By Anthony Fitton
So, the great resignation continues… and with it the great regret – with many returning to old roles and others moving on too quickly. Then there are those who remain but are feeling a bit stuck. Either way, there’s a big cost to businesses: recruitment and onboarding, loss of productivity and of course efficiency.
With a likely recession ahead, considering your next move carefully will be ever more important as it may well be harder to move on or make a change. It’s well documented that people are as bad at asking the right questions of their future employer as some are in asking good interview questions. So here are a couple of gems to keep you moving in the right direction and make it more likely to find a role you’ll be excited and energised by for a long time to come – accelerating not just your career and happiness but the enjoyment of work for those around you too.
Will I have the opportunity to play to my strengths here?
This one’s really simple. People who have the opportunity to play to their strengths more of the time have higher life and job satisfaction, are more productive and report less stress. Having the opportunity to apply what you’re naturally energised and excited by at least three or four days out of five should be a dealbreaker question for your next move.
How will my team and my manager develop my strengths?
By asking this question, you uncover not just opportunity for growth but demonstrate that you understand growth related to strengths is more energising, you learn faster and have greater potential to excel. Rather than focusing on ‘areas of development’ and taking you from poor to good, will your manager reflect and coach you on what can make you great?
Will my strengths be valued by the culture and context of the organisation
Organisational context is important here. Are they a business going through growth? Change? Are they in survival mode or steadying the ship mode? Getting a sense for business priorities is important because it will give you insight into whether your strengths will be valued – not just in your role but in the business, helping you to grow quicker, get noticed, be given more opportunities, grow your salary etc.
Employers who favour ‘fail fast’ will love employees with creative thinking or learner strengths. They may say they appreciate a critical voice in the room to keep them grounded, but do they really? Those with results driven, achievement strengths may struggle if the organisation is more about relationship building and harmony than competition, stats and numbers which will drive and excite them. It’s worth saying there are always ways to find opportunities to play to your strengths in any role but there’s often an undertone of the culture where certain strengths are most valued and it’s worth being conscious of that before your next role.
Finally, just because it’s important to note, maybe your first step shouldn’t be a conversation with a recruiter but instead an honest collaborative conversation with your manager. Here’s how you could rephrase questions around dissatisfaction to make this conversation work:
- How can I play to my strengths more often here?
- What opportunities are there to develop me in my areas of strengths right now?
- What could we as a team do to value and give each other the opportunity to play to each other’s strengths more?