As a GM one of my aims is to get everyone in my team motivated to achieve goals and make sure all my team are happy, clear about their objectives and know the role they play in the organisation.

Although this sounds easy, I am continually finding and hearing from our clients that a lot of employees are not suited to the skill-set their employers actually require.

This is a really interesting problem and I don’t believe that anyone has the complete answer but I think there are 5 areas as to why getting the right people in the right job is such a conundrum.

  1. Recruitment process
  2. Employers not knowing what they want
  3. Changing business environment
  4. Self-Awareness
  5. Managers avoiding those hard to have performance conversations

Let’s break this down further:

Recruitment Processright-piece

There are so many processes in recruitment with a lot of pressure on recruiters (both internal and external) to fill a role in line with their KPI’s which is usually Time to Hire, Quality of Hire, Cost of Hire.

I can’t help thinking that somewhere along the line that sometimes the soft skills or pressure to fill outweighs the ultimate goal of making sure you have the right person in the right job… some companies get it right but the vast majority don’t.

Until an organisation sees the recruitment function as an investment rather than a cost, this will continue.

Employers not knowing what they want

Those of you who have worked in contingent recruitment and internal recruitment teams will empathise with this. How many times have you received a hurried phone call from a client saying I need someone quickly? You then source, present what you believe to be the perfect candidate then the interview feedback comes back:

Great candidate thanks…. but we have been talking and we now need someone with a different skill.”

Changing Business Environment

This may be the most common in this current environment. Businesses need to change to survive, a company that has experienced growth and hires people to help them achieve growth then the economy changes and the skills turn into someone who has experience in a turn-around, declining business or a Business As Usual role. Does the skill set of the original hire now suit the current climate?

Generally, NO but how many companies look at this factor and skip over it for retention aspects?

The vast majority.


I truly believe that the vast majority of people are not self-aware… not even remotely self-aware! And this is a big problem!  Over my recruitment career and interviewing people for different roles at different levels, it is apparent that most people can easily answer questions such as:

What are your strengths? Or what are you good at? What is your major accomplishment?

But start asking the question:

What areas of development do you need?

And the response is different. Usually a long pause…. a look to the upward right… the silence is apparent… The vast majority of people do not come up with a convincing example.

If you don’t know what you need to develop then how do you know you are in the right position or company or if this job is right for you? Get self-aware and be honest about your blind spots.

Managers avoiding those hard to have performance conversations

This continues to be a common theme but the way performance reviews are changing means that managers need to be coaches, they need to develop people and they need to have those hard conversations around poor performance or behaviours.

All of these factors (and there are many more) leads me to think that such a simple statement as “get the right people in the right jobs” is actually a lot harder than you think.

If you are reading this and are nodding in agreement here are some simple solutions to think about:

  1. Re-visit, re-define Position Descriptions regularly to ensure each employee is clear of their objectives; understands how their role aligns to the organisational goals and what KRA’s they need to achieve.
  2. Assess your talent and assess them regularly to ensure they have the ability, personality and capability to achieve what you are asking.
  3. If an employee is not suited then be transparent and act quickly – do not put a Band-Aid over the problem as in the vast majority of instances the individual will fail, the business will lose time and money. Re-hire the right skills you need.
  4. Repeat this as changes happen – this is not a one-off exercise!

I personally have learnt the hard way, I kept employees in my team when deep down I know they did not have the self-awareness, capability or ability to succeed and it cost me and the business valuable time and money.

I hope you can learn from my mistakes and find this blog useful.

Stephen Cushion – General Manager; Consulting

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