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How to match people to productivity

By: Grant King, IndustrySearch Writer
19 May, 2016

Your star salesperson has been consistently topping thier budgets and receiving fantastic bonuses for two years. Now your sales manager has decided to fly the coup.

You've heard the old adage of promoting from within wherever you can, so who better to promote than your star performer? Six months later your entire sales force is struggling to make budget and your star-performer-turned-sales-manager is stressed, disenchanted and on the brink of resigning. How can that happen?

Pick horses for courses

Your top salesperson might be an exceptional manager of a sales territory, but that doesn't mean they can manage people. They might be a machine when it comes to selling, but that doesn't mean they can teach others to sell. Their skill set is based around moving people to buy products, not motivating others to sell products. There's a big difference and you need to consider such differences every time you match an existing employee or new employee to a job.

A job description isn't a rough sketch

Every job description you create needs to be a detailed depiction of the role, its core responsibilities, skills, qualifications, experience, and character traits. Strangely it's not uncommon for both worker and manager to be at odds as to exactly what a worker's main responsibilities are. In fact if asked to name the three major responsibilities of the job, the worker and manager may differ alarmingly in their answers. Make sure everyone is on the same page before you hire or promote.

What's my motivation?

Motivating factors are a huge part of any job matching process. An employee working under the constant supervision and support of a manager will have completely different motivating traits to an employee working independently in the field. One is used to being steered along their career path; the other is a self-motivated driver of their own destiny. Put a self-motivator in a heavily supervised position and chances are they won't last long.

Matching minds to jobs

Essentially that's what it comes down to and your interview process will be crucial. While a resume will clarify the nuts and bolts of their core abilities, behavioural interviewing can answer far deeper questions about their suitability. Are they a leader or a follower? An introvert or extrovert? Ambitious or ambivalent? What are their fundamental interests? Do those interests suggest that they'll relish the job and make the most of it? By focussing your questions on a more personal level you gain a much better appreciation of their inner selves and, as a result, their ideal job match.