While organizations are consumed with perfecting their process of finding “best fit” candidates, we also need to give serious consideration to the “re-fit” of our existing employees in roles for which they are better suited and roles that they will find more fulfilling. Make no mistake: Finding the right new people and getting them in a role where their natural drives and traits can flourish is critical to improving retention and engagement. However, we need to put just as much focus on our existing workforce to ensure that they are properly positioned in roles where they perform more effectively and where their discretionary effort is unlocked.
It should come as no surprise that employee disengagement has risen to an alarming level. Gallup’s 2017 “State of the American Workplace” report found that 51 percent of employees are “not engaged,” and 16 percent are “actively disengaged.” While these statistics are valuable and telling, these lagging indicators only prove that we must head upstream to uncover the leading variables causing the problem. These leading factors center on the drives and traits every employee has and how we uncover them and then “re-fit” them into roles that leverage their natural abilities rather than work against them.
Much of the disengagement problem is symptomatic of years of “right-sizing,” prolific job shifts and substandard management. Just look at the massive growth of change management programs and seminars. There are some effective change management systems, but their necessity indicates just how much we’ve taxed our workforce, and the engagement statistics prove it out. We have exacerbated change so much that people feel stuck and find fulfillment in their work to be a distant dream.
Re-Fit Requires Re-Focus.
It would be naive to think that we could create an organizational climate free of change and challenges. Change is normal and natural. What we fail to do is truly look at the measurable human factors that influence how people deal with change and challenges. We also fail to use that information to inform our organizational design and how we develop and coach people. A drastic re-focus forces us to think of jobs and positions in the company differently. For example, aside from the skills and competencies necessary to do the job, what are the drives and traits and even cognitive abilities a person needs to be successful in their role? In other words, we may have someone in a position for which they are suited based on their resume, but their natural drives and traits are misaligned with that position. Job misalignment is the precursor to disengagement. The good news is that science allows us to create that alignment far more effectively than in the past, when managers and decision-makers would just guess at it.
Human behavior analytics provides the data that inform a more accurate set of factors a person needs to be successful in a role and contributes vital insights to put the right person in each role. Analytics works in reverse order, as well: When we are able to pinpoint people’s natural drives and qualities, we are able to place them in a role that leverages and optimizes those traits. Here’s the rub: You may not currently have positions in the organization that maximize a person’s natural strengths, so taking a creative approach to organizational design may be in order.
Your initial response to this approach may be the concern about tailoring every job to every individual, but that’s not what I’m advocating. I have found that the human drives that are so critical to success are well defined and easy to align to the requirements of a job. That alignment is the “re-fit” that creates more engaged employees and puts them on the road to fulfillment. Analytics also equips managers to understand their own drives and traits as well as those of their team members, which accelerates their ability to coach them.
Consider that 64 percent of the current emerging workforce would rather make $40,000 per year in a job that they love than $100,000 in a job they find boring. In reality, it would be hard not to believe that most people feel the same way: that working in a role that is fulfilling is worth far more than a huge paycheck. That’s not to say we couldn’t endure a horrible job for a big paycheck for a certain amount of time, but isn’t our calling greater than that? Companies want engaged and fulfilled employees because they’re what make for a great work climate and increase performance and profits. Human behavior analytics allows us to maximize the value of our human capital, making fulfillment more attainable.