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Which industries should be investing in HR assessments during the pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world of business, turning industries worldwide on their heads. Industries that were booming in 2019 came to a sudden halt in 2020, while other industries have experienced unprecedented growth during the COVID-19 crisis.

These rapid changes caused by the Coronavirus pandemic have highlighted the necessity for rigorous HR practices. During this time, both fast-growing and slow-growing industries have experienced unique challenges that have impacted employee wellbeing and performance. One thing that rings true for both is the need to build capable and resilient workforces.

By investing in HR assessments, your organization can ensure you have the best chance at achieving your business objectives by developing and nurturing a high-performing team. 

According to research conducted by McKinsey and Company, employees—especially women, LGBTQ+ employees, people of color, and working parents—are crying out for more support from their employers following the challenges of the pandemic. Therefore, it is important that your organization is investing in your employees during the pandemic and in preparation for the future.

While employee training is important across all industries, there are some key industries that can benefit significantly from improving their HR strategy. Some notable industries that should be investing in HR assessments right now include:

  • eCommerce
  • Food and Grocery
  • SaaS
  • Healthcare 
  • Travel
  • Hospitality

Fast-growing industries

During the pandemic, some industries have experienced unexpected levels of business growth. Examples of industries that have experienced significant growth during the pandemic include eCommerce, SaaS, and healthcare sectors. This rapid growth will have put a strain on these organizations as they try to keep up with the demands.

As a result, these organizations have put themselves at risk of making poor hiring decisions as they attempt to quickly fill the required job vacancies to reduce delays to their business operations.

Therefore, it is important that these industries now take action to ensure their HR practices are able to withstand unprecedented business growth. Investing in HR assessments can significantly improve business performance for fast-growing industries. Doing so will also minimize the risk of rushed hiring which can be costly to your business.


As malls closed their doors and people were advised to stay home, eCommerce stores saw a significant rise in online orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The way people shopped changed as the pandemic forced them to shop online, rather than in-store.

In turn, eCommerce businesses have experienced an impressive 146% growth in online retail orders since April 21. This increase in online orders means the eCommerce industry is predicted to have a record-breaking year-on-year growth in 2020.

However, this increase in demand for online shopping means the eCommerce industry has also had to make rapid changes within their business in order to keep up with the demand. As a result, eCommerce retailers have had to hire additional staff to help with order fulfillment and ongoing eCommerce operations including marketing, customer service, website management, and procurement.

Employers in the eCommerce sector can help mitigate the risk of making quick hiring decisions by using HR assessments during the hiring process.

For example, if you are an eCommerce retailer looking to hire additional customer service staff to help manage customer inquiries during the pandemic, you may want to consider asking job applicants to take the Customer Service Profile to determine whether they would be a good fit for the role.

Food and Grocery

Similar to the eCommerce sector, the Food and Grocery sectors have also seen a recognizable increase in revenue during 2020. 

By integrating HR assessments into their wider business strategy, the Food and Grocery industry can move from a “response” business strategy to a “thrive” strategy by ensuring that their business procedures are resilient against rapid, and unprecedented, change.

The Deloitte report into the impact of COVID-19 on the grocery and food sector shows that employers and HR teams in this sector need to redefine their workforce strategy. As part of this workforce strategy, they should also establish a strategy for the possibility of labor shortages and the management of working capital. Working HR assessments into their hiring process can help minimize the risk of hiring poor-fitting employees to cover labor shortages.

Software as a service (SaaS)

The Coronavirus pandemic led to an almost unanimous worldwide shift to remote work. Across the globe, the number of people working from home or remotely in 2020 has increased by 159% since 2005 – more than 11x faster than the rest of the workforce. This growth in working from home has had positive implications for the SaaS industry as organizations need to ensure they are geared up for a remote workforce.

This increased demand for SaaS solutions and cloud-based business software means that companies within the SaaS will have to tighten procedures and increase the level of software development, testing, updates, and technical fixes to ensure that they are able to fulfill new business consumer needs and increased usage due to an increased remote workforce model. 

At the start of the pandemic, the video communications platform Zoom experienced security issues meaning they had to release new security features and improve encryption to counteract the potential risk of providing customers with an insecure platform.

By prioritizing HR assessments during their recruitment strategy, SaaS companies such as Zoom can be sure they hire employees who are technically-minded with a problem-focused attitude. Hiring people with these characteristics lends itself well to being able to trust these employees to work reactively to unexpected change and develop new technical solutions and fixes.


The healthcare sector is one that has experienced highs and lows during the pandemic. At the start of the Coronavirus crisis, uncertainty around the virus led many healthcare organizations to reduce employment and cut jobs as routine services were to be put on hold. Between February and April, employment in the healthcare industry decreased drastically. However, the employment rate rebounded in May as more than 300,000 jobs were recovered.

While job security in the healthcare sector during 2020 has fluctuated greatly, the on-job pressure for those in work has increased significantly as people are expected to work long, demanding hours in the face of uncertainty.

Therefore, it would be beneficial for HR departments to ensure that they are providing current healthcare employees with ongoing support. As part of this ongoing employee support, HR assessments would allow the healthcare sector to understand how best to communicate with, and assist their employees to provide them with the best chance of success during these stressful times.

Slow growth industries

One thing that cannot be ignored is that some industries have struggled as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. Two notable industries that have suffered throughout 2020 include the Travel and Hospitality sectors. However, these slower-growing industries are expected to pick up again after the pandemic as restrictions are lifted and we gain control over the COVID-19 crisis. 

Therefore, it is important that these industries take action now to ensure they are prepared for an uplift in the near future. Industries that are currently experiencing slow growth, or even decline, should use this time wisely by investing in their teams, upskilling where possible, and preparing for their return in a post-pandemic world.

Travel and Hospitality Sectors

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the travel industry to a standstill. This sudden halt to travel services resulted in major job and revenue loss within the travel industry. Further to this, it is projected that tourism spending is not likely to return to pre-crisis levels until 2024. In light of this information, it is crucial that the travel industry pivot their strategy and focus on how to ensure their success when travel and tourism operations re-open.

The hospitality sector has been similarly affected. With close ties to the travel and tourism industry, the hospitality industry has also been negatively affected during 2020. Research into the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality, travel, and leisure sector found that 65% of women have been furloughed, put on reduced hours, or made redundant. 

One way that the travel and hospitality industry may protect business continuity is by moving towards agile teams that can adapt to real-world needs, rather than being based on organizational entities.

When pivoting to an agile team, it is important that the HR department is best-prepared to build a high-functioning agile team. Ask your current employees to complete HR assessments and personality tests to determine whether they would perform well in a cross-functional agile team.

How we can help

If you are ready to invest in your current employees, or looking for ways to hire top-talent to ensure business continuity and success in the future, we are here to help. Integrating HR assessments into your recruitment process and employee training program will ensure your business remains strong in times of adversity and uncertainty.

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How to conduct an exit interview for maximum insights

An exit interview is an important part of your employee management process, and although it may not save a departing employee, it’s a great time to gain insights into your workforce. However, managers often overlook exit interviews for lack of time, or simply because they don’t see the value of it.

Upon first glance, it’s easy to dismiss the value of an exit interview, since that employee is leaving anyway. However, insights gleamed from that interview can help you improve retention for your other existing employees.

An employee who is leaving anyway has little to hold back, so it’s often a chance to get the most raw, honest feedback about management and general business practices. A good manager understands the value of all employee insight and knows that the feedback of a departing employee may help the company optimize its processes and improve the overall work atmosphere.

Here’s how to organize exit interviews to get the most insights.

The undeniable benefits of an exit interview

The main question that you need to answer: why do you need to conduct an exit interview?

The main purpose of an exit interview is to learn about the gaps in the company’s culture and, based on the answers, come up with the ways to resolve those issues. Whether the employee leaves willingly or unwillingly, there are many things you can learn from them about the company, managers, work process and organization.

Here are the key benefits that a well-organized exit interview brings to the company.

Optimization of HR processes

If the employee decides to leave the company, the exit interview is a great chance to really find out why. Maybe it’s a better salary offer or better bonuses. Or maybe the HR specialist of that company acted in such a way that your employee just could not say no?

The exit interview provides valuable insights into the state of HR-related processes in your company. By asking the right questions, you can learn a lot about your competition and see what kind of improvements your company needs.

Don’t forget to ask about the overall experience from their onboarding process and interaction with your HR specialists. You want to learn about every aspect of their onboarding to find areas for improvement.

Lower turnover rate

The insights from the exit interviews should not be treated only as a recommendation for the future – they can become actionable for improving existing processes.

For example, if an employee stresses the non-professional behavior of a certain manager, you can already start collecting feedback about this person and conduct a few meetings with him. In this way, you can prevent other employees from leaving or transferring for the same reason, as you learn about the root of the problem.

Investment in the company’s image

An employee that leaves the company with negative feelings can easily hurt your company’s image, even without wanting to. When asked about the company, the employee will complain rather than praise it. As a result, such behavior can discourage potential candidates from working with you.

A well-conducted exit interview, on the other hand, can fix the situation and help the employee feel respected and valued. You may not necessarily turn the employee into a lifelong brand ambassador, but at least you can prevent unpleasant situations in the future.

Things to consider before conducting the exit interview

It’s not enough to write down a list of questions – you need to prepare for the interview in advance in order to extract the maximum value out of it.

Choosing the interviewer

Quality of the collected data is one of the biggest issues of exit interviews.

If the employee is dissatisfied with the company’s CEO, will he really open up about it during the interview? Most probably, no. All employees want good references and a negative review of the CEO’s managerial methods will most probably get this employee in the HR “blacklist” and ruin his career.

In order to get really valuable data, you need to do the following:

  • make sure the company’s executives understand the importance of the exit interviews and are ready to implement any changes and accept the possible negative reviews
  • choose the right person for the role of the interviewer

Choosing the right interviewer is incredibly important. If the employee is interviewed by an HR specialist and the CEO, the person will probably feel uncomfortable and will answer the questions as expected. So the best choice would be to assign either an HR specialist or a mid-manager to conduct an interview. A mid-manager is a great choice because s/he is usually “closer” to the employees than the company’s executives and will be able to create a sense of trust during the interview.

Choosing the right time for the interview

Another thing to consider is the time period for the interview. You cannot just schedule a meeting on a random day and send an RSVP invitation via Google Calendar.

Because you want the interviewee to feel comfortable and give honest feedback, you need to schedule an appropriate time for the interview. There are two common approaches.

The first is conducting the exit interview while the person is still in the company – with no “mental checkout” yet. In this way, you will interview the employee while the trail is still hot and will increase the probability of getting honest replies.

The second way is to conduct the interview a month or a few weeks after the employee leaves the company. The biggest benefit to this approach is that the employee will be relaxed, “with no strings attached” and thus, will be much more honest about the decision to leave.

Questions to ask during the exit interview

Before getting down to the questions, it is important to remember that the best way to conduct an exit interview is in person. In this way, you will show the employee that you value them and are willing to dedicate your personal time to listening to their opinions.

As for questions to ask, focus on the following points:

  • attitude towards the company
  • attitude towards the manager (executives)
  • ideas for possible improvement
  • what the company can start doing right now
  • opinion on existing processes

Always prepare a list of questions in advance, and avoid asking overly personal questions, like anything about office gossip. Inform the employee about the purpose of the interview before starting it so that employee understands that you value their thoughts.

Things to do after the interview

After conducting the exit interview, dedicate some time to process the answers and see how you can apply them to optimize your existing and future processes.

Exit interviews tend to unveil the root of the problem and help companies identify the pain points that lead to a low retention rate, employees’ dissatisfaction, and related issues. Analyze the feedback and make sure to use it in order to help the company grow and keep your employees happy with their work.

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Why schools need career guidance and assessments

Today’s world offers an array of possible career options for students, and the choices seem more plentiful than ever. However, it also doubles the responsibility of career counselors and schools, as students have to choose wisely in order to start preparing for their future careers as early as possible.

The initiative of having career assessment services in schools brings numerous benefits to students and should ideally be standardized in every country and educational establishment.

Even though there is still a long way to go, schools and universities can already start introducing minor changes in order to facilitate smart career choices for their students.

The benchmarks of efficient career guidance by Gatsby

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation set in 1967 covers multiple areas of interest, including education. Thus, it is interesting to know that Gatsby came up with eight career guidance benchmarks that are recommended for any organization and establishment that aims to provide career guidance services:

  1. A stable careers program
  2. Learning the latest information from the labor market
  3. Addressing the needs and interests of every student
  4. Linking school program to careers
  5. Meetings with potential employers (and employees)
  6. Real working experience
  7. Meetings with representatives from universities
  8. Personal guidance for the students

As can be seen from these benchmarks, Gatsby formed a clear vision of a solid and efficient career guidance program that can be implemented by any educational establishment. But is it really needed? Let’s have a closer look at the benefits that career guidance brings.

The link between school programs and real-life careers

The biggest problem of almost any school program is the gap between provided material and real life. For example, many former students can confidently tell you they never really needed in-depth knowledge of the plant-cell components in their life. And this is just one example.

While more and more schools have been adjusting their programs, the issue of irrelevance is still a concern. With this in mind, schools that wish to provide valuable career guidance should start linking the programs to real-life careers.

An example would be teaching about writing business correspondence in English classes or learning useful calculations related to accounting in math. The main point here is that the students should understand the importance of the classes and realize that the school material will be useful in their further work.

Assistance in understanding goals and interests

As mentioned above, the large number of possible career options may confuse a student, especially if he or she does not yet know what they’d like to do in life. Thus, career guidance can assist in understanding their interests and goals for the future.

During the meeting with the counselor, a student can learn about their own strengths and weaknesses through assessment tests, discover all the future possibilities, and gradually form a vision of what he or she would like to do.

Career guidance can become a great starting point and help a student understand what kind of subjects and knowledge will be needed in the future. As well, a student will get an evaluation of their personal traits and skillsets to see whether they match a desired career.

Insight into the labor market

The labor market changes at an incredible speed, and students need to be aware of these changes in order to choose relevant occupations. This is one of the benefits that career guidance brings – the insight into the labor market and its requirements.

Career guidance provides students with information on in-demand skills and knowledge that different industries require. The better the students are prepared for the industry demands, the earlier they can start getting ready and planning their future steps (i.e. the choice of extra subjects or activities).

To provide students with real-time information on the industry, schools and universities can invite industry representatives such as employers and employees so students can meet them and ask questions in order to learn first-hand experience and get valuable advice.

Guidance through the possible options

When students think about the future, some may only have vague ideas about their possible options. Career counseling services are aimed at helping students understand all the possible options and choose the most suitable one.

For students, it is important to understand that there can always be a “plan B” and there is more than one option. Career counselors can also remind students about the possibility for internships in order to obtain practical experience in the industry and see whether it fits their interests.

Assistance with career-related activities

While a school program may have accounting and business English classes, it usually does not teach students what to say during an interview, what to include in a resume, how to dress for an interview, and how to watch body language. So career guidance is aimed to close this gap and assist students with real-life career-related activities.

A career counselor should invest time and effort into helping students understand some of the core business processes, assist with writing resumes, and conduct interview simulations. In this way, a student will be prepared in advance and will have much higher chances to succeed during a future interview.

Final word

Career assessment serves both as a source of valuable information for a student (i.e. unveils one’s interests and strengths) and as an assistant that helps prepare for the future work by learning the insights from the industry, meeting the industry representatives and linking the knowledge obtained in school with the labor market demands.

Thus, every educational establishment should consider implementing and standardizing career guidance services. However, it is not enough to just launch a program – counselors themselves should be genuinely interested in helping young people finding their perfect career and in guiding students towards their goals.

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How to Trim the Fat on Your Resume: 5 Common Inclusions You Can Cut

This is a guest post from Lee Anna Carrillo, a community manager at Resumoo. A resume writing service, and career resource database.

The number of job seekers in the world has grown dramatically in the past few months. If you’re one of them, you should know that the resume format preferred by employers has changed significantly over the years.

Nowadays, knowing what to leave out of your resume is just as crucial as knowing what to include. Some traditional resume inclusions have become redundant or altogether unappealing for those who need to read them. Leaving them out could make or break your success when it comes to applying for your next professional position.

Here are 5 common resume inclusions that your curriculum vitae no longer needs to impress prospective employers.

5 Things to edit from your resume

1: Your Photograph

Unless you live and work outside of the USA, you generally don’t need to add a photograph of yourself to your resume. This may seem counter-intuitive, as most job seekers think that prospective employers would want to know what they look like. If this is the case, they can easily view your photos on your LinkedIn profile or your social media pages. Just ensure that the pictures you do have on these platforms are of good quality and look professional!

There are a few exceptions to this rule that you should be aware of. If you work in a ‘visual career’ such as design, marketing or illustration, you might have a graphically designed resume that includes photographs of yourself. If you do a lot of public speaking, training or consulting work and wish to include a picture, you can add it to a one-page professional bio that you’ll submit alongside your original resume.

2: Your Objectives

Writing experts believe that profiles have just about replaced the objectives section in modern resumes. This section once informed readers about what the job seeker wanted out of their position.

An example would be someone who’s “Seeking a position with a progressive company who will utilize [their] talents as a public relations expert.”

Today, companies are instead seeking information about who you are, and what you can bring to their corporate table. Profiles are now written around your personal brand and value proposition to show off your professional expertise. They also include a couple of bulleted statements listing your major accomplishments. This will assist employers in determining if you’re the right fit for a given position.

3: The High School You Attended

It’s no longer necessary to mention your grade school in your CV. Most professionals have far more to show in terms of their education by way of university degrees, doctorates, masters, diplomas, and ongoing development certifications. Listing your high school, even if it was a prestigious institution, is redundant in most employers’ eyes.

4: The Salary You Are Aiming For

Most job candidates will ask about salaries at some point during their interviews. It’s natural to want to know about the remuneration you’ll receive for a position, and your employers should always be forthcoming with this information when it’s requested.

However, if you include the kind of salary you wish to receive in your resume, you might be screened out by recruiters and hiring managers, rather than being considered for a job. If your requested salary is at odds with what the company had in mind, they may deem you too expensive, or not experienced enough for the position.

If you include a salary on your resume, it compromises your ability to negotiate better wages later in the interviewing process.

5: ‘References Available on Request’

Older resume formats always included this phrase, but nowadays, it’s no longer necessary. In fact, there’s actually an unwritten rule among employers that if you’re a strong candidate for a position, you’ll provide references without being prompted.

The statement ‘references available on request’ is very dated, and using it may make your CV seem outdated or stuffy as a result. It also takes up valuable space on your resume that you could fill with information about your skills, expertise and accomplishments.

In most cases, if an employer is interested in checking on your references, they’ll ask for them. Ensure that you have at least two or three contactable references who will provide positive reviews of your past duties and roles.

Additional Tips for Trimming Your Resume

Your resume is a reflection of your personal and professional capabilities. It should be as perfect as possible if you wish to impress the companies and individuals you submit it to.

Here are a few additional tips for creating a streamlined and professional CV.

Check for and remove spelling errors and grammatical mistakes

Spell check and proofread your resume thoroughly before submitting it; typos and spelling errors can look very unprofessional! If you need assistance, hire an editor or resume writer to assist you.

Nix unnecessary information

Your CV should only span one or two pages, unless you are applying for a specific position that requires more detail. Remove redundant details and instead focus on highlights wherever you can.

Use formatting techniques like short paragraphs and bullet points

This makes your resume brief, concise, and easy for prospective employers to read and understand. Long and cluttered submissions will usually be screened out immediately, as most employers simply don’t have the time to read them.

Leave out your personal data

You don’t need to add any personal details other than your name and contact information. Remove or omit mentions of your social security number or identification number, age, date of birth, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliations, or the names and ages of your spouse and children. It’s unlawful for employers to make decisions based on this information.

Cut unrelated skills, hobbies and work experience

The purpose of your resume is to inform employers of whether or not you can effectively fill the position they are offering. Any information you offer that does not pertain to this role is unnecessary.

By cutting the clutter, you’ll become a far more attractive candidate to recruiters and potential employers. These tips are designed to help streamline your resume and make you stand out above other applicants seeking the same position.

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Microlearning: How to learn effectively during a global pandemic

This is a guest post from Hayley Biggs, marketing coordinator at Ocasta. Ocasta is an employee-focused technology agency and their mission is to transform how people work. They’ve helped the likes of Virgin Media, Next and Tesco Mobile with their employee knowledge platform.

Microlearning isn’t just a nice thing to have, it should be a crucial element of your eLearning strategy, especially during a pandemic. A global pandemic can put an incredible strain on your employee’s attention span, ability to concentrate and the amount of time that they actually have available to train and develop their knowledge.

Below, we are going to list the main benefits of using a microlearning platform during the pandemic and why it is so much more effective than other learning methods out there.

Easy access and flexible nature

The recent pandemic has tipped normal working and training routines on their head. In fact, a survey by Arlo found that 40% of people have deferred or cancelled face to face training sessions and 58% of employees are still working from home. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you offer training which is easy to access and easy to start and stop.

Microlearning has been so popular because employees can jump in and out of learning modules when they have time. Unlike traditional learning management systems, employees don’t have to completely finish a module before they can progress, they can complete half and then come back to it at a later time. Perfect for when urgent work comes up or home commitments get in the way of them moving to the end of their training playlist. These modules are short in length and are usually around 3-5 minutes long making them incredibly easy to fit around an employee’s busy work schedule. Flexibility is paramount during a global crisis because nobody knows what’s around the corner or what the next day may bring.

Improved knowledge retention during a time when concentration levels are low

During a global pandemic, people’s minds struggle to focus on single tasks. They are constantly being bombarded with new and scary information which makes it very difficult to concentrate. Dr Amy Arnsten – a professor of Neuroscience and psychology at Yale University explains that the pandemic has resulted in us cutting off the part of our brain that helps us think beyond the primitive – for extended periods of time. This has meant that our ability to focus is significantly affected which is why it’s essential to choose a learning method that doesn’t overload the brain.

Microlearning content is delivered in small bite-sized chunks which are targeted around highly-focused units of information. These bite-sized chunks are crucial for knowledge retention because the brain can only hold up to seven items at a time in the short-term memory space, microlearning helps the brain remember the information and then eventually transfer it to the long-term memory space. Because learning is only 3-5 minutes long it also means that employees can learn at the point of need. This makes learning much more focused and succinct making employees more likely to remember the knowledge which they have learnt.

Microlearning boosts morale during a global pandemic

During a global pandemic, moods can be low and self-esteem can be down due to lack of social contact, too much or too little work and a change in normal working routines. Traditional learning management systems work by taking employees through a long set of questions and then giving them their final score no matter how good or bad it is. If the score is low, it will deplete the employee’s self-confidence making them feel like they are no good at training and deterring them from wanting to do it again.

Microlearning breaks this negative cycle by giving the learner instant scoring, they’ll be able to see what answers they have gotten correct as they go. It will also reinforce knowledge through repetition so the learner won’t be able to complete the training module until they have got all the questions right. This helps to keep them motivated and makes them feel more knowledgeable and confident about the topic at hand. They will be sent encouraging messages and nudges after every short module which sends their motivation levels soaring.

Tip: Create your own microlearning courses with LearnED, which comes with pre-made courses and assessments.

Microlearning is agile and moves with the speed of the pandemic

The global pandemic has been a steep learning curve for everyone, especially businesses. The constantly changing rules and regulations have been a nightmare for business owners who need to try and keep their staff knowledgeable and informed about the new regulations. This can be exceptionally hard to do when your employees are already busy trying to get on with their day to day tasks.

Microlearning has been so well received during the global pandemic because of its ability to speed up learning. If you have a new cleaning procedure which you need staff to follow you can simply send out a learning playlists under five minutes long and you know that it will be completed on the day or in the same week.

Most importantly, you know that the key information will be embedded in your employee’s mind so the chances of them forgetting your new procedure will be highly unlikely. The other benefit is that a microlearning platform is exceptionally quick to deploy. The pandemic has resulted in 94% of L&D professionals having to change their L&D strategy with their being a major and urgent swing to digital learning. Because of this quick turnaround, it’s been crucial to deploy a learning platform which is quick and easy to use. Microlearning requires minimal training because it is usually mobile-friendly and thus has to be exceptionally simple in it’s design. It’s quick, easy and prides itself on being effortless to pick up and use immediately.

If you are serious about strengthening employee knowledge and are struggling to build up a consistent training routine in these uncertain times then microlearning could be the answer to your prayers.

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How to use emotional and social intelligence coaching to become a great leader

Leadership development has increasingly become a priority as organizations look internally for new leaders, as organizations turn to flatter hierarchies and more people must step up to be leaders, and quality leadership is increasingly linked to improved team performance. Good leaders have to manage teams, regulate emotions, communicate with different types of people, and motivate others through quality and tactful leadership.

Emotional and social intelligence are not the only skills leaders must have, but businesses have recognized their importance since Daniel Goleman coined the term in the 90s. Understanding what emotional intelligence is, how to coach it, and where it impacts business results will help your organization to recognize and develop better leaders.

This article utilizes the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis. This model defines emotional and social intelligence based on their abilities to recognize, understand, and use social and emotional information.


Most people would say they are self-aware. Most people would be wrong. In fact 95% of people answer surveys claiming to be self-aware. Yet, only 10-15% can answer questions in ways that show they actually are. Research by psychologist Tascha Eurich shows that lack of self-awareness in team members and leaders decreases motivation, increases stress, and reduces work productivity.

Fostering self-awareness is difficult, largely because it depends on the ego (sense of self), humility, and the ability to step away from idealizing the self or self-delusion. This means recognizing strengths and weaknesses, recognize how your emotions and actions impact team productivity, and gain real insight into what you are doing and why.

Coaching this behavior typically involves asking leaders to journal, use emotional journaling, to schedule sessions for reflection, and to discuss responses and behavior with their peers.

A good leader should be able to:

  • Step back and acknowledge they took the wrong action (and correct it)
  • Admit they are wrong to their team
  • Acknowledge their weaknesses and make plans to improve or correct them
  • Acknowledge learning is an ongoing process and they will never be done

When a leader practices self-awareness, they make themselves vulnerable to their team, show they are willing to learn, and build trust with their team.


Self-regulation is a critical skill for any leader because it will affect how they are respected, team motivation, team happiness, and culture. Self-regulation is about staying in control of emotions, so that they do not respond with anger, verbally abuse others, stereotype others, make emotional decisions, make decisions out of stress, or otherwise lose emotional control in professional settings.

Some people link self-regulation with maintaining a positive outlook, but it’s more often about remaining calm and waiting to react until they’ve had time to think and review options and information.

Many people will simply respond to things. This can result in very bad reactions and responses. A few angry words can completely demoralize a team, cause someone to quit, end a project. A few well considered words can achieve the opposite.

Coaching leaders into self-regulation can pay off in more ways than once. While this can be difficult because it depends on where the individual is starting from good coaching often incorporates:

  • Considering Values – What are the individual’s values? Why do they value them? How do they uphold them? What’s important and why not? Asking people to actively think about their values and their code of ethics will get them to think about how their behavior aligns with their values, which can help a coach to teach skills they need.
  • Accountability – Good leaders have to take accountability for their own actions. If they can’t control a quick outburst, it’s important to immediately recognize this was problematic and to apologize for it. Taking responsibility for lack of self-regulation is a critical skill, and it is one that can be taught.
  • Calming Down – Skills like mindfulness are increasingly linked to emotional regulation, because it entails staying calm and living in the moment. Breathing exercises, meditation, and exercises centered on learning to let go of stress and stressful situations can be helpful. In most cases, the most important step is to coach individuals to a point where their first reaction to a stressful situation is to step back and take a deep breath and then respond after thinking about the situation.

Having leaders who can intelligently step back and make good and emotionally regulated decisions, even in situations that might normally result in anger, will increase team trust, team motivation, and the team’s ability to have conversations.

Social Awareness

Social awareness, or empathy, is critical for any leader who wants to navigate the emotional and social needs of her team. Social awareness is the simple ability to understand what another is going through or likely going through, to make decisions based on that person’s likely emotional state, and to consider the emotional repercussions of actions when making decisions.

Leaders who strive to understand the emotions of their team are better able to build trust, motivate others, respond in ways that encourage loyalty, and in ways that drive engagement. Building these skills is about constantly working to understand how other people work and why, which often means understanding different personalities, understanding how emotions impact people, and being able to empathize with others. Studies by DDI show that empathy is the number one skill needed by leaders.

Coaching empathy is often about recognizing where and how individuals struggle to connect to others. It can mean asking questions about how another person might be feeling, about what their life at home might be like, and about what factors are being influenced in someone’s lives. It typically often involves teaching hard skills like perspective, body language, and responding to feelings.

Leaders must feel they have the freedom to respect emotions if they are to make decisions based on the emotional needs of their teams. So, if you want leaders to respond emotionally to their team, you need policies enabling flex work, loose deadlines, and structures built around personal freedom and creativity rather than rigid hierarchy and task lists.

Relationship Management

Team leaders manage teams. A large part of that means managing interpersonal relationships inside that team, between the leader and individuals and between individuals. Good leaders listen empathetically, are open to hearing bad news, know how to get a team to support ideas, can resolve conflicts diplomatically, strive for improvement, and work to ensure everyone speaks up and is heard.

Good relationship management will build trust inside the team, but can also actively impact productivity through reducing wasted time on conflicts, increase job satisfaction, and reduce churn rate.

Coaching for positive relationship management includes teaching conflict resolution, helping leaders to review how they resolved conflicts and improve those reactions, improve communication skills, and learn to offer positive and negative criticism. Leaders must be able to recognize emotions in others and discuss them, which does start with doing so in themselves.

Good leadership means building a solid understanding of empathy and how social and emotional factors affect decisions, health, and productivity. People who understand how others interact and feel are able to make good decisions around those people, incorporating those aspects into decisions, and taking everyone into account. This will have a positive impact on team trust, team satisfaction, and productivity.

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Benefits of a strong HR team: How HR improves internal and external communications

12Every business should have their own HR department to conduct hiring, interviews, discuss bonuses and compensation, and more.

However, since the work of HR isn’t always tangible or visible, many might overlook the importance of having an HR team.

A professional HR team has a big impact on the company’s growth and internal and external communications. Here is how.

Internal communications

Internal communication is all about building and maintaining a healthy work environment and keeping the people engaged and motivated.

The HR department builds and enhances the company’s culture by motivating the employees and transferring information across departments.

HR specialists are responsible for the internal PR strategy, meaning, they work on promoting the company’s brand across employees with an aim to increase loyalty and motivation.

Employee engagement

A motivated employee is a great asset to any company. If a person is motivated, s/he is more likely to exceed the set expectations and deliver high-quality results in a stable and consistent manner. On the other hand, an employee with zero motivation can really hurt your company by not doing the job, compromising the company’s authority, and distracting other employees.

However, you don’t expect the company’s CEO to regularly meet with all employees on a regular basis – there’s just no time for that.

So one of the primary goals of the HR department is to cultivate and maintain motivation among the employees and ensure that every person is in their place. And that requires much time, effort and dedication.

For example, the onboarding process is one of the ways to engage an employee with the company’s processes. Simple as it may seem, onboarding is quite complex and consists of many steps.

Organization’s culture

A company’s culture is the representation of a company’s identity, values, and beliefs. And if the employees share this culture and the company’s vision, they will be more motivated and productive due to a comfortable work environment.

An HR specialist has several roles here:

  • To ensure the candidate fits within the company’s culture
  • To inform the candidate about the company’s culture
  • To help the company maintain the culture by holding corresponding activities and events

In this case, the role of an HR specialist is incredibly important: they not only have to find the right candidate who will later become a dedicated employee, but also maintain the company’s culture in a way that is visible for everyone.

Crisis management

In order to identify and prevent problems, involved parties need to be constantly aware of what’s going on. This is where the HR department helps by informing the employees and management about any issues and aligning communication between the teams.

For example, if an employee loses interest in the job, it could be disastrous for the whole project if no action is taken. However, if the HR specialist identifies that something is wrong and passes the message along to a manager, it can save both the employee from quitting and the project from being delayed. By getting informed early on, a manager can assign different tasks to the employee or even transfer them to another department. 

External communications

While internal communications focus on building and enhancing the company’s image within a company itself, external communications build the company’s image for media, potential candidates, etc. And that’s an area of responsibility of HR as well.

Outreach to potential candidates

By building solid company’s culture and motivating existing employees, the HR department can improve the outreach to potential candidates and initiate contact from their side.

If an existing employee is happy with the company, s/he will most likely share the company with friends and peers. One of them may become interested enough to contact the company and get interviewed for a job.

Overall, if a company has a good reputation with a low turnover rate, it will become a convincing factor for many candidates to search there for a job. This, in turn, will result in more talent coming to the company and contributing to its development.

Brand image and the company’s reputation

This point relates to the one above.

Loyal and motivated employees become brand ambassadors for a company and promote it through word-of-mouth. And it’s HR’s responsibility to cultivate and maintain this loyalty so it can benefit the company.

Furthermore, HR specialists are responsible for organization and participation in various events like hackathons and seminars where the company can contact potential candidates, showcase expertise and increase visibility, thus enhancing an established brand.


By building solid company culture and investing time and effort into employees’ motivation, the HR department contributes to enhancing the company’s profile and its steady development. 

Happy employees mean a healthy work environment and excellent results, so the work of HR specialists is an integral element of the company’s development and should not be overlooked.

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Nature or Nurture: The Effect of Workplace Culture on Employee Personality Traits

Businesses today understand personality – including soft skills like empathy, attention to detail, and conscientiousness – vastly impact an individual’s performance, productivity, and ability to work well in teams.

Many organizations spend vast sums on assessing those personality traits, organizing them, and utilizing them in recruitment, leadership, and development programs. But, for many, establishing desirable traits is difficult, if not impossible, thanks to the many large variables in how and why people act the way they do.

Soft skills are almost impossible to teach, but they can be encouraged, not just on an individual but on an organization-wide basis. Workplace culture is increasingly seen as one of the most significant factors influencing how people think and behave at work, and for good reason.

Why Workplace Culture?

People do as people do. We don’t quite “follow the herd”, but we certainly imitate the actions and behavior of those who are more successful or likeable than ourselves. This is established through the theory of memetics, established by Darwin. It’s further elicited in theories like conformist bias and prestige bias, which show that humans are more likely to do as others do, and more likely to do as successful, attractive, and well-liked people do.

What does that mean? If you’ve ever been in a grocery store shopping for an item and have the choice of two brands, one of which is almost sold out, one of which is hardly touched, you’ve likely experienced conformist bias in a measurable way. Most of us will go for the more popular option if we’re unfamiliar with one or both options.

And one only has to look at the popularity of using influencers, whether celebrities or Instagrammers, to sell products to understand that prestige bias is very much a thing. While the basis of this lies in the fact that it’s simpler and more efficient to use heuristics to determine that something is likely to be better if it’s either popular or is used by someone who apparently makes good decisions (they’re successful after all), memetics have deep and meaningful implications in the workplace.

  • People are likely to follow the example of leaders, CEO and Leadership buy-in is a must for culture-change initiatives.
  • If everyone is doing something, everyone else will do it too. You can’t “roll-out change” without isolating individuals receiving coaching.
  • Introducing new people into a dominant culture will change the people, not the culture and vice versa.

Microsoft’s Culture Shift

In 2014, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer stepped down and Satya Nadella took his place. This was the first step of one of the most aggressive and effective culture-change missions in a Fortune 500 company. Microsoft (Then a 130,000-person company) was stagnating, no risks were being taken, and in Nadella’s own words, they had become a “Know-it-all” company.

This was, at least in part, because of the leadership style of Steve Ballmer, who punished mistakes and faults harshly and rapidly. No one would take on risk or admit to being wrong (resulting in mistakes and more risk) because they were afraid of loss of stature, privileges, or their job.

Nadella began by taking simple steps to create large, visible changes to how management operated. He famously purchased a copy of “Nonviolent Communication” for every member of senior management. He integrated new rules relating to innovation, required individuals to spend time innovating, and visibly changed performance measures and goals away from perfection. And, in a massive symbolic gesture, recruitment has shifted away from primarily focused on talent, towards soft skills.

Satya Nadella himself spends over a week each year on “Talent Talks” programs, where he sits down to discuss up and coming talent, development opportunities, and potential with the heads of each branch. All of this is part of Nadella’s switch to a “growth mindset” culture, where he hopes that employees will shift to the soft skills needed for innovation, continued growth, and admitting to what they don’t know.

6 years later, that shift is far from complete. Microsoft’s employees claim that culture shifts are incredibly noticeable and growing. People are more open, more able to make mistakes, more able to innovate, and less divided against each other, because people act as teams rather than harshly punished as individuals.

Those shifts have shown marked changes for Microsoft, which had a stock value of $37.82 in March of 2014 when Nadella took office and saw an all-time high stock value of $188.70 on February 10 of 2020. This growth has noticeably been pushed by innovations in cloud services (365, Azure, Intelligent Cloud), many of which would not have been possible without the innovations pushed by Nadella. And, tellingly, Microsoft now employs over 140,000 people.

Setting Up Culture Shift

Creating a culture shift requires a significant investment into training, personal development, or hiring. It requires a massive, organization-wide shift which requires leadership buy-in and a strategy, complete with measurements, transparent goals, and visible gestures for employees.

  • Break employees up into smaller cultures. You don’t want silos, but you do want to be able to influence cultures in a feasible way. Microsoft uses Orgs of about 100-150 people. Spotify uses Tribes.
  • Gain buy-in from leadership, as well as influential people across the organization. An organizational network analysis will help you identify which key people influence their teams and the people around them.
  • Talk to people to truly understand why and how they act. Competency and behavioral management frameworks may be key.
  • Update performance management to encourage the desired skills wanted and needed. Use this to flag high vs poor performers. Eventually, you will have to fire key people to relieve negative pressure on the culture.
  • Consider establishing teams of people with the “right” behaviors. When you onboard new people – hired to reflect desired company culture – you can implement them into spaces that won’t introduce “bad” traits and behaviors.
  • Remain consistent, consider daily measurement and tracking, and implement measures to visually remind employees of desired changes. Microsoft implemented “Growth Mindset” posters across the organization.
  • Ground changes on goals and purpose. Nadella linked this to growth and remaining market viable. Link change to something achievable, measurable, and definable to every employee asked to change.
  • Implement diverse rollouts, with training, team activities, hiring, and other shifts.

Workplace culture will dramatically affect how people think and act. If your organization needs change, tackling that culture is likely the first place to start. Doing so effectively means identifying consistent behaviors across the workplace (this is your culture), looking for root causes, and reacting to that.

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How to use social media to recruit candidates

For the majority of people, social media implies Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – several most popular platforms these days. And, because they are mostly intended for entertainment purposes, many people do not understand how it is possible to find a perfect candidate somewhere in the Twitter thread about dogs.

However, there are other platforms that are used by a specific audience and this is where recruiters should be present if they want to increase the chances of finding the right person.

Still, social media is a rocky place – people are free to express their ideas and thoughts online so a recruiter should be twice as careful when approaching a candidate on a social media platform.

We’ve compiled a few tips to finding and hiring the perfect candidate on social media. Read on to enhance your recruitment strategy.

Why social media recruiting?

Before looking into social media recruiting strategy, it is important to understand why you actually need it.

People tend to be more open and honest online. For recruiters, it’s a great chance to learn about the person’s interests, views, and ideas and see whether the candidate will be a good fit for the company. For the companies with strong culture and an established set of values, it is especially important to select people with a similar mindset and attitude so that everyone feels comfortable.

As well, people can share their expertise online (i.e. Quora) and the recruiter can immediately assess whether the person is skilled and knowledgeable enough for a certain position.

Thus, social media is a valuable source of information that would otherwise be hard to retrieve during a formal interview or a LinkedIn profile. But recruiters must create and follow a certain strategy in order to gain the most out of social media presence.

Brush up your profiles

One of the biggest mistakes that many companies make is ignoring their own social media profiles when looking for candidates online.

In the world of the Internet, your social media profile is your trademark. It represents the identity of your brand and immediately informs the visitors about your mission, values, and goals.

Now, when a person visits your page and sees an empty profile with no photos and no company description, they will most probably leave – simply because your profile does not seem trustworthy at all. So before writing to people, first, make sure that your page looks good:

  • Fill in all the information about the company: this not only attracts the potential candidates but contributes to SEO ranking and visibility,
  • Add photos,
  • Post content that represents your company’s culture and vision,
  • Use the right hashtags to help people easily find you (i.e. in posts about job openings).

At this stage, your main goal is to create a solid online presence with a visible company image. You need to be recognizable online – otherwise, people will not trust your brand.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is, without a doubt, the most popular professional social platform out there. Candidates use it to search for the vacancies and recruiters use it to reach out to the right people and promote the companies.

While LinkedIn seems to be a piece of cake, there are still some rules to follow if you want this platform to bring you the most profit.

Always personalize your message

The worst thing that a candidate may receive on LinkedIn is a random and non-personalized message from a recruiter.

On one hand, it is understandable that after screening 100+ profiles, a recruiter can make a mistake and send the wrong message to the wrong person. However, if you want to show genuine interest and respect for a person, always take some time to personalize the message and make it interesting for the candidate.

Use relevant filters

Filtering is probably the easiest way to find the right candidate but many recruiters still seem to ignore it.

Filtering allows you to search the candidates by location, experience, occupation, etc. So once you have a profile of a perfect candidate, match it to the right filters and it will be much easier and quicker to find a person.

Do not rely on groups solely

LinkedIn groups are either open or private communities where people can share their expertise and thoughts. Unfortunately, marketers actively use these groups as well as an easy way to promote the company’s content. Because of that, it becomes really hard to find one experienced candidate among dozens of marketers or expert wannabes.

While the presence in LinkedIn groups is preferable, do not see it as your only or primary talent pool.

Use niche platforms

LinkedIn is awesome – but have you tried GitHub or Quora?

There are several niche social media platforms that are amazing in terms of finding experienced and knowledgeable candidates. For developers, these are Stack Overflow and GitHub, marketers occupy such platforms as Moz, and management actively participates in conversations on Quora. Even when you are browsing a website dedicated to SEO and Marketing, you can see the author of your favorite post and get in touch with them.

Work with niche platforms requires much more time and effort than search via LinkedIn – but the results tend to be more accurate and satisfying as you can immediately see one’s level of knowledge and experience.

Invest in internal PR

Internal PR is all about promoting the company’s image and brand among the company’s employees. So what does it have to do with social media recruiting?

The thing is, satisfied and loyal employees usually become the company’s ambassadors and gladly share their experience and ideas with friends and peers. Once you create a strong internal PR culture and enhance the company’s culture, the employees will more actively talk about the company online – thus, attracting new potential candidates to check you out. People greatly trust the feedback from friends and family – use it to your advantage.

Final word

Recruiting on social media is not easy and may be even harder than the standard recruitment process – but it’s 100% worth it. To sum up, remember the do’s and don’ts’ of social media recruitment.


  • Show genuine interest – never spam either people or groups
  • Personalize your messages and do a bit of research
  • Keep your company’s profile active and filled-in


  • Never spam the candidates with copycat messages
  • Do not recruit in inappropriate places (i.e. Instagram)
  • Do not assess one’s skills based solely on their social media profile

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How AR and VR can help you onboard and train employees

Training and onboarding employees can be time-consuming and complex, but it’s a vital process for your company’s overall success. If employees understand and share company values, know their responsibilities, and can adapt to various situations, this brings a positive impact on work results.

While HR specialists do their best to optimize the onboarding and training processes, they cannot predict how an employee will act in certain situations, or how well s/he understood the company’s processes.

To fill this gap, more and more companies are using AR and VR technologies for training and onboarding. Although these technologies are usually associated with gaming, they prove to be incredibly beneficial for business purposes as well.

Here are the biggest benefits the use of AR and VR brings to the HR department.

A look inside the company’s culture and inner processes

Ideally, an employee should share the company’s values and mission in order to become a good fit and enjoy a comfortable working environment. However, you cannot always tell whether candidates will do this, and employees will have a hard time deciding fit after a few interviews.

To offer candidates a better acquaintance with the company, business owners can start using VR during onboarding. One of the most popular uses of this technology is a virtual tour around the company’s office, which is especially important for freelance or part-time employees.

Such tours allow the employees to see the company’s office, internal processes and even meet the people. Not only does the VR-tour enhance the employee-company connection, it gives a good idea of the prevailing dress-code and everyday internal processes.

Better training and risk management

Managers can hold as much training as they want, but there is no guarantee that training will prepare a candidate for real-life issues like an emergency or an angry customer. To better address this and ensure employees know how to act in critical situations, companies use AR or VR technologies to recreate a certain situation and teach employees to act properly.

Before, AR/VR technologies were mainly used for potentially dangerous jobs (i.e. firefighting) to teach people how to react to certain situations. But now, you can use it to train even soft skills.

One good example of this is Walmart. The company decided use VR to prepare their employees for the holiday season, long lines, and huge crowds. This approach worked brilliantly as employees (especially the new ones) got an understanding of what awaited them, and were ready to professionally manage all sorts of customer issues.

Improved employee education

Just how many times have you read an email and then forgot about it? With VR, you can help get messages to stick. VR provides immersion into virtual surroundings, helping someone absorb the experience more than through reading the plain text of an email.

Using VR can lead to better training, learning, and development results for your employees. Plus, due to the efficiency of this technology, VR can be more cost-saving, because once you develop the course you can distribute it to your employees without further manpower (ie. a facilitator).

Interactive assessment of candidates

Today, companies pay special attention to soft skills, but ordinary interviews and standard HR assessment tools are only one tool to reveal a candidate’s personality. For example, when someone is aware they’re being interviewed, they could behave differently from their normal working behavior.

Some companies use AR to overcome this problem and assess candidates from the start. Jaguar, for example, designed a fun mobile game with AR technology. The candidates would play it and the company, meanwhile, assessed their persistence, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

It is not obligatory to create a whole mobile application just to assess the candidates during the onboarding, but it is certainly a good idea to use AR for HR purposes.

Things to remember

Even though the use of AR and VR technologies in your onboarding and training processes sounds quite tempting, there are a few things to remember that will help you get the most out of these tools.

First, define your goals. The use of new technology is awesome as soon as you clearly understand why you need it. Do not go for VR just because everyone does. Analyze your processes, identify problem areas and estimate whether the implementation of AR/VR will bring any tangible benefits.

Second, do not rush to use complex VR videos or massive AR apps. Start small and see how well the employees and candidates accept this innovation, and then continue working on it in accordance with the feedback. After all, you are not doing it for yourself, but for the people that work in the company and help it grow and develop.

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