By Judy M. McCutcheon
I’ve never quite been the same as everybody else, I was always different, and I love my uniqueness. I am sure that many of you were told as children “why can’t you be more like this one or that one?” I don’t think parents back then or perhaps even now, understood the fabulousness of having a child that stood out from the crowd. Fitting in or wanting to fit in causes people to suppress who they truly are, to become someone that society says they should be. While I think that some of society’s unwritten rules are okay, I prefer to march to the beat of my own drums and not feel too concerned for who or what society says I should or shouldn’t be. I had one director where I worked told me I was rogue, and at first, I was offended and then I thought, that yes, he’s correct. He was correct because he was trying to cast me in a role that I hated, so over time, it became difficult for me. I was unhappy in that job, and when I am unhappy I do even stranger things. So, yes, I understand how he could have seen me as rogue. I have since resolved that, unless I am being paid as an actress, I will stay in character and the older I get the less worried I am about society’s thoughts of me.
So why do people subject themselves to a life of worrying about what “John Public” thinks and never realize their happiness? Why do we remain year after year in a job or relationship that bring us no fulfilment? I understand that bills must be paid, but think about it, wouldn’t you be happier paying a bill from a source that brought you great joy? Working in a job, that does not fit with your natural motivation pattern, is pretty much like wearing a pair of tight shoes, and anyone who has ever worn a pair of tight shoes understands what I am talking about. Unfortunately, this is the case for many employees, they are cast into square peg roles and eventually become bitter and resentful. When this happens, the environment becomes toxic, and productivity suffers. Employers must learn to be more diligent in their hiring and development process. I read a study that was published in the Harvard Business Review which stated that previous experience is not a predictor of success for new hires, especially for entry-level positions. I keep saying that your front-line people should be some of your most precious employees because they interface daily with the people who could truly hurt your business – your customers. So why are employers still not getting it right when it comes to the hiring process?
Have you ever gone into a store and the customer service person treated you as if you were an interruption to their day? This happens across all industries, not just in retail. A big part of this is attributed to hiring people and putting them into roles without having an idea of how well they are likely to perform in that role. To be effective in a position, employees must have the skills, ability, and motivation to want to do the job, but they must also have the interest and the job must fit with their natural motivation pattern. Most employees have a desire to fit in and be productive, however, employers must learn how to best align, skills, abilities, interests, and passion. Therefore, employers must use all the tools available to them to ensure that they hire right, develop, and manage their talent. It is important that employees find enjoyment and meaning in their work. Remember that the correct fit equals engagement and enjoyment.
Employees have as much to do with their alignment and enjoyment as do the employer. Many times, we pursue interests that hold no joy for us, simply because it is someone else’s expectation of us. We spend most of our waking hours on the job, doesn’t it make sense to do work that brings you a sense of fulfilment and joy? A recent survey showed that 87% of employees are not engaged and that employers are finding it harder to develop and implement effective engagement plans. The same study showed that companies, where employees are engaged, outperformed companies whose staff are not engaged by 147%. These results clearly show the benefits of having an engaged staff. During the hiring process, as well as the during the performance feedback process, managers must ask questions that will help to unearth what drives us, what puts that fire in our belly, what are the things that will make us come to work every day no matter what is happening. If these questions are asked, then we can find ways to help with aligning employees. In addition to interviews, employers should use assessment tools, that would help them to gauge interest, motivation, as well as proper job fit. It is about time that employers stop hiring people and putting them in positions and hoping for the best. It is time to take the guesswork out of hiring, onboarding, and developing employees.
Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company. www.goblueinc.net