Die Arbeitswelt wandelt sich ständig.wie lässt sich also feststellen, ob ein für eine heutige Stelle geeigneter Bewerber auch seine zukünftigen Aufgaben erfolgreich erfüllen wird?
Adrian Furnham on employee potential
Can one assess a person’s potential to succeed in the future? This is even more problematic than choosing the right candidate at a job interview because one is not selecting for a specific job. And it is highly likely that the workplace, the work tasks and the work styles of the future will be surprisingly different from what they are today. So how does one assess someone’s potential for a number of possible future jobs that may not currently exist or that one cannot yet fully describe? Three factors ⋅ must be considered:
Do characteristics change over a lifespan? Self-help books tell us that personal change is possible and desirable. Yet, this goes against the evidence. Intelligence levels may drop slightly, but they change little over a working life. The same is true of abilities. And extroverts may also become slightly less extroverted; the very shy may appear less so. But the fundamentals remain the same. Major personal crises can change personal coping strategies. But the bottom line for anyone around ⋅ 30 is: “What you see is what you get.”
What is the cost of development? People can be groomed for a particular job. They can be sent on training courses or experimental weekends, or to do further education. But it is important to choose the right people, and not to hope that such grooming will iron out the problem areas. Acquiring and retaining skills is expensive and difficult. Make sure the ⋅ cost is worth it.
What are the essential characteristics of future success? The first is simple: intelligence or ability. Bright people typically learn faster and adapt more quickly — if they want to. Selectors and assessors can test for intelligence using specific ability tests. But intelligence alone is not enough. Also important is emotional stability. The emotionally unstable are poor at customer relations, become capricious and difficult managers, and are prone to absenteeism. Thus one selects the stable, the phlegmatic and the emotionally adjusted.
The third characteristic is conscientiousness. The children of ambitious, future-oriented parents often develop this in childhood. Conscientious people are — by definition — diligent, responsible and dutiful. They are conscientious on and off the job and this attribute is not difficult to assess. Some may be a little risk averse, but their reliability makes them an asset.
So that is all you need: bright, stable, conscientious people. While some managers may become stars with only two of these characteristics, those possessing all three are a safe bet.
ADRIAN FURNHAM is a psychology professor at University College, London. His latest book is The Resilient Manager: Navigating the Challenges of Working Life (Palgrave Macmillan).