In the latest instalment of our HR industry executive interview series we spoke to TrustID CEO Tony Machin about his company, the challenges of staying on top of compliance while recruiting effectively, the consolidation of HR technologies to create greater operational efficiencies and the future for digital identities…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
At TrustID, we’re specialists in identity verification. We support a wide range of organisations of all different sizes, across the public and private sectors, helping them to validate identity both remotely and face to face. We help businesses to ensure that they are staying compliant with the latest regulations, including for example, assessing whether their applicants have a Right to Work in the UK. The TrustID range of services makes identity checking convenient and robust. We remove the need for businesses to invest in in-house document checking expertise and give them a high level of confidence in their checks – removing doubt and risk. We’re also a certified IDSP which means we can help people with the new digital Schemes for Right to Work, Right to Rent and DBS checks.
What have been the biggest challenges the Human Resources industry has faced over the past 12 months?
In the last year, our customers have been talking to us about the challenges of staying on top of compliance whilst recruiting effectively – and in fact, often in a newly remote world! Right to Work guidance has changed massively over the last 12 months and it’s not always easy for HR and recruitment teams to navigate. The list of eligible documents has changed, with a greater reliance on online checks using share codes and the new Home Office digital Scheme allowing employers to continue remote checks on eligible candidates. It’s critical for employers to get these checks right, but they are also looking for a smooth applicant onboarding journey to prevent losing a promising candidate in a competitive environment.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
The shift to remote and then increasingly hybrid working has given HR recruitment teams a huge opportunity. With a hybrid working policy, businesses can widen their talent pool and employ people who live more than a daily commute away, considerably opening up the talent market. Supported by the right technology, including digital checks, HR teams can onboard from anywhere and give the candidate a positive experience without asking them to travel to an office. Personally, I think hybrid working presents challenges too – for TrustID, the way we work doesn’t lend itself to a purely remote environment, but we have been able to bring on some real talent from across the UK, thanks to a flexible working set-up.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
For me, it won’t be one piece of technology but rather the ability to get systems talking to each other: I believe integration of technologies will have a huge impact on HR teams this year. Alongside their core employee-management systems, many HR and onboarding teams have introduced specialist digital services to support distinct areas within their role – for example, to introduce RtW compliance checks. There are clearly many benefits to introducing these specialist services, which are developed and supported by experts but having several systems can lead to duplication of data and inaccuracies. Also, asking employees to access different systems for different tasks can cause frustration and confusion and create a negative first impression of your business. So, having a single holistic interface for all your people-management activities increasingly makes sense. By bringing different specialist systems together, HR teams will be able to streamline processes and help improve productivity.
In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
With the increasing trend towards digitisation, both in our working and private lives, I think by 2025, it’ll be all about digital identities. For HR teams, this will mean a simpler, faster, and more robust RtW checking process. We already know that digital RtWs are feasible and can be conducted without an increased risk of fraud. But like any process of digital transformation, the move to a digital RtW will (and should) be gradual and incremental. All parties – including employees, HR teams, identity providers and the government – need to be part of the process.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Human Resources sector?
We speak to hundreds of companies every month and I think the biggest surprise is the massive variation in process and approach which HR teams take to achieve the same goal. I can talk to 5 different organisations in the same day about how they are onboarding staff and get 5 different answers. This means that our approach to working with them has to remain flexible and selling our services is a very consultative process – there’s no single way which will work for all HR teams.
You go to the bar at the HR Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
I’d definitely choose a glass of full-bodied red wine!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The most exciting thing for me right now is managing a fast-growing business. We built TrustID with good products, good operational delivery, and credibility at our heart. It’s so exciting to see these principles now coming together and our business, team, and customer base growing.
And what’s the most challenging?
Well, funnily enough, it’s managing a fast-growing business and all the new challenges that brings! For example, it’s not easy to attract new staff – it’s a challenge for all businesses, including TrustID – and we are working hard to attract and then retain the right people, maintain the right company culture and retain our clear sense of purpose.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve been given was during my army career: I was told by a Commanding Officer that you can’t expect your teams to work at 100% all of the time – it’s just not sustainable. Ideally you want people to be working effectively at 90% so that when the crisis hits or you need them to deliver something exceptional, you’ve got capacity to go up a gear. This has stuck with me in the world of work!
The Crown or Peaky Blinders?
Definitely Peaky Blinders!