JOB SCULPTING is a method of retaining talents in your company.
All employees who excel at at their jobs likely to be happy in what they do? Not necessarily . The real keys to job satisfaction are neither skills nor values, but "deeply embedded life interests."
Hiring good people is tough, but keeping them can be even tougher.
Many talented professionals leave their organizations because senior managers don't understand the psychology of work satisfaction; they assume that people who excel at their work are necessarily happy in their jobs. Sounds logical enough. But the fact is, strong skills don't always reflect or lead to job satisfaction. Many professionals, are so well educated and achievement oriented that they could succeed in virtually any job. But will they stay?
The answer is, only if the job matches their deeply embedded life interests. These interests are not hobbies opera, skiing, and so forth nor are they topical enthusiasms, such as Chinese history, the stock market, or oceanography.
Instead, deeply embedded life interests are long-held, emotionally driven passions, intricately entwined with personality and thus born of an indeterminate mix of nature and nurture. Deeply embedded life interests do not determine what people are good at they drive what kinds of activities make them happy. At work, that happiness often translates into commitment. It keeps people engaged, and it keeps them from quitting.
Think of a deeply embedded life interest as a geothermal pool of superheated water. It will rise to the surface in one place as a hot spring and in another as a geyser. But beneath the surface at the core of the individual the pool is constantly bubbling. Deeply embedded life interests always seem to find expression, even if a person has to change jobs or careers for that to happen.
Job sculpting is the art of matching people to jobs that allow their deeply embedded life interests to be expressed. It is the art of forging a customized career path in order to increase the chance of retaining talented people.
Make no mistake job sculpting is challenging; it requires managers to play both detective and psychologist. The reason: many people have only a dim awareness of their own deeply embedded life interests. They may have spent their lives fulfilling other people's expectations of them, or they may have followed the most common career advice: "Do what you're good at."
For example, we know of a woman who, on the basis of her skill at chemistry in college, was urged to become a doctor. She complied and achieved great success as a neurologist, but at age 42 she finally quit to open a nursery school. She loved children, demonstrating a deeply embedded life interest in counseling and mentoring. And more important, as it turned out, she was also driven by a life interest in enterprise control, the desire to be in charge of an organization's overall operations. It was a long time before she stopped remarking, "All those years wasted."
The eight life interests identified , as a key tool for managers to retain their best employees can be equally valuable for employees themselves.
This model distinguishes itself from other career interest models in that it is activity-based, rather than based on general interest patterns. It's founded on the notion that interests, not skills, should be the foundation of peoples' careers. This model provides a measure of interest patterns as they apply to business work roles and work environments in the following core function areas:
- Application of Technology measures interests that are often associated with engineering, production, operations, and the general use of technology to accomplish business objectives
- Quantitative Analysis measures interests that are realized through problem-solving that relies on mathematical analysis
- Theory Development and Conceptual Thinking measures interests involving broadly conceptual approaches to business problems
- Creative Production measures interests that are realized through highly creative activities such as the development of new products or marketing concepts, the gernation of new business ideas, etc.
- Counseling and Mentoring measures interests that involve developing relationships as a crucial part of business work, such as coaching, training and mentoring
- Managing People and Relationships measures interests that involve developing relationships as a crucial part of business work, such as coaching, training and mentoring
- Enterprise Control measures interests that are realized through having ultimate decision-making authority for complete operations
- Influence Through Language and Ideas measures interest in exercising influence through the skillful use of written and spoken language
HOPE THIS IS USEFUL TO YOU.
5th October 2006 From India, Mumbai
Thanks Leo for elaborating on job sculpting. I believe you were expressing the views from Havard Business Review of 1999.
Nayana Chekka has this to say about Job Sculpting - The Michaelangelo Method
FOR RETAINING YOUR staff, correlate the heart and mind of your employee. Help him identify his life interest. Undertake the rewarding task of job sculpting Mr. Verma, ``I quit,'' Susheel Desai, a star performer at Pentaplus Software in Noida, announced as he handed over his resignation. Prahlad Verma, General Manager, HR, is flabbergasted. This is something he never foresaw.
Verma had no clue why Susheel seemed dissatisfied. His rise in the firm was meteoric. Having joined as a junior administrative officer six years ago, he is now the administration manager, with enviable stock options. During the conversation that followed, Verma discovered that Susheel enjoyed selling ideas and products to people, and had innovative plans in this area. Verma asked Susheel to devise a marketing strategy and implement it. He also made it clear that Susheel still needed to shoulder certain administrative responsibilities.
Susheel is not the only person afflicted with such migration syndrome. Verma was subjected to the pain of losing valuable personnel for similar reasons. With the successful retention of Susheel, Verma evolved a new method for retaining star staff. A method, which he tested on many who had decided to follow Susheel and quit. He found that the scheme succeeded admirably.
The question here is how many bosses would like to make an extra effort to retain their star performer? Do HR managers, whose primary function is to manage people, really understand them? Why is there dissatisfaction after the cumbersome procedure of selecting the near perfect match for the post? When does the disillusionment set in? Verma points out: ``The trouble starts when an employee realises that he is not enjoying what he does.''
What are life interests?
``Enjoying an assignment happens only when the job matches one's life interests,'' says Verma. He explains further that life interests are not hobbies or enthusiasms. They are passion for a certain kind of activity or work and are linked with one's personality. They do not determine what one is good at but tells one what kind of work one loves. Identifying one's life interest and choosing a career accordingly is crucial for job satisfaction.
What and why of job sculpting?
This is where Verma differs from the other HR men. He became adept at identifying his employees life interests and sculpting a job accordingly. Like sculpting, job sculpting is also an art. An art of matching people to jobs that allows their life interest to be expressed. He calls it The Michaelangelo Method, named after the famous Florentine sculptor. Often employees lose awareness of their life interest while fulfilling other people's expectations or picking up an easy career. Verma feels this innovative technique need not be restricted to the HR department. Any manager who has a keen interest in his fellow employees can become a master craftsman. The criterion is, he should be able to drag that `life interest' from its hibernation and increase an employee's awareness to it.
The Michaelangelo Method enshrines the following points:
Observe and probe: Make yourself like a private eye. Lucky for Verma, Susheel was able to discuss lucidly his reason for dissatisfaction at work. Things will not always be as simple! Far from discussing life interests, many people are not even aware of them. This is what he suggests in such eventuality:
You need to ask probing questions. Watch for signs of excitement while the employee does a particular assignment. Throw away the conventional yardstick, `He excels at what he does, so this job is for him.' Excelling at one's work does not mean, he is enjoying it.
Get to know: ``Make yourself a Freud. Play the psychologist,'' says Verma. In fact, people with the aptitude for job sculpting are born psychologists. Susheel instinctively knew that Verma was willing to solve his dilemma. How could Verma achieve this? Declare your willingness to help them in identifying their life interests, he lets out his little secret. Get inside your employee's mind and see what makes him tick? What motivates him to volunteer for certain kinds of jobs? Which are the jobs he does half-heartedly and considers them drudgery?
Make a point: Whiz like Ford. Being employee- oriented is the new mantra. Verma insists on employee job satisfaction. He realised that if he had accepted Susheel's resignation, the company would be losing on an invaluable resource. He was quick to reassure Susheel that the organisation was as keen on his career as Susheel himself was. While hiring new personnel, emphasise career development.
Consider likes and dislikes: Be a Dutch Uncle. Time and again, while undertaking a performance review, ask the employee about his likes and dislikes. Verma listened to Desai and considered his proposal. A task most managers find taxing and time- consuming! For employees who are uncomfortable with oral communication, here is a suggestion from Verma. Encourage them to write a few paragraphs on career satisfaction. Ask them to describe their favourite activities on the job. This would help the employees who are not comfortable in oral communication, Verma suggests.
Tailormake the next assignment: Become a fashion freak! Design a job that correlates with your employees life interests. Try and allocate them the job they enjoy and excel at. Verma feels that this is the most crucial area of job sculpting. For instance, when he asked Susheel to implement his marketing strategy, he was tailoring Susheel's next assignment. He converted a win-lose situation into a win-win one. By offering Susheel a chance to see whether his ideas worked, Verma retained him. He also made sure the administration work did not get affected, giving himself the time to find an administrator as accomplished as Susheel. At times, you may find that there are no jobs available that would satisfy your employees life interests. Even though it could be a painful decision, counsel your employee to find a job elsewhere that would satisfy him.The final piece of advice from Verma is Job sculpting is a worthwhile method for retaining a talented employee. A company's reputation is built not just by its product and output. It is also based on the energy and loyalty of its people. A satisfied employee is an unadvertised asset.
Hope this will be of some use to you.
5th October 2006 From Sri Lanka, Kolonnawa
This is the best presentation I have seen:-
It is more specific than HBR as well in certain ways. People keep talking of talent management and make fancy competency models but deep rooted interests are more a matter of heart and soul according to Naette Hucknall, author of "Karma, Destiny and Career".
In India, the so called career counsellors react as if they have seen a ghost when you talk of all this. They are least bothered and tell me that only Americans can think like that as they have money and are developed. That is ridiculous as this is a fundamental need as the comments of President Abdul Kalam on my blog point out. To my mind, the first step in Talent Management is Job Sculpting
24th May 2007 From India, New Delhi