Talent Management: Two Notions of Fit for the Job


Today’s post considers what does “fit for the job means” and the relationship to talent management (TM). This post is inspired by a very insightful article titled “Make sure employees fit the job”,  by Jim Beqaj in 24 May, 2011 National Post, page FP9.

Jim makes several astute observations:

  • There is no lack of talent out there. The key is knowing what to look for.
  • It is critical to consider what it is needed in each job for it to succeed. We need a description of success.
  • The first question for management relates to the job not the person.

Readers of this BLOG know I have a focus on ensuring TM success by being clear about role performance. Roles are similar to jobs, but different in that they by definition deal directly with the notion of success. 

So the firsts notion of fit is clearly related to how this potential incumbent can help ensure the role succeeds.

The second notion of fit deals with a broader consideration: fit with the organization’s overall purpose, priorities and norms. I consider this as one of cascading citizenship or affiliation:

  • Fit with the role.
  • Fit with my teammates and lateral associates.
  • Fit with my function/business unit’s purpose, priorities and norms.
  • Fit with the larger organization’s purpose, priorities and norms.

This notion of fit Jim briefly alludes to at the beginning of his article (“need to ensure their CEO’s vision is communicated to every employee”).

Where my approach to TM is unique (focus on securing appropriate access to talent) is that for many roles the second form of fit is virtually irrelevant. There is no particular value in having additional levels of affiliation. Where this is the situation, I am prone to ask the question: “Why do we need to have this role performed by an employee anyway?”

Readers of this BLOG know I have an Open systems notion about TM and the key operative issue is about the best (most appropriate) way to secure suitable access to talent including options other than employment.

Where the additional levels of fit (affiliation) are demonstrably useful in contributing to role success then I tend to be positively predisposed to using the employment approach to securing suitable access to talent.

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About 123stilllearning456

As a management consultant I am passionately interested in talent management and risk/uncertainty issues. In the area of talent management I propose that we seek strategies that look beyond the staffing/employee centric frames of reference. I have been frustrated at the "closing down on possibilities" by these more conventional staffing/employee centric approaches. I have been impressed where people have found systematic solutions to their talent management issues by going beyond the conventional approaches. In the area of risk and uncertainty, I am interested in making this topic relevant to more normal decision making situations. My conceptual foundation is to use the micro-economist's fixed/variable cost theme. I also think it is important to look at these issues for people through their emotional and psychological lens. As a premise I think risk and uncertainty only exist where there is a person who cares about possible events and its consequences. Hence, risk and uncertainty are social based concepts (no sentience, no risk and uncertainty). A major influence on my thinking in this area is Nassim Taleb of "Black Swan" fame. This BLOG provides me with an opportunity to express my thoughts on topics that interest me. As this is an online diary, content is more important to me than polish. I apologize if this distracts from readers' enjoyment and learning. Still I find this a useful way to live up to my namesake, learn more from others and hopefully provoke creative thoughts and ideas in others.
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