Fit matters. Try running a mile or two in a pair of trainers that are a size too small if you need proof. As uncomfortable as that would be, missing the fit on an employment decision is just as painful, or even worse.

We have a formula for growth at Talent Plus called the GIFT Formula (the first letters spelled backward are GIFT).

(Talent + Fit) x Investment = Growth

In the GIFT Formula, Talent and Fit go hand in hand as the foundation for people’s growth. Add the right Investment (training, stretch opportunities, leadership development) and it multiplies what you start with. But beware! You can start with all the Talent in the world and make a huge Investment in a person, but if you have a poor Fit, you’re setting yourself – and that person – up to fail.

Here’s a great story that illustrates that point perfectly:

For one of our clients, a luxury automobile dealership, we helped facilitate staffing and onboarding of all employees for a new dealership. In staffing, the focus was on selecting employees based on talent and potential, not tenure and experience. Of course, there are always outliers, and one particular very experienced and skilled Senior Technician was selected based on his experience and special expertise, despite the fact that his pre-hire assessment indicated he lacked talent in areas that were necessary to ensure a great fit for the culture the dealership wanted to create.

On Day One of onboarding, all of the employees in this new dealership committed themselves to the mission, vision and values of the dealership. It was incredible. Everyone really connected with the mission and vision and got behind the focus on delighting customers and eliminating the traditional negative views of car dealers.

The dealership opened and things were progressing nicely, or so the president of the dealership thought. A few weeks after opening, a day came when most of the technician team walked into his office. It was a new dealership in a retrofitted old building so naturally the president thought something had broken since he had been dealing with facilities issues quite a bit.

“What’s up, guys?” he asked, and received an answer he was not expecting.

His technician team had come to his office to ask him if he would fire the Senior Technician on the team – the one who had the right credentials but not the right talent and fit – because the Senior Technician was not positively contributing to the type of dealership they all committed to creating on Day One. Not a team player, the Senior Technician seemed to be only focused on himself. He was negative and not very customer-centric. He didn’t fit. And they, the technicians – not the manager, supervisor or someone else – were saying to the president of the dealership, “He doesn’t fit and we’d like you to do something about it.”

So the president did. He fired the Senior Technician and replaced him with someone who was a better fit. The Senior Technician had all the expertise and experience to do the job well, but the fit with the culture and team was not right. The president quickly made a decision to support the team and reinforce the cultural values he had clarified for every employee on Day One.

This powerful story focused on fit is still told at the dealership many years later to illustrate the point that they don’t always get the fit perfect when they make a hire. But the culture and values are so important to them that they will make a change – and make it quickly – when a person who does not fit jeopardizes the larger mission, vision and values of the organization.

What qualities define the right fit on your team or in your organization? What are you doing to ensure the right fit? How willing are you to make a change – and how quickly will you act – when you discover that the fit is not right?


As the lead of talent acquisition and associate learning and development for Talent Plus, Kyle Bruss obsesses over finding talented candidates for Talent Plus and ensuring our onboarding and learning programs meet associate needs. Bruss also works as a senior consultant with several clients in their recruitment, selection and organizational development efforts.

 

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