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Place the right person in the right role

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Financial effects of talent-to-role mismatch are huge - it could cost a company over $8 million a year

You cannot put a square peg in a round hole - yet many companies do, hiring people for the wrong roles.

Globally, one in five people is in the wrong role - those in which they are neither motivated nor productive.

Some are not engaged in their jobs or organisation.

The financial effects of a talent-to-role mismatch are huge. Low productivity and high turnover could cost an organisation more than US$6 million (S$8.2 million) a year, said global career and talent development expert, Right Management.

The right fit could equate to 29 per cent higher revenue on average, noted the career experts within ManpowerGroup.

It derived its findings from a survey of 4,600 people in 20 countries such as United States and China, with Singapore participating in the Asia Pacific-Middle East bloc.

Right Management's career management practice leader, Mr Tim Roche, said workers may have been "socialised into functional silos due to well-meaning but misguided reasons".

He said: "They became an accountant because their parents wanted them to, because their university entrance exams led in that direction, because of pressure from peers or authority figures, or because someone told them they'd be good at it. As a result, these people adopted careers without ever examining their choices."

What can organisations do to ensure they hire the right people for the right roles?

Science-based assessment strategies reduce risk and bias around talent decisions when hiring and developing your people. Use tools to ascertain:


Predictive Performance for Individuals, or P2i, assesses an individual's "fit for work" profile, evaluating their ability to work in any role in terms of work ethic, brightness and ability and social skills. Assessing individuals against the criteria helps leaders identify high-value talent while developing an agile workforce. The P2i measures:

  • Social and interpersonal compatibility: How rewarding is it to deal with this person?
  • Abilities and expertise: How able is he to do the job?
  • Ambition and work ethic: How willing is he to work?


Companies can use tools to understand how employees are "wired" to take in, process and act on information. It can then determine the best ways to motivate their employees, boosting morale and raising productivity.

The Learning Quotient (LQ) is one such tool. Developed by Right Management and Hogan Assessments, a leader in personality assessments, LQ is an online visual test that measures:

  • Intellect: How willing is this person to understand things better and think outside the box?
  • Spirit: Is this person a self-starter? How self-motivated is he to take on new challenges?
  • Style: Is he adventurous? Does he have an intrinsic desire to explore and try new ways of doing things?


This is one of the key deciding factors of whether talent stays or leaves. Employees offered career management are 50 per cent more productive than those who are not, Right Management found in a separate study.

Part of career management involves career conversations. The manager and employee talk about the things that matter most to the latter, such as:

  • Who am I, how do I fit and what's expected of me?
  • How am I doing, and what and how should I develop next?

Today, employability depends less on what employees know and more on their ability to learn and apply. Career management gives them an idea of how they should upskill in their me-centric job journey.

Singapore should pay attention to the right talent-to-role matchmaking given its ageing population.

A study by Oxford Economics noted that Singapore's labour supply will shrink by 1.7 percentage points in the 10 years through 2026, and by 2.5 percentage points in the following decade. This will make the country the worst hit out of a dozen economies in the report.

The double blow makes it crucial for companies to place the right person in the right role from the start, and continually train their workforce to stem productivity losses and to let their people evolve into other roles over time.

This article was contributed by Right Management (, the global career experts within United States-listed HR consulting firm, ManpowerGroup.