Mar 23, 2011
So, I used to write this blog for me. Honestly, I could have cared less that anyone was reading it. It has been a great exercise for almost 6 years – forcing me to continuously thing and read and research. I’ve enjoyed writing over 1000 posts and think of it as a fairly significant achievement. But I’m quite honestly tired of it. I no longer do it for me, and I don’t have the time or energy to invest in doing the twitter thing, or networking with other bloggers – all the things that seem to make for successful blogs these days. It’s just not fun at the moment.
I was watching a recent HBR video1 that did talk about emotion as one of the critical drivers of success. He pointedly asserted that “working harder” was in no way a meaningful path to achieving higher performance. Instead, the right people in the right jobs who were emotionally invested would create success (note that he didn’t call it engagement, but that’s what it is). He also noted that this involvement of emotion in the equation seemed to have a balance between work and play. That is not to say that people “play” at work, but that emotionally, the work was fun. I’ll admit that I often do have fun at work. I enjoy my projects and I enjoy creating. But I think that many of us have people in top positions in our organizations that are not truly having fun.
This is an interesting departure from prior discussion of engagement. Where before we could always create engagement, in this scenario, “fun,” emotional investment seems to be created more from within than anything we in HR can do. What HR can do is put people in the right jobs in the first place, and then our employees have a chance at this concept of fun and play. That the significant part of the engagement equation actually lies in selection and job placement before any of our engagement surveys or tools is deployed is a bit troubling. After all, we don’t measure our recruiters on engagement or fit to position. We’d like to think they are thinking in those terms, but we are measuring our recruiters on fill rates and time.
I do genuinely love what I do. I think I’m good at it, and I find the work quite interesting. My clients generally like me with the occasional exception. I think I may be one of the lucky ones. In my last 2 jobs, I’m pretty sure there weren’t positions open for me. I happened to finagle my way into chatting with the right person, and they’d find a way to get me into the organization. Most people tend to interview for jobs, have to take the job that they are offered that matches what they need to get paid. The hope is that their skills, compensation threshold, and interests all collide at the same time, but realistically that’s unlikely, isn’t it? Our gatekeepers are our recruiters. We need to do a better job of not only measuring fit from a skills and income perspective, but also from an emotional interest perspective. Our employees who are going to succeed are going to do so not because we figured out how to engage them, but because we got the right person in the right job and gave them the best opportunity to inspire themselves.
- Harvard Business Publishing Videocast, The Path to Peak Performance. Dr. Edward Hallowell. [back]