Why Managers Should Hire Employees With Grit

High turnover is an ongoing concern for companies around the world. The expense can be particularly worrisome for SMEs, though regardless of business size, the negative effects of turnover stretch far further than recruitment costs. Turnover rates can impact employee engagement, workplace morale, overall performance, and company-wide productivity.

With this knowledge, it is pertinent that employers make the right decisions when it comes to recruitment. It has come to light that one notable characteristic elevates quality candidates from the rest. This quality is known in the HR world as ‘grit’.

During the recruitment and selection process, hiring managers are often put in the difficult position of having to choose between the most skilled candidate or the one exuding more enthusiasm and energy. Of course, a combination of the two would be ideal, but there is evidence to suggest that employees with grit have what it takes to become true successes, thereby benefitting companies in terms of productivity in the long run.

Grit can generally be described as the ability to hold onto a passion and drive for agreed goals for a sustained period of time. It has been hailed as the character trait that can lead you to greatness, and more so than even IQ, grit has been linked to overall career success. But what is it specifically about gritty employees that makes them so valuable to recruiters?

Gritty employees don’t give in to failure

All CEOs want their organizations to succeed. In order to make this a reality, managers need to recruit candidates with zeal. They need employees determined to constantly improve and push the limits, without being impeded by fear of failure. This is exactly what employees with grit have to offer. They generally aren’t put off by setbacks and persevere to accomplish goals, making them a valuable asset.

The one thing we can deduce from the fact that they are undeterred from challenges is that people with grit are optimists. Rather than accepting a bleak outlook, they are practical problem-solvers. They evaluate everything they have at their disposal, they think outside the box and they are often unphased by distractions. Importantly, they are able to maintain this energy and determination long-term. This is a recipe for a highly productive, successful individual, which is likely the reason that Google has named grit as one of the most important characteristics it looks out for in promising hires.

Managers will have an easier time during onboarding

We know by now that gritty individuals aren’t content with mediocre. They take their careers, goals, and aspirations seriously. This willing nature makes them the ideal employee when it comes to onboarding. They will engage with your existing workforce, ask the right questions and ensure they are provided with all the information and means necessary to fulfill their objectives. They won’t be worried about approaching you, should they run into a problem. This is ideal for all organizations, as HR executives know the importance of a good onboarding process. The first three months are critical to an employee developing an understanding of company culture, as well as building a relationship with management and co-workers.

Individuals with grit are enthusiastic about career development

When an employee is dedicated to improving their existing skills and advancing within your organization, you know you have someone on your team who can offer real value. If you’re looking to the future, stagnant employee have little to offer in terms of promoting change and catapulting levels of productivity.

Individuals with grit are constantly seeking ways to improve, as they generally have an overarching goal driving them. They want to be a success and they want to reach the top of their chosen career. For this reason, most employees with grit will demonstrate an ownership in their personal career development. Your company should provide clear routes and possibilities for advancement. You don’t want to risk them jumping ship in favor of another company that can offer more.

How to identify grit during the recruitment and selection process

In order to uncover individuals with grit during your recruitment and selection process, your hiring managers should pose the appropriate questions. Give your candidates certain scenarios and consider what their response says about their approach to work, how they cope with challenges, and whether or not they have the determination to overcome obstacles and surpass expectations.

You might want to ask your candidates about a time they were able to overcome the odds in order to achieve a goal. You’ll be able to tell from their response how passionate they were about their achievements, and how proud they are of their accomplishments. Hiring managers should ask whether the candidates have accomplished an objective they were told was almost impossible. You will gain a lot of insight from their response, and their initiative will shine through. Recruiters should also ask about the candidate’s history of dealing with long-term projects, and how they maintained their enthusiasm over such a stretch of time. Companies can also make use of personality assessments, which will help to highlight inherent attitudes and motivations.

How to encouragement grit within your existing workforce

The promising thing about grit is that it can be taught, meaning your existing workforce can be encouraged to develop the trait. Make drive and determination part of your company’s ethos and make it clear that a positive attitude is what really matters. Management should remember that encouraging grittiness isn’t all about flattery and encouragement. This needs to be balanced with honest, constructive criticism. If an employee’s work isn’t up to scratch or if they aren’t performing as expected, they need to be informed so that they can address the issue and improve in the future.

Remember the importance of specificity. Individuals need to be told exactly what to do better and how, in order for them to exceed expectations. One recent review indicates that employees of all levels expect continuous development support, and they should receive it if your company wants to continually improve.

Interestingly, scientists have stated that people can develop grit through mindfulness. Employees need to be encouraged to question the way they think and approach their work. If they recognize a tendency to give in to failure, they need to address that thought process and instead focus on the positives by considering available options. They can also be taught to think abstractly and take risks in order to get where they need to be. Ultimately and over time, companies will be rewarded by confident, determined, highly engaged workers.

Photo Credit: theSocialOutlier Flickr via Compfight cc

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