We often talk about the “employee” as a collective concept, created by cookie cutters or rolling down a manufacturing conveyor belt. Employees are a group, divided, if at all, as white collar or blue, by units, departments, or titles. But even though it may be easy to think of employees as a collective, each is an individual, and each seeks to be regarded and respected for their individuality.
Employees want to be recognized for their own unique skills (we know because we asked them – 5,400 of them across the globe responded to our 2017 Talent Trends survey).
Employees who felt they came to work energized report that, indeed, their companies did recognize their particular interests and skills and try to use that information when placing them in their jobs. Disenfranchised employees, on the other hand, did not feel their companies recognized their individual talents nor did they try to use them in job matching.
Why is it so hard and why should employers care? As a new hire enters an organization, that initial position may play to one aspect of the newcomer’s skillset—but perhaps not even her most significant expertise or his main interests or passion.
And as employers, we do care—because if those skills that are unique to the individual are not recognized or tapped at work, the employee will look outside the firm for a new job.
We know that people go through many jobs throughout their careers. With more appealing options and career choices within the organization, employees can move within the company rather than looking outside for variety and growth opportunities.
Today’s employees do not want to be treated solely as members of a group. They want to be ”seen” at work, respected for their individuality and diversity, and rewarded for the unique contributions they make to their organizations as a whole. The implications for HR are significant as re-evaluation of learning and development, benefit and reward structures, and working environments is needed to optimize the value and productivity of each individual employee.