• The Strategic Perspective

Don’t Typecast your Employees

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

What do I mean by typecasting an employee? When an actor is in a successful TV show for a long time, they have a hard time getting other acting roles in different television shows or movies. Even though they may be great actors and would be amazing in a completely different role.

We tend to do the same thing with people we know. People that we work with.

We get used to seeing them “play a specific role” in our lives and our organization. Does this mean that their only talents are the ones we are used to seeing? Absolutely not!

One of the reasons older generations stayed with the same company for their whole lives is that they were able to move around. They were given the opportunity to change roles into different areas if they proved to be good employees, adept learners and wanted to grow.

Good employees are hard to find these days. In the same light, you can say good companies with good leadership are also hard to find. Loyalty has been lost on both sides. This is one reason why job-hopping is the new normal and the average length of time a new employee stays with a company is less than two years.

Where did this loyalty breakdown first? With the employee or the company? The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. If you hold a leadership role within an organization and you find a good employee, you have a vested interest in keeping them invested in your organization for as long as possible.

You may have an Accounting Assistant in your company that is reliable, hard-working and has excellent people skills. Does this person love accounting? Maybe, but maybe not particularly. Maybe they took it with an old school mentality of “starting off in the mail room”. Or… maybe they have been in this role for a while and are looking for a new challenge.

You have an Account Manager position open up in your company. A critical role that you need to be filled by someone that can be relied upon, with excellent people skills and organizational ability. However, you placed a requirement in your job posting that they need X-amount of account management experience.

What do you do if your Accounting Assistant approaches you with interest in the Account Manager position? They don’t have actual account management experience, however, you know for a fact that they possess all of the skills needed to make a great Account Manager, albeit maybe with a little process training. You also know that they are hard-working and reliable.

Those are two very important qualities that you can’t really judge from a few interviews with a few experienced, smooth-talking salespeople.

Many people are multifaceted and harbor many talents. If you want to turn a good employee into a great employee, an employee dedicated to your organization, give them the chance to prove themselves in this new role. Pay them what you would have been willing to pay the other people, regardless of what they were making as an Accounting Assistant. I’m not saying to start them off at the top of the range you were prepared to pay, but no lower than the minimum you had previously set. Then offer a competitive, performance-based package that increases with their ability to bring in revenue.

Help them grow in their new professional role/s and they won’t need to jump companies to develop themselves or get substantial raises in pay. Two of the top-cited reasons employees change companies, aside from bad management and toxic culture.

This person could very likely prove to be your top performer one day...and a loyal one at that! Something incredibly hard to find. A true diamond in the rough, sitting in front of you the whole time, just waiting to be cut and polished.