Mark Murphy in his interview with Dan Schawbel, contributing writing for Forbes, said that “When our research tracked 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within 18 months. But even more surprising than the failure rate, was that when new hires failed, 89% of the time was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill. The attitudinal deficits that doomed these failed hires included a lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.” The reality is people make or break your organization. Jim Collins reminds us that “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”
In one of my previous blog entries, If It Doesn’t Fit Don’t Force It, I spoke about how having the right fit for any role in your organization is similar to wearing the right size/fit shoe. Think about it. The shoe buying process can be both frustrating and exhilarating. When you are looking for that “just right pair” of shoes, you know the ones that fit as if they were made just for your feet, what are some of the frustrations you feel when you try on numerous pairs only to find that none give you the exact comfort that you are looking for? Now consider the frustration of dealing with an employee with the wrong attitude who does not properly “fit” the role or the organization. Now, when you find the pair that fit your feet perfectly, that provide comfort, that curve as your foot curves, that softly and sweetly cocoon your feet, you are elated! The same way employees with the right attitude who fit the role and the organization make you feel; a sense of happiness and ease to manage someone who gets “it.”
The shoe buying process can be compared to the process of hiring the right person for your customer service role. With a limited talent pool, it is challenging to find employees who possess all of the characteristics required for a service role. This sometimes means a longer period of time passes before the role is filled. This can be frustrating to employers and they often settle for employees who will get some parts of the job done but who do not perfectly fit the role. Hiring for attitude and training skills is one way to remedy this problem.
Employees who effortlessly provide superior customer service are usually people with a natural inclination to serve others. They are individuals with the right attitude and strong people skills who know how to feel the heart of others. They have great relationship building skills and understand how to make others feel appreciated. They communicate well; they listen and pay attention to others. They are inquisitive in nature and ask the right questions. They are intuitive. They motivate others and offer hope and inspiration in difficult circumstances. They don’t just focus on the problem, they find solutions and they adapt well to changing environments. They are like the pair of shoes that they fit perfectly! They lift your organization and help to achieve organizational goals. The right fit will effortlessly make your organization look good.
The right fit will need to have “skills”and “wills” not just skills. Personally, I prefer to hire the person with the right attitude and the will to learn over someone who is skilled but lack the right attitude. Screen test your applicants and use multiple selection methods. Don’t be desperate to fill the role and make the costly mistake of employing someone who may be able to get the work done but who will be the spoil apple among the good apples. We all know what happens when one bad apple gets into the batch.
I close out today’s blog with the words of Renee West, “You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don’t have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life.
For more on hiring for attitudes versus skills, check out the article entitled Hire for Attitude by Dan Schawbel. It can be found at http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2012/01/23/89-of-new-hires-fail-because-of-their-attitude/#774a39106742.