Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Trevor E.S. Smith | How ‘square pegs’ fuel high turnover, low engagement

Published:Sunday | September 1, 2019 | 12:05 AM

Sentenced to use your less-favoured hand 40 hours per week!

Required to collaborate with colleagues from an alien culture in an unknown language.

For good measure, you only perform tasks that you find frustrating.

Believe it or not, that situation reflects how many employees feel about their jobs. They dread coming to work, and suffer through their time there as they watch the clock wind down to give them relief.

Naturally, they strive to find a way out, which is reflected in high staff turnover. Some even prefer to sit it out at home until they can find something more suitable, so as to preserve their peace of mind.

Recent experiences with organisations have brought to the fore, once again, the impact of square pegs in round holes and the critical importance of Role Fit.

In many organisations, there is a tendency to define the ‘technical’ requirements for jobs – professional skills, training/education, work experience, etc. However, they fail to pay sufficient attention to the behavioural requirements of the role to be performed.

Many failures on the job are not based on a lack of professional skills, but on deficiencies in demonstrating the behavioural competences that are needed for effectiveness in the role. Things like the capacity to relate effectively to others. Or, achieving results with and through people. Giving and receiving instructions. Handling feedback. Being a team player. Effective communication.

A seminal Harvard study attributed 85 per cent of success to interpersonal skills and only 15 per cent to technical competence. That means that a highly skilled auditor might lose clients for her firm because of her poor people skills.

I constantly hear tales of woes about leaders with failing interpersonal skills grades.

Team members withdraw and do just enough to get through performance appraisals in order to keep their jobs. Engagement and enthusiasm go out the door with the failure to empower and inspire. This might be taking place closer to you than you realise or allow yourself to accept!

SOLUTION

I like to address problems, so here is a strategy that we have used to address the challenges arising from the square peg/round hole issue.

We implement a five-step talent acquisition strategy:

1. Developing a competency-based ‘ideal behavioural profile’ for each role.

2. Conducting personal behavioural analyses of applicants, incorporating degrees of fit, in percentage terms, against the ideal behavioural profile for the role.

3. Providing an interview map to guide targeted interviewing of the candidates.

4. Creating a multi-person report that provides line-by-line comparative analysis among the candidates and against the ideal behavioural profile list of competences.

5. Appending a brief open-ended questionnaire to the assessment that requires candidates to provide historical evidence of their demonstration of select core competences. The questions apply leading-edge behavioural interviewing techniques to capture information on issues such as integrity, commitment, courage and goal focus. The responses are included in the comprehensive assessment package along with the psychometric and competency-based components.

The ideal behavioural profile is an effective and powerful tool that is best developed by collecting and combining the input of key players in the organisation, using a selection of behavioural competencies from the revolutionary FinxS competency library. Alternatively, extended DISC/FinxS experts or trained practitioners create the ideal behavioural profile based on the job descriptions that are provided.

The objective is to produce a template of the ideal behavioural style for undertaking the job in question against which to match the applicant.

IDEAL BEHAVIOURAL PROFILE

The ideal behavioural profile also adds value by:

• Providing clarity about the job and identifying facets that might not otherwise be recognised up front.

• Aligning the job with the vision and mission of the organisation.

• Analysing and working through differences of opinion among key stakeholders as to how the job ought to be performed.

• Identifying areas of responsibility that may need to be taken away from the job or added to it.

• Recognising situations in which the performer of the job may require specified support.

• Establishing the critical success factors with respect to the job and agreeing on a framework for the performance measures that will govern the job.

Role Fit is the ultimate performance-enhancement platform.

- Trevor E.S. Smith and the Success with People Academy guide the development of high-performing teams. They provide learning and productivity-enhancement technology solutions. Coaching solutions include ‘3-D Leader Certification: leading dominant, difficult and diverse personalities and the ICF/SHRM-backed Certified Behavioural Coach programme – now enrolling candidates. Email: info@successwithpeople.org.