Finding the most 'suitable fit' begins with Belbin.

Harrison – HR Partner for Finance @ Snappy Foods: “Once again, your new hire did not fire at all. I need a free replacement for the Accounts Manager recruit. This is the third replacement in 11 months.  So bad, my CFO would have sacked them all”

Raymond – Head Hunter @ PP Partners:“Sorry, I will have to charge you for this. You see the two people who left you are very qualified, experienced, eligible professionals. They are firing on all cylinders in the new firms they have joined. How come they could not perform in your firm.. you know best”.

Harrison:“Raymond, this is critical now. The CFO is very much cut-up with this. Before the **** hits the roof, lets act”

Raymond:“I don’t know what I should do differently this time.. Some deeper issue here. A match stick needs a match box to fire.. right?.Can I see you with Rajesh, a friend of mine who is a Performance Consultant for People and Teams? May be he will help us understand the issue. Stopping my payment is easy. Replacing would be even easier. How much more salary will you pay to people who leave? And what about the team morale?”

Harrison:“Listen Raymond, we know each other well. I need this resolved. Who is this consultant you are talking about? Let’s meet him asap”

Margaret was hired as Accounts Manager four weeks later. What followed was magic. The Accounts Team went on to deliver an outstanding performance that year. What had changed?

Rajesh had just four weeks to fix this jinxed Accounts Manager hiring issue. He appreciated that the CFO and Head of HR were serious about fixing it. That was helpful. It was agreed that the twenty two senior people in the Accounts Team would be profiled on Belbin Team Roles, in the first week. And a Belbin Job Report would be written for the Account Manager Position immediately after. This Belbin Job Report would then become an integral part of the Job Description (JD) that was usually given to Raymond, who then had 2 weeks to bring in 3 options for the new candidate.

The revised JD had a new section called ‘Suitability Criteria’, and it read as follows:

The job as it is specified requires someone who has the capacity for drawing the best out of others, encouraging them to contribute and to identify personally with group objectives. Such a person should be able to conduct meetings in a mature fashion and in a way that allows participants to feel satisfied when proceedings have been concluded.

The work entails a fair degree of drive and a willingness to face up to occasional opposition. On this specification the ability to organize people outweighs the ability to arrange the way in which the necessary work should be carried out.

Raymond felt the ‘Suitability Criteria’ were a welcome addition. “This gives me direction” he said. “I can now look for these softer attributes, in addition to looking at the usual tangible eligibility criteria like qualifications, experience and track record”.

The CFO and Harrison spent enough time understanding Margaret particularly from a ‘suitability’ point of view. She met most of the ‘eligibility’ criteria, not all of them. She was not a whiz kid out of an Ivy league Finance School nor the most experienced person on the shortlist. She however had a demonstrated flair for the softer ‘suitability’ criteria. It was agreed that Margaret will go for an Executive Development Program in Finance Management, on effective completion of a year’s service. This, the CFO said, was “In keeping with Rajesh’s advice that we should hire for suitability and then train for that bit of eligibility that may need to be bridged”.

A year later, Rajesh was having tea with Harrison when he explained: “You see the first two hires were strong Belbin Implementers. Their forte was in devising processes to accomplish the results you desired. So, when they came in they began tinkering with the Standard Operating Procedures.. which met with huge resistance, from an extremely competent team of accountants. The two new hires just couldn’t ‘fit in’.Margaret was different – A Belbin Co-ordinator. She came in like a breath of fresh air for the very competent accountants on the team. She made them feel important.. she listened.. she quickly understood how each one of them could contribute to the teams objectives.. she made it possible for all of them to participate and make their contribution.. and the rest is history!”

“Thank you, Rajesh” said Harisson. “These are deep insights for me on how people behave in teams”.

“Not me.. it is Belbin” said Rajesh - “It’s amazing how many humungous dollars and management time is wasted in hiring decisions that don’t fire fast enough. I must compliment you, your boss and your CFO for choosing to identify ‘suitability’ criteria, as can be specified by a Belbin Job Report. This was imperative to then running the BELBIN Job Comparison Report that assesses suitability between what the job demands and what the candidate can contribute.Those who believe in well begun is half done, always begin with Belbin. Cheers!”.

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