Empowering People to Work to Their Strengths

Jun 18, 2020

“Team productivity might as well be called the “people puzzle” – It’s less about standardizing human behavior to measure output and efficiency, and more about empowering individuals and your team.”

Some of the clients who come to WAHVE have a defined position they are trying to fill – account manager in a retail agency for example, or a claims coordinator at a carrier. They want to find a candidate who can work within a set of defined parameters. This is what the team needs, therefore this is who they need to hire. There’s nothing wrong with this approach.

However, the insights presented by Claire Karjalainen in The Do’s and Don’ts of Measuring Employee Productivity in the Knowledge Economy are fascinating and worth considering. Instead of measuring everyone by the same yardstick, determine if the yardstick you’re using is the right one to begin with and if each employee should be measured the same way. Sometimes, adjusting the job (i.e. hours, tasks, amount of team interaction, reporting structure, required output, etc.) means you’ll fit the job to the person and not the other way around. What’s more, striking a balance between the candidate and the position might naturally boost overall productivity. This is where some clients who come to WAHVE share an idealized job description with us but acknowledge there’s a fair amount of wiggle room in the exact candidate requirements. For example, if the candidate doesn’t want to be on the phones, the client will engineer the job to omit phone contact.  If the candidate likes to work on any kind of account service work in a retail agency except issuing certificates of insurance, the client will funnel everything but certificate requests to the wahve. What the client ends up with is a candidate who will excel in their position because it is tailored to their best skill set and who is motivated by the work to be done and not demotivated by work they must do, but don’t do well or enjoy.

I encourage you to take the time to digest Ms. Karjalainen’s article. While the piece has been around a while, in the ever-evolving world of work, it is a good reminder about what impacts human productivity and how the work doesn’t suffer when we allow people time and space to perform to their strengths. And, if you’re looking for resources in addition to our WAHVE resources here on working remotely, the Doist.com website is loaded with great information. – Elizabeth Kordek, CPCU Senior Placement Specialist


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