The humane touch

It is the responsibility of the leader to care about the financial and psychological well-being of all stakeholders equally, says Jason Jennings (Business Thought Leader and Author)

Q.These days why is so much importance given to personality features of employees before hiring them?
A. Finding, keeping and growing the right people is the single biggest challenge that any business faces. Finally, businesses are allocating sufficient time and financial resources to the process of recruiting the right people. The motto of any business leader, committed to recruiting the people who are willing and capable of doing the work and be a part of the culture of the organisation, must be to interview hard and manage easy. Hiring people who are not the right fit does not work.

Q. How much does personality and temperament influence the performance of an employee?
A. Every company has a culture. It is either the one they want to have and work relentlessly to create it, or in the absence of a single company culture the one that exists by default. Someone lacking the right personality and temperament for a specific company will never be able to perform.

Q. How difficult is it for a leader to handle employees with temperamental nature?
A. Temperamental employees are bad for business. They take too much time to work on a daily basis. The sole exception is when a brilliant but temperamental person has a required skill needed by the company for a short period of time. As a thumb rule, highly temperamental people should never be hired.

Q. Do you think organisations should have different policy for employees of different intelligence and emotional quotient?
A. Great companies have some standard set of guiding principles or values that are used to lead and manage the business and by which all decisions are made. Employees must understand these principles that are used in the making of every decision. The idea of having different set of principles and values for different people is absurd. Any company that attempts this will end up as a failure.

. Do you think it is time to include the psychological well-being of employees in organisation’s core agenda?
A. Yes, it is time to include. In fact, great companies have made it part of their core agenda for a long time. All companies have four primary stakeholders: workers, customers, suppliers and shareholders. It is the responsibility of the leader to care about the financial and psychological well-being of all stakeholders equally. That is what separates managers from inspiring leaders.

15Q. Do you think the reserved employees who keep to themselves are more difficult to handle?
A. Based on our screening and in depth study of companies, we have come across the personalities of people that range from being reserved to gregarious and outgoing. Most people are truly looking for work that will provide a better economic future for themselves and their families and a sense of fulfillment and achievement. It is the responsibility of great leaders to ignite the spark that will allow people to function to the best of their ability and be able to achieve a sense of having been recognised.

Q. What influences the outlook of an employee the most?
A. The promise of a brighter tomorrow for themselves and their families tends to influence the employee the most.

Q. What are the ideal personality features that as a leader you want to see in an employee?
A. The ability to do the work, committed to achieve their full economic potential, committed to being a lifelong learner, a burning passion to help the company achieve its full potential, the desire to be part of a winning team and the ability to let go ego and the way things have always been done are the features that we want to see in our employees.

Q. For HR personnel, how important is it to ensure the right mix of employees?
A. I have been doing 80 keynote speeches and seminars annually for the past twelve years. That is more than 1,000. In only three instances have I walked on stage, looked out at the audience, suddenly gotten goose bumps all over my body and was almost too dumbstruck to speak. In those three cases, the audience in front of me looked exactly like their customers and that is why each was so incredibly successful.

The rooms were filled with equal proportion of men and women, every race and nationality were represented in direct proportion to the general population. There were physically challenged workers in wheelchairs and on crutches, the ages ranged from the very young with wild hair and facial piercings to the aged and experienced. It is the responsibility of HR to attract and recruit people who are capable of performing the work, desirous of getting ahead and possess the skill set to help lead the company to its stated objectives while simultaneously being an inclusive workforce truly representative of society. It not only happens to be the right thing to do but it is also good for the business. (Sadly, highly temperamental people who can become major distractions to business are not part of that number).