Learning & Development, Recruiting

Hiring for Strengths: Why a Person-First Approach Puts Businesses Ahead

For the past few years, team member engagement has started to become one of the most telling statistics about a company. While it looks different in each organization and the definition might change per team leader, there is no debate about the importance of it in the ever-changing modern workplace.

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Studies show that team members in a company that encourages them to pursue their interests and puts them in a position to succeed are 21% more profitable than their counterparts. A company that invests in its team members’ success and desire to grow professionally is more likely to see those workers strive to make the company successful.

So how do companies achieve this type of environment, one where team members identify with this emotional commitment to the organization and its goals? By focusing on a person-first approach to hiring and exhibiting a servant leadership model, companies can see a better bottom line through team members’ engagement. 

Person-First Approach to Hiring

This approach is centered on matching the right team member to the right role. It is important to have a clear idea of the role and responsibilities that position requires before embarking on the hiring process. During the hiring process, look for team members who are a good fit for the role but who also possess characteristics that will bring success to the team and organization.

Every team member has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Finding a position that not only maximizes employees’ strengths but also provides them with the necessary resources and teammates who can assist them when they face their weaknesses helps drive these person-first teams. Teams that operate with this level of trust and efficiency often outpace others that are more individualistic in their approach. 

Once someone is part of the team, the key to a person-first approach is having a manager who is aware of the person’s individual goals. By setting up weekly/biweekly one-on-one meetings to discuss the recent successes, challenges, and areas of growth to focus on, managers will know and understand the why behind a team member’s short-term and long-term goals.

Once managers understand their team members on a personal level, they can match their ambitions with potential growth opportunities, which increases their level of satisfaction with the company. 

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is defined by managers who lead with the goal of supporting their teams above all else. This form of leadership increases team member morale, which creates a snowball effect. Team members’ higher satisfaction leads them to go above and beyond for customers and eventually results in higher revenue and increased company profits.

Those in charge must be able to remove obstacles or barriers that prevent their team members from succeeding. However, because every team member operates differently, there is no one-size-fits-all approach a manager can use.

He or she must find the balance between transparency, understanding team members’ communications style, the right approach to encourage receptive feedback, how they respond best to being coached, how to comfortably share praise, and other factors. Managers who can understand how a team member will respond best to each of these will be better prepared to push their business forward. 

Team Member Engagement Leading to a Better Bottom Line

Although the bottom line is the most important determinant of company success, companies that value that figure over their team members often have a higher burnout rate. Once a team member feels burnt out, he or she is more likely to leave an organization or, potentially worse, stay employed but work with a feeling of resentment. Each team member has valuable institutional knowledge about the business and its customers, which can be difficult to lose, and if it is lost, it often negatively impacts the bottom line. 

Providing team members with professional development opportunities instills a sense of trust and commitment so they feel their company is investing in them. In return, they align with and buy into the goals of the organization. When a member of the team feels his or her strengths are being used more than his or her weaknesses and the person’s career ambitions flourish under managers, he or she is more inclined to have a longer tenure at the organization. Companies that retain their workforce can stabilize their operations with a higher level of experience and know-how from all levels. 

Companies that hire based on the strengths of a potential candidate rather than the qualifications required for a specific position are often met with better results. Team members who feel their company is working with them, or even for them, in turn, perform better.

Elizabeth Brockey is Chief Customer Officer for Simpli.fi. An online marketing professional with experience in developing, implementing, and managing successful strategies based on client objectives. Brockey leads the Client Services team with a focus on driving client satisfaction and progress through campaign performance.

Brockey has spent her tenure with Simpli.fi executing strategic initiatives to drive company success and foster innovation. Brockey understands the importance of fostering a culture of leadership throughout all levels of an organization as the key to creating happy employees and a stable company. As a true servant-leader, she focuses primarily on the development and well-being of her employees first and helps her team perform as successfully as possible.

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