Pipeline Trauma: Hiring the Right People and Keeping Key People

By Maria Forbes
November 18, 2021

Workforce dynamics have changed.

As a business leader, if you want to continue to grow the value of your business, if you are to hire the right people to fit a role, if you’re to retain key people essential to accomplishing your mission and vision, you must understand the difference between a job description and a role description. Consider current realities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 10.9 million job openings at the end of July. The largest increases in “help wanted” signs occurred in health care and social assistance, finance and insurance, and accommodations and foodservice. Small business owners and CEOs across the board in a range of industries and professions continue to complain that they cannot get enough qualified people to fill positions.

While the focus is on the shortage of workers, employers must consider the people they have.  An August 2021 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP indicated that “nearly two-thirds of workers are looking for a new job.” Eighty-eight percent of bosses report higher than normal turnover.  Writer Rachel Feintzeig noted that job seekers are “motivated by the promise of more money, benefits and chances to climb the ladder.” The search firm Korn Ferry asked 378 professionals what they’d do if an employer demanded in-person work, even just a few days a week.  Their answers reflected new work routines provoked by the pandemic; 21% said they would refuse to return to the office, 17% would quit.

No matter what changes in the economy going forward, if you are to continue to grow and prosper as a “great place to work” company, hiring and retention strategies must be reconsidered.  Applicants have more options but they, and you as an employer must understand the role they are to play in the company beyond the basics of the job description.  Employers must dig deeper into the skills, knowledge, and strengths of the candidate relative to the well-defined role he or she is to play, the team they will collaborate with, and the mission and vision of the company.  Misalignment of employee skills and passion with role requirements, lack of synergism with the existing team, contributes to excess turnover.”

Revisit a fundamental tool.  A job description contains information about what an applicant must know, his or her education and experiences.  This information is asking for an applicant’s cognitive strengths, that which has been learned and/or experienced, and can be increased.  It also describes skills necessary to carry out a role; specific proficiencies in technology, industry specific tools and methodologies. These are also cognitive abilities that can be enhanced.

Additionally, a job description contains a list of duties or task-related responsibilities.  There is some indication of desired motivations and cultural attributes to illustrate right fitA job description attracts job holders, people with the right knowledge and skills (cognitive strengths) to perform a role.  They will be supporters to your business vision and your growth goals, and this comes with limited contributions to your business and its future.
To get to the next level of interest, qualified candidates for a position, you need a role description.  This version includes an additional attribute; an overview of the Conative strengths a candidate must possess to succeed in a role.  These are naturally occurring abilities, the innate method of getting things done, that produce expected results for the role.  These attributes cannot be duplicated, they are innate and reliable abilities that enable a person to perform their best in a role.

A role description connects a role to the mission and vision of your company, to engage the candidate as a contributor to your business value and growth.  Shared vision and mission suggest that every role is a contributor to company success within the appropriate context.

Your teams should be collaborative stakeholders in your success.  A role description attracts candidates that seek to engage as business contributors.  They are proactively engaged in a shared mission with a responsibility to growth outcomes.  They use their strengths to drive results.  Their contributions are only limited by your growth goals.

A role description describes a role not a job.  Hire for roles and enjoy the benefits of your teams as contributors to your small business.  Experience growth without limits.

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