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Employability Today: Part 3 – Identifying Top Talent – Work/Life Balance

Identifying Top Talent – Work/Life Balance

Employability Today: Part 3

In Part 2 of the Employability Today series we looked at how to identify Employable Talent in an interview to be sure you are hiring the best candidate for your company, specifically focusing on the characteristic of resilience.  For Part 3, we will look at the second pillar of Employable Talent- Balance. Achieving a healthy work/life balance is vital, more than one would think. We’ll look at how to obtain balance, how it affects a potential candidate’s performance in your organization, and how to spot those with characteristics of balance.   

The second of the Four Pillars is maintaining a balance between personal life and professional activity. What is career balance? This vital pillar essentially means, “I am more than what I do at work. I am not defined by my job. There are other vital aspects of my life. My work is satisfying, but my life is satisfying as well.”

The people who try to use the workplace to obtain the bulk of the life rewards that they desire invariably feel let down. There has to be a balance between personal and professional lives. Particularly for Baby Boomers, the unarticulated credo often became, “I am because of what I do.” The lesson of balance must be learned and integrated. 

Increasingly, employers are beginning to realize that the key to effective hiring is to bring on people for the genius they bring to the table and their contributive value—not for the title they happen to possess. As one HR executive noted, “We don’t hire people for airtight resumes with no gaps.” In fact, organizations have to look increasingly to the gaps to find value.

Work Life BalanceThose who are able to separate their roles at work from their total being use distinctly different language when they describe the positions that they’ve held. They will say, “This was the role I served,” or “This was the chairmanship that I occupied.” Moreover, evidence suggests that, in the face of sudden job loss, some individuals are able to view their situations, support systems, and potential options with pragmatism, if not optimism. 

Rather than feel immobilized or stuck, terminated executives who were in balance reported that they were simply a part of their companies. Yes, they were an important part, but they recognized that their companies would go on without them. They had no illusions of omnipotence. 

Empowering Employable Talent

The nugget for HR professionals—and all others who play a part in the new employment agreement—is that when we can empower our Employable Talent to regard themselves holistically— as separate entities from their organizations—and to maintain balance in all aspects of their lives, then any unexpected job loss is likely to have little or no impact on their self-esteem. 

As an executive recruiter conscious of the Four Pillars, you should assess the level of balance each person you interview demonstrates, regardless of the individual’s level of awareness. A candidate who embraces all Four Pillars is more likely to be successfully employed.

You’re looking for a match between your organization and the candidate before you. A good match results in longer employability, constant and pervasive feelings of satisfaction with the work situation, and near-optimization of the relationship. That is the essence of the new employment agreement. 

Characteristics of Balance

In general, Employable Talent with a predisposition to seek or maintain personal balance display many of the following characteristics. Not everything applies to all individuals who have achieved a sense of balance; still, the odds are, some or most of these attributes are present.  

  • General satisfaction with life
  • Understanding their own genius
  • Work-life balance
  • Self-reliance
  • An effective past and future orientation
  • Living in reality
  • Balance, comfort, and risk

In Part 4 of the Employability Today series we will look at the last two pillars of Employable Talent- Strategic Career Planning and Active Financial Planning. To maintain continuing viability, growth, and prosperity, organizations and individuals around the world have long relied upon strategic and financial planning.  Why? Becuase those that have a handle on their strategic and financial plans are often able to produce healthy returns on assets and more effectively accomplish their goals.



Dr. David Miles is Chairman of the Miles LeHane Companies, Inc. He is a member of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), a member and founding chapter President of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Association of Career Professionals (ACP) and a Charter Fellow of the Institute of Career Certification International (ICC International), as the largest global non-profit certification Institute.  Author of The Four Pillars of Employable Talent and Building Block Essentials.  Follow David on Twitter @David_C_Miles

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