Lucky is the organization that has the right people in the right place at the right time, or optimal job fit. These organizations operate like high-performance luxury automobiles, zooming along the highway while lesser engines chug, sputter, and die.
But does luck really drive them? A closer look shows job fit is at work when a company continuously operates at peak performance. We should take a closer look at its people—the ones doing the driving (the general workforce) as well as those regularly checking under the hood and kicking the tires (managers and leaders).
If your workers are not helping your organization drive or maintain the car, then it's time to see if job fit is amiss. Do your managers size up applicants up fairly, skillfully, and efficiently by checking them out before they ever step foot in your organization? Or do they glance at résumés and fall for what they see on paper? The latter is the equivalent of purchasing a car without even seeing it, much less test driving it.
Consider Amanda, a manager who had to fill several jobs quickly for an expansion project. An absentee manager because of her other duties, Amanda needed a diverse group of employees: a supervisor with strong leadership skills; strong self-starters who could be trained quickly and work with minimal supervision; and at least one task-oriented worker. Amanda sufficiently calculated the types of people needed for optimal job fit, and then began recruiting.
Amanda selected applicants based on job applications, résumés, and personal interviews, but she chose too quickly. She filled her available positions with good people who didn't have appropriate job fit. This is what she found—one self-starter, four task-oriented individuals, and no supervisory stand-in. In the absence of a strong team leader, the task-oriented workers completed each day's duties speedily, but not necessarily efficiently or correctly. They often had to redo projects. The self-starter had a completely different problem: he did not fit the culture.
Amanda's speedy hiring process resulted in poor job fit. The employees were like mismatched sparkplugs, and no one ever checked under the hood. The new workers became bored, and team performance dwindled. They gossiped, which led to bad feelings. At the end of the day, the employees accomplished little—sometimes not even the tasks Amanda had specifically assigned. The self-starter quit and the rest were frustrated. The project sputtered to a dead halt.
This is an example of finding warm bodies, not effective talent management. Amanda needed to hire people based on their attributes, as well as the job requirements to ensure positive job fit. Once people showed interest in the jobs, she needed to narrow the field by picking those whose skills fit the tasks to be completed.
Unfortunately, even the best managers can be led astray by a sparkling résumé or charming talk during an interview. When a manger's employee selection process lacks a clear picture of the kinds of people needed to fit the job, she hires an applicant, puts him to work, trains him, and hopes for the best. This is where managers need luck, but luck is too often fleeting. Managerial hopes slide as the employee makes mistakes, forgets assigned duties, and cannot get along with coworkers. He's not necessarily a bad worker; he just didn't have job fit, and that impacts employee engagement.
Good workers are difficult to find, and when a manager finds applicants who engage them, they are often blinded by qualities that have nothing to do with the job. It happens because potential candidates sell themselves. They believe they really want the job, not realizing the lack of actual job fit.
Finding people who fit the job is not an impossible task. Employee assessments are available that provide snapshots of high-performing "sparkplugs" and tell managers what makes them good at their jobs. From that snapshot, managers can develop a profile of a superb performer and hire employees that match the profile. And because nothing performs well without preventive maintenance, it's imperative that managers constantly check under the hood.
Many managers feel overworked, especially following the downturn and layoffs in recent years. So when they get the green light to add staff, they need to not only take the time but also place proper focus on that process or risk squandering the opportunity. Companies with effective talent management strategies understand this (in good times and bad) and push their managers to hire the best candidate with skills and fit, not just a candidate who seems like a “good guy” so that they can move on. To finish the auto analogy, that’s a sure way to guarantee far too many stops for the pit crew, which just about guarantees that you won’t win the race.
Author: Jeff Meyers
Source: Profiles International
Like this article, subscribe our blog now!