Disruptive Trends in HR Technology and People Analytics: 5 Things We’ve Learned

peopledataResearch has shown that 87% of business leaders are highly concerned about customer retention and engagement. Companies desperately need to figure out what makes people join, what makes people stay, and what will lead their business to success. These are all questions that can be answered by using People Analytics.

1. People Analytics are about to take off

Applying People Analytics to HR has had a lot of attention in recent years. However, as with most business trends, People Analytics will grow exponentially. This means that although now – in the early days – it may seem like development is happening very slowly (since companies are in the experimental stage of using analytic technology), soon the industry will take off. Leading companies are already starting to apply it in practice with very positive results. Experts are also now predicting that the market is ready to soar and should begin doubling at a bigger and bigger increment each year. We expect that People Analytics will soon be a standard part of HR.

 2. Most companies still don’t know what People Analytics really are

Many seem to think that People Analytics are about computing things like retention rates or identifying how many employees a company has. People Analytics is much, much more than this. It uses hard data about people to solve business problems, such as sales productivity, customer satisfaction, fraud, as well as retention.

Research has shown that almost half (48.5%) of organisations do not use HR technology which is suited to their business, significantly reducing the effectiveness of such technology. Using the right technology is the first step in forging an effective HR People Analytics system.

However, it can be difficult to know what kinds of HR technology is suited to your company’s needs. Many HR professionals are unsure whether they should be using standardised or context-specific measures for their organisation. This is why it is important to firstly consider the business outcomes you want, before leaping into analytics.

3. Data management and the implementation of models are key

Firstly, managing data can be a huge challenge. Many companies agree that HR data is inconsistent, difficult to read, and difficult to find. It is common for businesses to be unaware of how many salaried or contracted employees they have at any given time, as they are dealing with a huge data-integration problem. Studies have shown that over 80% of companies are getting stuck dealing with reporting issues, agreeing that there is a lot of “technical debt” to sort through so that they can scale their operations properly.

Secondly, you need a model to make it work. A model expresses how data are connected to each other and how they are processed and stored inside the system. Properly implementing the right model can help you predict retention, predict the most efficient path to success, tell you how much to pay your high performers, and so on. But implementation is easier said than done as it requires a degree of transformation of existing business processes. You may need to bring in change-management consultants to make it happen and make it work.

 4. New types of data require new analysis methods

Gone are the days of analysing payroll, Human Resource Management System, attendance data, etc. Today, all sorts of data need to be analysed, such as employee engagement survey data, email history data, employee badge and sociometric data, as well as all the data which comes from wearable devices.

These new types of data need to be analysed in specific ways which may be different from traditional methods. With more than 1.2 billion smartphone users on the planet, the presence of video cameras and GPS on devices means that a lot of the data getting looked at will be based on time, location and visual identity. These kinds of data require new, innovative measuring systems.

5. Security and anonymity will become your middle name.

As a result of numerous credit card and security breaches which have happened recently, employees and legal departments are often nervous about the analysis the HR sector does. It is important that HR and People Analytics teams are informed about data security, privacy and identity protection. Data needs to be properly stored and handled so that no personal information can get leaked to the public.


People Analytics can provide helpful information about your company and how to improve it. Being able to properly integrate HR technologies is key to successfully using People Analytics and making your business the best it can be.

Positive Leadership Traits: They are not what they may seem

Imagine Frank, a top manager at a big-time company. Frank is confident in his abilities, his charismatic air encouraging his colleagues to believe in him. He is very determined and goal-orientated, always striving for improvement. Frank is also a risk-taker who enjoys seizing every opportunity which comes his way. Frank sounds like a great leader…right?

Now consider James, a leader in a similar position to Frank. James comes across as humble and perhaps a little reserved. He values harmony among his team and takes care to remain group-orientated. He does not like taking risks and prefers to carefully calculate his decisions, even if this means he may sometimes miss an opportunity. James sounds more like a follower, not a leader…right?



Is confidence really key?

Frank is a narcissist. Narcissists tend to over exaggerate their abilities, whether or not they have the goods to back up their claims. By hiding his insecurities, Frank comes across as being more capable than he actually may be, which is why people like him are frequently found in positions of power. It is easy to mistake narcissism for optimism, confidence or actual ability, but this mistake can have disastrous effects on your company. Wouldn’t you rather hire someone who is modest and can actually deliver great material, rather than someone who sings their own praises but can’t perform when the time comes?

James, on the other hand, is altruistic. James may not seem as self-confident as Frank, but only because leaders like him tend to be more self-aware than leaders like Frank are and will evaluate their work more honestly. This does not mean James is less capable of performing, in fact it means the opposite. Someone like James who can critique their own work will improve faster than someone like Frank, whose confidence may cloud their judgement.


The importance of relationships in the workplace

Frank comes across as being very determined…but determined for what? Group improvement or self-gain? Frank’s typically narcissistic quality of being self-centred means that he may not always have the best interests of the company and his team members in mind. This could easily result in his colleagues not liking, trusting or respecting him, rendering Frank powerless.  On top of this, narcissism and corporate crimes have been correlated, again due to the self-absorbed nature of narcissists and their tendency to feel entitled.

As an altruist, James will put the well-being of his team members before his own. This can sometimes come across as being less goal-directed and more friendship-orientated, which is not the case. By caring for his team in this way, James creates a positive environment in which his colleagues will feel comfortable sharing their needs and desires as they trust him to acknowledge these, leading to the fulfillment of group and individual goals. The relationships between employees can hugely affect work output, therefore great communication and a positive environment is an essential to a successful business.


Risk-taking Vs. Careful consideration

Frank often displays risk-taking behaviours. It is a popular belief that leaders must be like Frank in order to seize opportunities and make difficult decisions. Not so! It is actually more beneficial to have an altruistic leader like James who is prudent and calculated. This is because someone like James will consider all possible outcomes and make a decision which is most likely to be advantageous to the group in the long term, rather than focusing on their own individual short-term goals.

A leader must of course be ambitious, but not so much that they ignore consequences on the off chance that they may succeed. James may not seize every single opportunity like Frank does, but is every opportunity really worth seizing if it hasn’t been thought through properly? What if snatching up an opportunity without proper consideration turns out to be detrimental to your company? James calculates every choice he makes for the business, reducing the risk factor substantially. He is motivated and determined to improve circumstances for everyone and he will go the extra mile to ensure this happens – without stepping on anyone to get there.


People like Frank tend to be placed in leadership positions because of their initial bubbly charm and confidence. It is easy to overlook wallflowers like James, who may not seem to be the leader type at first, but will prove to be exactly what your company needs in the long run. In short, hire a James, not a Frank!

How to avoid your next hiring mistake


Companies commonly neglect considering a key element during the hiring process – the human element. How can you know what kind of person someone is if you only have a résumé and a feigned interview for reference? How will you know how they interact with others in the workplace, or what implications their personality will have on their productivity? At Talegent, we have devised a scientifically based and empirically proven personality assessment to accurately answer these important questions.
Résumés provide limited information about a candidates’ ability, while the artificiality of interviews often lead to biased judgements and incorrect assumptions about a potential employee’s personality. Even cognitive ability tests may not be an accurate representation of a person’s on-the-job performance. These limitations can result in hiring someone who is completely wrong for the job, even if their résumé seemed perfect and their charming nature during their interview had you fooled. A mistake like this can hugely affect the functionality of the workplace environment – or worse, the productivity and output for everyone in the office.
Our personality assessment helps prevent these potentially disastrous mistakes by identifying and measuring the core traits that research has proven can determine job performance. These personality tests are designed with sufficient subtlety and sophistication that they are near impossible to cheat, with measures put in place to identify candidates who provide deceptive answers to manipulate their test outcome.

Below are a few classic examples of negative worker types, along with the measurable personality trait that could have unmasked them before you offered them the job:

    This kind of worker is more than unpleasant to be around, their pride and contempt barely concealed under a layer of sarcasm and frustrated sighs. This person’s attitude and behaviour can suck the motivation right out of a team and cause tension in the workplace. A key personality trait which predicts arrogance is narcissism. A high score in this trait indicates a person who elevates themselves at others’ expense, someone who is out for personal glory regardless of whom they step on to get it.
    The disorganiser is unreliable. They don’t finish their work on time, they don’t fulfil their promises and they are just generally scatter-brained. This person would score badly in the conscientiousness trait. Basically, conscientiousness predicts the tendency to plan and have self-discipline. Clearly these are important factors in the workplace as you would not want an unorganised, unmotivated and unprepared team member in charge of anything even slightly important. In fact, research shows that conscientiousness is the number one predictor of job performance.
    A worker who is a loner displays antisocial behaviour and is often uncomfortable being around other people. They may be quiet, shy and generally reluctant to contribute. Although these traits may be fine in certain workplaces where little human interaction is required, it can be hugely detrimental in roles that require much team work. The loner would have a low score on the collaborative trait. This trait specifically indicates a candidate’s ability and willingness to work with others.
    The xenophobe is hostile, prejudiced and unaccepting of anyone different from themselves, whether it be gender, ethnicity, age, and so on. Having a xenophobe represent your company on the front lines of customer service can have a disastrous effect, resulting in dissatisfied or even insulted customers who surely will not return to your company. This person scores badly in the accepting trait. People who score low on this trait greatly prefer to deal with people just like themselves and are rejecting of people who do not fit this mould.

The list of nightmare employees could go on…

Unfortunately, these bad employees do not reveal their true colours until it is too late. To ensure optimal person-job and person-culture fit, it is critical to measure the right things. This allows for a fuller and more accurate indication of how candidates will perform on the job, before you make the mistake of hiring them! To learn more, have a look at the 24 key capabilities that underpin optimal job performance.

Video Killed the Radio Star. It May Also Kill the Phone Interview


Screening candidates via a phone interview rather than having them come in to interview has helped companies save time and money. By talking to a candidate, you CAN get a sense of how well they speak and present themselves and their professionalism. And given that you will be hiring contact centre reps for their phone skills, a phone interview seems like an obvious and very relevant way to go.
But there are problems with phone interviews. For one, just trying to schedule with a candidate can waste lots of time playing phone tag and having to endure “voice mail hell.” Your HR people can also waste time because good manners dictate their completing interviews they know in 5 seconds are going nowhere. And phone interviews, like all interviews, can be very inconsistent, hard to capture in your Applicant Tracking System, and virtually impossible to share.

It’s for all these reasons that video interviewing has become so hot. Versus phone screening, video interviewing saves time and money while allowing for higher quality hires.

Some of the specific benefits include:

  • Video interviews can be completed online by candidates themselves at any time of day or night, no scheduling required and no HR staff time required.
  • They provide structured interview consistency, assuring each candidate gets the same questions.
  • Collaboration is easy – Because video interviews are recorded, numerous managers can view and weigh in.
  • You don’t just hear candidates but can see them too.
  • Some video interviewing solutions allow your organisation to integrate video interviewing with competency-based assessments to provide greater insight into a candidate’s ability to perform.
  • Since recorded interviews are stored and can be easily retrieved, they are useful for reference, e.g., if you cannot remember who a candidate was at Assessment Centres
  • Video interviews can also shorten and make more use of time spent during Assessment Centres

Follow the the link to see how video interviews can improve and streamline your interviewing process.

Check into using video interviewing at your company… and free your HR Staff forevermore from voice mail hell!


Looking Back: The Five Most Important Recruitment Trends From 2015 (and What They Mean for you in 2016)

mountain manLooking back on 2015, its amazing what we’ve achieved in recruitment. LinkedIn has just released their Global Recruiting Trends 2015 data, it’s an amazingly thorough (and more importantly data-based) summation of how the world of recruiting has changed and where it might be headed. So here’s what’s happened in the world of hiring in 2015, and where it might be heading in the next year.

  • Hiring budgets are increasing (but volume is increasing faster): In 2015, hiring budgets increased by 44%, but hiring volumes increased by 62%. This matches trends we’ve seen for the past five years. In order to compensate for this mismatch, recruiting managers will need to turn to recruiting strategies which are more cost effective. Where techniques such as interviews and CV screenings were once sufficient, these are no longer time or cost effective enough to be used on every candidate. Instead, savvy recruiters are replacing the early stages in the hiring process with talent measurement solutions which can be administered online and quickly narrow down the talent pool by removing those who don’t have the competencies to perform on the job.
  • Quality of hire is top dog: Quality of hire is rated as the number one performance indicator for hiring managers, with time to fill coming in as a narrow second. Of course, recruiters need to strike a balance between quality and speed of hiring. If time to hire was the highest priority, anyone could hire the first person who walked in off the street and fill the position in an hour. But they probably wouldn’t be a very good worker. Conversely, you could wait years for the perfect candidate to come along. Eventually they’d arrive, but the lost productivity from the empty position wouldn’t be worth the cost. An ideal solution meets the needs of speed, without sacrificing quality in the process.
  • But they don’t know how to measure it: While quality of hire is of utmost importance, not many people actually know what they’re looking for. According to LinkedIn, only 33% of organisations feel that their hiring methodologies are strong, and only a miniscule 5% believe that they’re best in class. Therefore, most if not all companies believe that they have significant room to improve their methods of sourcing top talent. And of course, those who believe that they’re best in class may be working with outdated information. The world of recruitment is changing so quickly that what was bleeding edge technology at the beginning of 2015 may now be painfully outdated. Unlike a building, recruiting effectiveness is never a process that can ever be ‘finished,’ only incrementally improved through hard work and inventive use of technology.
  • Employer brand: A recruiters brand is playing an increasingly vital role in attracting candidates. For a good example of this we can look no further than Google, who attracts more than 2 million applications in a year. Of course, your brand isn’t always easy to control – no matter how carefully you manage it. If one bad hiring manager offends 10 good applicants, who then tell 100 of their friends, that’s 1000 people who all of a sudden think that your company’s name is mud. Of course, the easy solution to this is to make sure that every applicant has the same hiring experience. Many companies are achieving this by taking their hiring online. By creating a unified recruitment experience for all candidates you can ensure that when it comes to hiring you’re putting your best foot forward, and that everyone is going to see it.
  • Retention is a top priority: 32% of recruiters rank employee retention as a top priority, and with good reason. Hiring isn’t cheap. And it becomes even more expensive when you have to replace employees who have left or just haven’t worked out. For example, once you account for acquisition, training, and replacement costs, a single sales representative costs nearly $115,000 to replace. Fortunately, we have long known that likelihood to turnover can be predicted by a number of personality characteristics such as extraversion and openness to experience. While hiring using personality tests can help us avoid those employees who are likely to turnover, it can also help us identify those rock star employees who might need that little bit of extra encouragement to stay with the company before they even think about looking for another job.

We all know that hiring isn’t easy, and these stats prove it. But by utilising the latest technological innovations, those organisations on the bleeding-edge are turning their recruitment into a walk in the park – and collecting the top candidates to show for it.

The Top Ten Thought-Leading Psychologists From 2015

Any industry is only as good as the innovators that drive it, and fortunately 2015 has proven that the psychometric testing industry is in very capable hands. Paul Thorenson recently released a list of the 80 IOPsych pros to follow on Twitter, and it’s a fantastic primer on who’s who in the IOPsych industry. Having been inspired by him, we’ve compiled our own list of the 10 Psychs who we think would appear on the IOPsych Santa’s ‘Nice’ list this year. So here they are, in no particular order:

  • Laszlo Bock: Work Rules! Was Laszlo Bock’s foray into publishing this year, and it provides in-depth insights on how Google does their hiring better. It’s rare to have such a thorough look into the processes behind a hiring juggernaut like Google.
  • Dave Milner: Dave Milner runs the absolutely fantastic @HRcurator twitter, which is an absolutely invaluable resource for all the latest news and reports from all over the I/O psych industry.
  • Peter Saville: The chairman of the Saville Consulting group, Peter Saville has made numerous contributions to the I/O psych industry over the years.
  • David Green: @david_green_uk is another terrific source for I/O psych information. A tireless social media poster, you can’t look past David Green for the most biting commentary on the latest developments in talent measurement.
  • Daniel Goleman: Daniel Goleman is one of the foremost psychologists working in the field of emotional intelligence, and his work has had a great deal of influence on the direction which personality testing in the workplace has taken.
  • Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic: The CEO of Hogan assessments, and writer of an absolutely fantastic blog on assessment. He frequently tackles the big questions around talent measurement, and consistently does so in a funny and absolutely engaging way
  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter: Okay, to be fair, Rosabeth Moss Kanter isn’t an I/O psychologist, she’s a professor at the Harvard Business School, however she has produced a simply astonishing amount of literature on the workplace. These achievements have earned her 23 honorary degrees from various universities around the world.
  • Dave Winsborough: Dave Winsborough has been a fixture of the New Zealand assessment industry for the past two decades. In 2015, he wrote a fascinating examination of how personality tests can help pick a better performing team.
  • Sigmund Freud: You’ve probably already guessed, but Freud didn’t publish any works in 2015 (he died in 1939), so his inclusion on this list can be considered a lifetime achievement award of sorts. Even though many of his ideas have since fallen out of favor, his influence on the world of psychology cannot be denied.
  • Paul Thoresen: Of course, I would be remiss not to include the absolutely terrific Paul Thoresen (@surveyguy2) on Twitter. Another Twitter power user, his tweets will always have something to teach even the most seasoned I/O veterans.

In 2015, we’ve pushed the boundaries on Talent Measurement more than in any other year, introducing solutions using big data, talent analytics, simulation, and rounding out our Empower and PATH platforms with more than 30 job specific assessments, and a myriad of other improvements to both the recruiters’ and candidate’s experience, so you can find and hire the best worker elves more easily than ever before. And we have a funny feeling that in 2016 we’ll be playing not-so-secret Santa and delivering even more goodies into your recruitment toolbox.

How Would Santa Claus Perform in a Talent Measurement Test?

santaSanta Claus is a beloved figure the world over, so for the holiday season the team at Talegent thought we’d answer the question that everyone has been asking – what would Santa’s results show on a psychometric test? According to our resident Psychometrician (with a little help from the statistics from the Department of Justice), about 1% of children would be naughty enough to be added to Santa’s naughty list, so we’ve ruled out these bad eggs in our calculations.  Here’s what we found…

  • Conscientiousness: In order to coordinate the construction and delivery of presents to every child in the world, Santa would require extraordinary planning ability. A skill which is predicted by conscientiousness. Highly conscientious people are highly efficient and organised, perfect for coordinating overnight delivery to the nearly 1.8 billion children on earth (and all without charging an extra fee for express delivery!)
  • Drive for results: In order to get presents to the nearly 1.8 billion children on Earth, Santa would have to deliver presents to nearly 20 thousand children every second For comparison, a UPS driver will typically make about 120 deliveries per day. Clearly, Santa has a drive for results which must be unmatched in order to achieve these kinds of delivery times.
  • Emotional Intelligence: From descriptions of Saint Nick, we can predict that he would likely score extremely highly on emotional intelligence (EQ). Those who are high on EQ are empathetic, warm, and possess the excellent interpersonal skills required to manage a staff of hundreds of thousands of elves. Further, the lengths Santa goes to appease the children of the world at the cost to his own wellbeing suggests extraordinarily high emotional intelligence (he drinks 500,000,000 litres of milk over Christmas night, equivalent to 200 Olympic pools, presumably at significant bodily harm to himself).
  • Spatial reasoning: Assuming the average present has dimensions of 10cm by 10cm by 10cm, and Santa delivers presents to the nearly 1.8 billion nice children in the world. He would require a sack that was nearly 122 metres a side (assuming 1kg per present, the sack would also weigh as much as 15 million reindeer). Of course, these presents won’t be of uniform size, so they would need to be packed pretty carefully to fit in the sack to maximise efficiency. This suggests that Santa Claus has the spatial reasoning skills to optimise the packing of nearly 1.8 billion gifts. An astonishing feat.
  • Excellent analytical skills: “He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good…” But how does Santa keep track of this immense amount of information? It’s possible he uses Big Data. Big Data takes the enormous wealth of data which the human race now produces and can use it to predict some surprising conclusions. For example, Santa could look at the data on when Facebook status updates were made and use it to statistically model when children are likely to be asleep. Or look at the amount of swearwords used or crimes publicly admitted to in order to determine niceness or naughtiness.

Psychometric assessment and talent measurement has given us access to an extraordinary wealth of information on employees before they ever walk through the door. One imagines that Santa himself has implemented a similar talent measurement system for the recruitment of elves. And given the effectiveness of Santa’s operation, if it’s good enough for him, it’s probably good enough to use in your hiring as well.

How You Could Have Avoided that One Hire You Regret

sleepYou know the one I’m talking about. The candidate who had a resume which was the recruitment equivalent of Mona Lisa. But as soon as they started, you realised they couldn’t even spell team – let alone participate in one.

These are the hires who avoid work like the plague, are rude to their colleagues and managers, and have emotional outbursts whenever you confront them about it. In short, they’re a black hole of productivity and end up wasting immeasurable management hours simply through trying to prevent them from negatively influencing others’ work.

It’s not an easy situation to deal with, and while it might be too late to avoid those bad hires who are already in your company, there is a way to avoid them in the future: screen candidates using a personality assessment.

Personality is of utmost importance in the workplace, and we now know enough about it to have a pretty good idea of how it influences behavior. Here are just a few of the maladaptive behaviors that crop up time and again in those regrettable hires, and how you could have weeded them out before they had a chance to take root in your company:

  • Poor planning: Have you ever had to get a file from a bad hire, have them spend half an hour trawling through windows to find it, only for them to realise that they’d printed it out and deleted the soft copy? Then you’re probably dealing with someone who is low on conscientiousness. Conscientiousness predicts the tendency to plan and have self-discipline, and is absolutely critical. In fact, the research shows that conscientiousness is the number one predictor of job performance.
  • Arrogance: There are an abundance of personality traits which predict arrogance, and key among them is narcissism. Narcissists are out for glory, and they’ll step on anyone who stands in their way to get it. But personality tests have long been able to predict narcissistic tendencies. Ever seen a question which asks ‘Do you always excel at what you do?’ That’s not testing for ability, it’s looking for narcissism. And it stands out from a mile away in a personality test.
  • Poor company fit: Admittedly, the candidates who are simply unequivocally terrible at their job are relatively uncommon. Far more likely to appear are candidates who are adequate at their job – but never quite manage to excel because they don’t fit in with the company or their workmates. Personality testing is able to help you design a team who you can be sure will work well with one another to achieve success.
  • Hostility to others: Some people are better team players than others, and the degree to which the ability to work in teams is important will vary from role to role. However, employees who are overtly hostile to their peers are going to cause irreparable damage to your productivity and brand. A particularly terrible employee may even be abrasive enough that they cause other excellent employees to seek a new job. Fortunately, these maladaptive personality behaviors can be predicted, and traits such as agreeableness can detect how well a candidate will work in a team.

Many of these behaviors will not become apparent until after the interview, or even appear a few weeks or months into the job. While a thorough interview process can weed out some of these personality traits, themost scientifically objective and proven way to detect them is via personality tests. Applicants can exaggerate or outright fabricate their achievements, work ethic, and behavioral

tendencies on their CV and in an interview, but they can’t do it on a test which is specifically designed to detect mistruths. By measuring personality, you can get a good idea of how candidates are going to behave before they even step through your door.

What Big Data Analytics Could Tell You About Your Workforce

bdWhat if you could predict how many years an employee was likely to stay at your company based solely on their Facebook page? It sounds like science fiction, but in a few short years it may be an integral part of hiring. Big data analytics is the newest technology which is being used to predict employee’s workplace performance and work style. At its core, big data works by exploring the statistical relationships in vast data sets which are far too unwieldly to be explored via traditional means, such as the vast amount of content which social media users produce.

Every day, nearly 500 million tweets are sent, and more than 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook. And this data is being used to great effect to discover some pretty interesting correlations. For example, income can be predicted relatively accurately based on the number of swearwords a person uses on Twitter. Further, by looking at the type of language used in Facebook posts it’s possible to predict personality traits like openness and extraversion.

Some recruiters are already using social media to screen candidates. Fifty-five percent have reconsidered a candidate based on their social media profile, with 61% of those evaluations being negative. But social media red flags aren’t simply limited to candidates doing overtly unwise things like badmouthing their boss or posting pictures of themselves using drugs. Things as small as spelling and grammar mistakes or voicing political opinions are enough to turn some recruiters off.

But employees have become savvy to these techniques as well, with it not being unheard of for candidates to carefully screen the content which they allow on their Facebook wall, or even set up dummy Facebook accounts in an attempt to fool their prospective employers into thinking they work 80 hours a week and never observe public holidays.

While these social media scans are only occurring on a small scale for now, and are largely limited to simply looking at a candidate’s profile, it likely won’t be long before organizations start to employ large scale data-mining operations and specialized software in an attempt to find the best candidates. It might not be too far in the future when one can simply take a list of CV’s, search for ‘extraversion,’ and have each and every candidate ranked according to the things they’ve said and done on Facebook.

Big data analytics is still a burgeoning technology, but we’ll likely see its commercial use blossoming and becoming ubiquitous over the next couple of years. And while it’s unlikely we’ll see a future where interviews no longer exist at all and all employees are hired by data trawling their Facebook page, big data is certainly set to make a big impact on the way which we do recruiting.

What We Can Learn From Google About Togetherness This Christmas

asdafIt’s the end of the year once again, and the holidays have always been a time for dysfunctional family get-togethers. But with any luck this dysfunction doesn’t carry through to your teams within the workplace. Google is well-known as one of the best workplaces in the world (and arguably most Christmassy, check out their Santa tracker), and offers numerous benefits to its employees including free food and drink, tech talks, and even the freedom to take your dog to work. But many of the best features of workplaces are more intangible, it’s the things like comradery, feeling trusted, and loving what you do which make for truly engaged and happy employees.  And as usual, Google have not neglected this vital aspect of the employee experience. Over the past two years they’ve gathered massive amounts of data on the attitudes and skills in the company, as well as conducting more than 200 interviews, in order to determine what makes their high performing teams work.  Here’s the five key ‘dynamics’ that they found are critical to team success:

  1. Psychological safety: Team members need to feel as if they’re able to take risks without the risk of feeling embarrassed or being punished. This is particularly important in an innovative environment such as Google, where taking risks (and the failure that sometimes accompanies it) is critical to their ongoing success.
  2. Dependability: A lot of the time, a team is only as effective as its least productive member, especially when work gets bottlenecked with them. Google counts on teams and team members who can get work done on time – and to a high standard of quality.
  3. Structure & Clarity: Even the most productive worker won’t achieve much if they don’t have their potential channelled effectively. Structure and clarity ensures that team members have clear roles, goals, and a plan to achieve them.
  4. Meaning: Google ensures that work is personally important to team members. While of course this isn’t possible for every single task an employee will perform (we all have those little jobs we’d rather avoid), creating a job that is personally important is absolutely critical to employee happiness, and ultimately a long tenure at a company.
  5. Impact: No one wants to feel as if their hard work is going to waste and never seeing the light of day. Impact refers to team members believing that their work is going to make a difference and will create long-term change within the organisation.

Over the past year, Google has had their teams engage in exercises designed specifically to build on these dynamics, and have implemented exercises as simple as having team members share a risk taken in the last week that have led to psychological safety ratings increasing by 6% and structure and clarity increasing by 10%. High performing teams are absolutely critical in today’s workplace, and team synergy is more than just a buzzword. By following the example set by Google we could all learn a little about making our teams the best they can be.