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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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4 Essential Personality Tests for Strategic Recruitment

It’s likely your company will already have screening measures in place when hiring new candidates.

Screening for factors such as work history, educational background, drug use and criminal background are routine recruitment practice across many organizations.

But what about personality? How does your company ensure the candidate your hiring is the best fit the role, your business and the wider company team? By using personality tests during recruitment, you can strategically ensure that you are hiring the best possible candidate for the role.

Benefits of using personality tests for recruitment

There can be many advantages to using personality tests during your hiring process. In today’s competitive market, personality tests can help you narrow down the candidate pool before they even reach the in-person interview stage.

At the interview stage, personality tests can help the interviewer ask questions that delve deeper into the skills and behaviors demonstrated in the personality assessment results. This allows the interview to gauge a deeper understanding of the applicant and whether they would be a suitable fit for the team, role and organization.

When interviewing candidates, it’s important to ensure you don’t get blindsided by their charm or the initial impression they’ve made. Although a candidate may make a great first impression in the interview, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right person for the job. Using personality tests alongside your existing recruitment strategy offers a more rounded and accurate representation of the candidates personality, competencies and working style. All of which will help eliminate any biases created by those first impressions upon meeting the candidate.

Personality tests you need to use in recruitment

There’s an array of personality tests available to choose from. So many in fact that it can be hard knowing which personality test is the right one to use in your recruitment process. To help you get the most out of personality tests for hiring, we’ve evaluated the most popular personality tests for recruitment and devised this list of the four essential personality tests for strategic recruitment. Measuring a variety of candidate metrics, these personality tests can be used together or in isolation to ensure you choose the most suitable candidate. By using these tests to understand the personality and emotional intelligence of your chosen candidate you can help set them up for success in their new career.

Myers Briggs

One of the most widely known and used personality tests is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. This personality assessment has helped millions of people worldwide gain insights about themselves and how they interact with others. Used by over 88% of Fortune 500 companies, the MBTI assessment can be described as the go-to framework for people development across the world.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment comprises 16 different personality types based upon Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type. The MBTI assessment is a great indicator of cultural fit. Understandings from this personality test can help HR employees to manage personal development, support team and leadership training, diffuse workplace conflicts and evaluate career change, and transitions.

It’s important to note that the Myers Briggs personality test shouldn’t be used as an indicator of performance. Instead, it should be used to inform decisions about whether or not the applicant would be a good cultural fit for the company and the team.

DISC profile

The DISC profile has far fewer personality traits that the Myers Briggs personality test; four to be precise. These 4 personality traits are reflected in the name of the personality test which is an acronym for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The Everything DISC profile is a shorter and more user friendly version of the DISC personality assessment making it great for use during the interview stage of the hiring process.

The DISC personality test is great for measuring a job applicant’s temperament. However, DISC is ipsative which means it isn’t possible to compare candidate results to one-another. Without the ability to compare test takers’ scores, the test can’t be used to predict future behavior. Instead, DISC should be used to review the potential strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

Profile XT®

If you’re looking for a pre-employment screening test that is multi-purpose, the Profile XT assessment is exactly what you need. Covering pre-employment screening, selection, development, training, managing, and succession planning, this personality test is an all-encompassing assessment for evaluating the suitability of job candidates.

This employee assessment measures how well an individual fits specific jobs in your organization, and the results can be used during the training or succession planning stages. The Profile XT is customizable allowing you to alter the test to suit your company requirements.

Thanks to its extensive nature, including 20 performance indicators, behavioural traits, interests, aptitude, thinking and reasoning, the Profile XT assessment can be used for candidate matching. As a result, you are able to compare candidates, deduce how well suited each of them are to the role, and find the best-matched candidate for that specific job.

California Psychological Inventory

During the hiring process, it can be difficult to determine how a candidate will handle workplace challenges, relationships and tasks. Understanding a candidate’s competencies and, in particular, how they may react under certain circumstances is crucial for confidently evaluating whether they’ll be successful in the role they’re applying for.

The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) can help remove the guesswork around candidate competencies. This personality assessment offers feedback on work-related characteristics such as sociability, conceptual understanding, and independence. By assessing these characteristics, the CPI can forecast how candidates may react under specific circumstances.

Role-specific personality tests

When hiring for a specific role, you may find that there are role-specific personality tests that you can use to determine candidate suitability.

The Profiles Sales Assessment can be used to measure how well an applicant fits a Sales role so that you can optimize your company sales performance. For customer service roles, you can use the Customer Service Profile to see whether an applicant has the right behavioral characteristics to provide outstanding customer service. Moreover, when hiring for a managerial role it’s important that they will fit the company and team dynamic. By using the Profiles Managerial Fit assessment you can evaluate whether an applicant has the correct managerial style to suit the required supervisor-subordinate relationship.

Personality assessments for improving future performance

It’s important to continue with personality assessments after the hiring process. By testing employees frequently throughout their career, you can evaluate performance and help candidates further themselves with their career.

Personality tests can be advantageous for your organization. By integrating personality assessments into your candidate screening process and employee training program, you can leverage employee happiness and productivity and, in turn, boost the success of your organization.

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How to improve dysfunctional team performance with behavioral assessments

A dysfunctional team is one that consistently loses performance by failing to work and collaborate together in a professional or desirable way. Problems arising in teams and between team members are one of the major problems contributing to loss of performance but solving them can be difficult.

This is especially true because team dysfunction can stem from direct leadership (managers, Scrum leaders, etc.), leaders (business direction, business policy), and from individuals.

Stepping back to assess problems and recognize where things are going wrong is one of the first steps to solving those issues, and in many teams, it will often reveal issues with communication, emotional intelligence, and ego. This may be cultural or local to the team, but should be corrected, and quickly.

One study showed that negative behavior in teams is effective for most dysfunction, although negative behavior may stem from poor soft skills, lack of motivation from leadership, poor leadership, or other issues.

Understanding Teams and Their Leaders

Dysfunctional teams are reflections of a whole. It’s difficult to have healthy leaders or team members if either is unhealthy. But it’s critical to review both independently to look for the source of dysfunction. Chances are, you will find issues with both, but they might both be different and unrelated.

Personality Mapping

Understanding individual personalities that make up a team is important for ensuring teams align in terms of communication style, emotional intelligence, work ethic, work method, and social needs. MBTI shows there are 16 basic personality types and not all of them get along. Team conflicts may stem from simple issues relating to different methods of communication.

For example, a team lead might be communicating in strict, pragmatic instructions to a team made up of mostly creative people who need freedom to do things in their own way, resulting in stifled creativity and dropping morale. In some cases, direct personality clashes can also result in constant or regular conflict, sparking issues throughout the team.

In addition, understanding the personalities of the people on your teams can help with improving performance across the organization. Team composition based on personality is increasingly regarded as important to performance and individual happiness, because a mix of personalities functions better, is more creative, and can collaborate in ways that a silo of similar personalities will not.

Most team frameworks are based on personality assessments like MBTI or The Big 5 but will help you to see where different people complement or clash with each other.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, emotional quotient or EQ is increasingly seen as crucial to how people function together. Emotional intelligence can be defined as a measure of how people recognize their own emotions and those of others, use that information to guide behavior and thoughts, and manage or adjust emotions and thoughts to other people and to achieve goals. EQ dates back to the 1960s, but was popularized by David Goleman, who argues that 67% of leadership and team goals can be met with EQ rather than IQ.

Measuring EQ with assessments like EQ-I 2.0 can help you to understand how well people are communicating. This can be important, especially in instances where some people are emotionally intelligent and others are not.

People who are not emotionally intelligent can come off as rude, impolite, and hurtful. Leaders lacking emotional intelligence can deeply damage morale. Like other soft skills, EQ is a learnable skill and there are workshops, courses, and books on the market to help teams develop those behaviors.

Asking Questions

Sometimes, dysfunctional behavior builds up over time, typically in relation to a few incidents that slowly get worse. What started out as a single toxic person can result in an incredibly dysfunctional team, despite the team otherwise being functional. This type of behavior is difficult to assess without actually going in, asking questions, and seeing how the team works first-hand. Swapping leaders, implementing behavior coaches, and implementing workshops can be a good way to assess this behavior.

Solving Dysfunctional Behavior

It’s difficult to assess a team and immediately recognize where problems are from and why. In some cases, problems stem from processes and bureaucracy. In others, it’s simply teams not working together. And, in others, it’s poor leadership. It’s important to be open minded and unbiased, which potentially means having assessments completed by a third-party.

Problem: Disagreements are not addressed but are problematic

Team members frequently disagree but feel unable to discuss problems or resolve them. This can lead to unhealthy interpersonal conflict and dropping morale. This lack of trust will result in lack of team collaboration because individuals won’t ask for help or feedback, won’t utilize the skills or strengths of others, and, in short, won’t be part of a team.

Solution – Review why teams fail to discuss problems and implement solutions to fix those issues. For example, if teams feel they aren’t listened to, implementing EQ workshops may be a good solution.

Healthy debates should be encouraged, even if encouragement involves creating team-building exercises and working to solve negative behavior such as others calling out individuals in unhealthy ways. Getting over this type of issue may require acknowledging and working on specific instances in personal history.

Problem – People talk about each other behind their backs

This can lead to silos, “cliques” and “us versus them” behavior, and often ripples out from leadership.

Solution – Assess root problems, implement workplace ethics workshops, and stage workshops on having healthy upfront discussions where people feel free to share criticism to each other.

This may also stem from leaders feeling unable to offer criticism to someone who is “emotional”, which likely means the leader needs communication or emotional intelligence training. Feedback should always be given directly to the person, not to anyone else on the team.

Problem – Not everyone contributes

Healthy teams discuss things together. Dysfunctional teams typically rely on one or two people who take up all the time, space, and air. This can stem from people not being listened to, from the leader feeling like they have the only voice, and people simply not feeling as though they can speak up. In a worst-case scenario, people will either pretend to be on board with ideas they don’t agree with or will remain silent, but will end up working on solutions they don’t agree with or like.

Solution – Implement team-building exercises such as role-swapping, create mandatory speaking roles for everyone in the team, and have leaders specifically call out individuals to ensure everyone contributes. Discussion and debate lead to productive creativity and collaboration. Teams have to acknowledge that a certain amount of conflict is productive.

Problem – Teams work aimlessly

Often, this means that communication style doesn’t line up between how projects are communicated and how teams prefer to work. This can result in teams over analyzing and wasting energy or lacking confidence or feeling stifled by too much structure.

Solution – Assess how people communicate and work to match leadership, project, and team styles up as much as possible. Most organizations have space for every type of leader, assessing team types and matching leadership to that team is the best way to solve this issue.

Dysfunctional teams are everywhere, but the causes of dysfunction are often multifaceted. It’s important to assess the full culture including leadership, individual interaction, individuals, and company culture to determine what might be wrong and why. Only then can you implement the right solutions to create teams that stay healthy for the long-term.

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Choosing the Right Assessment for Your HR Needs

Personality and behavior assessments help organizations streamline screening and selection processes using validated and predictive data. This can give insight into not only what makes individuals successful in the organization and in their roles, but also into how people fit together, communicate, complement each other, and contradict each other. Highly effective assessments afford near-seamless options for HR to get a deeper look at candidates, driving better decisions and reducing turnover.

But, with dozens of assessment options on the market, choosing one can be difficult. HR and recruitment professionals are left with the task of narrowing options with the need to show immediate results and return on value to finance. Doing so can be difficult. It can also be a mistake.

Good assessments are made up of multiple assessment tools, typically using frameworks built on multiple assessment types and combining personality, behavioral, competency, and other assessments. In many cases, the same assessments are not valuable across every role or for every individual. So, HR professionals are recommended to create selection criteria and use that to choose a range of tools that will create a better picture of the individual.

Set Goals for Recruitment

Recruitment goals should align with long-term business goals, short-term business changes, and meeting team and culture needs. Chances are, these goals are already defined inside your organization and you can simply adopt them.

Most recruitment professionals also have secondary goals such as:

  • Creating a better recruitment experience for candidates
  • Reducing the cost versus quality of hiring
  • Reducing turnover
  • Improving employee happiness and therefore reducing churn
  • Making unbiased but quality hires

Each of these goals can help you target which assessments you might need depending on selection criteria.

Set Goals for Assessments

What should your assessment do? In most cases, a good assessment will fulfill at least the following goals:

  • Deliver objective and legally defensible information into the hiring process
  • Create a cost-effective and efficient interview process by integrating behavioral and personality testing to highlight desirable or undesirable traits
  • Reduce the need to use hunches and impressions in the hiring process
  • Increase understanding of the candidate’s skills, behavior, preferences, and personality
  • Equip HR with the tools to develop employees and teams and make selections based on that goal

Most assessments fall into a few categories including:

  • Technical skills test (e.g., Excel test)
  • Cognitive ability test (OPM or Harver)
  • Situational judgment test
  • Communication skills test
  • Job simulation test
  • Competency assessment (typically soft skills rather than hard)
  • Behavioral assessment (may overlap with competency)
  • Personality assessment (MBTI)

You can then choose which of these are most relevant to your organization. Here, many organizations can drop technical skills tests (technical skills are easy to train, except where advancement in those skills is crucial to success), to focus on factors such as behavior that influence actual performance. For example, it’s a lot easier to teach a candidate Excel than it is to teach an affinity for numbers and pattern recognition, or a high sense of personal motivation.

Reliability and Validity

Reliability and validity are two incredibly important factors to consider when choosing HR assessments. Here, most are scored based on data on how often individuals score the same on a test.

However, most assessments are scored by their manufacturers or by companies selling those services, so you may want to invest in personal research if you doubt results.

For example, the MBTI foundation publishes that test-takers receive the same results on assessments 75-90% of the time.

Validity is also incredibly crucial. Validity refers to whether an assessment can be validated or not. Most HR assessments will have validity data published online. Most organizations should also continue to collect data to validate the assessment and its results inside their own organization.

This can be difficult and expensive but is necessary to ensure continued budget and the long-term use of an assessment, based on an understanding that it works. You cannot say, “Candidates who score high on X show higher performance, so we will prioritize these candidates in the hiring process”, without validating that data.

Reliable Results

It’s crucial that any test have anti-faking measures and have measures with which to measure that candidates are lying, giving the answers they think you want to hear, and quite simply, panicking. Any test that relies on questions like “I am a hard worker” without using alternative measures to test those results in more subtle ways to validate those answers probably won’t function very well.

Once you have a test, it’s important that any HR or recruitment professionals using it actually take the assessment themselves, and hopefully multiple times. Understanding the assessment, what answering it is like, and what candidates are likely to see in relation to their role is critical to assessing whether results are reliable or not.


Many HR assessments cannot be implemented off-the-shelf. While some out-of-the-box solutions exist, most behavioral and competency assessments will have to be tweaked and updated to meet individual organization’s and should align with a behavioral or competency framework, if one is in place.

For larger organizations, this may mean adjusting assessments, assessment type, and assessment questions based on role, development tract, and whether the intended candidate is intended for eventual leadership development or not. Therefore, it may be crucial that any HR assessment framework you adopt be customizable, or that the provider offers internal analysis and setup to ensure implemented solutions meet your organization’s needs.

No matter what your organization is intending to measure, it’s critical that your assessments be up for the job. This often means choosing assessments that are scientifically validated, reliable, resistant to gaming (cheating), customizable, and able to provide diverse needs based on the candidate, the role, and the hiring manager in question.

For many organizations, this does mean choosing multiple assessments, optimizing each for their own hiring process, and creating a process to improve and further optimize those assessment over time as you begin to collect your own data.

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When to Use Personality Tests in Hiring

Pre-Employment personality tests or assessments are used by some 13% of all organizations, including 89% of Fortune 100 companies. These assessments include MBTI, Caliper Profile, OPQ32, Hogan Personality Inventory, DiSC, and others, but all work to assess and define a candidate’s personality traits based on predetermined profiles.

While pre-employment personality testing is rampant, it’s also come under heavy criticism in recent years, with organizations using personality testing for very specific and sometimes unethical hiring goals (like looking for a specific MBTI type to fill a role). Unfortunately, most personality tests and assessments don’t actually fill those hyper-specific hiring profiles.

At the same time, personality testing can provide valuable insight into the pre-employment screening process. It can guide recruitment and HR professionals as they search for specific people to fill roles, can help to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate based on existing teams and company culture, and can make it easier for those professionals to create success tracts for those individuals after hire. The following guide outlines some of the occasions when personality testing aids hiring.

When Assessing Culture Fit

Culture-fit, or lack of it, is a key factor behind employee loyalty, employee happiness, and turnover. The high cost of replacing employees is one of the key reasons behind the high adoption of pre-employment personality tests, because it can help to reduce poor culture-fit issues. Personality tests can help you to determine how and where an individual fits into your current culture, where they came from, and whether they could add something or will simply clash with existing culture.

Here, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Culture clashes may be a good thing if you want to “Shake things up”. But, the culture-clash employee needs to have enough power to drive change or they will simply be ostracized
  • Complementary does not mean the same. If personality testing shows compatible but different styles, this is likely an ideal candidate for the culture
  • Assessing personality aspects such as adaptability, learning style, etc., which can help when determining culture fit and when planning to integrate someone into a culture

To Better Understand the Candidate (And Their Answers)

Personality tests have historically been used in ways that are unsuitable to the personality test. For example, retail stores have long used personality and integrity tests to attempt to gauge the integrity of candidates.

But, data increasingly shows that employees with no integrity are very likely to simply lie on the test. In addition, many employees will simply fill out whatever they think the employer wants to hear, which can be intensely problematic for collecting the right data. Others can give wrong answers because they are panicking, which can also skew data.

What’s the best answer? Retesting, asking employees to take tests multiple times, and ensuring that a portion of any testing includes questions designed to assess the mental state (nervousness, anxiety) and honesty of the candidate. This often involves asking personalized questions which can be verified using other means, re-testing, and slipping the same questions in in multiple formats to assess continuity and intent behind answers.

Candidate answers can help you determine what the employee needs to fit into the organization, their potential development tract, what their onboarding should include, how they should be motivated (fiscally, with development opportunities, with perks, etc.) and much more.

Ensuring Team Fit

Team fit is as if not more important than culture fit. This pertains to how an individual’s personality fits into their team, how they communicate with that team, and what they bring to that team. Here, diversity and complementary personalities are often the best fit. More types of people result in more creativity, more options and solutions, and a broader perspective on problem solving. But, it can result in clashes when personality types don’t get along.

  • Where is your current team weak? What are their flaws? Can other personality traits compensate?
  • What personality types get along with but aren’t the same as existing personality types?
  • Will the individual get along with their new team without fitting into a silo or echo chamber?

In most cases, you get more value from personality tests when you use them to compare the candidate with the team they will fit into, because it allows you to look at long-term potential. It can also help you avoid adding someone who completely does not fit into a team simply because they have a “desirable” personality.

Of course, you always want to follow up with having the candidate actually meet the team, because personality tests can be faulty, but testing can be a good way to narrow candidates down based on potential fit.

Complementing Communication Styles

People communicate in different ways. The more you understand the communication styles of your managers and leaders, the easier it is to choose individuals who fit into those communication styles. Here, you don’t have to choose exact matches. MBTI suggests there are two major types of communicators, NF and SP.

NF communicators use abstraction and mostly want people under them to create their own solutions inside that. SP communicators share exacts and typically want to give or follow instructions. There is a place for both in most organizations, because both fill very valuable roles.

Understanding that upfront will help you to determine placement, so you don’t, for example, put a highly creative and independent person on a maintenance team, or someone who likes to complete tasks on an innovation team.

Assessing Behavior

Behavior is the number one cause of turnover, faulty C-suite hires and promotions, and poor team fit. Personality tests can be excellent assessors of behavior in the pre-hiring phase, because they allow you to assess not only what the individual is answering, but also how they behave in a high-stress environment, how they respond to questioning, and how answers might change across repeat testing. This can give you a significantly better picture of what the candidates real behavior is over simply assessing their prepared answers to questions.

Personality testing isn’t always valuable in hiring. For example, you should never use it to make hiring decisions. It can help you to make smarter decisions regarding placement, onboarding, development, and much more. And, you can use it to follow up on employees after the hire to ensure you continue to understand and support them in the workplace.

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