by Lisa Booth
Wellbeing , LifeAtUR , Advice , Culture , Understanding Recruitment , Mental Health
group photo of understanding recruitment team

As office life gradually returns, we’ve been reflecting a lot on wellbeing at work following the past two years of adjusting to a new way of life during the pandemic. We’re on a mission to do all we can to support our tech recruitment team, whether with flexible working, team days, or clear career progression, and lead the way on wellness like the tech partners we work with.

With the tech recruitment business bouncing back hugely and significant internal growth taking place, it’s been an ideal time to check-in on and hone what we have in place to support everyone, whether their job title states recruiter, marketer, accounts, or director, so they can live a fulfilling life inside and outside work.

There are of course the huge rewards of working in recruitment when it comes to financial incentives, skill development and career progression, and supporting someone in finding their dream role. Work stress can affect us all at some point, however, even if we are supported by great colleagues and meeting our targets.

How is recruiter work wellbeing?

One pre-pandemic report stated that in 2019 nearly three-quarters of surveyed recruiters had had some form of mental wellbeing issue to deal with that year, with over half stating they’d been affected by anxiety.

woman drinking from mug with text reading "60% of recruiters notice changes to their mood"

Another study from Every Mind at Work found 38% of recruiters stated their mood as ‘up and down’ (with 25.7% reporting their general mood as ‘happy’ and 11.8% as ‘average’), with over 60% saying they notice sudden changes to their mood.

Our team spend most of their time at work, if they are struggling it’s vital to do our part to help them feel their best again (more about this below) and having things in place in our work environment and support available so the occasional low points are as manageable as possible. We don’t want wellbeing at work just to be a tick box exercise, but what we have in place to make a real-life impact on how staff feel in the long-term.

Empowering employees to talk about mental wellbeing

Of course, one of the most important facets of wellbeing at work is not being afraid to have an open dialogue about mental health in the first place.

The earlier CSG study mentioned above stated just over half of surveyed recruiters were comfortable talking about mental health challenges with their manager. These figures indicate recruiters may struggle to discuss mental health in the workplace, so it’s integral to everything else we have put in place to foster a positive, supportive work environment – from the top down.

Our journey to supporting every employee’s wellbeing at work is ongoing, like everyone else’s, but we have the following in place for our employees and are always on the lookout for new ways to bolster our wellbeing, so the team feels supported as possible and crucially, enjoys working here!

How we work to support wellbeing at work:

1. A welcoming work environment

We moved into newly refurbished headquarters in 2019 and the feedback has been great. We have six breakaway rooms from our main office space, as we recognise sometimes staff may need a break from their desk or bustling office, or need to have a one-on-one chat, and a pool table and seating area in the kitchen for lunchtime. Our kitchen is stocked with fruit, drinks, snacks, and coffee if anyone needs a boost.

collage of modern-styled rooms in understanding recruitment st albans office

Staff are welcome to take a two-hour lunch to fully recharge their batteries and we finish early on Fridays. We also have a casual dress code so everyone feels as comfortable as possible at work.

2. Clear communication and career progression

We recognise and see every day as tech recruiters that often the reason people leave jobs is feeling stagnant and not valued by their employer anymore. This is why, as well as regular team catch-ups, reviews and one-on-ones with line managers on everyday progress, we also check-in with our staff’s personal goals so we can work collectively towards great things. We’re well aware that achieving goals releases ‘feel good’ chemicals dopamine into the brain and is really important for our ambitious team. Listening, furthermore, is one of the most important ways we can support staff, whether it’s about something new a team member wants to do, an extra piece of training or their ambitions.

"We have clear pathways and education along the way from sourcing to making business development calls, so no one feels unprepared for the next step in their career"

Training is a huge part of what we do, that’s why our growing Training & Development team and other staff run useful training on all areas of tech recruitment from a starter’s induction (and work wellbeing) and beyond. We have clear pathways and internal and external-led education along the way from sourcing to making business development calls, so no one feels overwhelmed or unprepared for the next step in their career as a recruiter.

It’s also important for us to recognise people’s talent and growth when they’ve been achieving fantastic things not just when there’s an empty desk when it comes to job promotion. We’re certainly never opposed to really shouting about when someone has done fantastic work on our Microsoft Teams chat, too!

3. Work from home flexibility

We are proud to say that working from home isn’t just a benefit we’re going to offer due to the pandemic, but as we return to the office too. We recognise our recruiters have a life outside of Understanding Recruitment, and the more stress-free it is, the happier they are going to be as employees. That’s why we offer hybrid working and two days a week at home for those who want to for easier childcare, dog care… whatever is going on in life!

screenshot of grid of staff attending understanding recruitment microsoft teams meeting

Working from home wellbeing is hugely important too, so we’re often hopping on Teams chats to check-in and share work, just like when we’re in the office.

4. Health & fitness benefits

For those of the team who enjoy a gym session, we’ve got it covered. We happily offer gym membership for our team members, so they can enjoy a workout and lower their cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to be in the best headspace possible.

It’s important to keep the mind fit too, so everyone can access a paid-for subscription to the Calm app and practice meditation, listen to soundtracks and sleep stories. We’re big fans of the app and it’s been known to reduce stress and improve mindfulness and self-compassion in short-term contexts.

We also offer a Cycle to Work Scheme for anyone who wants to come into our St. Albans office via bike.

Our Employee Assistance Programme is also available for anything affecting a team member’s health and wellbeing in the longer term, with an online health portal, 24/7 help phoneline and in-person support available if needed.

5. Recharge time

We offer unlimited holiday for Understanding Recruitment staff who have been with us two years, so they can enjoy their travels or a well-earned relaxation break and come back recharged. A 5 and 10-year sabbatical is also available –  read what our long-term employees Tom and Nicola got up to on their adventure-filled sabbatical.

Our top performers also are treated to breaks internationally (though locally, more recently due to the pandemic) every 6 months and year, as well as a trip to swap our St. Albans headquarters for our Acceler8 Talent office in Boston, Massachusetts.

6. Wellbeing Committee

We’re proud to have a Wellbeing Committee, comprised of different employees across teams, who work to improve and promote all things wellness across the company. We believe it’s hugely important to have these Mental Health First Aiders to spot the signs someone may not be feeling their best and help them with advice or point them in direction of support.

"We believe it’s hugely important to have these Mental Health First Aiders to spot the signs someone may not be feeling their best."

7. Team spirit!

We have regular check-ins across our UK and US offices to celebrate the wins of the week and the great achievements some of the team have made.

Every department also has a wellbeing day and budget to take the team out and enjoy an activity (crazy golf is a very popular choice!) and some food and drinks, as well as an end of year celebration.

We also have a Social Committee in charge of organising events throughout the year and we’re passionate about there always something going on for the team to get to know better at and unwind after all their hard work.

Rian, Danielle and Arjun from understanding recruitment .NET on team wellbeing day

We’re still learning and introducing new elements of workplace wellbeing, and this is where our journey has taken us so far. We’ll continue to foster an environment where conversations about wellbeing are the norm, because we’re only at our best when everyone is feeling their brightest.

If our wellbeing offering sounds like it would be a good fit for what you look for in a company, then do check out our internal vacancies!

understanding recruitment team photo with "we're hiring" text

Mental Wellbeing resources: