A LinkedIn survey (*) indicates why professionals leave their jobs stating that 36% are “unsatisfied with work environment/culture. A part of the truth is that many people are not even bothered to try their best after they have been on the job for more than six months, a timeframe known as the honeymoon period. Although there are many reasons for this, here are four common causes of under-performance and how to address them and thereby avoiding them:
1. Poor fit. Talent is mainly the right personality in the right place, which explains why most people will do better in some jobs, cultures, and contexts than in others. Organizational psychologists call this “person-job-fit,” and it is measured by quantifying the degree of alignment between a person’s attitudes, values, abilities and dispositions on the one hand, and the characteristics of the job, role, and organization on the other.
The problem is that even when organizations evaluate the candidate correctly, they are often not as good at evaluating the role, and particularly their own culture. This is why so many organizations see themselves as more inclusive, diverse, innovative, and prosocial than they actually are — it’s wishful thinking rather than accurate self-assessment.
This obviously impacts a candidates’ perceptions of the role and organization, where it may take them a while to truly experience the culture and understand what the role truly entails and demands from them. What can you do about this? The only alternative is to do your homework and carefully vet the organization you are about to join, ensuring that you understand the job in question well to avoid being surprised.
2. Disengagement. A common side-effect of poor fit is disengagement, though it should be noted that there are also other reasons underlying the prevalent lack of enthusiasm and motivation found in typical workplaces. In fact, one of the most common drivers of disengagement is poor leadership.
3. Organizational politics. Although modern workplaces are generally fairer and more data-driven in their talent management practices than ever before, there’s still much progress to be made. In general, the more contaminated and corrosive the culture of an organization, the more parasitic individuals will rise, much like bacteria thrive in contaminated environments. You can see this in any organization when there’s a clear gap between individuals’ career success and their actual performance and talents. You can deal with this by being aware of the politics and partaking in them.
4. Personal circumstances. The final reason is almost too obvious to mention, but in today’s ever-more-absorbing and 24/7 world of work, it’s easy to forget that people also have a personal and private life, and that no matter how engaged and talented they are, personal drawbacks and setbacks will often interfere with their career success. This is why there is so much discussion of work-life balance, though the perception of work life balance is changing due to the acknowledgement that we only have “one” life. We cannot separate private life and job life. The boundaries between work and “life” have been eroded.
Good bosses and supportive employers will want to understand your circumstances, and you can be sure they will have a vested interest in helping you deal with them so you can deliver in accordance with your talents, and feel grateful and committed to them in the long run.
One of the basic elements to improve when it comes to “poor fit” is recruitment. The wishful thinking and subjective “gut-feeling” can be avoided in the context of recruiting with a more modern approach. Using sophisticated HR technology it is possible to recruit the right one in coherence with individual values and culture and organizational values and culture matching preferences. Even supporting a more accurate self-assessment of the organizational values and culture and the opportunity to enhance factors to increase engagement.
Putting more emphasis on human attributes in the screening and interviewing process will support a better “person-job-fit” and this is possible due to past decades of research and science now anchored in HR technologies offered on the market today. There is a reason to be optimistic meeting these new requirements and thereby make a difference to the benefit your company’s competitive edge.