Blue Moon, Blue Suede Shoes, Blue Danube, Blue Monday – each a timeless classic still being wheeled out on a regular basis, but the latter song title has several meanings, one very pertinent to Monday 17 January. Meanwhile, the Great Resignation is not a song, but is a phrase popping up as often as any catchy ditty. If indeed it does really exist, it may see job interviewers sharpening their questions over coming months. Adam McCulloch takes a look at this week’s HR myths and oddities.
Feeling the heat. Or not
The term Blue Monday may be taking on a different meaning this year, as reports come in of the UK’s workers choosing to freeze rather than risk astronomical heating bills.
Monday 17 January – Blue Monday – has become the day when the population of the country feels at its most miserable; presumably the rest of the time it’s relatively perky. There is a faint suspicion that the day is something of a marketing ploy, one that can be used by recruiters to encourage people to feel dissatisfied and move jobs. Of course the day also serves a serious purpose in helping organisations and employees focus on mental health – as long as that effort is sustained.
But now, it appears that home workers are not only feeling blue, they are turning blue. Personnel Today has received the remarkable news that “nearly half of UK employees are considering ditching home-working due to increased energy bills”.
But now, it appears that home workers are feeling blue in more ways than one”
A new study has revealed that working from home could cost UK employees almost £30 more per month than commuting. The research was commissioned by Electric Radiators Direct, supplier of a natty range of heating appliances, which struck Personnel Today as odd considering the company may directly benefit from people choosing to wallow in their misery at home on Monday.
It may also be worth noting for Blue Monday purveyors – many of whom routinely refer to grey skies amid the woes that befall us in January – that the day in question, according to the Met Office, will be very sunny for most of the UK, if a little chilly. Perhaps a few words from New Order, composer of Blue Monday, would be appropriate here:
And I still find it so hard
To say what I need to say
But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me
Just how I should feel today
Is the Great Resignation overplayed?
Blue Monday and the Great Resignation could of course still turn out to be the perfect storm for recruiters, but it seems that excitement over the latter could be misplaced as news reaches Personnel Today that the GR could be, well, hmmmm… not really “a thing” at all. For another survey now concludes it is more myth than reality.
57% of UK employees don’t believe or don’t know whether a Great Resignation is happening or not, found the study”
Reward and benefits provider Edenred tells us that “UK employees don’t recognise the phenomenon of the ‘Great Resignation’ and are more preoccupied with work-life balance and the cost of living crisis than looking for a new job”.
Admittedly, only 2,000 employees were polled, but Edenred found that only 10% had actually resigned in the past six months. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, most had stayed in their job (60%), although 27% had moved to a new role. Nearly half (45%) of employees said they had no plans to leave their job at any stage.
Perhaps it is because the British are slow on the uptake – after all most of us have been in lockdown while our leaders enjoy party after party – but 57% of UK employees don’t believe or don’t know whether a Great Resignation is happening or not, found the study. And 59% didn’t know anyone who has resigned over the past year or so.
The cost of living crisis caused by rising taxes and energy prices was of far more pressing concern to employees. Employees said that the top reason that would encourage them to stay in their role would be a pay rise (47%). Now, that would be a great way of finishing off Blue Monday once and for all.
Covid job interviews
If you have resigned recently, you may need to swot up on the latest interview techniques, beyond remembering to switch your mic off mute. Mega internet jobs board Indeed has been researching the questions job candidates are now being asked as we enter the pandemics third year. They are:
1. Have you been vaccinated?
2. What type of flexible/hybrid working are you seeking?
3. How many days would you like to work from home?
4. How would you feel about not having day-to-day, face-to-face contact with colleagues?
5. Are you comfortable with your home-working set-up?
6. What have been your experiences of the pandemic?
7. How has Covid-19 affected you?
Such questions are bound to lead to the usual quandary for candidates of trying to balance “the truth” with the “right thing to say” – otherwise known as the “tell ’em what they want to hear conundrum”. Mikaela Elliott, senior manager of employer insights at Indeed, advised: “With the pandemic bringing about huge changes to the way we work and upending expectations around work and especially remote and flexible working, interviewers are often asking several Covid-era questions that candidates should take the time to prepare for.
If you are not asked about flexible working during the interview, says Elliot, “you can ask your interviewer about how the company prioritises work-life balance and whether it has any flexible working arrangements. This will help you decide whether the company is a good match for you.”
This is sound advice but perhaps candidates should avoid the temptation to blurt out “Haven’t you heard about the Great Resignation” if the interviewer is unable to reassure them about their firm’s flexible working credentials. Especially if it’s Blue Monday.
And I thought I was mistaken
And I thought I heard you speak
Tell me how do I feel?
Tell me now, how should I feel?