Managing Talent in a Passion-Driven Job Market

Follow Your Passion - James B. Rosseau, Sr.

The fact is that many people are not excited about the work they do each day. Indeed, recent surveys have stated that four out of five people are not happy with their current jobs. That is 80%, which sheds new light on the 80/20 rule. Just think about that the next time you are sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your way to work. As you sit there, looking at your phone (when you shouldn’t be), notice the cars around you and realize, for every five cars, four of those drivers are not happy at all about the work day they are heading to face.

The question then becomes, as a business owner, leader or HR manager, what should you do about it? I would contend that the best investment you can make is in talent management. Every organization is looking to create and protect its competitive advantage and those often come in two flavors — resources or capabilities — and talent (your people) help you create, sustain and protect both. However, it is common, that when we think about talent management, the systems we create around it are usually geared towards the long-term goals and strategy of the enterprise. In essence, we funnel people into the vision, goals and strategy we have for the company. That manifests itself in how we recruit, manage, appraise and develop talent. Through each of those phases, the interactions are guided by the organization’s interests, language and prerequisites of what it believes qualifies an individual to “fit into” that vision.

I would argue that in today’s environment, which is probably best described as transient, fluid and global, that employers need to create relationships with talented individuals and networks versus the historical route of creating jobs/roles and plugging people into them. In what I describe as the passion-driven job market — where individuals are less concerned about achieving a post at the top of the chain in a fortune 500 company and are more concerned about enjoying what they do — for the long haul, employers need to re-pivot.

To re-pivot, employers need to genuinely engage talent on their terms, seeking to understand what they are passionate about. Employers will need to understand what drives a person and why; where does the person ultimately want to go and how; and what experiences the person believes he/she will need along that journey — and then becoming a part of it.

While big brands can certainly still attract talent in the traditional manner, we all know that turnover drives high costs. I would suggest that to pressure test my theory, we all watch those costs, as if I’m right, in a passion-driven job market, that cost will rise exponentially as passion seekers will follow their passion, not a brand, nor the convenience of ‘hanging around’ a place that does not help them chase their passions and their journey.

Passion is endless fuel.  I would your comments, either on this article or my book, Success on Your Own Terms: 6 Promises to Fire Up Your Passion, Ignite Your Career, and Create an Amazing Life, which expands on the topic further.