1 in 5 employees in wrong role

Employees  iStock / Getty Images Plus
A significant number of employees are not in positions that fit them.

Companies are losing millions of dollars due to lower productivity, higher turnover and staffers who don’t fit with the rest of the team—all because employees are in the wrong role.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Jamie Schneiderman, CEO of Clearfit Analytics, which aims to match the right person to the right job. “What you’ve done is not a good indicator of what you should do.”

Schneiderman said it even happened to him. He was a brand manager at a large consumer goods company and “it just wasn’t a fit.”

The comments came on the heels of a survey released Thursday that found 1 in 5 people are in the wrong role. They are in jobs they are not motivated by, engaged with or productive in, according to a unit of ManpowerGroup.

The best way to get around this is to determine during the interview process “what gets them excited about their career,” said Vivek Bapat, senior vice president at SAP. “I focus less on the bulleted list of tasks in the job description and more on how candidates describe themselves and their careers.”

Bapat also listens for “What kinds of responsibilities have they not sought out? Which ones do they seem to talk about more or emphasize less?”

Interviews with more than 4,600 people across 20 countries found companies need to invest in career mobility and help employees develop their skills and gain valuable experience in ways that suit them (online, in-person and on-the job) to boost engagement and productivity, the ManpowerGroup survey said. Adopting a high-tech, high-touch approach combining coaching with innovative technology will help match people to the right positions, resulting in a 40% increase in engagement, said Mara Swan, executive vice president at ManpowerGroup.

The report recommended seven steps for organizations to introduce a career development strategy that will attract, engage and retain the right employees:

  • Educate: Coach leaders to provide career management guidance aligned to business goals. 
  • Attract: Use employer branding and workforce development to attract top talent.
  • Retain: Have high-touch career conversations and use high-tech tools to enable development, create a learning culture and encourage career mobility. 
  • Engage: Keep employees engaged and productive by providing ongoing career coaching and opportunities to upskill.
  • Redeploy talent: Offer easy access to open internal positions and opportunities for career mobility within your organization. 
  • Plan for future talent needs: Plan and leverage tools to stay up-to-date with new HR, talent and technology solutions as they emerge.
  • Develop a sustainable leadership program: Identify high potential talent and prepare them to take on leadership roles.

"Making sure you have the right people in the right roles is a proven way to boost engagement, productivity and the bottom line," Swan said.