Engage Energize Evolve

March 23, 2006

I fix matches...between people and organizations!

In the movie Lamhe, Vinod Khanna, who runs a travel agency, explains to Sridevi, a prospective candidate for employment, the nature of his business. “We are a travel agency,” he says. “Oh – so you make real the dreams that people have, is it?” asks Sridevi. Very filmy, I agree. But it got me thinking. About how people describe their jobs. And whether that has any telling on their engagement levels at work. I would think it does.

In one of my stints in training and development, I conducted an intervention on a group of people who belonged to a particular line of business. I did an exercise where each one was asked to describe their jobs in one line. All kinds of descriptions came up. “Logging queries, closing transactions, responding to follow ups….basically activities. Not once did the word “customer” figure. And this was the team that worked three shifts to provide online support to customers in a different time zone. It was not surprising that they had productivity issues.

This probably also explains why the passion that recruiting firms have about recruitment is not so readily shared by recruitment professionals in corporates. After all, the recruiter gets to “see” the difference that he may have made to the career of a candidate, and even to the client organization, for that matter. Recruitment professionals in corporates on the other hand are too bogged down by the transactions (fixing salaries, generating letters, completing the background checks, etc) to see any “real” impact.

I think asking for a one line job description from a role holder is a potentially powerful tool, and can be used as a quick starting point of organizational diagnosis. The exclusions, the inclusions, the choice of words, the terminology used – all give you an insight into how the person perceives his job and his own sense of connect with it. Most people who feel positive about their jobs are those who are able to see where it fits in the larger picture. They are able to see how it impacts another person / entity / process – and this gives them a sense of meaning and thereby satisfaction.

Does this mean that strengthening the connect / or helping people change their descriptions of their job will increase engagement levels? Well, only marginally so. The final win will only happen if our evaluation metrics support this change. Which means that if at the end of the day, I am appraised for the number of positions I closed within turnaround time and the number of error free letters that I generated, recruitment for me will continue to remain a transaction. But ask me how many of those I recruited had atleast a 75% fit with the job, how many were on the fast track, and how many attrited..….that might get me thinking.


  • Hi - nice ones..

    but can we have some non-HR / non-org beh stuff here too?!!


    By Anonymous Nanta, at Friday, 24 March, 2006  

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