!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Hiring for Adaptability

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hiring for Adaptability

Angelo Kinicki, a professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and Mel Fugate, an assistant professor at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, decided to try to isolate the characteristics of an employee who is especially effective in performing in a dynamic environment, i.e., in the environment of change that prevails at energetic companies striving to stay strong in today's marketplace.

As described in an article in Knowledge@W.P. Carey, Kinicki and Fugate's profile of the key characteristic of adaptability includes five demensions:

Openness to changes at work — i.e., viewing change "as a challenge and an opportunity — not as a threat." Employees who are open to change also tend to "exhibit flexibility when confronted with the challenges inherent in uncertain situations."

Work and career resilience — This is the "power of positive thinking" dimension. In Kinicki's words, we're talking about "someone who, both in their work and their career at large, is able to handle any of the stresses that might come up. They simply have a disposition that gives them strength in the face of adversity."

Work and career proactivity — This means a person will "proactively acquire information about the environment," which equips the person to anticipate organizational change and begin responding quite early.

Career motivation — A person sets high personal goals and takes action to meet them. Such employees "are more motivated at work, persist during periods of boredom or frustration, and sustain effort in the face of challenges."

Work identity — If a person identifies with his/her work and career, the person tends to be motivated to apply energy to career-related endeavors.

Kinicki and Fugate's recommendation is that employers in dynamic companies seek to hire people who are high on the adaptability dimensions listed above, rather than sticking with the traditional approach that uses knowledge skills, and attitudes (KSA) as the primary indicators of likely effectiveness on-the-job.