A better understanding of neuroscience could greatly improve the HR function

A better understanding of neuroscience could greatly improve the HR function

HR is increasingly embracing modern technology, becoming strategically important and leading the way in terms of future gazing ideas. It is innovative and dynamic. With that in mind, should one element of its armoury now be using neuroscience to drive forward its decision making processes and validate what it already thinks it knows about its employees and candidates.

Neuroscience helps us to understand how the human brain reacts to certain situations and scenarios. Given that so much of what HR teams do is about people, it seems like a natural fit that they should have as much understanding of how individuals are supposed to instinctively react as possible.

In many cases, HR teams are using neuroscience without even realising it but this blog looks at how a more explicit use of the science can improve not only HR and recruitment processes but the overall organisation.

Understanding motivation

Using neuroscience in recruitment is one way of both improving individual performance and business performance, in addition to positioning the company as a forward thinking and innovative. By understanding what motivates people from the outset, you will have an automatic head start. A business that creates a motivating and rewarding environment and articulates this well during the recruitment process will reap the benefits in terms of successful hires and high staff retention levels.

Lateral thinking and removing bias

Although we hate to believe it, even the most outwardly liberal individuals will have some secret, sometimes subconscious biases. They are often nothing to do with logic and are extremely hard to avoid, especially if you aren’t even aware that you have them! Although neuroscience tells us that trusting your gut instinct can be a good thing, it is important to distinguish between this and giving in to your biases.

We have seen some companies introducing name-blind CVs as one way to attempt to overcome this. It can also help to bring some broader lateral thinking into the recruitment process – opening your eyes to candidates who do not meet the brief in every way but maybe excel in other ways can lead to some unexpectedly good hires, as well as helping to remove experience based biases.

Game based assessments

Neuroscience shows us that when the brain stimulates an event, for example in a game-based scenario, it goes through the same processes as it would in reality. Therefore, a game based assessment that is directly related to the role you are recruiting for can be a really good way to test potential hires. It can give you valuable insight into how an individual will perform in that role. In addition, if you bring in a team element to the game, you can get an instant understanding into how they will work with others.

Although not necessarily immediately clear on first glance, neuroscience is the perfect partner for an HR team that is dedicated to better understanding the needs and instinctive reactions of its people. In many cases, you may be already using some of the tools and processes I have spoken about above but by backing these up with neuroscience based logic, you can achieve wider business buy-in by having tangible evidence about your decisions. Finally, the potential impact on your employees can be hugely significant – an organisation that truly understands how their employees will react to certain situation and alters their processes accordingly will reap the benefits in the long run in terms of increased staff retention.