Just like in a game of chess, all the pieces use their abilities to their advantage with the overall objective of protecting the king whilst defeating its opponent, an organization’s pieces are its employees; using their skills, knowledge and other professional capabilities to the advantage of the organization, to protect it and profit against its competitor.

A manager’s purpose is to deliver talent to its organization, provide superior results and create a harmonious environment amongst other points, continuously over a sustained period of time. This is not something accomplished easily. In most cases it requires for a manager to think of the “end goal” rather than today’s to-do list. Finding talented individuals who can deliver such results and get along together can require some strategic scouting and team formation. Creating calculated roles for these team members is the first step to accomplishing this.

Creating the Perfect Position

Before hiring a new employee, try thinking first of “what shoes are they going to be filling?”. Not all positions have to follow the generic characteristics of other organizations if they don’t satisfy the needs of your own. Neither should a position be filled solely due to its vacancy. There’s a difference between hiring a data analyst who does their job well between hiring a data analyst who does their job well, is passionate about their career, has a disciplined work ethic and can motivate fellow team members.

If the perfect candidate were to exist, what responsibilities would they fulfill and how would they exceed what was requested of them? Obviously education and experience are two important aspects to every candidate’s background, but is a certain level of either necessary or can there be room for flexibility if another distinguished feature of their background truly stands out? Is there a specific behavior, habit or social skill the team is lacking in that could be positively influenced through a new member? Once an understanding of the perfect candidate has been established, it’s time to fill the perfect position.

Hiring A+ People

Recruiting a fit for your team is always a subjective matter. A candidate with outstanding educational background might not have the cultural suiting to be a positive choice whereas someone with less specific experience but full of motivation and a thirst for knowledge. Evaluating these various characteristics in an organized and value-oriented fashion can help distinguish which applicant could prove to be a higher asset to your team. If there isn’t already an employee who makes a clear distinction as a possible replacement for your own position, should you yourself be promoted, perhaps leadership attributes, delegating capabilities and a facility to impart new talents to others are qualities to look for when recruiting?

The best choice will not only be the one that benefits your team but also helps the company to grow, regardless if the candidate may make you feel professionally “threatened”. A great manager shouldn’t feel insecure about an employee’s ability to surpass their position in the future. To only hire those beneath your ability is to deny your team and organization the capability to truly maximize its growth.

“A level people hire A level people. B level people hire C level people…”

– Steve Jobs –

Keeping Good Employees

Retaining good employees is amongst the highest responsibilities of a gifted manager, especially when employees are considered assets to the organization. It makes sense why an organization would want to keep its highest valued assets, right? Even more so considering the internal knowledge they’ve accumulated over the years and having been invested upon with training, superior education and skill acquisition. When a highly valued employee leaves an organization, so does everything they’ve learned. Four factors seem to be influential to an employee’s desire to stay or go somewhere else:

  • Trust and appreciation. No one wants to work for a meaningless organization, just like no one wants feel meaningless in an organization. Interacting with employees and building a positive chemistry within your team is important, but just as important is for superior levels to show gratitude for employees’ work. Trust and appreciation built from both directions of an employee’s perspective will form a stronger foundation to their purpose within the organization.
  • Meaningful work. Working with great purpose is always a significant motivator; increasing production, satisfaction and willingness to do more. A lack of meaning can give an employee “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome and make them want to go out the main door and look elsewhere. It’s inevitable that at times an employee’s roles may extend further than those of their original position, even if only temporarily. Repeating this process can cause a slowly evolving shift in their job responsibilities; changing the work asked of them today vs when they started. A sudden realization of this change can cause them questioning their place at work and what it means to them, opening a possibility to look elsewhere for a better suited position. This is easily solvable from a manager’s perspective if approached in the early stages by talking to employees regularly about their role and their level of satisfaction with that role. If a certain task is displeasing, consider outsourcing. The cost of outsourcing could be lower than that of losing a valuable employee.
  • Compensation. Every employee wants to be well paid for their efforts. This includes a reasonable salary, additional benefits and an ability to grow within the organization through training and further learning. Finding a balance between employees’ salaries is crucial; as much as a high salary could make a specific employee want to stay, it could easily make fellow employees feel undervalued and want to leave. Not everyone is satisfied with improved wages, which is why as a manager it’s your responsibility to determine what’s significant to each individual in your team to best fulfill their compensation needs.
  • Work-life balance. You may provide employees with excellent pay for doing an excellent job within an excellent work environment, but it probably won’t be as valuable to them if they don’t have time to share their success with their family. This is probably the hardest factor to satisfy. After all, the more hours an employee works, the more they earn, just as the company will profit from the more work its employees’ deliver. It’s not all about profit though, even if it goes in all directions. Experimenting with flexible hours or working remotely can go a great way in satisfying this potential issue. More often than not, employees will appreciate your recognition of their personal lives outside of the organization and deliver on their professional responsibilities.

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