Last time, we talked about how loyalty and commitment matter a lot to employers. For today’s lesson on what employers want from the people they hire, let’s talk about the importance of flexibility as a professional trait.
- EMPLOYERS WANT PEOPLE WHO CAN ADAPT.
Every time a company hires a new employee, it is taking a risk on the new hire’s compatibility and alignment with existing systems, processes, practices and cultures inside the organization. The desired effect is, of course, synergy or harmony that will promote teamwork and efficiency. On the opposite end, however, is confusion and conflict that may affect not only individual but also group performance.
What is the biggest variable to consider with regard to an employee’s adaptability? The answer, we believe, is their previous employment or educational experience. Depending on how strongly they’ve been influenced by systems, processes, practices and cultures from their previous employers or schools, they may encounter some level of difficulty when trying to adjust to new environments. People are naturally able to recognize that an environment is different from others they’ve been in before; it’s just that when those previous environments have left very powerful effects like acquired knowledge, memories and habits, the adjustment process becomes somewhat harder because they have to put aside, change or even forget some of these things.
Candidates can use this as a self-measure of their flexibility. There are a few signs that can help us find out how effectively we adapt. By reflecting on our reactions to unfamiliar situations or places, we’ll know much our past can dictate our responses. Any hesitation to take risks or try something new could be an indication that we are overly dependent on what we know, which prevents us from being truly prepared to face the unknown. Conversely, if we verify our ability to adapt to new environments and situations, then we can use it as a value-adding advantage when transitioning from studying or previous work to new work.
In the end, one of the things that matter most to employers is that the risk they took to hire someone will turn out to be a return of investment for them once the employee begins performing well and in excellent alignment with the organization. Career-seekers can ensure that return of investment when they themselves learn to embrace risk and unfamiliarity.