What to Do If The Right Employee is in the Wrong Job?

Joe Weinlick
Posted by

When a good employee ends up in the wrong job, everyone involved may think parting ways is the best solution. Hiring decisions are usually a guesstimate of what a business needs, so incompatibility could develop at any time as company roles evolve. Instead of losing talent, improve employee retention and build a highly skilled workforce by supporting employees who want to transition to new roles.

Assess Employee Retention Issues

Employees aren't likely to achieve their potential in jobs that clash with their skills and interests, regardless of talent or motivation. The disconnect could happen soon after recruitment or develop later when the job feels less challenging. Talk to current and past employees about the goals and factors that drive them to look for work elsewhere. Find out whether employees and managers have the same expectations of each role, making it easier to distinguish between communication problems and cultural fit issues.

Sometimes, company goals and functions change so rapidly that certain skills become less valuable to the organization. But ongoing employee retention problems are a sign you're recruiting the wrong people or neglecting good workers once they're on your payroll.

Rethink Your Approach to Talent Management

A rigid approach to talent management is a common source of employee retention problems. While most companies have evaluation processes, they mainly judge how well workers perform in one specific role. Traditional evaluations lead to black-and-white conclusions; the employee is either qualified or unqualified. Measuring the overall skills and character strengths of your workforce is a more productive and cost-effective option. Employees who already thrive in your corporate culture can deliver the best results for the company once they're empowered in the right roles.

Remove Cultural Barriers

Leaving is the most painless option for employees when managers work hard to thwart or discourage internal transfers. Talented workers are less likely to seek internal roles on other teams if transfers are treated as a burden or betrayal. Make it simple and integral to your business model for workers to learn about other roles, network across teams and apply with support from their managers. Cultural barriers are a top-down issue that can only change if senior executives prioritize mentoring, continuing education and career development.

Strengthen Recruitment Criteria

The majority of employee retention problems start with weak recruitment. Maybe interviewers are misrepresenting the company or hiring managers don't really know how to define open roles. Maybe you're dragging out the hiring process and driving off the best candidates. Whatever the case, don't expect to get a strong candidate pool from a diluted recruitment process.

Before recruiting, make sure the team, managers and executives understand how the role serves the company. Get feedback from employees who directly engage with the target role, as they have the most insight about the functions and challenges of the job. The more you define the job, the easier it is to be transparent with candidates and weed out people who aren't a good fit.

Managing employee retention goals is a smart step that can yield rewards in profit, productivity and innovation. Talented workers who stay with your company have established relationships and a shorter learning curve in new roles. If your organization allows good workers to slip away, other employers reap the benefits of your investment.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Mary H.
    Mary H.

    Truth is management should have a overall plan to work out the weeds of employment so the flowers (good employees) can bloom and have confidence in their roles in the company!

  • Gbedze J.
    Gbedze J.

    When a.good employee end up in a wrong job, examination, interview plus hiring or employment becomes very difficult. So, the solution is to disqualify the applicant as unfit. Thank.

Jobs to Watch