A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital

Virtual Reality and HR

With the release of a number of devices this year including the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, and

With the release of a number of devices this year including the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, and now the Sony PlayStation VR, people are becoming more interested in the prospect of Virtual Reality for the masses, and the many innovative uses it could potentially have. It has been forecast that the revenue for virtual reality products is projected to reach 5.2 billion dollars by 2018.

Technology within HR is really taking off and has become the norm for many companies. Virtual reality is being considered by HR people for a number of uses that could really enhance the efficiency and accuracy of a number of areas in HR in the not so far future.

Assessment and Training

Situational judgement assessments could be greatly enhanced by the introduction of VR. Being fully immersed in their surroundings, applicants will give truer responses and reactions to real life situations. Assessments could become far more reliable and accurate (leading to hiring the right person the first time around) as applicants will give a clearer reflection of how they would react in a real life situation, it also gives the applicant an idea of what their role will be like on a day to day basis. Being given a talk on rules, customer service, attitude etc. is no comparison to really doing and being able to gauge peoples initial reactions. There is also the advantage of saving on costs, as there is no need to rent out large spaces for training, and there can be savings on travel costs. As well as situational judgement, VR could be used to give a tour of, for example, an intricate machine, on learning how to use it and health and safety surrounding the machine.


VR could even be used to let managers, team members or even the CEO give a welcome talk and let them explain their role, the employees role etc. This allows for a warm welcome to new employees, without having to make them give the same repetitive speech. There is also no need to drag someone in to show new employees around the office, potential employees can take a tour of the office them self. They can take as much time as they need, maybe even from the comfort of their own home – a novelty new way of getting to know the office can be exciting and will make that first day at work far less daunting!

Company Culture

Virtual Reality could enable potential talent to make a far more informed decision on the company and role, through seeing their potential future surroundings or ‘a day in the life’. This will give a far greater insight into your company’s culture, rather than just reading a list of their values from a page. This can be a benefit to both parties, easily sifting out those who are not suitable, improving retention. No one will be wasting their time or be given false expectations.


There is huge potential for VR within the human resource areas. It may take a bit of time for VR to become the norm, but it could be a really positive step for HR!

Misconceptions about HR Technology

Sometimes people can be sceptical of new technologies, especially when moving from manual. These mis

Sometimes people can be sceptical of new technologies, especially when moving from manual. These misconceptions will help you understand how HR technology can improve your recruitment process, not complicate it!

Difficult to use

Remember that this technology has been created to ease the recruitment process. They have user-friendly User Interfaces and reports use plain language that any level of manager can understand. User manuals and training are provided for navigating and interpreting information and although it may take a bit of time to get used to it, in the end it will be worth it, with easier and faster recruitment. Also, there will always be someone you can get in contact with if you aren’t sure of anything!

It makes HR Impersonal

It is understandable to think that using a computerised recruitment process would make the process more impersonal. But, it can actually be used to make it more personal! Using HR technology to sift out unsuitable candidates means more time to talk to candidates that do definitely have the qualities, skills and values you want in your company.

Using HR technology will also give greater satisfaction to jobseekers. They don’t want to wait for weeks or months to get an outcome from a simple application process. Using HR technology allows for faster communication. Waiting too long to communicate could cause you to lose your ideal employee!

Not only can using HR technology allow for faster and more personal recruitment, it also means that there is less human error throughout the process. It also allows for statistics to be pulled straight from data and trends ca be found, optimising your recruitment.

Essentially, HR Tech allows for the monotonous parts of the recruitment process to be shortened and the more important tasks to be given more time.

HR Technology is Inflexible

Although there is a general framework that will be used for your recruitment technology, your software can be bespoke, with tests complied to get exactly what you want out of your recruitment process and your candidates.

As technology moves so fast now, this tech is constantly being improved and updated and you will always be using the best new technology, whereas manual HR tools will stay the same until big updates are created and rolled out.

Data Analytics and 'Big Data'

Big data is the large data that comes in to a business every day. Collecting every bit of data allow

Big data is the large quantities data that comes in to a business every day. Collecting every bit of data allows for really useful information to be picked up and utilised. If this data is analysed and interpreted correctly it can be used to make decisions, find and predict trends, and make your company more efficient – all of these will reduce costs and gain profits. Therefore, being able to harness the relevant big data has recently become really important to businesses. As there is so much data constantly coming in to a company, this can be difficult.

Data analytics is the process of gathering, organising and examining ‘big data’ to find trends and useful information and opportunities which can be utilised by the company, and it is revolutionising how businesses make decisions. A recent KPMG study found that CEO’s who are confident about their growth are increasing data analytics capability by 26%. It can be a challenge to bring data analytics to a business as the massive volumes of data from all over the company can be difficult to harness, so it is also important to ask what information does your company want to analyse; what is important to your business? More are more data analytics roles are now required due to these issues and are being created as a result of the growth of big data analysis. There is now a great demand for data analysts, with roles in all sectors. Therefore, these skills are now highly sought after.

Data analytics is used in most sectors, from retail to HR, often in business-to-customer situations, but it can be used in relation to employer-to-employee. The retail industry can use data taken from loyalty cards and point of sale scanners to, for example, optimise staffing by discovering at what times more customers are in their shop and when there are fewer, so less staff are needed. They can also recommend products and services to customers and make predictions based on spending habits and the volume of certain types of products being sold, this all leads towards gaining profits. It is important to note that privacy issues should be considered when getting and using information about customers. HR teams can use data analytics to find out more about the people within their company, as well as potential employees. For example, they can be used to measure how effective employees are at reaching their target and be able to predict who can be relied upon to reach their targets. Data analytics can also be used to show the impact of HR policies etc. they have been put in place and see how they are effecting the company.

Essentially data analytics is about efficiency. It is becoming a norm within business and will allow your company to make more informed decisions and boost your business for the better!

Motivate Without Money

  Incentives are used by employers to endorse a certain level of performance, to promote certa


Incentives are used by employers to endorse a certain level of performance, to promote certain styles or behaviours (e.g. teamwork, efficiency, working by values of company) and motive employees. Employee engagement can be improved by feeling that they are valued and appreciated within the company. Using cash incentives can have a negative effect on your company, they can lead to unethical behaviour and cause rivalry among colleagues, it can also be difficult for small companies to provide monetary incentives. If you were to ask employees would they prefer cash benefits or non-monetary incentives, it is likely they will choose cash, however cash may not actually lead to a more motivated workforce; because it is something everyone receives anyway it is not memorable and usually ends up being spent on boring things like household bills. Receiving extra cash won’t make an employee feel as if they have done or achieved anything, this isn’t memorable and won’t motivate them to do it again. By using alternative incentives, not only could you save money, you will probably do a better job of motivating your staff. Here are eight ways to motivate your employees without breaking the bank:

Personal Incentives: For small business it could be a good idea to find out each employee’s preferences, such as what is their drink of choice or hobbies. For example, a voucher for their favourite restaurant or tickets to a football match. Not only does this save money, but it also shows your employees you care and you personally think of them.

Training: Training programmes can also incentivise employees. Especially in a small company, attending conferences or training programmes are less commonly offered and often people appreciate being able to learn new skills (- to earn more incentives!).

A reserved Parking space/clean their car: If your company has a car park this can be completely free and something an employee may really appreciate – not more worrying about the weather! Having someone’s car cleaned can be a really nice surprise and it definitely brighten their day. If they don’t have a car replenish their bus or train pass.

Office incentive: Receiving a new office chair or footrest can make an employee more productive and items like this need to be bought from time to time anyway, so this can also save money.

Recognition: This is so simple but it can be really motivating. Simply sending a letter or mentioning your employee’s achievement at the weekly meeting can improve relationships and confidence. Having someone higher ranking who was effected by their work pop in to the office to say thank you can also be a good motivator.

Time off: Allowing employees to have a day off, getting the option to work from home or flexibility on coming and leaving work for a day. This costs very little, as employees will still be doing work, and if they are given an extra day off they will be more motivated and productive on their return!

Task swap: If all employees are willing, allowing employees to swap tasks can motivate them, as they may not enjoy that task or would prefer to work on something else. This could also be beneficial ask getting in to a new or leaving an old project they did not enjoy could improve productivity.

Let them bring their pet to work: This fun idea could really boost morale among everyone in the office, but be wary of allergies!



Is Business Formal a thing of the past?

Recently business attire has change greatly. Blazers, shirts and ties used to be the norm, but it is

Recently business attire has change greatly. Blazers, shirts and ties used to be the norm, but it is becoming more and more common, especially in smaller companies, for people to be a lot more casual, no ties, maybe even jeans. Companies are now beginning to move away from formal dress codes and created a more relaxed environment and a more creative space. Employers have been moving away from stricter rules as can cause employees to resent management and this could have an effect on happiness and morale among employees.
There are no actual laws about workplace dress codes, employers can only give ‘guidelines’ which do not discriminate between gender, race, religion, ability etc. However, this does not mean that the dress code must be the same for both genders, simply they both must be reasonable and equivalent for their business environment, for example women cannot be asked to wear a suit, with men being allowed to wear tracksuits.
Applying a dress code can be difficult for employers, as if it is not instated correctly and fairly they can run the risk of being accused of discrimination. It is a good idea to find out the opinions and ideas of those who will be following the rules – your employees. This can give you a good idea of what people would like to wear and feel comfortable in, for example women may not feel comfortable having to hear a heeled shoe every day. Recently, a woman was sent home from work after refusing to wear heels between 2-4 inches. You must also consider the cost of a particular dress code; this cannot be too expensive as this is unreasonable, as well as giving a reasonable amount of time for employees to start adhering to the dress code. When creating a dress code, think about why you are asking people to dress a certain way, e.g. safety or to create a good image, but it is also important to consider the person themselves. A study has shown that wearing certain clothes can increase your attention. This shows it is important to not only consider how the employee looks to others, but also how they feel themselves. Dress codes may be necessary to make employees easily identifiable or communicate a desired image or for health and safety.
Dress codes can depend on a number of things. Some professions have the expectation for a certain type of attire, for example lawyers are expected to wear suits. It also depends of if your role is client facing or not, if you are going for an important meeting with a client, it is important to be dressed more formally, whereas if you do not have to meet anyone from outside the company, more casual work ware may be a better idea. However, some employers and employees believe that dressing too casually can interfere with career progression and make the atmosphere of the office too relaxed.

Overall, it is important to consider a lot of factors carefully when considering implementing a dress code including environment, but most importantly your employees!

Music in the Office

Music is becoming a more prevalent aspect of the work environment with most people working on a comp

Music is becoming a more prevalent aspect of the work environment with most people working on a computer every day and the advancement of technology over the past few years. Streaming and music services make it easier to pick songs that will fit the mood of the office, with playlists for absolutely anything from ‘Monday Motivation’ to ‘Easy listening office music’. But what affect does music really have?

A study in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour concluded that music can significantly affect cooperation in decision-making groups. Happy music made people more cooperative and willing to share within a group. Participants in the study were found to be more likely to contribute and be more efficient when songs like “Walking on Sunshine” were played.

However, some people can become more distracted when listening to music, often music with words, whether it’s the singing along or trying to understand the lyrics. I used to agree with this, but I have found that listening to music with people singing has helped me to multitask, like writing an email and having a conversation about a different topic.

It is important to remember that every workplace is different, some may have the radio playing, some may use earphones, and some may be in complete silence. People also have different preferences and music tastes, it is unlikely the entire office will be happy to listen to death metal all day. You must also consider everyone who can hear the music – are they all happy to listen? Some colleagues may need more concentration than others at times.

Overall, music on in the workplace is personal preference, but give it a go if you are unsure, it could change your mood and make your day that bit more productive and cheerful!

The Do's and Don'ts of Promotional Videos

In today’s digital era, promotional videos and presentations can be a really positive addition

Image result for marketing video

In today’s digital era, promotional videos and presentations can be a really positive addition to your marketing campaign. They are easy to watch and you can choose the key information you want to put across, target the right audience and promote your product. A high quality video will show that your company is professional and good and at communicating. They can be used across a range of platforms, such as social media and video sharing websites, making it easier to advertise, as many are free!


A promotional video is something every company should try, so, to help you get the most out of your promotional video presentation, I have created a few do’s and don’ts to help along the way:


  • Make sure your video is to the point. You want to connect with your target audience from the very beginning to make sure you get your point across. You also need to be realistic about your concept – will you be able to communicate your message effectively in the amount of time the video will be?
  • Use your logo and associated colours and fonts throughout, it will embed the company in the audiences’ minds and also makes the video look more professional.
  • Remember to add links to your social media accounts and a link to sign up to your newsletter – it’s a lot easier to click a link than go searching!
  • Make sure not to add too much text to your presentation, people will get bored of reading it. You also need to leave the text there long enough for people to actually read it, it is unlikely they will replay it if they miss it.
  • Use facts, figures and stats. These will stick in people’s minds and make them remember key information from your video.


  • The most important thing about a promotional video is don’t make it too long. People usually start to lose interest within the first few seconds if they don’t understand the message - you need to grab their attention straight away. A promotional videos optimal time is about one minute and should be no longer than one and a half minutes.
  • When making your video take time to get everything right – don’t cut corners and make it as quickly as possible. It can be so obvious and make your company seem really unprofessional. It can give the impression that you don’t really care about your audience or know what you’re doing. Also, don’t try to take on too much, if you don’t have much experience it is better to make something clear and simple.
  • If you are trying to sell something, don’t make is blatantly obvious. Of course you want to show how amazing your product is and everything it can do, but a hard sell is not going to work in a promotional video.
  • Don’t use too much text and try to overload information into the presentation as most people won’t bother to read it. Use infographics and images instead, people will actually remember them and be able to take something away from the presentation.
  • Finally, if you are using sounds and background music, don’t let it take over. Make sure it isn’t too loud and that there aren’t words as this can be very distracting.

The Real Cost of Recruitment

Recruiting a new member of staff can cost a lot more than you may think - as much as £30,614 p

Recruiting a new member of staff can cost a lot more than you may think - as much as £30,614 per employee. There are so many factors in recruitment including the obvious training, advertising etc., but also those that are not always considered in a financial sense, such as the amount of time it will take a new employee to become completely proficient in their role - and this can lead to more money being spent than is necessary.

The amount of time you take to hire a staff member must be considered, this is on average 10-12 weeks, as well as what processes you will use when hiring. These costs can add up due to factors such as, travel expenses for candidates, agency fees and loss due to less or no productivity in the role the candidate will be filling. Managers or contractual labour may need to be used to temporarily fill the role and this can have significant costs. Managers being used in the recruitment process will also have cost implications because they are away of their usual role – and this may happen more than once if candidates reject offers.

As most candidates are recruited only when there is a need for them, the vast majority of applications will come from those who are currently searching for a job, through agencies, jobsites etc., so most of the suitable population are not being considered. This therefore means you might not getting the most out of your expensive recruitment process, you may not find the perfect recruit, and this could cause you to lose money in the long term. To combat this, it is key that your advertising reaches the masses, utilising social media especially, as it is an ideal free advertising platform! You need a strong social media presence, so when you are searching for new staff, as many people see it as possible!

Once staff are hired, not only are there significant training costs involved, but there can be a loss when the new employee is getting used to their working environment and their actual role, when they are not as effective as their predecessor. It is important that the company and candidate share the same values and the candidate understands the culture of the business, or they may be unhappy in their job and terminate their contract. This should be considered in the recruitment process.

All of these factors mean that getting the right person first time around is vitally important. Through the use of psychometric tests, employers can get the most out of their recruitment process and find someone that fits with the culture and values of their company. It is so important to find the right person as rehiring can have serious financial effects on your business. It is possible to reduce costs, as companies don’t always consider the costs recruitment can entail, they do not budget for them, so they do not realise how much it is costing.

Going for Gold

With the Rio Olympics going on the world in watching and there is one question on their minds: How a

With the Rio Olympics going on the world in watching and there is one question on their minds: How are the Brits doing it? This is due to Britain being 2nd in the medal table (at time of writing) and with 3 days left it looks like a set place. Now some say that 2nd place is 1st loser but considering Great Britain and Northern Ireland have exceeded their predicted target and looking to end up higher than they were 4 years ago on home turf I think that’s a pretty impressive achievement. And not to sound bitter but over 50% of the USA’s medals are from swimming, so for 2020 we just need to hope Katie Ledecky & Michael Phelps retire and we’ll be set.  

                Now there are many reasons that can be attributed to Team GB’s success, and I’m sure they’ll thoroughly be reviewed post-Rio, but what no one can deny is the significant rise in Team GB in the medal tables of the past Olympics. 10th at Sydney 2000 & Athens 2004, 4th at Beijing 2008, 3rd at London 2012 and now predicted to be 2nd at Rio 2016; that is some rapid progression that has put Team GB in a place that it can face off against the three super powers of the world.

                One thing I truly find amazing about the Olympics is its power to inspire. I am a competitive fencer myself and I was astounded to see how many people took up fencing after London 2012. I also couldn’t hide my excitement to see Richard Kruse fight for GB’s first fencing medal in 52 years on BBC 1, despite him not winning it I loved the media coverage my rather unconventional sport was receiving. The Olympics are an inspiring sceptical that has the potential to have such a positive impact.

                This of course does put into perspective your own life, and I don’t necessarily mean how slow Usain Bolt makes you feel. More in regards to how successful you as an individual have been as well as your company/industry has been in regards to progression and innovation. The CiPD found that a third of employees are disappointed with their career progression and it always seems that the Big Change is just around the corner but never comes. This could be attributed to so many things; loss of focus on making change happen, being happy with the small amount of progress that has occurred or worse, thinking that the change is impossible.

                Continuous development is key in an industry like HR but it can sometimes can be difficult to identify if any traction is being made as there is never a completed job as may have been the past. What would be needed to be done is to set some flags in the sand and establish what progression is, definitions and goals are required in order to both aspire and to monitor achievement. After Athens 2004’s 10th result and finding out that London would host by 2005 Team GB then had a goal and put into drive that competitive spirit. Whether that meant funding, getting the right equipment or bringing in renowned coaches. To make a parallel comparison the HR industry wants to figure out where it wants to be in 5 years and get the technology, people and process in place to achieve that. If people got on board with an effective plan, have the resources to support them and believed in the goal then HR would be standing on the top of the podium of the business world in no time.

Do They Care?

I don’t want to revisit too many people’s high school experiences of not being popular b


I don’t want to revisit too many people’s high school experiences of not being popular, but there is a thought in organisations of whether the employees actually care. When a CEO talks about the values of their company they often will say in interview that Company X really does care and will be passionate about achieving our goals for our customers, or something along the lines of that. But I ask, how do you know? If anything I want to invite a bit of insecurity into the minds of the leaders of organisations.

First thing to do is to check whether the values are something you stand for, or have they just been picked out of a hat for convenience? This can avoid over general values that don’t distinguish themselves from any other company; an example could be something related to customer satisfaction which is really something every company should have as a value and there needs to be more elaboration about how Company X actually produces this value. It’s not an easy task to establish these values and make sure they are a representation of what your company believes in but if the effort isn’t put in anything done further would be building on sand.

The issue I really want to get to though is do the employees care? While their views and opinions may be reviewed in regards for the values it is really the higher ups that establish what values the organisation believes in. It’s been reported that up to 86% of employees aren’t happy in the work they do and this is put down to the fact they aren’t aligning to the values of the company. No matter what an individual’s skill or job motivation there is a role that is perfect for them, the trick is identifying it and optimising it, just because a person’s parent was a lawyer and they themselves have a law degree doesn’t mean they’re destined for the legal profession. If the individual has been passionate about the environment all their life they may take that knowledge and use it in policy research and campaigning, and I would guarantee every day’s work in that role would be such a higher quality than any day’s work they did for a law firm.

There are two ways to achieve a workforce with the shared values of the organisation. The first way is to figure it out is by identifying it at the source, through the recruitment and selection that the company has in place. This can be done through a range of measures such as personality assessments and situational judgement tests an if you’re being fancy you can also benchmark it to current employees for comparison. The alternative way, and by far harder, is to establish how aligned and motivated towards a company’s current employees are. This can be difficult because it can uncover some uncomfortable truths but in order to optimise the work that’s being done everyone needs to be aboard, however this process can benefit the individual’s development to identify where they will thrive.

But why should you care? Well you don’t have to but it’ll be an uphill battle to get your company running the way you’d like. If 86% of your workforce isn’t on the same lines as the leadership then everything has to be micromanaged and no trust can be given to the work force. This isn’t anybody’s fault, if you don’t believe in the values you can’t be expected to suddenly drum up some motivation, but if you can see this and don’t do anything about it then it becomes an issue. The world of business is a tricky one that comes with so many obstacles but your own team shouldn’t be one of them.


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