Monday, 15 November 2010

People or Skills?

Employment is a fun time for all- jobs for the unemployed, a new member of staff for the employer and less stress on the government. But what do most employers look for? People or simply suppliers of skills?

It's arguable that they're one and the same.
Any decent employee would have a decent blend of both, but in the age of graduate-required jobs are we looking at people anymore?

Skills are the bread and butter of what makes an organisation flow.
If you look at any large organisation you will see there are a number of skilled and experienced employees in key positions. This is because, quite frankly, over the years, they have built up the knowhow and the necessary expertise to be the best at what they do.
Not to mention, skills are something that everyone can use to their advantage and can learned by others with dedication.
Although, in fairness, not everyone is an academic so adjusting to the idea of learning new skills and new opportunities, well, it doesn't suit everyone- and that's fine- because some people aren't that way inclined.

People, however, are also the bread and butter of an organisation.
As is often the case with graduates; they have the skills and they can do the job, but they just aren't the right type of people. They don't have the experience or the required outlook.
Best in their class and very good at what they do, but they aren't at the level (yet) to lead groups and supervise others. Because, to be honest, some people are born leaders and some people are born marketeers etc. Some people are just good at what they do and that can never be replaced by skills.
As skills can be learned, over time, and with effort, but the fundamental groundwork of being that type of person cannot.

You can't change someone that much that they will become someone entirely different. But you can influence and help them, to teach them new things that they will use to become better people.

For instance, using myself as an example, I'm not one of these people that can stand up in front of thousands and present. Never have been. I get nervous with so many people paying attention to me- probably because I'm not used to it- but in any case, it's not something I would be employed to do.
I have learned to become a better person when it comes to presentations after many years, but still, even with that knowledge- you're not getting me up on that stage.
I also have a wee problem with being thanked for things/getting recognition. I don't do things because I like to be recognised/loved/adored/thanked- I do things because they help people. Which, all in all, means you're never going to get me in a position where I'm going to present and be recognised.
I could, quite possibly, play the role but I wouldn't be able to do that as well as I could one-to-one speak and encourage someone. Or to sit behind my laptop doing nerdy things all day.

From that we can see that, despite my ability to- I'm still not the best person for the role and perhaps in time I will be. But, you're rather playing a wildcard there in comparison to say asking me to design or find some fiendish coding thing.

It also highlights that while I may have the skills required for the role and can use them adequately, I'm not the best user when it comes down to it.

Thereby, the original question still stands: people or skills?

Personally, and in my opinion, I'd rather have a bit of each and have someone that not only possesses the skills but the right mindset for the task at hand.
I've always felt differently about people in that they can't be managed, but only lead, rather than allocated, for they are people and that gives them one thing that most managed situations don't have- unpredictability.
You never know what someone is capable of and sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised because "I didn't think they were that kind of person." Well, sometimes people are and sometimes they are beneficial for that reason. But, at the same time, you need to balance that with a great deal of skills in order to make someone that not only inspires but works to their goals efficiently.

Again, this is just something to think about. Food for thought.
Thank you for reading (as always) and I hope you've enjoyed the content. You're free to comment, retweet or perform any other gratifying action- we'd love to hear from you!

All information presented here is © copyright Carkean Solutions Ltd., 2010 - Not to be used without our permission - The views expressed here are the views of an idividual not the corporation

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