When you look at the research into who we trust, there are some challenging implications for HR.  So much of our current approach stems is based around our leaders being the font of all truth, wisdom and credibility.

And yet, the Edelman Trust Barometer tells us that we trust our leaders much less than we trust ‘people like us’.

Marketing cottoned onto this a while back. They’re obsessed with Facebook “likes” or positive customer reviews. They know that we will trust a TripAdvisor review over the hotel PR blurb any day and so they have exploited the rise of social media to ensure that their customers hear great things – from people like them. We in HR have been a little slower to embrace this societal change and to use it to our advantage. If we assume that the Edelman Trust Barometer results are relevant for our employment relationships, then this should challenge us to rethink our approach in a number of areas. If we have “trust in people like us” at the forefront of our minds then maybe our reliance on our leaders for communication, engagement and training would lessen and we would start seeing the value of using our frontline employees far more?

Instead of grimacing when we sporadically click on Glassdoor to check out what our latest disgruntled ex-employee has been saying about us, we might follow the L’Oreal example. They had a big campaign where they encouraged their current employees to write reviews on Glassdoor. This didn’t just result in a 200% increase in the numbers they had on there, but also a much more accurate summary of what it was like to work there.

Whether online or via the old-school paper newsletter, internal comms teams still rely heavily on leader-led communication to broadcast corporate information. When I joined the BBC, I was initially horrified to learn that our version of the newsletter was an editorially independent magazine called “Ariel”. Paid for by management – but free to say whatever they liked as long as it adhered to the BBC’s editorial guidelines. It used to drive me mad that a big chunk of my budget was being spent on a newsletter that would regularly be critical of my latest HR policy announcement. But I eventually realised that it was the one piece of communication that was really trusted. When you have 6000+ journalists working with you, many of whom had the regular emails from Internal Comms on auto-delete, to have a trusted form of communication was vital, even if occasionally uncomfortable.

We have known for a while that referrals from current employees often make the best hires and employee referral schemes have been around forever. But it works the other way too. Who are you more likely to believe about what it’s like to work somewhere? A recruitment advert or a current employee? Equipping your great people with a strong brand message and trusting them to actively promote you either in person or via social media will build far greater belief in your employment brand than a nice careers website.

Some organisations ask employees to help each other onboard. Southwest Airlines, for instance, invites people from all levels of the company, to talk about their jobs to recruits. Whole Foods, the US grocery retailer, actually gets its employees (not the HR manager or the store manager) to decide whether a new starter should stay or not. After 90 days the team is invited to vote on whether to keep the employee; this sounds quite brutal but actually makes a lot of sense given they’re the ones most likely to know if the person is right for the company. Commerce Sciences, a Silicon Valley tech start-up, has a tradition in which the last person to join the team is responsible for creating a starter kit for the next person.

Instead of the parental, leader-led approach to performance reviews, more and more companies are seeing the value of peer to peer review. Whilst getting feedback from your manager is clearly important, understanding how your team members view your contribution can often be even more impactful. The proliferation of employee feedback apps such as Culture Amp and Achievers show that this method is gaining in popularity. But there is also the underused team performance discussion where employees are encouraged to provide feedback to their peers.

Our reliance on the leader as the source of truth is diminishing and smarter HR teams are seeing how their frontline employees can become so much more than simply passive recipients. Engaging your employees as the designers of learning content, as the advocates for your employment brand and the genuine voice of the organisation takes more than just time and creative thinking – it takes guts. Leaders and HR find it hard to relinquish control of the message and methods of delivery. But if we don’t, we risk missing out on a huge, untapped resource that can be so much more effective.

Whilst traditional interviews are still the most common approach in selection, we all have questioned whether they tell us enough about whether someone can actually do the job and that worry that we might be missing out on candidates who are not great at interviews but would be perfect for the job.

We’re seeing a growing trend of job auditions.  As you would expect, job auditions are an opportunity to see candidates perform on the job tasks.  Depending on the role, it could be a technical test, role-play scenarios or exercises that mimic what they would  be required to do on the job.  

Here are some examples we love: 

When you’re designing your audition assignment, aim to make it an accurate representation of the type of work your new hire will be doing on a regular basis.

Here are a few examples of auditions you could use when interviewing for HR roles:

HR Business Partner 

The business area you will be working with has just had their latest pulse survey results and it has flagged that career development is a problem. Give us a few ideas about how you might tackle it? 

What you’re looking for?

You’re looking for how they would look for deeper insight into what people want from career development, coach leaders to have career conversations, ideas about how they might ditch internal processes to encourage more movement, introduce new light touch products e.g. Talent Discussions (not the 9 box grid),  informal mentoring (not a policy), job shadowing etc.

Talent/L&D Consultant  

We want to get rid of our traditional annual appraisal so one of your outcomes for this role will be “To design with the HR team/business a fresh approach to traditional appraisals.”  Prepare a short presentation (2 or 3 slides max) to share a few ideas with us about what a new approach might look like, how we might develop leaders, and how you would move it forward”.

What you’re looking for?

That they are on top of the latest trends in PM i.e. employee-owned, team performance, light touch, coaching not assessment, innovative ways to help leaders do it better, and how they would co-design the product with HR/stakeholders.

Data & Insights Manager 

Here is the data from a recent pulse survey we ran about hybrid working.  Can you turn it into a one-page slide that would be shared with our senior leadership team on what the data is telling us?  

What you’re looking for?

Data analytic skills but also able to break data down to show insights so that people understand and have an emotional connection with the story the data is telling.

Recruitment consultant 

One of our priorities is to work on our candidate experience. Take a look at our careers website and the experience you have had as an applicant and give us some feedback on what action we should take.

What you’re looking for 

That they understand the importance of candidate experience, employment brand and they have plenty of fresh thinking ideas about what you could do differently – simplifying process, language, etc. 

HR Advisor

We need to influence a change in behaviour of leaders who are overly reliant on HR or a policy to provide the answers and instead we want to encourage them to use their own judgement. How might you tackle this?

What you’re looking for?

You’re looking for someone who is comfortable/excited by this idea and how they might tackle it e.g. for example moving to principles not policy, wider HR involvement, coaching leaders, learning sessions/clinics etc.

For more resources like this check out the Disruptive HR Club – the online network for HR who want to change outdated practices for good.

The best job descriptions bring to life for the candidate what their day might look like, who they’ll work with, what they’ll accomplish and what the culture is like.

Do you feel that your current job descriptions are a bit tired – a long list of tasks or just don’t reflect your brand? Then we’ve put together some simple tips to give them a refresh and included an example job description to get you started.

1. Focus on outcomes

If you start with the question “What does success look like?” it stops you from listing tasks. Here are some examples:

2. What’s unique about you?

There will be something special about your organisation that you can shout about in your job descriptions. It might be your relaxed culture, your approach to flexible working, your family-friendly policies, or perhaps career development opportunities.

3. Be inclusive 

Language really matters. So, be careful about the language you use on your job descriptions – it could be putting off the best person for the job from applying!

4. Bring out the marketing skills

Think of writing job descriptions as a marketing exercise rather than an HR process. Get creative about how you could bring the job to life using for example social media, video, interviews, graphics etc. You could even ask your marketing team to help!

Galileo a Summer Camp provider uses video to engage with prospective candidates.  It could be a few minutes from the hiring manager or someone in the team who already does the job talking about what a typical day looks like.

Digital Ocean share a written Q&A interview with someone already in the job to explain more about the role

Sodexo use an infographic for their job descriptions.

Finally, here is a template of a job description kindly shared by one of our clients to get you started..

Adult Weight Management Practitioner

Fancy joining us on our journey to empower over a million people to change their behaviours and thrive?

Thrive Tribe delivers a range of healthy lifestyle services and programmes throughout the UK. Our Achieve Oxfordshire service has successfully been providing Adult Weight Management programmes to the county since 2017. We have recently been awarded a contract to deliver even more! Exciting times!

Why join Thrive Tribe?

Check out our employee reviews at Glassdoor. Here is a taster…

Thrive Tribe really cares about their employees and that is a rare and refreshing value to find. There is a good work/life balance and management try hard to ensure staff feel valued. They provide fun team building activities and encourage staff to come forward if they are needing any extra support. The culture is fun, hardworking and supportive. They truly live by their ethos and there is free coffee/tea and fruit!”

We’re inclusive!

Be yourself. That’s who we’re hiring. Our culture celebrates and supports the difference that makes each of us unique.

More about the role

The aim of the Weight Management programmes is to provide high quality and evidenced-based information, advice and interventions to support local residents that need them most. It will also help people to maintain weight loss, to optimise health, and reduce risk of disease.

Like all roles at Thrive Tribe, you can expect your time at work to be fun, varied and challenging. We don’t like to stick to a firm JD as we know from experience that things change throughout the lifetime of a role and it gives our people the chance to play to their strengths.

How you will make an impact…..

But, more than anything, we are looking for a team player who puts their heart in to their work. We’ve got some core values that run through everything we do, and we’d love it if they resonate with you too!

Need any more reasons to apply? This is the job for you if you…

This job is based in …….., with regular travel across the County (car owner desired) & occasional requirements to attend Thrive Tribe HQ in London.

The job will involve remote/home working and flexibility.

Salary range £…..& benefits

If you have any questions regarding this role, please contact…..

Click here to apply.