Job & People Alignment

Shawnee Love   •  
July 8, 2017

Often I interview candidates or employees (during culture surveys or retention interviews) and hear how much the person doesn’t like his or her current job. The three most common causes of this “phenomenon” seem to be:

  1. “Promotions” into management.  That “step up” the career ladder is actually a step backwards as it relates to the happiness and joy they get from their work.
  2. Restraining “orders.  People are kept in jobs they don’t like because:
    1. They do a good job and are thus hard to replace, or
    2. They do a poor job and thus haven’t “earned” the promotion.
  3. Misleading “advertising”.  In this case, people take jobs that sound good on paper but the reality involves activities which are far from what they thought they signed up for.  Whether this situation occurs because organizations truly don’t know what the job entails or they are over promising, as with the other causes, the end result is Vector illustration - Happy Couple. Valentine's Daythe same.

Doing a job you don’t like is a recipe for stress, lowered morale, and worry.

That’s why I encourage managers to ensure their people feel they have jobs which they enjoy and can be successful in.  To do that takes 4 steps:

  1. Identify what the job actually entails.  E.g., Who does it interact with, how often, what tools does it use, what tasks must get done? I.e., create a job description.
  2. Have the employee review the job description and point out what fits him or her well and what doesn’t.
  3. Assess what can be done to more closely align the individual and job.
  4. Take action accordingly.

If you find the employee and job to  be a good fit, you can keep going as is.  However, if you find there is a poor fit between employee and job, we suggest either:

  • Changing the job, or
  • Changing the person (and replacing with someone who fits the job).

If you have a bad fit, the benefit of correcting it is you get a happier workforce and workplace filled with people who can be successful because they fit their jobs and vice versa.