When you are looking for an apprenticeship, or your first job, it’s probable that most of your attention will be focused on landing the role. You’re so keen to secure the position that you’ll take it no matter what. That enthusiasm and commitment is commendable, and it is what employers are looking for, but you need to remember that this is not simply a one-way process. It should not just be a case of the employer choosing you, equally as important is that you choose your employer. Choosing the right entry point at the start of your career will have a significant impact on your later success.
The ongoing revolution in technology is not only changing the way in which we do our work, it’s changing the way in which we think about our work. In the past, office discipline operated along the lines of a traditional classroom. ‘You’re late Jones, see me in my office’. A type of authoritarianism which stifled creativity, enthusiasm and commitment. Contemporary office managers recognise that a more flexible approach is much more effective in creating a happy and successful team. What flexibility in terms of the working day, or working from home, is your potential employer prepared to allow you?
Take home pay is not the only factor when considering a job. Many employees find that perks such as the opportunity for a sabbatical, gym membership, healthcare or company car can make a significant difference to their level of job satisfaction.
Opportunity to grow and progress
This is crucial. Will this employment give you the opportunity to learn new skills and develop your interests and expertise?
Your employer’s attitude to employee mental health
Whilst much of the potential physical danger of work has been eliminated, studies show that mental health issues, such as stress, are on the rise. Employers have a legally binding duty of care to support employees suffering mental health problems. Does your potential employer have a clear policy on this?
Is there a culture of two-way communication?
You may be the most junior member of staff, but you still have a right to voice your opinion and be kept informed about developments. Managers should be approachable, and you should feel comfortable about raising your concerns and confident that they will be addressed.
Is your employer open to the adoption of new technology?
Your working environment should be one in which technological innovation is embraced. This is important because not only will it enable you to develop new skills, it will also make your work more congenial by removing tedious or repetitive tasks. Take employee expenses for example. In the past, employees often had to spend their own money and then reclaim the expenses. This system was time consuming and unfair on the employee. In its place, many employers are now using prepaid business cards, which allow employees access to expenses and track all money spent via an app.
UK workers have the longest working hours of any European workers and yet their productivity is the lowest. Are you confident that the working hours that your potential employer requires will allow you to maintain the appropriate work/life balance?
There is absolutely no doubt that the modern-day workplace has evolved significantly in the past decade alone, with new focuses and perspectives. Ensuring that your workplace is able to meet your needs, as an employee, is just as important as you being able to meet their needs. If you’re already in a new job, don’t be afraid to raise new ideas to your colleagues, as more often than not, it may just be that these ideas have not yet been explored. Whilst extra perks are not a legal right of yours, having the option and freedom to vocalise how you could work better in your workplace is not unlawful.