Job Fit, Employee Engagement and Retention

A recent ERE.net piece on the “8 Questions to Ask to Turn Aroung Employee Turnover” (click link to read the article) suggests that the cause of most employee turnover is poor supervisor fit.  The author admits a “humongous leap of faith” to assume that the right employees are being hired in the first place and quickly returns to the hypothesis that most turnover can be traced to a poor supervisor-subordinate match.  While this is likely true in many cases, I’d like to expand the notion to include poor job fit in general.

I’m not talking about an employee (or candidate if we’re still in pre-hire mode) not having the correct technical skills to perform a job proficiently.  I’m talking about an employee who is not emotionally well-suited for a particular job.  Volumes have been written about “emotional affect” and its role in organizational culture.  One notion of emotional affect is that work teams that have similar affective makeups tend to perform better and stay together longer than those that don’t.  Work teams in this context include not only peer relationships, but also supervisor-subordinate ones as well.

Another element of the employee retention equation is that of engagement.  Gallup suggests four dimensions of employee engagement: 1) how can we grow; 2) do I belong; 3) what do I give; and 4) what do I get?  Work teams that meet these levels of engagement consistently perform at levels higher than those that don’t.  I suggest that emotional affect and employee engagement are complementary ideas and by actively linking them, organizations will find themselves which more highly engaged and productive workforces.

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