TECH & TAILS.
Welcome to the SR2 blog where you will find everything from tech industry news and info on our tech meet-ups to what volunteering we've been doing, cute pics of dogs and everything in between...
It’s safe to say I am absolutely loving discovering the recruitment world at SR2. As someone who’s never done recruitment before I couldn’t have asked for a better support network showing me the ropes. As well as having an epic manager – Charles; Franqui – my dedicated learning director has been unbelievably helpful with structured and interactive training sessions but also all the blonde questions I’ve inevitably asked too! As well as the awesome team of people showing me the ropes, I think my competitive and driven spirit outside of work goes hand in hand with the traits needed in recruitment. In 2021 I wanted a goal to strive for as the COVID lockdowns were driving me crazy! As someone who doesn’t do things by halves - I signed up for an Ironman 70.3 – my first-ever triathlon. I finished second in my age group and consequently qualified for the World Championships the following year where I then finished in the top 14% in the world. As someone very new to triathlon this was a huge shock! However ultimately – I put the training in and stayed consistent. The strong resilience and determination I use in my sports training are essential to implement in my job as a recruiter. At the end of the day - you don’t get the results without putting in the work. Just like triathlon – recruitment is like a solo sport where I’m accountable for the results I deliver. Showing up and being consistent is vital – in the recruitment world, this means always picking up the phone, chasing leads and constantly hunting for clients and doing business development. SR2 has harnessed my competitive spirit and helped me use it in my career. The company culture, support and leadership have resulted in an amazing first month in recruitment which I am absolutely loving! Thanks!! By Ella Beaver
As the leaves start to change colour and the weather transitions from summer to autumn, it's the perfect time to reflect on the achievements and milestones of the past quarter. At our agency, the third quarter of this year has been an exciting and transformative period. We've dedicated our time to making a positive impact in our community, celebrating sustainability, and engaging with inspiring individuals. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at our Q3 journey, which was marked by 214 hours of volunteering, a prestigious award, enlightening interviews, and our commitment to reforestation. Community Engagement One of the core values that drives us is the desire to give back to our community. During Q3, we dedicated a whopping 214 hours of our time to volunteer work, primarily with the Gympanzees Charity in Bristol. Gympanzees provide inclusive and accessible play and exercise opportunities for children and young people with disabilities. The experience of working with this beloved charity has been incredibly rewarding, reminding us of the power of empathy and collective effort. We also rolled up our sleeves and got our cook on at Refugee Kitchen in London. This initiative is all about preparing and sharing delicious meals with refugees and asylum seekers. It was a heartwarming experience, filled with compassion, and the shared love of food. Celebrating Sustainability We are thrilled to announce that we won "Most Sustainable Recruitment Agency" award at this year's Recruiter Awards. This accolade reflects our dedication to promoting sustainable practices and making environmentally conscious decisions. Sustainability is not just a buzzword for us; it's a way of life. Inspiring Interviews We also had the opportunity to engage with nine remarkable individuals through Women Rock. Among the amazing folk we spoke to was Melody Sylvestre, who recently graduated from the iO Academy. Her path to tech, originating from a career in astrophysics, serves as a testament to the limitless possibilities in the world of technology. Melody's story, along with those of other incredible women, reminds us of the importance of diversity and perseverance in the tech industry. Finally, in collaboration with the Future Forest Company, we planted a total of 93 trees during Q3 - we thought the air was smelling fresher this quarter! BRING ON Q4!
Austin, Texas - a place where a lady baked a loaf of bread in her mailbox, so let’s say it was a tad warm for my blonde English skin when I touched down here a few weeks back. However, the warmth I experienced wasn't just limited to the weather. It was a week of downtown life, filled with amazing chats, inspiring connections, and, yes, even some meat sweats. Join me as I take you through my journey in the heart of Texas, where I found a vibrant tech community and a warm welcome that rivals even my beloved Bristol. My first stop in Austin was the fabulous Soho House where the vibey atmosphere and the people I met set the tone for the incredible week ahead (not to mention the incredible picantes...) Next up, I ventured to Top Golf, where I tried my hand at a bit of swing action. Spoiler alert: I'm better at connecting people than connecting with golf balls. One of the highlights of my trip was Capital Factory, a thriving hub for startups and innovation. The energy in this place is contagious, and it was here that I had the pleasure of attending FIESTA, shout out to Cherrie! You're creating something truly special in Austin - the sense of community you're fostering is heartwarming, and I can't wait to see it grow. Next stop: the AI Beer and Bots event, where I got to listen to six different AI pitches and meet some of the coolest peeps in the industry. The enthusiasm in the room was BUZZING! As a huge advocate for Women in Tech (check out my Women Rock platform), I had meetings with a couple of the members and leaders about Women in Tech for Good Austin and was lucky to grab some drinks with an Austin Chief ❤ In conclusion, Austin, you've won me over. Your sense of community, your warm hospitality, and your thriving tech scene hold a special place in my heart. I'm excited to bring some of our initiatives to this remarkable city and collaborate with the incredible people here who are working tirelessly to make the world a better place. Note to self: Terry Blacks BBQ in 42 degrees heat – don’t do that again #sweaty. SR2USA – Let’s go!!
As a tech recruitment specialist based in Berlin, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the WeareDevelopers event in Berlin recently, representing SR2 and FutureTech Germany. This event proved to be an amazing experience, providing us with the chance to connect with a multitude of talented individuals and forward-thinking companies that are shaping the future of technology. Here's a glimpse of our exciting journey through the event: Innovative VR for Medical Education One of the highlights of our visit was meeting with the Zeiss Group, a company known for its amazing work in optical and optoelectronic technology. We had the privilege of trying their VR headsets, where they were showcasing their cutting-edge work in developing virtual reality headsets for the medical industry. Zeiss is breaking new ground by allowing students and aspiring medical professionals to perform test operations remotely and virtually. It's a game-changer for medical education, and we were captivated by the potential impact this technology could have on the future of healthcare. Promoting Diversity and Inclusion We were thrilled to connect with the passionate individuals behind Black in Tech Berlin. Diversity and inclusion are core values at SR2, and This organization is doing exceptional work in promoting diversity in the tech industry. We had the pleasure of meeting Kave Bulambo, the driving force behind this initiative. Their commitment to fostering inclusivity in tech aligns perfectly with our own values at SR2, and we look forward to potential collaborations in the future. Exploring Prospective Partnerships We also had the opportunity to meet several prospective clients during the event. These discussions have led to ongoing conversations, and we're excited about the potential to collaborate on future projects and events. These new connections have opened doors for SR2 to expand our network and continue to support companies in their tech talent acquisition needs. Insights WeareDevelopers Berlin provided us with a fantastic platform to dive into the Tech world deeper. With numerous tech experts and enthusiasts in attendance, we had the chance to gain fresh insights into the rapidly evolving tech space. We left the event with a deeper understanding of the latest trends and developments coming on the horizon, knowledge that will undoubtedly benefit both our clients and candidates in the industry. In conclusion, our experience at WeareDevelopers Berlin was nothing short of exhilarating. From the groundbreaking VR technology of Zeiss Group to the inspiring work of Black in Tech Berlin and the exciting potential partnerships on the horizon, this event was a testament to the innovation and collaboration that define the tech industry in Berlin. We are very excited about the future of tech! By Finlay Bright
Neurodiversity celebrates the natural variation in human cognition and emphasizes that different neurological conditions, such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, are simply variations of the human experience. Recruiters play a crucial role in ensuring that these candidates are given equal opportunities to succeed. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mia and Jess, Co-founders of "I Am Paying Attention" a platform that provides community support for individuals & training for organisations to work towards a fairer tomorrow for all of us. The training was so insightful and we can't wait to have them speak to the rest of the team about how, as recruiters, we can be more supportive of neurodivergent candidates. These are a few things we talked about that could be easily put into practice during the hiring process. Education and Awareness Recruiters should invest time in understanding various neurodivergent conditions, their strengths, challenges, and the potential accommodations that might be needed, enabling recruiters to approach each candidate with empathy and a clear understanding of their unique needs. For example, booking a session with I Am Paying Attention! Flexible Interview Formats Traditional interview formats might not be the best way to assess the potential of neurodivergent candidates. Consider offering alternative interview structures, such as project-based assessments, skills demonstrations, or video submissions. This can help candidates showcase their abilities in ways that align with their strengths. Clear Communication Provide candidates with a detailed outline of the interview process, including what to expect in terms of questions, tasks, and assessment criteria. Clear communication helps ease any anxiety and ensures that candidates can better prepare for each stage of the process. Extended Time for Assessments Many neurodivergent candidates might require additional time to process information and perform at their best. Offering extended time for assessments can level the playing field and allow candidates to demonstrate their true capabilities. Structured Interviews Structured interviews, where all candidates are asked the same set of predetermined questions, can minimize bias and ensure fair evaluations. This approach helps assess skills and qualifications accurately, rather than being influenced by a candidate's communication style. Focus on Strengths Neurodivergent candidates often possess unique skills, such as exceptional attention to detail, pattern recognition, or creative problem-solving abilities. Recruiters should focus on identifying and leveraging these strengths, aligning them with the requirements of the role. Sensitivity to Sensory Issues Certain neurodivergent individuals might experience sensory sensitivities. During interviews or onboarding processes, consider creating a sensory-friendly environment by minimising distractions, loud noises, or overly bright lighting. Accommodations and Accessibility Provide a platform for candidates to discuss any accommodations they might require during the hiring process. This might include changes to the interview setting, the provision of written materials in advance, or the availability of assistive technologies. Inclusive Language in Job Descriptions Craft job descriptions using clear and concise language, avoiding jargon and ambiguous terms such as "Strong communication skills required". - This term is ambiguous because it doesn't clearly define what specific communication skills are needed for the role. It could encompass a wide range of abilities such as verbal communication, written communication, presentation skills, interpersonal skills, and more.Use inclusive language to attract a diverse pool of candidates and encourage applications from all backgrounds. Ongoing Support and Feedback Once a neurodivergent candidate is hired, the support doesn't stop. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and open communication channels can help create an inclusive and supportive work environment. In summary, empathy, understanding and putting the work in is key for recruiters to help build workforces that truly celebrate the diversity of human minds. By Sophie Eadon
National Rollercoaster Day – the Recruitment Rollercoaster edition.When I think of Rollercoasters I think of Alton Towers, and for me, the best one is and always will be - Nemesis due to all the twists and turns, ups and downs. That’s what makes it interesting, and a straight flat line isn’t that interesting (although Rita is fun the first time)…So how does my recruitment rollercoaster compare? Well like every good rollercoaster: with lots of anticipation about something that was going to be fun, a bit scary and something I’d want to do over and over again. Or at least that was the plan, turns out recruitment is a bit like a rollercoaster in that people can tell you about it, you can watch people go on it, and you can even go on virtual ones but nothing really compares to when you’re strapped in and start doing it for real. Seeing the G-force and feeling it is very different, seeing someone doing something and doing it are very different. Are they sure this is completely safe? That attendant surely isn’t old enough. And that one is definitely hung over!! I want to get off!! And then you have to pretend it was the easiest thing in the world and that you weren’t scared at all. This brings me on to my recruitment rollercoaster for real. So I joined with a sister who had told me what it was like (not great), a good friend (who is now a partner at a recruitment firm) who gave himself a heart condition from the stress, and having been recruited 3 times for roles where I’d actively reached out to agencies (must be easy what are they complaining about??). I was pretty sure I knew better - so after a somewhat successful background in field sales, I moved into recruitment. It's fair to say that it wasn’t what I expected, long hours, getting told to F-Off on the phone, less training than I wanted, and feeling like very much the only thing I was doing it for was money (which I wasn’t getting much of). So after 2 companies that were not the right fit but were both very successful, I thought I’d take one last punt.So speaking to one recruiter I said x, y & z were important to me and did he have any roles that looked like that? He said yes but also I’d have a look at a company called SR2 (some of you may have heard of them) to me they were a bit like the Waltzers at your local fair at that time (Jan 2022) in that they were an unknown (to me), had been going for 3 years (not that long), were rapidly growing and had hired a big fat ZERO people at that point in London. Did I trust them, am I going to get spun out of the Waltzer?? Not sure but it looks fun and that element of risk is what makes it exciting.So my SR2Coaster started and it seemed all up, great people, great mission, great clients, loved what I recruit for - I was on Cloud-9. We keep growing as a business, we keep winning awards, I get to go and see Stephen Bartlett for demonstrating our company values. Could it get any better?? I keep making more and more placements, I am climbing up the leaderboard, making more money, the CEO is posting about my Rags to Riches success story - this is great!! I am on top of the world at this point and I am looking at Rolexes, booking trips to Marbella all that good stuff – not quite true but a second Casio and paying off some credit cards isn’t quite as Rock ‘n’ Roll. The reality was I benefitting from a buoyant market, some awesome clients, and a solid brand and whilst I was working hard I couldn’t take credit for these.The market isn’t what it was and a bit like closing time at Alton Towers when everyone is gone you see all the rubbish that’s been left behind. At this point Imposter Syndrome kicks in and a lot of that negative self-talk that I know a lot of people are prone to. Am I any good? Maybe it was just luck? Don’t deserve to be successful etc. Talking to people in the business has been great for this – there are some absolutely mega recruiters in this business and for them to say positive things about me, and to hear that yes we can’t just wave the white flag but that the market is challenging really helped quiet some of those negative doubts.Additionally, through SR2 we get access to counselling and then Talk Club came in as well to help try and improve our mental fitness which really helps. It can be tough and everyone has a lot of things going on, it’s great to be able to unload them and know there’s no way they are going to get back to anyone (I slag off everyone at work basically... that was one of my many bad attempts at a joke, they’re actually alright!!) For me and I know this is going to sound just awful to a lot of people - but I found KPIs, and splitting up tasks really useful. When you are making money in recruitment and being profitable for the business, people don’t care if it’s a bit of a black box on how you do it, and neither do you. However when it dries up a bit you can feel like a complete failure - a bit extreme but it’s tough, one month is bad, two is worse and so on. Feels like you’re on the ride Oblivion at this point. If you just have one measure you’re not hitting it’s bad and whilst everyone still wants to do those deals having the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing what you need to do in terms of the day-to-day it feels a lot better. I also got into a bit of a spiral with this, as in that when you don’t feel like you’re adding value (making the company) it’s easy to feel a lack of purpose, and for me, this has a negative effect. Having had a few roles where I wasn’t motivated by what I was doing, I found it impossible to not let it spill over into my life outside of work. You spend more time at work than anything else and whilst you’re never going to have something that you love every second of the day if you’re not motivated and don’t enjoy you’re never going to reach your full potential in the role. I think this is where having a support network and a life outside of work makes such a difference. I once got some advice that I misinterpreted “work-life balance is overrated” which I took to mean keep grinding at the expense of everything else - but I was wrong. The reality was I got this advice from someone who loved what they did, so for them, work & life weren’t opposite sides of a seesaw but complementary. So with this in mind, I used to have the mindset that I would have 10 minutes for lunch, come in early, leave late and check my emails 24/7 which, in hindsight, is a bonkers way to go through life and actually doing the opposite can make a real difference. I have SR2.0 tattooed on me because I absolutely love the company I work for, the people I work with, what we’re doing, the people we get jobs for and the companies we do it for. If that last bit is relatable and you just happen to be a world-class delivery/programme manager or an agile coach please reach out 😉 When it comes to rollercoasters it’s the ups and downs that make it fun, otherwise you’re basically on a train. Post by Ben Dennison.
HI CHRIS, HOW ARE YOU TODAY? AND HOW ARE YOU OUT OF 10? I am great thanks; a solid 8 I would say. WHERE DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT TALK CLUB AND HOW DID THIS PARTNERSHIP COME ABOUT? They first came on my radar through Instagram I think and then they just kept popping up everywhere and seemed to be doing amazing things all the time so I reached out to Gavin and we met over a coffee and he shared the full story of Talk Club, how it started, the journey and where they want to take it which was inspiring and incredible what they have achieved in such a short space of time both in terms of growth but more importantly impact. They are incredible. AS THE CEO OF SR2, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IT'S CRUCIAL TO PRIORITISE THE MENTAL HEALTH OF THE TEAM? Put simply, the better people feel the better people will perform so it should be a priority for any business. HOW DOES PRIORITISING MENTAL HEALTH POSITIVELY IMPACT THE OVERALL PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTIVITY OF THE TEAM? I hope it provides further evidence that we care no1. We have been the very first business to do this partnership with Talk Club and offer this support and service to our staff alongside many other health and well-being benefits we offer the team like weekly boot camps, HEKA Wellbeing allowance, unlimited holiday, and financial coaching. The 3 key pillars Talk Club focuses on for mental fitness are Sleep, Diet and Exercise. Whilst people need to take accountability for themselves and what they do day-day to positively impact those 3 key pillars, if we can create an environment that helps support, foster, and encourage good habits against those pillars then I have no doubt it will positively influence their lives and mental fitness as well as their performance and productivity at SR2. THE PILOT HAS BEEN GOING FOR TWO MONTHS NOW, HOW DO YOU THINK IT HAS GONE? WHAT FEEDBACK HAVE YOU HAD AND HAVE YOU SEEN ANY DIFFERENCES IN THE TEAM? I naturally haven’t had huge amounts of feedback as it’s a confidential service however the fact every week is booked out solidly tells its own story. We also provided extra sessions with our MHFA practitioners that we have in the business who are around every day. These have been hugely useful sessions and helped give some insightful feedback. Lots of businesses have MHFA’s in the team but so often overlook who is looking after them. MHFA’s are on the front line of your business and people naturally will speak with them in that role and share and unload a bit at times which can weigh heavy on that individual. We have had monthly sessions as a team of SR2 MHFA’s and these have been incredible to help support each other and share so without doubt this has been a positive step for the business. DID YOU HAVE A SESSION AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT WAS IMPORTANT THAT YOU GOT INVOLVED? I have yes. Not something I have ever done before, to be honest, but I wanted to take myself out of my comfort zone a little as I am not a big talker in truth and see what it was like firsthand. Being a CEO can be a lonely place at times, to say the least, and having had my session I felt noticeably lighter and better for it. I had been attending the group MHFA’s sessions as I am a trained MHFA myself and those sessions were incredible and very reflective for me and then 121 was no different. Having never done anything like that before, I came away feeling super positive and I will book in future chats if I can squeeze in. ARE THERE PLANS TO CONTINUE WITH THE TALK CLUB SESSIONS? 100% we have piloted it for 3 months and I feel like it has been a huge success in what’s been a difficult year for everyone with the recession and cost of living crisis and everything else going on in the world right now it has been a hugely beneficial additional layer of support to our team. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THESE SESSIONS TO OTHER BUSINESSES AND WHY? A total no-brainer if you genuinely care about your people.
Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. But what does self-care mean to me? Self-care to me is giving myself time to do the things I love, feed my soul, and fill my cup. Life can become super busy, and we can almost forget to spend time on ourselves and with ourselves. Self-care has become a non-negotiable to me over the past 4 years, at least once per week I spend a full day by myself doing whatever makes me feel good, normally a Sunday resetting for the week ahead. I also make the effort to give myself at least an hour a day doing something that makes me feel good. Self-care can sometimes have a misconception of being a face mask and a movie, while that is someone’s ideal self-care routine for other people it’s ticking off things on their to-do list. It’s different for every individual person as it’s personalised to what fuels you, grows you and makes you feel good. A book that really helped me with this is Working Hard or Hardly Working Grace Beverly I have noticed a huge shift in my relationships, creativity, energy and view on life since making this a priority. Being able to give more to my friends, family, and career has made a significant difference as I have refilled my own cup, and given myself the time to emotionally and mentally rest as well as physically. Types of self-care I love: 🙏 I will walk every day with a podcast for at least an hour 🙏 Buying a coffee and a croissant 🙏 Spending time in the gym 🙏 Journalling before I go to bed 🙏 Meditation/Yoga 🙏 Cooking 🙏 Cleaning the house 🙏 Working through my to-do list If you don’t currently have self-care in your routine, the best place to start is to write a list of the things that make you happy and you love to do, then a list of the things you enjoy that keep you healthy both physically and mentally and slowly start to implement them into your current routine. Post by Char Johnson
We are now six weeks into our sessions with the wonderful Talk Club - a talking and listening club for men,offering talking groups, sports groups and therapy to help keep you mentally fit. As part of #MentalFitnessMonth in May, began one-to-one listening support sessions with Ben from Talk Club every Tuesday from 2pm-4pm where every squad member has access to book in a 30-min session to talk about, well, anything really! To check in with themselves and do so in a safe and private space. We chatted with Ben about how the sessions are going and what other companies can do to make sure their team's mental health is top priority. HI BEN! HOW ARE YOU TODAY? AND HOW ARE YOU OUT OF 10? Hi, today I am a solid 8 thank you for asking. How are you? Out of 10? CAN YOU PLEASE START BY TELLING US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT TALK CLUB IS, HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT AND WHY YOU GOT INVOLVED AS A COUNSELLOR? Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK. 76% of UK suicides are male. A man takes his own life every 90 minutes in the UK. Talk Club wants to change this. Founded in March 2019 it has grown from a small group of men in the back of a pub in Bristol, to a global community of over 3000 men, in nearly 70 groups. Promoting mental fitness and making it acceptable for men to be vulnerable in a safe space. We have: Talk and Exercise groups: Football, running, skating etc, Talk and Listen Groups: These are peer-to-peer groups where men sit in a circle together and talk and listen, and run in 4 rounds: 💙 How are you? Out of 10? and why, 💙 What are the positives in your life, what are you grateful for? 💙 How are you going to look after your mental fitness this week? (sleep, diet, exercise) 💙 Then finally “How are you now? Out of 10?” – as a checkout. It’s been designed to create maximum respect for the group. We have a talking ball and no opinions or debate is offered. So the talker does not feel judged and feels truly listened to. Therapy groups: where men can go a little deeper with a fully qualified therapist and a trainee. We now also offer businesses ‘listening support’ sessions as well as Talk and Listen groups and Captains training, where men and women can become a part. I became involved in Talk Club in the very early days as I was struggling with severe anxiety and this led to mild depression and panic attacks. I went along to a talking and listening group and instantly felt listened to and a part of the community. I kept going and then became a “captain” (the blokes who run the groups) as I wanted to help others feel this way. It was being a captain that made up my mind that I wanted to try and help more and started my Therapy training. Talk Club literally changed my life. I am now halfway through and am hoping to qualify in 2 years. WHY “OUT OF 10”? Many men find it hard to talk about their feelings. To many, it’s a foreign language they don’t know how to speak. So, we try to help them by asking: How are you? Out of 10? This gives them a starting point. A way to think about how they are, put a number on it and then explain why. YOU’VE BEEN COMING TO THE SR2 HQ FOR A FEW WEEKS NOW TO TALK TO INDIVIDUALS, ONE-TO-ONE, IN A CONFIDENTIAL SETTING ABOUT HOW THEY ARE FEELING. WITHOUT GOING INTO TOO MUCH DETAIL, HOW DO YOU THINK THESE SESSIONS ARE GOING? I feel the sessions are going really well. Many people are coming having never shared their feelings before and I feel through their own honesty and willingness to share their numbers are being raised. They know it is a safe space for them. Without judgement. Yes, some people have been nervous or do not know where to start, but before they know it all comes flowing out. MANY REPORTS SHOW THAT MEN IN THE UK WERE LESS LIKELY THAN WOMEN TO OPENLY DISCUSS THEIR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. AGAIN, WITHOUT GOING INTO TOO MUCH DETAIL, HAVE YOU FOUND THIS REFLECTIVE OF YOUR SESSIONS WITH THE TEAM? So far, I have seen more men than women and I think this shows that if support is offered without barriers and the men feel safe, they will share what’s on their mind. This is why I think it is great what SR2 is doing is amazing as it will help keep the mental fitness up of all their staff, men and women. HAVE TALK CLUB WORKED WITH ANY OTHER COMPANIES IN THIS MANNER (NOT NAMING NAMES/ BRANDS) WHAT DID THE RESULTS LOOK LIKE? Talk Club have begun working with other companies, (but SR2 was the first) offering listening support and groups as well as training Captains. And although it’s only early days it .seems to be having a very positive effect. We have the infrastructure. We can scale it up (or down) to any size business. So if you want to talk about Talk Club Business support in your company drop us an email at Hello@TalkClub.org 🤣 FINALLY, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR TALK CLUB? WHAT NEXT? We will continue to build on our community. Wherever men are we are. We’re hoping to reach 100 clubs by the end of the year. We are going to increase Therapy group offerings and also hope to start one-to-one Therapy. We are also approaching more and more companies (and companies are approaching us) to help them maintain their staff's mental fitness by listening support So join us, let's get the UK Mentally Fit. Thanks so much Ben! Blog by Sophie Eadon
Loneliness is a feeling that people fear, a feeling that people try everything they can to avoid, but also a feeling that a lot of people have experienced, yet one that not often gets spoken about. It’s a feeling that is commonly associated with the elderly or individuals who live in isolated places but in reality, it has no boundaries. Even the definition of loneliness “sadness because one has no friends or company” seems simplistic and somewhat disheartening. Is it any wonder that in a world where popularity reigns supreme that more people don’t admit to feeling lonely!? The truth is anyone can feel lonely. You may be in a room surrounded by friends and family that you love and still feel lonely. At different points in my life, this was me. I wanted to write this blog to raise awareness about loneliness but also to reassure anyone that is struggling that it’s OK to admit to feeling lonely. To give you some context, I’m someone who loves making meaningful connections with others. I’m not one for big social situations but give me a long walk where I can have a deep conversation with a friend and I’m in my element. I’m one of those rare people nowadays who never choose to work from home because I crave being around people and thrive off my interactions with my colleagues in the office. Like many people, Lockdown was a tough time for me.I live with my mum and stepdad in a little village just outside Bristol, where my school friends have all moved away and I hardly know anyone in the area anymore. Although a scary, uncertain time, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was some excitement about being put on furlough during a heatwave. For the first time since leaving university, I didn’t have to work! I had the “freedom” to do what I wanted, with the only thing on my agenda was to sit in the garden and get a nice tan. However, that excitement soon turned into restlessness and extreme feelings of loneliness. Although I’d still speak to friends on the phone, had countless obligatory lockdown quizzes and even attempted some virtual cook-along, after I’d come off them with deep feelings of loneliness. These interactions always felt too short for me. Everyone would leave the call and I’d still feel unfulfilled, and the feelings of loneliness heightened. I never felt like I was connecting with anyone on the same level that you do when you’re together in person. I was left alone and waiting for a message, a call, or even another terrible quiz just to alleviate some of the feelings of loneliness. Looking back, probably one of the unhealthiest things I was doing that exacerbated how I felt was seeking connection through social media. I’d scroll and scroll only to see posts of what I perceived to be my friends enjoying their time on Furlough with their other halves – if there’s anything that makes you feel lonelier it’s seeing others happy and connected. There was a point where I couldn’t cry any more tears and decided to speak to a therapist. In this safe environment, I was able, to be honest about how I was feeling and talk about emotions that I had kept in for years and that I needed to talk about to heal. Therapy allowed me to connect with someone who could provide the support and understanding that I needed and to connect to myself for the first time in years. Can I ask you a question? If you could do anything, with unlimited money and the freedom to travel anywhere in the world, what would your perfect day look like? I had this discussion at lunchtime with a couple of friends, and it threw me a little. I found myself trying to think up something extraordinary—a grand experience involving sailing across the Caribbean on a luxurious yacht with all my friends. We would embark on thrilling scuba diving adventures, and tuck into a delicious 5-course tasting menu while watching the sunset on a pristine, white sandy beach...Sounds idyllic, doesn't it?But now, let's reimagine this perfect day where you must experience it alone. Would it still retain its title as the “Perfect Day”? Honestly, I don’t believe it would. If I had all the money in the world, be in the most breathtaking location imaginable but unable to share that experience with anyone, would I be happy? I’m not sure I would be. It’s the experiences we share with others that truly enrich our lives.It may come as no surprise then that social connection is included as one of the four key components ofc good mental well-being. Forming meaningful relationships play a vital role in establishing a sense of belonging and self-worth, as well as providing emotional support during challenging times. Loneliness, on the other hand, has a huge impact on our mental health, contributing to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem What’s more, it can lead to a cycle that heightens the feelings of loneliness. Loneliness has a profound impact on our self-esteem and confidence to interact with others. This, in turn, often triggers negative thoughts and self-talk, further lowering our mood. One of the significant hurdles with loneliness is the perceived lack of support, which means that we are less likely to talk about our emotions. Unfortunately, this often makes things worse and consequently, poor mental health often results. The fear of social interactions intensifies, as we start viewing ourselves as a burden or a source of negativity. This heightened anxiety and depression contribute to feelings of shame, leading us to hide our true emotions. Consequently, we create a facade that further amplifies the sense of disconnection, even when surrounded by others. This reinforces the cycle of loneliness.One of the aspects of loneliness that I found to be the most difficult was the shame that came with it. The fact that I had friends that I spoke to every day, and I knew that I could reach out to them at any time, yet I still felt lacking in some way and felt needy. I didn’t feel like I could share my experience with anyone as I believed that I shouldn’t be feeling this way as I had friends that I could talk to. I even found myself comparing myself to others – no one else seemed to be struggling with loneliness so why should I?However, by not being honest about what I was experiencing and my emotions the feelings of loneliness grew. I’d then start to overthink the interactions that I did have with friends, worrying that they found me boring because I didn’t have anything to talk about. The anxiety then continued after the calls, and I’d overthink every conversation and friendship. I became fearful that if I wasn’t entertaining or interesting enough I’d lose my friends and feel even lonelier. By masking how we feel and not talking about our struggles, we inadvertently worsen our loneliness. When we are not honest about how we truly feel, it becomes difficult to establish genuine connections with others and with ourselves.We are unable to connect because we aren’t being honest about how we are truly feeling. By not being true to others, we’re not being true to ourselves, and we will never be able to properly connect. True connection requires us to be true to ourselves and others, creating an environment of trust and understanding.Speaking to a therapist was such a transformative experience for me. It was the first time I allowed myself to be truly honest about my feelings, and it marked the beginning of feeling a genuine sense of connection and the feelings of loneliness lessened. During one of my first therapy sessions, my therapist recommended that I watch Brené Brown’s TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability – Which, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! It has completely changed my outlook and is the reason why I am doing this blog today. Brené talks about how the fear of not being worthy of connection often holds us back from experiencing true connection with others. However, the key to genuine connection lies in allowing ourselves to be truly seen. We must therefore embrace vulnerability. It requires us to have the courage to let go of what we think we should be and instead be completely authentic and true to ourselves. If you’re feeling lonely right now, please know that it’s OK. You’re not alone in this experience. You are worthy. You are enough. There is power in being vulnerable and reaching out to someone to share how you are truly feeling. Please let’s talk more and be kind always. Nat x
Men’s mental health and suicide is something extremely close to my heart. When I look back on how society was when I was a boy it has changed drastically for the better and now more than ever, men are encouraged to speak about their mental health.. but there is still a lot of work to be done. Suicide is the single biggest killer of Men under 45 in the UK with male suicides having consistently accounted for three-quarters of UK suicides since the 1990s. In a world where mental health is finally recognised on par with physical health, there is still a huge problem when the biggest threat to a young man’s life is himself. At 27 years old I have experienced 3 suicide attempts, 2 resulting in the loss of a life and 1 resulting in a long and painful road to recovery.. all men. Growing up, phrases like man up, don’t be a girl, grow a pair, boys don’t cry and so many more resonated with me, perpetually drilled into young boys by a society that saw male emotions as weakness. Even to this day I still struggle to cry, even though I know it’s okay, I am so subconsciously inclined to bottle things up, even when I want to let it out, I can’t. Men are much less likely to speak to a friend or a doctor, feeling that their problems are theirs and not to be someone else’s burden. I have watched more times than I can count male role models in my life take extremely traumatic situations and push them deep down, unseen and unheard where they think it’s forgotten, when really it’s still there somewhere, festering away. but it doesn’t have to be that way and it isn’t all doom and gloom! Statistics are lower than ever with the % rate of suicidal deaths per 100,000 citizens dropping down to roughly 10% from 14% when ONS began tracking the figures and statistics in the early 1980s. More men than ever are talking, opening up, sharing their burdens, seeking help and taking their mental health seriously. You are not weak if you feel sad, you are not less of a man if you need support, and you are not pathetic if you cry. We need to normalise emotions within men and keep pushing to a world where we talk to one another and support each other to better days. Life is tough, but a problem shared is a problem halved and speaking from experience; I would much rather have listened to their worries than have lost them. So if you’re reading this as a man and somewhere it struck a chord, please reach out to someone, talk to a friend, or a family member, look for support groups like the amazing ‘Talk Club’, go to a psychiatrist; just don’t take your own life whatever you do and always remember, it’s okay to not be okay. #ManDown #BoysDoCry
Myself and Mike Hardwick were blessed to attend SF Climate Week in San Francisco last week and what an incredible experience it was. From the kick off at the hella’ vibey Southern Pacific Brewhouse in Mission right through, every event was in equal parts insightful and enjoyable. Fair to say I’ll be heading back for SF Climate Week ’24! Highlights for me… Enjoying Souvla with David Schurman at Perennial, a company we've been proud to support in the last 18 months. Going shoes off for a quirky Nature X Climate event in Hayes Valley (my now favourite neighbourhood in SF) and listening to Tessa Landon and many others talk about the challenges we face in carbon markets and how we might overcome them Meeting the charismatic Troy Carter from Earthshot Labs Attending Using Carbon Offsets with Confidence on Tuesday morning hosted by the engaging Steven Siger and his esteemed panel, including Donna Lee, Derik Broekhoff and Taylor Wright. This was another awesome discussion about Carbon Markets, a personal interest of mine! Meeting the bundle of energy that is Fay de Waal Talking climate hiring challenges with Heather O'Callaghan, Kylin Ellison, Brooke Self Having a tour of Stanford University courtesy of Alwin Hui – Thank you again 🙏 Meeting the AWESOME team behind the event. Climatebase, take a bow! - Evan Hynes, Justin Hardin, Morgan Campbell, Marcella Muse. The very fact that y’all stood this event up in a matter of months is mind-blowing. So much kudos to you all 👏 We went to SF Climate Week with the intention to learn and to immerse ourselves in the ecosystem. We come back inspired, with minds full of climate comprehension and with a bunch of new, amazing climate warriors in our network. Thank you to Climatebase and anyone involved in organizing SF Climate Week. See you next year!
Fast fashion - what actually is it? It is the business model of replicating recent catwalk trends and high-fashion designs, mass-producing them at a low cost, and bringing them to retail stores quickly, while demand is at its highest. The term 'fast fashion' also applies to the speed at which garments are produced in the manufacturing industries of South, Southeast, and East Asia, where women make up 85-90% of the garment workforce. Labor practices of fast fashion are often exploitative, and due to the gender concentration of the garment industry, women are more vulnerable. 'Fast' also describes the speed at which the garments are sold, worn and then thrown away, where most will end up in landfill. Around 1.75m tonnes of clothing and textile waste is created in the UK each year 1.2m tonnes of it ends up in landfill. 360,000 tonnes of the textiles thrown away in the UK every year are clothes. And one of the main materials used in the making of these cheap, throw-away garments? Polyester - polyethylene terephthalate, better known as PET, a type of plastic derived from crude oil and natural gas – also used to make items such as plastic bottles. You can start to see the problem... But how do slow down fast fashion and the impact it is having on the planet? Here are five things you can do: 👗 Buy pre-owned items👗 Rent clothes you're only likely to wear once👗 Swap clothes with friends👗 Repair and upcycle your clothes👗 Buy less and better quality One brand that feels strongly about this is the incredible Wear My Wardrobe Out - Bristol's first on-demand and subscription-based fashion rental service. The founder and absolute genius behind this fabulous brand is our very own Finance Director Maria Loria - sustainability advocate and incredible designer! Wear My Wardrobe Out's mission is to challenge the long-term buying behaviours of people in the UK, driven by social peer pressure, which contributes to increased consumer debt. Through enabling a platform for people to affordably rent vintage and pre-loved stylish outfits instead of buying them. Go and check out Maria's incredible designs and help slow down fast fashion today - WearMyWardrobeOut
In February this year, Spain became the first country in Europe to approve menstrual leave for women offering 3-5 paid days off each MONTH if they feel unwell and uncomfortable 🙏 Period pain, or dysmenorrhea, is common; more than half of menstruating women experience pain for one or two days every month. For some, the pain is so severe that they are unable to perform normal activities for several days, so this news comes as a huge relief for many of those that suffer. This is part of a broader movement on sexual and reproductive rights in the country including free period products in schools.Spain now joins Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Zambia who all offer support for women on their time of the month.Personally, I think this is AMAZING as I know a lot of people who suffer but there are some contesting this - including women who are worried that menstrual leave will reinforce negative gender stereotypes and notions of biological determinism, leading to more employer discrimination against women.So, do we think this is going to cause a domino effect?Will the UK follow suit? For anyone in my network who struggles there are some great apps out there to help understand your cycle and body better. The one that I’ve been using is Flo.
Quarter one - blink and you missed it right?! It may have flown by but we still managed to fill it with some really great stuff! including: 💙 We were able to donate £24,100 to our charity partners, including Men's mental health charity Men's Minds Matter. 💙 We devoted 60 hours of our time to volunteering at our local charities, including Bristol Animal Centre where we created a sensory garden for the doggos that stay there 🐶 💙 We spoke to 10 incredible human beings about their journeys into the world of tech on our Women Rock platform, including Oliviana Baily, Director at Hyperion Lab and Victoria Reed, Commerce Programme Manager at LUSH Digital. 💙 We placed 133 amazing candidates including software engineers, data analysts and product managers - with equally amazing tech for good brands. This meant we were able to plant 133 trees with our sustainability partner The Future Forest Company 🌳 💙 The SR2 squad grew by 8 heads in the shape of Lizzie, Milo, Mac, Amber, Charlie, Mark, Max and Andy and they have fit in perfectly! 💙 We gave out free hugs to 'Embrace Equity" for International Women's Day, watch the heartwarming video here: FREE HUGS 💙 Love it or hate it - we launched SR2 TikTok! If you're into mediocre dancing, bad jokes and stupidity, you can follow us here: SR2 TikTok BRING ON Q2!
Earlier this week, I had a really great call with a candidate who had been recommended SR2 in their job search They told me that they had struggled to find a good Recruitment company in the past - having received a recent ADHD diagnosis, and going through a career change, it was important for them to have support from an agency who understood their situation. I responded by telling them that we are big supporters of neurodiversity in tech here at SR2, to which they replied “that’s great, but what do you actually mean by that?” And it was such a good question! What does this really mean- from the perspective of a neurodiverse person who is searching for a new job? To me, it means if someone chooses to tell you they are neurodiverse (because they don’t have to!), it’s about asking them what more you can do to support them in an interview process, and having awareness that there may be areas they don’t find as easy as a neurotypical person. 🔹Perhaps some don’t enjoy phone calls and would rather WhatsApp you instead? 🔹Maybe some struggle in face to face interviews, but excel in their day to day job? 🔹Or perhaps some don’t do so well in written tasks, but they can smash a competency based interview out the park? Neurodiversity is vast, from ADHD, to dyslexia, autism, OCD and more. It’s on such a scale, and there are many people that go their entire lives without being diagnosed. I'm by no means an expert in this field, but it's something I want to become more aware of, as I continue to support a diverse range of wonderful humans whilst they find a new role. I want to know what us Recruiters can do better, to support neurodiverse folk in their job search?
I’ve spoken already about how it’s a tough market out there. Redundancies, hiring freezes, budget cuts, these are all things I am hearing from candidates and clients on a daily basis. 😞 This is a message to anyone who is having a tough week, facing redundancy, and Recruiters struggling in what is one of the strangest markets we’ve seen in quite a long time. I fully believe the next few months will show the true resilience of people, and when we come out the other side, we will be in a better place because of it. 💙 My advice is be kind to yourself and others, and remember it won’t last forever. 🔸Give yourself breaks away from your desk. Even a walk around the block for 5 minutes can change your mindset 🔸Don’t sit in silence if you’re struggling! Chances are the person next to you is feeling the same- talk to each other 🔸Focus on the long term rather than immediate goal. Building relationships now will come back and pay off later down the line 🔸Remember that we’re all human and just trying to do our jobs. Treat each other with respect and if someone is short or rude to you, remember they might be having a bad day and you don’t know what is going on in their lives behind closed doors, so stay kind regardless ✌🏻 Love G
It's both Women's History Month & B-Corp Month - what a March this is going to be... ...so I thought there is no better time than to champion a B Corp & female-founded company based in the Netherlands! One of the best parts of my job is researching then connecting & creating relationships with the coolest companies in the Netherlands! Happening upon Yoni is super exciting and I'm disappointed in myself for not discovering them sooner! Yoni produces sustainable period products created with the belief that the time has come to open up, share our stories & care for our female sex bodies at every stage of life! Their goal is to make period care as honest and sustainable as possible, with no perfume, plastics or artificial absorbents! Recently Co-Founder Mariah Mansvelt Beck was interviewed and asked what makes the brand innovative/ unique. The company was founded in 2015 and she said that when they started "menstruation wasn't generally spoken about, organic cotton tampons, liners and pads were not a well-known option and definitely not available on mainstream shelves" which is crazy to think that we've come a long way but there is still so much to be done! Their aim is to break the taboo around menstruation and do something by normalising the topic, providing products that publish the composition while being sustainable/ethical simultaneously (impressive). Their impactful work doesn't stop there. They're also involved in campaigns to help tackle period poverty working with the Poverty Fund Foundation as 1 in 10 in the Netherlands are still experiencing or have experienced period poverty in their life! Not only are they doing good for the world & for female sex bodies their website also acts as a space where we can seek advice & gain knowledge! In short, huge congratulations to Mariah and every one part of Yoni, it's always so amazing to see companies like Yoni dominating the health space and no doubt their future is exciting. If you haven't already go check out Yoni Care, read Mariah's inspiring story and get involved with being part of the mission to end period poverty & let's all break the taboo around menstruation! We always love to hear about inspiring companies dominating their space, so please do reach out if your company has a story or if you know anyone that does! Written by Lucia Alcock
Last week I had a catch-up call with one of our clients whose wonderful talent partner is based in Ukraine. Before we kicked off she said to me "if I suddenly hang up it’s because I’m in danger". I asked how she knows and she said she gets a text to be alerted, she’ll then go and work in the bathroom, as the middle walls could save her life and it means she can still work as normal. I could feel myself getting emotional and as she continued to tell me about this I just burst into tears, saying sorry and turning off my mic and camera as quickly as poss. She knew I was upset so just sat and waited for me to get myself together, she wasn’t emotional at all - talking to me like this was just part of her normal conversations now. It literally tore my heart in two, someone younger than me, pretty much doing the same job, it’s just so wrong! I felt unbelievable guilt being sat in my safe office, moaning that it was a bit cold and that I had so much to do when someone that I’m on a zoom call with is trying to live a normal life, working and recruiting in a war zone! We had a really good meeting and catch-up, I’ve NEVER cried on a client meeting before, but she was wonderful and thanked me for my empathy and compassion although I was so embarrassed for the rest of the call - I couldn’t help it. What with the ongoing war in Ukraine and the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey and Syria - these past few weeks have been a sobering reality check for a lot of us. It’s so easy to forget how lucky we are and how much we take for granted, so if you’re having a bad morning, read this, take a breath and be grateful. We have been raising money with the amazing Human Appeal who are on the ground right now working in some of the most hard-to-reach places, providing emergency food, medical aid, warmth and shelter to surviving families who are still at risk outside in the freezing cold. Our Just Giving page is still open and you can donate hereStay grateful.
Incredibly proud of everyone at SR2 after being awarded with the Recruitment Agency of the year (50-100 employees) at the coveted annual Recruiter Awards.But we didn't stop there...our Director and people over profit brainchild Chris Sheard was voted entrepreneur of the year (absolutely well deserved and overdue recognition IMO)Rewind back just shy of 5 years and Chris, Nath and Alicia were in a tiny broom cupboard office in Central Bristol looking at one another wondering where and how to start (pick up the phone but call who?!)Now we have a team of 60+ absolutely legendary, hard-working, humble humans, multiple offices, we’re donating huge sums of money to impactful charities on the regular (£18,000 to Talk Club earlier this week for instance) and winning some of the most sought-after awards available in the industry.Just wow. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in our journey so far - clients, candidates, supporters. We value you all so much and rest assured, this is just the beginning!
The research carried out by Intuit QuickBooks surveyed 3,000 men and women working in fintech or for tech providers, also found that almost a quarter (22%) of surveyed women experiencing menopausal symptoms have delayed or cancelled plans to apply for a promotion.Meanwhile, almost two in five (38%) surveyed women who have experienced menopausal symptoms say they generally felt less confident in their abilities, while 41% of respondents said the main challenges for themselves or someone they work with who is going through the perimenopause/menopause in the workforce is the symptoms affecting their ability to perform work tasks.The symptoms that these women say contributed most to their lack of confidence are hot flushes (39%), mood changes such as depression, anxiety and stress (37%) and poor sleep quality (36%).How can companies support women throughout this period more? Menopausal training? Menopause leave? We're interested to hear what you think?
...with Alive Activities 👩🌾Some of the squad were lucky enough to spend their volunteering time with Abi at Alive and the incredible individuals who benefit Alive's support. Alive is a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of older people; keeping their green fingers active, reconnecting with nature 🍃 and most importantly giving them beautiful places to socialise and hang out!Move over Alan Titchmarsh...
Yes today we turned 5! And what a 5 years it's been...💙 Over £204,000 donated to charity💙 1200+ Volunteering hours💙 Certified B-Corp with an` initial score of 100.8 *cough considered outstanding *cough💙 Headcount of 66💙 One office in Bristol, one in London and one in Austin, Texas incoming💙 3 Recruiter Awards under our belts, including Best New Agency in 2020 and Best Recruitment Agency (Medium) and Recruitment Industry Entrepreneur of the Year💙 1 Billion litres of coffee consumedThe last one was a guess.Massive love to the SR2 squad - without you we are nothing.Huge thanks to everyone who has supported us on this epic 5 year journey and here's to the next 5!