breakdown. Every individual will most likely face their own unique mental and physical health struggles at some point in their career. They can be unforeseen and unpredictable. Consequently, as an employee, you are ultimately responsible for looking after your own health and wellbeing. To do this, ideally with help from your company, you need to enhance your understanding of all thing’s health and wellbeing. Learn how to identify when you or someone else is struggling. Learn constructive ways of navigating challenging times. Learn how to find the professional support you need when you need it. By upskilling yourself in these areas, you will boost your resilience to health and wellbeing issues thereby doing your bit to create and maintain a healthy workplace. This learning could also give you the ability to recognise and support someone else who may be struggling. While it's not your place to diagnose or counsel someone, there are certainly things you can do to help. A simple chat about how they’re feeling can go a long way. A referral to an expert is a courageous contribution. Sharing your own health struggles can remove feelings of isolation. Temporarily alleviating some of the burden in their role could be a difference-maker. These actions all contribute to a healthier workplace. The machine works best when all components are working together and supporting one another. In this blog we’ve highlighted the important role that each employee plays in workplace health and wellbeing. Managers must use their power and influence to promote health and wellbeing, while employees must support themselves and help others by upskilling. When all employees perform their role the outcomes of a healthy and positive workplace benefit everyone. At Ignite, we understand the importance of health and wellbeing. We work with clients and candidates who value a healthy workplace, and we make lasting employment connections that ensures people work with organisations that care about your health and wellbeing.

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We all love a great success story filled with dogged determinism. The actor who lives in her car and works odd jobs so she can become a blockbuster sensation. The high school dropout who puts in 20-hour days to launch the next game-changing internet company. The immigrant who moonlights as a janitor while working his way up to become CEO of the world’s largest bank. Most people will never become famous enough to garner widespread interest in the sacrifices they make to meet work goals – the sleep deprived IT professional who perpetually works 32 hours straight to keep systems running smoothly, a public servant who misses his child’s school events to keep up with paperwork or an executive assistant who answers the beck and call of an executive 24/7… It’s easy to admire the single-minded focus to achieving goals, after all, you’ve been pumped full of motivational quotes, memes and inspirational speeches most of your life. As a society, we tend to celebrate commitment at all costs and equate giving up as failure. But, in the professional world, this belief is gradually changing. The key questions you need to ask yourself is when does the healthy professional strive turn into the useless struggle? When does going over and above in our jobs begin to affect our health and wellbeing? When should we throw in the towel? The answer is surprisingly simple. When we associate a job with more pain than pleasure, it's time to re-evaluate. After all, the only reason we strive for success is the underlying belief it will make us happier in some way on another. If this is clearly no longer the case, then  it's time to move on. The key here is finding balance in both our professional and personal lives. If your job is affecting your physical health and mental wellbeing, its a clear sign your strive might not be worth it. Sure working a long shift to complete a major project might be part of the job, and something you're willing to do to get ahead. But if one late night turns into an expectation of working late every night, at some point, somethings got to give, and most likely it won't be in your favour. Many people spend years finding the right balance between professional and personal. An added complication is often that many people are willing to self-sacrifice in the pursuit for success. A junior lawyer knows the hours will be long to ascend the ranks. But, they do it anyway to become a senior partner quicker. The problem is though, when this imbalance becomes too unsustainable, the result is often burnout, exhaustion, stress, mental illness or something even worse. In the modern working world, the concept of work-life balance has become far more accepted among employers. Good companies understand that there is no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance. In fact, they know that when they provide talent with a healthy work-life balance, their performance and productivity often improves. As a result, work-life balance has become much more commonplace and is highly sought after by all walks of talent. If your company doesn't understand this, then it's probably time to move on. Yes, it's important to strive for success and reach your professional goals, but this can be achieved without impacting you health and wellbeing. There is a tipping point in all jobs where your healthy strive can become a useless struggle, and your ability to recognise and address this will influence your overall happiness. At Ignite, we value work-life balance and ensure we support people in both their professional and personal endeavors as  much as possible. We connect great talent to like-minded organisations who understand the importance of work life balance for their employees.  

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The current IT employment market is rich in jobs but poor in available talent. The number of tech roles across Australia’s corporate landscape far exceeds the number of local talent capable of filling them. This imbalance has created a growing talent shortage, meaning some employers now need IT candidates more than those candidates need employers. Research suggests that 69% of Australian companies are already feeling the bite of shortages on their hiring strategy. Furthermore, Australia needs 200,000 additional IT professionals over the next five years to remain globally competitive. These statistics tell a compelling story, we are in a candidate driven market. Consequently, relevant technology candidates now have far more power at the hiring negotiation table than ever before. In this blog, we share our top tips to help technology candidates capitalise on this opportunity in a way that doesn’t impact their long-term prospects. Define your value proposition If you are contemplating a career change, it’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses that differentiate you from your peers. Your value proposition includes both your technical expertise and soft skills, demonstrated through experience and reinforced by your personality, that in combination will increase your desirability by employers. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, make it clear to the employer what they’re getting and why they should invest significant resources to attain your services. The clearer your value proposition, in this market, the more roles and companies you will be able to choose from in your job search. Understand your motivations and end goal What drives you to work hard? Is it money, is it flexibility, is it work-life balance or is it something else? Likewise, what is your end goal? Do you want to be a CIO, or start a business, or simply maintain a healthy wage to support your loved ones? Whatever your answers might be, In a candidate driven market, knowing your needs and wants are crucial to maximising your job search. We tend to believe the grass is always greener on the other side, however, if you don’t truly understand your motivations and end-goal, you always risk taking a backwards step. Ask yourself, how does this new job opportunity help me reach my end-goal, and what benefits do I need from a company to stay motivated and be successful? Once you find a job and a company that can satisfy these desires, you can be more confident you’re on the right track. Know your worth and negotiate… Once you know who you are and what you want, in a candidate driven market, you have the unique ability to negotiate your true market value. Companies will always want the best, and those with the capital capacity, will be willing to open their wallets to secure you. This is why in the past 12 months alone, we have seen demand for talent in sub-categories like IT security, data and cloud technology boost salaries upwards of 30%. The macro-environmental trends are currently in your favour; from closed international borders to expensive digital transformation projects, companies are scrambling to attract top IT talent. In response, you can exploit this demand by negotiating a contract that meets both your financial and non-financial needs. …But do the right thing While you should absolutely negotiate a great deal for yourself and capitalise on current market conditions, it’s also important you don’t push employers too far. Career progression is a marathon not a sprint, If you negotiate beyond reasonable expectations, then you risk falling into the greedy category impacting current and future employer relationships. How you act now will influence how you are treated in return further down the track. Australia has a small IT community, meaning your professional reputation is important. When you activate your job search, make sure you consider the long-term working relationships you have with employers should the market turn against you. Do your research and stay informed Australia’s IT market is constantly evolving, meaning if you are serious about your job search, you need to stay informed about current and future trends that could impact or disrupt your work specialisation. The employment market can always change, particularly in a highly dynamic environment like technology where employers are continually adopting new technologies and seeking new types of talent to manage them. To keep on top of this, we recommend you do your research. How? By monitoring job boards to see what opportunities are out there. To attend industry events and network with valuable contacts to keep on top of hiring trends. To continually upskill yourself within your specialisation to remain employable and highly sought after. These activities will help you maximise your job search and mitigate any potential risk that may pop up in the future. Yes, Australia’s IT jobs market is candidate driven, meaning now is a great time to activate your job search and capitalise on current opportunities. While we recommend you take advantage of these conditions in your job search, it's also important you consider your long term prospects as well. At Ignite, we specialise in technology recruitment and can help you optimise your job search in this candidate driven market. Contact the team today for more information.

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To return to the office or stay at home? A key decision high on the agenda for many employees. it’s easy to look at the benefits of remote work and decide you never want to return to the office. Who doesn’t love the additional flexibility, work life balance and autonomy that comes with working from home? However, whilst there are undoubtedly some great perks of remote work, there are also some key shortcomings that can be better accomplished in the office. Perhaps this is why many companies are adopting hybrid work models, to give their employees the best of both worlds. The advantages of remote working are easy to see – no commute, no office dress code and more time with the family. On the other hand, the advantages of the office may be less clear. Whether you're pro-office or pro-home, it's important that  you understand the advantages of both environments to make a more informed decision about where you work from long-term. Here are the top 3 reasons you should consider working (in some capacity) from the office. 1.Socialisation One major drawback of remote work is the lack of face-to-face socialisation. Many of us experienced the Zoom fatigue phenomenon of 2020, where despite great improvements in our trivia skills and ability to talk on mute, socialisation became far more challenging. This is not surprising given we are hardwired to be social creatures, and the office provides us with a physical environment to satisfy this intrinsic need with our colleagues. Sure, we can talk online and give a virtual thumbs up, but technology still isn’t capable of replicating the impact of physically shaking your bosses hand or sharing a meal with your teammates to celebrate a job well done. Remember, great companies are underpinned by strong teams that need to work cohesively and collaboratively to be successful. In a remote environment, these relationships are harder to build, harder to maintain, and harder to leverage to optimise both your individual and team performance. In all areas of our lives, including our professional careers, we search for a sense of belonging. Research suggests that people who have a strong sense of belonging to an organisation are six times more likely to be engaged, motivated and productive. Furthermore, people who work remotely over an extended period of time are far more likely to feel disconnected with their employer. This disconnection, exacerbated by ‘social distance’ while working remotely, impacts your overall mental wellbeing and happiness. Therefore, offices provide an environment that enable you to socialise with others, feel a sense of belonging and build stronger team connections that ultimately enhance your mental wellbeing and performance. 2.Learning & Development If your primary motivation is learning and development, then you are potentially limiting your opportunities for growth by adopting a fully remote work experience. Learning goes well beyond simply reading a book or watching a webinar, it also relies on immersive and experiential forms of learning that are more likely to occur in the office. According to the 70 20 10 learning framework, 70% of our learning comes from experiential knowledge, 20% comes from social knowledge and 10% comes from formal knowledge. Based on this, 80% of our learning is better achieved in a face-to-face environment (i.e., an office) than a remote one (i.e., at home). Consciously or not, we learn a lot from the people around us. We listen to conversations, we read body language, we see how our managers display leadership and how our colleagues solve business problems. These teachings are almost impossible to replicate remotely, meaning that you’re inhibiting your professional development by abandoning the office completely. 3.Career Progression Most people, particularly early in their careers, are looking for opportunities to advance. If you want the next promotion, a new job, more money or more opportunities, then never being in the office may harm your future prospects. Rightly or wrongly, When it comes to career progression, you are ‘out of sight out of mind’. Research suggests people who work remotely are less likely to receive a promotion than someone who works in the office. This means merit or productivity aside, facetime with colleagues and managers is important because in this case, perception is often reality. If you’re not in the office, you have less opportunity to build relationships, showcase leadership abilities and demonstrate your technical and soft skills. You may be working just as hard if not harder at home, but if you’re not visible to the people making the key decisions, then chances are they will choose someone else rendering your progression stagnant. Yes, remote work has great perks and is an increasingly popular feature of how people want to work moving forward. However, it’s important to realise that the office also has key advantages crucial in your career journey. So, when the time comes to make that decision for yourself (or others), it’s important you consider all of the above to make an informed choice about where you work now and into the future. If you need assistance with making this decision, or are looking for a company whose work model accommodates your needs, get in touch with the team at Ignite today.

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There was a time, not so long ago, when it was commonplace for a school leaver to choose a career and stick with it, often within the same organisation for the next half century. Go back even further and your life’s work was set from birth, enshrined in your surname. If you were a Tailor, Miller, Cooper or Smith, that’s what you did, because that’s what your family had always done. How times have changed! The modern worker now has more flexibility and autonomy than ever before. You can choose your education, your occupation and your employer to optimise your professional journey. Furthermore, if a particular situation isn’t to your liking, then you’re free to find an alternate. But when is it appropriate to make the switch? There are many signs that it might be time for you to move on from your current job.  Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common:       You’re no longer excited or challenged by your work Who wants to spend 40+ hours of their week doing something that doesn’t excite or challenge them? They say love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. If your work is stimulating and challenging, you are more likely to achieve fulfillment, particularly when this adversity is overcome. Alternatively, If you don’t experience these feelings in your current role then perhaps this is a sign you should seek this fulfillment elsewhere.       You don’t feel like you’re making an impact Fulfillment can also be dependent on a sense of purpose in your work. Everyone wants to feel like a critical cog in the machine, or that their efforts are generally doing good for their company or in the broader community. If you don’t feel like you’re making an impact, or feel as though you aren’t contributing to something meaningful, perhaps you can find more purpose by shaking things up.        You don’t receive feedback Feedback is a core component of professional development. How can you improve if nobody tells you your strengths and weaknesses? A lack of feedback can lead to feelings of listlessness; of treading water and hoping you won’t drown. If your performance isn’t being reviewed by your managers, or if soliciting feedback is increasingly difficult, this may be a sign your leaders aren’t invested in your growth and better support would be provided somewhere else.        Your good work goes unacknowledged No matter your age, experience or position, it is intrinsically human to seek reward or acknowledgement for doing good work. If you pour your heart and soul into your work without receiving even an appreciative nod in return, perhaps your current company is taking your talents for granted. If this is the case, perhaps another employer would acknowledge your efforts more appropriately.         You aren’t being reimbursed for your good work What’s even better than an appreciative nod? Reward. Salary and compensation remains a key motivator for many professionals in the workplace. If you’re doing objectively outstanding work, you deserve to be adequately compensated for it. One thing’s for sure, good companies are willing to pay for good talent, particularly in candidate-tight industries. If you believe you’re not being reimbursed adequately for your good work, perhaps another organisation is willing to open the cheque book.        You lack opportunities for development and growth Do you ever feel like a hamster on a wheel, working hard but going nowhere? Many of us dread this feeling of career stagnation and are focused on moving forward.The best workplaces offer opportunities for career advancement through training and development, clear paths to promotion or ideally a balanced mix of both. If your current position offers neither, rending you stuck in the ‘hamster wheel’, maybe it’s time to leave the cage altogether and move to greener pastures.        Your company is struggling You’ll probably notice subtle signs when your company is struggling to stay afloat. Are your leaders stressed? Is your company cutting costs? Are colleagues leaving in droves? If the ship is sinking it’s often best to get out before it’s too late. While loyalty to a company may appear noble, unfortunately, when a company collapses, employees who remain aboard are often caught up in the financial and reputational crosshairs which can sit with them throughout their career journey.        You constantly feel stressed or anxious The workplace can have a material impact on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals. For example, banks and legal firms are facing an exodus on junior talent due to their highly stressful work environments. If you feel constantly stressed or anxious in your role, this is typically an indicator from your brain that this job isn’t a great fit for you. While stress is prevalent in all roles, too much can have serious consequences. If you find yourself feeling this way, a new job may be the valtrex medicine you need to improve your mental health.        You don’t feel part of a team Did you know that many workers spend more time with their colleagues than their family? IIn any environment, it is preferable to spend time with people you click with as opposed to colleagues you dislike and hold contempt for. In an organisational context, social unrest is not good for anyone. If you don’t like your colleagues, or feel isolated and not a part of the team, perhaps it’s time to remove yourself from the situation and find a more supportive team in a new job.      You’re struggling to find work/life balance Employee demand for work life balance is rapidly  increasing, Alongside salary, it has become one of the biggest motivators for individuals to change roles. However, many ‘old school’ employers are yet to adjust to these preferences and continue to measure commitment of their staff by the hours of unpaid overtime they put in. If this mentality sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to find a workplace more accommodating to your needs where leaders put an onus on productivity over presence.  As an employee, ask yourself how many of these 10 signs resonate with you? If it’s one or more, it might be worth exploring other job opportunities. Life’s too short to be unhappy in your career, particularly when there are a plethora of alternative options.  If these signs resonate with you and you’re ready to look for a new job, the Ignite team can help.

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At Ignite, supporting our candidates by optimising their experience is one of our key priorities. Not only do we connect talent with fantastic employers and job opportunities, we also ensure they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and tools to thrive in their respective careers. One way we do this is through Ignite's candidate meetups. These sessions, led by our consultants, are designed to improve the overall capability and employability of our candidates as they navigate the increasingly complex and competitive jobs market. One such consultant at Ignite who has pioneered these sessions is our VIC-based senior IT recruiter Harry Wade, who recently hosted his 13th candidate meetup. Harry’s sessions are geared towards candidates within the IT and technology space, and have become must-attend events for relevant talent. According to Harry, “the meetups are a great opportunity for us to engage with jobseekers and support them in their careers. We discuss key trends in the employment market and prepare them for all aspects of the recruitment and hiring process”. On average, about 30 candidates attend Harry’s sessions, hungry for insights and tips that can set them apart in the eyes of employers. Harry says, “many candidates are facing similar obstacles and simply looking for confidence and reassurance that they’re doing the right things when looking for work.” We identify where they can improve and then equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their respective careers”. Like in all things, Information is power when it comes to job search. Our candidate sessions provide candidates with the latest and most relevant information to help them understand hiring processes and secure employment. According to Harry, content in his meetups vary but they typically include the following staples to support IT talent: Market insights and key employment trends Recruitment process tips including interviewing and assessments Personal branding tips including LinkedIn profile building, CV/Resume tips Available job opportunities       One of the most common pain points for candidates is the lack of feedback and support they receive through the recruitment process, particularly following unsuccessful applications. Ignite’s candidate meetups address these issues by ensuring all candidates are given the guidance they need to build their capabilities and ultimately become successful ones. Harry says, “in my experience, success or failure in recruitment can often come down to very minor adjustments, from body position in an interview to adjusting the formatting of a CV. We know how hiring managers think and operate, and share this knowledge to show candidates how they can achieve better outcomes”. Thirteen sessions in and candidate feedback has been extremely positive about Harry's meetups so far, with attendance gradually growing each time. One candidate left a Google review saying, “the meetup was very interesting and helped be build and update my CV to be job ready”. Another candidate said, “the session was very informative with a great overview of the jobs market and trends relating to IT”. Harry's response to this feedback is “I enjoy offering advice and am passionate about helping my candidates find employment. I hope everyone that attends my sessions can take at least one pearl of wisdom to help them in their career journey”. Ignite’s candidate meetups are extremely valuable because they help build relationships between our consultants and our candidates, driving engagement and trust. By investing in talent through these sessions, we're able to build the employability of candidates and generate stronger talent pools to present to employers including our clients. According to Harry, "contributing to the development of a candidate to help them be successful is why I became a recruiter". As the market becomes increasingly flooded with candidates looking for work, this development can be critical to securing employment. Ignite’s candidate meetups are held regularly throughout the calendar year, designed with insightful material relevant for all. Like Harry, all our consultants are passionate about supporting their candidates. So, If you’re interested in attending future sessions, keep an eye out in 2021 on our social media and website for future instalments. Harry and the broader Ignite team can’t wait to meet you!

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When COVID-19 rapidly unfolded across Australia in March, our contracts and compliance team were faced with the mammoth task of transitioning our contractors to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements. With hundreds of contractors working across the country, it was critical that we facilitated a quick and seamless transition to minimise any disruption for them and our clients. Our Contracts, Compliance and ACT Office Manager Sharron Bright said “this was a massive task. We realised the importance of being on the front-foot due to everything happening with COVID-19. Consequently, we set a very quick turnaround to minimise any business disruption”. The process of transitioning contractors to new working arrangements is quite extensive, requiring significant coordination, communication and administration efforts across a range of stakeholders. All contractors were: Required to complete a work-health safety (WHS) assessment form Undergo assessment and approval of potential risks in their chosen remote workplace Informed of all incident reporting procedures Supplied with signed agreements indicating to our clients that they were WFH ready. In just ten days, this process was successfully completed. Hundreds of assessment forms distributed, assessed and signed off. The effectiveness and efficiency of this process ensured that each contractor was ready to transition to a safe working environment when instructed to do so by their employer, many of which are still working-from-home today. Sharron said “this was a combined effort between the contracts & compliance team and consultants to ensure each assessment was completed correctly and all contractors were ready to work-from-home. Everyone was very accommodating through the process and appreciative of the correspondence they received from the broader team”. We would like to thank everyone for their huge contribution in facilitating this transition. Contractor care is an integral component of our organisation showcased by the impressive delivery of this process. Author: Mark Southwood Executive Business Analyst

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