5 Attributes Of A World-Class Workforce

There’s a technology-driven revolution happening in HR these days. It’s called self-service and it gives employees more power over their careers. In a nutshell, self-service gives people control over many functions that used to be handled by HR. With a private log-in, employees can now manage their own payroll and retirement plans, request time-off and other schedule adjustments, book on-line courses and other learning and development tools, engage and be social with colleagues on intranets, and just generally manage their own work lives to an extent that was previously impossible. This leads to more engaged, empowered and productive teams.

Self-service is a key development in building and retaining a work-class workforce. It is a key leadership and learning tool. It is what the future looks like. And it’s here today.

But, wait! Before you walk away from your computer and start doing cartwheels down the hallways, there is a major caveat!

Self-service is no substitute for savvy hiring. It can take smart hiring to a new level, but never ever forget that hiring is the bottom line in HR and leadership. Hire wrong and all the self-service in the world will be worthless.

So, let’s do a quick refresher on the five most important attributes to look to for when building a world-class team of talent:

1) Talent. There is simply no substitute for talent. Talented people bring ideas, spontaneity, innovation, spark, and inspiration to your organization. Talent is invaluable, it is the heart and soul of a great company. Learn how to recognize talent. Hint: talent in one field is a predictor, if not a guarantee, of talent in another. Look for amazing accomplishments even if they’re not directly related to what your company produces.

2) Passion. Passion drives greatness. Passion is contagious. A passionate employee will go the extra mile – and then some. When hiring, look for people who have interesting quirks in their resumes, who are passionate about mountain climbing, Russian literature, recycling, whatever. A passionate person brings fire, heart and inspiration to your organization and culture.

3) Attitude. There is nothing as refreshing and uplifting as someone with an upbeat, kind, generous personality. They are one of the foundations of a world-class workforce. People with a positive attitude are teachable, eager to grow, develop, expand their skill set and deliver stellar performance. Plus, a can-do attitude, sense of fun and generous spirit are contagious, and lift morale and workplace happiness.

4) Aptitude. For some jobs, skills are the bottom line. IT and other complex systems demand up-to-the-nanosecond expertise. Yes, talent can be trained, but to stay ahead of the game you need a workforce infused with hands-on know-how, filled with people who are plugged into what is happening now and have their pulse on tomorrow. They must have the ability to quickly master the newest innovations. This requires aptitude and the confidence it spreads. A confidence that permeates an organization and leadership, that signals to everyone – employees in other departments, customers, social communities, and stakeholders – that you know what you’re doing.

5) Fortitude. A great company and great leadership never rests. It is never quite satisfied. It is always looking to better not only the competition, but itself. This takes a lot of good old-fashioned hard work. Hire people who are have a track record of delivering results, even it means pulling an all-nighter now and then. Look for people who love to get their hands dirty and nail down the details. You want to create that synergy between inspiration and perspiration. And hardworking people set an example that infuses energy into a workplace culture.

Hire people with these five attributes and then empower them with self-service technology – and you will soon find yourself on the way to building an ever-evolving, stellar-performing, world-class workforce.

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How To Find Employees With The Right Attitude

Attitude over aptitude is the rallying cry for many in modern recruitment. All our fancy personality tests and scouring of resumes has given us a fair imitation of the recruits that we wanted in the past, but it’s never provider a reliable indicator that they would fit in well with a team or company. Employment options are now ever more fractured and specific, so that almost anyone will have to learn on the job rather than bringing a full skill set to their role.

Finding someone with the right attitude, with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, with a personality that will fit your organization well, can be far more useful than finding someone with the usual list of qualifications.

So how do you do that?

Make the most of millenials

The current generation of employees say that they want more from their jobs. They want flexibility. They want satisfaction. They want fulfillment from their work.

So if you’re looking for people with flexibility and the willingness to learn then take candidates up on that demand for more. Show them the ways that they could work more flexibly in your company, or be given more meaningful decisions. Then see how they react.

Do they look happy and excited? Do they talk about what they would do with that opportunity? Or do they look nervous at the loss of familiar structures, answering only in platitudes? That tells you a lot about whether they will really let you tap into that flexibility the modern generation promises.

Make it personal

A personal recruitment process, one that treats the candidates like individuals rather than cogs in the machine, is great for the candidates. It gives them a positive impression of your company, helps them understand you better and makes them feel valued. It’s a good way to attract the best candidates.

But it’s also a great way to identify those best candidates once you have them. By taking a little more time to get to know them individually, to interact with them not just as recruits grinding through a process but as people, you will get a much better feel for who they are.

Make it social

Social media is a great way of reaching out to recruits, and it can also tell you a lot about them.

The fact that a recruit responds to a social media campaign, or even reaches out to you that way, shows that they are well settled into the modern world, that they are socially literate enough to comfortably use these platforms and to let the professional and personal mix.

But the way that they use it will also tell you a lot. Do they understand how to shift gears in a professional situation, even when it takes place on Facebook, the place where most people show their relaxed, unprofessional side? Can they make those quick shifts between the personal and professional and back again? Can they set appropriate boundaries when the old ones blur?

Make ready for change

The world of work is constantly changing. For example, as robots replace people in a range of roles and industries, so jobs become about maintaining those robots, not undertaking their tasks. In the more abstracted worlds of finance and recruitment, new analytical tools force us to constantly reappraise how we work and retrain for what comes.

We need recruits who are willing and able to adapt to those changes. We need employees chosen for their personalities, not just their degrees. We need to recruit for attitude.

And now we can.

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(About the Author: Mark Lukens is a Founding Partner of Method3, a global management consulting firm. He has 20 plus years of C-Level experience across multiple sectors including healthcare, education, government, and people and potential (aka HR). In addition, Mark currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Behavioral Health Service North, a large behavioral health services provider in New York. He also actively serves on the faculty of the State University of New York (SUNY) and teaches in the School of Business and Economics; Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Management, International Business and Information Systems. Mark holds an MBA and is highly recognized in the technology and healthcare space with credentials including MCSE and Paramedic. Most of Mark’s writing involves theoretical considerations and practical application, academics, change leadership, and other topics at the intersection of business, society, and humanity. Mark resides in New York with his wife Lynn, two children, and two Labradors. The greatest pursuit; “To be more in the Service of Others.”)


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