The Right Job Creates Happiness. The Wrong One, Despair.

   |    4 minutes read

Jul 07, 2016

I always get ideas from great speakers. That’s why I love to attend industry conferences whenever I can. Being surrounded by people who are similarly steeped in talent acquisition, its pains and purpose, always sparks good ideas and concepts that reinforce why video interviewing technology like Modern Hire’s exists. Here’s a great example. Christine Nichlos, the founder and CEO of PeopleScience, provided some opening remarks at the recent HCI Strategic Talent Acquisition conference. Among other key points, this one stuck with me: Talent acquisition serves an incredibly important purpose because it is in the driver’s seat when tying together a person and a distinctly critical component of that person’s happiness – a job.

Tipping Point

A great hire begets a happy new employee, a happy hiring manager, happy co-workers and hopefully a happy spouse and gaggle of kids back at home. This may be a broad stroke, but we’ve all seen it and felt it, haven’t we? A great week at work, and the usual annoyances at home just don’t seem as annoying. Whereas a lousy week at work makes the usual troubles at home as flammable as dry tinder during a lightning storm. Everyone is going to experience the usual trials and rewards at work, but in general, getting it right at the outset elevates value to both the company and the person who gives 50-60 hours a week.

Happiness vs. Engagement

Happiness, of course, is different than engagement. Gallup puts out its Positive Experience Index measuring how people live their lives. Gallup’s survey asks questions about feeling well-rested, frequency of smiling and laughing, feeling respected or doing something interesting. Their survey puts many poor countries at the top of the list showing that money does not buy happiness. The UN, on the other hand, creates a World Happiness Report that asks people to rate their lives on a scale from 0 to 10 with 10 being the best possible life there is. On that scale, the wealthier countries tend to top the list.

Do happiness and engagement naturally co-exist? Engagement is definitely better for the company as the firm reaps the rewards of the engaged employee putting in that bit of something extra for the good of the firm. It strikes me as odd, though, that someone can be truly engaged at work without also being happy. If you are well-suited for the role and feel recognized for a job well-done, isn’t that the formula for happiness at work? If one exists without the other – high engagement but low happiness – I just can’t see it lasting for very long because the engagement is internally motivated. Even the best of us, the smartest, with the most intense work ethic, eventually will loosen the reins if that happiness is not present to keep the momentum going.

Recruiters, is the indicator of a good hire happiness at work, high job engagement or both?

The traditional engagement surveys used in corporations try to connect factors that influence that feeling of well-being, engagement and happiness. It seems there’s a bit of both approaches where feeling respected and doing interesting work blends with the ‘grass is greener’ mentality.

Where Does TA Fit In?

TA has a tangible role in creating both engagement and happiness:

  • They share the story. They are responsible for putting the real employee value proposition out there for outsiders to peer in and see what it’s like to work there. They can’t sugar coat it too much – a bait and switch leads to unhappiness for everyone. They have to authentically tell the story and allow people to select themselves in or out. And, to a very great degree, they have to conquer the story department by department, because we all can acknowledge that while the company culture may serve as an overarching umbrella, the department or team culture can have a big impact as well.
  • They reach the talent. TA acts as the distribution channel for the product (the company) to reach the buyer (the talent marketplace). TA must know where to look to find the right kind of people who will thrive in the environment and accept and appreciate the story.
  • They connect the talent and the story. Not only do they create the story and cast a net in the right direction toward acceptable talent, but TA must also must knit together the sale. Like all great recruiters and recruiting leadership, TA sells a product to a consumer every day. The art is in the delivery. The science is in having all the facts at hand to reinforce the story and package it with the right perks.

Being a TA professional takes a special perspective and set of skills. The good ones create engagement right from the first point of contact with candidates. The great ones have the ability to recognize right fit and put top talent on the road to happiness.