The Haunting of a Low Job Fit Employee

by Chris Young

haunting low job fit employeeRecently, I saw first hand another example of a low job fit employee team member in a role they were not "wired" to do nor enjoy.  This team member is a ten year veteran.  His job is to engage the company's most sensitive, complicated Customers.  Many of these Customers are very demanding.  His behavioral style is opposite of that of most of their demanding Customers.  He is very passive, while most of his customers are direct.  Unfortunately, he is not happy at work due to his behavioral misfit with customers, and it is impacting the rest of his life and customer satisfaction. 

When this team member first started at the company, he fit his job well.  However, promotions and raises came because, at one time, he did perform well, but he has now been promoted to a position he does not fit.  Unfortunately, this is another classic example of "The Peter Principle" - where a person is hired or advanced to a position they are not fit for.

Changing jobs in the company is not an option.  Unfortunately, he cannot take another position in the company because he is either unqualified and/or would experience a pay cut, and, like many of us, his current lifestyle is supported by his current income.  

A new manager now supervises this team member, and he can sense frustration from the new manager.  This situation puts the new manager in the classic "Catch 22" position - the job needs to be done well but at the same time cares about the welfare of this team member.  Ultimately, the new manager must do his job.  He must ensure the key accountabilities of the position are done and done well. 

What steps can be taken to assure this type of thing never occurs?

  • Take a "Talent Inventory" - Assess each team member using the TriMetrix® HD assessment to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Benchmark the jobs - Identify the Key Accountabilities of each job within the company and the Behaviors, Values, and Attributes required to do the job well.  Identify any job mismatch problems before they begin to erode the morale of the team member and destroy company value.
  • Hire only high job fit employee team members - In other words - stop being benevolent.  Why is it that hiring managers feel they are helping someone out by giving them a job even if they are not fit for it?  When job fit is low, it is a sentence to hell on earth by putting someone in that position.  I hear it all the time...  "I want to give Fred a shot."  However benevolent the person doing the promoting is, they may be sentencing Fred to a life of questioning, frustration, anxiety - a life less fulfilled.
  • Always assess before you promote - Promoting is the easiest way for managers to fill a position; however, it can also be the most dangerous move a manager can make.  Just because someone performs well in their current position does not mean he or she will be fit to perform well elsewhere in the company.  Before promoting, compare the team member's TriMetrix® HD report to the job benchmark.  Ask yourself, "Does this person have the behavioral style, skills, attributes and values to fit the position?"

How many people do you have in your company who are in a similar situation - in a job they hate and are not doing well?

I like to think most people are good at heart - but promoting a person into a role they are unsuited for due to job fit, experience, and/or education - it is cruel.  To look into the eyes of low job fit talent is haunting.

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