We couldn’t help but chuckle when we read in Joe Light’s November 15th article for the Wall Street Journal (Keeping ‘Overqualifieds’ on Board) that Sayed Sadjady, who leads PriceWaterhouseCooper’s talent management practice, hired “…some candidates, who would have secured high positions in a better economy, at lower levels instead. Now…the company is revisiting the compensation, positions and development opportunities of [these] employees to bring them in line with the improved market.”
Shame on you Sayed for hiring people at the “wrong“ compensation level. And no wonder his “…clients [have] become concerned about overqualified hires looking to move to higher-paid positions…”).
Too often companies make four fundamental errors when recruiting:
1) They waste scare resources.
2) They fail to hire workers who are as committed to the company as the company is to them.
3) They forget that not all employees need to be long-term employees.
4) They disregard the fact that “the workforce” has changed.
Smart companies know that compensation is neither the right magnet nor the right glue to attract and retain workers. Certainly it plays a part, but too often companies waste too much of their scarce resources – time and money – on workers who don’t boost competitive advantage. Those positions that move the organization toward its goals are considered mission critical or “competitive advantage” positions. With competitive advantage positions, it is important to look for the best candidates and, more often than not, spend more than the market’s average in compensation dollars.
As is perfectly illustrated in the challenges faced by companies who hired workers at too low a salary, companies fail to search for candidates who are both right for the company and vice versa. Based on our experience, a mutually rewarding outcome demands that the company hire candidates who are the best fit for the job. Those candidates likewise feel the company is the best fit for them.
Employees will continue with a company for as long as it feels “right” to them, and often not a moment longer. Employers will retain workers for as long as they provide value, and not a moment longer.
Because of this, it is more appropriate to consider whether job candidates can and will make a meaningful contribution during their tenure, rather than worry about what that tenure might be.
For the majority of companies, there is no longer a single “workforce”. There may be 10 or even 100 different workforces that are aligned like layers of an onion. A uniform planning, management, rewards system or communications program will not work in this complex environment.
In summary, organizations are made up of all types of “tissue,” and workers are akin to the specialized cells of these tissues. It is important for companies to think differently about how to recruit, motivate and retain these unique workers. It’s not easy and will likely require continual review and improvement to HR tools. But it is not only the way of the future, but the way of today.
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