Diamonds in the Rough

by Brian Bacon, Director of Engagement
Published July 12, 2021

A lack of qualified employees is the most critical element within the economy for business to return to a sense of normalcy right now.  Companies are offering $4,000 signing bonuses, free health care, subsidized day care, 4 or 5 day workweeks and 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM work hours.  A bidding war for dollars will not solve the problem of inadequate employee availability so all companies need to move forward and become as productive (as quickly) as the marketplace demands.   When everyone is offering the same monetary benefits, hiring managers need to broaden their perspective regarding the requirements they are looking for in a new employee AND the place they might be coming from.  

Employers that ARE having success staffing are often looking at a slightly different candidate pool seeking talents that will best serve the needs of a company as opposed to wanting to hire years of experience or the specific “technical” qualifications.  Hiring managers usually look for individuals that will easily “fit” within an organization – someone whose personality, values and ways of working fit easily within an existing organizational structure.  There are many of those people out there and everyone else is vying for them as well but it is easier to train technical skills than it is to find cultural “fit.”  

What traits are critical to any position?   What is different or unique about an individual that allows them to bring a significant benefit to the party?  What is that benefit a company should be looking for?  An employer needs to be looking for that diamond in the rough and the proper use of pre-employment assessments (such as AcuMax) can be used to find and include particular traits rather than ruling them out.  Years ago, Jewelers would only buy the most perfect diamonds, ruby or sapphires.  Now, those stones that used to be thrown away are more highly prized than the perfect stones – employees that were once looked upon as being a problem are now prized for their creativity and/or innovation.  For employers, one of those diamonds in the rough is an ultra-creative individual.  Most companies shy away from such individuals due to the urban legends and the unconscious bias that they might be hard to manage.  Ultra-creative individuals do have a reputation of being difficult to manage and they do not necessarily play well with other BUT that does not necessarily mean they cannot be managed or they will not work well with others

The Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos of the world provide creative solutions to problems, are the ultimate problem solvers, see what others cannot see, are passionate and increase sales by getting goods and services to market ahead of the competition.   The innovators of the world allow companies to do more with fewer resources, will stick to a task until it is done successfully, Inspire others, build highly effective and successful teams and they have no time for politics.

If you are trying to fit all employees into a specific, “everyone looks and behaves the same” mold, it may be “easier” and you may save time and energy.  However if supervision steps up and manages to an individual’s strengths, takes a risk and allows them the freedom to do their job the way that works best for them and let others be inspired and led by the ultra-enthusiasm, the benefits far outweigh the possible extra effort.  Take a risk, be different and allow the ultra-creative to be a motivator and leader – the ride is too much fun not to AND potentially rough if you choose to ignore the input of others.

The Employer’s Association has many and varied resources and tools to help companies find those unique individuals and bolster their employee ranks.  If you have any questions or would like further guidance on this issue please contact TEA at 616-698-1167.