How to Hire

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By Jonathan Llanes

The Maryknoller

Thursday, December 12, 2013

SINCE we’re all nearing the end of 2013, I decided to share with you some things we can get ready for the coming year, particularly our goals for a better future in 2014 and beyond, especially those planning to work for the first time or transferring to another company.

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace.

He wrote about the four dimensions that matter in hiring from the perspective of the employer.

But what matters most to the person being hired? Swart believes there are four main things which help make people happy with their jobs: impact; growth and development; financial reward; and work-life balance.

In Swart's perspective, the importance and weighting of each of these things vary for each individual and can change over a person’s career.

As a result, assess where you’re at on each of the four dimensions regularly (and managers, assess how each of your team members are doing as well).

Let’s examine the four dimensions of what makes people happy with their job.

Impact. People today want to be in a position where they can make an impact. They want to be in jobs where they get to tackle problems and have the freedom to solve them.

Swart recently discussed how important it is for managers to communicate what each team member’s role is, and how the success of each role impacts the success of the company. If impact on the job can be tied to a broader impact on the world, even better.

New York Times bestselling author Daniel Pink underscores this desire by calling out the importance of purpose in overall careers, not just in the short term: “The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road.”

He writes that at oDesk, each team member knows they’re making a positive impact by empowering people around the world to work together via the Internet. Many people are drawn to the company because of our mission, and garner part of their work satisfaction in helping us fulfill it.

Growth and development. It is each person’s responsibility to take the reins of his or her career, but it is the company’s responsibility to provide people with the opportunities they need to grow.

This typically means providing difficult challenges at a high frequency in order to stretch people outside of their comfort zones.

Have you ever been sent into a challenging situation and felt caught between a rock and a hard place?

Perhaps you thought you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel at first, but you gave it everything you had, navigated the whitewater, and found a solution. How did you feel afterward? Hugely proud and accomplishment, right?

Some of my fondest memories are from hard-fought battles in the trenches with colleagues. As a former mentor, Dave Barrett, used to say, “Everything’s funny when you’re making money.” While easy wins are fun, true growth happens from pushing through the tough stuff and coming out the other side with a win.

Financial reward. Money isn’t everything, but it is important, and proper compensation is therefore another key component of job happiness. It’s also important, though, to realize that people value elements of compensation such as salary, bonus, stock and benefits differently.

When putting together compensation packages, my company typically has a conversation with prospective employees about their prioritization of salary, stock and any other elements of compensation they’d like to discuss. If there’s something valuable to you, make sure to include it in your negotiations up front.

Work-life balance. Work-life balance is defined by each individual, not their employer. Everyone places different value on their time outside of the office. A good leader ensures that his / her team is maintaining balance.

Whether it be sports, family, pets or other hobbies, we all need to feel that we have the support necessary to enjoy our interests outside the office. The break from focusing on queries or keywords refreshes and recharges us.

Just like compensation, the importance we place on work-life balance often shifts over time. As life happens—marriages, children, relocation—you’ll require different balance. So long as good work continues to be delivered on time, it shouldn’t matter from where or when your work is happening.

On a final note, Swart is of the thinking that there’s a major thing I’m missing, the people you work with. People are most important, there’s no question. I chose to focus on the elements that make each individual happy in their job, but these must be combined with a happy overall team dynamic.

He adds that part of balance comes from enjoying the people who surround you both at home and at work. "On our team, we laugh together every day and truly enjoy each other’s company, but having all the other elements in place allows us to have this luxury.”

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 13, 2013.


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