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HiringSmart’s Three Bold Ideas (Part 3)

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Jan G. van der Hoop, President of HiringSmart™ — our go-to partner for help on how to hire more effectively, will be contributing to this blog on Fridays.  You can reach him directly at 905-338-7961 or

Continuing our discussion on HiringSmart’s three bold ideas that will set the foundation of your success for the next few years, here is a recap:

  1. If the fit’s not right… nothing else matters (see blog post on 10/7/11).
  2. Measure what Matters (see blog post on 10/14/11)
  3. The Birds of a Feather theory is alive and well.


This isn’t a slap at diversity. Diversity of background, experience, perspective and beliefs is critical to the success and resiliency of any group, as long as the group is adept at tapping into the differences and using them as a strength. I’m deliberate about putting that on the table first; please don’t misconstrue what I’m about to say.

Fit is critical to engagement, as well as to ‘job embeddedness’, another concept that is emerging and starting to get some play. Embeddedness is about an individual’s links to other people, teams and groups, their perception of their fit with their job and the organization, and what they feel they would have to sacrifice if they left. Predictably, there’s a direct correlation between ‘embeddedness’ and intention to leave (voluntary turnover), as well as commitment to the organization, overall satisfaction, and other factors.

From a business perspective, embeddedness and engagement are a good thing. And, neither is possible if the fit’s not right (refer to previous blog on this subject).

Let’s face it. We are social animals and therefore an individual’s effectiveness at work is dependent on the quality of the social fabric around them. At one point or another we all look around us and ask ourselves if the people we work with share our standards, if they are as committed to the same outcomes, and whether we genuinely like and respect them (and feel liked and respected in return). None of this has anything to do with diversity or homogeneity, and everything to do with setting the stage for high performance.

Furthermore, people will not stick around long with birds of a different feather. This has upside as well as risk. If you are actively engaged in the process of raising your standards and bringing fresh blood into the organization that shares those standards, gradually those who have lower standards will start to feel uncomfortable and will join their flock somewhere else (a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘flocking off’).

If, on the other hand, you are tolerating mediocre performance from a team or group, high performers who have different standards and high expectations of themselves, of you, and of their peers won’t stick around. In which case you tolerating mediocrity has basically left you flocked up.

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