“Working from Home Incentive Scheme”​ – win:win:win situation

4:30am alarm goes off and reluctantly my day starts. 5:20am the Kilkenny to Dublin commute commences. 6:22am as the M9 meets the N7 first traffic build-up of the morning. 7:05am arrive at Fitzwilliam Square to start the day.

I have been doing this commute for several years and have noticed that, in line with increasing employment levels, (lowest unemployment level since 2008) there is a steady increase in numbers of cars parked at all junctions accessing the N7 plus a steady increase in numbers of cars on the roads even at this ungodly hour.

This got me thinking. Why are companies generally reluctant to offer opportunities to work from home when there is so much value to be gained? And what can to done to encourage companies to be more open-minded?

So here is my plan which I think will offer a WIN: WIN: WIN scenario!

The Government will offer companies an incentive to allow employees to work from home. Let’s call it – The “Work from Home Incentive Scheme”

I am of course aware that certain jobs will not facilitate remote working as an option and there are also some downsides which must be mentioned as follows:

  • There is a cost associated with having an employee working from home (broadband, phone costs, hardware etc)
  • Not all employees are suited to the working from home option – this must be assessed on a case by case basis and all companies would need a “Work from home” policy guidelines.
  • People working remotely should not take from the overall culture and atmosphere in the office – rather it should add to it.
  • The scheme will need to be administered – there will be a cost associated with running the scheme.

However, on balance I think the numerous upsides outweigh the downsides and worthy of discussion amongst the HR profession and business community more generally.

On an important note, I am very lucky to work from home in Kilkenny two days per week as do a few others in our business. Fortunately, my employer is an Early Adopter who has bought into this WIN: WIN scenario. But there are many, many, many traditional companies that cannot see the Bigger Picture and therefore may need some financial encouragement.

HR Search & Selection would be delighted if we could get some debate going on the above. 


I attended the Amcham World of Talent event yesterday in Workdays offices in Smithfield.  It was a celebration of the Irish workforce talent pool and involved great discussions around how to attract and retain the best talent to maintain our competitiveness for FDI. Enda Kenny was the key note speaker, with an impressive panel line up of leaders from Paypal, Twitter, Microsoft and Linkedin to name a few.

The World of Talent initiative is supported by the IDA – Martin Shanahan mentioned that the number one thing discussed across the world in board rooms is the quality of talent when considering countries to invest in. Talent is still the main factor that will differentiate a countrys ability to attract investment and the most important element for any company to achieve success in any given country.

Sources of this talent come down to two pools – 1) Growing our own and 2) Attracting talent into Ireland.

There is no doubt that Ireland has a range of exciting employment opportunities available for people moving back to the country and with future growth trends every company has its own challenges with attracting and retaining the best. Louise Phelan, VP Paypal, articulated her thoughts about not trading talent, but creating careers (not just jobs) and supporting people and their families to integrate into the country from abroad.

Sharon McCooey (Snr Director Linkedin), was very proud of the fact that Linkedin Dublin (Which has grown from 4 to 1000 people in 5 years) has 48 nationalities in 1 office.

These are just a couple of points that struck a chord with me, with many more interesting thoughts on our current workforce and innovating for the future.

The gregarious, fun loving nature of Ireland is well and truly still alive in this country and we should be very proud that some of the best companies in the world are registered here.

I was one of those people who returned to Ireland after 4 years abroad – great decision and have been welcomed with great opportunities, lifestyle and most importantly, back to the banter that only exists in Ireland….#hometowork

If you work in HR and are considering a move back to Ireland, I would be delighted to hear from you.



HR Top Tips Series – Compensation & Benefits

In our Top Tips series, we are talking to the experts in the specialised areas of HR and explore their insight as to how to be the “best in class” in their areas of expertise.

I caught up with a Senior Rewards Specialist in a major financial institution to gather information about her top tips to be successful in the area of Comp & Bens.

In Summary …

Advice to a graduate considering a career in rewards….Be clear on what the role involves as it is different to generalist HR roles. It’s important to get up to speed quickly on the technical aspects of the role. It is a career for those who are strong with analytics and numbers.

The importance of a rewards team within a company….. Compensation & Benefits within a company is used to attract and retain the best quality talent, but in addition, is essential for cost containment. It is a fine balance to pay people the right salaries for their role from a market competitiveness, equity and performance perspective, without overpaying and inflating salaries. It’s important to get the most out of the benefits that a company offers employees from a return on investment perspective.

Primary focus as a rewards specialist… My primary focus is partnering with the business to manage their on-going compensation challenges, either from a recruitment/attraction perspective or retention. In addition, managing and designing the on-going salary review process and links with performance management is a day to day part of the role.

 Advice for a company to execute a successful comp and bens structure/strategy.. Companies need to have a tight correlation between the business and HR Strategy to underpin their reward policies and practices. If this doesn’t happen, return on the reward investment is not maximised and employees will not see the correlation between their roles and their reward.

It’s essential to have senior and line management buy in into the whole concept as this cannot be a “HR” only approach.

Personal top tips to be a successful comp and bens expert… It is really important to get a good grounding in the basics of reward, covering compensation & benefits and mobility. Data analysis and interpretation skills are really important for decision making. It is essential to have good market awareness/insight into the industry that your company is operating in. Communication skills, both written and oral, are the final piece of the puzzle which is essential for a successful Rewards structure throughout a company and to further ones career as a rewards professional.


At HR Search, Rewards/Comp & Bens is one of our niche HR areas where we source talent for our clients. It is a profession that is highly regarded and a critical element to a company’s overall performance. 

If you have a background in Rewards and are looking for your next move or if you are looking to hire a Rewards specialist please do not hesitate to contact Tanya or I at HR Search.

Budget ’16 – HR Implications…

Budget 2016 has no doubt been positive in many respects (apart from for the smokers who will pay 50c more per pack!)

Here is a quick snapshot of the HR Implications from yesterday’s budget-

National Minimum Wage – increased by 50c to €9.15 per hour as of 1st Jan 2016.

Paternity Benefit Scheme – legislate to introduce two weeks paternity leave for fathers from Sept 2016.

Taxation and PRSI – In summary, reductions should have the effect of increasing take home pay for employees up to 1.8% (or a full weeks pay) according to the Minister for Finance.

Pension – Confirmed the ending of the pension levy on pension funds in January 2016, currently at 0.15%.

Other pro-job taxation measures announced include:

  • Reduced Capital Gains Tax rate of 20% for successful entrepreneurs
  • Income tax credit of €550 for self-employed people, with improvements in future years
  • Knowledge Development Box – globally ‘best in class’ and first OECD-compliant scheme, competitive rate of 6.25% on qualifying income, benefits for SMEs, in place from 1st Jan 2016
  • Extension of tax relief for start-up companies
  • Employment and Investment Incentive scheme to increase availability of investment finance for business.

All round an interesting day, hopefully leading to a positive year ahead and a few more pennies in our pockets!

A career in HR…

2013, 2014 and 2015 have been interesting years for the Human Resource profession, and after coming out of the recession the HR function of the business is more valued than ever.

Traditionally HR Management (or Personnel Management, as it was called up to the 1990’s) was an area that largely attracted women whose work was predominantly hands-on and operational.

Very often these people started their careers in administration functions and “fell into the role” over time. Personnel Officers and Managers were not typically degree qualified did nor did they have a place on the senior management team. They were viewed as a cost centre and rarely developed beyond middle management.

How things have changed!!

  • Tertiary qualifications (with a major in HR) are minimal acceptable standards as an entry point to most HR roles.
  • Many companies also look for CIPD membership.
  • The percentage of males graduates attracted to the profession increases year on year.
  • Whilst some smaller companies still have Generalist HR functions, bigger companies have developed operational HR shared service teams. These centralised teams work closely also side Centres of Excellence and HR Business Partners.
  • HR Directors most certainly have a place at the “top table” with attractive salaries and packages to match.
  • HR Management is no longer seen as a “necessary evil” – it now seen as a critical ingredient in the success of the business.
  • The really exciting part is that these is an increasing demand for specialists to fill the ever increasing number of specialist HR roles – such as Rewards, Org Design, HRIS, Engagement/Communications, Industrial Relations, Learning and development or Talent Management.

So if you are a 6th year student or a University graduate with an interest in business, please make sure that you give due consideration to a career in HR.

Your future is bright!!

Show me the money… or not!

The world over, one of business’ greatest challenge is staff retention. Achieving a balance between increasing staff costs and retention of talent is of critical importance to their on-going competitiveness.

Another challenge is having a true understanding of what motivates and drives the engagement of employees. Research shows that while there is a strong connection between financial rewards and engagement…it is most certainly not all about the money.

Business’ see the importance of educating the workforce to see beyond Compensation and Benefits and look at other aspects of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This approach focuses on Total Reward, not individual elements.

However, one size certainly does not fit all, and business’ need to gain a true understanding of their unique employee needs and wants. Having done so, the company is then well underway to creating a tailored Total Rewards package.

By understanding their employees, certain companies are taking a creative approach to working conditions, career development, work-life balance, CSR and employee recognition.

These employers are beginning to see the fruits of their labour – in addition to an ever improving employer brand, they have an increasingly engaged, retained workforce without the associated spiraling employee costs.

The Reward and Compensation & Benefits area both in Ireland and on a global level is an interesting HR space to watch as it evolves and changes in keeping with economic and employment trends.