by Debora Spadafora
In today's ever-changing workplace, Human Resource Personnel face many stressful challenges. Opportunities missed could cost the organization dearly. The need to revisit procedures to meet today's challenges is no longer a luxury but a necessity. I believe Heraclitus said it best: "A wonderful harmony is created when we join together the seemingly unconnected." This significant epigram is ideally portrayed in the following true vignette.
I consulted on a Human Resource project for a very large corporation and during this exercise, a new position was advertised. Prospective internal candidates were reviewed. It was later decided that no one fit the criteria. On reviewing the list of candidates for the position and the steps taken to evaluate each applicant, I discovered an irrefutable dysfunctional link. A young applicant who worked for the company more than 10 years and whose skills and performance were exemplary was completely overlooked for the position. The system did not work. She was not interviewed for the position and the only reason given was, "she is not a good fit."
I was somewhat bewildered and suggested to Management that the decision to advertise outside of the company be put on hold until after my investigation. After meeting with the employee, this is what I uncovered: The young lady had all the applicable skills and attributes for the position and demonstrated a unique sense of initiative for achieving results. She had such a great sense of purpose, not only in her job, but also for the organization as a whole.
Her Supervisor recognized her potential and encouraged her to explore workplace systems and processes through continuous development. This knowledge enabled her to develop the additional skills necessary for her growth within this company. When the opportunity presented itself, she applied for the posted position. She had applied for a number of positions to take her to the next step in her career but never received an interview. When she followed up with the Department head, she was informed the decision was made to look outside of the company. Consequently, she became despondent and extremely disappointed in the system as a whole.
I then met with her Supervisor and she confirmed all that her employee shared with me. She also reaffirmed that employees apply for posted positions and are interviewed by the Department Head. Then, it is the Department Head's responsibility to consult with the employee's Supervisor, however, this never happened. Although the Employee's Supervisor supported her employee by vouching for her exemplary work and outstanding performance record, she felt there was nothing she could do to influence the decision. She was told by the Department Head that her employee has "a bad attitude problem and would not be a good fit." I asked how they arrived at this decision and she said simply: "After she had been rejected on several occasions for positions she applied for, she lost faith and became very withdrawn. Everyone simply concluded by her closed attitude, she would not be a good team player." It never occurred to her Supervisor at the time to take the initiative by addressing this problem with Human Resources. Obviously the system could have worked, had there been procedures in place to monitor this internal review policy more effectively.
After reading my report on the investigation, Management agreed this employee deserved the opportunity to compete for the position. She was also reassured all steps were being taken to prevent any future breakdowns in the candidate review process. This story does have a happy conclusion. The young lady was interviewed for the position and finally achieved the goal she had worked so very hard to attain. What's more, she was approved for this job based on her skills and achievements. As far as the "attitude problem" goes, she demonstrated a remarkable change in disposition and renewed faith in her organization. Now, imagine for a moment how unfortunate it would have been if Management had completely discounted her for this position, based on dangerous assumptions attributed to ''hearsay''. They would have lost a very valuable asset - an employee who believed she was a vital link in the organizational chain and pursued the necessary knowledge to ensure her company's growth through personal development.
Employees need to feel valued by their peers. Shared information instills trust and empowers employees. An Intuitive leader will realize that all employees have commendable attributes that deserve recognition and the key to this realization is the practice of total awareness. People already have power through knowledge and motivation. Empowerment is demonstrating your awareness and trust by allowing this power to escape. Awaken the Power within and within others.
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