Eloise’s October 2023 News – Self-Development, HRHuddle, Recruitment Market, AI, Sick Leave

Self-Development with Vanilla Consulting

Hello and welcome to October

The final quarter of the year is here.

Do you have certain things you always do this time of year? September and October are busy months for us, but I always review our goals and achievements before I start looking at the following year’s planning.

It’s a tricky balance trying to appreciate the here and now, and be in the moment, whilst always having to keep looking ahead.

October brings darker evenings and a changing landscape. Having done a bit of Google searching there are also lots of old sayings and beliefs surrounding October. For example, rain in October is said to mean a windy December, and if the October moon comes with no frost, expect no frost till the November moon. As someone who is always cold, this last one is good news for me.


Self-Development Market HarboroughAs leaders of businesses, it’s easy to forget about our own development and growth needs. So, I was very excited at the end of September, to be able to attend a Greg Savage, Recruitment Legend Masterclass.

Greg is one of the most highly regarded people in global recruitment. He’s been working in the industry for four decades and has founded many successful businesses. He is an author, and a sought-after speaker and masterclass host.

In the session, Greg spoke about the importance of continuous learning and self-development, and that mindset is everything. I fully subscribe to this. It’s super important for us as leaders, to enable ourselves to stay motivated and focused, so we can inspire. If we become stale, so does everything around us.

I do a lot of reading to keep myself fresh and to invoke new ideas. But attending Greg’s workshop as an in-person event, took this to another level.

Greg spoke about the importance of listening and the value of the service we offer in recruitment. But this lesson spans all industries and sectors. It’s so important to really listen and hear what our clients want and not to fill gaps in our own minds with assumptions. And also, to remember why our businesses exist, remember the value we offer, and what makes us special. It’s easy to lose sight of the fundamentals when focused on the day-to-day.

We all need time and space to reflect and then project forward.

A lot of the workshops, seminars, webinars etc we attend, or books we read, won’t have new ground-breaking information for us. But they are still really important because they remind us to think about things we may have lost sight of, or not focussed on enough recently.

I’ve never done any self-development work like this that hasn’t sparked something in me that’s been useful. Even though I have been in the recruitment industry for two decades, I still love to learn. We all need to stay fresh if we want to be at the top of our career/game.

Needless to say, after the session with Greg, I’m brimming with ideas – and I have to admit I was also a little bit starstruck!


A huge thank you, as always, to Keeley Baigent from KsabLaw, for a fantastic HRHuddle Employment Law update session on 27th September.  We explored some of the latest court and employment tribunal decisions that have been made recently, with a focus on disability discrimination, sexual harassment, performance management, and unfair dismissal.

Keeley also guided us through all the notable recent and proposed legislative developments in the areas of flexible working, bullying, neonatal leave, parents’ redundancy protection, non-compete clauses, and working time records.

In the session, we also touched on other topical areas, such as an employee’s right to a private life versus an employer’s duty of care, and data subject access requests.

It was a jam-packed and highly informative session. Full of all the updates and new knowledge HR professionals need. Keeley, as usual, made an often dry and complex area, both entertaining and easy to digest. If you missed it or want a re-cap you can watch the full video below from our YouTube channel.

Having just touched on self-development, I do believe our HRHuddle sessions provide the perfect, regular, and easily accessible way for people working in HR to keep fresh and up to date in their knowledge.

If you’re interested in getting involved, drop me a line.

Recruitment market

We’re at an interesting crossroads with the recruitment market. We’ve seen rising numbers of available candidates and active job seekers over the last couple of months. And now the KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs, shows a slowing in the number of businesses recruiting at the moment.

Why are there fewer jobs at the moment? The thoughts of Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, is that employers are waiting patiently for the government’s Autumn Statement on the 22nd of November. There is hesitancy economically that, hopefully, the Chancellors’ statement will ease.

This crossroads has led to a further softening in starting pay and temporary worker hourly rates. This will be good news for those recruiting.

So, if you are thinking of advertising a role, now is a great time to do so as you’ll likely have slightly less competition, slightly more candidates, and slightly less pressure on starting salary.

Utilising AI in your business

I have spoken in our HRHuddle Facebook group about AI in the past, so I was interested to see the latest research from Mckinsey on the subject.

A third of businesses are now using generative AI, things like ChatGT and Bard, as part of their day-to-day processes. Mckinsey reported that even during the past 3 months, board-level conversations about the use of AI have skyrocketed.

With AI being on everyone’s radars though, it’s also reported that ‘few companies seem fully prepared for the widespread use of gen AI – or the business risks these tools may bring’.

Apparently, only 21% of respondents in the research had established policies governing the use of AI technology in their workplace. The main risks are cybersecurity, accuracy, and regulatory compliance.

Employees could be using AI to complete some of their everyday tasks without the knowledge of their employer, which could leave them exposed to risk.

The full report from McKinsey can be read here: https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/quantumblack/our-insights/the-state-of-ai-in-2023-generative-ais-breakout-year

Plus, here is a very insightful TedTalk from Yejin Choi, that’s worth a watch:

Why AI is incredibly smart and shockingly stupid – Yejin Choi – https://www.ted.com/talks/yejin_choi_why_ai_is_incredibly_smart_and_shockingly_stupid?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

Sick leave hits a 10-year high

A report by The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), has looked at 918 organisations, with 6.5 million employees, to analyse sickness absence and employee health.

The report showed that employees are taking an average of 7.8 days of sick leave per year. This is up from 2019 when the average number of sick days was 5.8 per year.

76% of the respondents had taken time off in the past year. Stress was given as the main factor, with Covid and Long Covid also triggers. The top cause of long-term sickness absence in the research was poor mental health and burnout, with 63%.

So, the question is, what should we be doing as employers to better support people to try to avoid burnout and poor mental health? How do we change the narrative, so people are thriving and not just surviving?

Of course, this isn’t the case for all businesses. I would suggest having a deep dive into your sickness and absence reporting. If your results are that people are taking days off due to stress, anxiety, or poor mental health, then you might need to review your working practices, workloads, support packages etc.

There is increasing pressure on all of us, not just from rising living costs, but also from social media, and taking on caring roles.

The overwhelming response to this research has been that businesses need to do more to protect people’s mental health and support wellbeing. But what is also clear, is that box-ticking with yoga sessions on Tuesdays, and a support phoneline to call, isn’t what’s needed.

What are you trying? What do you think is the answer?

Vanilla news

We had an exciting September working on our new company presentation. We all felt the PowerPoint presentation we’d been using didn’t just need a new lick of paint, but it needed a whole new approach. Cue scripts, learning lines, a storyboard, a film crew, a drone, and art direction from Laura Mayfield of Marketing OutsideIn, and we’re on our way to having a shiny new company video.

After all the nerves were out of the way – and trust me, none of us are particularly comfortable in front of a video camera – we had an amazing day filming in the office. There were funny moments, high-five moments, and lots of gasping at how amazing drones are.

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of what we got up to. And we can’t wait to share the final video with you very soon!

And that’s it for another month

I’d love to hear from you with your business stories, advice, tips, suggestions etc. If you’d like to contribute to one of my monthly blogs, please get in touch.

Wishing you a great October.


Our temps do an amazing job for a wide range of clients in the area. They are some of the most flexible and hardworking people and we want to recognise that every month.

So, if you have a Vanilla temporary worker on assignment, or who has just completed an assignment, who you think has gone above and beyond or exceeded expectations in any way. You can nominate them to receive our Temp of the Month Award.

We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – SalesMarketingAccountancy & FinanceHR and Office

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For more on Self-Development contact Vanilla Marketing Recruitment Agency