Those pants won’t fit…

one-size-fits-all-one-size-demotivational-poster-1215805240

I’ve been on the dole since May 31 while enjoying some (small) benefit from all the taxes paid on my behalf into Missouri’s unemployment fund over the years. I’m glad the support is there and although it would be tough for one to survive on it alone, it’s the thought that counts…right? Anywhoo, I was summoned to a local Missouri Employment Security Office (a.k.a Career Center) yesterday for a monthly check-up. If you’ve never been, I can only tell you the experience pretty much lives up to the hype. Despite their well placed intentions, one thing really stuck out as unavailing. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve made a career as a truck driver, retail clerk, or HR executive; every job-seeker is treated generically. The profile they create for you in the database is the same, the skills they attempt to inventory are the same, the career services and training they offer are the same, and the career counselor you talk to is the same. The Department fails to recognize its clients as specialized resources with specific skills, ambitions, and career paths. It fails to accentuate the distinct differences in job search strategies for those respective career paths. This is the one-size-fits-all syndrome and we HR professionals fall prey to it often.

Does your HR department make any attempt to tailor talent management programs to your distinctly different constituents – whether based on skills, or experiences, or roles, or functions, or geographies, or levels?

  • Background checks and pre-employment screening (e.g. you may want a credit check on an accountant, but not an admin assistant)
  • New Employee Orientation/On-boarding (e.g. managers probably need different information than staff)
  • Annual goal-setting and performance evaluations (e.g. process timelines and milestones may differ based on functional “busy seasons”)
  • Reward and Recognition Programs (e.g. a gift card to Brooks Brothers may not fit every body’s lifestyle)
  • Employee Communications (e.g. people on the shop floor may not get to their Email that often)
  • Exit Interviews (e.g. your questions might differ based on the role the departing EE held with the organization)

These are just quick examples and none of them are earth-shattering. Yes, tailoring programs requires more effort on your part. But I would argue you are wasting your effort if you don’t. I left the Career Center pining for my hour back. Your employees will feel the same way if you thrust upon them a solution that wasn’t tailored to their diverse, unique, and distinct needs.

Photo Credit: Motifake

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One Response to Those pants won’t fit…
  1. John Jorgensen
    July 21, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    Charlie, great points. I think for too long we have gone overboard on treating everyone the same when it should be treating everyone IN THE SAME CATEGORY equally. You do need to tailor many things to fit many different types of people.

    PS-Illinois has pretty much done away with the forced visits to the “Career Center” into a more virtual operation.

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