Made a mistake at work recently that was your fault? Are you still agonising over it?
For my guest article this month, I’m exploring why a work blunder might feel like your world has ended, never mind your career, but could turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Ah, the work blooper. Whether you’re an intern or the CEO, a self-orientated perfectionist or if you swear you triple-checked your email recipient, one day you WILL make a mistake. It’s an inevitable and unavoidable part of life.
For article research, I asked friends, colleagues and LinkedIn’ers if they’d be willing to reveal their most unforgettable career-clangers. The responses wove a fascinating (and hilarious) tapestry of goofs. A helpful reminder that we’re all human - it’s the quirks of our mental make up that truly makes us interesting - and that even the most painful slip-ups can be helpful…
Why do we make mistakes anyway?
From clean forgetting the attachment on an all-company email to accidentally forwarding a highly inappropriate spam video to your Chair of Trustees - rather than flagging it with your PR team as you’d intended - the workplace gaffe is cringingly familiar.
It’s safe to say most people have experienced the palpable gut-wrench of making an absolute clanger. So why do we make mistakes? Are we simply being careless or in a rush? Ignoring our intuitions and pushing ahead with an approach we know deep down will fail? Or is there more at play than personality and intelligence?
American journalist and author Joseph T. Hallinan thinks so. In his book ‘Why We Make Mistakes’, he believes humans are pre-programmed to mess up because of our inbuilt ‘design flaws’. That it’s the way we think, see and remember - and forget - that leads us to make mistakes. By delving into psychology, neuroscience, and economics, he deduces that the same qualities that make us efficient can also make us prone to error.
These design flaws, like when our eyes play tricks on us, are all-too-relatable. ‘I once sent an email about how incompetent and what a pain in the a***e a client was - only to send it directly to him’ said one of my friends.
Not spotting a missing letter can also wreak havoc, as a teacher friend discovered. ‘My teaching assistant was responsible for the gardening club and needed to write an emergency flyer home to parents due to bad weather. She intended to ask them to wear wet-weather gear - wellies in particular. But, the note read something along the lines of... ‘Dear gardeners, please don’t forget to bring your willies to school tomorrow!’. It was my job to check - I missed it and the note went home. Thank goodness our parents are fairly good humoured!’.
Why is it good to mess up?
Most people are compassionate enough to realise mistakes happen and see the funny side when wellies go rogue.
None of us are entirely flawless but we’re acclimatised to curated perfection in our virtual worlds. We share our successes and luminous achievements to our followers, but we rarely exhibit our failures when things haven’t gone so well.
Then again, messing up can feel like the end of the world. The immediate reaction is usually negative; panic, nausea, wild irrationality. As you simultaneously update your LinkedIn profile in readiness for a new-job search and WhatsApp your friends requesting an urgent wine-up to wallow in catharsis, you can feel like the worst (*add job title here) in the country.
Yet giving yourself permission to make mistakes could actually make you stronger. No matter how crushing they feel at the time, getting it wrong can be right in the long term. As Viv Groskop explains in her article for The Pool, ‘the more we stumble the less likely we are to head towards a major fall’. Making a mistake allows you to pause and reflect on the decisions made and actions taken which caused the error. Essentially, you get clarity on what’s gone wrong and can take steps to put it right.
Post-mistake anxiety - the I never want to experience this embarrassment or worry ever again feeling - can be the driving force to do better next time. You may also push yourself in a way you wouldn’t if you’re used to playing it safe and striving for perfection.
Author Elizabeth Day’s inspiring podcast ‘How To Fail With Elizabeth Day’ celebrates the things that haven’t quite gone right. Every week, she asks her interviewee what they learned from their failures and how to do it better next time, - and succeed. In her article for The Guardian, she shares, ‘I realised that the biggest, most transformative moments of my life came through crisis or failure’. Crucially, she survived.
So, what can I learn from a mistake?
The cringy, 'it feels like my career is over' kind of mishaps are often unforgettable. Yet, for most people their world didn’t actually end, it got better.
► Embed a valuable skill. When one senior designer first started out in publishing, he printed '10,000s of John Grisham audiobooks with the title misspelt on the spine. It was…quite a biggy’. Gulp. Yet, the one thing they’ve carried with them, apart from an innate fear of a legal thriller, is how crucial it is to double check anything that goes public. My friend who sent a disparaging email about a client TO the client? ‘I never wrote a single word about anyone on my work email ever again!’.
► Steer you down a career path you REALLY want to take. One of my great friends ‘invited 60 Financial Services big-wigs to a CPD event up in Liverpool, only to receive a phone call from one of the attendees telling me that the venue hadn’t a clue about the event and there was no booking. Yep - I hadn’t booked it. To be fair to me that season I ran over 140 events nationally, but that was a spectacular fail! It was then I realised, Events was not for me…’. They have since built a successful and exciting career in HRIS with notable brands on their CV - and haven’t given CPD events a second thought.
► Alter your behaviour. ‘I wondered and commented on why a young lad was looking at a notice up really really close’ mused one of my contacts. ‘Unfortunately he had a very bad eye problem. I was mortified that I had commented and have learned that all disabilities may not be that obvious. I’m very considerate and helpful to all my customers'. Although naturally respectful, it reminded her that consideration towards others goes a long way.
Argh, I’ve made a huge mistake. Now what?!
Here are some suggested ways to navigate yourself out a potential crisis in the event of a blooper:
1. Clear your head. Stop, take a deep breath and consider what’s actually happened (i.e. did you email the person intended or the whole company?). In your eagerness for damage control, avoid sending an email immediately. It could make things ten times worse and appear you’ve lost control.
2. Face up to it. Don’t run away, hide in the loos or blame the whole thing on Stephen from Finance. Be upfront with your manager and apologise, but don’t over do it. Present a clearly thought-out solution for their approval and display a calm and professional exterior (even if you’re sobbing inside).
3. Try not to catastrophise. It’s natural to assume the worst - but don’t let panic or imposter syndrome overwhelm you. It’s likely your colleagues won’t notice your mistake, as everyone’s too busy making their own (I mean, getting on with their work).
4. A slip-up shared...Talk to a friend or loved one. What feels like the end of the world this morning could make for a terrific anecdote by this evening once you’ve nailed (1), (2) and (3). Swapping ‘you’ll never guess what I did today’ tales can offer reassurance, a reality check and a giggle. Then, stop obsessing and let it go.
5. Show em’ what you’re made of. Don’t let a blip derail you. Work extra hard over the coming weeks to restore your confidence. Genuine colleagues and good line managers will want to see you succeed.
6. Check yourself. If you’re making small but frequent mistakes at work, there might be something else at play. Are you overloaded with a heavy work-life balance or anxious about something in your personal life? Or are you bored, taking your eye off the ball? Consider talking to your manager or HR, or access other support mechanisms like an employee assistance programme or a work/life coach.
No matter how agonising at the time, work mistakes can provide invaluable lessons to file in our ever-growing life manual. Although it’s hard to visualise in the moment, the personal growth you’ll experience will make it all worthwhile.
Trust me. It’ll all be OK.
Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer
There were too many brilliant mistakes to include in this article so...
..for the purposes of solidarity in our slip-ups, here’s some more mistakes to share. A huge thanks to everyone who bravely participated!
Interviewing the wrong person for a role was a good one! Two sets of interviews were happening at the same time. I knew my candidate was a Sikh gentleman and never for a moment imagined the other candidate would be too, so didn’t check his name, just asked if he was here for a interview. It was only when we got to the technical questions that he actually asked what the role he was being interviewed for was!
Before I moved into professional services I worked for a fairly big haulage company in their Finance dept. I was working closely with two very experienced women who were great to work with and helpful. We got on well as a team apart from our direct line manager who was David Brent before he was conceived as a concept. Unfortunately one of said women had a massive hang up about her age (she was in her mid thirties) and one day I tried to get her attention to discuss a project and forgot where I was and called her 'mother'. She thought I was being cheeky (due to sensitivity around age) but it was a genuine oversight. Everyone else in the office was rolling up in tears. Lesson learned, always remember somebody's name and their relationship to you. For context I was 18 at the time.
It can’t be as bad as a) inviting all your personal contacts to a staff breast awareness session or b) an unfortunate ‘Beast Caner’ typo (breast cancer) in a print run of 5,000.
Back in the day and being an over-helpful people pleaser I offered to help our Company Secretary "guillotine" the sides off of his eldest daughter's GCSE music manuscripts to tidy them up for submission to the examiners. (His PA was on a day off). I nervously lined them up on what I thought would be a nice, neat line - only to chop off about an inch of the actual music as well! Not sure what I learned other than what a complete twit I was! And of course it’s something I've never forgotten - and apparently neither had he when I met him at a reunion almost 20 years later!
I did a whole day of interviews. We had one candidate that got louder and higher pitched with each question and answer, to the point where on the panel, we couldn't look at each other and were shaking with holding the laughter in. Somehow we made it through that interview, but didn't do the sensible thing and take a break, get it out and breathe… no, we just ploughed on. The poor next candidate came in and started her interview, but then two of us made eye contact and one of us lost it. One interviewer had to leave the room after snorting out a laugh. All of us fell apart laughing - absolutely full-on crying, belly laughs. It was awful. The poor candidate had no idea what was going on. In the end we had to stop, explain and start again. It was so unprofessional. However, she got the job and was a fabulous team member for many years. We are still in touch now…
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If the rates in our 2019 Salary Report leave you feeling a little short-changed, what next? Requesting a raise in the charity sector can be uniquely awkward: feeling undervalued helps no-one, but does more for you mean less for those in need? Guest writer and freelance HR specialist Nicola Greenbrook has a wealth of charity HR experience and is here to tackle this tricky dilemma. How to negotiate a pay rise in the charity sector Why is it so difficult to talk about money at work? We share our career experience and notable skills to strangers at interview, we present brilliant ideas in all-department meetings and reveal our goals and ambitions in our performance review. Yet, when it comes to ensuring that we’re fairly compensated, it’s tricky to engage. Asking for a salary increase can often be shrouded in utter awkwardness or sheer terror. This apprehension can be exacerbated for those working in the non-for-profit sector, who have chosen to work there specifically for the cause and its mission. Some charities simply can’t afford to pay more than others, and in smaller organisations when funds are precious, asking for an increase can leave people feeling guilty and uncomfortable. However, as a recent article by CharityJob explains, not asking for what you deserve and have worked hard for may cause bitterness and frustration to bubble over and ultimately impact on your work and performance. Ensuring you’re sufficiently paid a salary commensurate with your talent, contribution and market worth is not only crucial for your own money management, but ensures you’re motivated to deliver on your best work for the charity. Here are some strategies to help you successfully negotiate a salary increase, guilt-free. Firstly, why is it so hard to talk about money? According to Dr Rebecca Newton, psychologist and author of Authentic Gravitas: Who Stands Out and Why, women tend to be less likely to shout about their accomplishments which can lead to their work, at times, being overlooked. Yet, it’s a topic that causes discomfort for most of us. It’s easy to talk yourself out of asking for more money and allow that pesky inner critic to persuade you that ‘it’s not the right time’ or ‘they’ll think you’re being greedy’ and so you put it off for another month. Perhaps you’re afraid of how to handle it if the increase is rejected or maybe the actual meeting itself causes you great anxiety? For those who are naturally unassertive, discussing the M-word is off bounds. You may be familiar with Noah Kagan, CEO of AppSumo, and his ‘coffee challenge’, where he encourages people to walk into a coffee shop and ask for 10% off their purchase. Daunting as it sounds to ask a complete stranger for a discount (not to mention the queue of grumpy, caffeine-deprived people behind you), it forces you out of your comfort zone. You may not really be fussed about a few pence off your morning coffee, but it could help you tackle a difficult conversation if you generally squirm at the idea of asking for money off. Why not give it a go tomorrow? Starting small could help talking finances a little more easy to handle. _______________________ Do your homework If you’re ready to take the plunge, don’t even think about diving in without getting your data in order. Do your due diligence; the more intelligence you gather, the stronger your case for an increase will be. Determine your market value by considering the following options: • Use guides like the Harris Hill and Charity Job 2019 Salary Report to benchmark where you currently sit, and where you should. This definitive guide to UK charity salaries draws from over 45,000 genuine UK charity and not-for-profit vacancies from the previous financial year and you’ll find current market rates for hundreds of different roles, so yours is very likely to be covered. • Know your numbers; get savvy about the charity’s financial performance and demonstrate how your individual contribution has impacted on the company’s bottom line (effectively, the line at the bottom of of a financial report that shows the company’s net profit or loss). • Ask your HR team about any rewards strategies or policies already in place or when any salary reviews take place so you can choose your timings wisely. • Dip into your trusted professional network; sector or industry professionals, mentors and recruiters and those who may be willing to disclose a genuine salary comparison, to get a broad perspective. Consider ways of posing the question rather than asking outright what their salary is. Avoid asking friends or co-workers. • Consider testimonials from trusted sector contacts, clients and suppliers. This could demonstrate you’re not the only one who thinks you’re smashing it and could further enhance your value. I hereby state my case In Otegha Uwagba’s Little Black Book - A Toolkit for Working Women, she presents invaluable advice on negotiating a pay rise. To ensure your salary negotiations have gravitas, the words you use will need to carry weight. She suggests outlining ‘what you’ve contributed to the organisation, presenting tangible achievements and quantifiable wins’. Be very clear on how your individual contribution to the charity justifies the need for you to earn more than you currently are. Place the focus firmly on your value by converting your successes into tangible achievements - your second to none campaigning techniques which resulted in a high profile campaign, your unrivalled ability to build long-term relationships which brought in a major donor - rather than simply discussing how busy you’ve been. Career expert Jill Jacinto, writing for Refinery29, makes the point that when asking for an increase, don't make it personal. Although it's likely your request for an increase is for valid financial reasons (a hike in cost of living, your desire to get on the property ladder, going to your tenth wedding this year), this shouldn’t be raised when seeking a raise. As Jill points out, if every manager awarded an increase on the basis of personal needs then businesses, especially charities, would cease to survive. Here are some final tips for making the request meeting, gulp, a smooth one. • Practice your talking points on a partner/flatmate/friend etc - Seek their honest feedback on your delivery. Are you umming too much? Are you speaking with conviction? Is your request clear and your reasoning sound? Perfecting the dress rehearsal could make the main performance a show stopper. If no-one’s around, video it. It might feel completely daft watching yourself talk, but you might even start to believe in yourself. Be authentic on the day though, and be prepared to go 'off script’. • Set the scene. Arrange a proper meeting with your manager, booked in with their PA if they have one, and ideally outside of a structured one-to-one where the matter could get lost amongst operational stuff. Frame it as a business discussion, although going too ‘hardball’ may not fit with your charity’s culture, so always be yourself. • Don't say sorry - Be assertive (not aggressive) and unapologetic. Be firm with your expectations and once you've stated the figure you are seeking, wait for a response rather than filling the silence. It’s now over to your manager… • Open negotiations - If you’re offered an increase, either during or after the meeting, that's lower than your expectations get ready to negotiate. Consider what’s best for the charity as well as for you - this is how the best deals are secured. If it’s an outright no, for valid reasons, be prepared to query what you need to do to get a 'yes' next time. Set a goal and a deadline to revisit, so you come away with something concrete to work on. Money talks are terrifying, no doubt. But by avoiding the topic and saving yourself the discomfort, you could be holding back your career progression and full earning potential long-term. Asking for a raise is not a confrontational discussion, it’s an honest, professional request to be paid what you deserve. As Aliya Vigor-Roberston states in People Management Magazine, open and honest discussions about money can benefit both individuals and businesses. So, there you go. No more excuses… Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola More from Nicola Greenbrook: ► How to handle the holiday handover ► How to manage stress at work ► Charity Careers 4: meet James Harris of Rethink Mental Illness ► Back to the Harris Hill Salary Centre ► Back to the Harris Hill blog
If you like the sound of an inspiring and supportive environment, where your work helps charities of all kinds to do more, we might have just the job. Five of them in fact, with a unique and forward-thinking organisation. Read on or head straight to our dedicated CFG recruitment site for the details... A great place to work Good news may have seemed rather scarce in recent years, but for staff in the charity sector there's been at least one welcome development: employers' growing understanding of the connection between the workplace (both its culture and the physical environment) and what they can achieve. More and more organisations now recognise that investing in their people, not least by creating somewhere they actually want to work, isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ in the unlikely event of spare budget, but something that delivers real bottom-line benefits, keeping valuable skills and expertise on board, attracting new talent, and making them better equipped to pursue their mission. But while it's easy enough to make the right noises, making it happen can be rather more challenging, so it’s always refreshing to find an organisation like the Charity Finance Group (CFG) who’ve ‘totally nailed it’, as we’d say if this were a talent show and they’d just murdered a Nina Simone classic at us. Aims and opportunities A charity in their own right, CFG champion best practice in the sector's financial management, nurturing leadership and influencing policy makers, with a mission to put finance at the heart of social organisations. They're passionate about helping charities make their money work harder, to deliver maximum possible benefit for their beneficiaries. It's a clear mission that's easy to get on board with, so we're delighted to bring you five outstanding opportunities to do exactly that. They include a Conference Events Producer, Events Manager, Events Assistant and EA to the CEO (all permanent positions) as well as an Interim Financial Controller for a six-month contract, all working from their Islington office just moments from the Northern Line at Angel. The unique CFG culture Full disclosure: as specialists in charity finance recruitment (find the latest finance jobs here) naturally we work with CFG on a regular basis, exhibiting at their hugely-popular annual conference, regularly advertising and occasionally contributing to the group's monthly Finance Focus magazine. So while we can't claim complete impartiality, we can offer years of experience working directly with the team in various capacities, all of which confirms the impression we came away with from our latest visit: this is somewhere people genuinely enjoy working, with a friendly team who like and support each other, and who feel valued and supported by the leadership too. Pleasingly, that's because they are, as CEO Caron Bradshaw explains: ‘We spend so much time at work it should be as fulfilling and enriching as possible - and I just don’t think that is possible if individuals are not encouraged to be themselves and play to their strengths.’ We’re ticking 'strongly agree’ for that one, and from experience we know these aren’t just warm words and intentions, but how the organisation really works. Meanwhile forget any preconceptions you might have about a charity finance outfit being stuffy or austere: CFG is anything but, with a vibrant and enthusiastic team, strongly committed to their vision of helping charities achieve more, and strongly committed to their people, as Caron continues: ‘It’s about valuing your colleagues and bringing the best out of them. It’s about helping them unlock something inside them that maybe they didn’t know was there. It’s about passion, love, purpose and vision but also humility, humour and fun.’ Join the family If that sounds like the kind of ethos you'd love to find in your workplace, we thoroughly recommend learning more about these roles and the organisation - which you can do by visiting our dedicated CFG site with many more details of the positions, benefits, values, aims and organisational culture. Just click below to read on, find out more, and be inspired to apply! More from the Harris Hill blog ► How to handle the holiday handover: guest writer Nicola Greenbrook on how to ensure a drama-free departure ► London Charity Softball League 2019: meet the finalists! ► Charity Careers 4: meet James Harris of Rethink Mental Illness Don't miss the Harris Hill & CharityJob 2019 Salary Report... ...the essential new guide to UK charity salaries. With market insights from our sector specialists and the expert team at CharityJob, you'll find more than 350 current rates for roles in 26 job functions, based on over 45,000 recent charity vacancies. ► What should you be earning in the charity sector? Find out here...
Be it a glamorous getaway or simple staycation, holidays are a chance to relax and recharge. Which you'll probably need after the frantic fortnight of frenzied preparation that all too often comes first. So how do you take a stress-free break without simply cramming it all in beforehand? And what if you're left holding things together on the home front? In this month’s guest article, freelance writer and HR specialist Nicola Greenbrook has advice on pre-holiday planning to help you head away with everything in hand, keep calm with your carry-on, and be raring to go on your return. Holiday season is well and truly upon us. Oh, the anticipation of what’s to come! An opportunity to get stuck into the book gathering dust on the bedside table or to broaden your horizons at a bucket list-worthy destination. A chance to recharge and refuel. According to Dr Christian Jarrett, holidays can make us happier, healthier and even prolong our lives. Sometimes though, the pace and pressure in the weeks leading up to the holiday almost negate the benefits of the break itself. Here are some tips to help you deliver a successful handover - keeping your credibility, peace of mind and work relationships intact. Before you go... (Excited! Full of anticipation! But a bit stressed!) American polymath Benjamin Franklin quite wisely said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. He was spot on. Nailing a holiday handover is all in the preparation; giving yourself sufficient time to organise everything weeks in advance. Forewarn your absence Make sure your holiday dates are in your team and key stakeholders’ diaries as soon as your leave has been authorised; even if you sort the finer, exciting details later. If you’re client or supporter-facing or manage multiple projects, consider adding an extra line to your email signature a few weeks in advance that clearly outlines the period of your absence. Rather than appearing smug (‘I'M GOING ON HOLIDAY FOR TWO WEEKS AND YOU'RE NOT’) it instead ensures your contacts are notified well in advance and can plan accordingly at their end. It also prevents any nasty surprises on your last day. The art of the handover note It’s always a good idea to start your Holiday Handover Notes (HHN) a good few weeks before, even if you jot down headers or topics in the first instance, rather than frantically wracking your tired brain the night before you fly. Consider always having the document open in the week before you go, for ease of brain-dump, rather than scribbling a note on a Post-it that gets lost in a yellow sea of more Post-its or overloading your already full head. CJ Sinclair, founder of Go Travel and Talk, a network that provides detailed travel guides to worldwide destinations with solo travellers in mind, is always on the move; and therefore well-practised in the art of the perfect handover. She breaks her HHN down into critical priorities, current and upcoming projects and ‘things to watch’ and ‘worry or pain points’. CJ also cleverly adds screen shots and media, to break up the words and highlights important text for an easy at-a-glance view. Aim to strike the balance with a comprehensive but concise approach to your HHN. HR News suggests that ‘…there’s no need to cause an unreasonable amount of stress on the employee/s covering you whilst you’re away, so highlighting all the ‘need-to-know’ points will help them keep on top of things’. Order tasks by priority and include key delivery dates or deadlines, with the most recent first. Schedule in a face-to-face meeting with your colleague who’s taking the reins. You can talk through the HHN before you go, so they can ask questions and jot down their own points. Avoid being patronising; your team are knowledgeable enough to know what ‘pass invoice to Finance' means in practice. There's no need to go into intricate detail about the ‘third cupboard on the left with the squeaky drawer’ if everybody knows perfectly well all about the squeaky drawer. Be a clever planner In the weeks before, keep your diary as clear as possible and stay focused. It may feel a wrench missing Steve from Events’ birthday lunch, but avoiding social engagements or non-urgent appointments wins you back a few hours of uninterrupted work time. At 7.00pm on your last day when you’re panicked and finishing with all your holiday toiletries still to buy, you’ll be grateful for that hour. You can catch up with Steve and the gang on your return. If you’re a freelancer or consultant in the not-for-profit sector with no-one to actually hand over to, it's even more crucial to plan ahead. CJ finds that scheduling everything in advance with calendar reminders or apps like Later and Tailwind, can be helpful. Although "it does mean a lot of work beforehand to get it all done”, she also notes “it’s amazing how much technology can help to give you a little respite!” Avoid dumping-disguised-as-a-handover-task Be reasonable and conscientious, and tie up as many loose ends as you possibly can before you go. Don't be tempted to use your absence from the office as an opportunity to slip in a few projects that have been on the back burner, or to dump tricky tasks you’ve been putting off on to an unsuspecting colleague. This may cause resentment in your absence, confusion or delays to a project. Don't use OOO to get a LOL It’s tempting to set a comedy out of office message, but the best advice is to save it for the comedians. As funny as they might be to read, there's a fine line between light-hearted and inappropriate, and it's not necessarily in the same place for everyone. Getting it wrong and causing offence can reflect badly on the charity, its purpose and mission. A simple message that clearly states your return date and who to contact in your absence will do the trick, although it can be a nice touch to highlight a particular campaign your charity is running. Oh, and don’t forget your voicemail too if you receive direct calls. Set boundaries Depending on what works for you, let your direct reports and manager know how and when you can be contactable if a genuine emergency arises while you’re on the beach. Otherwise, you should trust your team and colleagues to adequately manage things in your absence, especially if you’ve put all of the above into place. Prioritise your wellbeing, family and friends during that precious break, and where possible, learn to switch off. If it's your turn to hold the fort... It can be tough being the stand-in. You’re managing your own workload as well as bearing the responsibility of doing a good house-sitting job. Be assertive. Even if your colleague is looking rather up to their eyes in it, ask all the questions you need before they go so you’re well informed and can maintain the proper functioning of tasks in their absence - it’s for both of your benefits. CJ Sinclair especially looks after her colleagues by cc’ing them into emails in the weeks leading up to her holiday and keeping them 100% in the picture. If the work is project-facing, she also arranges calls with clients to introduce them to the person holding the fort - so why not consider asking for the same treatment? Be proactive and schedule a meeting with the hander-over on their penultimate day to avoid a last minute panic on the final one. Politely ask that their handover notes are in good shape so that you can go through the entire document together, check your understanding and fill in any gaps. Then schedule one in the early afternoon of their first day back. Consider using Google Docs so that you can update the document with your own notes as you go along. It will save you time and allow your colleague to read through and extract the key points and actions before their return if they fancy, making their first day back easier (and yours; you’ve now just the one workload to juggle. Hurrah!). It can be hard bearing the weight of managing tasks in someone else’s absence and the risk of being overwhelmed is high. Accept that you can’t do everything and be aware of what you can reasonably do. Focus on the deadlines and priorities, and don’t fret if you didn’t even get a peek at the ‘non-urgent’ section of the HHN. These can be picked up when your colleague returns. If you’re struggling, talk to your manager and shout for help. This Harvard Business Review article has some great tips on what to do when you’re covering for colleagues - and can't keep up. When you get back... (Jet lagged! With post-holiday blues! Slightly full of dread!) It's tough coming back from a holiday. Even worse when you’ve had to come straight from airport to office, you’re desperately missing the pool/beach/mountain/all-inclusive buffet and were not at all prepared for a painful reunion with the tube. Here’s some final tips on how to restore some of that holiday-energy. • Keep your diary as clear as you can. Prioritise the meeting with your colleague who managed your work (who hopefully would have scheduled it for early afternoon) and use the morning to clear/organise your emails and get your task list up to date. The responsibility is back with you, and the chances are your colleague will be relieved to relinquish the extra load. • Be gracious and thankful for the support you received from your colleagues. If time hasn’t allowed them to complete all tasks, keep your cool and try not to be angry or concerned that things haven't been done ‘your way’. • Avoid a post-holiday grumble. You fully deserved your break and it’s always hard to come crashing back to reality when you’ve had the time of your life. However, be mindful that while you’ve been travelling they’ve been sweating it in your absence. Don’t moan about being back or repeatedly say ‘this time last week I was *add fabulous holiday thing*' and sigh, loudly. Be grateful for both a super break and a supportive team of colleagues. • Come bearing gifts. Like a bottle of that funny-coloured liquor from the local supermarket, unpronounceable sweets or some local delicacies. It doesn’t have to be expensive or purchased from somewhere impressive; a box of fudge can go a long way to say thank you. So, there you go. You’ve notified people way in advance that you're jetting off. You’ve planned, scheduled, created perfect handover notes with no nasty surprises, and your team know how to track you down in an emergency (unlikely as they’re so well-informed). Now, swap sandwiches at your desk for something delicious al fresco and lose yourself in a good book rather than a report, safe in the knowledge that everything's in hand. You deserve it. Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola More from Nicola Greenbrook: ► How to manage stress at work ► How to switch off ► Charity Careers 4: meet James Harris of Rethink Mental Illness Check out the brand new Salary Centre ...home of the Harris Hill & CharityJob 2019 Salary Report, the essential new guide to UK charity salaries. With market insights from our sector specialists and the expert team at CharityJob, you'll find more than 350 current rates for roles in 26 job functions, based on over 45,000 recent charity vacancies. What should you be earning in the charity sector? Find out here... ► Back to the blog homepage
Loads of questions coming into the blog this week, but mainly: a) Can it possibly be time for the charity softball finals? b) Seriously, it’s been a year already? and c) Why DO Cadbury’s Giant Buttons* taste so much better than the small ones despite being exactly the same chocolate? To which the answers are respectively a) yes, b) I know! and c) no idea, it's a lightweight blog about softball, you want Mysteries of the Universe next door. (*Other large versions of small chocolates are available. As are small versions of large chocolates, but even they know they're just wasting everybody's time. Celebrations aside, obviously). But yes, the big day is very nearly upon us, and after a gripping summer of unexpected twists, extraordinary turns and fast-paced-but-friendly competition, all eyes will be on Hyde Park tomorrow, Thursday 15th August for the Season 17 finale of the London Charity Softball League! Spoiler alert if you’re still catching up on earlier episodes, but previously this season: 80 teams (made up of players from over 120 charities) battled it out in parks across London, and just six have now made it all the way to the grand finals to compete for the coveted Harris Hill Plate, Bluestep Shield and the granddaddy of them all, the Harris Hill Cup! And your six finalists are... Sustrans Sluggers vs Mind Action on Hearing Loss vs Business in the Community Anthony Nolan vs Food Fighters (Action Against Hunger and Fareshare) Naturally we'll be on hand with refreshments (by which we mean beer) for no less than our 13th year, along with our excellent fellow sponsors, and we hope to see you there! Meanwhile in keeping with more recent tradition, we also interrupted all six teams during vital last-minute preparations to fire a whole bunch of questions at them about their season and whether they’re going to win a prize. Just to throw in some extra tension and jeopardy, it's been a race against time to see which teams would make it into this career-defining feature, but three were quick enough off the mark, so please would you welcome the Sustrans Sluggers, Anthony Nolan, and the hunger-tackling hybrid of Action Against Hunger and Fareshare, the Food Fighters! ► First up, the only one of last year's final six making a reappearance, this time challenging Mind for the Harris Hill Cup: it's the Sustrans Sluggers! Sustrans Sluggers Answering the questions: Ami 'nition' Udeshi and Will 'Statman' Wright, Vice Captains About the team: Sustrans Sluggers (the Slugs) are the team making it easier for people to walk and cycle to their softball game. We can normally be spotted by the large stack of bikes piled up near the diamond. Tell us about your history in the league? We’re relative newcomers to the league having started in 2016. When we started we had no idea what we were doing - most of us just thought softball was "basically rounders", much to our captain’s dismay. Four years on and we’ve somehow slugged our way into the Cup final. What's the best thing about being part of it? Playing an amazing, inclusive sport on warm summer evenings, hanging out with your colleagues and meeting people from other charities across London. You can’t beat it! There’s always a real buzz in the office every match day. What's been your season highlight so far? Our captain “King” Cliff Batsuya and top batsman Oli “Big Slug” Gladstone promising to get slug tattoos if we win the Cup. This was at a time when no one ever dreamt we’d get this far. They’re somewhat regretting videoing their promise. Friendliest team you've played? We’ve played so many friendly teams this season, and that’s what makes this league so special. Particular shout outs must go to Amnesty International and Rethink Forward for being especially awesome. We also love playing against Pitch'n'Mix and will always organise a friendly against them if we’re not in the same league Who’s been your MVP this year? Despite only joining the team last Friday, Slugs McKenzie has already earned a place in our hearts (or maybe nightmares): Two years running in the finals - what's your recipe for softball success? For us it's down to a heady mixture of team spirit, unbridled enthusiasm and warm, cheap cans of lager. That, and a spreadsheet full of statistical analysis that puts the guys in Moneyball to shame… And lastly, what are you hoping for from the finals night? Team spirit, unbridled enthusiasm and warm, cheap lager (we're all over it - Team HH). To be honest, we’re just looking forward to an incredible evening, whatever the result. We feel a bit like whenever Scotland qualify for the World Cup – we’re just happy to be here. Best of luck to Mind, we can’t wait! ► Battle for the Bluestep Shield Our next two teams are both in contention for the Bluestep Shield, and the Nolans might appear to have a distinct advantage numbers-wise, plus a surprising amount of twins on the team, but it's purely because we've seamlessly (honestly, you'll never see it) stitched together two photos to try and get everybody in. Paging team captain Amy Holland! Anthony Nolan Answering the questions: Amy Holland, Team Captain and Donor Provision Coordinator at Anthony Nolan, meaning I look after donors when they’re selected to donate. About the charity: Anthony Nolan is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between people with blood cancer and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells. We’re saving three lives a day, in fact. By growing the stem cell register, carrying out ground-breaking research and providing the best post-transplant care, we’re giving families a future. So how long have you been involved in the league? Anthony Nolan have been in the league for about five years (it pre-dates the team we have now so we’re not entirely sure). We got to the Cup finals a few years ago but were defeated, and we made it through to the first round of the Cup last year but were beaten by Cancer Research! Who are the friendliest team you’ve played this year? We’ve had some great competition this year and some lovely catch-ups in the pub after. A few notable mentions go to Southwark Sluggers, WWF and NDCS last week! Who’s been your MVP? Probably Xenia - a few weeks ago we were missing most of our usual pitchers so I kind of threw her in (pun intended) and she was awesome! But she is also a great all-round player, picking up whatever position I put her in and being the only girl this season to hit a home run. Of course, everyone has been fantastic and played their part in getting us here! Is that the secret of your success? I don’t think I can pick one thing; we can really knuckle down when the pressure is on which is great, and we have a really strong fielding team which has got us out of more than one tight spot this season! But we’re a really friendly team who all get along really well. We’ll be in the final without our co-captain, Chris, who left Anthony Nolan last week and moved to Cornwall for a new job in the NHS. Yet to determine whether this is an advantage or disadvantage to the team… And how are you feeling about your chances on Thursday? Pretty good, it feels great to have even got this far so to win would be the cherry on top of an already-great cake. We have a strong team and everyone is pretty determined. One of our ex-colleagues plays for the opposition so it could get interesting…!! ► It could indeed: we don't know if they're in the photo below, but speaking of the opposition... Food Fighters (aka Action Against Hunger and Fareshare) Answering the questions: Luke Wiechula, Co-Captain of the Food Fighters and Community & Corporate Fundraising Partnerships Officer for FareShare. About the charities: We have different means as charities, but we both agree that the notion of people going hungry in this day and age is absolutely abhorrent. Action Against Hunger saves the lives of malnourished children. They ensure everyone can access clean water, food, training and healthcare, and enable entire communities to be free from hunger. FareShare believes that no good food should go to waste. We redistribute surplus food to charities that turn it into meals. We are doers, a community, and we change lives. How did the partnership come about? Though FareShare have been playing for a few years this is our first year as a merge team (and Action Against Hunger’s first ever), all of our admin contacts left and therefore we lost our spot as an independent team. However Action Against Hunger were kind enough to allow us to join them, both teams agree this has turned out to be a great decision and we’ve all made some great friends and memories as a result. What are the best things about the league and making the final? Considering a few months ago most of us had never met, we’ve got lots of people playing their first ever softball season and to make it to the final is no small achievement. We’d love to lift The Shield, let’s hope the softballing gods are on our side. Besides that, it’s about: - the camaraderie - tactics (when they come off) - summer days spent in London’s finest parks, glove in one hand, beer in the other Who’ve been your toughest opponents this year? We played my old charity SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, a team that I helped set up - they bested us in that particular match thanks to some sublime fielding. Able to resolve all of our differences in the pub afterwards! And the friendliest? Scope! Fantastic team, really closely fought but friendly game, looking forward to catching up with them on Thursday. What about memorable moments on the pitch? Rich ‘arm-cannon’ Guion (think Barrett from Final Fantasy VII) had managed to get to a ball that landed way beyond him in deep field, cranked up the arm-cannon, launched it to myself in short stop and as the runner was making her way between third and home I threw another hail mary and we were able to get them out. Great team play! (Louis Theroux voiceover): 'None of us understood what Luke was saying, but there was an important softball game at stake, so we decided to move on'. Any mascots, MVPs or special mentions? Hope ‘Superhands’ Rapp. A stalwart on first base and most frequently-awarded MVP (to the extent that she has her name pencilled in every game) for being so reliable, I honestly can’t think of a time she’s fumbled a ball. So what's brought you all the way to the finals? Although we enjoy winning and we're all thrilled to make it to the finals, we as a team make sure that we're having fun first and foremost. There have been some teams that have beaten us, but I can guarantee they haven’t had half as much fun as our merry band! There have been some high pressure situations this season, but if we think positive and trust in the rest of the team, our positivity has allowed us to make it this far. Will it be enough to lift the trophy on Thursday night? We know our strengths and intend to play to them, who knows how it will go. We can only do what we can do, but I think as a team we are quietly confident. All the planning can go out of the window immediately with someone injured or restricted by transport options. Keep happy, have fun, plan for the worst, hope for the best. ► Planning for the worst certainly sounds like good advice right now, but the sun always shines on the softball finals (eventually) so we're sure it'll be a triumph as ever! Huge thanks to Luke, Amy, Ami and Will (not forgetting Slugs), best of luck to the teams from Mind, Action on Hearing Loss and Business in the Community too, and we'll see you at the bar! Team HH More from the Harris Hill blog: ► How to handle the holiday handover: guest writer Nicola Greenbrook on how to ensure you enjoy a drama-free departure ► Softball season is here! an introduction to the 2019 charity softball season ► Charity Careers 4: meet James Harris of Rethink Mental Illness Don't miss the Harris Hill & CharityJob 2019 Salary Report... ...the essential new guide to UK charity salaries. With market insights from our sector specialists and the expert team at CharityJob, you'll find more than 350 current rates for roles in 26 job functions, based on over 45,000 recent charity vacancies. ► What should you be earning in the charity sector? Find out here...
We're delighted to bring you more than 20 great opportunities with Adviza, a vibrant and innovative charity working to make a positive difference for young people and adults, and with a great reputation for supporting their own staff too. They're currently looking for flexible and enthusiastic individuals for a range of permanent, temporary and contract positions, all based in the Thames Valley and starting very soon. Adviza delivers services for communities through a range of contracts such as The Prince's Trust, National Careers Service, Building Better Opportunities and National Citizen Service, and their work is all about giving young people and adults the best possible chance to progress successfully in learning and work. The good news for anyone joining the team is that they're equally committed to supporting and investing in their workforce too, and were recently awarded silver status by Investors in People thanks to the highly positive feedback of their current staff. There's so much to say about these superb opportunities that a blog post alone wouldn't suffice, so check out our dedicated Adviza recruitment pages for the full details.
We don't normally highlight individual vacancies here at the blog... ...but it's not every day we have one of the country's very biggest fundraising opportunities to talk about. Specifically, a new and hugely exciting role as Director of Income Generation for Tenovus Cancer Care, Wales' no.1 cancer charity and a fantastic organisation to work for. Read on or check out our dedicated Tenovus pages for details of what's likely to be a truly career-defining opportunity. Tenovus Cancer Care’s ambition is a future where fewer people get cancer, and those that do have equal access to the best treatment and support. With annual incomes of £9.6m, 250 staff and c.2,000 volunteers, Tenovus Cancer Care funds high quality research into major cancers, provides support to those affected by cancer, and educates the public and health professionals on cancer issues. Tenovus Cancer Care has cemented its position as a leading and well-respected cancer charity, with a track record of success in helping to improve people’s lives and growing income from its 63 shops in England and Wales, and via funding from donations and other sources. They're currently looking to recruit a Director of Income Generation, a fantastic new role in which you'll provide strategic leadership to the Income Generation team in order to achieve long term, sustainable income that enables the charity to achieve its strategic ambitions. Based in Cardiff, you’ll continually grow and develop our income streams including Community, Corporate and Events, Individual Giving, Major Donors, Legacies, Lottery and Retail. You will also be a member of the Leadership Team where you’ll work alongside other senior managers to shape the strategic direction of the charity and ensure that its aims and objectives are delivered by integrating and delivering a joined-up service. This is such an exceptional opportunity that we couldn't do it justice with a simple job description. Instead, check out our dedicated Tenovus pages where you'll find a welcome from CEO Judi Rhys, a video that provides a real flavour of the charity and their work, and plenty more on the benefits of working for this outstanding organisation. ► Find out more about this role ► What should you be earning in 2019? The Harris Hill & CharityJob 2019 Salary Report has the answers... ► More from the Harris Hill blog
Our very own haphazard duo Jessamine Green and aptly named Harriet Mountain (with the team name Hazzamine) are embarking on the epic Three Peaks Challenge this weekend on 3rd August 2019. The Three Peaks challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. So to help prepare and understand why they have decided to embark on this madness we thought we would ask them a few questions. What made you decide to do the three peaks challenge? Jess: I’ve always wanted to do the three peaks and so when the opportunity knocked to be able to do it for a good cause I signed up immediately! Last year I fundraised for the Nepal Earthquak Recovery Fund by trekking the Himalayas and building a water tank in rural Nepal. I realised how all the funds went directly to those affected by the earthquake, the amazing work the charity had done previously to allow the basic need of clean water, after villages and towns had been wrecked and people displaced (two earthquakes in two years) and I am so enthusiastic to support this charity to continue their work. Harriet: I’ve always thought about doing a challenge like this but then Jess mentioned she was doing it and I thought why not? It can’t be that hard and then signed up on a whim without realising quite what it entailed! I also really admired the work that NERF do as all the funds go directly to those affected by the earthquake. How are you feeling about it? J: Terrified! Trekking last year was very difficult and I am hoping for no altitude sickness and some good weather (Trying not to think about 24 hour time cap!). Even seasoned trekkers find it difficult so hoping my strong legs and stubborn attitude will help. H: I’m absolutely terrified if I’m honest. I don’t feel very prepared and have not done anywhere near enough training. It’s the completing it in 24 hours that is really worrying me as I would be really looking forward to it if it was at a more leisurely pace! Who have you chosen to raise money for? J+H: The Nepal Earthquake Recovery Fund Have you done much climbing before? J: I’ve done trekking in Malaysia, Israel and last year went to Nepal to hike the Himalayas. H: I’ve done Snowdon before and also climbed Mount Kinabalu (4,095m) in Borneo a couple of years ago How's the training plan going? J: …what training plan? H: SNAP!...what training plan? I have done a couple of long walks and attempted the gym a few times but not gone to plan. Eeek! I did do a 10 mile walk in and around Richmond park on Sunday but then ended up a pub afterwards for six hours for a well earnt roast and a few gins! How confident are you feeling and what's going to be the biggest challenge? J: I think resilience and determination is my driving force as I’ve always loved a challenge and the feeling once you’ve exceeded your own expectations. Even for experienced hikers it’s supposed to be gruelling and incredibly difficult. I think the last peak will be the hardest as I know the end is getting near and my legs will be ready to buckle. H: I’m not feeling that confident as training hasn’t gone quite to plan but I am quite resilient and feel that will be a help and also I don’t want to let the rest of the group down so that will keep me going! The biggest challenge is going to be the timeframe as I do like a little rest and don’t think there’s going to be much time for that! I’m also worried as I have got Boomtown Festival three days after we finish so am going to be sore for that! Are there any of your recruitment skills that will come in handy during the three peaks challenge? J: My persuasion and assessment skills and breaking down a project into bitesize chunks (persuading myself to tackle one peak at a time!) H: Resilience is something I have really developed in recruitment, dealing with candidates dropping out, clients choosing other candidates etc. You have to develop a thick skin and roll with the punches. I just keep going… I will just keep going up the mountains! What are the biggest challenges you face in charity recruitment and how does the three peaks challenge compare? J: The biggest challenge I experience is managing multiple jobs with multiple candidates and the seasonality of the recruitment cycle – I feel myself a little a daunted at the prospect of these multiple peaks and working to a strict deadline. H: The biggest challenge I experience is managing multiple varying jobs with multiple candidates at any one time, at least it will be just one peak one at a time. How's the fundraising going and most importantly, where can we donate? J + H: Fundraising is going a little slowly with a consensus of donating on completion – however, it would be more encouraging to see the faith of our friends and colleagues if donate ahead of doing it! J: You can donate here! H: You can donate here! J+H: Please! And last but not least, what are you most looking forward to when it's all over? J: A cold beer in the national park in Snowdonia. H: A BIG gin and tonic! Well cheers to that! I am sure after all that climbing you will most definitely deserve it. Good luck! If you would like to donate to either Jess or Harriet’s pages these can be found here and here. Or if you wish to donate directly to the Nepal Earthquake Recovery Fund this can be found here.
We've teamed up with one of the biggest names in charity recruitment to bring you our most comprehensive guide yet to charity sector salaries, based on more than 45,000 recent UK vacancies. Find it in the Harris Hill Salary Centre, the brand new home for our growing collection of remuneration-related resources!