A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital

Ask Me About Trigonometry, I Dare You.

I’m pretty alright at maths. I’m not brilliant, I’m not terrible, overall I’

(image source)

I’m pretty alright at maths. I’m not brilliant, I’m not terrible, overall I’d say I’m pretty average at it. When I was taking my Maths at secondary school I managed to achieve a B and that was probably the last time I was assessed on my maths skill, I remember while studying for that I spent a good 2-3 months learning trigonometry. While trigonometry is a very important aspect of maths I don’t recall using it since then. This isn’t to say it isn’t useful in everyday life I know it can be, what I’m saying is I’d definitely need to look it up to understand it again but according to my qualifications I am qualified to some level in trigonometry.

How familiar does this sound? Did you maybe get trained in something 3 years ago through work and now couldn’t tell me anything about it? This seems to be inconsistent throughout careers. Lawyers are expected to practice and display they’re ability until they’re qualified. Pilots have to register a certain amount of flight hours under supervision until they can fly solo. Doctors not only have to practice within a medical setting for several years until they become a doctor and even then they have to keep up to date with the most modern medical practice. I think you’d find it disturbing if your doctor was still using an out-dated surgery practice. But within more office based careers it appears once you’ve been trained in it that’s that and you’ve learnt it. Maybe it’s because the outcome wouldn’t be as fatal that more importance is placed on the former examples but really maintaining learning practices in any career would promote good practice.

Keeping up to date with learning means that an individual is constantly aware of what gaps are in their knowledge and what they are succeeding at. This clearly aids they’re development and engages with the task at hand, whether this is their career, education or even sport. For an organisation this is important as a lot of data can be gathered on the hundreds, or thousands, or employees they have and without a system in place alienation of employees can happen resulting in a drop in performance. Anybody that cares about their career wants to improve themselves and an organisation needs to facilitate that else that person may move there career somewhere else. By analysing the gaps in someone’s learning means plans can be tailored towards them to keep themselves up to date as well as the organisation. The organisation may also benefit from monitoring trends of the training needs in their workforce.

Nobody has asked me about trigonometry since I was 16 and as a result I’ve near enough forgotten about it. An organisation’s Learning Management System (LMS) would keep track of important information, whether secondary school maths is included there depends on your organisation I guess. A LMS can notify, can monitor progress and can then offer training needs. It’s important to highlight that simply sitting in a talk for 3 hours doesn’t mean you’re trained in that subject, employees need constant engagement if they are to be motivated in their development. A LMS is a great connector of data, it can work at all levels of an organisation and will operate continuously. Very much like a social network it will interact with the behaviour that an employee is displaying and adapt, if training is being done in that area that LMS will pick up on it. This is a great improvement from ticking a form and filing it away, this can be constantly interacted with and acted upon. This connection can even start from before an employee even works for the organisation, using an Applicant Tracking System you can gather all the essential data on a candidate and once they’re successful this can be directly transferred to the LMS. Think about that, it means from day one that employee has development needs and the organisation would be able to address them straight away. An employee can only succeed so far without support from their organisation, now imagine there being the exact right support from day one.

In the world of HR data now if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backwards. Keeping updated with demand and what is required of an organisation is critical if you want to succeed and reach the potential of your organisation. This is even becoming true for some Learning Management Systems, the Blackboard system I only know too well from my university days is always starting to be replaced at some American colleges because it’s become unsatisfactory. Paying attention and developing people within an organisation has always been important but now the technology is here to take that development to a whole new level.

The Perception of Biscuits

I’m a psychologist. To some that is just a statement about my profession but to a lot of peopl


I’m a psychologist. To some that is just a statement about my profession but to a lot of people that can sometimes be an invitation to share their opinion, psychology after all is at its very least an interesting topic. At university when I said I studied psychology I would receive responses that varied from “are you reading my mind” to “well that’s not a real subject though”. It seems that psychology is always a spark that sets off people’s opinions that vary to a surprising degree and that as a psychologist is what interests me. It’s the perception held by people that makes me love psychology so much, there are 7 billion people on this planet and 7 billion views of the world.

Take for example the humble chochy biscuit, which side is the top? Is it the chocolate side or the biscuit side? I always maintained that it was the chocolate side but then someone pointed out to me after 22 years of living that the writing (on the biscuit) would be on the top and that means you taste the chocolate on your tongue first. My mind was blown, I had never seen it from that point of view before and while I might not agree I welcomed the alternative viewpoint. This is what makes people people, how is it possible that someone’s favourite movie is Titanic and someone else thinks it’s terrible? It’s the perception and the development of that perception throughout life that forms this.

Now understanding this can lead to something brilliant, primarily in innovation. At one point someone came along and saw everyone rewinding the video and went why don’t you just use a DVD instead? These kind of innovations kick start amazing revolutions in behaviour and perception that benefit every aspect of our lives today with clear examples like the iPhone and digital music.

The problem with trying to achieve a perception change is that ignorance is bliss. This is a challenge for two reasons; first being that it is very difficult to target and change something you’re not aware of and the other being that changing perception shatters a world perception someone has and that can lead to fear and resistance. These challenges happen to be some of the most difficult obstacles in the HR world when coordinating employees.

Employees come into organisations with something set in their mind but almost all of them will say their perception of their role changes after a few months. This is an example of this perception change that can cause fear and resistance for an employee if not handled correctly. Furthermore if an employee doesn’t realise they have an issue, or doesn’t believe the people that tell them then there is next to no chance they’ll make a behaviour change. Luckily there are several HR solutions to accommodate for these transitions. An example of this is McDonald’s recognising the negative stereotype their employees had and targeting it with the McJobs campaign.

HR Technology can also offer these solutions and can target the issues accompanied with perception change very effectively. Psychometrics can analyse a person’s behaviour, motivations and thinking to a highly specific detail; when this is done right it uses rigorous scientific methods that produces robust results. This makes information clearer to an individual that may be unaware of these aspects, psychometrics take away the subjectivity of perception and can ground people by giving them a perception of themselves that isn’t filtered through the subjectivity of someone else. The other benefit of using this HR technology is that is has no agenda except to develop the individual, used correctly by a HR team these technologies will only seek to help the individual. Helping this individual might mean that it identifies they’re in a career they’re not motivated for or that they require training needs and that individual knows that it isn’t someone being bitter about their performance. By making the employee development as objective as possible it can open the eyes of employees and see their world from another angle. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean or require change sometimes simply having a different angle on the world is enough. Incidentally I still eat the biscuit with the chocolate on top.

The 3D Employee

Well Leicester City pulled a surprising one and now Gary Lineker has to honour some commitments he m

Well Leicester City pulled a surprising one and now Gary Lineker has to honour some commitments he made. I’m not a massive football fan but even I can enjoy a good Cinderella story, mainly because this demonstrates that talent and teamwork can overcome lavish spending. It’s nice to see that a bit of optimism doesn’t always hurt and can get some nice solid results out of it. One challenge for the optimist is that people will say that’s all well and good but in the real world where does that get you? Well, in this case it seemed to get them the Premiere Trophy (at least I think it’s a trophy from my limited football knowledge).

I have no doubt that their success will be made into a documentary and maybe even turned into a movie at some point. The triumph of a team that collectively cost less than some of the simple players from the major teams is clearly inspiring because that means there is more than just funding involved, it takes investment of effort to make a success. While in this case funding does seem to be the major reason for succeeding (Leicester has only won once after all) it demonstrates that possibly there has been over spend and that utilising other key elements means that a project can be successful for less.

If you take a football team and see it as a work project, compare the funding given and it becomes clear that the other “projects” are sponging up expenses. It is clear to all project managers that there is never one factor that makes a project a success, it is a combination that brings it forth. One reason why humans are so brilliant at this is because they are a merge of so many factors like talents, hobbies and ambition; now if you put a group of people together all these factors are multiplied and you now have a vast intricate team to make that project with.

An employee is more than just their job title, they have families, cultures and a distinct personality that adds to the mix. This takes the traditional view of an employee as an isolated person that leaves their life at the door and makes them a multiple dimension being. With the merge of work and life this change isn’t much of a surprise but the question is whether your organisation is prepared to embrace those dimensions that that person is made up of.

Particularly as we know these people will be working with equally complex people, is effort being made to look past the job title and see the 3D employee in your organisation? This can be done in several ways, measuring personality, identifying suitable colleagues, aligning values of the organisation and making considerations for the work-life balance. Once these things are understood funding can start to be invested into the right areas as opposed to just being given and hoping for the best. Putting the effort in to understanding where the demand is and satisfying it will result in a return in investment.

Of course, this is no easy task. People change as do organisations and it would need to be a continuous process. Targeting the right areas will make it a smoother process in the long run and it might develop a culture for continuous success that requires less effort with time. That said everyone must face a choice between doing what is right and what is easy when it comes to making a change and despite the challenges that were clearly in front of them, Leicester City did what was right.


Read about the Internet of (HR) Things

The Internet of (HR) Things

One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was to have psychic powers. To be able to think of wha

(image source)


One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was to have psychic powers. To be able to think of what I need and it appears, for example I wake up first thing in the morning and I want the heating to be on and toast to be ready for breakfast. “Well, I want a golden toilet seat” I hear you non-verbally say to your computer but unless you’re lucky enough to have a butler that just won’t happen. But, as we’re starting to realise, it’s becoming a rapid reality with The Internet of Things.


The Internet of Things is a sci-fi fantasy come to life, connecting every bit of technology through a Cloud so that data can be shared as the internet shares data between computers. Take my example of breakfast, ten minutes before the alarm goes off my clock will inform the boiler to start, then when I turn the alarm off that’ll pop the bread down into the toaster. This fluid exercise requires minimal effort for me but through shared data my mornings become so much smoother.


Now, time to think bigger. Organisations have a mass of data on everything about their employees these days, their performance, their recruitment profile and on and on; but how much of this is shared? It could be possible that the data is put on one computer in the office in different files, but that’s no good because it’s still not interacting. What can be offered as an alternative is a HR Cloud system that is at the core of all this data.


A HR Core takes all this data and puts it together to see where it fits in the grand scheme of things, further by putting it on a cloud it can be done in real time anywhere on the globe. If you want to go for dinner somewhere new you’ll most likely google it, google will find out restaurants near you (using GPS), find out what they serve (from their online menu), how good the restaurant is (from online reviews) and how long it takes to get there (with traffic reports).


Now think of a project about to be undertaken by your company; Who do you need? What skills sets and experience do they need? Who is available? From day one an employee gives information to HR with their recruitment profile, their training needs are usually analysed and with time progress reports are documented. In some careers such things as medical records are documented and other non-traditional data. This allows for up to date tracking of what is going on in your organisation. Want a diversity report, here you go. Whether the sales team done better this year, they have by 22%. Once more in larger organisations this can be regionalised, if a new office is opening up somewhere a different strategy will be needed for there. Having an interactive network can allow for fine tuning with up to date responses informing how that fine tuning worked.


Having a network that is reacting in real time to the data being produced around the company and the world would revolutionise future strategies. Having this kind of information readily available does away with the hypotheticals and the “let me get back to you with that” in meetings; cutting down time leads to faster progress and development. Furthermore a HR cloud network gives complete access around the world 24/7. Data is becoming the most important factor in an organisation in so many regards and that doesn’t exclude its people. If you want to make the most of the talent in your organisation you want to be immersed with it and have it engaging with every other bit of information, so in other words get a HR Core Cloud fast!


Learn what makes engaged and appreciated employees

Engaged & Appreciated Employees

(image source) A third of employees plan to leave their job in 2016 – with the main reason bei

(image source)

A third of employees plan to leave their job in 2016 – with the main reason being a lack of appreciation.


It is a hard task to attract and retain talent, in such a way a large number of employees will all feel appreciated and know their work counts towards the company’s success. However in most cases, employees will feel like just a number.


Feeling underappreciated in a company is more complex between different employees. Mindmill can offer a deeper understanding of employee’s engagement with their company. As Mindmill can gain insight from employees, using psychometrics to produce more personal analytical reports based on each employees experience at the company. As keeping track of employee’s satisfaction in a job role is vital as these could shift the success of the company with a new hire taking an average of 27 working days, not taking into account the time for implementation and training. Also the best candidates are off the market within 10 days so retaining the existing talent within the company is key.


The value of good communication between employees and employers is key to maintain a positive working relationship. This also encourages them to feel more appreciated in the workplace as 66% of candidates believe that interactions with the employer is the best way to get insight into a company. Adding employee achievements can benefit and allow the company to celebrate an employee’s success within the company. It is also a great opportunity to keep all employees engaged in a working environment where they can all feel appreciated.


It’s important that the impression of the company from the start of the application process should be positive for the candidate as 15% of candidates who have a positive hiring experience put more effort into the job.


To learn more about Mindmill Psychometrics, Employee Engagement and Recruitment & Selection Solutions vist our website or contact:


Research by Love Energy Savings and Officevibe


All Aboard! The Importance of Onboarding

You’ve just ran an extremely intense recruiting campaign, great effort has gone into finding t

(image source)

You’ve just ran an extremely intense recruiting campaign, great effort has gone into finding the right people and the right roles for them, taking a lot of time and money. Once more it was your idea to push the campaign and you’ve delivered a great success of candidates. Well done, pat on the back, let’s celebrate with cake and age appropriate drinks because that’s all done and wrapped up. Well I won’t say no to some cake but it’s far from done.


Your organisation has just put all that time and effort into that recruitment cohort now it’s time to make them feel welcome, engaged and challenged. Despite employers having confidence in their ability to recruit and retain graduates attrition rates for them can reach 86% after 3 years; the main factor for it being a lack of return on their investment. With the millennial generation there is expected a back and forth between them as the employee and the organisation, they’re looking for a mutually beneficial relationship and to be frank that’s what organisations should facilitate.


The process to lower attrition of new hires is called Onboarding and it starts the minute a potential candidate gets an impression of the organisation. By forming this opinion and view of the organisation they’re imagining how they can engage with it and be a part of it, if the organisation then figuratively is all open arms and wanting that individual to be involved then the onboarding process has started. If an organisation makes the candidate feel like they’re jumping through hoops constantly that they need to prove themselves, rather than reveal their potential, then that company is alienating that candidate and if they are hired don’t expect they to hang around for long. Candidates love being challenged but it’s all about the appropriate challenges. If you ask me to do work related assessments such as an assessment centre where I do a trial client meeting I will be engaged, if you ask me to do a repeat of my Maths GCSE I may be sceptical.


Practically speaking onboarding really starts in the first week of orientation. Traditionally this is where the new recruit gets to know the ropes and gets trained for the role, but now it’s becoming more and more common for onboarding methods to be incorporated into these orientations. Having a mentor assigned to the new guy or the boss taking them out for lunch are nice little ways to get a friendly feel to the organisation but what after that? Is there a training plan for progression in place for that individual? Are they being valued for the work they are doing? Are they recognised even after 4 months?


Onboarding is more than just the first week it’s about engaging with employees across their entire employee life cycle. Yes, there can be a drop in the intensity as they get into the roll and the amount of time to monitor onboarding will depend on the job role (consider the difference of a sales executive and a solicitor); it’s all about what is suitable for the individual and how they onboard. The trick to all of this is monitoring and measurement, having the right method in place to see if the individual is being onboarded to the organisation. This doesn’t mean hooking them up in a Clockwork Orange style to analyse them, it means having a record of the efforts the organisation has made towards them and vice versa. This will allow the employee know that a return on investment is being made for them which in turn will benefit the organisation with their efforts. This mutually beneficial relationship is a clear method to higher performance and success within a company.

Have you heard about Employee Implementation?

Employee Implementation

-Guy Kawasaki   (image source) It’s believed that most venture capital companies fire th

(image source)

It’s believed that most venture capital companies fire the CEO within a year. Everyone wants to be the exception, however that is the minority, but believe that the idea is more important than the people. If you see your employees as talent and an asset to the company they will produce that of ideas, the ideas will be great and so should the implementation.

During the implementation stage, think of the cycle when it comes to testing the success of the idea before over estimating. There are many reasons why creative ideas fail, this is mostly down to risk as implementing new ideas is perceived as risky and people within the company do not wish to undertake the risk involved. This is why some companies benefit from an outside perspective, they detach and with the right tools take that risk on behalf of the company. There is security within that for success.

The implementation of employees into your organisation should be a very well-considered factor as this is your driving force for success. First we need to find out their talents and if the person suits the organisation.

  • The person should be motivated for the role within the company
  • A skillset of a certain standard may be required for the role
  • Their biorhythms / energy levels should be in correlation with that of the companies working hours

Once the results are compared and contrasted between candidates, this allows for a more affective recruitment and selection process. Applying the right mindset, structures and principles can go a long way toward ensuring the success of any endeavour.

Mindmill can offer Talent Optimisation through People, Process and Technology during the Recruitment & Selection and Employee Engagement along with other Online Psychometrics – Visit to learn more or contact:

The Millennials are more likely to take on the risky ideas as they are full of innovators and critical thinkers - Who are the Millennials?


In 2011 I travelled to Trinidad and Tobago to visit family. There is a distinct difference in cultur

(image source)

In 2011 I travelled to Trinidad and Tobago to visit family. There is a distinct difference in culture that hit me from the moment I landed; for one security noticed I was wearing camouflage shorts (camouflage being banned there) and with no hint of irony I was told to “blend in” until I got a time to change. Besides by fashion faux pas however the major thing I found was the industrialist attitude throughout the island that would have gone hand in hand with Victorian England.

After settling in with the family topics come up around the dinner table as they do and I was shocked by the views that by (rather successful) relative had: When it came to work you want to pay someone and that person will do that job, no more questions. I couldn’t quite understand at the start, the simplistic idea that an individual solely worked for their paycheque was a long gone idea I thought with the sun rotating the earth and Doctors using leeches. So, I queried whether there was any other way to motivate and engage employees to get a better performance out of them and I got a blank look which is where I dropped it.

I put this down to an isolated event and didn’t waste too much thought until we saw on the news the summer riots that were going on that year in the UK. In response my relative rather bluntly stated he’d just round them up. This is where it occurred to me; he didn’t think from both sides of the negotiation table or even attempt to see another perspective, he had his views set in place and that was that. The issue with this is that it doesn’t allow procession or potential.

This is where millennials come into play, the term for this generation will commonly provoke a reaction of some sort. I can only imagine what negative reaction I’d get from my relative if I’d raised the ideals and ambitions of millennials, or worse, it could have just been ignored as idealistic. The millennial generation is full of innovators and critical thinkers due to a variety of factors but this doesn’t always sit well with the old ways.

One major differentiator is the fact that millennials typically want something out of the organisation hiring them in return for their skills and capabilities. I have a rough 50-55 years until I retire and typically speaking I’ll have 8-12 different jobs in that time, I want to know whether each stage of that is helping me when I put the effort into it. Gone are the days of paying a worker and expecting them to do their best, now is a culture where careers are a part of your identity that you invest in. The one way traffic of top down employment is now turning into a cycle of employee delivering their capabilities and organisations engaging them and supporting them appropriately.

International Insights with Mindmill

Mindmill engages with diverse international companies all over the world. Besides people in the UK w

(image source)

Mindmill engages with diverse international companies all over the world. Besides people in the UK we like to work with the Africans, Arab Nations and European. Working with people from different cultures makes the daily work-life more challenging, exciting and refreshing. Getting to know how people with a different culture think, behave and interact gives new perspectives on your own life but also on the life of others. Some fun cultural facts! Did you know that South Africans use the handshake as their most common greeting and that they have a variety of handshakes between ethnic groups? Or that in a meeting in Saudi Arabia the person who asks the most questions is likely to be the least important? The decision maker is likely a silent observer.

While working with clients all over the world the world Culture pops up. Working internationally ends up in not only crossing borders, but you also cross different cultures. We can ask ourselves the following question: Is it possible that culture has influence on our negotiation? If the answer is possibly the next question will be, how?

First of all, there can be a lot of differences in communication styles between cultures. For example in the way people communicate; do they communicate direct and simple, or indirect and complex? In cultures such as Japan, reactions to your proposals may be gained by interpreting seemingly vague comments, gestures and other signs. In a first meeting you will not receive a defined commitment or rejection. In contrast, in cultures such as the USA or the Israel, you can expect to receive a clear and defined response to proposals and questions.
Some cultures think the goal of a business negotiation is a signed contract between the parties. Other cultures think the goal of a negotiation is rather building up a relationship between the two sides. If relation negotiator sit on the other side of the table, convincing them of your ability to deliver a low-cost contract will not help you to get the deal. It may be helpful to convince them that you can build up a rewarding relationship for both parties. Furthermore, cultures can act different regarding risk taking: do they like to take a lot of risks or do they prefer not to? The negotiations’ culture can affect the way people try new approaches, tolerate uncertainties and take action. The Japanese, with their intricate group decision-making process, tend to be risk averse. In comparison with them, Americans are risk takers.

The next few steps describe a few steps you can consider when you are trying to make a deal:

1.      Don’t rush the negotiating process. A negotiation that is moving too fast for one of the parties only heightens that person’s perception of the risks in the proposed deal.

2.      Devote attention to proposing rules and mechanisms that will reduce the apparent risks in the deal for the other side.

3.      Make sure that your counterpart has sufficient information about you, your company, and the proposed deal.

4.      Focus your efforts on building a relationship and fostering trust between the parties.

5.      Consider restructuring the deal so that the deal proceeds step by step in a series of increments, rather than all at once.

As we can see there are some cultural differences that we can be aware of during international negotiations. When you start a partnership with somebody from a different culture it can be handy to know from what culture they come from. Do you want to know what your organisation culture looks like? For example getting to know which culture in your organisation can affect other cultures? Maybe a 360 questionnaire is something for you, with this you gain insights from your employees about their vision regarding cultural diversity in your company.

Check Mindmill’s website and read more about the international companies we work with.

Human Capital is the new Human Resources

“Hey, Brenda in HR wants to see you”. This statement is commonly met with looks of deris

(image source)

“Hey, Brenda in HR wants to see you”. This statement is commonly met with looks of derision, unpleasant groans and maybe a swear word thrown in for good measure. But who can blame them? After all HR is just there to tick the legal boxes and make sure the company isn’t going to get sued, anything ‘Brenda’ has to say to me can be put in an e-mail (that probably won’t be read).

Sounding familiar? It’s something I keep hearing time and time again regardless of age, career or country and it worries me. It’s gotten to the stage where I’ll say to my friends; “I work with HR” or “We supply to HR” always distancing myself and never saying “I’m in HR”. The reason I’m so sheepish to admit this is because all my friends have a HR horror story, right down to my housemate playing with playdough for 2 hours as a “think outside the box” activity.

Now, I want to know why this is the perception, I refuse to believe that Human Resources was put in place just to facilitate misery and time wasting; its purpose should be to offer the resources a human needs within an organisation. The perception of some is that Human Resources has become a quagmire of faceless-bureaucracy that avoids interaction with the workforce at all costs. 

What I want to see is the return to capitalising on employee’s potential which is why I say Human Capital is the new Human Resources. It may be just a name shift, but there are many important things in a name. By changing the name it detaches from what is associated with HR and allows companies to get excited once again about capitalising a workforce’s talent and capability. Organisations want the most out of their people for several reasons, one being that they want a return on the investment they are making into employees but I also like to optimistically think that organisations want a sense of community and pride within the people that work there.

Human Capital is going back to the drawing board and starting fresh with the goals clear in mind. We want to optimise talent in organisations, this means seeing how engaged they are, how productive they are, is there room for their talents to be improved on or utilised somewhere else in the organisation? These are the questions we want to be asking, getting answers to and then doing something about!

Do you know what drives your employees?