Getting to Know the Whole Person

September 7, 2022

The talent shortage is shifting the way companies think about recruiting, hiring, and maintaining their workforces.

In the past, if a new hire didn’t perform well, organizations would let them go. After all, there was an endless pool of candidates you could easily draw on for a replacement. But that’s just not the case anymore. These days, if a new hire turns out not to be the best fit for the role, companies need to find ways to make the role better fit the person.

A big part of this approach involves leaders getting to know their people better. Spending time, one-on-one, understanding their personality profiles, learning about their lives, what they need to be successful, what fulfills them, and what burnout looks like. Investing from the very start in getting to know their people personally, as well as professionally. It requires leaders to get comfortable asking questions about employees’ lives outside of work, sharing their own personal experiences and vulnerabilities, and building deeper relationships based on trust.

Customized roles are key to retention

It’s a longer-term view to success – for the employees and the organization overall. We’re seeing companies and leaders building relationships with potential candidates for weeks and even months before hiring them – and then working hard to maintain that high level of engagement after the employees have joined.

To succeed, leaders need to be able to act on what their people say. Respond to their needs and create the customized roles and environments that allow their employees to thrive. Help their people build careers where they can succeed and grow with the company.

We’ll need more leaders – and they’ll need more training

It translates into much more time our leaders need to spend on their relationships with their teams – both during and after the hiring process. Which means we need more leaders. We can’t expect them to do a good job customizing each of their team members’ roles – all while contributing to strategy, making money for the business, and performing at a high level themselves.

It also requires a different skillset, which means we need to provide more training and coaching for our leaders. They’ll need to expand their mentoring expertise, develop their EQ skills, and understand their own inner landscapes better, too. Our leaders’ abilities to connect and build trust with the individuals they hope to hire and those on their teams is going to rely on how well they know themselves.

Deeply connected teams are more resilient

The hybrid environment has only magnified the need for our leaders to get better at connecting meaningfully with their people. Many organizations today have leadership teams and workforces that are dispersed across multiple office, cities, and even countries. (To learn more, see our recent article, “Building a Stronger Leadership Team: Why Now is the Perfect Time for your Team to Connect”.) Being able to find common ground and grow trusted relationships is more vital now than ever before. It’s the key to tailoring jobs, making decisions around what’s right for an individual, and having honest conversations about what the organization can and can’t support.

Managing the talent crisis will take dedicated time and effort. But having more deeply connected teams will help our organizations become more resilient, and better able to withstand any business or economic ups and downs. Getting to know the whole person will help set our organizations up for success, no matter what the future holds.

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