Don't Clone Yourself! Why Thinking Differently Pays Off When You're Recruiting


In small business your focus is so often on operations - building, marketing and delivering product. The business grows, time passes and market needs are catered for. All good.

More business means you recruit more staff. And there’s the rub. Because replicating success doesn’t necessarily mean replicating your people.

Unlikely though it sounds, to build on the success you’ve achieved so far, you need people who think differently from you.

There are typically six different ways of solving a problem and they’re all equally valid, says Juliet Bourke, Partner of Consulting at Deloitte, in her Ted Talk on human capital.

It seems we each think in just a couple of those ways. A staggering 93% of those surveyed in Bourke’s research said that Outcomes and Options were the factors most important to consider when making a decision.

That left the four remaining factors of People, Process, Evidence and Risk deliberated by a mere 7%.

This is dangerous stuff, says Bourke. If you’re sketchy on Process, People, Evidence and Risk, you ask fewer questions about different ways to solve problems. You listen less when someone gives you an idea that’s different. And frankly, you may not care.

Even more worryingly, she says, 75% of senior leaders who were surveyed focused entirely on Outcomes and Options, at the expense of the four other vital factors.

Bourke points to leaders and thinkers who actively engage with people whose perspective differs from their own. Obama, President of a world superpower. Warren Buffett – the world’s most successful investor. Charles Darwin, father of evolutionary theory.

We should learn from these guys. Because whatever your politics, none of them are Muppets.

Bourke suggests that for business to be smarter, it’s vital we don’t give in to the ‘bias of sameness’ when recruiting. Don’t clone your point of view. Do something to rebalance the conversation.

When it’s time to recruit, think differently. Think laterally and smartly. Diversify.

Recruiting differently will not cost you any more. It simply requires you to have an open mind. And if your craft is not recruitment, ask for help. Don’t expect to be able to do it as well as a specialist - outsource. That’s what #HR is here for. We help you recruit better. We help you think differently.


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Is the Matrix Upon Us?


With Microsoft, Google and IBM racing to create the first human-like robots fired by artificial intelligence, we could be forgiven for thinking that The Matrix might be upon us!

So are robots really going to take over the world? And are we in the business world ready for it?

We’re told that Artificial Intelligence will supersede cognitive reasoning and that we should prepare for a hostile takeover of jobs, as robots are brought in to replace real people. It sounds over the top - but one look back at even the most recent of history books and it’s clear we’ve been here before!  

Robotics have been highly instrumental in the record high number of redundancies made within the manufacturing industry.  In the United States alone, an astounding five million manufacturing jobs have been lost this millennium, despite the steady increase in production by 2.2% each year since 2006.

In a recent Australian article by Business Insider, technology is predicted to be the key to 40% percent of job losses by the year 2030. The roles identified as the highest risk are accommodation and food services (86.7%), transportation and warehousing (75%), retail trade (66,6%) and administration and support services (62.2%).

Technology experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have even said that some transport companies won't need to hire humans to drive 18-wheelers - they'll be driving themselves by 2032. Sounds far-fetched, right?

Many believe that these statistics will have more impact in industrialised countries, that they will open the door for more manufacturing and production off-shore where labour hire and overheads are less costly, with high cost back home in terms of the labour force headcount.

Whatever, the future brings for the living, breathing workforce of today, robotics are on their way and as business owners and employers, we’d be smart to start thinking about the ways Artificial Intelligence will infiltrate our industry.


When HR and business leaders in the Principality of Luxembourg were polled on their readiness to handle technologies to support digital innovation, only 35% could say they were capable enough to switch. 70% agreed that it was important and 33% had already taken on some innovation already.

Being ready to join the cohort in the business world who will take the lead requires a sophisticated strategy. Researching workforce trends and industry innovations, and keeping your management and workforce informed is only the beginning.  Transforming our business model to maintain cohesiveness and productivity while we invest in and implement this new technology are first steps to look at.

While we jest about The Matrix, we know that today’s machines aren’t the Hal 9000 that Kubrick created in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Robotics and automation remain subordinate - to the people like us, who program them.

Let’s take one of HR’s most significant tasks as an example: recruitment. It’s forecasted that scanning resumes will become automated. But the programming of automated services that do this task will still need to be written, coded and put in place - by us.  Determining the right skill set, experiences, education of the potential recruit, and writing the algorithms to calculate their potential, will remain a human element.  

Where the technology will be transformative, however, is in its potential to transform our discussions. Rather than sifting through the overwhelming load of administrative tasks involved in recruitment, we will outsource this to automation and spend our human time instead conducting meaningful discussions about the true attributes required for the job.  Time and resources can then be invested into creative recruitment and recruiting on merit - considering candidates who may have otherwise been dismissed because of bias or stereotypes.

As a result the collective, not the machine, will have the capacity to better direct our human resources, making the right choices thoughtfully, carefully and thoroughly.


Royal astronomer Sir Martin Rees believes that we’re rapidly heading toward a ‘post-human future’, and that ‘the period of time occupied by organic intelligence is just a thin sliver between early life and the long era of the machines.’

Perhaps a slightly more balanced and less extreme view is provided by the McKinsey & Company report , which says ‘While automation will eliminate very few occupations entirely, it will affect portions of almost all jobs to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the type of work they entail.’

What we know for sure is that Artificial Intelligence is on its way, in every industry.  It is part of our future economic growth and the development of every business, big and small.  Now is the time to begin our thinking and strategy transformation, considering how innovation may help your business, but most importantly how will it change the way you do business.   From the people you employ, to the jobs that they do! 


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Visual Marketing Gets the Right Bum on Seat (But Only If You Choose Well)

Visual Marketing Gets the Right Bum on Seat (But Only If You Choose Well)

We think about office design a lot at #HR. And we’ve noticed that small business owners tend to shy away from innovation and creativity.

What kind of impression are you creating in your space?

Research about visual imagery in content marketing has us all convinced of the power of visuals. An active consumer will be swayed to your brand once they are visually stimulated. If what they see and feel is compelling, they will remember you. Best of all they will share their experience with others.

BAM! Free marketing.

In her article ‘The Power of Imagery in Content Marketing’, commentator Savannah Louie cites the findings that people remember just 10 percent of what we hear.

Yada yada.

What we read is only incrementally better – we remember 20%. There’s a lot of waffle being written, and read.

But of what we see and do we remember a staggering 80 percent.

So doesn’t it pay to design the space your people see daily, where they do a great job for you with this in mind?

Imagine the scene through a new recruit’s eyes. They arrive at your office to find a fit-out dragged into this millennium from the ‘80s. Mix-and- match furniture, clunky partitions and colour schemes far from on-trend. How is this making your recruit feel? Excited to be joining you?

Take the scales from your eyes, we say! And get visual!

Your target recruitment pool – the millennials - will be less than interested in such a space. Depending on your market segment you might be limiting your sales capacity too if the hackneyed feel of your surroundings extends to your branding.

Bye-bye, free marketing.

Sure, the Baby Boomers may still be satisfied with your traditional approach. That’s because it fits them like a tatty old slipper.

But Gen X and the Millennials may not even step through your door, let alone consider a good position you have vacant.

Great news! It doesn’t take a big budget to make simple changes and turn things your way. It’s about planning first and executing smartly.

It takes imagination and creativity. And that one clever consultant who knows what they’re doing, to pull it together effectively.

Like to see what happens when you outsource the concept and implementation to people who know design? Like to get those millennial bums on funky on-trend seats and have them bring their fresh perspective to your business?

Check out #HR’s website for more details on #HR Design and contact us today.



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Police Checks – and Staying in Line on Recruitment Practice


Recruitment and the legislation governing it is now one of the most complex areas in which a business engages, and it’s vital to get it right.

Twelve months ago, Senator Derryn Hinch made an adjournment speech in Australian Parliament, in which he publicly named a convicted child molester who was employed at McDonalds. His announcement triggered a chain of events that prompted an investigation into the food chain’s recruitment process – and as a result of the revelations, McDonalds commenced compulsory criminal checks for all applicants over the age of 18.


In Australia, some industries are legally required to conduct police checks under legislative or regulatory frameworks for registration, licensing or employment purposes. And some of these occupations may include, but are not limited to, lawyers, community care workers, teachers, the police, correctional staff, taxi drivers, financial brokers - you get the drift.

There are many other industries – such as iconic fast-food chains, walking a tightrope in this area. Because while more and more employers choose to conduct criminal history checks as part of their own risk mitigation strategy, it isn’t compulsory.


InterCheck Australia, an accredited police screening service, highlights the large number of companies who do not fully understand best practice surrounding criminal history checking procedures. ‘This can be a real danger for businesses, because there are ramifications and risks associated when handling, storing, sharing and making adverse decision based on criminal history information.’

Under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has the power to investigate workplace discrimination on the grounds of a person’s criminal record. According to the guidelines provided by the AHRC, whether or not a criminal record is relevant depends on the inherent requirements of a position.

Where an individual’s criminal record prevents them from performing the inherent requirements of a job, discrimination is unlikely to be argued. So, if a prospective employee is found to have prior convictions that prevent them from working in such an industry, an employer is free to refuse employment for this reason.


And then there are some other types of pre-employment checks that can be risky business from an evidentiary perspective. The burden of proof rests with the employer to ensure that criminal history checks are only conducted when they’re directly related to the inherent requirements of a role. When it’s not - and the employer decides that the candidate is not right for the role, they need to be very clear of their reasons behind their decision. And here’s where the risk lies.

Proving that a candidate is not offered a job because of reasons unrelated to their criminal history may be complex - and verge on discrimination. And depending on your business’s location and jurisdiction, the laws can differ accordingly. Best practice is knowing the regulations in your region, and then putting appropriate compliance system in place prior to implementing any type of pre-employment screening.


  1. In the case of McDonalds, Hinch’s argument was the fast food chain’s failure to recognise any alignment between an applicant’s criminal history and the inherent requirements of the positions they offer. McDonald’s eventually changed their processes - but it has been at an unmeasurable cost.

  2. An applicant should not automatically be dismissed because of their criminal record if the disclosed criminal record is irrelevant to the intended role. Actions like this may expose a business to claims of workplace discrimination, as stipulated under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act.

If you have any doubts, contact a professional who can support you through this process. Look for a consultant with the right expertise, a thorough knowledge of best practice and the legislation governing it. Get the right advice first and avoid making any on-the-spot decision.

Do what’s right for your business, your employees and your consumers!

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One Quick Way to Kill Productivity - Hire the Wrong Recruit


What takes forever but can kill your productivity overnight? Hiring the wrong recruit. 

It sounds like a bad joke, doesn’t it? But those who’ve experienced the results of bringing the wrong person into the fold, know that it’s anything but! 

There can be a number of reasons why an employee is not a good fit for a company.  It could be due to a poor skill set that was misjudged at interview stage, or a personality clash. Perhaps they turn out to have a lack of drive or ambition and act like a wet blanket on your goals and your team. Good recruitment, even when outsourced to experts, isn’t fail-safe, despite our best efforts and intentions. 

The best recruitment takes time and careful planning. If you’re lucky enough to have struck gold and there’s a pool of good candidates to choose from, you’re smart to do the job well, and carefully. When things go wrong and the appointment turns out badly, it’s not just a disappointment, it’s a waste of time and effort. Plus, it can have a ripple effect through your workplace and affect productivity and morale - the backbone of a good business.  

This is something it pays to get right. 

In a study released by global employment firm Robert Half, in which two thousand chief financial officers were interviewed, 95% percent of respondents said a poor recruitment decision impacts the morale of the team.

Greg Scileppi, the President of International Recruitment at Robert Half confirms this. “Hiring a bad fit or someone who lacks the skills needed to perform well has the potential to leave good employees with the burden of damage control, whether it be extra work or redoing work that wasn’t completed correctly the first time,” he says. “The added pressure on top performers could put employers at risk of losing them, too.

Other findings from the survey included:

  • Supervisors spend on average 17 percent of their time managing poorly performing employees.
  • Sixty percent of recruitment managers report that bad recruits don’t get along with co-workers.
  • Forty-one percent of recruitment managers estimate the cost of a bad recruit to be in the thousands of dollars.
  • It takes five weeks, on average, to fill a staff-level position and over seven weeks to fill a management position.

The statistics are telling. It’s clear that recruitment catastrophes can change the culture of your workplace and be a significant burden on your bottom line.



In Australia, employers can appoint new starters under the terms of a probationary period.  This provides business owners with the opportunity to assess their fit for the role and the business.  The employer can decide on the length of the period. It can range from a few weeks to a few months at the start of employment, and should be written into all employment contracts. 

During the probationary period, there’s a chance to review the employee’s performance and provide constructive feedback. This gives both parties the best chance of building trust, maintaining a successful partnership – and getting on with the job in hand. 

However, where a new employee is not suitable for your workplace, letting them go during their probationary period is perhaps the best option - and the most straightforward.  This must be done lawfully, so if in doubt, err on the side of caution and get professional advice first.  

Persist! Recruit carefully until you find the right person for your team - and your business.  It will be well worth your efforts for your business’s longevity. In the meantime, the protection of a probationary period is there to help you. 


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