It's About Employees' 'Work Identity,' Not Generation or Personality Type
Kate Tornone | June 19, 2018
Classifying employees by generation, personality type or other broad categories—rather than by where they are in the career cycle may not be the ideal way to get the best out of them or ensure they're happy and motivated in their jobs, according to an HR expert who spoke Tuesday at the SHRM 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition. "We think our job is done when we say, 'Oh, this is a Millennial, and the tools to develop them are these sets of tools,' " said Joey V. Price, CEO of Jumpstart: HR LLC, an HR firm that provides administrative and strategic HR support to U.S.-based small businesses and startups. "That's a problematic way of looking at employee engagement at work." Instead, companies need to identify where workers are on a continuum that he called their "real identities at work." "It's less about age, less about personality type … and it's more about, 'Where are you in the life cycle of our organization, and how can we meet you where you are to help move you further along?' " said Price, who spoke at a concurrent session titled "EmployME Engagement: How to Drive Employee Engagement in a Society That's All About Me." Five Worker Identities. Price identified five work identities. The exploratory prehire. This, he said, is someone quietly exploring your company and asking if she can see herself there. "They're creating this identity in their heads about what it's like to work at your company and, quite frankly, what's in it for them." Fifteen percent of job seekers put more effort into a job if they have a positive hiring experience, he said. So to draw these people in, he said, show them what you can do for them: "What are your benefit offerings? How many days off? Do you give opportunities for education? Stipends for tuition reimbursement? Show a gesture of good will upfront by showing, 'Here's how we're investing in you.'