Recognising that the contract that you sign with an employer, is exactly that – a contract – actually helps set the scene for a successful partnership.
When all parties involved in a hiring process reach the decision making stage, there are many criteria, both financial and non-financial that need to be aligned. However, I find that the key question that is rarely truly considered, is simply:
An imbalanced deal on either side will rarely work over the long term. It is a question that I think should continue to guide the process through induction, integration and through ongoing review.
Hiring managers are invariably looking for someone who has done the same role before and applicants are looking for a role that leverages and builds on their experience. How do you ensure both parties are satisfied, rather than one party being underutilised or the other party having to invest heavily before it sees a return?
The most practical way to look at this is over a 3-year period. Year one is about investment. Even in hiring an experienced professional, there is an up-front cost, both financial and in terms of time, where an individual is translating the experience that they have had before into the new environment. The more experienced the candidate, the shorter the integration period, but it still exists.
By the end of year 2 however, the candidate should have “squared the ledger” on this investment. There needs to be recognition at this point that it is hard to expect someone to simply continue in the role, without additional growth or motivation.
We hear a lot about impatient candidates, who look for promotions every 6 months and this approach is both frustrating and short-sighted. However, I would suggest that managers and companies that fail to actively manage the career growth consistently and effectively, are equally common.
So when we get to that pivotal year 3, where longevity will be determined, both sides should once again evaluate the deal. I would suggest that this is the real purpose of an annual review, to check in once again and ensure that deal has not run its course. If it has, this shouldn’t be an issue but rather something that can be openly discussed and, if necessary, a transition plan created. However by simply asking the question, we are more likely to approach things positively, with a broad mind over the potential options that can be put on the table by both sides.
Either party can choose to ignore this, to try and gain a perceived advantage in negotiation, but inevitably it will re-surface and if employee and employer broach this face on, then a positive solution that includes the retention of the individual, is more likely than not.