Personal Finance

Match job skills to roles or risk losing competitive edge

interview

Many organisations are struggling to match the people they are recruiting to the real value of the role they are supposed to fill against what the CEOs are promising stakeholders. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Many organisations are struggling to match the people they are recruiting to the real value of the role they are supposed to fill against what the CEOs are promising stakeholders.
  • Arguably, we can idealise the role and the value it should capture and neglect the challenges that come with acquiring a fitting candidate for the role.
  • Well, nothing good comes easy and there is no such thing as a perfect candidate.
  • Aside from the external sourcing process, organisations can opt for culture development and/or upskilling programmes for incumbents, especially roles that are facing redundancy or phased-out responsibilities.

Once upon a time, there was established a majestic city named Potola bustling with business activity and booming with life. People seemed to move in unrelenting resolve, wearing the facial impressions of the busy life — transfixed eyes focused on the future, no minute to waste because no one could afford to be late. This would constrain their delivery and after all everyone knew that “Time is Money”.

Laila who lived in the city managed to build a phenomenal fashion design business from an idea to a medium-sized organisation with the support and partnership of Toni, the co-founder. In the beginning, they covered all grounds; Laila handled the administrative, product and operational responsibilities while Toni took care of sales and business development. It was that simple and effective. As months drifted by they increased their customer base and advanced their product quality, always staying ahead of the trend and focusing on their objective — attracting customers, retaining them and increasing product referrals by existing clients.

Imaginably, both of them strongly represented an agile organisation and scope-less responsibilities as long as the efforts were focused on building the business. They did not have job descriptions or job specifications, which were relevant but not an immediate priority. What drove them was determination and an understanding that if this business flourished then they would be as successful.

Twelve years later, with 750 new employees and growing, Laila decided to take a look at the career openings in her organisation posted on their website and the common element was the job description section, which shockingly was copy-pasted across the different available roles with very minute variance detailed in academic qualifications and number of years of experience.

Everything else was so common, vague and generic. Worse, these job descriptions had never changed since Sophie — the first HR associate composed them 10 years ago.

Did it mean that the role requirements had been static all this time? It was obvious that the industry has undergone numerous radical shifts, why weren’t these changes reflecting on the organisation’s view of a fitting role candidate?

Disappointed, she picked up the phone to call the HR department. Someone had some explaining to do.

There are many ways to unpack the job description and role allocation subject but a fair place to start is determining how the role described in the job description will tangibly contribute to the overall organisational objective.

It gets better and more effective when organisations can analyse in granular detail exactly what amount of value is delivered by a role in respect to the overall organisational goal. Once this is achieved, initiatives can be set up to develop the adaptive muscle and agile culture in the organisation to suit varying business dynamics that will emerge.

Many organisations are struggling to match the people they are recruiting to the real value of the role they are supposed to fill against what the CEOs are promising stakeholders.

Arguably, we can idealise the role and the value it should capture and neglect the challenges that come with acquiring a fitting candidate for the role. Well, nothing good comes easy and there is no such thing as a perfect candidate.

Aside from the external sourcing process, organisations can opt for culture development and/or upskilling programmes for incumbents, especially roles that are facing redundancy or phased-out responsibilities.

The former brings in new blood and ideas, an opportunity to build talent diversity and a chance of sourcing the experts who are “ripe” for the upcoming role. The latter approach eliminates obsolescence in the organisation, increases operational efficiency, seeds up employee loyalty and promotes the employer brand which will in turn attract valuable talent.

The rationale in each approach is a topic for another time but the moment before looking at who fits into what role. Below is a summarised illustration showing one of the ways the overall objective of the organisation can be broken down and utilised in designing the job description for a role.

The Goal-Trait Approach:

This is fundamentally examining the overall organisational goal or sub-goal and extracting the elements of the goal that can inform the decision on what the role in question will be accountable for when delivery audits are conducted.

By infusing context and asking this genre of questions, recruiters can take the first step towards designing job descriptions that not only reflect the true nature of the role but also attract the right kind of applicants.