Job engagement is down, with just 31% of workers saying they’re engaged with what they do, and 17% reporting active disengagement. At the same time, employers want ways to improve hiring and employee retention. One potential approach to meeting both sets of challenges is an increased emphasis on job personalization. With this approach, employees and candidates are encouraged to help define their own titles and roles instead of fitting into a predetermined box. Read on to learn more about job personalization and to learn about ways that could help your business.
Is your Recruiting Method Backward?
In the typical arrangement, employers list jobs, advertising a title, responsibilities, the desired qualifications, and the pay and benefits. Candidates and headhunters are expected to look at these lists and attempt to fill them.
The idea is straightforward enough, but what if it puts the cart before the horse? That's the concept behind job personalization. Instead of listing rigid job concepts and seeing who can fit into them, job personalization works the other way around. Companies work with candidates and ask them about their qualifications and the title, skills, and job responsibilities they want to be involved with. They let them describe their own ideal title and see if they can offer them something like it.
This can be done as an inquiry to existing employees, as well as with new external candidates – especially those who show interest in the company itself whether or not a specific job was available.
Benefits to Employee Satisfaction
Allowing employees to create their own titles can be a powerful motivator. It allows them to use their day-to-day tasks to forge a path in the direction they'd like to take their career. Allowing employees to make this determination fosters buy-in and autonomy, and is likely to increase the extent to which they value the position on their resume. It also improves their latitude to focus on those parts of the job that are most satisfying and engaging to them.
Even if your ability to incorporate their preferences is limited, simply asking employees to reflect on how their jobs fit into their larger plans may help them connect their work to a larger sense of career progression. That’s a positive in and of itself.
Are you ready to personalize your next role?
Increased Utilization of Worker Talents
Constrictive job titles may be hindering your business more than you realize. Many employees have skills that transcend their current job titles, and might like to use additional abilities that fall outside their job or department description. If an employee has professional experience that would span across multiple roles at your business, they may not only be underutilized, but they may also feel dissatisfaction at being underpaid when they're capable of filling what amounts to a more specialized hybrid position.
Alternatively, employees could also see job personalization as an opportunity to gain experience and recognition for skills they already have but have not been fully able to utilize in a professional environment.
Job personalization can also serve as an outlet for employees who see details at work that they believe can be corrected or improved. Employees have their own experiences which guide their visions of how the organization can achieve its mission. Giving them the ability to have a creative hand in any area that they feel passionate about can yield powerful results.
Flat Structures and Upward Mobility
Of course, there are practical concerns to be reckoned with to make job personalization work.
Flat organizational structures may better accommodate this approach, allowing for more flexible titles and movement within your organization. Instead of focusing on an assembly line hierarchy from associate through senior, job descriptions are more descriptive, and team and department boundaries are less rigid. For the right organization, this kind of structure has many benefits, from increased agility to the reduction of administrative bloat.
Of course, at least some oversight is still needed, and there will always be leftover tasks that need to be done that may not be requested by many workers. These can be handled with a mixed approach rather than a fully personalized or traditional one. Remaining tasks might be assigned, paired with other more popular responsibilities, advertised as job descriptions in a less personalized way, or by some other method.
Using job personalization, instead of assuming what "moving up" looks like to your employees and candidates, ask them to tell you. The "dream job" isn't always about slapping "Senior" in front of a title. It could involve a deeper focus on those areas which the person is most skilled or interested in, or on broader areas they'd like to work or gain experience with. This can be a win-win for employees and employers.
Personalize Your Candidate Search
If you're looking for ways to improve employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity, consider giving some job personalization a try. The best way to find great employees could be to ask them how to create great jobs.
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