Sinead Scott-Lennon is a busy lady working as a Communications and Wellbeing Consultant at HR for Better Workplaces alongside working as a Resilience and Recovery Coach. In an interview Sinead describes for the readers what her work involves in both roles.

HR for Better Workplaces is a leading and bespoke HR Consultant service in Dublin with over 60 years combined industry experience. We specialise in practical advice and offer a wide range of HR, Employment Law, training, recruitment and Wellbeing services. We are passionate about the Wellbeing of people in the Workplace and beyond. You can visit HR for Better Workplaces here

In my Coaching work: 

I help people who feel they have lost their way because of an unwanted change of circumstances such as redundancy, illness, miscarriage or bereavement to find the courage within themselves to move forward to the life that they want to live both personally and professionally.

In addition, I help employers to prepare for the return of colleagues who have been through life changing circumstances to enable the smooth re-integration for both the individual and organisation. I  help companies prepare for this through interactive training sessions with teams covering areas like workplace sensitivity, empathy as well as practicalities like what should be considered around workloads and re-integration. Putting the time into this leads to better engagement and increased productivity in the long run and every person faces challenging times at some stage in life. I also help Employees to support their staff who have sadly been made redundant in these challenging times. 

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

  • HR for Better Workplaces role: To effectively communicate the good work that we do via Social and Mainstream media. I also help companies to become better places to work with a strong focus on Wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Coaching role: my main goal is to help people to realise their full potential in spite of the challenges that life throws at them.

What are your biggest challenges?

Undoubtedly it is helping organisations within the current Covid-19 situation and the changing world of work post Covid. We have to help companies to prepare for the future of HR post Pandemic.

In terms of my coaching work, it is so similar. It is helping individuals and Companies to adjust to this new working world. Each client that I work with now is dealing with difficulties around Covid 19. Whether that’s adjusting to working from home or anxiety around the virus itself.

Life balance has always been a challenge and in a way continues to be despite the fact that I work entirely from home now as there is little time to switch off.  I am a Mom, a Stepmom, a Wife and a Daughter as well as my professional self. I do feel very lucky to now be working with my Dad, Frank Scott-Lennon and Laura Powney at HR for Better Workplaces so I feel more of a deep connection to home despite not being able to see my family in Dublin due to Covid-19.

How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?

At HR for Better workplaces we have an even bigger focus on Wellbeing and supporting the Employer to help their Employee as much as they can during the Pandemic.

We have recently completed a survey which showed that over 40% of Employees felt that their Workplace Wellbeing has suffered during the Pandemic. See Here. This achieved coverage in some significant Irish print and radio outlets.

What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

HR for Better Workplaces:

  • Assisting organisations in Engagement and retention strategies including upskilling and development. particularly in the post Covid -19 world context.
  • Unquestionably the Brexit uncertainty.
  • Finding the right talent for organisations in a very competitive market for quality staff.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

The need for greater ongoing contact between Managers and remote workers where we believe Performance Conversations would be greatly beneficial and indeed the way forward. We wrote a Management Pocketbook and recorded a Podcast series on this very topic. For more info go to: Here

The exciting digital age within work environments is placing increased pressure on the Managers, including those in the HR function, to become fully expert in the digital area and the related one of Analytics.

Managers, with particular assistance from HR, are challenged to behave in a manner that delivers enrichment and engagement for employees through Empowerment, Diversity & Inclusion and Continuous Learning.

Covid has shone a light on the ability for the world to work from home. That in itself begs the question, how are we as employers going to sufficiently ensure our staff are well looked after from a Mental Health and Wellbeing perspective. There may well be employers that do not put the Wellbeing of their employees as a priority that might experience a higher level of staff turnover.

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

  • Employers putting people before profit and being more socially responsible.
  • Organisations turning expressed values into specific behaviours. Ideally, walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
  • Bringing the HR Community to the realisation that they are the ones who must work with Managers to find enhanced ways of building trust and confidence with their colleagues
  • Increasing the emphasis on the ‘Human’ of Human Resources

Are you finding any skills gaps in the market? 

There is definitely a skill gap in linking HR strategy with Organisational strategy. Our Consultants have extensive experience of helping organisation close this gap by helping Managers see the benefits of strengthening this link.

Project Management and Review skills where individuals could benefit from not just letting initiatives ‘die on the shelf’, but bring them to fruition with the excellent planning and execution techniques within Project Management.

Reflective skills where Managers would take just a little more time discerning the right course rather than proceeding perhaps too quickly on to either a wrong course or even one that is just a little less good.

Ongoing technical and IT challenges and skills facing all of us home working

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

HR for Better Workplaces is not necessarily going to suffer any of the downsides of Brexit, we are very lucky in this industry.

I hope that with this ‘new normal’ in both my roles I can help both individuals and companies with resilience in the face of change and Wellbeing.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Success is feeling deep happiness and contentment in your life both professionally and personally. My family, a hunger for learning and helping people drives me to succeed. Strangely adversity also drives me hugely. I had a very tough time from April 2019 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, had a miscarriage and subsequently lost my job. It was really difficult, but it drove me in a way that I hadn’t expected and now in the process of setting up my own Coaching Practice.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

My Dad has always said to me ‘Hang the begrudgers’, It’s a vital thing to hold on to if you worry about what others think of you and if this is something that holds you back. In addition, I’ve been brought up by my Mom and Dad to never give up which is pretty helpful when setting up your own business!

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

I’ve had a really strange, challenging but wonderful year. A combination of Cancer, Chemo, Covid and Redundancy made life pretty tough for me and us as a family, but the professional highlights have been so rewarding. Starting in a role as Communications and Wellbeing Consultant for HR for Better Workplaces has been a dream and so exciting to see the company start to raise its profile in mainstream and social media. In addition, training and working as a Coach is such a privilege and I am thoroughly enjoying each journey I go on with my clients.

What’s next for your company? 

HR for Better Workplaces:

We hope to continue to work with many more clients helping them discern optimum pathways through these strange times. We plan to increase our work in the Recruitment field as well as offering some insightful training in various areas like: Performance Conversations/Management, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Dignity & Inclusion and Handling Employee Grievance & Disciplinary Issues more effectively.

We are passionate about Wellbeing and have a really exciting project in the pipeline which we know will help to make workplaces even better than at present.

Coaching:

I plan to grow my Coaching Practice this year working with both individuals and in companies. I want to help using a combination of my Qualification and my own life experiences.

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?

HR for Better Workplaces:

Continued expansion of our core business of providing comprehensive HR support to the SME and SEN sectors.

Significant market opportunities for our new product – A Better Workplace! – which will provide organisations with an inexpensive way of building on focused internal survey data to strive to build an enhanced employee-centred organisation.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

HR for Better Workplaces:

First port of call for those organisations that are seeking HR assistance and a developing situation where A Better Workplace! has become an established and recognisable brand.

Coaching:

It would be wonderful to think that by this time next year I will be coaching many more people and within companies on Resilience and finding a way forward when life throws challenges at them. Of course, the bonus would be for this to be once again happening face to face but in the meantime, I am very thankful for Zoom!