Hiring employees can be time consuming and expensive. Having started six companies I understand that. So you want to make sure you’re bringing in the right people who have a genuine interest in the position. Are your new hires and current employees excited about what they do? Or is it just a job for them?
There’s a big difference between a job, a career, and a calling.
Let’s start with a calling. You’re very lucky if you hire people who are doing what they were meant to do. These people don’t just have a career; they’ve actually found what they were put on the planet to do. They have a calling. Those are the ultimate employees, and you know them when you find them. People pursuing their calling know their talents and have used them to define a career. But what sets them apart is that they have also identified their unique gift and they have discovered the power in directing their talents to support the gift. Unfortunately, few people have found their calling.
The next best thing is to hire someone who knows their talents and has focused them on a career. A person who knows their career is interested in learning more and getting to a higher level within their profession. They have a genuine interest in their work, and they’re in it for the long term.
Finally, there’s the job category, where people are just there to make money. Often, they don’t care what the actual job is as long as it’s something they can do and that provides a paycheck.
All your current employees and new hires will fit into one of those categories, and they all have a place in the organization. While it would be great if everyone you hired knew their calling or had a clear career path, in reality, having people there just for a job is perfectly okay as long as the position warrants that.
Ideally, regardless of whether someone is pursuing a calling, a career, or a job, you want someone with the right attitude who will add to the position. In other words, even if they just want a job, can they bring something to the position that could make it even better than before they got there? Successful employees at any level will have an interest in learning new things, not only in their area, but in adjacent areas as well. They’re willing to stretch and take a few risks. And if they can use all of their talents, they will thrive.
For example, a few years ago, I interviewed someone who had just graduated with a degree in IT. Before that, she was in marketing. So she had a successful marketing background, but because she had a high interest in technology and was bored with her current marketing position, she had decided to try a career in IT. When I spoke with her during the interview, I could tell she had multiple talents—IT related, marketing related, and other talent areas—that when combined would create exactly what I needed. In other words, I saw something in her that she didn’t even see in herself.
So I told her, “I think because of your great people skills and your marketing background, at some point you’re going to become bored working in a typical IT position. I need somebody who really knows IT well, but I need much more than that. I need a hybrid executive marketing position that uses a lot of IT in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
I went on to say, “I believe this position I’m creating around your talents is something you would love; you just have never thought of it before. I’m willing to take a risk that you will thrive in this position. Will you?”
She loved the idea, but she knew if she said yes to this position, she would have to put looking for an IT position off and take a risk.
When hiring someone, I think instinct is as important as a resume. My instinct told me that this person could do it. Fortunately, she felt confident and was willing to take the risk because the more I explained the position to her, the more excited she became about this new position rather than the IT one. She turned out to be one of the best employees I ever had. She loves her career because it uses all of her talents, not just her IT talents, and it’s worked out great for both of us.
To ensure that people add the most value to your organization regardless of whether they are there for a job, career, or calling, I have found the following philosophy and conversation before hiring them to be a big win-win for everyone. That conversation goes something like this: “You’re probably not going to be with me forever, because forever is a really long time. So let’s assume you’re with me for a while. Maybe that while is two years, five years, or even twenty years. During the time you’re with me, I’d like to make sure I’m helping you grow, learn, and ultimately be a better you. At the same time, I’d like to make sure you’re improving my company, improving the position I hired you for, and evolving beyond it so this turns out to be something really good for you and really good for me, no matter how long we’re together.”
This philosophy is vital, because one of the Golden Rules I have as an employer is to do unto others a little better than they would probably do unto me. In other words, I want to treat people—my employees—as I would want to be treated, and even a little better. If you treat people great, maybe even better than they would expect, they will reach out and do amazing things for you. Your company will grow and all will prosper.