The front cover of FORTUNE February 2018 blared this headline: “You’re Hired. Companies are fighting for Talent”.
Beneath this headline was another story line: “Show Your ‘Grit’ Why Life Experience is the new MBA”.
These two headlines intersect with one word: resiliency.
Resiliency is about growing through challenge OR opportunity. It is about wanting something enough to stick to it and relishing the work. It is also about staying the course because something has personal meaning.
In a January 2018 article published in Harvard Business Review, a recent Facebook engagement survey found that people left their jobs for three reasons: it wasn’t meaningful, their strengths were not being used, and there was no career growth. (Of course, a horrid boss would prompt an exit but, contrary to popular myth, this was not the primary reason.)
When a job is patterned, the same-old-same-old stuff, and a traditional career ladder is offered, great talent will not accept nor will they stay. Rather, in today’s fast-paced, changing competitive world, resilient people look for creative options, the ability to adapt on the fly, and the excitement of a challenge.
Hiring managers should forget old, tired resumes and instead, ask compelling questions that surface life’s experiences and personal qualities like adaptability and agility.
Managers need to probe and have real-time conversations (not text messages) to surface an employee’s interests and passions. Then, together with the employees, think creatively about how to bring that interest and passion into the job.
Case in point.Years ago, while consulting for an organization, I learned that their highly regarded operations manager loved to write and was keenly interested in travel. After discussing with the powers that be, we created another assignment for her. The sales team were obligated to travel extensively. She agreed to write an internal newsletter about what employees might learn and encounter in the many geographies. The value of her effort was immediately noted and a number of her operations tasks were off-loaded to other employees who expressed interest in learning operations.It was a win-win all around!
Some organizations allow and encourage employees to take a specific amount of time to work on their “art”. I discovered that Malaysian Airlines allows employees time to work on their music, dance or other arts. To my great delight, we were treated to an incredible show put on by Malaysian Airline employees during a conference I addressed in Kuala Lumpur.
Bottom line: People who are challenged, creative, and matched with their interests and growth options are resilient AND engaged. Isn’t that what we all want?