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How do you make Social Recruitment work?

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and many more platforms are having a major impact on the way many companies recruit. Candidates, for example, can identify potential hiring managers and build relationships far in advance of a job actually becoming available. Companies can use social media to identify vast amounts of candidates and promote vacancies to those that appear to be perfect candidates.

However, as occupational psychologists, it’s important to understand that a social recruitment campaign should still involve sound decision making principles in order to find the right person.

What’s happened to the CV?

With 55% of people worldwide now accessing the internet via mobile phone apps rather than computers, it looks like the old fashioned CV and covering letter are becoming a thing of the past. Many well-known brands such as UPS, Nestle and L’Oreal, are choosing to reflect this in their recruitment campaigns. The enormous reach of social media makes it an amazing tool for finding a huge range of candidates not only for corporations but also many growing SMEs.

Social media also holds other benefits in the recruitment process. The ease of which a company can identify a pool of talented candidates can often make many of the costs previously associated with recruitment obsolete. However the sheer volume of replies some companies receive can create major challenges in shortlisting suitable people in a reliable way.

Although social recruitment is an essential time saving strategy for busy companies and clearly an important aspect of future hiring, how is it possible to choose from potentially thousands of candidates without letting a few good ones slip through the net?

Evidence Based Analysis

Before you start promoting a vacancy continue to undertake a thorough analysis of your company, its culture and the demands of the person you are looking to hire. This will help you to use social media to provide highly targeted recruitment campaigns that social networks enable companies to do. At each stage of the process moving forward hiring decisions should relate back to the competencies drawn up at this stage.

Shortlisting Process

Digital technology enables us to integrate fair and objective shortlisting processes at different stages of the recruitment campaign. By relating this process once again back to the original frameworks it will ensure that the profile of the candidate meets the needs of the organisation and the role.

Unbiased Screening

One of the aforementioned challenges of social media is the ability of candidates to have previous relationships with hiring managers that have been cultivated through social media. Although this may show desire and motivation to work for an organisation it does not necessarily make this person the best for the job. At the screening stage a panel should be elected to individually review candidates removing any undue bias from the process.

The use of social media in recruitment is only becoming a more important aspect of the landscape. Not only does it impact on the people strategy but it’s also becoming a fundamental aspect of many organisation’s marketing as well. Ikea’s ‘Assemble Your Career’ recruitment campaign in Australia generated huge interest in the brand through social channels and helped to recruit hundreds of staff. This leads on to further questions on how companies deal with those vast amount of candidates it engages but does not recruit during the campaign. Are these experiences always positive?

Social media is the perfect tool for identifying a candidate pool but when you do so make sure you have a strategy in place to ensure only the right candidates get through.

To find out more about getting the most from your talent strategy contact us today.

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The Future Recruitment Consultant

The incredible shift in the dynamics of the recruitment sector since 2008 has seen many companies re-examine the way they hire. Reports suggest that volumes in permanent hires have fallen whereas temporary recruits have increased. The rise of social media, and LinkedIn in particular, has not only changed how recruitment consultants source applicants but also the way in which candidates themselves build their networks in order to find opportunities. In a competitive environment how should a recruitment agency look to the future?

Thoroughly Identify Client Needs

Invariably the successful recruitment agencies will be those that are most able to understand the detailed needs of their clients, and deliver real value through their services.

In a sector which in the past has often been subjected to short sighted recruitment practice, where high volume and quick turnaround characterised many campaigns, clients are now looking at more sustainable measures.

The Rise of the Network

From a candidate perspective the value of the ‘network’ has never been more important. The ability to keep in touch with influential people throughout our career using social media, means that we are able to develop relationships with the companies we want to work with long before becoming employees. Many forward thinking organisations know who such people are as part of their talent acquisition strategy.

However, knowing your potential hires and achieving the best fit for a role are two different things. In order to ensure that candidates placed deliver the best fit, recruitment consultants can provide value through superior knowledge of the processes involved. At the very least a deeper understanding of the following four could help to provide real value:

1)      Company Strategy

A thorough understanding of the company’s strategy will enable you to understand further candidate requirements. Evidence of this strategy will form the basis of your decision making.

2)      Competency Frameworks

As well as understanding the competencies required in the role a strong framework will also identify the development needs of the potential employee and match these to the organisation. Such detailed understanding of the vacancy and the company will help to ensure new hires remain in post for longer.

3)      Behaviours and Skills

In order to drive success in an organisational context a knowledge of the behaviours and skills required in this, and future, roles within the company is integral to providing a thorough service.

4)      Cultures and Subcultures

Role tenure often comes down to the candidates’ ability to integrate into the established cultural norms of a company and department. An understanding of these from the point of view of the recruitment consultant will help to ensure that value is attained.

The use of evidence removes any bias in order to find the best person for the job. Despite the ongoing changes in the dynamics of the sector, and recruitment processes in general, the challenge of finding the most suitable candidate for the role is never going to be an exact science. Recruiters can however improve their ability and reputation by ensuring that the vast majority of candidates provide the correct fit. The use of evidence to help form these integral decisions will set you apart.



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Is Your Workplace Fit for Millennials?

Millennials will soon make up the largest share of the entire workforce across the globe. Born between 1980 and 1995, and having been raised in a time of significant change, their approach to work differs significantly from Generation X and Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomers have been in the workplace for the longest and, therefore, feel they can add wisdom to the workplace and they want to be recognised for the value they share. Research shows that Generation Xers tend to prefer independent work, where they don’t need to rely on others for input. Millennials, on the other hand, were born into a fast feedback, technological culture. They look for immediate feedback, innovative recognition for their work, a fun and flexible workplace, and the technology to facilitate their efforts. Millennials want to know that they are impacting the workplace on a regular basis.

Let’s review those four vital factors that will help you to make your workplace fit for Millennials:

  1. Give flexibility

 Millennials desire flexible working patterns that will fit around their social lives, but they are much more open than other generations to integrating their work and home life in a less traditional manner. With technology offering 24-hour access to work and home life, Millennials tend to look for seamless integration between the two, where they can work from anywhere at any time. Provided the work gets done on time and effectively, where it is done and when is irrelevant.

Millennials also desire broad workplace experiences that give them the opportunity to work on unique projects in varying locations. To facilitate this style of working, organisations need to create a mobile workforce that encourages employees to work across disciplines and teams.

  1. Access to up to date technologies

Millennials grew up in the technology boom and are used to using technology in all aspects of their lives. Not only are they used to using tech, but they are also accustomed to having access to the fastest, most up to date technologies in the marketplace. When Millennials come into the workplace, they crave technology that will facilitate their work, rather than slow, outdated systems that can hinder their progress. Access to up to date technology is equally important for learning and development of Millennials.

  1. Get creative about rewards

Millennials are the generation that want regular feedback that is task specific so that they can use it to develop their skills. They want to be recognised and rewarded when they perform well but monetary rewards aren’t enough. Provided pay is at a fair market rate; Millennial employees then crave more social and developmental recognition and reward for their work. Once pay is fair, rewards come down to the factors that employees see of value. This could be a being taken for a beer after work, being selected for a training course, being given public recognition, or even being selected for a secondment. The value isn’t in the monetary value; it is in the desirability from the employee.

  1. Friendships create impact

Team culture impacts more so than ever how employees operate at work. The Millennial generation is hugely social, both online and in person. Millennial employees want to create friendships in the workplace that make work a fun place to be.

Final thoughts

Every generation lives through a different social environment and that environment impacts how they view the world and work within it. Providing Millennials with some of the factors they crave for working effectively will make for happier and more productive employees.


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Flatter Structures and the Rise of the Individual: Is Performance Appraisal Fit for Purpose?

Over the last few decades, there have been major advancements in how the workplace operates. How we train and develop employees, how we communicate with people through various mediums across the globe, how leaders lead and managers manage have all contributed to the working environment we see today.

However, despite the changing face of the working world, the fundamental Performance Management structure has been around for decades. Albeit with minor add-ons such as 360-degree feedback and more structured performance conversations, the traditional once or twice a year performance appraisal remains and is an approach adopted by most organisations today.

Is performance appraisal still fit for purpose?

There has long been talk of the need to change how we manage the performance of employees. With Accenture famously scrapping their performance appraisal reviews and many other organisations large and small following suit, it seems executives realise that our current approach to performance management is no longer fit for purpose.

Why is change necessary?

With the trend towards flatter organisational structures, today’s workplace no longer requires managers to be managers in the traditional bureaucratic sense. Managers are now expected to guide, support and share information, rather than instruct people what to do and how to do it. Modern day management is about inspiring people to follow your lead using soft skills like relationship building, listening and understanding.

In today’s workplace people work together to get things done taking responsibility and ownership as individuals for their output and performance development, but with the guidance of management.

This means modern day performance appraisals should follow the same structure.

What does the future look like?

People want and need constant feedback to reflect the constant change happening in the working world. These days, performance management should be a two-way conversation between employee and manager and these conversations should happen regularly.

What can we expect for the new ‘performance appraisal’?

  • Performance appraisals will no longer be once a year. They will occur seamlessly as part of an ongoing dialogue between managers and employees. Nowadays, feedback can be constantly recorded about the individual from anyone, anywhere.
  • Performance will tie more closely to organisational needs. Flatter structures and the advance of technology means up to date information can be shared so that if priorities, goals and objectives change, they can adapt their approach to fit in with the broader company aims.
  • We will have fairer reviews. Because employees work with a wider range of people from many locations across the globe, many or all of the people they work with can share what that individual does well and where they can improve, cutting down bias and making appraisals fairer.
  • It will be easier to develop individuals. With technological capability, particularly mobile access, online learning and now the introduction of gamification, people can learn from anywhere at any time and in engaging and self-managing ways.

Final thoughts

Performance management is in a state of flux. People realise the need to manage how their teams develop and the work that gets done, but new performance management is about creating relationships with people to ensure their needs and the needs of the organisation are met simultaneously. The new performance appraisal is about leading performance rather than managing it.

Do you want to talk about your performance review criteria? Leave your details and we’ll get in touch.

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How do you Identify Talent?

‘High potentials’ is a term frequently used to describe individuals who have attributes that are seen as desirable for the future leadership of the organisation. It is hugely beneficial to identify such high potentials, but it is not always seen as an easy task.

Establish criteria

Before you can identify your high potentials from your good performers, you need to establish criteria against which to measure your employees. You may have a gut feel about who your key players are, but without hard evidence your high potential decisions could be biased and result in incorrect choices.

Kip Kelly from Kenan-Flagler Business School, suggests three main criteria to identify high potentials:

  • Review relevant research

This means gaining an understanding of what is meant by high potentials. What are their core qualities and how do these qualities contribute to business success?

The specific criteria for identifying high potentials in your organisation will be shaped to the needs of your company and where it’s headed, but there are some key behaviours and skills that are shared.

  • Define terminology such as potential, performance, readiness, and fit

To ensure that all levels of the organisation can identify and nurture high potentials, it is important to develop consistent definitions that apply across the organisation.

  • Specify high-potential criteria and attributes for the organisation as a whole, and for specific roles and positions

In essence, we need to create competency frameworks that define and describe the skills and behaviours that reflect the profiles of high potentials. This can be done at both the enterprise-wide level and for particular roles.

Is it measurable?

When defining your high potential criteria, ensure that it is measurable. This makes it easier for people to identify who is a high potential and who is not, without muddying the decision making process with emotion. People can be measured against the behaviours and skills defined in the high potential framework by using tailored assessment programmes.

Be clear about what high potential means

High potential isn’t whether someone is ready for a role now; it’s whether they have the potential to be ready in the future. The task is establishing whether someone can be nurtured so that they can develop into that role. For example in a leadership role this may be the ability to think strategically. The individual may not currently have the knowledge to think about the problems they might need to address in a future leadership position, but they display the skills needed to think about a problem in a strategic manner.

Be open to change

The needs of organisations frequently change, which means the desirable skills and behaviours of high potentials, will also change. Keep up to date with the changing needs and adapt the high potential criteria accordingly.

Once you have a high potential employee, how do you nurture their talent?

  • Give them ongoing feedback about their performance.
  • Bring high potentials together to learn from each other, and assign them to projects that allow them to develop the desirable skills.
  • Be transparent. Grossman, 2011, quoted in an Insights of the Centre for Creative Leadership article, said; “the Center for Creative Leadership found that of high-potentials not informed of their status, one-third said they were looking for another job. Of those who knew their status, only 14 percent said they were looking (Grossman, 2011).”

Understand what motivates your high potentials

When people are motivated, they perform better and are more open to learning and growing with the organisation. In an article for SHRM Roland Smith, lead researcher at the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, suggests that people are not necessarily looking for monetary rewards. “What they’re looking for instead are the things that truly differentiate employers. These include opportunities to more directly influence and direct their careers and more-challenging assignments with real risks and rewards.”

Final thoughts

Identifying high potentials is not a one-time process. It’s an ongoing activity that takes deep dives into the needs of the business, reviews the talent that already exists, and assesses the skills and behaviours that are required to take the organisation to the next level.

Come and find out how we can help you with your talent strategy at Psyence.



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Culture and the Selection of Ethical Leaders

Over the last decade many organisations have featured in news stories due to the exposure of unethical practices in their business dealings.

Only last month, FIFA officials were questioned following mistrust in the methods used to decide who would host the 2018 and 2022 world cups. Back in 2013, the NHS – in particular, the Mid Staffordshire trust – uncovered malpractice and sparked a national outcry.

These cases are not uncommon and shockingly arose only a few years after the 2008 banking crisis which led to a global recession and huge distrust in banking operations.

Now, unethical practice is once again at the forefront. The recent Volkswagen scandal has exposed Volkswagen’s cover-up about the emissions from their diesel engines. This has resulted in the company losing 1/3 of its share value overnight, the likelihood of an unprecedented level of lawsuits, and refusal from the European Central Bank to underwrite its car leasing schemes.

Why is unethical practice rife?

In each of the above situations, the unethical business dealings have been appropriated to the leaders of the organisations. Leaders were, or are currently being investigated for malpractice in each of these cases.

How ethical leaders drive ethical behaviour

Leaders’ impact culture and culture is the foundation of organisational behaviour. Schein’s (1985) ‘Leadership Culture Change Actions’ provide some of the psychological reasoning behind why unethical leaders result in unethical organisational practices.

  • Allocation of rewards. Leaders who breathe ethical practices will put processes in place to reward ethical behaviours, and eradicate unethical ones.
  • Role modeling. Ethical leaders believe in ethical practices, and, therefore, practice what they preach. People see what leaders do and how they act, and they recognise that these are the things that they should do if they want to be well regarded in this environment.
  • Reactions to crises. In difficult times, human nature dictates that it’s more difficult for us to hold our guard. When the going gets tough people tend to show their true colours. In leadership positions, the going often gets tough, and the way this is displayed to the rest of the organisation dictates what is important to that leader.
  • Attention. A leader focuses their attention on things they believe are most important. When employees see where the focus lies, they believe this is where they should also focus.
  • Selection and dismissal. People tend to hire people that emulate their values and ideals. If a leader is unethical, they are likely to attract and hire employees with similar beliefs. Of course, it is also the responsibility of employees on the front line to speak up if they see malpractice, but this can be difficult if it could jeopardise a person’s job.

Ethical leaders build ethical behaviours

Ethical leaders build ethical cultures, and ethical cultures result in ethical behaviours. By recruiting leaders that operate with ethical dealings at the forefront of their practice, these will filter into the organisation and build ethical behaviours across it.

Do you want to know more about creating a framework to recruit the right leaders into your organization who will drive your culture? Contact us today.

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Emotional Intelligence Training and Accreditation – Book your place now

What is Emotional Intelligence?

A set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.


Why the EQ-i 2.0?

The EQ-i 2.0 allows us to measure emotional intelligence and how it can impact people and the workplace.

Whilst emotional intelligence isn’t the sole predictor of human performance and development potential, it is proven to be a key indicator. Emotional intelligence is not a static factor and can therefore be developed over time.

Please click the link for more information EQ-i 2.0 Training

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A Short Guide to Competency Frameworks

Why do I need a Competency Framework?

‘Competency framework’ is one of those HR terms that are thrown around organisations as a ‘must have’ but rarely do organisations have frameworks that are well designed and fit for purpose. Unfortunately, a series of well-formulated competency frameworks are the backbone of any talent management strategy.

Why? Because a competency framework marries your organisational goals, values and purpose, to the training and development needs of your employees. This means a series of well-designed competency frameworks also helps to increase engagement and motivation and, in turn, fosters innovation and creativity in your organisation.

What is a competency framework?

In its purest form, a competency framework details the behaviours and skills a person requires to operate in that organisation or, in a particular role.

A competency framework is not a job description. Although a job description contains a basic list of skills, knowledge and abilities required for that role, it does not describe the specific skills and behaviours needed to succeed at that organisation or in a specific position.

What does a competency framework look like?

Any competency framework usually consists of somewhere between 6 and 12 behaviours for each enterprise or role. For each of the behaviours, levels of competence are established to show what is required to be deemed poor, proficient or excellent in that area of expertise.

It is usual to have 3-5 levels of behaviour for each behaviour or skill, ranging from poor to excellent. As part of a performance management process, people are measured against each of the competencies to show how well they are performing in that role. If a person excels in the behaviours and skills required for that position, they would likely be considered for promotion to the next level.

How do we establish behaviours?

Behaviours are discovered by performing in-depth research into the organisation. This research and analysis assesses how the organisation currently operates and what it wants to achieve in the future. Technical experts in the field usually perform the research and analysis.

Why use technical experts?

Competency behaviour statements for each level need to be based on observable behavior. They need to be measurable and they should be aligned with the goals of the organisation and the appropriate team or department. They also need to be free of industry jargon and written in a way that allows people to understand the different levels of behaviour required to meet each stage of performance.

Getting these statements right is an exact science and occupational psychology consultants are experts in designing this efficiently and effectively to meet your organisation’s needs.

Hiring an outside consultant to design the frameworks for you can ensure that:

  • You gain an unbiased view of your organisation and what approaches will work best within it.
  • You can ensure that your employees are being fairly tested for their ability to achieve against the behaviours. Unclear behavior descriptions could lead someone to miss out on a deserved promotion or be incorrectly performance managed for their behaviour.
  • Having the right people recruited and selected for the right roles lowers your recruitment costs.

Occupational Psychologists at Psyence are trained in best practice processes for competency framework design and have designed and implemented frameworks across various industries and organisations.

Our consultant understand talent strategies and provide a non-biased viewpoint about what will work best in your organisation. To find out how Psyence can help your company please contact us for more information.

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The Importance of Evidence Based Analysis

Every organisation has a unique culture defined by its processes, systems, rules, regulations, structure, physical environment and of course, its people. Within that culture, each individual has different skills, backgrounds, learning needs and knowledge. All of these factors result in very specific recruitment needs for every organisation.

Consider a hiring manager who has spent many years recruiting finance professionals for a top Bank; would you expect this hiring manager to use the same methods to hire a graduate for a utilities company?

When Recruitment Goes Wrong

Unfortunately, many hiring managers move from one organisation to the next taking their ‘tried and trusted’ methods of selection with them. This often results in inappropriate hires that do not meet the business needs, and bad hires cost the organisation, both emotionally and financially. From a financial perspective hiring mistakes result in obvious losses. According to the CIPD costs to fill a vacancy are roughly in the region of £4,000 and £8,000, rising to between £9,000 and £10,000 for senior management. When these decisions go wrong that cost can inevitably double.

From an emotional perspective there are additional costs too. These include reduced motivation and engagement from those left behind after bad hires leave unfinished work and inevitable errors, as well as negative impacts on team morale.

What is the Solution?

With such uneven playing fields when it comes to recruitment, hiring managers need to consider a bespoke approach unique to the needs of the organisation. Fundamental to this approach is evidence based analysis which is done by creating and identifying:

  • The strategy of the company and ensuring candidates align to this.
  • A competency framework across roles which creates a development framework for staff.
  • Behaviours and skills at each job level which drive success against the competency framework
  • Organisational culture and subcultures.

The key to getting the right people into your organisation is obtaining evidence of this information which will help to minimise the risk of hiring errors, helping to shape assessment methodologies and development plans.

Collating analysis from your research and data from other sources will help to ensure you have the right selection methods for your unique organisation. Selection is not an exact science, but with careful planning, statistical analysis and evidence based decision-making, bad hiring decisions can be reduced to a minimum.

You can find more about data collection and selection services on our website.

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The Launch of Psyence

It’s a great privilege to announce the launch of Psyence; innovative solutions in Occupational Psychology. Psyence applies psychology and practice based evidence to business challenges in live environments. Our expert team of Occupational Psychologists and assistant Psychologists (The Psyentists) have worked alongside businesses for over 30 years providing a wide range of business psychology support, products and services.

Led by Vince Hannant, Karen Moore and Stephen Smith our team has an enviable track record of working with some of the biggest names in industry. Previous clients who have accessed the guidance of our leadership team include KPMG, Santander, Cofely and House of Fraser. Capably supported by assistant and administrative teams, alongside a highly experienced group of associate psychologists, Psyence is on hand to support any business.

Psyence provides a wide range of training, products and consultancy services in Occupational Psychology to ensure your organisation maintains the highest possible levels of performance. From Psychometrics and personality testing to leadership, engagement and much more, our cutting edge products are fit for any organisational need.

As Psyence launches we invite you to keep up to date with all our news via our Twitter pages @psyenceltd and the LinkedIn company page. In the meantime if you’d like one of our Psyentists to give you a call, or you’d like to join our mailing list then please leave your details. We look forward to working with you.