The trouble with this feel-good statement is that it relates almost entirely to turnover measurements. While turnover is a good measurement, engagement is even more important when it comes to business productivity and profitability.
Numerous reports indicate engagement as:
- Less than 30% of people are actually engaged
- 50% are less-than-engaged, and
- Almost 20% are actively disengaged
Many times, engagement is sabotaged from the start through the use of faulty job descriptions. We’ll talk about how to fix that shortly, but first…
4 wheels - CHECK
Engine - CHECK
Steering wheel - CHECK
Seats - CHECK
Mr. Vehicle, congratulations, you’re hired!
Nobody does that when buying a car, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not much better in many hiring processes.
Looks like a decent person - CHECK
Resume says they have relevant experience - CHECK
They talk the talk - CHECK
Meet job description checklist - CHECK
While behavior-based interview questions and their variations may also be used, my question is what caliber of candidates are you seeing in the first place? Based on standard job descriptions – many of which are also used as the job ad – most companies severely limit themselves for who will actually apply.
Just for fun, let’s compare job descriptions to using Key Accountabilities in our car example.
Car job description:
- Must have engine, 4 wheels, steering wheel, seats, and 2+ doors
- Must be fuel efficient
- Must be drivable
- Must be able to steer
- Must be able to shift gears
Car Key Accountabilities:
- Able to do 0-60 in 8 seconds or less
- Minimum 29mpg Highway; 25mpg City
- Start quickly, even on cold mornings
- Easy to turn 1-handed on 90 degree turns
- At least 98% uptime with routine maintenance
- Shift smoothly between gears, including up hills & through rapid acceleration
You get the picture. What type of car do you think will “apply” for each type of job? One thing I can predict is that the applicants for Key Accountabilities will have everything you require from your job description, with specific qualifiers that make it something you want to “own”.
More importantly, what type of interview questions do you think can come from the Key Accountabilities description versus the standard job description? Even your novice interviewers will act as if they’ve gone up a notch in their skills when they use this as a starting point.
As you think about this, evaluate your current job descriptions – those laundry lists of things that don’t really get you what you want – and see if you can come up with something more attractive for top performers.
If you make the criteria more specific from the start, the people you hire will be naturally more engaged in the actual work. What you should see is that better candidates apply to your jobs with fewer undesirable candidates.
Try this for yourself and let me know how it works for you.