What are the 8 wastes of Business and HR?

What does Waste mean, what is DOWNTIME and how does it affect the world of HR?

Toyota created a lean framework with the following 8 lean manufacturing wastes, the acronym for these eight wastes is DOWNTIME. The wastes below are present in all of business processes and if you can address them and strip them out, you will save your teams a lot of time, effort and cost.




Not utilised talent


Inventory excess

Motion waste

Excess processing


Lets looks at DOWNTIME in a little more detail

Forms completed incorrectly and then had to be re-completed and resubmitted.

Writing an advert or job description for a hiring manager, only to find out that the location is wrong.


Finding 6 candidates for 4 roles, as per the workforce plan, which is incorrect and those roles no longer exist in the new structure

Poorly applied automation in the Recruitment and HR process


Waiting for a colleague in finance to send you the requisition approval before you can begin your job

Unbalanced workloads in a process will lead to bottlenecks

Not utilised talent

Not speaking to the HRBP who used to work in Recruitment, Finance and HR to ask how we can streamline things… they know better than anyone.

Assigning staff members to the wrong tasks


Sending internal mail by post and then waiting 24-48 hours for it to arrive…. why are we posting things in 2017? Scan it!!!

Posting contracts out to new employees to sign and return by post.


Thousands of HR and new starter packs and documents in a cupboard never to be used

Poor monitoring systems to assess inventory

Unreliable recruitment suppliers


Driving to the other side of the country for a meeting, to discover you could have dialled in

Walking up to level 4 to speak to someone, because you can never reach them on the phone.

Excess processing

Hiring Manager’s hands being held way too much through a process, because they are too busy, untrained or are being lazy.

Double handling of the same task, eg someone checking someone else’s work, why cant it be done right first time?

Re-entering data

If you would like help discovering and stripping out your DOWNTIME & waste.

Get in touch – or here

Lean Workshop

£750 – Map it, remove waste and Improve your HR process

Every company I have ever worked for had waste in its HR and shared service processes. What do I mean by Waste?

  • Forms completed incorrectly and then had to be re-completed and resubmitted
  • Hiring Manager’s hands being held way too much through a process, because they are too busy, untrained or are being lazy.
  • Waiting for a colleague in finance to send you the requisition approval before you can begin your job
  • Not speaking to the HRBP who used to work in Recruitment, Finance and HR to ask how we can streamline things
  • Sending internal mail by post…. why are we posting things in 2017? Scan it!!!
  • Driving to the other side of the country for a meeting, to discover you could have dialled in
  • Double handling of the same task, eg someone checking someone else’s work, why cant it be done right first time?

We have worked in the HR industry since 2005, we understand that you are stretched and under pressure and don’t have time to have lunch let alone improve the status quo. Let us come in and help run an audit or improve your processes with Lean Workshops.

Lean Workshop

What can we do for you for £750? 

  • Come to your offices and run a workshop to map your current processes
  • Work with your stakeholders to discover where the waste is in your way of working
  • Offer solutions as to how to strip out this waste
  • Develop a new more efficient LEAN process

Get in contact to discuss – or here

What are the 8 wastes of business and HR?

HR Recipe

Lean HR Recipe – What Ingredients do you need?

So you are looking to make your HR processes lean, what are the main ingredients of this recipe?


1 Manager/Process owner

1 Engaged Team (all main stakeholder groups represented)

1 roll of Brown Paper

2-3 packs of coloured Sticky Notes

2 packs of coloured sticky dots

1-2 Files of sample Data

1 pack of blue tack

2-3 pens

1 Flip Chart with paper

Cooking Time: 2-3 hours

Lean Workshop

Recipe Prep:

Analyse data to understand where there may be issues, bottlenecks and waste.

Take Roll of Brown paper and stick to the wall with blue tack

Draw swim lanes on the brown paper to indicate the different position/stakeholder groups involved in the process (eg Recruiters, HRBP, Finance, HRadmin etc)

Preheat the engagement of the team and stakeholders to 180c, by explaining the structure of the workshop and benefits.

Many of these people live this process day in day out, and may get a little hot under the collar, you may need to be fan assisted.


Ask the group what is the first step of the process, and who does this action?

Write on a sticky note and place on relevant swim lane. Ask what is the next step, and note down again. Complete this for all steps until you have a nice and congested process map.

Ask workshop members to take 6 red sticky dots and season generously the map, where they feel the waste and issues in the process are, with 3 red dots on the action/task with the most waste, 2 red dots on the next issue, and finally 1 red dot on the action that is the third biggest issue.

Lean WorkshopAt the end, you will have a map littered with red dots. If further seasoning is required to ascertain the issue, repeat the exercise. Once the red dots have been distributed, spend some time talking through the results and discuss why the group thinks these are issues.

Looking at the map, ask the group which tasks can be improved or removed. You’ll be surprised how many tasks are wasted time, effort or cost. At the end of the workshop you will have identified the areas that you will want to improve or remove and create a new lean process.

Lean WorkshopNext you will need to spend some time discussing the improvements and how to implement them. Then you will need to measure the new process, to see the new positive results and compare it against the original data that you captured.

If you liked this Recipe, please share.

For other definitions on waste see DOWNTIME.


HR Metrics

HR Metrics – make the unknown… known

The world of HR has been banging on about HR metrics for years, but most HR departments still haven’t got any real measurements or performance indicators….. a survey of 4 questions to a hiring manager is not a key metric to determine if an HR service is performing!

HR Metrics


In the HR world there is no standard day, because we are people, looking after people for people. As a result its easy to say “as long as our managers are happy, we are doing a good job”. HR Metrics, Measurements, indicators and statistics help us turn this randomness and unknown into a known. How can we know if we are doing a better job than last quarter if we have no benchmark? With all the projects and programs that we run, how can we ascertain whether there is a benefit and improvement?



  • Ask what your hiring managers, business and stakeholders want from their HR department and build your process around this
  • Once you have your HR Service model/service break it down into measurable chunks and decide on what “good looks like”
  • Validate this “good service model” by showing and explaining it to your stakeholders. a weekly 1-1 between an HRBP and a manager, may be the standard way of working, but it might not be what they are actually looking for. “well thats what our managers want”….. is it??? when was the last time you asked them?
  • Once you have “good performance” modelled, measure how things stand today, this gives us our baseline and a point that we hope we will improve from
  • Check in at agreed points to see how we are tracking, and in the spirit of continuous improvement tweak if necessary.
  • Align HR Metrics and indicators to company values; this will ensure that the metric is accepted by the teams and is adhered to (e.g. a “program of company wide measurement” matches the company value of “continuous improvement” or sending out “customer satisfaction surveys” matches the company value of “listening to our customers”.


Subjectivity and Bias – Make sure that your measurements are clean and can’t be bias, i.e. sending out customer satisfaction surveys to 5 out of 50 managers, that you know love you, that is not a honest reflection

Sufficient data – We need to ensure that we have enough data. If you only have 5 data points you can’t consider that an honest reflection; if you have 50 data points, and you are still showing the same trend, you have a stronger case, 500 points… you have concrete!HR Metrics

Analysing the data
– There is no point having data, HR Metrics and information if someone isn’t going to analyse and report on it. The amount of times Ive created reports within a system, only to find that someone created the same report 12 months ago, and I could have had that info all this whole time!

Match the HR metrics – Analyse the data and trends against other metrics to see if there are relating patterns

For Example:

  • Less Face time and more phone time between HRBP and HM = Higher manager productivity for both groups
  • More metrics and Performance indicators = higher data input into HCM and data integrity

Change Management – Ensure that the HR Metrics are adhered to and people don’t “cook the books” by taking the relevant stakeholders on the change journey and ensure that they understand the reason for change and measurement. It doesn’t have to be about “keeping an eye on them” it can be about “making US better.”

Get measuring!

What ingredients make up the perfect recipe for a Lean HR process


You don’t need a new piece of software or an RPO, fix the issue yourself!

You don’t need a new piece of software or an RPO, fix it yourself!

When your HRD or CEO says to you that recruitment/onboarding/Job approval and workforce plan “is not working” and we need to make a change.

What often happens is people jump straight to solution mode and follow the trend and look to a new piece of software as the old piece of software, “wasn’t working” or they’ll engage an RPO or outsourcing group to see if they can help them with their problem.

Before you know it, you’ve bought a new piece of software or RPO Contract that will “solve your problems”


  • You haven’t solved your problem, you have found another way to display it or hide itstress
  • Your Hr/Recruitment teams are forced to learn a new process, system and work arounds to do the same thing they were doing before
  • Your Hiring managers are also going through more change, learning how they have to submit a request and a new approval process
  • You are paying large fees for this “solution”, which hasn’t solved the real issue… you still don’t know what the issue is!

Outsourced parts of your HR function to an outside group (RPO / HRO / BPO) 

  • You haven’t solved your problem, you have just given it to someone else to hide
  • You are paying them hefty fees to manage this problem, without knowing what it is
  • You have given up control, responsibility and ability to manage it
  • You’ve gained someone else to blame and further complexityRPO
  • Your hiring managers and stakeholders are going through more change and aren’t consulted
  • You have better “numbers” and pretty graphs, but unhappy people
  • Your current HR teams are either made redundant or forced to join the outsource group


Before you do all these, spend a few hours in a room with your stakeholders and teams and see if you can work out what the problem is with Lean Workshops & Six Sigma!

Step 1: Get the people that matter (stakeholders in the process and the people doing the job) in a room and get them to show you what they want and what they are currently doing in their day-to-day work.
Step 2: Map the current process

Step 3: Ask them how to make it better and note their ideas
Step 4: Take these ideas and design a new way of working that everyone is happy with.

It may be as easy as sending a few emails or having a few meetings at certain points in the process that can make a significant improvement.

Improve your processes by consulting with your people

We’ve just saved you thousands of pounds in RPO or ATS fees…. you’re welcome 😉

Tweak your processes yourself, don’t pay someone to absorb your problem!


HR Metrics – make the unknown… known


Onboarding and Orientation…. why is it rarely done well?

Onboarding, Orientation and Productivity

Onboarding of employees is a crucial step in any business, but is often overlooked or executed poorly.

Unfortunately this step falls under the management and responsibility of HR, but the issues and problems of execution actually lie with the business. Its a crucial period, as during this phase, business expectations are established and values and conduct are learned. From an EVP and candidate engagement POV, you need to get this right to make sure that your employees don’t start their journey with you on the wrong foot. With services like glass door and social media, a disgruntled employee can cause a lot of noise. We’ve discussed the candidate experience, what about the books…hiring someone can cost at least 30% of the employees salary, thats over £8000 in the UK on an average £27000 salary. We need to make sure these people are not only productive but want to stay, and don’t take our IP with them


Common issues:

  • No hardware on day 1
  • No logins or access on day 1
  • No planned work for the new starter
  • No understanding of the business, department or goals
  • Hiring Manager doesn’t have enough time for the new starter
  • New starter is not introduced to relevant stakeholders

Onboarding and Orientation tips:

  • Pre-Onboard – Have your new starters read and complete content before Day 1 to ensure they are prepared and ready for work
  • Go Digital – Have a digital/online onboarding process which will free up HR and other resources
  • Metrics – Make sure you measure your on boarding process. How many, how long, which departments, during which times, what happened, who didn’t…. all the usual W’s and H. Only you will know which W’s and H work for your process. If you don’t measure and get a baseline, how can you expect to improve it.
  • Hiring Manage prep – Make sure the Hiring Manager is prepared for the new starter and has introductions and meetings booked in the diary…. not back to back meetings every day in the first week though, they need to come up for air!
  • The hiring manager will also have a lot of work and time to invest; ensure that the manager has booked in enough facetime with the new starter to check in on them. Its important to micro manage a little at the beginning as there will be a lot to learn.
  • Evaluate and communicate – with the groups that have tasks before and after your process, ie HR admin and IT. What do they need from the process and what outputs do they need from you. What do IT need to get thelaptop and log ins set up, what do HR admin need from Recruitment to set them up in the system as early as possible. WhVOCat do the training team need to set up on-boarding modules in the system etc
  • Cost – When you measure, make sure you turn this into a cost and monetary value, to ensure that the business understands the importance of this process. Eg, unproductive time X hourly rate, or increased productivity X usual employee output.
  • VOC – Speak to your employees or at least survey them to get an understanding of their experience
  • Speak to your hiring managers and stakeholders and get their input and experience.
  • BIGGEST TIP – Build your process around what your stakeholders want and calculate a cost saving, profit increase figure to win the business over. If you do this, things will improve…. don’t forget to measure it!

You don’t need a new piece of software or an RPO, fix it yourself!

Working from home is awesome…but is it right for you?

Working from home is awesome…but is it right for you?

Being part of or engaging a remote workforce has many benefits


  • Stop the long daily commute
  • Escape the stress of the city centre
  • Spend more time with family
  • Improve your stress levels and mental health
  • Plan your day around you not your meetings and public transport

The companies that realise this, have a distinct advantage when it comes to the competition for talent. It is still the exception rather than the norm and only after trust has been established, will flexibility be allowed. Often employees had to provide a strong case for it, stating family or health reasons; the point being, an employee feels that have to justify the option.

Nowadays, many companies are beginning to look seriously at it, take PWC. The onus is on the manager to provide a business case as to why a role cannot be done remotely or flexibly.


  • You need to be disciplined – You can often find yourself still eating breakfast and reading the news at 10am in your dressing gown.
  • Easy to become distracted – you think a colleague asking you if you watch Game of Thrones is a distraction, try a super cute 3 year old banging on your office door shouting “Daddy/Mummy, come and look at this, look what I’ve done… its amazing”. Its very hard to ignore. To be as productive as possible, you must be able to separate your work from your home life. If you can’t ignore the TV or the dog, then WFH probably isn’t for you
  • Bad internet connection – Having video conference calls with a slow or poor broadband connection is not only frustrating but embarrassing. If you have a poor connection and have a call, get yourself down to the gym or costa to use their wifi!
  • No VPN – you need to be able to access your work files and shared drives. Without a VPN or access, having 2 different types of work on different laptops is a nightmare, or worse, emailing yourself back and forth.
  • Ineffective relationships – Sometimes you need to get in front of people to build lasting and effective relationships. Although working from home is great, you do need to get out and about to make it work!
  • People are different – some people embrace and understand the idea of working from home; they understand that people have different priorities, brains and life goals…. others see it as someone being lazy and having a day off! Although these people are living in the dark ages and frustrate the hell out of me, they are colleagues, stakeholders, board members, we need to ensure that they see our productivity. We have to manage different personalities in working world, and so if you are WFH, and not in the office, make sure you are on the calls and make yourself heard.
  • Where is Tom? Make sure that you let your colleagues know when you are WFH, a WFH calendar invite will do the trick.
  • Feeling guilty – just because you are starting work at 930am, don’t feel guilty (unless you were meant to be on a call at 830am…. then…. you are naughty!), nowadays work is measure on output and productivity not clocking in and out. As long as you get the work done and to a good standard, who cares when you do it! WFH
  • Don’t fake it – A few years back there was a trend to schedule for emails to be sent at 12am, to show your boss how hard you were working, a very sad but real trend! don’t fall into that nest of vipers! Show your productivity with output!

Businesses are now understanding the fact that a happier workforce is a more productive workforce, but also that a reduced number of people in an office is cheaper for running a business. For more info on my own personal Work life Blend Journey have a read

Onboarding and Orientation…. why is it rarely done well?

hr workshop

Identify waste/improvements with sticky dots – Workshop Tip

Once we have mapped our current as-is process with the relevant employees or stakeholders, how do we now identify the areas of waste and improvement with sticky dots. Lets ask the people that do the job day in day out. Gather the main stakeholders in a room and give them all 5-10 red sticky dots and ask them to place the dots on the area that they feel is wasted effort/time or is a priority for dots This is done without discussion, as we dont want strong and vocal characters to lead the witness. This will ensure that all attendees get an equal vote and say, and you will end up with a fantastic visual showing you where the issues are, democratically decided by the guys who are in the trenches doing the job. There is no point taking direction and solutions from the board or CEO as they often don’t know what is really happening. There main role is to ensure that the project is supported and the outcome and change is implemented and sticks. sticky dots

This example shows the idea/process/discussion after voting. You will see that Task 4 and 5 are a priority for focus and improvement, with task 5 the next area of attack. It is important to understand why task 7 and 10 were also highlighted as areas for improvement, unpack these selections by spending some time discussing the tasks that have been identified to ascertain why people voted for them and that all attendees understood the task and what their vote meant.

Once all stakeholders are happy with the outcome, you will need to discuss how are we going to improve/change Task 4 and 5. Congratulations you are on the way to making a real impactful change in your process/way of working.

Sticky dots and posted notes are an easy, flexible, and cheap way of getting data from your employees, don’t overlook the importance of them

Next stop, coming up with the solutions!

Is working from home right for you?


map your process

Every process has waste…. especially in HR… heres how to find it

Mapping your process is easy

If you think you know what is happening on a day to day basis within your teams and departments you have either conducted a recent mapping exercise or you are deluded. Every process has waste, legacy focused tasks, quality checks (that customers aren’t prepared to pay for), needless double checking and handling, rework, needless motion…. I could go on!

You can map your process in a few easy steps.

  1. get the people who are doing the work in a room, ideally 6-12 people.
  2. get some paper, posted notes and pens
  3. ask the team members who the different groups involved in the process are, divide these into swimlanes (in the example below we have 7 swim lanes)
  4. what they do first in the process and who starts this step… write it down
  5. ask them what they do next…. and write it down (hopefully you are starting to see a pattern)
  6. join the posted notes with a line to show direction
  7. ensure that each step is connected and that decisions have a yes or no / different pathways as options, and connect them to other steps.Pukka Herbs
  8. take photos of the map
  9. draw the map on visio or lucid chart

Relax, because now you know what is actually happening!

Next time your boss or member of the executive team assumes they know what is happening and how to solve it, show them the map and talk them through why changes A & B need to be made and why you need funding. Now we can begin to improve it by identifying issues or areas of improvement


Identify waste/improvements with sticky dots – Workshop Tip






GDPR to cost HR €20 Million, you’re not ready….heres why?

GDPR to cost HR €20 Million, are you ready…I doubt it….

As of the 25th May 2018 a new Data Protection Act (DPA) will be enforced across the UK, it will be known as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

EUROPE and GDPRWhat does that mean for HR and your business?

Most organisations will be establishing transformation programmes to identify the data on both customers, candidates and employees.

If your business is going through any kind of change (organisational or system) now is the time to act too.

Non compliance fines can reach as high as 4% of annual turnover or €20 Million.

Our biggest concern is that businesses are focusing solely on customer data and processes and not on internal HR processes (recruitment, on boarding, absence management etc)

Let’s summarise it for you

Increased Territory – it applies to all companies processing the personal data of data subjects residing in the Union, regardless of the company’s location

Fines and Penalties – If you are in breach you can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater).

Consent – Organisations will no longer be able to use the complicated and impossible legalese, packed full of small print. Consent must now be clear and distinguishable and provided in an easily accessible form, importantly using clear and plain language.

GDPR Right to Access – Candidates and employees will be able to ascertain whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose. Furthermore, HR and the business will need to provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format. This change is a dramatic shift to data transparency and giving more power to candidates and employees (current or ex)

Data Removal – Candidates can request that HR erase his/her personal data and stop circulating the data within the business; it also stops 3rd parties processing the data (i.e. reference and background checking partners)

Data in a readable format –
Candidates and ex-employees have the right to receive the personal data concerning them, in a ‘commonly used and machine readable format‘ (i.e. not in an impossible to decipher file that you need accounting software to read). Essentially this means that candidates and ex-employees are not going to give up chasing because now it wont be the uphill battle that it once was.

Privacy by Design
  Suggests that data protection and knowledge of the GDPR needs to be built into all processes at stage 1 and not added at a later date. If you are going through some sort of transformation or change, you need to consider this now, or it is going to cost you a lot at a later date…. maybe €20 Million!

Data Protection Officers
– Currently you need to notify your data processing activities as per DPAs. Under GDPR it will not be necessary to submit notifications / registrations to each local DPA of data processing activities. There will need to be internal record keeping requirements and Data Protection Officers appointed for some organisations, especially when data relates to criminal convictions and offences.

Are you ready for this? I doubt it…..

Improve and Consult can help design and conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) to ensure that your organisation is ready for the changes in May, it will come around very quickly.

8 GDPR Take aways and hints:

Awareness  Make sure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware of the changes

Document – Audit what personal data you have, where it came from and who you share it with


Privacy notifications – Review your privacy notices especially for candidates applying for jobs

Rights – Check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data to candidates and customers


Requesting data – You should update your processes and plan how you will handle volume within the new timescales

Adequate consent – Review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes.


Age – Do you have processes in place to ensure that you verify candidates and customer’s ages? are you obtaining parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.

Data breaches – Ensure you have the right processes to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.

Get in touch for a discussion:, Our Website

So lets ascertain whats actually happening at the moment. 


Are you ok

Mental Health & 3 ways to improve your work life blend

How can mental health be helped at work?

First of all, it is really important to understand that there is no difference between physical health and mental health…. both are crucial for an employee or any human being!

HR is often seen as being the group that protects the employer by ensuring that employees don’t sue or cause a fuss. Having worked in HR my whole career, this is 99% incorrect (an arbitrary figure based on the fact that I have come across some malevolent individuals in HR who are out for themselves and protecting the big boss from being taken to court), however, the vast majority of people in HR and Recruitment are there because they like people and want to help people, you and I are probably one of these people.

If someone breaks their leg or has a bad cold, the business will normally insist that the individual looks after themselves, by working from home or at least making themselves more comfortable while at work. The same is not said for mental health. If someone is “a little down” or “a bit stressed” or “has a lotare you okay mate on their plate or their mind” it is often ignored and treated as a standard part of life and the inference is “suck it up” or as the horrendous individual Piers Morgan said when speaking about men’s mental health “man up”. I am “man enough” to admit that I have been “a bit stressed, a little down, and had a lot on my plate, a lot on my mind” many times, who doesn’t in this day and age of debt, pressure, social media intrusion and 24/7 work access. I remember when my little girl didn’t sleep for 16months… not one night did she sleep through, she screamed from 6pm-1am every night and would then sleep in our bed waking every few hours to scream in my face! Nightmare! stressed out

A few times I understood what Abraham was up to….”errrr God told me to do it” the poor bloke hadn’t slept for 16months. Jokes aside, after a few months of this and sleeping only a few hours a night, my physical and mental fragility started to show. I had a fantastic manager who understood my position and allowed me the flexibility to work from home to recover now and then.

By allowing me to work from home, it gave me an extra few hours in bed and allowed me to work the hours that I needed to do at the times that i wanted to do. I was measured on output not on being at my desk. I in turn passed this benefit onto my team, a few of whom had “a lot on their plate” and it helped them immensely deal with those issues/demons and improve their mental health.

So how can we all be understanding employers and managers?

Reduce work load and stop overworking employees:

  • Staying late at work (If people are having to work longer than 8-9 hours a day something is going wrong)
  • Long shifts
  • Too much overtime
  • Pressure on individuals rather than a team outcomeovertime
  • Pressure on managers who pass that pressure onto their teams
  • Inefficient processes and wasted effort and time

If any of the above is too extreme it will increase stress and burn people out which will lead to mental health issues which can then lead to confidence and decision making problems. These symptoms then spill into the personal and family life.


If people are staying late and are having to work weekends something has gone wrong; poor planning, not enough resources, no mitigation, or poor processes and too much rework. All of this can be easily improved with 3 workshops

a) Voice of the Customer – build your process around what your customer actually wants, if they aren’t willing to pay for it, it doesn’t add value and it isn’t a business requirement (i.e. legal)….get rid of it

b) Waste Stripping workshop – spend time speaking to the guys in the trenches and strip the waste and pointless tasks out of your process. In my last project i managed to remove 25% of wasted time….. thats 2 hours a day!

c) Metrics – make sure that you measure output and understand where the bottlenecks are. Analyse the problems and fix them!

Break from the daily grind:

Its important for people’s mental health to go out and reconnect with the world, look at the trees, blue sky and take a deep breath.

get out in the fresh air

  • Encourage employees to take breaks, go for a coffee or a walk.
  • Go out for lunch and not to eat at their desks, if they bring their own lunch, walk over the local park and eat the sandwiches.
  • Exercise, get to the gym go for a run, anything to break up the day.

Encourage a work life blend…. not a balance:

We spend most of our life at work, it is an integral part of our life, therefore we need to ensure that it blends with our family and personal goals. It is not a balance, they are not diametrically opposed, they are entwined. I wrote in by blog about being a dad and work life blend and how it became crucial to me and my family and resulted in me becoming self employed.


get out of the office

  • Move your business to being more output focused and not tied to a desk; don’t focus on hours worked
  • Work from home, work from a cafe or park… it will probably reduce your business overheads anyway.
  • Remember that people change over time, check in on them

Im 35 now, and am a very different person to who i was 7 years ago and a totally different person to who i was when i was 21. Managers need to check in with staff (especially when people are going through difficult periods, moving house, kids, illness, all mental health triggers). When I worked in Australia, we had an “are you ok day” which was a great program aimed at checking in with our colleagues in an unthreatening way that meant people could talk without feeling political and career repercussions.

If you can’t improve one of the above, at least remember to ask R U OK?

What could cost HR €20 Million?

work life blend

Being a Dad & Work Life Blend

Today’s blog is not about recruitment process or HR, its about “Work Life Blend”.

After living nearly 9 years in Australia, my wife and I were expecting our 2nd baby and we decided to return to the UK, to outsource it to our parents…. I mean…. have the kids grow up with nanna and grandpa! yeah thats what i meant.

Anyway, I decided that this was the right time to start my own thing. I wasn’t sure what the thing was 100% going to be, but what i was sure on was that I wanted to spend less time commuting and working 12 hour days

playing football in suit

in an office and spend more time with my family. I started listening to lots of entrepreneurial podcasts, one of which was called Startup Daddy, which is all about starting a business as a parent. It was great, the whole narrative of the podcast was to build your work life around your family life, not the other way around. 99% of people desperately try to make time for their family and personal life, whether its rushing home to spend 10mins with your kid before they go to bed, or rushing to football training after work without missing half of it, not warming up, and then feeling like your hamstring is going to fall off.

When I set up my 2 businesses I followed this line of thinking; of course I need to make money and be successful, but how successful and “rich” (FYI, nowhere near that yet…. not even close) do i want to be, what is the most important thing to me? Moving your whole life back across to literally the other side of the world is the proverbial “fresh start”, what better opportunity to decide “what do i want to do”? I decided to set up 2 businesses, one experience and career focused, a Recruitment best practice and process consultancy, the other, a bit of fun with my old uni mate (an inflatable pub…dont ask!).

One of the startup daddy episodes made reference to something called “worklife Blend”; one of his guests talked about starting businesses to address this “work life blend” and how he didn’t like the phrase “worklife balance” as it inferred that work and life were polar opposites and not intertwined, we know this isn’t correct. Many of us enjoy work and most of us spend the majority of our life at work, and so life and work have to blend. This phrase really struck a chord with me and I decided that this was how i was going to plan my future career.

empty real estate

I decided that no matter what, I was going to work from home for at least 2 days every week, and I would not apply for contracts or roles that did not offer that flexibility.

In the modern world, work life blend is very accessible, if you just ask for it. Many businesses now encourage working from home as it is great for their EVP, keeps their employees happy-reducing attrition and probably more importantly reduces their business costs (real estate, energy and food…. 33% of buildings at anyone time are empty… people on annual leave, sick, visiting clients, at lunch).

work life blend

Do you really need 150 desks if you have 150 employees? the answer is no, you need 100-120 desks plus a healthy remote working policy. As i write this, I am in a cafe…. no i’m not a work shy dosser, Im actually being more productive. I don’t have any distractions, no-one asking me if i watched the match last night, if i’m doing anything nice this weekend, if i have 5 mins for a catch up, which i don’t, i have 5 min for an important discussion, but it is rarely important or a pressing topic (ie 30mins where they tell me about Jonny in accounts who snuck off with Sharlene from sales, although gossip is inherently interesting, it is not productive). I may seem like an unsocial, miserable old man (i may not be old, but i am going grey at a rate of knots…. kids do that to you), but i decided that family face time was more important than the “office life” and Im gonna stick it out as long as I can, and hope that “work” allows me to do so.

Remember guys, work life blend…. you could get hit by a bus tomorrow…what is important to you….

now, where is that bacon sandwich!

Mental Health and Work Life Blend


Social Media’s effect on EVP and Brand

Social recruiting isn’t just about publicising vacancies, its about relationships, EVP and Brand


Creating relationships with potential talent and informing them about what it is really like to work for your organisation. Its really crucial to show the true company image, sometimes warts and all; especially if you are looking to attract the best and deflect the rest

Candidates only see Brand

People don’t see a difference between the recruiter, sales or marketing, they only see the company brand.   Sometimes someones first contact with the company brand is in the trenches (in shops, at events or on the phone). culture

This experience will influence their decision as a candidate. Equally candidates are customers, for every candidate you annoy or upset, you are driving away a customer.

Showcase your company culture

Social Media is a great way of showcasing your company culture and improving your EVP and Brand. Nowadays, people don’t just look at your company website and careers site; they will get on your Twitter feed and LinkedIn company page. Therefore you should share photos of your team and update these new followers with news and then you can communicate the latest vacancies. When you share this kind of content on your social media accounts, it will reach people who are already following your company.

what do you followTheses people are already engaged with your brand and company…. who knows, maybe they would like to work for you? I love the premier league and follow the Ladbible on social media , if any of these groups advertised a relevant role, Id be all over it, because i am already engaged.Some larger organisations look for bloggers within their own ranks, such as their employees, and get them to write about what they do or what they feel. Deloitte ask their employees to lend their twitter feeds to the company pages, and these guys have a great EVP and Brand.

what do candidates look at

Company Employees

Encourage your managers and employees to get on social media and become brand ambassadors. Employees often look up the profile of the person they are interviewing with and may connect with them on Linkedin after, not to mention using Social Media for research on the organisation. Research says that 70% of people trust what employees say about a company over what is shown in brand advertising. For this reason your existing employees play a critical role.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Dont spend hours creating EVP and Brand, images and designing profiles. Have a chat with your marketing and sales departments, Im sure they would have material or sales templates that you can use as a base. This is important as its will also ensure that you have the same messaging around the employer brand, there is no point reinventing the wheel.

I started Improve and Consult because I wanted to spend more time with family and wanted to enjoy my work, not loathe it. Read about it here, Work Life Blend 

personal brand

Social Media and your personal brand

In this current world of transparency and social media, personal brand is so important.

Social media effects your organisation’s brand but also your personal brand and vice a versa. Always be aware of what you are posting and how it may be perceived. It is important to not pretend to be someone else, as people buy from people, however, you still need to be professional and relate to the organisations brand. As the old adage goes “act one level up and think 2 levels up” don’t put something on social media that you wouldn’t’t feel comfortable saying or emailing to your GM.

cheeky chappy

A profile Picture is really important, make sure it is of you! not your kids, not an arty picture of you looking over the ocean with a beer in your hands. Choose a professional looking headshot, look at this cheeky chappy here. This is me, not me at the beach or with my kids, those photos are saved for instagram and facebook.

This picture should be consistent across different social media. As a Recruiter/ networker/entrepreneur my job is to network and yours probably is too. I want people to know what i look like, so that they can approach me and say “hey… you’re the bloke who puts pictures of himself on your blog and website…. a bit arrogant…. where are you going…come back…don’t run away!” Let people know what you look like, they are far more likely to want to engage with you on a business level if they have made an emotional connection.

Position title/Company details

Its the first thing a candidate/client/vendor/partner will see, make it obvious what your role or company is. “exec search and talent strategy client liaison” what is that. I worked at a company where we had job titles like “client liaison, lobby ambassador, director of first impressions” mate, this person works on reception! If you are a recruitment consultant or recruitment business partner, make sure that the reader knows what you are and that you do what it says on the tin.

does what it says on the tinContent is for your audience…. not to make you feel better

As mentioned in my previous blog, remember that the content you post and share is to be read by people in the real world and will need to be tailored depending on where you share it. Think about your Personal Brand

“I’m stuck in traffic, soooo annoyed, why do cyclists take up so much room…. this person driving ahead of me is 150, and it would be quicker if he walked”

This may be okay for a personal instagram profile with a photo of the road of doom and driving miss daisy, as instagram is often used as a window into peoples lives. However, it isn’t appropriate for linkedin. Your audience will engage with you based upon your profile, content and Personal Brand. Don’t share the same content to different audiences. It is important to not pretend to be someone else, as people buy from people, however, you still need to be professional and relate to the organisations brand.

Stay up to date and make sure you are active

Dont let your social media profile fall into radio silence. People don’t engage with profiles that look dead. I looked to approach someone a while ago, and he hadn’t posted anything for 18 months on his social media, so i didn’t bother. Maybe he was still reading things on there, but to me it looked a waste of time. Maybe he missed out! This means  Share, tweet, comment, post, like, follow, befriend…. keep your Personal Brand alive. keep your profile alive

I’ve got more friends than you…i’m well popular

Social media is all about networking and building our communication web. This is especially important on twitter and Linkedin, and slightly less so on facebook, unless you are a business profile. If you are a recruiter on linkedin, and you have less than 750 connections, you are shooting yourself in the foot! Everyone you engage with, you should ask to connect with on LI.

Use Engaging content and what is fashionable now.

Videos and images work well with Millennials as do emoji’s on certain platforms i.e. twitter where character count is limited, however, car, annoyed face, clock, building may not be ideal for linkedin. Emoji’s also bring a little humour.

 How does Social Media affect EVP and Brand

Where should Recruiters Share content?

Where should Recruiters share content?

Profile Headlines

A tip is to change the the first 150-200 characters of your profiles, to let people know upcoming news, such as you are hiring, or specialising in specific markets…. this without them having to click…. who wants to have to click a mouse or tap a phone screen…urgghghghh!


Most Social Media Platforms have specific interest groups, this means that everyone in that group is already interested in that topic, and so is a great place to share content.

  • 68% of job seekers feel that signing up to these groups is important to progressing in their own career.
  • 49% join to find out about the latest job opportunities/recruitment trends
  • 42% of people want to find out about people in their industry

analytics on recruitment

Insights and analytics

Use platform analytics like facebook insights and google analytics to make sure what you’re sharing is reaching the right audience, many of the platforms have different analytics functions. I personally use GA to assess the impact of the Improve and Consult Website


There will be people in your organisation who are Social Media Gurus; encourage your staff to share jobs, content, articles, stats and be an advocate for your brand.

Content is for your audience…. not to make you feel better

Remember that the content you post and share is to be read by people in the real world and will need to be tailored depending on where you share it.

“I’m stuck in traffic, soooo annoyed, why do cyclists take up so much room…. this person driving ahead of me is 150, and it would be quicker if he walked”

This may be okay for a personal instagram profile with a photo of the road of doom and driving miss daisy, as instagram is often used as a window into peoples lives. However, it isn’t appropriate forlinkedin. Your audience will engage with you based upon your profile and content. Don’t share the same content to different audiences. It is important to not pretend to be someone else, as people buy from people, however, you still need to be professional and relate to the organisations brand.

julie mauleMy old manager Julie Maule, #bestmanagerIeverhad, used to say that you should “act one level up and think 2 levels up” and so don’t put something on social media that you wouldn’t’t feel comfortable saying or emailing to your GM.

Remember when you share content, make sure its engaging content and what is fashionable now (eg, photos of a late 90’s comedy shows….. may not appeal to your target audience). Videos and images work well with Millennials as do emoji’s on certain platforms i.e. twitter where character count is limited, however, car, annoyed face, clock, old man, car, steam face, cyclist, gravestone, clock, office building may not be ideal for linkedin. Emoji’s also bring a little humour.

Social Media has a huge impact on your personal brand….how huge?